quick 5

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it 
under a tree.- Roy L. Smith

1. We're back from our Thanksgiving road trip. It was a bit more eventful than we would have preferred; ninety minutes down the road Garrett realized he had left his wallet at home and Ella threw up all over the back seat. But steady on, as they say. Once the drive was over, the rest of the trip was lovely. And who knew Colorado would be in the 50's all week? Sunshine, great scenery, cousins, food...perfection. 

2. It's kind of nuts how many lists are on the internet nowadays. Besides all the posts that start with a number (6 Ways to...or 5 reasons...), there's lists for every holiday and occasion. While I'm not a big list person, I do prefer lists that other people have made. I've noticed a few lists lately that have had some helpful ideas so I thought I'd post them. Here's some ideas for you...

My inlaws live at a camp, making our visits to them pretty much a dream come true for kids (and parents!). As I stood in the gym and watched all cousins jamming out in the bounce house (seriously! a bounce house!), I couldn't help but think that these moments were going to be the good old days for my little ones. And there is something special about being there, about being fully present, so that as they grow up and remember, I can remember with them. 

Childhood is a funny thing in that it feels long (will it ever be Christmas?) but it passes quickly. Each year I have a stronger desire for them to be kids, to fully embrace and experience this season of life that will never come again and will shape the rest of their journey. 

4. Our book reading venture continues. We are on track to finish our 500 books on time, though a lot of that lately has been through the older ones (as in parents and firstborn) reading a lot. Drew (8) in particular has been reading more than ever, as apparent by the way that he talks. He came down yesterday morning and said, "Three reasons I got up. The sun came up and I could no longer sleep, Isaac's screams were echoing through the house, and my hunger became so strong that I could not ignore it." Sheesh. 

5.  Advent is on the radar, beginning tonight as we celebrate our first Advent gathering with friends. I feel less inclined this year to come up with crafts and things to do (not that there's anything wrong with that). I feel more of a pull to create a sense of wonder, to dim the lights and light candles and talk in hushed tones and whisper "God with us". I want the main impression of the Christmas season to be a time when we draw near and talk low of things that are weighty, not the impression that we are insanely busy as we shop and run and *celebrate* in a panic. So we're going things a bit different this year and we'll see where that gets us. I'm more comfortable than ever with the reality that parenting is Life's Most Important Experiment, you give things a shot and then refine them next year.  Your kids aren't the sum of one holiday experience, one school year, one summer. That reality helps me walk a bit lighter and allows me to try new things without the fear that it may ruin everything.

Well, there you have it, friends. 

I hope your holidays are off to a meaningful start. I hope you won't feel pressured to do it all, but can rest in doing a few important things well. That's my hope for us and for you. 

Have a lovely weekend. 

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