Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Traditions

We got out our Christmas decorations this Sunday...It made me semi-excited for the holidays. I have to work Christmas so I'm pretty much boycotting it in my mind. Our house does look very pretty with the garland, lights, wreaths and candles. We still have to get our Christmas tree, I demand we get a real one...I feel strongly that it is the only way to go. It makes the house smell so good and love something living and imperfect in my house. I tend to feel nostalgic about Christmas...we had so many traditions growing up. We did the same thing every year and now that we are all grown up and married it makes it harder and harder to have the Christmas we had as children. I guess that's part of life and more and more I'm learning that change is inevitable. I have such fond memories of our Christmas traditions that I am determined to keep them going in my own family. Mark thinks I am slightly insane, but over the past 4 years he has become fond of them as well. I thought I would share with blogger world some of our traditions...

1. The beginning of the Christmas season always began with the first week in Advent in the Catholic Church. Advent is a 4 week season in preparation fro Christmas. It is a time of waiting, watching and preparing for the real meaning of Christmas. This is symbolized by using an advent wreath in the home. Ours was always on the kitchen table and we would light it before dinner each night. It has 4 candles, 3 purple 1 pink symbolizing each week. I remember fighting over who would get to the light the candle and then my brother Matt would always fake sneeze and try to blow out the candle and my parents would get so mad! The best part about our advent wreath was that we placed a bowl in the middle of it, wrote out the names of family and friends on a small piece of paper, placed them in the bowl and then eachpicked a name and that was the person we prayed for that day. I remember picking a name each day before school and praying for these people. It was such a nice way to remember family and friends. Of course us ornery kids would secretly place the names of our siblings "boyfriends and girlfriends" and we would be humiliated picking their names...I continue to do this in my house. Our advent wreath sits on our breakfast table with a bowl of names of people to pray for. I think Mark has started to enjoy this and it is a way to remind us of the importance of prayer in our lives.

2. Our second tradition was always going to pick out our real tree. We were all forced into our mini van and to listen to Christmas music we hated at the time (now we all love). We would pick our tree and bring it home. Of course nothing could go easy with our Christmas tree picking. I remember the tree falling off the top of the mini van when my dad turned too fast and we had to go down into a ditch and hall it out. One year my dad forgot it was on top of the mini van and drove straight into the garage, smushing the tree beyond belief. And I can't count how many times we were woken up in the middle of the night because the tree had fallen and there was water and needles everywhere. A real tree is a must in our house!

3. Another favorite tradition is our Christmas Eve meal, by far better then any Christmas day meal. We eat no meat on Christmas Eve...instead we eat fish, potatoes and the famous periogies (cheese and cabbage stuffed ravioli's) yum yum! Before we eat we participate in something called "breaking olpatek" here is what it is:

The Breaking of the Oplatek

One of the most beautiful and most revered Polish customs is the breaking of the oplatek. The use of the Christmas wafer (oplatek) is not only by native Poles in Poland but also by people of Polish ancestry all over the world.
The oplatek is a thin wafer made of flour and water. For table use, it is white. In Poland, colored wafers are used to make Christmas tree decorations. In the past, the wafers were baked by organists or by religious and were distributed from house to house in the parish during Advent. Today, they are produced commercially and are sold in religious stores and houses. Sometimes an oplatek is sent in a greeting card to loved ones away from home

The father or eldest member of the family reaches for the wafer, breaks it in half and gives one half to the mother. Then, each of them breaks a small part from each other's piece. They wish one another a long life, good health, joy and happiness, not only for the holiday season, but also for the new year and for many years to come. This ceremony is repeated between the parents and their children as well as among the children; then, the wafer and good wishes are exchanged with all those present, including relatives and even strangers.
This is a very meaningful time as usually we all end up in tears, but look forward to it every year.
  4. After we eat, Santa always makes a visit to our house. We all get to sit on Santa's lap and get one present. We have pictures of the same thing every year.
  5. On Christmas morning, before we are allowed to open any presents, we take baby Jesus (who has been removed from the nativity scene) sing Happy Birthday and place Him in the manger. A nice gentle reminder of the real meaning of the season.
So these are some of the traditions we had growing up that I have continued in my house as I am "adult."  What are some of your family traditions?!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I think I have wrote almost 4 or 5 blog posts this past week trying to sum up my thoughts about life now...I even published one not knowing that I did...It was supposed to be for my eyes only, so sorry to those who caught it  in the 8hrs it was posted. It was a mumble jumble of brain. I have been trying to think of something positive to write, but every time I finish and go to re-read I realize it is not positive at all. As I sit here in my bed the only the thing coming to my mind to be thankful for is my husband, Mark. Don't get me wrong I am very grateful for my parents, my siblings, my nieces, nephews and close dear friends, but Mark deserve a shout out. By far, the past 2 weeks have been the most difficult weeks I have experienced in my life to date. It has been a whirlwind of emotions, I have been brought to my knees in tears only to find Mark there picking me up. He is truly one amazing person.  The past week has made me cherish my marriage vows, for better or for worse, in good times and bad, in sickness and health...sounds cheesy I know but those words hold more meaning now then ever before. His big strong arms wrapped around me is the most comforting place in the entire world, what power he is in my life. Thank you God for letting such a wonderful man be apart of my life. I am thankful for his understanding and patience, for letting me cry, for letting me complain, for letting me lay in bed for as long as I want, and loving me unconditionally. I am thankful for his ability to make me laugh, his desire to make me happy and his ability to make me happy. I don't even know where my life would be without him. So on this Thanksgiving, when I am struggling to feel anything besides numb, I can feel the love I have for Mark. And I am grateful for that, genuinely 100% thankful.  I wish tomorrow I would wake up and feel like my old self again...the old self I have been trying so hard to rediscover the past couple of months, but what I realize is that, that old self is gone now, with recent events I have no choice but to  let myself continue to grow and mold into the self I want to is not is constant hard work...I want to give up, throw in the towel, but that is not me. I am strong now matter how weak I feel. I will figure  my path out, I will figure out this so called plan of His...and slowly with time I will begin to be myself again...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

