... it's Christmas Eve.
All the planning and preparation is finished. The gifts are finished, wrapped and hidden away. The ham is ready to put in the oven for our dinner later today, and I've got a little time to rest and reflect.
It's really been a lovely December...
I was apprehensive heading into the holiday season... we've had so many really rough Decembers lately... There was the December that M's pdoc turned us into the county, sure we could no longer care for M at home, and I spent the Christmas season waiting for a caseworker to come knocking on my door. (They never did...) There was also the year that dh spent Thanksgiving in the hospital, and all of December recuperating at home. And the December my mom died, of course... that was a terribly hard year. Even last year was tough, between my crazy neighbor, R's horse dying, and M's pdoc pushing me into taking M to the pdoc who does ECT (it wasn't something we were seriously considering, and the pdoc turned out to be a really nice guy, it just took a lot of agonizing to be able to take that step).
In comparison, this December has been absolutely wonderful. The kids and I have done lots of fun, holiday things... starting with Liese's worship dance recital, and finishing up with seeing the holiday lights at The Wildlife Experience. In between we went to the movies, saw High School Musical on Ice, worked on an awesome winter unit study, had S for a couple of short visits, and worked on some fun projects to give as gifts.
I didn't take a lot of pictures of the things we did, but here are a couple I took at HS Musical...
You really haven't lived until you've seen twenty or so people in graduation gowns skating around amid flashing lights, music, and a few fireworks! (LOL)
M, R and S (who was having some attitude issues that day). Isn't this just the funniest picture? S had that look on her face virtually the whole day!
M has been getting increasingly unsettled as THE DAY gets closer (even with extra medication!)... but without the complications and worries we've had the past few years, it's been easier to help him get through these long (but short) days.
I feel so blessed this year... it's been so good just to be able to enjoy the wonder and anticipation of the season, without the extra worries and responsibilities that seem to have filled the past few Christmas seasons.
Here are some of the projects we've been working on...
These are the cookie jars the kids made. They followed a recipe, measuring and adding the ingredients to the jars in the correct order...
...then adding a label on the front with direction for how to make the cookies. (We worked from the book, "Gifts For the Cookie Jar" by Lici Roessner Wilson.)
Here are some of the mittens I made (I'll post the directions below, or in a separate post if I run out of time)
I made a whole batch of jalapeno jelly for dh (shhh... don't tell!). This was a selfish gift, I'm hoping that if he has his own jelly to eat he'll stop eating all my strawberry jam!
The kid's snowflake ornaments...
One of the mason jar candle lights I made...
(This was a difficult project, I don't know that I'd try it again...)
Well, the kids are up, the house is getting busy, so I'd better go.... have a wonderful, blessed, peaceful Christmas.
(Note to J: I'll try to get that mitten pattern posted this afternoon.)