I know that it wasn’t Thanksgiving weekend up here in the Great White North, but reading so many thankful sentiments from my American friends put me into the thankful mood. Anyone who is a regular around these parts knows that I had about a month (OK, two) where I was having a rough go of it. I tried my best to pray my way out of it, to talk my way out of it, to write my way out of it. Some of it was season related, some of it was work related, some of it was not-for-posting-on-the-Internet related. I walked around with a dark cloud around my head and a heavy weight on my heart. Nothing I did seemed to shake whatever it was that had grabbed a hold of me.

I cried. A lot.

I also laughed a lot, which helped me make it through each day.

I’m in a far better place that I was in such a short while ago and I am thankful for that. The work-related stress has been downgraded from a code red to a code whatever-the-code-is-that-means-busy-but-will-not-induce-cardiac-arrest. Other issues have been dealt with and put to bed, some with restraints. I’ve been able to step away from my computer and soak in some of the good that comes from being a part of this family (OF AWESOME) that I belong to. This past weekend was no exception.

Our small town (Population: 11,443)(Yes, really) hosts a Festival of Lights on the last Friday of November. Main Street is closed to vehicle traffic, all of the merchants stay open late and there are vendors selling their wares in booths that are set up on the street. We always beeline it to the Mini donuts because, well, why wouldn’t you? The family sat on the curb to enjoy said donuts and I thought I should capture them in action.

Donuts

Thanks, Honey. Just for that, I’m posting this on the Internet.

I snapped a photo of the kids in their winter gear before we left and got this.

Cheeeeese

I asked them to turn the cheese down a notch and got this.

The Three

Much better.

The premise of the Festival of Lights (Or Light Up, as us locals call it) is that there is a countdown to 7pm. All of the Christmas lights are turned on, the crowd ooh’s and ahh’s and then I head for home with my family in tow because my fingertips have turned blue. I’m not even kidding – I hate to run my hands under hot water for a few minutes when we got home in order to thaw them out. I should probably get that looked at.

Saturday morning is when Emily has ballet class. Saturdays are also my heaviest workload. Rock? Hard place? You know each other intimately, don’t you? Matthew has been taking Emily quite frequently, but on Saturday she said that she wanted me to take her. I am pretty much never the first choice for our kids (Matthew is the favorite, complete with angels singing and a choir in the background) so I simply could not say no to her request. Besides, I get to see her dance (She’s awesome) and I get to take photos of my little ballerina.

Ballerina

No complaints, really.

Saturday night the dudes went to a hockey game for boys’ club and after Emily went to bed I decided to quit working for the day and help my husband out a bit. You see, he refuses to allow me to put up Christmas decorations until after Light Up. With ballet and the hockey game (And everything else we have going on) the chances of him stringing the lights on the tree this weekend were pretty much non-existent. I thought would spend a bit of time on Saturday night stringing lights and then sit down with a good book.

Except it took me almost THREE HOURS to string the lights and I wasn’t even finished when they got home. I wasn’t too worked up about it as I had the old school Amy Grant “Home For Christmas” album on repeat and some time to myself surrounded by pretty white lights. It could have been much worse.

The dudes could not be bothered, but Emily helped me finish decorating the tree on Sunday evening.

Miss Emily

While I’ve been decorating our tree the exact same way for nine years now, it still makes me happy every time I plug in the lights and look at it.

The Tree

However. I may have to change my surname to Griswold.

Back to Emily. You may not see it so much in the full shot, but she had her own technique of “decoration placement.”

Clustered

As a woman who spends an inordinate amount of time making sure that her decorations are placed just so, this would normally cause a lot of internal turmoil. Three kids and a dose of perspective later, I found it quite cute. I even left it that way after she went to bed. Go me.

So, yeah. I’m happy and I’m drenched in the love of family and friends (including many of you who smothered me with the affection I so needed).

It feels good to be out of the fog.

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Comments:

  1. Hannah November 30, 2009 1:29 am edit

    I’m SO happy to read this post!! Your tree looks beautiful, as it does every year. I’m glad the fog has lifted, my dear friend. Hugs!! xx
    .-= Hannah´s last blog ..Let the crazy begin … =-.

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:11 pm edit

      Back at you! xx

  2. Julia November 30, 2009 6:28 am edit

    I know that fog feeling and I know how it feels to be out of it, too. So glad to see this post! Happy Holidays :)
    .-= Julia´s last blog ..Robben Island – A Photo Montage =-.

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:11 pm edit

      Right back atcha, Julia! :)

  3. sherry November 30, 2009 6:51 am edit

    I love the tree and can’t wait to do ours on the weekend!
    .-= sherry´s last blog ..Lazy can be a virtue too =-.

