Start Time: 12 pm

Stop Time: 2:48 am

Goal: 21 types of cookies, packaged, wrapped & ready to deliver on Tuesday 12/17. And one Godzilla themed, gluten-free (among other things) birthday cake to deliver on 12/14.

Completed:  Vanilla Sugar (6x), Chocolate Trees (4x), Coconut Cutouts (4x)
Mixed:  Teal Swirl (4x) , Gingerbread Cutouts (4x), Pecan Sandies (4x)

A day 1 for the books. Two thoughts are at the forefront of my mind as I write about this first day of Cookie Madness 2019:

THIS IS SO MUCH FREAKING FUN!!!!!

Oh my god, I’m getting too old for this shit.

Oh my god, I’m feeling my age. I am so tired right now, my hands and arms are weak and shaky, my back is killing me and my feet…let’s not go there or I might cry, LOL.
Much like the rest of this year has been, I feel more unprepared for cookie season than I’d like to be. I wasn’t sure if my Guittard chocolate would show up today or not but it did. I am pretty sure I’m short on butter and will have to buy another case. I was able to do ZERO in advance this year. My timing is off and I’m struggling a little bit.

But man, it feels good to be back in this space.

The thing I realized, a loooong time ago, is that cookie time is about me being me and in some cases, battling my own high expectations. This year, I knowingly over-extended. A dear friend of mine has a birthday in December, smack in the middle of cookie time. Last year, I found out that she had to make her own birthday cake– she’s got a ton of legit food allergies, so it’s hard for her to do anything but make her own food. But you can’t have to make your own birthday cake…you just’s CAN’T…Especially when I love you. It’s just unacceptable. Every girl deserves a beautiful cake that stuns, that you didn’t have to make yourself.

Enter Godzilla. Yup, that’s right. I’m adding a gluten-free, nut-free, lots-of-other-stuff-free cake into the mix, and it’s a Godzilla theme. I’m honestly pretty excited about this project despite it meaning I need to stop twice tomorrow & Friday to detoxify my kitchen to bake and decorate it. I don’t mind. I love her and I love this kind of project.

Yet the reality remains that I now have a big ol’ cake to make on top of the 21 cookie types I’ve planned. What? I cut it down from 22 types… I’m totally doing less this year. (eye roll) This is what I mean– I am my own kind of crazy. My own expectations and desires are 100% responsible for how my body feels right now. That and dark chocolate Oreos. Those have not helped my body either.

On the flip side, my own expectations can be reset at any time. This year might be the year I cut back drastically and maybe NOT do the common cookie types. You and buy chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies. I don’t have to give them to you. My passion is in the decorator cookies anyway. Point being, it’s on ME to set my own limits and deliver what I think is good enough. And if there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that I am enough.

I’ve been on a year-long journey of self-care. I don’t feel like getting too deep into the weeds on it here, but I always thought you had to be a soldier or cop to have PTSD. You don’t. Anyone who experiences trauma can have it, especially when that trauma occurs when you are a child. Those wounds can lay the ground work for future patterns or behavior and leave you open to being taken advantage of by certain personality types.

For me, I just want to feel grounded and balanced without having to think about it so much. Last year was a year of so much change– good bad and ugly– and I’m in the process of getting my shit together. It’s only fitting that I tie that in this year, to a passion project that is both the perfect example of self-care but also is the antithesis of it. I love what I am doing, but I also recognize I’m putting my own needs aside to do it.

It’s what I have this year. Awareness. Choices. And I know that no matter how many cookies are in my boxes this year, or what kinds they are, it will be enough. And no matter what, that fills me with happiness and satisfies me. Will I wish there were more? Sure. I always do. Will I wish I spent more time or took one more day off? Absolutely. I feel that way EVERY FREAKING YEAR. But you know what? Something else I feel, every year I do this? Pride. Happiness. Satisfaction. Love.

And that is what the holidays are about. Gifts should be something you are proud of giving, and if you feel no joy in giving or the process of giving then you’re doing it wrong. There is so much I want my family and friends to have that I can’t possibly give them– peace, joy, safety, hygge–but this, I can do. In whatever shape it takes this year.

So here’s to day one. Yeah, I burnt about a dozen cookies again, and I have to re-make a batch in the morning but so what? I’ve got 6 days of cookie bliss ahead of me. And whatever gets done will get done. And I will be ok with that, truly. Because it’s this process that beings me joy. The sound of plastic packages being opened and the happy crunching. Yup. I think I’m doing it right.

However I can’t believe I just spent the last 2 hours making 125 gum paste thistles the size of a quarter… Did I mention my hands hurt? Yeeeah…

Time for bed. I might sleep in tomorrow. One of the roughest day 1s in a while, but I’m also comparing it to the most successful cookie time I’ve ever had, which was last year. 6 kinds of cookies, either mixed or baked at the close of day 1 is still damn good. We are well on the way.

Good night!