Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!

Except I’ll be running through the streets screaming,
“Merry Christmas, Chick-Fil-A! Merry Christmas, Target! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old mall you!”

Hope y’all have a happy holiday and a fantastic New Year. We will have loads to share from the holiday. See ya next year!

xx

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An Open Letter to Me On My Birthday Eve: Time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin’ across your face.

Dear Nichole, Nikki, Nic or whatever you are calling yourself,

Wowee wow. The big 3-0. Remember when we were little and we’d think about what we would be doing at 30. I believe it involved a few kids and a Barbie Ferrari. But look at you, in England. Just like you, taking ye old non-traditional route.

A wise man once said, “There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.” Ppffffttt

I see you are still trying to keep an enigma about you. Odd, since you have this whole thing for writing and putting everything online. Good luck with that.

You’re turning 30, and isn’t it nice to say that you are in THE best shape of your life. Take that 21-year-old me. This was a year where you certainly turned into quite the runner. Little miss marathon. You nailed 26.2, but screw running in Atlanta again. Damn hills. This year you hit your stride. You learned to not stop at the finish line. Your running seemed to be contagious and you’ve been lucky enough to see your mom develop her own passion for the sport. (I don’t know what took her so long either.) Keep at staying active. You’ve got some years to go yet and it’s best we keep looking fit. Those knees need to last us a long time, so pace yourself sister.

I see the karma train hit you this year. Remember what a gigantic ball of stress you could be about your job, then you move across the globe and find that maybe you took your career for granted. It’s OK that you don’t want to sit idle; you want to discover, relate and make changes in the world. It’s nice to have both options, remember that. Be thankful for the perception you have gained from being allowed to be on your own for a few months. You deserve it. You have learned to find a career that brings you satisfaction, and that means stepping out of your comfort zone and waiting for the best thing to come along. Sure you could settle down in a job you were use to, but never settle. However, if you could find a job that lets you work in house slippers – settle for that.

The relationship with your husband grew a bunch this year. Can we please talk about what an amazing man you married? Dayum, you are blessed. You married someone who knows when to support you and when to challenge you. Push you to the edge, if you will. Remember this year when he put you on top of the highest cliff in Wales and made you cry? Well, it taught you to love the outdoors didn’t it? Seems he does know what he is doing after all. Your relationship was tough when you first moved to the UK, but you finally learned to embrace every situation you were thrown in and have become the closest you’ve been since you met nearly nine years ago. You two certainly laugh a lot more in bed before going to sleep. Blame the Horlicks. Oh Nanny is right, he’s quite the looker. Your kids are going to be adorbs, and please Jesus hopefully get his smarts.

You learned even more this year than others how much friends and family mean to you. When your phone can’t ring to hear them back home, it’s nice to get messages and letters to know they still think of you – still not half as much as you think of them. The friends you are close with, those are the ones that will be rocking in a chair next to you in a nursing home some day. You learned how to stay close with the people that matter the most and occasionally let that big guard of yours down. Kisses to the makers of free international calling. Remember it is okay to call home sobbing about not being able to find Betty Crocker cake mix at the store, good Mexican food or missing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. It’s lovely that you have friends all over this country and that country; continue to surround yourself with the right people – even if it’s only a handful.

If you think you are emotional now, just wait, I hear it only gets worse. I know you seem to cry at the drop of a touching commercial or anytime you look at Indiana Jones, but get it together woman. We have an image to uphold. And don’t take any crap about being 30. Would you ever go back and relive your 20s again, no thank you.

Embrace Own your thirties. It’s a peak time for your athletic career. Oprah said it was the decade where she truly found herself. Take chances. We all make mistakes, but be you – and always be okay with that. Never live with regrets. Regrets lack immediacy. Keep trying to be better, at everything. Better listener, wife, friend, daughter, sister. Live life like the honey badger.

Still reading, or did you just skip to the bottom? On that note, off to go find some cobra cookie cake. xx

I can’t get the antlers glued to this little guy. We tried Crazy Glue, but it don’t work.

