Look at all those presents under the tree! All wrapped and ready to go, with just two final items to buy this week. This is the first year I've been this early, and I'm a little afraid a certain 13 year-old will consider a week's time is fair game for him to shake (and maybe even peek) at his gifts to see if he can figure out what Santa is bringing him. And in addition to having almost all my gifts purchased, I am also getting my Christmas cards out early! Early for me, that is - most years I end up sending a "Happy New Years" photo card out, but this year's are going out this week.
I'd love to say I've discovered the secret to being incredibly organized this year, and I could share some juicy tips with all of you about HOW I did it - but it is really just a combination of a few things. One of the best things was that financially, I had some extra cash this year from a change in policy and one-time payout on accumulated sick time at work. So that money made it easy to go ahead and purchase everything without pulling money from savings or worrying about how much was allotted from each check over the past six weeks.
As for my Christmas cards, I was able to finish them earlier than usual because I wasn't trying to get a family picture at Thanksgiving. Instead, my friend Eric took photos of me and Jace in the park, back in early November. So that gave me plenty of time to pick out which photos to use and make a trip to Walgreens to make my cards. Thank you again, Eric!
Here was one of the photos that I used on the card:
We had so much fun with the photos, and my 13-year-old still let me be all affectionate with him, which was great. I used four photos on this year's card - it had been way too long since I've had any photos of us taken; I won't let it go that long again.
Let's see - back to Christmas prep... another big piece of my early Christmas preparation has been that I'm dating the #1 biggest fan of Christmas. Brian absolutely loves Christmas, and all the traditions that go along with it… the guy had his tree up before Thanksgiving! He is just like a kid about the holidays, and is so excited to make the holiday special for his 3-year-old… and that kind of excitement is pretty contagious.
Since he enjoys shopping, we’ve made a couple of trips down to the outlet mall and Branson Landing over the past several weeks. Our first trip was to meet my grandparents for dinner, and then to get a couple of photos for my homework project. I did manage to take some shots of the fountain that night, but I wanted to try again with a tripod. So we headed down last weekend, and I was much happier with the results. The fountain is always gorgeous at night, and the Christmas lights and music were so festive - this was one of my favorite evenings in a long time.
|Fire and water show, on the hour|
In addition to capturing the fountain, I also had fun with getting a photo of us - I'm sure I was a hoot to watch, running back and forth to hit the 10 second timer and then get back in place in time! But this was one of my favorite shots:
Tonight I'm going to hear a Christmas concert by Mosaic, the group I used to sing with at another church here in town. I am excited to be going to Poplar Bluff for Christmas, but was a little disappointed that I would miss our church's Christmas Eve candlelight service, one of my favorite Christmas traditions each year. Apparently our church has heard that sentiment from a few folks, so they are having one this Thursday, as well. I'm looking forward to taking Jace, it is always a very emotional service, makes everyone remember and give thanks for what we're really celebrating.
So c'mon Christmas, hurry up and get here - I'm ready for you!