Sunday, December 20, 2015

"Tis the Season...

As I heard a colleague say the other day, "Welcome to the busiest time of the year."  She, of course, was referring to our practice, and how the clients seem to be rolling in quite steadily.   This statement resonated with me, however, not only because of the business of work, but also because of the constant 'roll' of my life at this time of the year.
Brian's sisters:  Bridget and Maureen
Every year, it starts right around Thanksgiving. And it doesn't slow down until well into the new year.   And every year, I know it is coming;  yet somehow I never seem to be anymore prepared for it.  This year has been particularly crazy , now that I am back to work.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, spent in Western New York with Brian's side of the family.  The weather was unseasonably warm-- almost unheard of in this region, at this time of the year.    So we capitalized on it, and took a day to go to Letchworth State Park.

It may be Western New York's best kept secret.

There was a lot of this.....

and this......

and this going on....  

You really can't get enough when you are there.  

I was so grateful to have this enjoyable time with family, and take in all of God's splendor.

Back at the farm, we enjoyed time eating, drinking, and being merry.  It was a bit different this year, with Brian's mom being gone.  But we all chipped in and made Thanksgiving what it is meant to be:  time well spent with those you love.

Hopefully what is seen in the background here won't offend anyone.  But, we are in the country, and in the country-- they hunt.

It took some explaining for Lucy.  She is used to seeing deer running around in our backyard.  Alive.  To see them dead was a bit of a shock for her.  But we let her know that they are killed for their meat, and thanks to her cousin Connor, his family will now have a freezer stocked full of venison for the winter.

It didn't hit her right away, but later there were some tears shed for these guys.  

But oh, does Lucy love her cousin Connor so.   And he was so kind to come over one night and play with Lucy , cutting into time he was supposed to be with friends.   I was so touched by his thoughtful gesture.

Aunt Maureen french braided Lucy's hair.  I have no idea how she did it... every time I try it is a complete disaster!  Lucy was tickled to death!

Moving on to December.... Let the games begin!  First stop:  the tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree:

I bet we walked two miles trying to find our tree.  It wasn't because we were being particularly picky.  It was because the tree farm had been completely shopped over!

We are not sure if the rotation of trees was just light at the farm this year?  or because it was a lateThanksgiving and we got to the farm a week later?   The family we went with ended up leaving empty handed, not happy with the selection and not willing to settle.

We on the other hand, were determined. I  just couldn't justify walking around for an hour and not leaving with something!  It felt like that would have been a complete waste of time!  And time is not something to be squandered right now!   So, enter our Charlie Brown'ish tree.....

There she is behind Lucy.  That is the good side of her.  And let me say, she looked better in an open field than when we got her in the house.  

But with a lot of trimming and TLC, she ended up being okay.

We had our annual tradition to go see Santa with Lucy's BFF Abby.

December 6th every year marks a very special day.  The day that we met Lucy for the first time.  Our "Forever Family Day."  This year we surprised Lucy, and she woke up to this in her bedroom....

She chose her favorite pizza joint (Deweys) and her favorite ice cream place (Graters) to celebrate.  Same places as last year.   She may be picking up some habits from her mama, like the comforts of routines and good food.

In the midst of all our celebrations, we took some time to go see the new Peanuts movie with Lucy's friend Ellie.  (Yes, Ellie is the same age as Lucy!   Her mom once affectionately referred to our girls as David and Goliath.)  

Growing up,  my Mom was always so good about recognizing and celebrating the feast day of our patron saints.  She would give each of us something small on our feast day.   It has now become family tradition. The feast of St. Lucy is December 13th.

We got her this mug where the butterflies turn colors when they get hot.  She is always fascinated by it. Nothing better to drink hot chocolate from!

So, as you can see, there are many festive things that have happened in the Barnes' household. And we haven't even gotten to the two biggest!  Two very special birthdays are coming up....and we couldn't be more excited!  Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Princess Elsa

For the first time in three years, we actually had decent weather for Halloween! And just in case you were wondering..... the craze of all-things-Frozen has not yet died out with our little ones.  I don't know the final numbers, but I can confirm at least two of Lucy's classmates were also going as Elsa.  And while out trick-or-treating, I bet we saw at least five.

I will call the moments below her "pre-game" warm up.  I swear, if I have to listen to that "Let It Go" song one more time, I may pull all my hair out.  It doesn't make the song any more endearing that there are about 50 different versions of it on YouTube, with the Chipmunks performance of it being one of Lucy's favorites. Try listening to that ten times in a exaggerating.

And here is her pre-game meal:

By this time, Lucy was VERY excited to go out trick or treating.   
Can you tell?

Getting the final touches put on 
(the gloves, of course, "to control my powers, Mommy").... 

We have been capitalizing on some gorgeous fall weekends.  
Fires in the backyard are one of our favorites....

He probably won't like that I posted this pic, but I like it
(minus the bright, orange construction headband). 
It makes me wonder, what is he thinking about?

Brian has blazed a trail in our back woods...
 Just call him Paul Bunyan.

I have to say, it is quite magical. 
 I think Lucy really likes it.

Yes, we let our child stoke fires, 
and stand on unstable piles of logs. 

We found this lone survivor in the back yard.  

I think it stayed around just long enough 
so I could get this picture
and be reminded of summer one last time.

Our thoughts are now shifting to all that is to come,
with lots of celebratory events in our near midst.  
Can't wait!