I don't leave Colorado for another week and a half, but I am already getting mildly depressed about it. It has been so good to be home, and so fun to spend time with the crazy fam. Martin and Marielle go back to Birmingham on Monday, so the party is going to start disbanding soon... big bummer. Several times throughout these holidays, we would all be lounging around together in pjs, reading books (or studying on a laptop in my case), working on a puzzle, snuggling with the puppy, snacking on something delicious, and one of us would look up and say, "Why can't this be our life all the time?? Let's win the lottery and all retire to our family compound so we can just do this all the time!"
I have this theory that the way you feel about the holidays (especially the Big Ones - Thanksgiving and Christmas for many of us) is a pretty accurate reflection on your relationship with your family. I'm sure this is a gross generalization, but in my experience, it seems to be mostly true. I probably don't realize often enough how lucky I am to be related to wonderful people I also really love spending time with.
|Our last-minute, floor-model clearance synthetic christmas tree from Target, bought three years ago - |
Mom loves it because there is no mess to clean up and we can just leave the lights permanently strung up on it.
|Where she sits while I study.|
|I wonder if she ever gets sick of this?|
|Her very favorite - on the couch, in the sun, snuggled up to humans.|
|That is her foot. She gets into the strangest positions and seems totally comfortable.|
|Haha - love this shot.|
|Dad's awesome 80's nylon warm-ups.|
|Updated version for his birthday.|
|Double snuggle with Matt and Alex.|
|Another favorite lap.|
|Bowling extravaganza for Dad's birthday.|
|You know you are in Colorado when you can get pitchers of 90 Shilling at the bowling alley.|
|I am the world's WORST bowler - just ask any of my family.|
|Dad, on the other hand... just look at this form...|
|Hahaha... I really wish this picture were in focus.|
|The competitive gene is strongly expressed in this family.|
|Birthday Boy's dinner at HuHot!|
|Aww.... Mom and Dad get cozy.|
|Christmas Eve service|
|Christmas church pew planking!|
|Wii Just Dance... aka best game everrrrrrr!|
|The art of leisure.|
|Ellen tries out Alex's sweet new animal hat-gloves-thingy.|
|Christmas sweater puppy!!!|
|New chew toy and a bacon-flavored bone in her stocking.|
|Awesome mustache mugs that Ellen made for all of us!|
|Under the avalanche of Olivia's gifts.|
|Woo-woo! New running shoes!|
|Stylin' new boots for Liv.|
|This one is a long story.|
|Wet willy from dear brother while we line up for a family photo.|
|The gang in our new awesome aprons that Mom made us!|
|Probably getting ready to eat some more.|
It seems totally nuts that December is just about over... one of the things I want to work on in the new year is to get better at living in the moment and embracing change, to be fully present and content with what I have now, instead of always thinking about what I want to do in the future and simultaneously feeling distracted and dismayed at how quickly time passes. It has been extra-hard to do this while boards-studying for these past few weeks... more on that later.
For now, I just want to spend the last 36 hours of 2011 with people I love, soaking up and spilling out all the love I possibly can, to let them know just how much they mean to me, and to let my heart fill up past capacity, so that I can sail into this approaching new year more joyful, more compassionate, more capable, more generous and more peaceful than my past self. I hope this for every one of you, as well!
Happy New Year, y'all.