Yup. It is still up in all its Christmas glory. The branches don't even look droopy yet. When we walk in the house after being gone all day, it smells more like winter and pine than it did when we bought it. And today it snowed! For the first time this winter!
Are those not reasons aplenty to have O Tannebaum still around?
The last month, life has been a speedy revolving door of leaving and going, people coming and staying. That's the real reason the whole shebang is yet twinkling from the corner. Some ornaments have fallen off (in the back) and the needles are migrating to the floor (all over). I think I heard it say last night that it's just happy to not be lying out by the woodpile, smooshed and wet.
Now, the many faces behind my tardy tree taking-down...
The week before Christmas, we helped our friends Nick and Brittany move to Topeka. We ate great Thai, unpacked the Uhaul truck into a storage unit in the dark, moseyed through brown and gray hills on empty trails, and drank lots of chai. I didn't get a single picture. We will miss and have already missed them many times. It is bittersweet to watch dear friends move on to what God has planned when it means they will be not near anymore.
We spent Christmas Eve with my family at Mom and Dad's house. There was hide and go seek,
warm fuzzy Christmas Eve pajamas,
a sweet girl who, after ripping through hers, helped everyone else open their presents,
and the joy of spending one last Christmas with these guys before they move across the Big Pond.
Then there was Christmas with Aaron's family. Grandma Dixie always buys 10 lotto tickets for every family member; we hunt for them after presents are exchanged. Isn't that fun? It's hit and miss. Usually as gambling goes, more miss. I won $17 this year, and Aaron won zip.
The obligatory in-front-of-the-tree pose with Aaron's mom, dad, and brother. I am waiting for a sister-in-law; the latest reports indicate Ryan is making progress in that direction, and I am trying to be patient. Another girl would add some nice balance to the classic tree picture, don't you think?
We got home from Christmas traveling, and the next day, my college friends started arriving. Since graduation, it's been a steady tradition to spend New Year's weekend together. It is harder and harder to gather every year as people keep spreading and life circumstances keep changing. Still, it is a precious, precious time, and I wouldn't trade it for any other New Year's party. These people are the ones that sharpened me and steered me toward Christ during a special season of life!
Cooking with Emily, who has domestic abilities to which I can only aspire.
A pizza which Aaron and I fondly dub First Anniversary Pizza. Good on non-anniversary occasions too. Layer olive oil, blue cheese, asiago cheese, figs, and prosciutto on a pizza crust. 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees. Skepticism is okay, but trust me, it is a winner. Don't overdo the blue cheese as it can take over all the other tastes.
We lingered long around the table.
The friends left, and then it was on to Branson for the annual K-Life Staff Conference. Aaron tried out a hurricane simulator. Weird, I know.
At the end of the conference, K-Life throws a fancy banquet. We are in front of a giant Christmas tree, but really, how awesome is it that my placement lends me the look of a giant red hair bow?
I put the suitcase back in the basement this morning. We don't have plans to travel for the next month at least. We're gonna stay put and drink lots of cocoa, tea, and coffee. We'll have kids over to play games, and the farthest we'll venture is three miles across town to cheer at the high school basketball game.
And we'll do it all under the happy glow of our Christmas tree.