Saturday, December 20, 2014

Our Christmas Season


I realize it’s been fairly quiet the past few weeks here at Mt. Hope. We’ve been relaxing and savoring the season in a low-key way. We’ve had a few activities, but I’ve chosen not to fuss with pictures so that I can fully enter into the moment.

:: The boys had their Christmas choir concert the first week of December in a gorgeous old stone church with stained-glass windows. The church we attend on Sundays meets in a middle school cafeteria (the middle school I attended years ago) and jeans and flip flops are regular attire, so the atmosphere at the concert felt especially lovely and festive to me with all the kids in their Christmas best. The choir additionally performed earlier in the week at a local retirement home.

:: Levi’s CC Challenge class met on December 1st, 5th, and 8th, and he has had some work to continue the past two weeks. Apparently, he has decided to make his short amount of work take all. break. long. to complete.


:: We had the house decorated by December 10th for a belated St. Nicholas Day celebration—our traditional Christmas party with our best friends. We spent a lazy and glorious afternoon together making marzipan and enjoying each other’s company.

:: My best friend, Char, is my own personal Christmas elf. She loves Christmas so much and her excitement spills over to bless me. My sister stopped by to chat and complimented me on the darling star garland hanging at the top of my entertainment shelving unit. I had to tell her that Char made it for me. [Shannon was not surprised.] And then she complimented me on my gorgeous greenery wreath. Yep—Char. And then Char sent me home with a container full of decorated sugar cookies and fudge, which I shared with the kids, and homemade baklava, which I shared with no one.

:: Russ bought me a new flute as an early Christmas gift, and I’ve been playing daily.

:: My ChocLit Guild book club met for our annual cookie exchange. I always look forward to book club, but book club plus a huge plate of goodies to bring home is as good as it gets. I shared my favorite almond strawberry thumbprint cookies.

:: Russ and I attended a Christmas party for one of the businesses he works for. We’ve been attending this particular party for years—a room full of truckers. As in truck driving instructors. Seriously. But I get both prime rib and lobster, so it’s all good.

:: We attended a quintessential small-town nativity pageant with Char and her mom and kids. It was about 45 minutes away, held in an old elementary school (now the small town’s event center). This pageant has been a community tradition for 74 years! There were nine scenes with full sets and costumes, and a choir singing numbers between scenes. So lovely.

:: This year, Russ had the brilliant idea to put our Christmas tree on the front porch. Now I’m wondering why we have never done this before! With such a tiny living space for our rambunctious, always-home family, even a small table-top tree feels overwhelming in the living room, but this year we purchased a slightly larger tree and the boys had a blast decorating it. We can easily see it through the windows, so it doesn’t feel as if something is missing.

Right after we put it up, a major storm blew through with high-wind warnings. I was questioning our decision for a few hours there. Now we’re in the middle of flood warnings. It’s a blustery, wet, sloppy mess out there.

[You can see our new paint color in these pictures. It didn’t get finished [sigh], but at least it isn’t blue with a mismatched blue shop in front of the house. I guess I’ll have to put up with the caulk marks by the front door, random blue tape here and there, and the piles of stuff on the porches and around the shop until the spring. I’m learning to not care.]


:: The kids continued with AWANA this month, and now they are off for a couple weeks. Swim team practice continues all month long for Russ and the boys.

:: Levi and my sister both ended up with the stomach flu a couple nights ago (several days after Rilla was sick) and I’m having déjà vu. We spent weeks last Christmas break taking turns with the stomach flu, and I’m praying it doesn’t continue to make the rounds this season.

:: When I first pulled all the Christmas books off the shelf, I didn’t think I’d need to do any other Christmas decorating. We have so many!! So the boys have been reading and we’ve been working our way through the Christmas movies.

:: Christmas cards go out on Monday. Nothing like the last minute… I suppose I should wrap gifts at some point also…

:: We’re spending Christmas Eve at our house with Russ’s adopted parents, Ron and Haley.

:: Christmas Day will be spent with my family, as usual.

:: Levi’s 13th birthday is the following week—on New Year’s Day.

:: And then we have something fun planned for two days later… [surprise!]

How are you celebrating this Christmas season? Are you busy or relaxed? Or both?


Ariana Rose said...

My goodness! You guys have had a packed December!
I've felt myself feeling similar this year and wanting to just go through, get through, and enjoy what I can without the burden of photographing it all. I do end up feeling guilty of not documenting enough when I do that, though. A camera addict life's struggle :)

Your house looks lovely! I like how it turned out. I can't wait to see it in the spring and summer surrounded by sun and all that green you guys have!

I really pray with you that your family doesn't continue passing around that stomach flu! It's truly bad enough on its own but during Christmas is especially sad. Is Levi feeling better now?

Christa said...

Your home is beautiful, and I'm a bit jealous of your beautiful Christmas book collection.

Just in case it makes you feel better, my Challenge A guy has also decided that he doesn't actually want a Christmas break. He can't grasp the idea that he could be D.O.N.E. if he would just DO it. I could make his life and everyone else's rather unpleasant by trying to force him to do it on my timetable. I'm choosing to not. I may regret that later. Perhaps I just need a break more than he does. I'd much rather he fall on his face and learn this lesson in the 7th grade than wait and let him learn it later when his grades really matter.

This parenting thing is hard.

Heidi said...

Ariana~ Yes, it's a struggle to not document *everything*. Either I feel guilt, or I feel as if it didn't really happen!

Levi was sick again last night, so I have no idea what's going on. So far, no one else has been sick. We'll see....

Christa~ I'm glad to hear Levi isn't the only one...

Hannah said...

I was admiring your lovely card display "tree," and all of a sudden I realized I was seeing our family card staring back at me! :-) Glad it is contributing to your decor. I do simple decor as well, but feel like every little bit of beauty helps. We are enjoying a simple holiday season and feel like it's just right.

Hope you continue to have a wonderful Christmastime, New Year and beyond, Heidi!