Thanksgiving weekend is the last somewhat sane weekend in a military chaplain's schedule until after Christmas. The Advent season is busy for ALL pastors. However, to the Christmas programs, Christmas parties, Christmas Eve Services, New Year's Eve Services, Thanksgiving Service, Ladies and Men's programs, one must add all the squadron parties and wing parties....lots of them....lots and lots. After 12 years in the chaplaincy, we've learned to carve out some family time during this weekend. ::snort:: I'm chuckling because Mike really only had one full day off on this 4 day weekend - Friday. Though the way the weather is looking the base may well close before our services tomorrow.
Friday we lazed around. Then we decorated. Today Mike cleaned out the ever full lent trap and hose of our dryer. We lazed around some more. We did some more decorating. We discovered that my favorite "Celebrate Jesus" sign from Messengers of Truth was destroyed last year. This was a gift from our sister in law before they became so popular. Unfortunately, you have to order 50 of them at a time - and we don't have the $ for 50. ::snort:: I'm going to check ebay for some sort of yard sign.
Mike's been at the chapel for about 5 hours, so I've had lots of time to finish up details in the living room and change to a winter look on the blog.
We bought screen material on ebay and Mike made a frame - we made our own "big screen". Though we don't have TV, we do have a projector. I'm not real good with numbers on ebay and so we ended up with about 4x the screen material we expected. Mike made two frames...this weekend he put latches on them so that they can be latched together for one GIANT screen. Part of our Day After Thanksgiving tradition is to watch The Muppets Christmas Carol in the evening and WOW was it up close and personal. You can see how much taller than Jared (nearing 6 feet) the screen is. ::snort::
Jared and Mike hauled decorations from the attic (Jamin and Josiah were working 12 hour shifts on Black Friday)
Some of you may remember that last year (with Mike deployed) I could NOT figure out HOW to fit a Christmas Tree in our living room. Ah - diagrams - floor plans! That's the trick.
I've listened to NUMEROUS movers complain about how heavy this piano is. One of our last movers split his pants moving it....but my two men moved it with relative ease.
I will confess that I MISS hiking in the woods and finding the nearly perfect Christmas Tree - but it was COLD yesterday and I was glad to have a tree ready to put up. ::snort::
Stacia fell asleep about this time. While she napped we tackled the tree. We decided to decorate again this year with the "children's ornaments". Every year since they were babies we've made a photo ornament for each child. We now have enough of these gems to decorate a tree. I cried when I put Bre's baby photo on the tree. We laughed when we saw the year that we'd simply cut out pictures, glued them on blocks, and put a screw in the top of them. Living on $600 a month with 5 kids was tough. It was incredibly special to unpack each of those ornaments. I'm not sure when we'll let the children have them, but eventually they'll each get a set.
This is the FLATTERING photo the man took. I'm still not "real" enough to post a photo of my hiney portruding from a tree.
Stacia woke up and inspected the tree.
We used to have a big tree topper debate in our home (angel or star). One year as I listened to Mike's message about the "babe born in the shadow of the cross" something clicked. That year we created a crown of thorns to top our tree. It's not a REAL one, because I see they sell them in stores now for big bucks. We made ours out of a grapevine wreath.
When the tree was all decorated we circled around and discussed the meaning of Advent, God's extreme love for us, and then we let Zander top the tree. This job will fall to Stacia next year.
Zander did NOT like the Boy Scout Gourmet Popcorn and made plain stuff for himself.
I'm really not ready for our season of thanks to be over....our Thankful Tree is still on our wall.
Mike is still not home, but it's time for me to snuggle under the down comforter. We don't get many wintery nights down here and I plan to grab a book and settle in.