Sunday, December 1, 2013

Deck the Halls.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving.  We ate, drank and gave thanks.  We started the day with our local Huffing for Stuffing on a sunny, but chilly morning...

It was a good morning for a run. Layla was all quiet before it began and as soon as the turkey gobble signaled to start, she was off.  Running ahead of us determined to beat us all.  Or to get it over with so she could warm up in the tent with hot cocoa.  Regardless it was a great way to start our Thanksgiving morning.  The rest of the day was about watching the parade, baking pies for dinner, toasting champagne with neighbor friends and then dinner with family.  It was a delightful day and I felt full of happiness.  The remainder of the long weekend was about hanging out close to home, staying in pj's and getting ready for the business of Christmas...

Christmas decorating doesn't usually begin for us until next weekend, but for some reason we are ahead of ourselves this year.  Usually Thanksgiving settles a bit more before the holiday decorations come out.  However, Saturday seemed like the perfect day to head up to the mountains to get a tree.  The weather was good, sun was out, but still snow for sledding.  We packed up the hot chocolate and headed up Hyalite in search of our tree.

Because I am not a skier, I don't spend much time in the mountains during the winter except for getting our Christmas tree.  It felt good to be up there, away from everything else.  Things are quieter.  Calmer.  And, it's funny...in the middle of July the woods smell like summer...in December, they smell like Christmas.  

We found the most perfect Charlie Brown Tree.

We enjoyed hot cocoa and a picnic lunch in sleds after finding our tree

There is not much snow in town, but up there we managed to find a sledding hill...



It makes me wish it would snow more for a super white Christmas.  The three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas I adore the snow.  I really wish it would deliver before I'm totally over it come January.

The tree went up Saturday, but we didn't get around to decorating until today.  I love the air of excitement in the house as we pull out the holiday tubs.  The girls anxiously waiting to dig into each of them.  I try to slow them down, to savor the moment, keep the chaos under control.  I remember as kids, my mom was always the one unwrapping each ornament and we could put it on the tree.  I get this now...I want to be the one opening each ornament and taking in the memory that goes with it.  Remember where it came from and why it would continue to find a place on our tree.  From each girls "First Christmas" ornaments to one I got that says Cheerleader 1995.  I love how each year the girls remember these stories.  

Layla waited anxiously to unwrap her "L"...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here...

 Matt "oversees" most of the holiday decorating, but always puts the angel on top.


The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

The getting and decorating of the tree is a favorite tradition of mine.  (I can't really think of one holiday tradition that I don't love, but that's beside the point).  It marks the beginning of the season.  There are 24 days until Christmas.  As an adult that will go crazy fast.  For the girls, it will feel like forever.  I see the excitement in their eyes and you can't help but get caught up in it.  This is what I love about the holiday season.  Everyone seems happy.  My hope for this holiday season is to treasure the happiness in it.  To not get caught up in the nonsense.  I know some feel stressed during the holidays and I believe it should be a time of celebration of the simple things.  Of family and traditions spent together.  My hopes are to remember what is important.  

I hold the tree decorating day close to my heart because it marks a change from my childhood traditions into ones with my own family.  I know I have mentioned this story before, but it's a favorite of mine and just as I tell it to the girls every year when we eat pizza after decorating, I'm going to share it again.  Matt and I spent our first married Christmas together in Portland.  We came home for the actual holiday, but it was hard to be away leading up to it.  As December approached I remember getting overwhelmingly homesick one night.  Not being a part of all the family traditions I knew were going on back home.  That night instead of letting me feel sorry for myself, Matt told me to put my coat on and get in the car.  We were going to go see a Boy Scout about a tree.  After buying a tree for the first time in my life, we headed to Target and loaded our cart with decorations, a star for the tree and a holiday music CD.  It didn't end there...next stop was for pizza and beer and then back to our little apartment to put up the tree.  The home sickness went away and I knew home was where ever we were.  Together.  To this day we have pizza the day we decorate our tree.  It was when I knew all the traditions that had been instilled in me as a child, I would get to continue in a new way with my own family.  The fact that Matt was not only on board with this, but an eager participator made me know he was a keeper.  

The Christmas station has been turned on Pandora, the lights are up, I even bought a couple gifts today.  Holiday... game on.  

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