"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Saturday, December 24, 2011

And to all a good night

Blogging? .... it's kind of fallen to the wayside these last couple of weeks.

Wheezing, coughing, sniffles, and my personal favorite ... the gift of a sinus infection all mine to enjoy with a little nausea thrown in on top.  I've heard of, read of, know of so many folks trying to enjoy the season around family illness fun. It certainly prioritizes you really fast.

The Christmas buckets sat in the hall for a week before I put what I deemed unnecessary, back down in the basement.  I bought teacher gifts rather than made them **gasp**, how the mighty have fallen.  I cut back ... way back ... shopped online when I could, pushed the rest off until last minute.

Which, by the way, is the way to go when you have teenagers who run out with friends and buy for themselves what you just bought for them and then your stuck with the returns ... just sayin'.

But ... if I could pick a Christmas theme to wrap up all my inadequacies in, it would be one line from an old favorite:

"It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  It came without packages, boxes, or bags."
The Grinch, by Dr. Seuss 

Either way, Christmas will come. No, our family isn't going without this year.  But, cutting back the fluff has kept us a little more grounded and a lot more stress free ... sickish, but stress free.

I'm grateful for simplicity.  Some of the simplest memories have been the best this year.

I'm grateful for Christmas on a Sunday.  I love that.  The focus tomorrow morning really will be more on getting ready, out the door and on time to church then what is or is not done and under the tree.  The excitement will still be there, I'm certain, but I love that the real meaning will be front and foremost in our day.

And this season, I've been more than a little grateful for those who have hosted parties, gathered friends, and invited our family in our well-est moments, to share in the Christmas spirit of just being together and having a good time.

Where I was lacking, you made all the difference.

Here are a few of our funnest memories:

School Christmas concert.  Usually I dread these as one more thing to do at Christmas, but I was at the height of needing to let my children sit and be entertained by someone other than me.  It was a perfect remedy.

Newel spent a week working in the Netherlands.  Following his trip, a package arrived from a sweet colleague friend, full of St. Nicholas celebration paraphernalia from that country.  It was so entertaining to learn that children over in the Netherlands put their shoes out in the hopes of a gift from St. Nicholas who is decidedly NOT our version of Santa Claus, but rather the former Bishop of Turkey.  BUT, if he and his followers, not elves but rather the Spanish Moores, determine that you've been naughty this year, they kick you in your sleep and throw you into a sack to be sold into slavery instead.

We determined that American children are weak.

Gingerbread house making and soup party at our dear friend's house.  Could not have asked for a better way to celebrate great friendships.

First morning of winter break, celebrated by snowman pancakes.

A boy who found a simple recipe for pretzel making and thought they'd be just the thing to help us all feel better.  They were, and Christmas miracle of miracles ... he cleaned the kitchen.

Siblings home to play fun invented games like, feeding lions treats (hershey kisses) in cages.

And not to be forgotten, a traditional Christmas slumber party under the tree.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  May you enjoy the simplest things in your life as we celebrate the birth of Christ who came to take all our inadequacies and make us better than we are.


  1. Merry Christmas to an incredible family! We missed you all tonight but love you all just the same : >3

  2. First of all....I LOVE your family picture! Tell us more about your traditional under the Christmas tree slumber party. I am going to try your snowman pancakes this winter. What is the easy pretzel recipe? Why do you have a laundry basket with just your name on it? I shopped almost exclusively on-line this year and it is a tradition I plan to continue! Hope you are feeling better, you have been missed!

  3. I was going to comment on the post first until I saw your family picture :) It is BEAUTIFUL and I hope it's in a BIG frame hanging somewhere on your wall :)! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family!! I have so enjoyed reading your blog this year and am often touched by your thoughtful words and particularly by your incredible act of kindness earlier this year to my family!!!


  4. How you'd ever feel inadequate Marlowe, is beyond me. You are super woman in my eyes! I sure do enjoy all your wise words. Best wishes for 2012!

  5. What a beautiful family picture! And I can so relate to keeping things simple this year as all four of our kids had been sick for four straight weeks (two with sinus infections, as well). I think this was one of our best years of Christmas memories, though.
    I hope you're feeling better now!