The last two weeks have been so good for us. I love Christmas Break for so many reasons, but especially for the this-and-that of it all. The first half filled with a whole lot of this---jumping from house to house to celebrate Christmas, last minute shopping, baking, and wrapping, places to be and people to see. Then, as always, Christmas comes all too fast and before we know it, we're left with a truckload of presents, a bloated belly, and Christmas music that sounds weirdly out of place.
And then comes the second half. A week of recuperating--- of unpacking toys and detoxing from sugar cookies. A week of lazy mornings, bowl games, and afternoon naps. A week of preparing for a new year---a clean slate and fresh attitude.
I love Christmas break for so many reasons, and this year, Beau even managed to take an entire week off to enjoy our this and that.
S'mores by the fire. We may not have snow, but we spent many nights congregating by our fireplace during break. And when we weren't by the fireplace, we were settling into our new family room downstairs, lounging in oversized bean bags and catching up on the year of movies we missed.
A day with Charly. Last week, we took Cruz and Charly to the Phelps Youth Pavilion in Waterloo. We spent a morning here for Cruz's birthday and I have to say, it's even more fun now that he's walking. While we chased Cruz from center to center, Charly preferred to sit and color, even if it was a skeleton head from an exhibit about Ancient Mexico. Beau and Jordan built a pretty sweet fort out of life-size blocks, and we ended the day at Newton's for lunch. They were definitely sacked out by the time we left---Charly didn't even make it through lunch!
They look like they're in trouble.
We cooked - and ate...a lot. Of course, Beau had to experiment with his smoker. The Monday after Christmas, we cooked the feast we were planning to prepare Christmas Eve. Our signature sugarcane basted ham with spiced apples and pears, stuffing, potatoes, and salad. Beau smoked the potatoes and ham on his Egg and we were very impressed with the results. The meal was so good, however, I was definitely glad we decided not to tackle it Christmas Eve. What a lot of work!
We went on a date. While Grandma Kelly had her own date night with Cruz, Beau and I got cozy in the movie theater. We haven't been to a movie for so long, and it was such a treat. We ate a light supper, stuffed our sweatshirt pockets with candy from Hy-Vee, and got extra butter on our large tub of popcorn. We saw The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and it did not disappoint. Thrilling, suspenseful, intriguing...a little bit gruesome and a little bit disturbing---a definite must-see if you're into dark murder mysteries. I think I could have been at the sequel to Snakes on a Plane and still been content. It was break. I had nowhere to be the next day. Nothing pressing on the to-do list and my mom at home snuggling with my baby. Life was good.
We had another date night...at the caucus. Yes, Beau and I spent a few hours last night at the largest caucus site in the state of Iowa, at one of the most historic caucuses in Iowa's history. Maybe it was the fact that I was home all week to hear the media's continual coverage, listen to the countless political ads, and answer numerous cell phone calls from that familiar '515' number. And while that would be enough to turn many people away from exercising their rights at our state's caucus, I was interested in seeing what it was all about, and hoping to be a better informed person by the end of it. Turns out, I learned a lot last night. I learned what true democracy looks like, and while the camera may indeed add ten pounds, it also adds inches. Michele Bachman is extremely short, and Calista Gingrich's hair is extremely blond. Oh, and I also cast my vote!
And another date...with Grandma. Grandma Kelly came today to see Cruz and help me distract him so I was able to finish painting my living room (the results coming soon). We had lunch at Applebees, and chased Cruz through the mall for awhile. We ended our afternoon at Scratch, where we indulged in A Strawberry Whip, A Wedding Day, and of course, A Happy Day.
It was 'a happy day' indeed.
And when we weren't eating baked ham or watching movies in our bean bag chairs, we were slowing down the clock and hiding out in our house with Cruz. I've loved these stress-free days and nights at home, whether we're playing with blocks in his toy room, or watching him rock on his rocking puppy in the family room, our days have been filled with contentment and ease. The kinds of this and that that break should be all about.