Have I mentioned before how much I love this time of year?! We had an absolutely lovely Thanksgiving with my brothers and my dad's family, eating and drinking late into the afternoon until the mere thought of another bite was almost too much. Feeling sated and sleepy, surrounded by my sweeties, and snug in the comfort of my cozy home, I nearly cried tears of joy when work called on my out the door that night to ask if I wanted to stay home available. YES!!! I never did get called in (holidays are typically pretty slow at the hospital), so I was bright eyed and bushy tailed the next morning when I went to pick up my brother at oh-dark-thirty.
The icy air was delightfully invigorating, and the sound of old familiar Christmas tunes playing in the van put a smile on my face. Our first stop was the new Kohl's that just opened here two weeks ago, and our sister-in-law had agreed to meet up with us after (hopefully) securing her family's big ticket purchase of this year at a different store (she didn't get it!). We all met for breakfast at Village Inn (where I indulged in the most delicious stuffed french toast and rich hot cocoa. Mmmm!) and then headed over to Target. Between the two stores, I got a really great start on my Christmas shopping, but even more, I just really enjoyed the fun time out with my brother and sister-in-law. As a mother who seldom leaves home without her children (with the exception of work, but what fun is that?), this was a rare and special treat!
When I returned home Friday morning, Darren had done an amazing job of cleaning up the house, the kids were all dressed, the Christmas tree was strung with lights, and everyone was eagerly awaiting the placement of ornaments! It was the perfect time to bring in our three enormous storage boxes filled with ornaments from the garage, and this year, instead of closely monitoring every single move, I sat back, unpacking each box, and let the kids carefully hang them wherever they wanted. They did a really great job! (With a little help from Daddy.)
My brothers came over that night for a fancy dinner prepared by Darren, and my kids had so much fun playing with their cousins. It was getting really cold by the time everyone left, and on Saturday morning, we woke up to snow flurries! It was mostly just enough to tease us--not at all enough to play in--but it was still fun to see. For the remainder of the weekend we just stayed close to home, lighting fires in the fireplace, munching cookies, and sipping eggnog. We watched "Home Alone", which for me is a holiday must-see. I loved that movie when I was younger, as did my brothers, and now, too, it will forever remind me of Meghan's birth. It had just begun on TV in my hospital room when I was admitted in labor, and ended just before she was born, so Darren and I were able to enjoy the entire movie together (it was the first time he had seen it from start to finish).
This week I've mostly been trying to finish cleaning and decorating the rest of our house. It's been so nice, with the children eager to help, the scent of hot soups simmering on the stove, skies dark and gray but candles glowing warmly indoors. I just love this, all of it! Even my blog has undergone a Christmas make-over (which would be complete if I could just get Blogger to cooperate with the placement of my header photo. Why won't it let me place it "instead of title" as opposed to "behind title"?! The title is already in my photo...I don't want it placed behind Blogger's title! So for now I've changed my title to a simple ".", which is small enough to remain disguised in my banner until I figure out how to fix the whole thing. Argh!)
I'm eager for December to begin. Meghan's birthday is not far off, our anniversary will closely follow, and my mom will be home for nearly two weeks! Dylan and I are working on finishing up a few of his workbooks and lessons, and then during Advent, I'd like to mostly focus on reading (and re-reading!) the books I've got listed in my side bar, making ornaments for our Jesse tree and reading the appropriate bible passages to go along with them, doing crafts, and baking. (And Jill, how can you know me so well?! Thank you so much, dear friend, for thinking of me. What a sweet surprise to find in my mail yesterday!) I welcome and embrace this slow paced season of waiting. And to that end, I'm off to enjoy a nice hot cup of decaf and the best thing that ever happened to coffee. :)