Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Concluding Christmas

Well, congratulations!  You did it.  We did it.  Good, bad, or ugly, we made it through another year.  And like birthdays, each year completed is really always a huge blessing, even if we have the scars and bruises to show for it.  And yes, there were a few of those in 2015, and I expect 2016 will be no different.  I make no resolutions and have very few goals other than to hopefully come out the other end at least as well as I started.  Hopefully better, but we will see.

I spent much of Advent feeling very uninspired to write, so the blog was quiet.  Writing is like that sometimes.  Life is like that sometimes.  During those times, I simply slog along doing the tasks at hand, of which there are never any shortages.  A week with the husband gone on a business trip, combined with a virulent case of pink eye that spread through the family like wildfire, leaving my husband nearly sightless for 24 hours, got our Advent off to a rough start.  But, Advent had its bright moments as well.  I said prayers for my Advent prayer buddy (Marie at Joy BeyondThe Cross) and my other Advent prayer buddy prayed for me in her own beautiful way (Thank you, Donna!).  We ate chocolate on St. Nicholas Day, went out for Mexican food on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and hung up lights on the Feast of St. Lucy. We were invited to our first posada and pushed across the language-barrier with smiles and warm hugs. I made a new friend and together, we started a Mom’s playgroup for our community, something I never ever saw myself doing ten years ago.  My interest in essential oils evolved into more of an obsession; I picked broccoli out of our garden (thank you, mild winter) and I learned to make kombucha.

And as of yesterday, for the first time ever, my family completed our very first 12 Days of Christmas celebrations.  It was wonderful, and fun, and a lot of work. But totally worth it, especially for the kids, although I enjoyed it too, and am already looking forward to doing it again next year.  I had planned to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas last year but then life got in the way and those plans fell through.  But this year, we had no place to go, and no plans, and it was so nice to enjoy these days of Christmas by starting some new family traditions. I kept it simple, and wrote up a list of what we would do each of the 12 days, and hung it on the refrigerator.  John loved waking up in the morning and running to the kitchen first thing to see what was on the list for that particular Christmas day, and each night, before he went to sleep, he would ask me “Which day of Christmas will it be tomorrow?”  Last night, we concluded our last day with a little “Twelfth Night” party complete with a King cake and my (super easy, cheater) version of wassail. 

All in all, it was a wonderful year and a wonderful Christmas.  Much as our boys didn’t get all they wanted for Christmas, but enjoyed it nonetheless, I didn’t get everything I wanted in 2015, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  Now, that year is gone and Christmas is near an end.  In a few more days, we will have nothing left to celebrate other than hope, which is all we ever really had in the first place.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Epiphany and everything in between! Thank you for hanging with me in the past year.

And now, for the photo dump...

Christmas Parade (will Olaf ever go away?)

St. Nicholas Day bounty
(yes, there might be some old Halloween candy in there)

Our first posada
Dressed up for Christmas eve Mass
(my quest to bring back knickerbockers!)
All he wanted for Christmas was a yellow car.
Enjoying Jesus' birthday cake.
A family hike
(for Feast of the Holy Family)

Spring weather for Christmas.

Every kid should stand under a waterfall at least once in their life.
(Day 2 of Christmas)
Making pretzels
(Day 10 of Christmas)
Pretzels for Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
(Day 10 of Christmas)

The pretzels didn't last long!
Finding one of the three kings and the gold coins.
(Twelfth Night)

John's reaction when told he would have to share his gold (chocolate) coins.
(Twelfth Night)
King cake
(Twelfth Night)

Grandma leads the procession to take the three kings to baby Jesus.
(Twelfth Night)

Christus mansionem benedicat.
Christ bless this house.


  1. Great pictures!! Loved all of the ideas for celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas. I would like to do this some year with the girls. Thanks again for praying for me during Advent, I really appreciated it!!!

  2. Love all the pictures!! Glad you all had a nice Christmas and celebration of the 12 Days of Christmas. You have my wheels turning for next year.