It is somewhat alarming to me that I thought all those other Decembers were a little crazy, because this year we were truly running a 37-ring circus in this house. WHOO BOY. If you aren't a fan of eleventy-billion photos (many of questionable technical quality) in overly long blog posts, I'll be back soon with other, shorter 2016 roundups and you can move right on past this one : )
I had a meeting that ended in a quick jaunt up to the Tom Horn room via secret elevator; actually, I was told it was a secret elevator and to ask at a certain location about its whereabouts and the woman I asked assured me it was not secret at all and I had to tell her SHE WAS RUINING THE STORY. Heh.
Abby came over for calm and relaxing Christmas Project night, where she made a little felt cat to jump from stocking to stocking in her handmade advent calendar and I made a whole bunch of moderately bow-like bows to hang on our outside garland. The girls did stuff too. We ate cranberry pie, and it was most fun. I think Matt was on alert during this fun, though I can't really remember.
We had exactly one open window of opportunity to acquire a tree, which happened to be the day after Bridget was stricken with stomach flu. We dragged her along because she had stopped throwing up for at least 24 hours and was just post-flu miserable. Ellie was forced to get into the Christmas spirit, and Gracie thought she might perish in the act of placing the tree topper this year (she didn't). But, see how pretty our fresh mountain-cut tree is that the wonderful people at Riverbend Nursery retrieved for us since hiking up to the mountains was once again not an option this year?
Window swap day (FINALLY) which was kind of the bane of our existence. Coincided with Maddie's turn at stomach flu—Ellie was super happy about being locked in the basement with the yakker. Matt was on his way to National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas at this point. There are five houses left on base that still have the screen window/storm window system; this requires a swap twice a year and about seven workmen running in and out of the house all day. More than once this month we had to repeat "historic houses are charming" over and over. [Not pictured: the four times it took for our boiler to get fixed so it would finally work]
The girls and I managed to get our Angel Tree shopping done (I'd have to check the metadata for the date by this point). We purchased gifts for a baby girl who needed clothes and a six year old girl who just needed some Christmas fun.
Ellie and I did not win any awards for mileage this month but we did manage to knock down a few, despite the stomach flu and all the bitter cold. Pictured here: my stretching coach, who really doesn't care one way or another if I actually stretch so long as I sit still for a bit after returning home.
I had another lunch meeting and got to hold a sweet little four month old baby the whole time! It was lovely. I put her to sleep, and her mama was able to eat her lunch with two hands. I have not lost my edge at eating a meal with one hand.
Birthday day for our new 12 year old! Not sure whose idea it was to have a baby in December, but whatevs. She had as lovely a day as could be.
Gracie's and Bridget's elementary put on the MOST AWESOME elementary Christmas program I have ever attended. Seriously. Gracie is dressed in not-Christmas clothes (front center) because she played Yoshi from Mario Bros in a commercial during the show. It sounds weird but trust me, it was a brilliantly produced program.
Maddie also had a lovely Christmas concert—perhaps one of the better ones we've been to as well. In order to get to the concert I had to play a game called Hem a Velvet Dress With No Scissors or Fusible Hem Cheat Stuff. It's a good thing she cleans up so nicely.
The girls' new gym (long story to be explained later) had a great Christmas party in which they all exchanged fun socks. They had to be stuffed with inexpensive yet clever things (just call me Christmas elf). I also went to an ornament exchange party and decided to make my own ornament vs. buy one I didn't love; I trashed my craft room for about the fourth time in December working on it. But, cute! Gracie's annual gingerbread house birthday party was on Saturday. I know the date—December 17— because in full disclosure, December 16 was Meltdown Day around here. I think it might have been last year, too, as that was the day the lady totaled my van in Albuquerque. December is oh so fun and oh so frenetic.
I got scared TO DEATH by a squirrel for the second time this month (the first time the stupid squirrel jumped out of the trash can at me with jazz hands). Jimmy Johns kept us from starving (ahem, more than once). I went on a wild goose chase for lard so I could make this town some biscochitos (and ended up visiting TWO DIFFERENT WALMARTS in the same day). I visited the secret post office that every town has (except Cheyenne's isn't a post office, but rather a seedy UPS warehouse that you have to know about to know about and is only open three hours a day).
Yet another long story that has some explanation coming: our good friends from Colorado Springs treated us to lunch and the Broncos vs. Patriots game. We happily booed the donkeys while wearing our super-protective Browns gear and had a wonderful time with our friends. IT WAS SO COLD.
Matt very helpfully came down with the stomach flu on chocolate-covered cherry making night. It takes four times as long to do this two-person job by oneself. Gracie started avoiding me, because I started threatening her that I was going to dip her in bleach. [She still hasn't come down with the stomach flu so knock on wood]
I laughed as this status passed through Timehop on December 22. TRUE STORY, SISTER. Maybe we really do run the same 37-ring circus every year and I just forget.
While there is no picture to prove it, I mailed about 60% of my Christmas cards at a respectable point in the month. The rest got mailed from a closed post office on Christmas Eve. Sigh.
Abby and Wes graciously gave the girls the gift of being Chicken of the House over break (does anyone say that but my family?) and each of the girls got a time slot in which to bask in the fun and magic of the Peterson home. It was glorious, and they had the time of their lives. (Bridget's day was before Christmas, Maddie and Gracie were after).
We scrambled to make Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve; not our very best effort of all time because most of our toppings were discovered missing too late to remedy and I got distracted and only put four cups of flour in the mixer vs. four and a half. Ah well. Next December!
The day after Christmas we braved the RIDICULOUS wind and cold and took Ellie on a no-leash adventure around the base lake. It was awesome. She had the time of her life. Lucky to report that no barbed wire injuries occurred this year. Or knee surgeries.
Oh yeah! Did I mention I squeezed in a little creative work in December? I did. Joined the Paislee Press creative team, did some other design and photography work, including a shoot at the library soon—which will mark my third time working there in some capacity in 16 years.
I know I missed all sorts of things—like multiple gym practices and private lessons where many skills were worked on, lots of phone calls and laughs and holding-on-for-dear-life moments, a number of intense sports games on TV, etc. But this seems to be the right place to end: with our sweetest dog, happiest when we're all finally done with the circus and hanging out together as a pack.
December, see you next year.