snowflake, 2013: the end
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christmas

look at me ... two posts in two days! way to finish off '13, amiright?

i've gotten so removed from keeping track of the little things on here, and that seriously hinders my ability to have these stories on hand when i want to do something with them. (on that note: 2014 will be the year that i *finally* make that crafty room usable and get back to making some art. promise.) i need to be better about that. so without further ado, christmas:

first of all, it has to be said that i like the Getting Ready For Christmas part about as much as the actual holiday. i am always giddy when all the red and white and glitter and pine and glass balls make an appearance. nothing makes me happier. it makes every day a cheerful anticipation of what is about to take place. and christmas music is a constant - all day, every day, much to marc's delight (sarcasm). however, twinkle lights and shiny brites and the scent of the tree are as synonymous with holiday spirit as the sound of frank and bing and nat. in my opinion.

regardless of the work and time involved, coming downstairs in the morning to see the tree on and the icicles glittering fills me with warmth and happiness. it just does.

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(for the record, steaming the curtains was on my to do list. it really was. just didn't happen.)

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(there's your glimpse at the gallery wall. i'll tell you more about that in january. maybe.)

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(blue ball jars. always.)

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the best anticipation for this christmas, though, was that my family was coming up to spend it with us.

we made the hard decision this year that christmas break is just too difficult a time to travel. the kids don't have enough days off school to do everything we want to do (see both families, have a bit of a downtime break to recharge ourselves after the constant insanity of life), the weather can be dicey and unpredictable, and now that henry swims high school, he needs to be around for mandatory practices. and his coach schedules a travel meet the day after christmas each year (this year being the exception; he and his wife were gone for a wedding); since henry already swims varsity, i can't imagine that there will be a lot of understanding on the coach's part for the next four years when henry tells him he can't participate for two weeks right in the middle of the season. so, visiting family will now become a summer thing for the foreseeable future. and when my parents and sister said they would come up for the week of christmas? yeehaw!!

during the weeks after thanksgiving, becca and my mom and i talked and texted constantly about how much we were looking forward to being together, hanging out, relaxing, enjoying each other. luckily, their trip here was problem-free, and the next day, minnesota provided brand new snow, for our white christmas.

all the kids got suited up and headed out to the backyard with sleds.

all except nora. poor nora. she got as far as the boots, and was denied further access to the snow.

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but the big kids had fun.

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until a couple of runs in, when harper decided to be pissy that henry was being nicer and more patient to wyatt than he was with her (partially true; partially justified), and she decided to throw a fit.

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the boys tried to reason with her, but ... has anything i've written about harper in the last nearly nine years led you to the conclusion that she can be reasoned with?

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no. so, they kept having fun, and she eventually gave up and did her own thing.

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speaking of doing her own thing, nora wasn't too bothered that she was missing the snow.

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so, that was sunday. monday came, and we took henry to morning practice, then headed to our little downtown bakery to have a donut before heading back to the pool to watch him swim. turns out, the pool doors were locked behind the kids and we couldn't get in. so we missed morning practice. which in turn changed all of our plans for the day so that we could go watch his afternoon practice instead. it wasn't ... bad ... but it wasn't good, either. it was "unfortunate" ... let's say that. however, we had fun at the afternoon practice. instead of just a workout, the practice was a "fun meet" of silly races. unbeknownst to henry, we all made "go henry!!" signs, and every time it was his turn to swim, we held up those signs and cheered our hearts out. (it needs to be said that we were the only people in the bleachers. and the only people at the pool not swimming. we stood out a bit.) luckily, henry is a self-confident kid who borders on Mr Popular, so he took it in good stride, and none of his teammates gave him trouble.

and that was sunday.

monday was a blur of last-minute target runs, cooking, game-playing, etc., and christmas eve was more of the same. my mom, becca, and i ran to the grocery in the afternoon, only to discover that half the things on our list were gone. lots of on-the-fly change of plans. two hours later, we exited the store into a big, beautiful snowfall. we detoured on the way home to enjoy the lights and the time to just be quiet and together. once home, it was all about the christmas eve traditions: notes to santa, cookies and carrots left out, hanging stockings, reading "'twas the night before christmas."

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amazingly enough, the kids all went to bed without issue, and slept without complaint.

until 7 a.m.

and then ...

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and everyone was happy.

and for all the things that didn't go according to plan, we were still together. and it was still the most wonderful time of the year.

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