Yesterday’s snow flurries started off grand — the fluffy white flakes were falling delicately from the sky, leaving a crisp, clean blanket of snow throughout the city. It was all the more lovely for sharing a tasty brunch with friends and seeing the snow drift past the windows while we were warm inside. But somewhere around midday the precipitation transitioned to tiny balls of sleet and then to icy rain. Ugh. So the pretty dustings of snow were washed away well before we woke up this morning and instead things are crunchy with ice.
I’m guessing that this weather means work on the house will be on hold for the next few days, although on Saturday evening they finished up framing the roof! It’s hard to see in this picture, but I’d have to walk through our icy yard to snap a better shot so for now this will have to do.
Now I sit in bed listening to it rain and trying to motivate myself to get moving on this grey Monday. At least I have tomorrow’s predicted 2-4 inches of snow to look forward to! I can’t wait to watch the flakes fall outside my office window, while sipping a hot mocha and thinking about the Christmas holiday being right around the corner.
I love decorating for Christmas and typically do so the day after Thanksgiving, but this year with our California visitors we couldn’t skip ahead to the next holiday as quickly as usual. Last night we finally had the opportunity to get our house holiday ready. Since we spend a large portion of the holidays away from home at Christmas we typically don’t get a tree. This means getting creative with our lights, garlands, and the handful of ornaments we chose to display. I loved the way my husband decorated our grandmothers clock this year!
On top of decorating, we had a surprise visit from Sinterklaas last night. My husband is half Dutch which is apparently enough to make it onto Sinterklaas’ list despite our distance from the Netherlands. We didn’t have wooden shoes to leave out for him, but thankfully he left his own filled with chocolates, oranges and sprigs of greenery. What a delicious way to kick off the Christmas season!
Yes, it’s Thankful Thursday on Friday! I swear I started this post yesterday but things just got away from me, so without further ado:
I can’t believe it is only a week until Thanksgiving — where did 2013 go? As the year winds down and the holiday season swiftly approaches, it seems as good a time as any to reflect on some of the many things I am grateful this year.
• The opportunity to sing. On Sunday I will be able to share my voice with others during the Capitol Hill Group Ministries Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. This is just one of the unique chances I have had this year to get back to singing. During the summer I connected with a violinist and pianist to perform “To Love You More” at a house concert. It was so much fun to sing was the two of them, as well as a drummer and a cellist.
• Our big, crazy families. While my immediate family is pretty small on both sides, my husband’s family is quite large and this year we are getting an extra does of togetherness as his mom’s side is in the process of descending upon DC for Thanksgiving. We’ll have a week and a half of big (delicious) dinners, our favorite California wines, trips to museums and monuments, chilly winter walks and lots of time for talking (too bad we don’t have a fire place to gather around)! And in just a few weeks we will get to do it all over again (with my family included this time) in California.
• The many chances to travel near and far in 2013 — from Turkey to Tampa I have seen beautiful sunsets, had incredible meals, and spent time cultivating relationships new and old. I can’t imagine what life would be like without airplanes that can get me to California in 6 hours or to Istanbul in 10.
I’ve always loved checking the mail and finding a brightly colored envelope, a small package that contains a gift that just happened to make someone think of me or a postcard from a friend or family member’s recent travel adventure. It’s lovely to know that someone who is somewhere else in the world is thinking of you enough to find a card, write a quick note, and drop it in the nearest mailbox.
Snail mail is one of my favorite things about Christmas, my birthday, and our wedding anniversary — during these three times of the year I can count on receiving some clever and heartfelt cards mixed in with the usual bills, magazines, and assorted junk.
Since my hubby has been in Afghanistan I’ve been sending cards to him as well as small packages with chocolates, comics, and other assorted little goodies. After the holidays, he took a book of stamps back with the intention of doing the same. Well, I shouldn’t say intention, he has been sending me letters and postcards, but I hadn’t been receiving them until quite recently. His first letter was mailed on Feb. 3 and arrived on Feb. 25 while the second—mailed only two days later on Feb. 5—just arrived yesterday! But despite the delays, this week alone I received a postcard on Monday, the letter yesterday, and another postcard today all of which added some much needed sunshine to a pretty gloomy week.
Making my mailbox every cheerier today, I also received a cute card from my parents for Administrative Assistant Day. Since I work for myself I am my own assistant, but my mom and dad figured I probably wasn’t going to buy myself a gift. Opening their Snoopy card definitely made me smile.
I know that sending a card takes a bit more effort than shooting off an email, but it really only takes a few minutes to let someone know you are thinking of them. And for 42 cents (or something like that, thanks to forever stamps I really have no idea what the cost of a stamp is anymore) and the cost of a card (or time spent making a card), I’d say that’s a pretty good use of a few minutes of the day.
(And yes, I love Snoopy, how can you not?)
Every year my aunt orders four amaryllis bulbs for the holidays — my mom, aunt, grandpa and I all get one. Although the bulb arrived around mid-December mine is just starting to bloom.
The four of us “compete” to see whose will grow the quickest and typically my grandpa wins by a mile (honestly I think the tropical climate inside his nursing home is cheating…), but this year I think I win for most unique.
I’ve always had deep, red flowers on my amaryllis, but this year the flowers are a very pale pink. They are a beautiful treat to brighten this very chilly winter day!
I’ll admit that this post may not be mini, but the world’s smallest violin that I’ve been listening to recently is.
I found myself channeling Lesley Gore the past few days, because after a lovely holiday in California and the chance to spend 13 days with my husband, he headed back to Kabul on Thursday evening. Upon returning to DC we were able to spend pretty much every moment together cooking (and eating and re-stocking the freezer), watching movies (including Harry Potter 2–7 and Bottle Shock), and planning our next travel adventure to Turkey and Greece, so I had grown pretty accustomed to him being around him all the time. This opportunity to be together so much made it difficult to see him go, which for me was immediately followed by having to jump back into work mode and — just my luck — getting a cavity filled on Friday.
This time around it seemed much harder to say goodbye than in November. Maybe it was because we weren’t super frazzled making sure he’d packed everything he could possibly need or because I wasn’t heading to California the same day or because we will be apart for longer during this phase. In fact, it was likely a combination of all these things that caused me to shed a few tears on Thursday and Friday.
But now it’s time to buck up and get back into my groove. After nearly three weeks of not working my regular Monday through Friday schedule, I started easing back in on Friday. Thank goodness I had that dental appointment to break up my day. Not.
So I’ll admit, I’ve had a few days of moping, but I promise I’m putting away the world’s smallest violin. Here’s to a busy, productive, and sunshine-filled Monday!
It’s Christmas Eve and celebrations have begun. Since my husband and I were born in the same city, each year we have not two, not three, but four family holiday dinners. I celebrated Hanukkah with my dad’s side of the family on December 16 and my hubby and I joined my mom’s family last night for Christmas Eve Eve. Today we will celebrate Christmas Eve with my husband’s mom’s family and tomorrow will be Christmas Day with his dad’s side. Phew! I’m getting tired just thinking about it!
Luckily there is plenty of sustenance to give me the energy to make it through—from the traditional trappings of ham and potatoes to local delicacies like DeVinci’s ravioli and Boudin sourdough. Of course there are also plenty of Christmas cookies and last night we had a luxuriously decadent chocolate cream pie. And all this has to be washed down with heady red wines from Amador and the San Joaquin Valley.
But even better than the delicious things we eat and drink, we enjoy the opportunity to be with everyone each Christmas and this year is especially special since Brandon was able to return from Afghanistan to join us.
So as we settle around the Christmas tree (yesterday, today, and tomorrow), I’m wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!