Advent Tree Trimming
I have been the worst about downloading photos lately. I have been so bad, in fact, that I just hooked up the camera and found 352 of these puppies ready to be downloaded. Oy! Talk about neglect...
Or shall we call it, intense focus on other areas of our lives, namely Advent and awesome family time and Christmas wonderment. It's all been fantastic, grand, wonderful--the type that's really good because we've been able to sit back and truly enjoy it all.
Celebrating GG's 33rd birthday (Dec. 22nd in the a.m.)
In the past, I admit there have been seasons where I've had to conjure happiness because I've felt so overwhelmed, I lacked authentic enthusiasm and spirit. For example, I might have enjoyed a good time of decorating the tree with our family, but meanwhile I was secretly harboring a million stresses about x, y, and z that needed to be done... or the child that needed tending... or... You get the picture.
Thankfully, it was not so this year!
This year it was joy for joy's sake. It was legitimate delight and presence in all the moments. It was THE BEST! I've been trying to put my finger on why this Advent was so magical and the two explanations I've come up with are-- 1) we got most of our Christmas preparation done by Thanksgiving and 2) we then jet-setted and had 6 days of a "break" from parenting.
The effect of #1 shocked me the most--I always rolled my eyes (because I was secretly jealous) when hearing of people getting things accomplished by Thanksgiving. It was annoying because I felt I could never measure up.
Throw in a trip to Italy for Turkey Day, though, and I was motivated to try to make it happen. GG and I made 3 orders--one to Usb.orne Books, one to Toys.r.us, and one to ebay for Star Wars jammies. The kids were done. Then I spent an evening at Koh.l's during a pre-holiday sale night and voila, our parents were done. One order to Ama.zon and we were set for godchildren. And one final one to Snap.fish and our Christmas cards were under control. Totally easy. Totally doable. I don't know why it's taken me so many years to do this?! As a result, our Advent was peaceful, Christ-focused, and full of appreciation. It was so different from Advents of the past. It was so awesome I'm going to try my darndest to replicate it again next year!!
After Christmas Eve Mass
#2 Italy was totally magical. Even though we scurried around the country, we returned feeling refreshed and renewed for our kids. We were able to then drink in the moments with them because we weren't backlogged from other seasons. We had the chance to download while away and it was so good for us. Alleluia! We are inspired to make this happen again in the not-so-distant future (shorter time away but hopefully with greater frequency!) Logistics are tough, but if we make it a priority, we will reap the dividends for sure.
All of this resulted in a wonderful Advent and now Christmastide. Our Christmas preparation involved some fun work parties, gatherings with friends, birthday celebrations (happy day to our GG and Mimi!), tons of Christmas movie nights with the kids and each other, Christmas Eve-eve at Christmas.town at Busch Gard.ens, a joyful Mass at our church and Christmas day at home, a visit from my parents... GG was even able to take this past week off from work which was a first for him in years. There have been so many reasons to celebrate!
And the next day...
Our Savior is born! Christmas reveling still in full effect in G-ville...
Happy 2012 tonight,