Happy New Year! by The Pioneer Woman

I would love to say that wishing you Happy New Year on January eleventh is some kind of fluke, or an uncharacteristic time delay for me…but it is actually consistent with my whole vibe these days. But better late than never: HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS! I know it has been a long time since I’ve posted here, but now that the new year is (well) underway, I hope to get back into the blogging routine again. It seems that with the boys’ sports and working on my new cookbook and The Merc and cooking for the family, my efforts to be a good, consistent blogger always seem to give way to life.
But yesterday I realized that blogging is about chronicling life. So if life interrupts blogging, the universe will somehow be out of balance.
Or is it the other way around? Ha.
Anyway, thank you for loving me through the ebbs and flows.
  We had a wonderful Christmas. The kids were all home, which made everything feel complete. It was a low-key Christmas, with not a lot of hustle, bustle, and rushing, and we all just dug in and enjoyed the downtime together.
I was Mrs. Incredible and Ladd was Spider Man on Christmas Eve. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
   This is Fred. He’s another story for another time.
   After Christmas, I got to spend some quality time at The Merc.
   It was so much fun; I got to chat with visitors about how their Christmases were.
   Whenever I take a photo with members of a family, I sometimes joke that this should be their Christmas card pics next year. Then when they leave a few minutes later, I always worry that they thought I was serious—and that I expect them to turn our photo into their Christmas card. Then I start to get flushed in my cheeks followed by the inevitable sweat attack that I often have when I feel like I have overstepped or said the wrong thing.
   But then I compose myself, move on…and say the exact same thing a few families later. I have a nervous condition!
So if we have ever had our picture taken together and I have ever commented that it should be our Christmas card photo next year, please know that I am a middle child and would never expect to be on my own family’s Christmas card photo, let alone yours.
Whew, I feel better.
   Moving later into December: Ladd and I decided to host a New Year’s Eve party in town. This is notable because first, to my recollection we have never hosted a New Year’s Eve party in the 22 years we’ve been married (unless you count having a couple of friends over for appetizers back in 2002. And they left at 9:45 and we were in bed before midnight. And unless you count the occasional ice cream slumber party with the kids.) Anyway, my point is that this was a real party-party…
And that meant I needed some balloons.
   Okay, so I might have gone a little overboard with the balloons. But as I said, I had stored up much New Year’s Eve enthusiasm over the years.
   We had the party at P-Town Pizza and threw balloons on anything that sat still. It was so much fun! It was just a fun mix of folks from town, and let me just say that doing karaoke with your veterinarian is something you should try sometime in your life.
(Hi, Dr. Jan! You’re a wild thing. And you make my heart sing.)
   And now we’re into January. My birthday was coming up, and whenever Ladd would mention it was coming, I always just kind of waved my hand and said things like “We’re just going to let it blow by this year” and “Let’s just pretend nothing is happening” and “I’m just going to skate past it” and so forth. And Ladd would laugh.
And then he threw me a surprise birthday party. My sister was there from Seattle, my childhood friends were there, my high school friends were there, and I’ve never been happier that Ladd decided not to listen to me.
   It’s hard to see the details, but Ladd had worked with Kurtess, our manager at The Merc, and the bakers and cooks made all the food from scratch. I can’t begin to describe the deliciousness of not just the desserts, but also all the little appetizers they whipped up.
   Food is definitely one of my love languages.
   And I felt the love.
In addition to the food made by the Merc staff, Ladd also arranged for a sushi chef to come from the city and make sushi all night.
I repeat: I’m glad the little booger decided not to listen to me.
   People were there that I’ve literally known my whole life.
   People who knew me when I was four. Even younger than that.
(And that’s Pastor Ken in the background!)
   It’s one thing to plan a get-together with old friends and gear up for it and look forward to it.
   But for it to be a surprise when you think you’re just going out to dinner with your spouse…well, it was the best kind of surprise.
   Paige and the boys were there, too.
   You won’t see a photo of the boys, though. They were avoiding the camera. Or eating pizza. Or both.
   At the end of the night, we were gathered around the fire pit and laughing so hard, it hurt.
   That’s the best kind of laughter.
   “Thank you, Honey, for not listening to me!” This is what I told him on our drive home that night. Because we had stayed up late for our New Year’s Eve party a few nights before, we were actually in bed by about eleven. We’re old! And the last thing I told Ladd before we went to sleep was that what he did made me feel so loved. I know that’s what he was trying to express by pulling off this surprise, and I wanted him to know that it had worked.
I think I’ll keep him.
Also, his birthday is in about ten days. Let me know if you have any ideas for a Wrangler-wearing cowboy who is quiet and probably isn’t the surprise party subject-type.
Happy New Year again, friends. It’s nice to be back here, and I’ll see you some more next week!
Love,P-Diddle Diddle

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