I struggled this year getting into the “Christmas Spirit”. I think because I knew I wouldn’t be at home hosting and able to do the amm Christmas traditions, I couldn’t get really excited for the actual day. I did make sure to do things for Arrine – we took her to Candy Cane Lane and went to see Santa (although she never actually sat on his lap once we got to the mall) and she went to my work’s kids’ Christmas party. There were lots of Christmas-y things we did. Although I know I could have done more. More amm Christmas.

But I need to focus on two amm things that happened on Christmas that weren’t her traditions, but ways to remember.

1. Nick’s parents are movie fanatics. Jean asked me about the new release of Les Miserables. I said to him it was a move I wanted to see by myself because of the connection to amm. And that’s where our conversation ended. But later in the day he said, “I don’t mean to bring this up again, but how is Les Miserables connected to your mom so much?” And I shared with him. And played him part of the soundtrack I had on my phone. And it was nice.

2. I know I have mentioned amm’s cheese ball before. Not the Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball – the cheddar and cream cheese and walnut cheese ball. Karen had this kind of cheese ball for snacking. For breakfast with Arrine I toasted a bun and spread the cheese ball over it. Just as amm used to do with her toast. I offered some to Arrine, telling her this was how Grandma Anne-Marie used to eat her toast with cheese ball. Arrine tried it, but didn’t like it. Her response? “When I get older I will like the cheese ball like Grandma Anne-Marie. And mommy.”