Sunday, December 21, 2014

Packing It All In

This past month of "elf work" has been joyfully consuming.
 I was running against the clock to squeeze in traditions, decorating and parties  before taking a hospital break for minor repairs. 
Decorating gingerbread houses is tasty and fun and always done the first week in December... so I can bark at my kids for eating off the candy for the rest of the month.  
These two kiddos have come a long way since our first gingerbread building experience twelve years ago.  
This year we imported additional Christmas spirit in hat form. It made for a silly night and the houses came out lovely!

In fourth grade, we decorated our class tree. 
 Our theme was "Let heaven and nature sing."
The kids made plaster ornaments with traditional Christmas sheet music on them. Then taking pipe cleaners, made some colorful treble clefs to accent. Personally, I think we had the best tree of all the eight classes, maybe I am biased? 

Our annual neighbor Christmas dinner and walk around the hood was fun. Many homes "over do" lights and decorations, and its an excellent reason to saddle up the Weenies, grab some cocoa and cruise the neighborhood. There was a meteor shower that night, so we spotted shooting stars up above. Very cool.
We have been living next to these folks since 1999 and watching these kids interact is a highlight. It's awkward at first, but soon enough they are giggling and watching ... what else? ELF!
 Speaking of Buddy the Elf, I treated my family to this Christmas decoration because we love watching that movie this time of year. I am sursprised we've only watched it twice thus far.
 There is more ELF to come, I just know it.
Here's another favorite decoration. This Precious Moments Nativity was a gift from my mother-in-law on our first Christmas, 20 years ago.  The backdrop is some art work Daniel made in third grade and ties this diorama together.
 A treasure. 
JOY is the ideal description of Baby Jesus coming to Earth.
AND, It wouldn't be Christmas without the traditional Italian Pizelle cookie! 
It's the ONE time of year I bust out the iron and bake my heart out. This year I had to do it twice because I messed up the first batch and they came out "not so good" AKA: horrible.  They were definitely not pizelles worthy of sharing. I scratched that first round and tried again. 
The second time they were "Pizelle Perfect." 
Buon Natale!
(That's Merry Christmas in Italian)
Then, the Christmas card struggle.
 I was NOT going to send out cards and felt okay throwing my hands up in the air over it. Then, we received cards from old friends/family who are ancient and may not have many seasons left. I know it means alot to old folks to receive a family picture card. Daniel and I whipped one up in a night.  I didn't order enough, because, remember,  I was not  going to send one out  in the first place. This card shortage stresses me out.
 The same thing happened last year - will I ever learn?
My high school peeps gather this time of year for dinner and gift exchange. It never gets old. We have been together through thick and thin, ups and downs, and I don't think I can find more accepting and loving ladies.  
True blessings is what they are. 
All. Year. Round. 
This dolled up Vixen was a gift. 
Totally adorbs, huh?
I squeezed in these festivities knowing that after the 18th I could only SIT and HEAL (Like a dog ... pun intended). 
"I just like to smile. Smiling is my favorite."
 - Buddy the Elf
Now, it's off my feet for two weeks!
 My VERY pregnant sister, Cute-Pie,  made us dinner last night. I sat back and enjoyed, however, not lifting a helping-finger felt odd. I don't sit still naturally, but am very thankful she stepped in. It was delicious and some valuable kid-cousin time was shared.
 These current conditions make for a different sort of Christmas. However, the real meaning hasn't altered one bit. Celebrating Christ's birth,  praising God for health and togetherness will always be my personal priority this time of year.
Happy Birthday Jesus!

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