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I Thought I Hated Christmas

I imagine most young children, myself included, love the holiday season. But many of my holiday memories during my early years are centered around being shuttled from house to house on Christmas Eve/Day – as is common for many children of divorced parents. When I got old enough to drive, people gladly handed over the keys, happy to no longer play chauffer, leaving me to shuttle J3 and I from house to house and city to city. 

By my early 20s I secretly began to hate Christmas. I loved being back in Detroit with my friends and family for a week or two at a time, but I increasingly dreaded the stress of the 25th of December. My favorite Christmas was the one in my late-20s where I decided to “skip” Christmas and only went to 7am church service, then slept the rest of the day, getting up around 3pm to open my gifts before going back into sleep/tv mode all night. It was the most relaxing one I’d ever had!

Then I found a mate who had his own set of feelings towards holidays and we bonded instantly, spending the Christmas evening a week before our wedding at a chill bar enjoying craft drinks. Happy to use our upcoming NYE wedding as an excuse to skip most of the traditional holiday chaos.
This year Rory and I made a late decision in October to scrap the usual holiday stuff and spend 10 days Europe – away from work, family, and crazy everyday stress! The plan was to drop the dog off in Chicago and hop on a Christmas-day flight to Amsterdam, followed by a stint in Paris and an amazing NYE Eve in Madrid. Talk about exciting!! But even though I was happy to skip all the stress, I talked constantly for the week leading up to Christmas about missing my family (whom I only see a few times a year). I even cried a few days, but I always reminded myself – “Suck it up! This trip is what you wanted!”

We drove to Chicago a couple of days early and laid low, relaxing and prepping for the fun journey ahead. On Christmas day, we were just about to have lunch before hopping on a 6pm flight to Amsterdam when the FaceTime call from my brother came around 1pm. The call no daddy’s girl ever wants to hear. 

“Daddy had a heart attack!”

After my initial breakdown I went directly into work mode. Within an hour, my husband and I had made a decision and were already on I-94 headed east – him driving and me making calls to all of the hotels and airlines to see what we could do, not caring if we lost every dime of the trip. There was no way I could enjoy myself on the other side of the pond with my Dad being in limbo. Because…

In the end it’s all about family.

This year I’ve spent Christmas evening and every day since watching my father improve in rapid ways that even the medical staff deemed abnormal, seeing my little brother step up and set plans in motion like never before, and watching my seemingly ageless grandpa care for his son. My brother’s and mine significant others taking watch shifts and spending time with the visitors, giving updates and allowing us to take breaks from our 24 hours watches. And above all else, admiring my awesome stepmom and her relentless support for my dad, even after her own trauma of finding him with a stalled heart (it was cardiac arrest) and performing CPR until the paramedics showed up minutes later. 

As I sit here in Detroit, getting occasional notifications on my phone for my European flight check-ins, I don’t have a single regret about missing the trip or any of the dollars we lost as a result. I’m thankful that God saw thru my selfish shield and said “uhn uhn, you will not run from this feeling you THINK you have”. I’m thankful my husband put everything aside and has been nothing short of amazing this week. I’m thankful my stepmom is a freakin superhero and saved the life of one of my best friends in the whole world. 

And most of all, I’m thankful that God saw fit to give my dad another chance at life and allowed me to be present to walk this journey along with my family. It’s the ultimate Christmas gift that I will never take for granted. 

Turns out, Christmas is all about love and family. And you can’t hate love. Or family. ❤️

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Please donate – I’m running 13.1 for Lupus Detroit! 

Please donate to Lupus Detroit – a sponsor in the upcoming Freep Marathon!! I’m running the half marathon – 13.1 miles – to raise money so Lupus Detroit can continue to enhance the lives of Michigan’s Lupus Warriors. https://www.crowdrise.com/lupusdetroit2015/fundraiser/cherish

*fact: Although lupus can strike men and women of all ages, 90 percent of individuals diagnosed with the disease are women. Most people will develop lupus between the ages of 15-44.

Read more here – http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/lupus.htm

http://www.lupusresearchinstitute.org/lupus-facts/lupus-fact-sheet

**bonus: All donations of $30 or more will earn me an entry in a raffle to win a VIP post-race breakfast! 

Working on a Sunday

I'd sooo much rather be blogging about the awesome heat wave we had earlier in the week, or the greek yogurt with fresh berries and granola that has become my daily snack, or the AWESOME time I had at Screams in the Park – the Rosemont, IL haunted house I screamed my way thru last night… Unfortunately, duty calls in the form of a 600-page document I have to review for tomorrow's meeting. I'll try not to gaze out the window too hard today…

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Cookbook Obsession

I wish I could cook everyday but there is never enough time! I love to try new recipes and I drool over the latest catalogs from Williams-Sonoma and the windows of the Caphalon store in Chicago. Since 2006 I've maintained a subscription to Everyday Food Magazine, which is my #1 go-to (both the books and the website) for new cooking ideas.

Yesterday I was wandering through Borders and realized… Everyday Food has a new cookbook out! The recipes look sooo tasty! I'm adding this to my “List of things to buy after I finish my PE Exam”. I can't wait!

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Always start my Christmas by giving to others

April and I hit up Meals on Wheels today to pass out holiday dinners to Detroit's elderly. My grandparents started this Christmas tradition for my family when I was young, and my friends and I carry it on now.

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Michael Kors Jacket

I'm getting my Christmas list ready early this year. This jacket by Michael Kors (available online at Michael Kors' website or in select Macy's where its currently 30% off) is at the top of my list…. The only problem is that I need it now because by Christmas it will be too cold to wear it!!

-Bonus – the asymmetrical leather jacket on the Michael Kors site!! That one is sexy!

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Go team USA!!!!!

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Chicago Tourist shows us how NOT to wear tights.

Saw this group on the street while waiting for valet after a wonderful lunch at Grand Lux Cafe…. Knee length summer shorts in yellow worn with black tights. Hmmm… Future trend? I sure hope not.

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T-shirt slogan

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