As I've been saying practically on repeat for a couple months now, I wasn't sure what this Thanksgiving weekend would hold with that's been going on, and it definitely was different. But what a crazy, wonderful long weekend full of good stuff it turned out to be!
Many parts of Thanksgiving turned out to be just slightly odd, but I guess the core of it was still pretty solid. Usually we go to Buffalo on the Wednesday before to gather with Craig's family at a local bar in memory of his Uncle Mike who died six years ago. But this year the bars were closed in Buffalo so that couldn't happen. Our church was only offering in-person church on Wednesday night, but Jacob had a basketball thing so that didn't work. So, instead we stayed at home Wednesday night and I made pies, packed, and gathered up a couple gifts and cards we had to take with us. We watched church online Thursday morning and then miraculously hopped in the car on time.
We had a traditional meal with my parents for lunch, which was nice. Even that was different, though, since they just got a larger kitchen table and new carpet in their dining room and opted to set us all up in the kitchen instead. After digesting, we headed off to Craig's family. Because just that group of immediate family was over the 10-person limit, we wore masks the whole time except when we sat down to dinner. Was it a little odd? Sure. But was it worth it to feel less guilt and fear over gathering? Absolutely. As usual, the day involved far too much delicious food and lots of good family time. We headed back to my parents' for the night, because I had baby time on tap the next day!
So remember a few weeks back when I hinted that we received some really good news but it wasn't ours to share? Well...the Thursday after Election Day, I got a call from my oldest friend, Heather. It was a little odd to get a call from her, so initially I was a little nervous that something bad happened. But when she asked if I was sitting down, she completely shocked me by sharing that the day before they'd received a call...and they would be picking up a baby boy the NEXT DAY! You have to understand--they've been trying to adopt for about 10 years now. She had long known she was unable to have kids, but traditional adoption routes were a bit out of their budget so over the years they've tried to find an affordable way to adopt. They went through a couple different agencies, one hopeful situation turned heartbreaking, and all these long years of waiting. And now, out of nowhere, a baby! I was so thrilled for them. I was honestly also a little overwhelmed at the thought of a couple days' notice of taking on a baby, let alone at this stage in life, but when you've waited this long, I'm pretty sure none of that really matters! Sure enough, Friday night that baby boy was in their arms! It felt like a literal, modern day miracle. Not sure any baby was ever more prayed for! And now he was here!
Fast forward a few crazy weeks, and on the day after Thanksgiving, my mom and I went over to Heather's mom's apartment to meet baby Mason!
|This is a great picture of them, although the prior picture on the roll was taken while my grandpa was waiting for my grandma. He was leaning on the door looking annoyed at his kids for spending the money on a limo, which was pretty awesome, too.|
That night they went out to dinner with my dad's brother and his wife, plus a couple who is very good friends with both couples. Even that got a little crazy because it was an expensive place (same place at the casino that Craig and I used to go for his work Christmas party--my uncle insisted and was going to pay), but then my brother beat my uncle to the punch, which ended up being a whole other thing! But as a whole, they had an amazing day, and that's really all that matters. It's definitely not how I thought we'd celebrate, but it all worked out.
I finished off most of my house decorations Saturday night, and then Sunday ended up being a pretty quiet day. I did a little shopping and yard work, and eventually did all the tree ornaments. The tree is super fun, by the way. It's half a foot taller and it really fits the space perfectly. My only complaint is that the top branch for the topper is a bit too floppy--our usual topper works but I wanted to try out the one that's on our other tree and that one was much too heavy. So if I want to do that down the road I need to rig something up. But the best part of this tree is the crazy light show! This tree has something like 100 functions, but mostly there are seven colors and a handful of multicolor options (regular multicolor, red-green, red-white, green-white, blue-white, red-green-white, red-white-blue) and you can have them steady, flashing, gradually changing, whatever. It's basically the new toy around here and is sort of like a big mood ring, I guess! Pick your mood today! At any given moment Jacob will have changed the color, so I never know what tree I'll see when I get up from my desk!
|White lights--the only drawback is that they no longer match the incandescent lights on the wreath and railing...but oh well.|
|I love the red, green, and white options. Red and green by themselves are a bit overpowering (even on a lower brightness) but when mixed they are perfectly Christmasy!|
So, now here we are. It's December 1st and the countdown has officially begun...literally. As if four Advent Calendars weren't enough, I did this little Pinterest-inspired one last night while Carter was working on his art project. I figured since we're home so much, maybe a little old-school-inspired one might be fun to add to the mix. I feel like I did one like this as a kid. Maybe if I really get going I'll do a paper chain, too, just for old time's sake! I feel like we used to do one every year in school, but I suppose in a diverse, multicultural school, that can't really be a thing. Maybe they should count down to Christmas break instead, as it was a good art project with all the cutting, linking, and waiting for glue to dry before moving on to the next one. And I loved watching my chain get shorter!
Admittedly, though, I'm just not feeling Christmas at all right now. Even with the decorations, two trees, the Christmas music in my car, and all of the Christmas media everywhere, I'm just not there. I think part of it is the lack of snow so far. We haven't had any that stuck more than a couple hours, so that's not helping. After all, we just had 80 degrees happening a few weeks ago. But I think the other part is knowing that so much will be missing this year--Christmas parties and events and extended family celebrations chief among them. I actually briefly lost it a bit in the car after my trip to Wegmans last night when I realized even the Christmas music wasn't doing it, and that normally flips a switch when all else fails. I truly think part of my brain is still stuck on pause back in March, waiting for the summer and fall we never really had. Christmas was among the last "fun" things we did normally, and now all of a sudden we're back here again, but it's just not feeling the same. And because so much of my Christmas tradition is steeped in family time, I'm just not sure there's anything that will be able to fill that hole. I know it's still early and I hope it gets better soon, but right now it's harder than I expected.
Even still, it was a weekend full of things to be thankful for, from the dinners that could have not happened but did, to a sweet baby and major milestone. We are blessed, even in the midst of this wacky year that's thrown everything for a loop. I know it's true but it's taking a little while for my heart and my head to catch up with each other. This pandemic has changed a lot and the holidays will be no exception. I know I have to find the good stuff and hope that this is one of those times where the odd, different stuff turns into the memorable stuff, but right now it feels a little overwhelming. Maybe I just need sleep...or a tiny Christmas miracle. Or both. Only one of those is in my control, so let's start there, shall we? Good night...