Saturday, January 07, 2023

December as we knew it (Part 1)

As you can imagine, I have a lot of photos for December so I'm sparing you the endless scrolling and dividing the month's catalog into various parts, the number yet undetermined. (Updated to say, Three Parts.) In a recent Twitter discussion on Simon Sarris' timeline, someone described themselves to him as having the 'photography/documentarian mindset'. Part of her definition included this line: "by default you assume the role of an admiring observer who is searching for, believing in, and aspiring to serve beauty"

That seems an apt description of something I can relate to as I pile digital photographic scenes into digital folders, year after year after year. But as I tell my kids when they see me with my camera or phone eyeing up a shot, "Do you remember what this looked like last year? Do you think you'll remember what we did and how things were?" And then I take the photo no matter what sounds I hear coming from their general direction because I want to be able to revisit moments captured and examine them again at my leisure.

So in early December, we committed to finding a decent sized real Christmas tree for our living room with vaulted ceilings. Kate and I brought one home in the trunk of Shane's Honda and then I went back out to find what tree stand we needed. A couple of hours later, with a few holes drilled into the trunk to ostensibly help the water go up the tree, we placed the inaugural Balsam Fir into her new stand, tightened the screws and up she went. It was over and done so quickly and just like that, I had a new beautiful, but huge houseplant to water and tend.

Flossie was immediately intrigued and spend many hours sitting under the tree with only occasional nips at the branches and eventual ornaments. The original little artificial tree found it's way into Kate's room for her to decorate with abandon and enjoy. The more recent artificial tree from Ikea went out to do battle with the wind and weather on the front porch. It toppled over several times but took the repeated batterings well. I played around with some other front porch decor, but some of it did not do well outside. Oh well, live and learn. In early December, we participated in a Christmas Craft Day with our local homeschool group where each family came with a craft for others to do and the students picked whatever they liked to make. It was a lovely afternoon and our white clay ornaments were cheerfully painted by all sorts of makers.

The next weekend, some friends organized a Ladies Cookie night where we learned how to use Royal Icing on cookies. They had a table prepped with everything we needed and we had such a wonderful time working together with a lot of laughter. None of my decorated cookies are pictured because I ate them immediately because they were so good and because I had to leave early to pick Laura up from Youth Group. But we were gifted several of the cookies pictured and enjoyed it all so much. Kate's 15th birthday was celebrated with just us girls in the morning as Shane arrived home from a work trip to Ottawa by plane after lunchtime and Seth was due to be picked up from school later in the afternoon. With all of these logistics, I had decided in advance to order pizza and buy the mousse cake from Costco. I bought her birthday carnations, hung her birthday garland of felted wool and added some red crepe paper trees with matching curling ribbon from her presents. It was festive and allowed me to feel that we were honoring her birthday as separate from Christmas. She received a ton of clothes and games that we actually shopped for in the Freeport Outlets on our way home from visiting my parents in Pennsylvania at the end of November. Friends and family also gave her scarves, pajamas and money, but the best part was having everyone home together with her.

P.S. Yes, I did hang Starburst candies on a green crepe paper tree for Seth and add other treats and snacks in his room. Teenage guys and girls need a few fun things waiting for them at home.

(If you want to get to December Part 2 easily, click here.

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