Thursday, December 12, 2013

Just like Last Year

Heather's house
Eamon's house

Aine's house

Benton's house

Our annual gingerbread house decorating went off without a hitch. This year we assembled all sorts of candies and returned to using graham crackers. The kiddos really prefer the open-ended quality of graham crackers. They each requested that we skip the kit this year. Each of us decorated our own house. I went with the traditional look, while each of the kiddos did their own thing. The houses lasted a few more days than last time. This year each of the kiddos ate their own house and they split mine. No more Benton-zilla this time.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Best Gift Ever

Yesterday morning when checking the mail slot to see if their wishlists had disappeared, Eamon and Aine discovered a sealed envelope. There was no writing on the front. With a bit of parental prodding, they decided to open it. Inside was a letter from Santa. The letter mentioned the gift last year and how it was a bit late (a cabin weekend in the snow after New Year's). Santa apologized for the crazy schedule and said this year their gift would be early. He provided GPS coordinates, a meeting time and instructions to ask for Jasmine. They would receive their Santa gift today!

With a new afternoon plan, the kiddos and I set out for our scheduled field trip and park day. Theories abounded throughout the morning and early afternoon. They had no idea what the gift could be, but they were excited. Dave arranged to leave work early and meet us at the designated spot. Eamon was concerned that we may not be there right at 4pm due to traffic. He worried about what would happen if we were a minute too late or too early. His worries were not realized, since we pulled up exactly on time with Dave right behind us. Immediately Eamon shouted that we were getting a dog after reading the sign along the street. Aine began jumping with excitement about a dog named "Jasmine." Only Benton was worried, because he has been wanting a yellow dog (lab or golden retriever), which he would call Butterscotch. I finally convinced him to get out of the car, so we could even see what Santa had in store. Dave and I were still not convinced a dog was in the cards for our family!

When we entered the shelter, there was quite a line. As we stood waiting, a tech brought out a puppy with red leash and collar, adorned with a bow and candy cane bandana. She asked if anyone was waiting for this puppy. Aine hurriedly asked what the dog's name was, only to be bowled over when the tech replied, "Jasmine." The rest of the visit was a blur of snuggles and love. Jasmine was quite subdued, still a bit sedated from her earlier spaying. She snuggled up with each of the kiddos enjoying the attention. We signed a few forms, thanked the staff and gave a nod to Santa before heading out the door. All of us were still a bit shocked as we headed home. The kiddos could not believe WE had a dog. They declared her the best Santa gift ever.
Once home, we discovered that Santa had visited again bringing a crate, dog food and bowls. Jasmine was set. Friends came over to meet our new family member. She snuggled with everyone. Each of the kiddos keep holding her proclaiming her the best dog or the cutest. I think I even heard one of them call her "adorbs."
The love fest has continued into today. I think our whole family is glad Santa decided we were ready for a dog. This little 12 week old lab mix puppy is perfect for us.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

The Tree

A few years ago, we discovered that Costco sells trees. It was rather by accident. We were picking a few things up from the store, when Aine discovered the truck and signage. This year we decided not to cut our own tree and rely on our local warehouse store again. After attending a winter festival at the local Waldorf school, we went in search of our tree. I ran into the store and paid while Dave and the kiddos scoped out the situation. (Truly there is little picking when shopping at Costco; all the trees are the same, wrapped in twine and standing on end. I don't really mind as I believe most trees are very similar when they come from a farm.) They selected one, and we strapped it onto the car. Our holiday season had begun.

With music setting the mood, I dug out the ornament bins. Each of the kiddos examined their own bin filled with their special ornaments, oohing and ahhing as they remembered each one. With Benton's expert help, Dave strung the lights and our beaded garland. Quickly the tree was filled with ornaments. Every spare limb was decorated with plans to add more as the crafting continues this holiday season. I placed hangers on the remaining ornaments as the kiddos' interest waned. They soon ran outside to play. Initially I was annoyed that I was left with the work until Dave reminded me of how much I love having a tree and the holiday season. I love the music, the spirit and the family. My mood shifted as I continued to fill the remaining spots on the tree and hang the stockings throughout the house. It is in the letting go of my preconceived notions of how things should work that I find my happiness.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


I am surprised to find out how hard it is to carve out time for this space. How the more I am away, the harder it is to return. October was a blur and sped quickly into November. We were gone for three weeks in November visiting family and friends in Michigan and Ohio. I wrote several posts, but somehow they never saw the light. Now we find ourselves in December with the year end quickly approaching. And I realize I need to write here. Actually I want to write here and keep a record of our lives, but it is tough to return. So, over the next few days I will try to get those posts from November to upload and move forward with the everyday magic of our lives.

(These are photos from our return to Arizona last weekend. We drove back to Arizona right after Thanksgiving. After a too quick stop in Nebraska to visit two of my uncles, we sped home. We encountered a bit of snow and even dense fog, but the driving was rather easy (or so it seemed - Dave does all of the driving while I knit and entertain). Utah was especially beautiful with snow and frost covering the trees. It made the whole landscape look a bit like underwater coral.)