As We Approach This Close

With 2013 eeking to a finish, and 2014 peeking its Killroy eyes up over the fence, here is what I’m finding:

I enjoy puzzles. They have an attractiveness about them that lures unexpected conversation from whoever is sitting with you. I am a quality time girl. To me, this year’s 1,000 pieces meant giggles with my girls, rubbing hands with my honey, playing footsies with Sam under the table, catching up with my brothers, getting to know my teens. Who knew all that came in a cardboard box?
I don’t want presents like I used to. This year I got a scrapbook kit. I spent the better part of the last two days scrapping every picture that dared to be loose in my house. Sixty-five pages in about eight hours. My fingers, back, and buns are killing me. I won’t sit properly for the new year, but this present is going to fill me up even more when I watch my family thumb through those pages. They’ll laugh, chortle, giggle, and even guffaw. My husband will well-up because he is a great father and hates that moment when he realizes he didn’t see our babies changing. They won’t even realize they are giving me the second (and best) part of this gift. Just some paper and ink? Maybe. 
Our family rocks at tradition. We have celebrated Thanksgiving with a talent show every year for the last five years. They make us laugh. Cry. Keel over in side splitting I-can’t-laugh-any-harders. But mostly they make us realize we have some amazing gifts in our clan. Musicians, dancers, singers, artists, comedians, politicians, feaux gangsters… the list is endless. And this is our second year foregoing presents for presence at Christmas and New Years. We used to get away, my family and my brothers’ families. Now we knock a few things off our bucket list. Last year we drank yellow snow (aka made pineapple snow cones using real snow), tried an Olympic sport (ice skating at North Star), trekked through the wilderness looking for The Polar Express (snow shoeing and hot chocolate), and even found a lost city! (Swimming at the Atlantis hotel). Three days of serious fun. 19 people from 6-60. Just the best. This year we are doing it again. We saved our present buying money and we are headed over the river and through the woods to someplace warm. No, not Aspen. SACRAMENTO. We are going to surf (indoors of course), eat, safari for some wild animals, eat, scale the highest roller coaster heights, eat, swim, eat, and eat. My love bucket is going to be overflowing after this week. There ain’t nothin better than family time. 
I’m also finding that I hate it when my husband is gone, and I love it when my husband is gone. Let me explain. I miss him every minute when he is away. I sleep awfully, I have sole driving responsibilities with the children, I am responsible for everything, and there isn’t anyone with a mustache to smooch me to sleep. On the brighter side, since he HAS to be gone, I enjoy the down time. I’m a pretty busy girl. I need down time. He has way more energy than me. He doesn’t love it like I do. So I save my down time, and crafting, and chick flicks, and meatless meals for his work days. We are both happier about it. 
Finally, and speaking of down time, I’m finding I enjoy the timing of the midweek Christmas. At first I was bummed because it was throwing off my schedule, but my early week was full of cleaning and crazy and wrapping and planning. Then it was Christmas Eve. Christmas. But then. Then. It was just Thursday. With nothing on the agenda. Just Thursday. And do you know what followed that? FRIDAY. Nary a pant to be worn in this house. No thank you. We sat. And laughed. And puzzled (see above). And watched. And scrapped. And colored. And ate. And drew. And that was all. Thank you Wednesday Christmas. We owe this one to you.