Happy Monday, friends! Happy Advent, too. How was your weekend? We had a particularly nice one, if I do say so. Saturday was filled with giggles and grins as my daughters had play dates at our house. We made Fruit Loop candy canes and Christmas cutout cookies. Lots of fun and a bit tiring...I fell asleep on the couch a little after nine!
On Sunday we volunteered to be the family at Church that lights the Advent candle. This is a particularly precarious task at our parish since the Advent wreath is a large, suspended-from-the-vaulted-ceiling number. My husband was brave enough to light the purple candle way above our heads, and, despite my quivering arms, I held the bowl of incense high into the air. Apparently my three year old and five year old were behind me, trying to duck out of the way of the wafts of incense smoke.
Right after Church, we grabbed some peanut butter and jellies and hit the open road to explore the countryside of Indiana. What were we in search of you might ask? Our very first real one of these:
Well, I guess I should be more accurate to say that it's our second. On our first married Christmas, in our real Pars Caeli home, my husband and I bought a real tree (in the root ball). We then planted it in our backyard... and it's now nearly 15 feet tall.
Our family has already "built" and decorated our artificial tree, one that we've had for over 15 years now, but this year, I felt like I wanted to try something new. I'm not a strict environmentalist, but I've always felt strange about having a live tree cut down for my celebrations...
But there's something about this year, with the blessings and the challenges we've experienced, that made me want to go on an adventure just for the memories.
We drove a little over an hour, with Christmas CDs playing loudly through the minivan, to a Christmasfest. It was a complete winter wonderland (minus the snow since it was a balmly 60 degrees) complete with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and hot cocoa all around. After deciding on a Frasier Fir, we loaded into the tractor-pulled trolley, selected a saw, and found the perfect evergreen for us.
In full ceremony, each member of the family took part in the sawing process, as the rich, deep aroma of pine filled the air. She's a beautiful tree, and we've named her Cheryl... because we name everything.
She's sitting pretty in front of our living room window awaiting strands of white lights and colorful baubles.
It was such a great trek, and we have a lovely new memory to add to the holiday feel.
Best of all, my husband and I have a new spot to snuggle and smell the beauty of the season as we recount Christmases past and dream of the goodness to come.
Are you starting any new traditions this year?