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:12 pm edit

      I can’t wait to see it!

  4. C @ Kid Things November 30, 2009 7:32 am edit

    We put our tree up this weekend, too. The kids put a few ornaments in places where I would not have, and it has taken everything in my power not to move them. But it’s their tree, too, and if that’s where they want them then that’s where they are.
    .-= C @ Kid Things´s last blog ..Lights =-.

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:13 pm edit

      We usually do two trees (I KNOW) and the kids have free reign on the other one. We’re sticking to just one this year, so I have to learn how to share.

  5. kakaty November 30, 2009 7:43 am edit

    Like I said on Twitter, M decorated our tree the same way. I started to gently guided her to some new branches for most of the ornaments. However, I discovered later that she hung 2 of the christmas ball ornaments together on one low-hanging branch. Use your imaganination to picture what that looked like! I left it there, but added another ball, just to get that image out of my head.

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:13 pm edit

      Did you Twitpic it first and I missed it? Hee.

  6. Eric's Mommy November 30, 2009 8:11 am edit

    Glad you are feeling better :)

    My town only has around 5,000 people and we don’t really have anything cool to do around the holidays.

    Also, your tree is BEAUTIFUL!

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:14 pm edit

      Thank you! Our town is known as the “Town of Festivals” so there’s lots to do. We’re also close to two bigger cities, which also helps. Especially with our shopping options. :)

  7. Sizzle November 30, 2009 8:15 am edit

    I’m glad the fog is lifting. A little holiday cheer can help and some white sparkly lights. We used to help decorate the tree when we were kids and I know my mom would rearrange it when we went to bed. :-)
    .-= Sizzle´s last blog ..What did you do all weekend, Sizz? =-.

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:15 pm edit

      My Mom didn’t AT ALL. Our tree was also decorated with the cheesiest ornaments EVER and buckets of tinsel. It was still awesome, though. :)

  8. Sara November 30, 2009 8:36 am edit

    Hi Angela, Ah, yes, that fog thing. I’ve had that coming and going as well. I light a big fat candle when I feel it coming and keep it lit during the fog. There is something about the light and the warmth that is so primitive and communal and uplifting for me. Maybe it is a simple metaphor for the light breaking through the fog.
    I join the others in saying that I am glad that the fog has lifted!! Your tree is gorgeous and so are your kiddos!

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:16 pm edit

      Thanks, Sara!!

      I used to light candles in the winter and got out of the habit when we had kids. I might have to start again… :)

  9. hillary November 30, 2009 8:42 am edit

    I’m so glad that your fog has started to lift :) I plan on making some of your whipped shortbread this week to help lift mine.
    .-= hillary´s last blog ..There’s A Woman With A Mustache Who Won’t Let Me Be =-.

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:16 pm edit

      I haven’t done ANY baking yet. I might just have to start with the whipped shortbread.

  10. Sharon November 30, 2009 9:00 am edit

    Glad to hear your fog has lifted. It’s an amazing feeling once it does, isn’t it? :)

    Love the tree! I decorated mine this weekend too. It’s so nice to have the house looking festive and pretty!
    .-= Sharon´s last blog ..Looking for a good book (or two) =-.

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:18 pm edit

      Amen to both!

  11. Danica November 30, 2009 9:51 am edit

    Happy Christmas season, bring on the cheer! And your tree looks GREAT, by the way.
    .-= Danica´s last blog ..The Last Day =-.

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:19 pm edit

      Thank you. And Merry Christmas!

  12. JenniferB November 30, 2009 10:16 am edit

    Yea! I love it when you are happy! As for the GrizzlyMan who kidnapped your kids and fed them mini donuts — GO YOU for posting that photo! ;) We are hoping to get our tree up tonight for family night, but if I send you the picture of it, you have to promise to potty first before viewing, because you will either a) wet yourself laughing, or b) twitch uncontrollably because it is NOT so professionally done. Cheers!

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:20 pm edit

      Pfffffft. I don’t judge others’ trees. Bring on the pretty!

      Matthew will get a chuckle out of GrizzlyMan. Hee.

  13. witchypoo November 30, 2009 10:50 am edit

    It’s like breathing fresh air again to come out of the fog. I, personally, have grown to love kid-decorated trees. Now I don’t have any littles to add the magic touch.
    .-= witchypoo´s last blog ..Oink =-.

