Since Halloween, we traveled to CA and back for a wedding and visiting with family. We snuck some fun and friends in, as well. We were not in town long enough to see everyone who matters to us and we managed what we could.
A 16-hour drive there, Knott's Berry Farm, a wedding, precious time with Great Grandparents, a day with Grandparents, and another 16-hour drive.
After that trip, we felt that we will not be making a trip back to CA this year. So, we worked to craft plans for our first holiday season in Idaho. Thanksgiving turned out to be a day for our family to begin new traditions and make something totally tailored to our own enjoyment. We made crepes ("big pancakes"), a cheater's version of a traditional meal (turkey breast, potatoes, green veggies, stuffing, gravy, some apple or pumpkin or pecan dessert), some time spent in a conversation of reflection and gratitude.
Thanksgiving also brought an unexpected loss of a loved one. Jake's grandmother and grandfather were in a bad car accident the day we were driving home (a Tuesday). A week later his grandmother met Jesus face to face. The details of her last week on earth, as shared with us by Jake's mother, were divided... to say it best. She was in pain due to the accident and, sadly, that was never managed well enough to give her much relief. Despite that element, she was able to have a last chat with each of her children and their spouses, and each of her grandchildren. That was a priceless reality and I kept telling my mother in law "...in true Grandma fashion, she just wrapped it all up in a beautiful bow." Tears of sadness for our loss are greeted with tears of joy as we celebrate Grandma's legacy and how she's with Jesus in glory. We will see her again, praise God.
Christmas planning and execution has proven interesting. Jake's parents were just here for a quick visit, so we gobbled up as much time with them as we could. My folks are heading up next week for a few days and we will gobble up time with them, too. Simplistic doesn't even begin to describe our decorating/ planning and shopping practices, you guys. No tree. We just don't have a place for it. The single logical place in our rental is taken up by Soairse's crate. *frumpy face* So, we will dream and plan for next Christmas... in our own home, with our own stuff, and our new traditions. God willing... For now, we have stockings hanging from the mantle over the fireplace we can't use (flue issues). *sniffle* Jake bought a tiny, glittery, red Christmas tree and a short string of lights to further adorn the mantle. He can be so cute, y'all. He got creative when his folks were here for our Christmas time by running the yule log on his ipad and placing the ipad in the fireplace, resting on the actual logs we can't use.
Friends, can I just say how hard it is to not be living with your own stuff? We are beyond grateful for the blessing of our fully-furnished rental. It's been a saving grace because our stuff is still in storage and we don't have to unpack everything for the short term and pack back up only to unpack again. Yet, I want MY things. Not having our own items keeps the settled feeling away. I look forward to God bringing us to our next home where we can revisit our belongings and begin establishing deeper roots.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Holidays, Merriest Tidings...