We camped a week in the woods and came home to...humph!...a clean house.
You must understand first, that my children tease me mercilessly about my cleaning and picking up the house before we leave on a long trip. It gives me peace of mind to know that when we return the sink is empty of dishes and the washer/dryer are free and that I can just walk right in and start breathing again.
Kind of like a bed and breakfast reprieve.
So we walked into the house after being gone a week and my youngest said, "It's so clean in here."
and my other daughter said, "It smells like MeMe and PawPaw."
Despite the old, stuffy smell, I was quite please with myself.
We unloaded the camper and began the wash.
The next day we hung camping sheets on the clothesline and headed to church. A post-Thanksgiving meal was planned so that we could all be together because holiday meals are sporadic when three of your children are grown and gone and have in-laws to share.
I also filed away in my head that now, with two grandbabies, I wanted a time when our children could gather together, draw Secret Santa names, feast, decorate the house, and know where Christmas Eve/Christmas Day celebrating would be in an attempt, for what it's worth, to all be on the same page.
Glad we came home a day early.
I instructed the girls to get the Autumn/Thanksgiving bins down from the loft and put away all the autumn deco that had been placed in the sitting room.
They returned with towering loads of Christmas bins full of merriment.
They proceeded to ignore the stacked Thanksgiving items and partake of the Christmas merriment and glitter.
Suddenly, upon having to find empty spots to place Christmas deco, the 3800+ square ft. house was not as pristine as they envisioned after a week of living in a 29 ft. confined camper.
It was suggested that I was a hoarder and, with all the openings and closings of the door, the new puppy turned up missing. The holiday cheer threatened to dissolve into a fetish of feuding emotions. I reminded the girls that we were waiting on their siblings to arrive before decorating, instructed them to please put away the Thanksgiving deco, and went and took a seat at the computer.
I'm happy to report the puppy was found (at the neighbors), the child who smeared my longterm saving of homemade ornaments decluttered the house very nicely, and the house was cleaned and decorated much nicer than I could have.
I finished the piece I was writing.
And the Thanksgiving/Autumn decorations still adorned the sitting room corner.
Then there was the Christmas tree. Neatly trimmed and gilded. My girls are now at the age of envisioning their own glamorous Christmas trees and it always resembles one from Victoria Magazine, never one like I've invested in. I remember those days when my tree was always going to be fuller and prettier and fancier than the one my mother created in our family home. It never was. It never has been. Each year children added homemade ornaments to it and it has always been the little Christmas tree that only Charlie Brown and Linus could love.
A pile of timeless childhood ornaments lay abandoned on the floor. They forbade me to place them on the tree. Special rules were given to me to not even try sneaking any onto the tree.
The girls suggested we buy new ornaments. Gee, I've heard that Christmas carol before.
I agreed. Maybe we could do that and not buy any Christmas gifts.
They really did a great job on the tree but it looked nothing like Momma's decoupage of homemade, hoarded ornaments. And they were quite severe in making sure it remained that way. Ornaments, or lack of ornaments, did not matter. I was not to embellish it in any shape or form.
They also sadly pointed out a tree-topper malfunction. Only at our house. The star leaned sadly downward, like a catapult waiting to be launched.
A friend on FB cheerfully suggested that maybe it was pointing towards Jerusalem...though I'm sure he meant Bethlehem. ??? ;-) Girls say we should just leave it as is. It describes our family perfectly. Eh?
The Advent Wreath was briefly lost. And then found.
One of the girls hung it on the door as a door wreath.
For once I had picked up proper tall pointy Advent candles at a post-Christmas sale last January. Without proper candleholders, they were too tall and would not stay standing in the wreath. I quickly texted my son and daughter-in-law who were on their way to Wal-Mart to pick up some votive candles in purple and pink. It does no good to tell my boys to find a "rose" colored candle. Pink is sufficient. Squatty candles work best in this household anyway.
The one-year-old's mommy kept snatching him away from the tree while Uncle Garrett gamely trotted him over to it to touch the pretty lights. Our family is a contrast if nothing else, and the in-laws only make it more noticeable. ;-)