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:21 pm edit

      I’d lend you mine to help if you weren’t clear across the country. :)

  14. Jen Wilson November 30, 2009 12:11 pm edit

    Wow. So beautiful!! I’m glad Matthew holds you back until after Light Up. (Side note: a town that “small” doesn’t seem odd to me) (you know why) Noah has a Dec 1st rule that is punishable by death if broken. That would be tonight. Your tree is BEAUTIFUL and I’m actually looking forward to my tree now. And I’m usually the Grinch!! I told Noah that I was “thinking” about baking today and he turned around with a ginormous smile on his face like I’d just told him the most awesome news in the entire world. I had to remind him that “thinking” and “doing” were two totally separate words.

    One day he’ll find a wife who likes Christmas as much as he does.

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:22 pm edit

      He’s stuck with you, though. Too bad for him. ;)

  15. Hilda November 30, 2009 1:12 pm edit

    amy grant “home for christmas” yup that about does it. I had to get over my slightly ridiculous love of tinsel this year as tinsel and 2 toddlers don’t go so well together. My tree also has ornaments on only the top third of the tree. It’s real purty… or something anyway!
    .-= Hilda´s last blog ..This Kid and His Faces =-.

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:23 pm edit

      SMART, is what it is. We did the same when the kids were babies. :)

  16. Kami's Khlopchyk November 30, 2009 1:23 pm edit

    So glad you are feeling a bit better! Sometimes life tries to take us down, good for you for fighting it tooth and nail :)
    .-= Kami’s Khlopchyk´s last blog ..Oil and Vinegar =-.

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:25 pm edit

      Thanks, you. I know you’re as much of a fighter as I am. :)

  17. Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire November 30, 2009 1:38 pm edit

    I am so happy that the funk (because that is what I call it) isn’t so bad. Last year I got a really bad case of the funk at the beginning of December and it didn’t lift until after the new year. This year I feel so much better (thank you very much extended release tablet of my precious precious medicine) I can’t wait to get all the decorations up-now hubs just needs to finish the shelves so I can paint them & the living room so I can put up the said decorations.
    .-= Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire´s last blog ..Weekly Winners-My Friend’s Baby Edition =-.

    1. angella November 30, 2009 5:26 pm edit

      I can’t wait to see them!

      Also, hooray for feeling better. :)

  18. Lisa November 30, 2009 4:49 pm edit

    Happy to hear that you are feeling better! Amy Grant Christmas music is awesome. I love to put on an album and CRANK it!

    1. angella December 1, 2009 4:56 pm edit

      I’m listening to it again right now. :)

  19. Ashley November 30, 2009 5:44 pm edit

    Mmmmm mini donuts. I love Emily’s technique it mimics Bethany’s. She hung most of her ornaments on 3 branches and has for the past week proceeded to tell me about the ornament from her “Really First Christmas” and also to explain that since she put it there she should be allowed to move it. Um, how about…NO!
    .-= Ashley´s last blog ..Christmas GIVEAWAY #1 of 4! Little Eva Charlotte =-.

    1. angella December 1, 2009 4:57 pm edit

      Emily’s been pointing out her handiwork every, oh, ten minutes or so. :)

  20. Meg November 30, 2009 6:41 pm edit

    I’m glad you’re feeling better :D
    Emily is such a good helper!!! And SO CUTE in her leotard!!!
    .-= Meg´s last blog ..Drive =-.

    1. angella December 1, 2009 4:57 pm edit

      Hee. I love that outfit on her.

  21. Angelia Sims December 1, 2009 9:46 am edit

    Angella,
    This is such a precious post. I love all the photos, they are too cute. My boyfriend’s daughters did the same thing with the ornaments on the tree. Sweet!

    Glad you are feeling better as well. Nothing worse than being down during the holidays. They always seem to want to suck me under too.

    Cheers! Fellow Angel.
    .-= Angelia Sims´s last blog ..Timeless Memories =-.

    1. angella December 1, 2009 5:00 pm edit

      Cheers back at you, Angel girl. :)

  22. Kristabella December 1, 2009 12:21 pm edit

    I want donuts now!

    I was all excited to decorate last Wed. But then my excitement died. And then the tree I bought was missing 2 legs. So I just said eff it and hung up 2 stockings and called it a day. No one comes over anyway.

    Plus, I could get a SWEET deal on a tree this year after Xmas!
    .-= Kristabella´s last blog ..The Original Kristabella =-.

    1. angella December 1, 2009 5:04 pm edit

      That’s what we did! After Christmas is the best time to buy stuff.

      I still think you should get a third stocking… :)

  23. Janssen December 1, 2009 4:27 pm edit

    So glad things are looking up – that feeling of fog is so hard to fight.
    .-= Janssen´s last blog ..Tell Me What to Read: Round 6 =-.

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