Sometimes, I feel as though I was destined to live in a little Nordic village surrounded by snowdrifts and wearing intricately knitted mittens, walking down tiny, dark streets that have dozens of little glowing windows lighting the sidewalk. Currently where I live is the opposite. Sunny Arizona. We had roses blooming on Christmas and our Japanese maple had just begun to turn a deep port wine. The tree in the backyard lit up our whole living room to a sunny yellow hue until Christmas Eve.
“Merry Christmas, it feels like Halloween.”
As I scrolled through lovely instagram feeds and blogs with blankets of snow and evergreens, I admit I got jealous–however I’m not jealous of traveling in it. Just, otherwise. It was hard to dive into the new season when I felt stuck in the last one. But it’s like God was telling me that there is always something to celebrate, regardless of the season you’re in, regardless of the circumstances. Just when Christmas was almost passed, I finally started celebrating. In fact, we’ve continued to celebrate even after December has ended. I mean, who says you can’t make santa cookies after Christmas? And i feel like Christmas isn’t truly over until you want it to be. Or until the gingerbread cookies are gone. Whichever. I still have my trees and wreaths and lights up. I told my husband, “They’re not coming down ’til February!” He obliged–I think mostly because he won’t have to climb up to the second story roof to take down the exterior wreaths just yet.
I feel like I’m still hanging onto Christmas because I let my outside circumstances keep me from focusing on the important and it passed me by. Christmas is a time for us to slow down. To celebrate Jesus–not only his birth, but all of his works as well. It’s a time to cuddle, to create, to celebrate. And to eat cookies. The four C’s. Remember that.
I think we collectively, as a whole, are so eager to start on a new year, new us, new life, blah blah… that we rush through The Best Holiday. But if you feel like it passed you by without really saturating yourself in all its goodness, bake some soft gingerbread cookies and let your kids decorate them. Make some hot cocoa and do a Christmas puzzle. Leave up twinkle lights a little longer. Knit stockings and watch Christmas movies. Just enjoy the season if you, like I, missed it.
We hope that you had/have a happy, happy Christmas.
As the foliage fireworks display makes way for the Winter dormancy, as so do we prepare for the repose of these seasons. This is the time of year to celebrate change and celebrate coziness. We’ve celebrated Autumn births and birthdays, we’ve celebrated new friendships and the rekindling of relationships. The brightly dappled bursts of color will soon fade and fall away, baring the empty branches. We hate there comes a time to say goodbye to everything pumpkin. But, we are reminded that the time of slumber during the Winter allow for closeness, and Spring will soon be here again with it’s own colorful parade of petals. We just plan on enjoying the cozy over these next few months, and hope you do as well.
Here’s a few snippets of our Fall thus far. Enjoy!
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We’ve been on vacation! The last few weeks have been spent kissing on a new baby and celebrating with a little lady who turned four! It was a perfect time for the arrival of my niece, Emily. We had a ton of friends and family in town to pass around the new little lamb, and it just so happened to coincide with my daughter’s birthday. The party was a success–a lot of laughter was shared, it looked like a confetti and wrapping paper bomb went off, and a dozen kids rolled around in a bounce house after eating far too many sweets. But this mama isn’t gonna complain when they are asleep at 7:30 without argument. I wish those busy, entertaining, comforting moments weren’t spread out so far between. Maybe we’ll just start celebrating half birthdays.
We shall return back to work with some new items real soon!
When school’s out you’re elated that the kids choose to sleep in their swimsuits, helping to lighten your laundry load a bit. You’re happy that you don’t have to stand in 100-degree temps in that un-Godly pick-up line when school is out for the day. There’s no re-teaching yourself how to graph linear equations just so you can help your child with their homework.
Thank God we aren’t there yet.
