Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Friday, December 22

2 days, 6 hours, 25 minutes, and 18 seconds...

That's what the Christmas Countdown on my phone tells me...am I ready?

Well, I still have wrapping to do and stockings to fill...but other than that, I do think I'm ready. While I felt earlier this month as if I was running behind, somehow, it's all come together...and that's good. 

Christmas should not be a season of holiday humbug. It's a time best spent gazing out the window wishing for Christmas snow, delighting in the sounds of familiar carols, savoring the aromas of traditional foods, sipping hot chocolate, and listening to a crackling fire. A season of comfort & joy.

While our tree has been up since Thanksgiving, other than lights and the garland, I held off on decorating it until my son was home from college so we could all do it together - now it's glowing with all the sentimental, familiar ornaments.

No, it doesn't look like it belongs in a shop window; however, for me, it's perfect...filled with memories. 

We all get caught up in it sometimes, don't we? The feeling that the holidays are a comparison of how "perfectly perfect" everything is...our gifts, our tree, our decorations. But here's the truth...how much I decorated (or didn't), how beautiful my gift wrapping is (or isn't - I am a big believer in gift bags!), and how photo-worthy my tree is (or isn't) doesn't matter. GASP!

We all know what to do, but sometimes forget: keep it simple, be there, enjoy every moment. 

Here's a look at a few of my favorite ornaments:

because my daughter loves popcorn,

and my son loves hot & spicy foods,

and yes, we're Dr. Who fans!

little newborn footprints,

places we've visited, 

and sweet wreaths made in Kindergarten.

this is my favorite Santa...he's keeping watch from on top of the Boone cupboard in the kitchen

we also have a tall, skinny tree that's filled with old-fashioned ornaments...

postcards of vintage homes decorated for Christmas,

knit stockings and rusty snowflakes,

hand-stitched candy canes,

and Popsicle stick trees made by little hands. 

And so, with my remaining 2 days, 6 hours, 25 minutes, and 18 seconds, I'd better take my own advice and focus on being present...I'm off to bake some more cookies, watch favorite movies, and curl up beside a snoozing dog!

Sending heartfelt wishes for you to have a wonderful, cozy, joy-filled Christmas.

Tuesday, December 12

readying for Christmas!

December is here and full of the promise of snowflakes & surprises, music & memory-making, traditions & tree-trimming. Without a doubt, there's a busyness to December, but there's also time for quiet reflection and cozy evenings.

I've loved visiting your blogs and reading up on how you're spending your days;  however, I'm afraid I've fallen behind in my own writing...where does the time go?

Here's a little catch-up:

We celebrated my son's 20th birthday in November...yikes, no more teenagers? When did that happen?! 

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we visited our favorite tree farm to bring home the Christmas tree. The weather was ideal...blue skies and sunshine with just enough of a chill in the air to feel like Christmas. (And believe me, there's nothing like trudging through the mud, rain, ice, and facing bitterly cold winds to take the fun out the day). 

And while the tree farm generously provides hand saws, let me be honest and say a dull saw blade will absolutely put a damper on cutting down your own Christmas tree. I'll spare you the details...I'm sure you can imagine for yourself...weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.  

And so, the last few years, we've followed the saying: Work smarter, not harder. 
Now we bring along a chainsaw!

After the kids found a tree that was just right, heads together, they pulled it down the hill. Soon we were back in the lodge by a roaring fire enjoying a simple lunch before going home with the "perfect" tree. 

December was Cookie Month in the "not shop, shop" and it kept me busy...

Tomorrow I'll deliver the last of the Christmas goodies, then I'll take a couple of months off to plot & plan for next year. 

College finals are wrapping up tomorrow, and soon, as the kids say, "the balance will be restored" with everyone home. I love the laughter I hear, the movie marathons, the sneaky surprises, the fun of s'mores made in the fireplace, and again realizing that the kitchen draws everyone like a magnet...with a fire going in the fireplace and Christmas carols in the background, it's the coziest room in the house.

While we all find ourselves busily making lists and mailing cards, let's also try to slow down enough and take time to ponder the blessings of being where we are at this time...and pause gratefully.

It's time to enjoy the simple pleasures of the season...the sound of church bells, the fragrance of fresh balsam, watching a gathering of snowbirds, and discovering deer tracks in the snow. 

It's a magic we're never too old to enjoy.

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