I am exhausted.

I’ve been pushing myself to the limit–which really isn’t very far, but I’m out of shape ;P–getting ready for the move and the wedding and, of course, Christmas. I made so many different types of cookie this year; I’m pretty proud of myself, but it was a big effort. I also did a lot of the decorating for our family celebration.

We had Christmas yesterday on Christmas Eve, since Faye and AJ and Connor are spending Christmas Day at Faye’s mother’s house in Cynthiana. So when I got off my eight hour shift that morning, I went to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things I needed–some more white chocolate to dip Christmas tree cookies in, and some bottled water and Coke for Dad–and then went home and finished up the aforementioned Christmas tree cookies. When I say I “finished” I mean I dipped little trees into white chocolate for as long as I could possibly stand, and ended up leaving about half of them undecorated. I made far too many of those cookies. Fortunately, I got enough of them done to put in tins for shipping and still have some left over for family eating.

After finishing those up, I worked on cleaning the kitchen and preparing the living room and dining room for Christmas. I put two more leaves in the table; cleared out the boxes I’d brought from Grandma’s–she gave me some things for my new home, and I hadn’t bothered to pack the boxes up yet; set the table nicely; cleaned out all the cookie-making stuff from the kitchen and arranged the cookies on the table; and then, as everything was under control and it was noon and the party wasn’t till 4, I decided to take a quick nap until 1:45, and so I did.

When I got up I took my shower and got dressed. I decided to look Christmas-y for once. At one of the family dinners this year I didn’t dress up, and I looked awful in the pictures, and so I definitely knew I wanted to wear something nice. At the same time, I wanted to make sure I looked like I was celebrating Christmas, and not Thanksgiving or some other fall holiday–many of my nice clothes are in fall colors like brown and tan. Luckily, I came across a short sleeve green shirt handed down to me from Mom, a black skirt with a red and green floral design, and a red button-down sweater. I complemented this getup with some festive jewelry; here’s the result:

You can see my beautiful engagement ring in that shot too ;)

So after I was all ready to party, it was only three o’clock. I set to work making my famous corn casserole. Well, okay, it’s not really my corn casserole; we got the recipe from Dickie Lee Porter, mother of Isaac, who used to be a total jerk to me in middle school but turned out okay in high school. Anyway, it’s a damn good side dish. I also started the tea and peeled the potatoes so when Ben finally arrived he could make mashed potatoes. Then I tried to relax a little bit, and then finally everyone had arrived and it was time to party. AJ, Faye, Connor, Ben, and Dan were there in addition to me, Mom, and Dad. We all missed Manda and Sean; it’s too bad they couldn’t be here! Maybe next Christmas the whole family will be able to come together.

We had a lovely dinner: ham, broccoli casserole, corn casserole, mashed potatoes, scalloped oysters, peas, green beans, rolls, and Jell-O fruit salad. Everything was so delicious. I somehow wound up eating too much, and I’m still not sure how that happened, but I was unable to finish what was on my plate, and even now, eight hours later, I still feel full. Suffice it to say that I didn’t have any dessert (I know, blasphemy!), but I did drink some boiled custard, which was quite good. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll feel up to trying some of Faye’s apple pie; she makes them so well.

After dinner we cleaned up a bit and let our food settle, then set to work opening packages. Socks were the big thing; I think everyone received them except Mom. ;) In addition to that, I got two Southern Living cookbooks from Mom, a lovely black shawl, hat, and gloves from Ben and Manda, a set of silverware from AJ and Faye, and last but not least the gift I’d been begging for for months: a digital camera, identical to Mom’s, from Mom and Dad. This is just like the camera I took to Japan–I’m so excited that I’ll have one to take in March!

Connor, of course, got lots of toys, but the biggest toy that was unwrapped was the digital piano Mom got for the boys. They’d planned on using it to orchestrate some music for the band. I’m not sure if it turned out to be what they wanted or not, but it was certainly quite a fine piano. It got me wondering whether or not I should invest in one someday, or just buy a real piano. I’ll have to think on that. I lean towards the real piano because, well, it’s real, but at the same time a digital one would take up less space and wouldn’t need to be tuned. Something to ponder. Of course, it would help if I actually played the piano every now and then.

When everyone descended into the joy of playing with their gifts, I descended into the joy of sleep. It wasn’t nearly long enough; right now my eyes are dry and I have a headache and I really just want to pass out. But I’m at work right now (I’m working on Christmas!), so I can’t really take a nap. Boo hoo…I’ll probably end up watching Full Metal Panic!, like I did last night and the night before. Fortunately, this is my last day, and then I have about a week of free time before I move to Georgia.

Everything’s happening so fast :> It’ll be nice to get moved in and settled so I can relax into a routine. Of course, after the move and wedding there is the little matter of finding me a job, and then of course there’s planning the honeymoon, which is still taking place in March…so perhaps I won’t truly get to relax for awhile. We’ll have to see.

Being busy like this isn’t really a curse, though; for one thing, I choose to be this busy, and for another, I am ecstatic about it. I’m getting married! I’m starting a new life! I am truly one of the luckiest people ever, because I managed to find a man who so perfectly complements me it’s scary sometimes, someone I can love and hold and kiss and take care of, someone who is so cute and handsome and smart and witty and sexy and fun that I sometimes wonder what he sees in me. And we get to be together for the rest of our lives! It’s such a rush of happy feeling.

I’m also lucky simply because I’m not starting off my new life in debt–my parents were able to pay my college tuition in full, without student loans–and I actually have a lot more of the things I’ll need to take care of my own household than a lot of people do when they’re first starting out. My aunt Bev bought us a beautiful dining set from JC Penney, my dad is giving us his blue loveseat, Sean’s parents are giving us their La-Z-Boy and some nested glass tables, we have other furniture and dishes and silverware and Tupperware and kitchen appliances…man, we are pretty much set. (If you want to see what we don’t have, then click here.)

So yeah…I feel really happy and lucky. The only bad thing to happen is that I got a B in one of my classes this semester, meaning that my final GPA is a 3.388. I needed a 3.4 to graduate cum laude…but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I have to admit that the Shakespeare survey was not my top priority these past three months. In fact, it was probably my last priority…and I should probably consider myself lucky to have gotten the B. I wish I hadn’t had to take the class at all, though :>

But that isn’t enough to dampen my mood, really. I’ve got too many other good things going on. And I’m graduating, so I don’t have to deal with stupid classes anymore! At least for awhile. I do want to get my PhD in Linguistics at some point, and I’m also considering getting an MBA. We’ll have to see what happens there. For now I just need a job ;)

The upshot is (did I just write “the upshot is”? -_-), I am very blessed and happy right now. I love my life, I love my family, I love my friends, and I love my future husband.

I also love the fact that this is my last day of working night desk. I am soooooo tired right now.