Monday, December 22, 2014

A Very Merry Christmas!

It's December, and that means, as the old song says, that it's "The most wonderful time of the year!" I truly believe that it is! This time of year is so special in so many ways and for so many reasons. I love the build-up to Christmas and all the various traditions we've developed in our family over the years. We always try to get our Christmas decorations up right after Thanksgiving, so we have time to really enjoy them before they all come down on January 1st. And this year we did better than last year, but still didn't quite get it all done as early as we hoped.

 But I think it all turned out great and it's such a joy each day to be able to enjoy our festive holiday home! We're toying with the idea of getting our Christmas stuff up right after Halloween next year (or better yet, maybe before Halloween!)...

And speaking of Thanksgiving, that's definitely one of the "most wonderful" parts of this time of year. it's Thanksgiving that really sort of kicks off the holiday season, after all. Every year the boys and I look forward to Colette's Thanksgiving dinner more than I can begin to express
--it's always unbelieveable and this year we all unanimously concurred that this was Colette's best Thanksgiving meal EVER! The turkey was cooked to perfection - juicy, hot, mouth-wateringly delicious!
 My favorite part is always the stuffing--I think this year I ate no less than 20 lbs of it! And then there was the green bean casserole, chipotle sweet potatos, rolls, apple and pumpkin cheesecake pie...all of it prepared with the joy, love and impeccable expertise that are Colette's signatures...

As we rolled into December (and after the Thanksgiving meal I had, I am using the term "roll" literally) we brought out our traditional advent calendar/box, which we've been doing for years - a box with a small drawer for each day of December leading up to Christmas - a tradition the "elves" began years ago with the boys when they were little, filling each day's drawer the night before with various candies, treats, and words of encouragement. And even though the boys are older now, and the responsibility for the nightly filling of the advent calendar has passed to Chloë's "Elf on the Shelf" Lucy Grace, we do notice that the boys still make their daily morning trip to the advent box to collect their prizes!

And of course, one of the things that absolutely makes this the "most wonderful time of the year" are all the Christmas cookies…
Holy cow the mouth waters just thinking of them. Colette's cookies are out of this world - the chocolate peanut butter ones are my all-time favorite, but then there's the coconut macaroons (of various flavors), gingerbread, traditional, and always something new like thie year's chocolate ones which were a huge hit! And then after the cookies comes the homemade hard candy!
 All of it out of this world, brought to life by Colette's artful hand to our immense taste-bud overloading pleasure!

But even more than these things, this time of the year is the "most wonderful" also simply for all the normal stuff that goes on as part of our day-to-day life, all of which has an extra-exciting "buzz" about it as it all gets laced with Christmas music, lights, countdowns till school's out, and visions of sugar plums dancing in...well, you get the picture.

It's been a busy but truly great November/December, with the boys' football seasons all wrapping up--Jackson and Hunter ending with their trasitional Thanksgiving games, Jackson's football awards banquet, and Mitch ending another hugely successful season with a 4th straight Shrewsbury Massachusetts state championship!

There was Christmas ornament making and gingerbread decorating with Chloë and her little friends,
Colette and Chloë's "girls-only" trips to the mall including a special visit with Santa,

 family trips to Boston

 including a special overnight trip where we all dressed up and went to dinner high above the city at the Top of the Hub.

 Chloë's first-ever acting performance,
 a special birthday celebration dinner with Colette's long-time friend from the 8th grade Laurel and her husband Tyler, Mitch's birthday topped off with Colette's amazing homemade birthday cake pops,

Hunter's basketball games,
 Chloë's swimming classes,
 nights and days in the family room by the fire watching our favorite Christmas movies…

..And so much more. yes, this truly is the "most wonderful time of the year." For me, it is most wonderful for all these reasons, for sure, but as I reflect on the year that is so swiftly coming to a close, I acknowledge it's also "most wonderful" for something much more than these things. In a few short days we will celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is the ultimate gift to all of us. He has brought me new life and into a new life, and when I think of all the unmerited and limitless blessings I enjoy each and every day of my life--my precious, beautiful angel-wife Colette whom I love more than life itself; our 3 amazing boys who are all gifts from God, and our incredible little princess-gift Chloë--I am reminded that all of this, all of everything good in this life and in the life beyond, is only possible and provided first and foremost because of the eternal love of our savior Jesus.

So to Colette, Jackson, Hunter, Mitch, and Chloë--Merry Christmas to you all. I love you more than I can say.

And to Jesus--Happy Birthday to You, our King! I love You, and to You goes all the glory - forever!

Merry Christmas everyone, and a very happy new year to all!