--1--Merry Christmas! I can't believe we are here already, sitting on the flip side of another Advent gone by. I didn't intend to stop blogging during most of Advent but it apparently turned out that way. It certainly wasn't from any lack of excitement around here. So, for good ole posterity's sake, here's a little recap of the month that was...
|Gathering greenery for the windows.|
--2--Are any of you Couch to 5K folks out there still running? I'm still beating the pavement three days a week with my trusty running partner, our dog Sage. I actually think running in the winter is more enjoyable than in the summer, but then again, I live in the south. I did run one morning when it was 26 degrees. Fahrenheit. In the freezing rain. I don't think the dog was impressed.
--3--Given the fact that I've been running/walking regularly since June, I decided to sign up for a 10K hike. I enlisted Tom to join me. I was a little concerned about Tom doing the hike considering he 1) never exercises 2) never exercises and 3) never exercises. He does walk a lot though, and splits wood, and then there's the constant chasing of two little boys around the house, yard, etc. So, it's not like he's in bad shape or anything. But he's not exactly out there sucking wind every other day, running up and down the lane, like yours truly. So, when the day of the hike came, I told him he should lead and set the pace. Which he did. You know those people who you hate because they never exercise and eat whatever they want and can still outrun you? I'm married to one. We finished the hike in under three hours. Tom was fine. I needed a hot bath and some ibuprofen.
--4--Our boys really got into the whole "St. Nicholas' Day" thing this year. Last year, we put the candy in the shoes but it didn't really make much of an impression on the boys. This year, John was counting the days until December 6, mostly because he was battling a chronic candy addiction that was still lingering from Halloween. The kid has a serious sweet tooth and when all candy in the house just "suddenly disappeared" one day in mid-November while they were in preschool, he started to get the DT's. Watching a four-year old go through a candy detox is not a pretty sight and I think he felt like St. Nick was his only hope.
|Enjoying the bounty left by St. Nick.|
--5--We have a large Hispanic community in our area now, and on December 12, our family decided to join with them in their celebration at a nearby church for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Many of the Catholic churches near us have Spanish Masses now, and as a matter of fact, the first Mass that Tom and I attended as a married couple was a Spanish Mass. I don't speak Spanish well, and Tom speaks absolutely nada. Yet, we really enjoy these Masses because they are usually filled with a lot of devotion. This particular Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe was like none I'd ever seen. I suppose the closest comparison would be to a Midnight Mass at Christmas. First, the house was packed! Standing room only. All Hispanics except for the few standouts (like us) scattered in the pews. Second, the music! Oh my, the music was loud and played by a Latino group standing near the front. It reverberated off the stained-glass windows and seeped out of the church and into the street. Third, the flowers! Roses everywhere! Dozens of families walked in carrying bouquets of roses and would place them around the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. There were hundreds of roses around her! So beautiful. And lastly, the children! The church was packed with young families and hundreds of children. Many of the little boys were dressed as Juan Diego and the little girls wore white cotton dresses embroidered with images of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The children would smile and sway to the lively music. At the end of the Mass, something was said in Spanish and suddenly, all the children filed out of the pews and walked up to the priest, where he gave each one a blessing. I couldn't help but think Our Lady would be pleased with all the love, affection, and enthusiasm that was being shown in her honor.
|Our feast meal for St. Juan Diego's feast day.|
--6--Today is a special day around here, too. Not only because it is the Feast of the Holy Family, but also because it is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. It was on this day five years ago that I had my first ultrasound that told me I could expect this miracle to occur. And on this day three years ago, I found out that I was pregnant with our third child, Karol Elizabeth, whose life on earth was not to be.
Tom and I have petitioned the Holy Innocents many times during our struggles with infertility to intercede for us and I do not believe that it is any coincidence that two times on their feast day, we have been blessed with new life. So, it was with this in mind that we asked our priest to bless our new home and the graves of our lost babies today. He graciously obliged and our home is now truly a domestic church from which I can look out upon the blessed graves of my other children. We are now praying that the Holy Innocents intercede for us on behalf of our future son or daughter whom we hope to adopt someday.
--7--So, that's about it for my Advent/December recap. We had a mostly great Christmas Day, aside from the fact that the boys and I have been battling the "cough until you drop" germ that is spreading at epidemic levels in our corner of the world. Bourbon balls are definitely serving a dual purpose around here this year! I had to postpone Jesus' birthday party until last night (sorry about that, Jesus) but the boys didn't seem to mind too much. We blew out the candles on the cake and sang Happy Birthday, and John got his sugar fix and is good for another day.