Christmas and Thanksgiving 2019

Two major thoughts hit me this past week as we gathered together to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with our kiddos.

  1. This what is most likely the last time our children will be coming to our home to celebrate the holidays. With Mollie and Hudi moving out west this summer, it’s going to make much more sense for us to fly out there to join them all in the future.
  2. This is my first year officially being on the list of those who might be in danger of getting run over by a reindeer. Chris and Hudi say they will do their best to avoid any reindeer hits on me. Just in case, though, I’ll go a bit easier on the eggnog ๐Ÿ˜‰

There aren’t a lot of exciting things to write about because it was all so delightfully experiential. From ping pong to calls with loved ones to general yakking — turkey to eggnog to pancakes — all combined with lots of love — it was a beautiful celebration. I’m super thankful.

Chris and I both enjoy celebrating holidays, but aren’t sticklers for the holiday being on the actual date expected by humanity. This worked out well for us since Mollie had to work Thanksgiving day. For the past few years, the kids celebrated Thanksgiving with us then we decorated the house and celebrated Christmas before they head home. That way they could travel and visit other relatives for the actual Christmas holidays.

We had the same plan for this year, but Chris and I did the decorating ahead of time since Mollie had to work Sunday as well. Their visit was short and sweet.

Chris and Mom hit the stores Tuesday and got some great deals. My hat is off to them. Mollie brought an amazing apple crisp, as well. I contributed steamed cauliflower with sauteed garlic (mashed potato replacement) and squash (and some pumpkin stuff nobody wanted to eat, haha).

Mom Pollock rocked the turkey making on Thursday after she and I watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We cleaned and decorated and made more yummies so cooking would go easier the next day — then settled in to watch my favorite Alvin and the Chipmunks film while we waited for the young adults and Star to show up. The intrepid souls appeared a bit after 3 am on Friday morning, just as the rain was turning to ice. We were so thankful they made it safely.

We celebrated Christmas in the morning so we wouldn’t have to worry about accidentally spilling gift secrets. We were given a back massager that can travel with us and some super yummy Ring Dings ๐Ÿ™‚ Then we settled in for our annual tradition of watching movies, with many pauses as we talked with family on FaceTime and took a break for the Thanksgiving meal. Holidays in reverse ๐Ÿ™‚

Some of my favorite pictures from the time together include:

Zeb’s lizards putting on fancy poses during our FaceTime yak.

Mom looking really happy.

And Hudi and Mollie goofing around (like always) and showing their love for each other.

There were moments of sadness as I realized this was probably an end of an era with the kids coming for Thanksgiving. It kind of felt like a gift that we were weaned off a bit with the young ones showing up a day after the actual holiday. All in all, however, I’m excited for them as they move on with their lives and embrace their own journeys. It is good.

Snapchats From my Kids

Especially when they show adorable videos of my granddaughter or grand-animals.

I particularly love this one from Zeb showing Dino checking out her rabbit-friends ๐Ÿ™‚

Dino the bearded dragon visiting rabbit siblings

After I asked Zeb if I could use this photo for my blog, he kindly offered to send images of the other grands. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Mammals

Ophelia the dog
Moon the house bun

Spiny Mammal

Ollie the hedgehog hanging out
Ollie eating then tucking in for a nap

**For the month of November each year, I try to focus on something Iโ€™m thankful for each day. It is the month that holds Thanksgiving where I live, after all. Focusing on the positive and remembering the little things that make life great are things I should do more often. Last year I found that writing every day during the holiday time got a bit stressful. So this year I’m writing throughout the year and scheduling the posts to go out in November.

Online Church Services

I took this screenshot many months ago (you can tell because Lauren is still pregnant here). And it’s low resolution since it’s a screenshot but I’m still thankful enough to share it.

We are frequently traveling so calling a particular church “home” is a bit tricky. I also, until recently, worked on Sundays (my choice, actually) so grabbing a service Sunday morning was not ideal. It didn’t bother me too much since I could still listen to podcasts to further my spiritual journey. And I also participated in an online Bible study.

Then we discovered a church we really connected with while visiting our kids in Utah. I wish I could go there weekly, and we discovered that we can — by attending online. They offer several services, and one is on Sunday evenings throughout the winter. It’s become a treat for me since Lauren often sings during the service, and CJ works the technology. I tend to watch it from Facebook.

There is a messaging option so we can greet each other and make comments during the service.

Chatting during church (and catching archived services).

It’s okay if we miss a service. I can always go to Facebook and catch one from a time in the past. The one I just took a screenshot of was two weeks ago. You don’t even need a Facebook account. The archives can be accessed on the church’s website at:

https://www.mvfchurch.com/messages

This is not the only church with these offerings. When I first moved from western to northern NY, I stayed in touch with my former church for quite a while, and I enjoyed seeing my friends in the congregation (communion Sundays were a treat since everyone walks up to the altar so I could even see my friends who we used to sit with in the balcony). I see I wrote about being thankful for that a couple of years ago.

One of my favorite friends from my former town also joins, so we cross the miles between MA, NY and Utah as we worship together — friends and family. Shared times of worship are definitely something to be thankful for.

