Monday, December 31, 2012

Home in the 'Hood

Happy New Year's!!  This is going to be a short post because for the first time in 7 years Dave is cooking for a neighborhood party with all our friends in the 'hood.  We were fortunate to live in the most amazing neighborhood for 7 years.  What made it amazing wasn't the houses, it was the people, the community.  The kids playing in the park, in driveways, in front yards and back, and even in the street (much to the HOA's annoyance) while their parents talked, laughed, and got all caught up what was going on.

I am incredibly thankful that we have been able to spend the holiday season with these friends, who have over time become the sisters-of-my-heart. At the same time I am a bit sad to realize that it will probably not happen again for a long long while.  Drat I've gotten all teary-eyed writing that.

Tonight I am going to focus on the fun, not the sad.  I am going to eat my husbands brisket cooked on our old pit that now lives at his brother's house.  I am going to gorge on all the yummies cooked up by friends.  I am going to toast with champagne, beer, soda, or sweet tea which ever is in my hand when the time comes.  And most of all I am going to savor every single minute of it.

I hope where ever you are when you ring in the New Year I hope you find something special about the moment to treasure and someone to share that moment with.

 Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve

This is the first Christmas home in the states in seven years.  It has been a crazy ride. Arriving two days before Thanksgiving. Staying first at my Mom's, then at Dave's brother's.  Packing, unpacking, repacking, trying to not be that guest that overstays their welcome.  Homeschooling on the road.  Dealing with unexpected medical issues like ringworm, and no, FS friends, no one threw a cat in my car! And bilharzia.  Always fun when your kid starts peeing blood and it turns out to be some weird tropical disease the doc can't even find a lab able to perform the test to verify the diagnosis. Now the mountain cedar season has started in Texas.  Itchy eyes and stuffed up noses.  So. Much. Fun.

There have been days that I wondered why in the world I thought this extended holiday trip was a good idea.  All our Christmas stuff, all the traditions we have created during Christmases overseas, all left behind in Malawi.  We are missing lazy weekend days laying by the pool in the mid-summer African sun. Missing board games with friends.  Missing the holiday party at the Ambassador's residence and seeing who played Santa this year.  Missing throwing  our New Year's Day, black-eyed peas for good luck in the New Year party.

This week reminded me why I came home for the holidays. It has been the absolute best.  Girl's night in playing Quelf.  I must get this game.  With three boys still at home I really really need a game that may require you to be a sad weeping willow every time a "4" is rolled or it may require you to give yourself a wedgie, and if you "De-wedgify" yourself at any point during the game you have to pay a 2 space penalty.  Take note, only play this game with people you are totally comfortable seeing you making an idiot of yourself.  These particular girlfriends have known me forever. We saw each other through pregnancy, morning sickness, potty training, and the first day of kindergarten.  They are sisters of my heart, so giving myself a wedgie in front of them was no problem, but there will be no wedgie pictures posted here.  Sorry.

I took Grayson to his first live theater experience with bunches of other kids from the 'hood. We saw Junie B. Jones, Jingle Bells Batman Smells.  He loved it and now can't wait to read the books. We even got to meet the whole cast and take pictures afterward.

We went to the tree farm and cut our own little tree.  We used to do this every year. The boys have seen pictures of Dakota cutting the tree, but the younger boys are too young to really remember those annual trips. They only remember the fake tree we ship from post to post.  This morning we went out to Mom's house to decorate the little tree.  And if a live tree weren't enough we set up a white Christmas tree at my brother-in-law Paul's house.  Due to his tree hating cats it is outside on the porch, but that is OK, it does double duty as yard decor.  That's it at the top of this blog post.  I love it.

There has been so much more this past week than I can even write about. Zoo trip, shopping and not on Amazon, River walk boat cruise to see the lights, hiking at Lost Maples State Park, attending a surprise party that was actually a surprise, cruising for Christmas lights, fire pit and s'mores at two different friend's houses on two different nights, basketball in the park, Christmas Eve dinner at Danny's (another brother-in-law) followed by tamales, dessert, and fire pit at at Ms. A Day In the Life's house while the kids zoomed around the cul-de-sac on rip sticks, scooters and skateboards.  It really is a Wonderful Life.

Merry Christmas Y'all!!  Wherever you may be!!