Thanks to my sweet father-in-law, I have the use of a snappy laptop computer for a couple days while they are here...and can I just say (if anyone is still reading my long-neglected blog) how much I have missed this. I have read that blogging started out as a web-based journaling program and then "caught-on". I can see why.
To catch up:
--Merry Christmas. Our Christmas was on the quiet side this year. For the first time in a decade we stayed home. No travelling to the parents in other states. It was weird but nice. We broke with a tradition that my family has had for as long as I can remember...and opened presents on Christmas morning (instead of Christmas Eve night). It was nice. The boys dragged us out of bed at about 5:30 am...we enjoyed the opening of gifts and then had some breakfast.
Grey was the headliner this year--we gave him his first real bike. I wasn't about to try to wrap the thing...so I tied a huge red bow and a cluster of jingle bells to it and made an oversized card for him. It was so cool to watch him climb on and get rolling on it.
Julian asked for three items this year and we were so proud of his wise choices and happy that we were able to fulfill his wishes. One of his requests was a leather "working man's" toolbelt. I don't think he's taken it off since Christmas Day, except to bathe or go somewhere. It's funny because instead of wearing it slightly lower than his waste like a normal toolman...he pulls it up around his waste. My father would get a huge kick out of this if he could see it. He looks funny...but he insists it's more comfortable and easier to keep it under control. That's so Julian.
Poor Joal...asked for music as always...but I opted to buy him the book on his list--The entire set of Chronicles of Narnia instead. Every year he asks for music...I just wanted to do something different. He likes it. He's been reading it to the boys lately...I really like that.
Insert note here--on Dec 21 we celebrated or 14th wedding anniversary. Yep. I am blown away every time I get a chance to look back at all we've done together in those 14 years. Joal is an amazing man. I am blessed beyond words to have him in my life.
Our sweet friends Doug and Heather volunteered to look after the boys for us for the evening of the 20th so we could celebrate. We went out for dinner and to a movie--The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I will definately have to blog about this movie later. It was excellent. Excellent with a capital *E*!! Loved it. Very moving. Not cheesy. Loved it enough to own it as soon as it comes out.
Back to Christmas--Joal presented me with two things I've been wanting for a while: a nice pair of red leather gloves and a Rachel Ray cookbook! My hands get cold at the end of August and don't thaw until the middle of March. I needed gloves. I was stunned that he chose such stylish and indulgent ones as red leather. Made me feel very spoiled.
We are celebrating Christmas again this weekend with Joal's family. His parents are here from PA and his brother (and family) and sister (and family) are here from MS. What a big day we will be having in just a few hours.
I diverted with traditional colors this year and decorated with blues and white and snowflakes. I adore snowflakes and the blue and white just goes so well with them. I like reg, green and gold but I have a hard time focusing on red and green together so it always makes me feel anxious. Blues and white is so calming.
I take some mostly good-natured ribbing from some of my extended family for my insistance that I wrap all our gifts in the same paper and adorn them with handtied matching bows. Each gift is wrapped crisply and the bow is fluffly. This year the paper was blue and the ribbon white. I also used some silver jingle bells and silver glitter die-cut snowflakes as gift tags. Yes, I know it takes way longer for me to wrap a gift "just so" than it does for it to be opened by even the slowest opener...but it brings me great happiness to see all our gifts under the tree, looking attractively arranged and matching. Wrapping presents is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. Some people cook. I wrap. I love to wrap.
Because of this extra Christmas tomorrow, we still have our tree up. It's positively crispy, having been lit and exposed to central heat for about a month now. It was perhaps the most beautiful tree we've ever had. I will post photos later. Each night of this month I have sat with my wanna-be-coffee in the quiet after everyone else has been bedded and thought about all I have to be thankful for. The list is endless. I will miss the tree when it finally leaves but I think I will try to continue the nightly ritual of contemplating the blessings of the day. It makes for a restful sleep and a more contented soul.
Because my computer died, I decided to finally get around to rehabing my library card (ie pay the outstanding fines). I've hated being without a computer but I have really enjoyed getting back to reading. Serious reading. It appears that surfing and web-work took up alot more time that perhaps I realized. I now have a slew of books to discuss (and blog about).
Being a southerner by birth and choice, I am always drawn to books by southern authors. One of my finds at the library is a small book called "A Very Southern Christmas". It's a collection of Christmas short stories by southern authors, edited by Charlene R. McCord and Judy H. Tucker. It appears to be a wonderful book. The first story in it made me long for a way to write (read:type) my own holiday stories. It's called "This Charmed Day" by Tim McLaurin. It's beautiful. It made me cry...not because it was syrupy sweet and Rockwellian...but because it was real. I haven't finished the other stories in the book yet, but I get the feeling they will be the same.
The other thing I like about this book is that it includes a few holiday illustrations by the wonderful watercolorist Wyatt Waters.--also a southerner. If ever there was an artist who lends a stunning natural wonder and beauty to everything he paints, it's Mississippi's own Wyatt Waters. His fish series is one of my all-time favorites. But I digress. I think I may need to buy this book. It's worth having.
OK, this long long long piece doesn't scratch the surface but my eyes are drooping and I have to bake 3 dozen sweet rolls in about 4 hours...so I need a little sleep.
More tomorrow...or rather, later today.