**For the month of November each year, I try to focus on something Iโ€™m thankful for each day. It is the month that holds Thanksgiving where I live, after all. Focusing on the positive and remembering the little things that make life great are things I should do more often. Last year I found that writing every day during the holiday time got a bit stressful. So this year I’m writing throughout the year and scheduling the posts to go out in November.

Museum Gatherings

Last year I wrote about being thankful for Community as we attended a fundraiser at a local museum. They do this every year — local businesses each decorate a Christmas tree according to the theme of the year. Then they are all put on display at the museum.

I love the Berkshire Museum. It’s small and family-focused. There was a neat exhibit there about women in history. I also enjoyed exploring the human DNA exhibits. The patchwork of humanity.

The Berkshire Museum with Christmas lights.
The local high school kids decorated the museum.

The theme last year was music, and this year was heroes. We were supposed to wear something that depicted our personal hero. I wore earrings made by Chris, since I am very inspired by him.

It was a bit crowded, and a lot of the trees this year were decorated with images of people who were part of the community. I didn’t know them, and it didn’t seem as creative as last year, but it was still super enjoyable.

Christmas music at the museum

The music was particularly enjoyable. As was watching the little ones enjoying the music ๐Ÿ™‚

I loved how dressed up some people got (yet I also felt comfortable in my jeans and nice shirt). There was one adorable little boy dressed as a police officer. I didn’t get a pic, though. And there was a tiny girl who made me want my granddaughter with me. Ah well, another time.

Yummy cocktail called Spidey Senses.
The cocktail looked pretty with its rosemary garnish and cranberries.

The time out with Chris was really enjoyable. We sampled yummy food (my favorite was the spinach pastry) and enjoyed a fun holiday drink.

Tree with origami ornaments

The origami ornament tree reminded me of CJ and his paper-folding endeavors in the past.

And I had a lot of fun watching Chris being goofy and enjoying the evening. There was even a Lorax tree (one of his favorite stories).

It was a fun kick-off to the winter season as the slopes opened two days later. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Living With an Artistic Husband

The man creates art everywhere, and I love it ๐Ÿ™‚ This is what he came up with when we left him alone for a short time in Moab last summer:

Rock Lizard

Rock Heart – Went well with the wedding celebrations

To see more of his work, check out his site on https://christopherpollockart.com/

**For the month of November each year, I try to focus on something Iโ€™m thankful for each day. It is the month that holds Thanksgiving where I live, after all. Focusing on the positive and remembering the little things that make life great are things I should do more often. Last year I found that writing every day during the holiday time got a bit stressful. So this year I’m writing throughout the year and scheduling the posts to go out in November.

Hikes with Family and Friends

Hikes are great. Friends are great. Family are great. Put them together? Perfection!

**For the month of November each year, I try to focus on something Iโ€™m thankful for each day. It is the month that holds Thanksgiving where I live, after all. Focusing on the positive and remembering the little things that make life great are things I should do more often. Last year I found that writing every day during the holiday time got a bit stressful. So this year I’m writing throughout the year and scheduling the posts to go out in November.

Wonderful Weekend with our Kids

Star Greets us
Star Greets us

Crisp autumn colors and sunny skies framed our journey last week as Chris and I headed to Rochester, NY to visit Hudi and Mollie and to attend WordCamp Rochester. The young adults have very busy lives (an opposing work schedules) so we only got a little time of the four of us together, but we embraced those moments and also loved the 1:1 time with each person.

Mollie met us after her work day and showed us around their house they share with friends. Love the place! Especially because Star greeted us, and they had two other dogs and a cat to love on as well ๐Ÿ™‚

Mollie cooks with the dogs at her feet.

After a tour of their garden, we noted the crispness of the autumn air and headed inside for homemade bread and homemade cheese and veggie soup. Delicious!! After that we played Iota and were just heading off to be when Hudi showed up. He had gotten out of work a bit early so we got to talk a bit.

Mollie had to leave for work quite early, but Hudi, Chris and got to hang out for a few hrs in the morning. While I love being able to connect with my kids on video calls, there’s nothing quite like being there in person.

The cat is helping Chris with door repairs. (In reality, she's trying to get him to open the door so she can escape. Haha)The cat is helping Chris with door repairs.
The cat is helping Chris with door repairs. (In reality, she’s trying to get him to open the door so she can escape. Haha)
Chris and Hudi and the dogs
Chris and Hudi have coffee, and the dogs snuggle.

Hudi had to leave for work mid-morning so Chris and I drove over St. John Fisher’s College to attend the Rochester WordCamp. In five years of attending WordCamps, this is the first time I ever went as a true attendee. I was not volunteering or speaking. A novelty, for sure. But the reason I didn’t volunteer was because I wanted the freedom of schedule to be able to work around Hudi’s schedule. It worked perfectly.

After work Mollie came over and joined us for a session then the after-party.

The time flew by quickly, but it was better than nothing. And I’m lucky — I get to go see them again in a few weeks. ๐Ÿ™‚ Again, Mollie was off to work very early in the morning, and Hudi was leaving for his job around 8:30 so Chris and I hit the road for a bit of a (most amazing) getaway at Niagara Falls Ontario. I’ll write about that one soon, too ๐Ÿ™‚