It has been way too long since we've vacationed as just us (we had 3 weeks of vacation this year: 1 was a work-on-the-house addition week, 1 was at the beach with my sister's family, and one left), so with Daniel having vacation time available we decided to take this past week of vacation and just stay home. It was a welcome break after a whirlwind of Thanksgiving related trips and events. Daniel had a list of projects he wanted to work on and got quite a few things accomplished!
On Monday he and the girls spent the morning outside getting things ready for him to gather leaves. They took a trip or two around the yard on the lawn-mower just for kicks. I spent a lot of that morning catching up on the mountain of dishes that had piled up over the preceding very busy days. I enjoyed being able to work without interruptions. :) At one point I looked out the window and saw this:
Tuesday day he spent the day helping a friend with an urgent project they needed his help and expertise with. That was a long day for me, but we're all glad he was able to fix their problem (which was a safety hazard). Because we needed to do it and since Daniel was going to be gone all day the girls and I did a major grocery shopping trip to Costco and Kroger. It was a morning and most of the afternoon ordeal and I was about done-in till we got home, but we made it and the coffers are restocked for a while!
On Wednesday Daniel spent a few hours in the morning and all afternoon getting wood from a
friends' property to boost our firewood supply. There is still a lot
left that he wants to get, but he was glad to be able to get what he did
get in one day. (It is just cut, not split yet.) That morning I just did not feel like being home doing home-things so
the girls and I went and did a little Christmas shopping. I didn't find what I was looking for at that store but did find a great gift for
Susannah. She spied it first in the store and doesn't know I bought it.
:) That night we watched the original Winnie The Pooh movie that I picked up for $1 a while back. Susannah has been asking to watch it and it was perfect for winding down the day together as a family.
That evening while waiting to eat supper Sylvia gave me the perfect opportunity to get a picture of how she sucks her fingers and holds her blankie. She likes to make a "hole" in her blankie, wrapping the satin trim around the pointer finger of her left hand. This is how she snuggles, cuddles and sleeps. Sometimes she will wrap the little finger of her right hand (the one she sucks) AND the pointer finger of her left hand and snuggle that way. Aaaand... of course sometimes she sticks her finger up her nose to be silly. :)
Thursday the girls and I spent much of the morning outside playing while Daniel worked on getting his load of recycling ready to take to the scrap metal place. It was an unseasonably warm day and it was good to get a bunch of fresh air and exercise before the cold front started coming in. That evening we watched The Sound of Music Live!, starting out with all of us watching and then we tucked the girls in about half-way through. Susannah loved it and has been asking to watch "the lady with the children" again. It was great to just sit and relax together.
Friday morning Daniel puttered around here doing different things outside and then in the afternoon tore the car apart to fix a leak in the heater core and trying to find a possible leak in the radiator. Thankfully the radiator did not have a leak! I purposely made sure we would eat supper a little bit early so we could go on a family date afterwards. As soon as supper was over we got into our coats and drove to a small but very good Gelati (Italian ice cream) place. None of us had ever had gelati before but I've always had high recommendations from friends. It was a really fun and special treat. Daniel had Cookies & Cream, I had a scoop of Dark Chocolate (so, so, so good!) and a scoop of Mango (also good, but the Dark Chocolate was the best), Susannah chose Pomegranate since she wanted pink ice cream and that was the pink one she chose, and Sylvia had Strawberry. We all had tastes of each others' flavors and they were all yummy. The flavors were very true and fresh tasting.
Saturday morning was another exciting time! We went and got our Christmas tree. We had been planning to go to a tree farm, but spied a pre-cut lot while we were out Friday. We decided to look there first and found a very pretty tree to bring home. This is the first time we've had a fir tree and it is considerably heavier than the pines we've had previous years. Getting it to stay in the upright position was a little more of a challenge since it is heavier, but we finally got it up!
Saturday afternoon it started a wintery mix of weather and our church services were cancelled Sunday. We had a very relaxed breakfast (Daniel made us all eggs and toast), stayed in our pajamas for a while, I took a much-needed unhurried shower, and then had a time of reading Scripture and the Jesus Storybook Bible.
After that Daniel started stringing the lights on the tree. I caught this picture of Sylvia and Daniel. :) The lights are on the tree now and I will work at decorating it this week. It is really pretty just as it is, too!
Since Daniel did not officially work on any projects Sunday we had a nice relaxing afternoon. Since he was home and everything was going smoothly, I mixed up a batch of gingerbread cookie dough towards the end of naptime (it had to chill in the refrigerator for a while). After supper we cleaned off the table and we all worked at making cookies. It was quite an adventure and I think Daniel got a little dose of what my daily life can be like sometimes. ;) He helped Sylvia with her ball of dough and I helped Susannah.
Sylvia was all about poking the dough with her fingers and was finished before the dough ran out.
Cheesing at the ceiling instead of the camera!
Susannah wanted to try all different cookie cutters so it took a little longer for us to get through our dough and fill our cookie sheet, but we got there!
Then the fun part of adding the sprinkles!! That may well have been Susannah's favorite part. I got out all the sprinkles and sugars that she could use and let her go to town with them on "her" tray of cookies.
Some of her cookies were very well sprinkled!!
Sylvia was too busy doing other things to sprinkle her cookies so the first tray went unsprinkled. Daniel had fun doing the few cookies that ended up on a 3rd tray. I think he was secretly having fun. ;)
Susannah's cookie tray... and she wasn't finished yet! The large train cookie got lots and lots more sprinkles till she finished!
Susannah made sure that Daniel's cookies had enough of all the right colors of sprinkles on them.
While the cookies baked we got the girls into their pajamas. Before brushing their teeth they each got to eat a smaller cookie, fresh from the oven.
Today Daniel is back to work and both girls asked where he was when they woke up. The snow and ice are melting and pretty much gone (but a good possibility of snow in the forecast tomorrow! Yippee!). It is back to the reality of single-parenting for me and delving back into real housekeeping and homemaking. I think it was Tuesday afternoon that I decided we were going to use paper plates for ALL of the remaining vacation meals. Even though there were still dishes from cooking, utensils and cups to wash or run through the dishwasher, it was nice to be able to just open the trash can and have the dirty plates gone! Somehow we still generated enough dishes to run a dishwasher full every day. :)
Having this break between the busy of Thanksgiving and the upcoming busy of Christmas was so nice. It was great to not have to pack suitcases and haul our stuff anywhere. We got to sleep in our own beds, have all of our cupboard, freezer and pantry things at our fingertips, we didn't have to worry about the girls touching or breaking things that don't belong to us, and best of all we didn't have to pay anything to stay here or buy gas to travel anywhere!
I might just be thinking about suggesting that have staycation this week every year!