Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

We are headed to the mountains on a little getaway over Thanksgiving weekend. Just the Four Shorties, me, and The Husband. I'm really looking forward to going off and doing a whole bunch of nothing. I'm baking a turkey breast on turkey day, because all we care about are the sandwiches. This is my kind of vacation. There's no theme park, no swimming pool, no agenda...just a cabin with a fire place, a hot tub, and a huge game room to keep the kids occupied. WHOO-HOO!

We're pulling the kids out of school one day early before they officially let out for Thanksgiving to give us a longer trip (since we have to be back for Sunday). One of the girls was freaking out about getting an unexcused absence on her permanent record. How sick is that? Since when do kids worry about that sort of thing? I'd have been thrilled to miss a day of school for no apparent reason with the blessing of my parents, but not my babies. They won't get a ribbon or some other wonderful prize if they miss a day without being sick. What is happening to our youth? When I'm the biggest rebel in the room, it's Houston, we have a problem.

Since we are going to be out of town for Thanksgiving, we went ahead and decorated the house for Christmas, just to get that out of the way before the busy month of December begins. We put out the colored icicle lights, the big yard art gingerbread house and people, outlined the doors and windows in colored lights, and I added something new this year. I made these huge candies out of Styrofoam and colored plastic wrap to look like lollipops and gumballs. Then I rigged them to the side of the shutters and walls to make the house look like, well, a gingerbread house.

At several points, The Husband had to hang precariously off of a ladder. (We borrowed it from a neighbor since we aren't tool savvy enough to even own our own ladder.) I had to balance the bottom by standing on it so that he wouldn't go flying off into the bushes. I grinned up at him on one particularly harry leaning-and-reaching moment, casually squinted up at him and said, "Your insurance is up to date, yes?"

He laughed and said, "Why? Thinking about cashing in? I can see it now, we're an edition of Forensic Files on TV. I can hear the voice-over now... Cue creepy dead music while rolling the reinactment video. Evidence suggests that Pastor Johnson was leaning precariously over the holly bushes when his wife either let the ladder go or pushed, you decide."

He thinks he's funny.

We finished this little production at around dusk and stepped back to the street to admire our handy work, when he smirked over at me and said, "So, if this is the gingerbread house, does this make you the witch in the woods who tried to fatten up and eat Hansel and Gretel?"

Hmph. I might not be THAT particular witch, but I guess that's more than a little ironic. (Of course, I then chased him through the yard beating him about the head and shoulders with an empty cardboard roll from the Mylar wrapping, giving more weight to his charge about the witch thingy.)

The kids have their big choir production tomorrow at church. We were so into the lighting design outside that we forgot to send them down the dress rehearsal and they were late for practice (figures, preacher's kids). I'm sure that little production will produce an anecdote or two (or three, knowing my kids). I'll be keeping that camera handy, I can tell you.

So, happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! It's really a good time to take stock of the many reasons you have to be thankful. I'm acutely aware of the amazing blessings in my life (they keep waking me up in the middle of the night wanting a drink of water or coloring on my favorite chair): My beautiful children who are insane, loud, difficult, demanding, mouthy, funny, crazy, silly, goofy, sweet, kind, great snugglers, smarty pants, and perfectly wonderful in every single way. I can't imagine what we did before them. I can't imagine what we'd do without them. (Well, maybe sleep later in the morning...but other than that, it's all good.)

I have a Husband who puts up a mile-and-a-half of icicle lights annually without a single complaint, eats whatever I put out for dinner even when it's Leftover Corndog Night at Casa Johnson, loves me when I'm foul (which is frequently), and endures my many mood swings, strange quirks, and idiosyncrasies with a grace that must be divine in nature. He is one of the best things that has ever happened to me; I don't deserve him for a second, but I'm smart enough that I'm not giving him up. (He IS my Edward. Hey, Twilight to you.)

My Mother has lived in good health longer than I ever imagined possible from February to now. She is such an amazing example of Christ in someone, that I don't know where to start. She has been strong, funny, considerate, and compassionate in her own illness. We've been given the most amazing gift of quality time together, and I'm so thankful. She's cracked so many jokes about her own circumstances, that there is no room for sadness. And we know that the Lord has a plan and is in control. Really, the rest is just conversation.

I'm thankful for my father, who has been a source of strength and council and help like I can't put into words. I love him; he is an amazing man and I am proud to call him Daddy. I have an extended family and friendship base that is parallel to none. I have more than I could have ever thought to ask for. I am rich in every way that a person can be. I am thankful for not just these things, but for the saving grace and power of Jesus Christ in my life, for without Him, all of this means nothing. I wish your homes the same blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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