But then summer sets in and you’ve got bubble containers and squirt guns and Hot Wheels strewn about your backyard, not to mention your clusters of crepe myrtle and Mexican petunias blowing around the patio because they were rejected from the little ones’ picture-perfect bouquets. And then you have a handful of nieces and nephews staying over for a while, and they love playing with Playdoh and clomping around in your heels (which is when you decide that the entire upstairs needs area rugs). Your daughter even decided to scoot around wearing your sister’s heels. You have nieces who just love baking so you all make lemon loaf and distribute it to the six kids currently in your house, and all those kids get a major sugar rush and run in circles for an hour and finally crash into piles on the living room floor surrounded by every pillow in the entire house. Then there’s arguments and wresting and uncontrollable laughter and hearing your TV the loudest it has ever been. You try not to break your neck bringing in groceries while climbing the mountain of scooters and bikes in front of the door (at one time there were four scooters and three bikes!). After the girls wash mud from their feet, you run a bath and the handshower is on full-blast, spraying your walls, ceiling and floor uncontrollably like a crazy snake you can’t grasp on to. You keep thinking about all of those half-painted walls that you can’t do anything about while there are so.. many.. hands around. At the end of the day you do not one, but two, loads of dishes and wonder when you had gotten so many kid cups. You go through a loaf of bread in the blink of an eye. You willingly wake up at 5:30 to squeeze in some quiet coffee-time, though you stayed up ’til 11:30 knitting the night before–and what truly jolts you awake is stepping on that Lego that was camouflaged on the carpet. And in those early twilight hours, you know you should be getting to work on something, but you get distracted while staring at all of your blooms that are bowing down in the wind and watching the clouds roll in. You feel like you haven’t blinked in a couple of hours. After the annual summer vacation, you feel like you are still cleaning up residual sand weeks later and wondering how long that sunburn is gonna take to heal. You hope that you all don’t look like tomatoes for your first family photos in like 6 years. Then, you go school shopping with every other parent who gives you the look of “Hang in there. The finish line is close. We only have a few more days left of summer break.”
And then, school starts.
That first day, it’s so quiet. You can actually hear your ceiling fan. And it kind of drives you nuts, so you turn on some music and try to get back into the mode of work. then you find yourself staring out the window again, thinking about and missing your kids. You’re wondering if they are making new friends and like their teacher, hoping that they eat all of their carrots, and praying that there’s no homework on day one. You’re thankful for teachers who have the patience of Saints. Then you think of your AP English teacher and hope that she doesn’t read your blog post that is full of incomplete sentences and run-ons and hope that she doesn’t feel like a failure for my grammatical short-comings. Then you think of everything you did this summer and all the fun that was had–all the fun that outweighed the gobs of laundry and dishes. In the thick of all that chaos were a lot of lovely little moments. You realize that all those mishaps were quite entertaining, and you’re just really grateful to not live a dull life. And you are actually looking forward to the next summer break, but you are thankful that it is ten months away.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get bogged down this time of year, especially if you’ve had to recently deal with anything like we have such as deaths of close family members and of pets, or having dealt with thieves stealing your Christmas decorations off of your lawn! However, in spite of all of that, I am going to choose to dwell on the good this season has to offer. I thought some of you may need a few photographical pick-me-ups as well, maybe you just need your inspiration sparked or your interest piqued. So, here are a few festive photos as of recently.
We’ve been busy making a few fiber goodies.
And, I spent a weekend with my family in one of my favorite places, Prescott, dubbed “Arizona’s Christmas Town,” and for good reason. We saw dozens of the most intricate gingerbread houses. We went to the town square for the Christmas parade where my kids waved to everyone and made new friends. We participated in the lighting of the Courthouse where they read the story of Jesus’ birth and we all sang Christmas carols and ate too many sweets. A little reindeer sat outside a local bakery and sang about the coffee, cookies, and hot chocolate inside. Every corner was decked-out. Everyone was jolly. It was perfect.
So, just dwell on the good, share it with others, and just look to all the joyous moments to be found this season, no matter how small they may seem.
Goodness, is October really ending? It has been a full one, though. A glorious, gourd-filled month with all of it’s vibrant leafy loveliness. This, the month when coziness moves into every corner of the house, giving everything a golden glow. We’re gonna slow down tomorrow, collect candy with our little ones, and savor these moments. We hope you all do the same. Happy Halloween!