CD's=Cassette's= Records?????

Ok so does it make me sound old that I still like to buy CD's...I like them better then downloading from ITUNES or using an MP3 if only if I could find my discman from High school I would be set...I love listening to CD's in may car...I love to jam out and pretend I am in concert. So I don't care if that makes me sound older or not as hip..It makes me happy... My latest purchase...

The new Sugarland this duo. This lady's voice is amazing and not your typical country. They are fun and unique and their music lyrics actually have some purpose. I feel like even if you don't like country you can still like and appreciate this woman's voice. This has been in my CD player the last 2 weeks...I know all the words...yes I know I'm is AMAZING!
Check out one of their new songs...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Do you ever feel....

like your house is so disgustingly filthy you don't know what to do?! I was talking about this with a friend who was expressing your unsettled feelings about her house and the new invasion of baby stuff and how she hates the clutter....I came home to my house and felt the exact same way. I have barely been home the past 2 weeks on my days off, and the days I work FORGET it...nothing gets done! So today, I woke up and was on a mission....I put 30 minute increments on the timer and set to work and I scrubbed and scrubbed, and dusted, and washed, and scrubbed and vacuumed..ok you get the point...I went nuts...and now the disgusting feelings have lessened, but it also brought to my attention the fact that I have been neglecting my house and my organization. I know all the moms out there are probably laughing at me because I don't have kids and I'm sure it only gets worse, but I need to get some stuff done around here!!!   Time to kick it into gear!

Also, with the start of talk about the Holidays I officially have started feeling like the Grinch....because I work Thanksgiving, the day after, Dec 23 and about BLAAAHHH! I told myself I was going to boycott the Holidays and not go crazy like I have in previous years...BUT today my family decided to come here for Thanksgiving, which makes me extremely happy. I will still be at work but at least I will be able to see my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews...pretty sweet! So now it is off to work on planning the Thanksgiving dinner, who will be responsible for what and getting my house ready for visitors....Tis the season...

Do you ever feel like your house is filthy? How do cope?
What are you doing to plan for the holidays... Here are a few things I have come across for Holiday Planning

Organizing your way is a great resource with ideas, free printables and ways to get organized! She talks about preparing your home, meal planning, Christmas Card list, and everything else you can think of. We made our gift list last night and jotted down some ideas for each person, I already feel ahead. Check it out

Really wish I could have a Thanksgiving Tablesacpe like this....AHHHH Maybe one day!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Fun Weekend...

I had a nice long weekend which was much needed after an emotional week at work that hit me out of no where. A long time family friend of ours got married in Cleveland Ohio. I had the joy of making the trip with Matt, Lauren, Lilly and Diana. Have I mentioned how sweet they are? Well if not...they are the SWEETEST girls I know!  Friday night I got to spend some time with a dear friend Jess, who is just an amazing woman all around. She is a full time lawyer, about to make partner and mother of 3 beautiful kids. Sometimes I wonder how she does it, she is like another "sister" to me and always gives such sound advice. It was great seeing her!

The wedding was lot of fun. I got to spend some quality time with my sister Mary Beth, felt like I haven't seen her in forever. I felt good to catch up, laugh and reconnect with her. There is nothing more comforting then sharing a bed with her just like I used to when we were little...she just relaxes me, crazy I know! Here is a picture of Mary Beth, Lauren and I courtesy of Lauren.

Our friend who got married is a HUGE Ohio state a surprise his parents hired some of the Ohio State Band members to come play at the wedding. Everyone was going CRAZY! I felt right at home! They played about 4 songs and it was AWESOME! Lauren was able to capture some video so enjoy! My mom is a real character

On Sunday, we were able to go visit my Grammy Bajorek. She is a nursing home with Alzheimer's. It is never fun to their, quite depressing, but of course we all want to see her. She looked pretty good, She always recognizes my dad, but I like to think she recognized us because she smiled and started crying. She can't really talk and goes in and out. It is heartbreaking to see the once animated and lively woman, with this debilitating disease. I would like to think we brought some joy to her. She loved meeting Lilly and Diana and they brought a lot of happiness....

This woman, Philomena, my Grammy is an amazing woman. We all hate seeing her like this and can only hope she felt some love on Sunday. I love you Grammy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Free Holiday Cards

I saw THIS link on a blog I follow....TOO good to pass up. Shutterfly is offering 50 free Holiday cards if you are a blogger....SIGN UP! They are all photo cards and there are some super cute ones! Looks like we won't be paying for Christmas cards this year! WHOO HOO!!!