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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas is Here

Well - it's almost midnight. The tree is finally decorated - started and finished on December 23rd!

I actually started Christmasing several weeks ago, with the traditional cookie baking marathon - attendees included mom, my sister, her little ones (small fingers come in handy, especially when adding Hershey kisses to peanut butter cookies) and myself. We didn't turn out the exceptionally large numbers we did in years past, but it was much more manageable this year. It was nice to see my sister's house decorated for the season, as she is traveling here to Columbus for the 25th this year.

The same weekend of the cookie baking marathon, Lee and I took my mother and her husband to the Gaither Family Homecoming concert. Lee and I hadn't experienced this group - really many groups - performing before. It was a varied and beautiful four hours, with gospel and traditional hymns. A wonderful way to get into the spirit of the season. Especially beautiful - "Go Tell It On The Mountain" and "Silent Night."

Last weekend, Lee's sister and brother-in-law were in town and we had a Christmas celebration with them, Lee and Angela's mother and later, with Lee and Angela's dad and his wife. It's nice that, even though our families have grown and changed, we still find a way to be together at the holidays. It isn't so important that we are together on the Big Day, just that we get to share some time together celebrating and reflecting on the year.

Tonight we celebrated with Lee's father, stepmother and family. It's been a great tradition to spend Christmas Eve with them for several years now. We are blessed.

May you be this year as well.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Christmas back in Columbus

So this past weekend, Lee, Sparky and I headed off to cut down our own Christmas tree. For the past few years, we've gone to a Christmas tree farm in Somerset, Ohio with one dog - this was Sparky's year.

The tree farm has a little log cabin and they serve mulled cider. Lee always sneaks back for seconds!

A horse-drawn wagon takes you to the area of trees you want - long-needle, spruce and such. We always pick the Canaan fir. Short-needles and very tolerant. Last year it lasted 'til February! (We'll try to un-decorate a little earlier this year!).

After finding the perfect tree, the horse-drawn wagon picks everyone back up for a return trip to the cabin.

Sparky thought the whole adventure was fun but confusing as he was convinced the horse was just the biggest dog he'd ever met.

The tree went up tonight and will get decorations on Saturday. Tomorrow I'm headed north with Mom to bake cookies at my sister's home. It's good to get some girl time in and visit her house, since Deb, Greg and the twins will head down here for Christmas.


Thanksgiving - Tree No. 3

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Lee, Angela, Thing and the Cousins and I headed to the Field Museum to see the King Tut plus bonus mummies traveling exhibit.

Thing and the Cousins got a little out of control.

Sharing a mini-Bundt cake - YUM! (we didn't get any)

Sliding down the Field Museum staircase - weeeeeeeeee!

"Being Barnacles" - it's educational!

Thing and an Egyptian cat - could it be love?

And what about that third tree? Justin and Lee found a beautiful tree for A & J's apartment and that night we fell asleep with the smell of pine. Yes, kids, Christmas is here!

Thanksgiving - Tree No. 2

Black Friday was:
1. Early
2. Cold but not too cold - 40 degrees
3. Fun!!!!!

After the chaos, we went back to Angela and Justin's apartment, dropped off our "presents" (mostly presents for ourselves!) and headed downtown, which in Chicago is an event. It was Christmas everywhere. The highlight of the day for me was Tree No. 2. It was the multi-story tree in the downtown Marshall Field's store (now Macy's - boo). The tree was a "Wedgewood" tree, decorated with blue-and-white Wedgewood boxes, thousands of tiny white lights and large white poinsetta blooms. It was stunning. It brought to mind the stories my mother told me about going into downtown Pittsburgh for Christmas shopping - what an awe-inspiring experience for a child, seeing Christmas through eyes that believe in Santa.

The city knows how to do Christmas!

Thanksgiving - Tree No. 1

OK - I need to take a few minutes to tell you about the wonderful Thanksgiving Lee and I had visiting his sister Angela and brother-in-law Justin in Chicago. You can check out a pretty thorough replay of our itinerary at Angela's Blog, including a great and very accurate description of our Black Friday experience. So, I'll just add a few unique snippets, with the help of Thing, our UglyDoll.

We tried something new this year and flew on Thanksgiving Day (vs. the day before). It worked out so well- short lines, beautiful weather and a landing song from one of the flight attendants - just one of the reasons we love Southwest! Southwest is located in a new area of the Columbus terminal so we got to see a beautiful tree (Tree #1). All the ornaments on the tree are made of white paper straws.

Justin chauffeured us from the airport (a treat! we usually take the train). We had a wonderful turkey and yummy side dishes. Then, we sprawled about the apartment and spent hours deciding which new electronic gadgets we couldn't live without, in preparation for the Black Friday sales.

Thing and his cousins helped.