Inspired by DaniGirl's post today over at Postcards from the Mothership, I've decided to share five things that are making me happy this Christmas. Also, I can't come up with anything else to write about because my head is FULL OF CHRISTMAS. So here's my list (and here's Dani's):
1. It's great to be back in Regina. Not, so much, because Regina is a great place to be, but because it's full of great people whom I love greatly (Had enough of the word "great"? Should I have used "dearly" instead?). My last trip out here was for my dad's funeral -a decided less happy/cheerful/merry/jolly event- and it was a very quick, very full, very emotional few days. This time we're here for over three week and it's been nice, so far, to just enjoy being here.
2. I love watching my boys play with their cousins. Sure they fight, they're little boys after all. There are squabbles and tears and misunderstandings and cardboard-wrapping-paper-tubes-turned-jousting-lances-or-swords that make contact with cheeks or eyes instead of chests or shoulders, but they genuinely enjoy each other's company. Although their Grandma has almost had her fill of poop and fart and toilet jokes around the dinner table...
3. Although we've known of Simon's wheat allergy for two years, this week marks my first real foray into gluten-free baking. Not only do I have some chocolate cake and peanut butter cookies that I brought with me from Gatineau, but earlier this week I made some ginger cookies, and I currently have some dark chocolate chip and cranberry cookies in the oven and some shortbread dough waiting in the fridge. ALL GLUTEN-FREE. When I told Peter over the phone what I was doing, his response was "That's ambitious." He and I both know that I've had more failures than successes in the kitchen when it comes to gluten-free baking (cooking I can do, but baking gets tricky with all the substitutes Simon requires). I'm so excited to see the look on Simon's face when I set down a plate of treats in front of him. Even if everything is not an exact replica of their wheat flour counterparts, the extra effort will be worth it because HE is worth it (besides he's never tasted the "real" ones so has no point of reference).
4. The summer that Peter and I got married, my older sister also got married, and my younger sister moved out to go to college. An instant empty nest. That winter, my parents took in their first international ESL student. Since then there have been almost a dozen students from China, Korea and Japan who have lived in my parent's home. At the time of my dad's death last year, it was just my mom and my sister in that big house. We wondered if my mom would be able to afford the mortgage, if she'd be lonely, if it would be depressing to go home to an empty house every night. Instead of selling, my mom decided to continue with the international homestay students. Currently there are two girls staying there who are two of the warmest, sweetest, most fun and helpful and friendly students to ever stay there. It has been an absolute pleasure to meet/get to know them better, and I am SO GLAD that my mom has them in her life.
5. I'm thankful that my biggest stress this holiday season is being less than confident that the gifts I've chosen for my family will be as well received as I hope. I am so blessed to not have to worry about where I'll be sleeping tonight or where my next meal will come from. I am so fortunate to not to worry about political upheaval or civil unrest or the physical safety of my family. I am so grateful for my loving family (near and far), Peter's job (that he enjoys AND is in his chosen field), healthy/happy/amazing children, and WONDERFUL friends. We are SO BLESSED.
What's making you thankful/happy/joy-filled this holiday season?