We put our Christmas tree out on the curb on Friday, the last vestige of Christmas 2013. I was sad to see it go. As we packed up Christmas this year little thoughts of “what if” and “i wonder” tried to creep into my head but I quickly squashed them back down. This was probably the best Christmas that we have had in recent memory. I love our traditions like trekking out to our favorite Christmas tree farm to cut down just the right tree. This year was especially fun since the hills were snowy and slick so maintaining your footing was an additional challenge. I love rediscovering favorite ornaments each year from the starfish with the missing leg and stocking cap to Dave’s favorite Monopoly man. The kids have stories and memories for each ornament they hang. A newer tradition is Flick, our elf. (For those unfamiliar, the elf perches somewhere in the house and observes all the goodness going on and at night he flies back to the North Pole to update Santa.) I am quite sure that Parker no longer believes this is true, but all the kids get a kick out of seeing where Flick will turn up next. We did our yearly drive through the Festival of Lights at a nearby park. Cookies and milk were laid out on Christmas Eve. And this year, unprompted, the kids really got into the gifting side of Christmas. It was fun to see their excitement over finding or making just the right present for another.
Sam headed back to school on Tuesday. She is already back into the swing of things with classes started and friends reunited. I am getting a few homesick text messages. I think that she is already seeing that life at home is pretty sweet after being “on her own” for a semester now. The house feels emptier now with decorations packed away and my oldest child (and all of her friends) out of the house. As I was saying to one of my SILs, we are getting back into a routine, just a different one than before.