Monday, December 12, 2011

Fa la la Worn Out!

I'm so exhausted I can barely type. Who knew eating and mingling could take so much out of a person? Well...and lots of kid chasing, too. That was the ringer, I do believe....

I read a magazine article once about the best time to throw a Christmas party, and the writer suggested that planning a holiday get-together towards the beginning of the month is ideal for party guests and hosts. People's schedules are usually less full, and most folks aren't tired of the season already and are genuinely enthusiastic about celebrating. It made complete sense to me. I mentally filed away that if I ever threw a Christmas party it would be within the first two weeks of December. And then this year happened, and now I'm rethinking that whole plan. :)

Seems that everyone else in our world had the same great idea, because we have just successfully attended five Christmas parties in seven days, and now we have no holiday related events on our calendar until Christmas! It was so much fun, but whew am I beat! This weekend's festivities began with a Merry Stifel Christmas. Well, that's the name I'm giving it, anyway.

Eric works for Stifel Nicolaus, an investment banking firm, and the national home office happens to be right in downtown St. Louis. Just across the street is the Missouri Athletic Club, and that's where we were heading on a very cold December evening. Just so you know, the MAC isn't exactly the place where you bust out your mega-camera and start snapping pictures. It isn't even the place where you bring your little camera and start snapping pictures. Yes, people may get a little tipsy by the end of the night and start singing karaoke, but no, there will be not be pictures of it popping up on facebook the next morning. :)

I made Eric sneak a couple of iPhone photos for me, anyway. :) Shhh. He's a stealthy guy, that Eric Robert.

There was loud music, fancy food, and snowflakes on the ceiling. Not gonna lie, it kind of felt like I was stepping onto a movie set when I first walked into the main room, digging my nails into Eric's arm for fear he might leave me in a sea of strangers. Adding to the atmosphere was the fact that I don't think a single bad looking person works for Stifel Nicholas. Haha. Maybe we were on a movie set and we just walked into the wrong ballroom. ;) Luckily everyone was very very friendly. I met a fellow sweet tea and candy lover, and shook hands with lots of people whose names I could not tell you today to save my life.

My favorite thing about the entire party? The ice sculptures. I seriously wanted to take the giant snowman on the dessert table home with me. Throughout the night my hands were freezing from the endless "I need something to do with my hands" drinks being put in them, and my face literally ached from smiling so much. As Eric's wife I've learned that a friendly smile and a nod is sufficient in most group conversations, because the group is usually talking about subjects way over my head.

By the end of the night I was ready to go home to my babies. I'm a big time introvert, and while I know socializing is part of the deal, I'm just so out of my element surrounded by hundreds of people I don't know. Some people might see that as an opportunity to make hundreds of friends. I sort of want to run and hide. :) So there was a bit of relief to step into the "ladies room" where it was nice and quiet before grabbing our coats to leave. And girls, I wish I had my camera with me when I went into that bathroom, because I walked through three sitting areas with vanities and couches and giant full length mirrors and a room just for making phone calls before I ever saw a toilet. I literally laughed out loud. Then I checked my rear in the mirror, giggled some more, and got the heck outta there!

The next three parties were much more my speed. (Oh, and by the way, thank you Stifel Nicolaus for throwing an amazing party. Maybe next year I won't be such an awkward turtle!) Several families from our church were throwing parties and open houses this weekend, and I felt right at home laughing with friends and sitting around dining room tables. I didn't take pictures of most of these happenings, because...well...I didn't want to be that person with my camera in everyone's face everywhere I went. But now of course I'm kicking myself for not having much to show you.

Here's what Evie was up to while we were out on Friday. :)

On Friday evening Eric and I attended a party at our friend's the Canter's home, and it was a simply delightful evening. The Canters have a gorgeous house which was of course decked out in all of it's holiday splendor. Loved it! While discussing all of Ms. Virginia's lovely decor she spoke the most encouraging words for this decorator (wannabe) in training after lamenting the fact that I didn't even have the furniture to put such nice things on. "I didn't always have all of these things. But it'll come," she said with a smile. Sigh. Someday. "It'll come." I sure hope so. (Unsolicited advice for the day: It is awesome to surround yourself with lots of friends your own age, because you will always have people who have your back. But don't forget to have mentors in your life, too...because their life experience can teach you and encourage you in so many ways.)

Here's a bonus photo of our Church's Christmas program from this Sunday. :) Which we only saw the first 20 minutes of, because our kids were restless in the nursery. Ah, well!

What we heard was beautiful. :)

After a morning of Christmassy church fun we went to the Chapman's annual Christmas open house. Ben Chapman is the pastor of our church and his wife Laura is a LEGIT baker. Like, for real. They have four kids and I have no clue how she pulled it off, but Laura did a great job making tables and tables (and tables) full of delicious sweets and snacks. I brought my camera to take pictures, and her displays were definitely picture worthy, but the place was jam-packed shoulder to shoulder (I'm telling you - legit. No one wants to miss out on those chocolate covered peanut butter ball things. I had four.) and our kids were being hooligans. Thus, no pictures.

And then that evening we had another Christmas open house at our friends the Schumer's. Which once again was jam-packed, and our kids were even worse there. I couldn't blame had been a looong day already, which was really the icing on the cake of a looong weekend. They were over it. Still, we were among the first to arrive, so I got a couple of shots before Gracie knocked over a shelf with marbles on it, and I had to abandon the camera.

Grace about to derail the train. Oy.

Even though we were wrestling toddlers most of the evening, we still had a great time surrounded by friends who are more like family. In fact, I learned last night just how highly Evie thinks of our friends when she asked me to hold her up, because as she said, "I want to see my family, mama." :) Thank you to Dan and Kathy for hosting a great party!

It is now midnight on Sunday evening and I just poured a glass of Coke to keep me awake long enough to finish this post. I think the exhaustion that the holiday season brings is the best kind of tired you can possibly feel. It comes with the satisfaction of knowing the true blessings of family and friendship and knowing that even in this crazy world there are people who love you and who want you around. Almost makes you think they might miss you if you were gone. And that's one of the best feelings in the whole wide world.

I hope as we all gather with friends and family for the rest of the Christmas season that we'll remember to take just a second to soak it all in and feel the love of being part of something bigger than ourselves. Even though we all have crazy relatives that leave us scratching our heads or wanting to pull our hair out, they're still ours. No one will understand wacky cousin Eddie or confused aunt Bethany quite like the ones who have known them closely for years. And yes, we just watched Christmas Vacation...for the third time this season. :) Ending this one with a big "Thank you Lord!" for friends and family to share life with. What a blessing.


Jackie said...

Where Ben and Laura live...I use to live there. It's my Aunt and Uncle's house! I rented from them for a few years! My mom lives next door and I believe she was helping in the kitchen yesterday...not sure if you seen her or not! I miss that house!
Looks like you had a very Christmas weekend...but a great one at that!!!

Cassie said...

whew, wore me out just reading it!! tis the season!
and awkward turtle, i lol-ed. i am the SAME way, it's like oh hello, ummm, smile, ummm, fidgit with my drink, ummm, smile some more, umm, ok you can walk away now. lol. too funny!!

Adrien said...

Jackie - that's awesome! I'm sure I saw your mom, but I just didn't know she was your mom. :) It's a great house !

Yep, in a nutshell. :)

Heather said...

I'm actually the same way around people I don't know. I could never have a job where I have to network, because I would be POOR POOR POOR.

sblind2 said...

I hate social environments too (only with ppl I don't know) and esp at super fancy places....I feel like Julia Robert counting the fork!! LOL


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