Thanks to the interwebs, my days of making a holiday wish list are so much easier. No more star legends on my list. I honestly don’t need anything, I mean that, but I kind of got carried away. I can see my family either liking this idea or cursing me for doing it so late. Merry Christmas to moi.

Ho Ho Holiday Wish List

That’s right I posted panties, get over yourself. How’d that Louis bag slip on there? I almost included things I miss from the states like Chick-fil-a but that’s getting ahead of myself.

Mince Pies with Dudley Moore

Everyone has their own way of celebrating the holidays. Family traditions passed down or made new each year. Being in England this Christmastime I have become more aware of American traditions that I thought other countries, certainly the United Kingdom, must take part in at Christmas. Queue the dum dum American music.

Polling some of our close mates we asked a few questions about the makings of a proper English Christmas. Let’s take a look at a good old fashioned American and English Christmas:

  • In American it’s an undisputed fact that Santa lives in the North Pole. English children believe Santa lives in Lapland. That Santa seems more ritzy.
  • Americans love a traditional pumpkin pie. England is all about some mince pies.
  • Americans are treated to 24 hours of nonstop poke-your-eye-out fun with “A Christmas Story.” The closest I could get to a holiday movie they watch over here is Scrooge (not the one with Bill Murray) and “that reindeer movie with Dudley Moore, “ aka “Santa Claus.”
    No, they haven’t even heard of Hermey the elf that wanted to be a dentist! Sorry, no classic claymation Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman here.
  • Some American radio stations play Christmas music 24 hours a day starting in December. In England you have to wait patiently for Christmas songs to play in rotation. One of the biggest favourites, The Pogues – Fairytale of New York.
  • American kiddies leave Santa some yummy milk and cookies. Some English children will do the same, but others leave out sherry or whiskey. You smell like beef and cheese, you don’t smell like Santa.
  • Americans have December 26. England has Boxing Day (which apparently nobody we’ve talked to really knows why it’s called that.)
  • Some Americans may open “poppers” at Christmas dinner. Here in England everyone loves a traditional “Christmas Cracker.” Crackers are ‘pulled’ by two people and inside the cracker there is usually a tissue paper hat, a balloon, a slip of paper with an uber corny joke on it. What do elves learn in school? The elf-abet.
  • In America we typically don’t wait for a Presidential holiday message, but most English families will listen to the British monarch’s broadcast on Christmas day, which started back in 1932 with King George.

Making this list, I just realised I haven’t seen a candy cane all season. What the what? No peppermint bark here kids.

It has been a welcomed change to see Christmas through other people’s customs and traditions. I never went picking mistletoe back in the states, but I obviously will welcome being back in America for Christmas Day. Bring on the classic movies, holiday baking with ingredients I am familiar with and holiday music.

If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now.

Christmas cheer was spread all over Shropshire this weekend. I told y’all Friday about our big Santa Safari this weekend. I think the makers of that amazing YouTube advert should run a full disclaimer at the bottom:

MUST TAKE CHILD

The “just two adults,” “where’s your child,” “is the engagement ring in your pocket” jokes from the elves were a bit of a giveaway that we’d be in trouble. We safari’d, and we saw Santa. Although, Santa didn’t look excited to see us, maybe confused. I had to ask to sit on his lap. Definitely the first time we said we need a kid.


But I will say the location was wicked and the cave smelled like a big delicious Christmas tree. The reindeer were legit too. The hus liked riding in the D90 but was disappointed when we were only offered fruit punch. To which I replied, “Fruit punch with what?” You elves have any special cocoa for the adults?


After a shaky safari, we headed out Sunday to pick mistletoe. A family tradition of one of our mates. We schlepped hiked five miles in the rain a bit to find the perfect mistletoe. Andrew, wasting no time, plucked the biggest mistletoe on the mountain. It wasn’t until the return back to the car that the bottom fell out. We were absolutely soaked. I tried to grab a sheep for cover.


