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This year…

As we head into this holiday season I am finding that I am actually looking forward to it in a way that I haven’t felt in several years.  Growing up I always enjoyed and anticipated the holidays but after my father passed away in December 2007 I’ve felt a bit removed from them.  The first year, Christmas came less than two weeks after his passing and I was in a fog for much of it.  Christmas morning felt odd, like I had been away for some time and we were celebrating Christmas the week after it had actually occurred.  I survived it and my family was lovely, especially Sully and his parents but it was fairly awful.  It’s not surprising though that in subsequent years that I felt less than my usual enthusiastic holiday spirit.

This year I feel better and I am glad for it.  I am not sure if I am feeling better because enough time has past and the memories of that Christmas have faded.   My father in law passed in April and now it’s my turn to get Sully and Boo through the holidays.  So, whether it’s the distraction of helping others or that time is healing these wounds, I am feeling good and engaged in the holidays this year.

Now, if only I could get my house decorated and all of the boxes back into the garage.

My holiday thought…

This year I am going to enjoy it.  I am not going to spend all of my energy trying to get stuff done.  I will still get stuff done but this year I am going to take the time to  be a part of it all.

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How do you know…

This morning I find myself in the middle of an uncertain situation.  It’s our first Thanksgiving without Sully’s father.  We are determined to make the best of it but there’s no denying that we’ve each had our tough moments.  Sully, in particular, has had some moments that I feel have demonstrated how he has been affected by the loss.  Periodically, he is suddenly and inexplicably angry about something minor or even somewhat imaginary.  Luckily the moment passes quickly and we are able to talk and move on.  

The main issue today though, has to do with Sully’s mom.  Without a doubt, she is bearing the biggest brunt of grief.  We are trying to stay engaged with her without smothering her or making her feel like we are just going through the motions.  Boo and I have kept up our tradition of meeting with Gramma for lunch every Friday and then Sully  joining us all for dinner.  We had a lovely Thanksgiving at her house but I worry about her being alone during the long weekend.  Every other year it was a long weekend that she and Papa would have enjoyed together.  I mentioned coming over on Sunday to help her get her holiday boxes out.  She seemed neutral on the idea, not really for it and not really against it.

How do you know?  How do you know when to leave someone alone?  Or when to intervene?  It makes me crazy.  I want to help but I certainly don’t want to upset her in my attempt to make it better.  

I talked to Sully this morning and he was neutral about all of it too.  I tried not to be frustrated since I know he is trying to process things.  I mentioned that it was a long weekend to be all alone and he immediately agreed that we should try to get together with her.  

Finally, in early afternoon I sent Gramma a text suggesting we come over to her house to have a movie watching afternoon.  She had mentioned on Thanksgiving some movies that she had been wanting to watch.   I was relieved to get a positive answer.  Lunch and movies with Gramma tomorrow afternoon.  Yay!

My holiday thought…

My focus for the holidays will be Sully and Boo.  I want them to have holidays that are happy and fun.  We’ve had so many years where the holidays have taken a back seat to worry and stress.  This will not happen this year.  Fun and happiness, damn it!

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It’s on…

It’s decorating time.   If it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving then we are decorating the house for Christmas.  **

It started the first year in our new house.  Sully and I had been married for just over a year, Boo was just barely a month old.  We’d held Thanksgiving at our house with seventeen people at our house.  It went fairly well with minor complications, mostly from the new mom and baby.  All in all it was a good time and the next day all of the parents wanted to go shopping for Black Friday.  Sully and I don’t do that so we invited all of the nieces and nephews over for movies and fun.  My parents offered to bring over lunch and when they came over they brought us a Christmas tree that they had bought at Michael’s.  

Sully and I were shocked, it was honestly one of the most thoughtful and sweet gifts my parents had ever gotten me.  We still put up that same tree, branch by branch.  It’s looking a bit sparse and everyday I sweep up little plastic needles.

Here is a picture from 2001, the first year we got it.  Not sure what’s up with the angle.  I was going to crop the picture but that’s my wedding bouquet up on the shelf to the left.  

Ok, here I go off on a tangent… I decided to make my own bouquet because I knew what I wanted it to look like.  I also figured if I was going to spend time and money on something that was so pretty that I wanted it to last and not die.   That sentiment ties in nicely to our Christmas tree too..

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Here is a picture from last year.  I would love to have a pre-lit tree that you can set up quickly.This year though, we aren’t quite ready to let go of this tree.  Maybe next year we will get a new tree and put this tree up in the school room.

I am looking forward to an amazing holiday season.  Wishing this for everyone else too.

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** We put up an artificial tree because I am really allergic to live trees, my whole family is too.  It takes about five days for respiratory symptoms to start then a couple of days later bronchitis sets in, after that you might as well drive me to the hospital.  Or so my dad always said, after the bronchitis I was usually away from whatever tree was affecting me at school or work.

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Truly Thankful…

In the movie ‘The Sound of Music’, one of my favorites, Maria gives this as the dinner blessing.

For what we receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful. -Amen.
 

Amen, I say, too.  Truly thankful.  I love that, not just thankful but truly thankful.  I really understand that.  It’s been a tough year and we’ve been through a lot but I feel truly thankful for what we have.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at Gramma’s house, she made the turkey and stuffing along with gravy, rolls and the cranberry sauce.  We brought mashed potatoes, green beans and pies (pumpkin, pecan and apple).  We ate early and then had some ‘leftovers’ a bit later when my nephew came over.

It was wonderful being together, great food, great times.

***The Thankful banner was our Thanksgiving craft this year.  I found it at the Centsational Girl blog.  Click here for more on the banner.

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Thanksgiving Eve…

Last year we started a new Thanksgiving tradition.  We watch the Peanuts Thanksgiving special and have our Peanuts feast.

Here is a picture from last year’s feast.  We had popcorn, toast, pretzel sticks, and jellybeans to honor the Peanuts Thanksgiving.  We also added cheese, pepperoni and crackers to round out the meal.

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It’s a fun tradition and this year we did it again.  We substituted Starbursts for the jellybeans and ham for the pepperoni this year.  We watched the Peanuts Thanksgiving Special, The Wizard of Oz and Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

I made pies, two each of pecan, pumpkin and apple.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

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