Since all of December was either Advent or Christmas, that was what occupied us most this month. For the first time ever in our marriage, we didn't travel over the holidays. While of course we were sad to miss seeing family up in Erie, and miss the great family traditions we love, it also made Christmas very peaceful. And we were happy to welcome both Dan's mom and my parents for parts of Christmas and New Year's weekends. (Plus Penny the adorable dog!)
|our tree! (this is the Advent version - we put on more decorations at Christmas)|
Some of the particular highlights of December include:
- Coming home from work on December 6 to find a SECRET St. Nicholas gift on our doorstep!! It was a HUGE bag full of all kinds of goodies from someone in our neighborhood or at least local. What a blessing that was!!
- Hosting our first big party in our new home. While the numbers were somewhat reduced due to sickness, it was pleasantly snug and very cheerful. We sang Christmas carols, ate lots of great food, drank mulled cider, and read parts of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" (our second annual reading).
- Attending an Advent concert at the John Paul II Shrine where Dan works - such beautiful music plus hot cocoa and caroling afterwards.
- Dan turning in the second chapter of his dissertation - woo hoo Dan!! Two out of four means he's halfway there! (whoa-oh, living on a prayer....)
- Also attending the Handel's Messiah sing-along at the Kennedy Center that is always held on December 23. We went with friends and it was such a riot trying to follow along in the choral parts! The music is so moving and joyful - definitely an amazing way to prepare for Christ's birth.
The new year brings a lot of nostalgia too. We had hoped that 2016 would be "the year of our first adoption" - that obviously was not the case. We will keep hoping - the year is fresh and young again! However long it takes to adopt, that's how long it takes to meet the child meant for our family and vice versa. We are so grateful for the prayers and support of so many friends and family this year - it really means a lot!