We found the closest pub to warm up by the fire. Can’t say we’ve had a boring weekend here since we’ve moved. Although I am still drying out, we had quite the festive weekend.

Will you please tell Santa that instead of presents this year, I just want my family back?

This weekend I might explode from too much Christmas Cheer.

When we first thought about moving to Shrewsbury someone told the hus about a Shropshire Christmas tradition. Every year a local countryside park allows locals to, “enjoy a magical adventure by Landrover through the Follies woodland to see Santa in his real hillside grotto.” This may have been one of the deciding factors for our move.

Tomorrow we head out on our Santa Safari, which I have been looking forward to since I booked a month ago.We get to visit a Swiss Cottage and Santa’s Workshop, under the Wishing Arch and through Santa’s spectacular network of caves to meet him in his Grotto.

Grotto, I know what you’re thinking — the whole Playboy grotto thing — but we’re just going to go sit on some old man’s lap.

Anyways, bring on the hot cocoa and REAL reindeer.

Sunday we are heading out with some locals for another tradition, mistletoe picking. Apparently this is a family tradition of a mate of ours. We’ll see how it one goes.

Hope your weekend is filled with holiday parties and plans!

Santa?! I Know Him! My Christmas Favourites

Smell: Christmas Trees. Cinnamon sticks. Fresh holiday cookies. Candles.

Tradition: Every Christmas Eve growing up my brother and I got to open one present. Now that I’m older, the men in the family watch Die Hard while Norak and I pray for them during our Christmas Eve candlelight service at our local church. I know what you’re thinking, but Die Hard is totally a Christmas movie.

Movie: It’s A Wonderful Life. If I don’t list this movie Norak will fly over and beat me. But seriously, it’s a movie that teaches about the importance of being a good man and giving more to others without expecting anything in return. It also teaches you not to leave $8,000 with your crazy uncle.

Hymn: Carol Of the Bells. The Home Alone church scene where the boys choir sings this gives me goosebumps.

Christmas Picture: For the first time in 100 years Mayretta, Georgia got snow on Christmas day. Epic. Norak and I made the jankiest snow angels in our front yard. I laugh every time I see this pic.


Sight: Going to New York and seeing the Rockefeller tree lit up. The tree of all trees is something truly special.

Best gift: Whenever my brother comes home for Christmas. Family.

Worst gift: I never got Grubby and my parents will never forget it either. He was Teddy Ruxpin’s catepillar friend. Hey Santa, Grubby’s on ebay!

Memory: One Christmas Santa left his footprints on the carpet from the fireplace to the tree. The “special” North Pole snow didn’t melt and I wouldn’t let my parents vacuum for like a week.

Dislikes: How quickly December goes by. Dec 26 is the pits; all the magic is gone.

I have a lot of growing up to do. I realized that the other day while sitting in my fort.

Catching up on my celebrity sugar this morning. Did I really read that Alec Balwdin was booted off a plane for playing “Words With Friends.” That sly dog. Instances like this make me fear what may happen if my mom finally gets an iPhone.

In other news you can’t use, I have a janky Christmas iPhone app that counts down to Christmas with songs, advent calendar and “Festive Facts.” Please get a load of today’s “fact.” I had no idea that Franklin Pierce was our first US President!

Speaking of countdowns…Dr Jones!

I am also feeling nostalgic and missing a bit my bro and would do over on this old site.  So here’s some Mikey Likey for your humpday:

Mikey Likey

Leave a Trail

If anyone would like to send me a hug from home, I could really use one today.

This weekend already seems like forever ago. Andrew had mountain biking plans, which means I was left with the car and Jeremy Clarkson (our GPS satmap). I headed to a trail we have gone on a few times before.

Too bad I evidently don’t pay attention to where I am going. I ended up “off the beaten path,” a nice way of saying I lost the path marker. Making the best of the lost situation I decided to go with the flow and wherever the trail decided to take me. Andrew praised me for going and I admit I did feel a bit like hiking Barbie. We don’t need our trail guide Ken! I do wish the wild horses were offering rides. Today, I could use a unicorn.