Tuesday morning Hannah climbed aboard a plane and headed back to college, drawing to a close our very extended Christmas break. You can read more about my Tuesday here on my quilt blog. In a nutshell, it was wonderful. Rainy, quiet, lazy. Wonderful. It was exactly the kind of day I needed to get me through the week with a soft heart instead of a frazzled spirit. I've decided a day off is always a good idea to nurse a Christmas hangover before drinking in real life again.
In the great flurry of activity that has taken place here the past three weeks, I have been spotty at best in recording our shenanigans. We had ourselves some good hard fun, and I don't want to forget a drop.
I don't want to forget driving through the country roads to the quaintest little bakery I ever did see to celebrate the birthday of a very special friend who introduced us to the worlds best (and biggest!) cupcakes. That blue one was the most unforgettable. Almond wedding cake. Ohyummyyummy.
I won't forget Emmie in this apron. I love collecting old aprons. I remember my Mom wearing this one when I was a little girl, and now I can remember my own little girl wearing it while we had a BLAST covering the counters and floors with sugar sprinkles. Those two things don't usually happen simultaneously for me. Notice the hands completely inside the bowl? Oh yeah, she's a real hands on kind of girl.
I'll remember the sound of excited giggles coming from the staircase where I had kids trapped waiting for the obligatory family photos before they could stampede into the family room to see what Santa left for them. I hope my kids never get too old to giggle on Christmas morning.
Speaking of family photos....this one HAS TO make the blog. The boys have gotten matching pajamas from my Mom every year since they were tiny. I've never, ever gotten slack about them wearing matching clothes and having their picture taken. Until this year. I fought hard for this picture, but since I had things like presents and pancakes and Christmas cookies on my side, I won handily. However, I fear I may be nearing the end of my matching pajamas smiling photos era. It might possibly be retribution for all those years I dressed them identically every day of the week. Possibly. But gosh, those were really fun years.
It's impossible to forget the taste of German egg pancakes Christmas morning. They taste just like a special occasion. Hooray to Oma for spending Christmas morning tethered to the stove with her batter bowl.
And Hip Hip to Aunt Kaylyn and Nana for "whipping up" the ham and turkey spread for Christmas Day at the farm. A December baking day with each Grandma produced a HUGE tray of cookies for sharing.
We got a dog! Okay, not. But I wanted to, I really did. Instead, we stole the neighbor's dog. Really, we did. We were dog sitting, and in a fit of big dog nostalgia, I had the boys bring "Hogan" over to our house for a visit. Hogan looks exactly like Sandy. Don't panic!! I'm NOT referring to my mother, whose name is Sandy!! Sandy was the big yellow beast who ruled the Old Buzzard's life when I first met him. I actually fell for his dog before I fell for him. No kidding. She was one cute dog. And he wasn't too bad looking either, so it was a rather nice package deal. ANYWAY, we had Sandy for the first several years of our marriage. That dog hated me. I think she always saw me as the Other Woman. Anyway, she was a great pet, and Hogan looks and acts just like her. GREAT to have a big yellow dog in this house once again. (Hint, hint, you Old Buzzard. Buzzard? You there? You quit reading and ran to hide, didn't you??)
SIGH.....On April 1st it will be two years since we said goodbye to our Golden Retriever, Morgan. When Hogan walked into this house Emma ran toward her and screamed, "Morgan is back!!"
And then my heart exploded.
I'll remember a "playdate" with our sweet friends who we don't see often enough. I'd feed them dinner every night for the sake of their good company. Bill and I retreated to a corner to play with our respective new cameras, and left the rest of our family members to make their own fun. Erin taught Emmie a flying game on Hannah's ipad. I've been meaning to thank Erin for adding "ipad" to my four year old's wish list.
Unforgettable forever friendships.
A reunion with friends from the church we went to when our kids were tiny. A whole night of telling old stories and reminiscing in a very special house. Kelly lives in this house now, but I still remember going there when her Grandmother owned it. So many special people have played a role in our family becoming who we are today. I owe much to the family who fills this particular house with love, and it was joy to spend an evening remembering with them.
They're cute, aren't they?? They filled my living room before flooding out the door to go swing dancing. Wish I would have photographed their feet. Lots of boots scooting that night.
I insisted on crashing this lunch date, and I'm so glad they let me. See that troublesome one on the left? Her mama and I met at church when those girls were in our bellies. She's what my Grandma would call a "corker". I give her an extra hard time. She's tough, like an old goat, so she can take it. I like to lay it on extra thick, and it's way more fun when Morgan and Hannah are there to pipe in too. That kid has the greatest sense of humor of anyone I have ever met. Hands down. It will serve her so well in life. She radiates the beauty of the Christ she so faithfully serves, and I shall always remember the intense teasing and fits of laughter with that special girl.
Yep, our Christmas break ended, and my heart was tired, but oh so full. Hannah is back in her dorm and has two days of classes under her belt. I have *almost* caught up with the laundry, and we have *almost* all engines firing again...homeschool classes have started, choir is back in session, Bible Bowl and youth group kicked off, the preschool doors have reopened (Hallelujah chorus)...........dust is settling, and something loosely resembling some structure and routine is starting to appear. If I didn't know better I'd say I'm starting to catch a glimpse of "normal" again.