I sat down to write a post at least a half dozen times yesterday, but never could gather the various strands of thought into anything coherent, so each time I found myself playing Wordscraper or looking at lolcats instead.
There are Big Doings going on here tomorrow though, so I want to get all the rambly bits out of the way for that. By Big Doings, I mean my very first giveaway as well as a special holiday greeting for The Secret is in the Sauce's first ever SITSmas Celebration. So, if you want to skip the mindless meanderings, feel free to just pop by tomorrow instead!!
And now on with the ramblings. Probably going to be a long one, just so you're warned....
We went to church yesterday for the first time in a while. We are in a sort of church limbo right now, as we want to find a new church home that better meets our needs than where we have been members but we can't find a new, permanent church home yet because we aren't sure where exactly we'll be living in the spring. We don't want to find a new church and then discover it is nowhere near our home in six months, but we don't want to just not go to church for the next six months either. So, we decided we'd go back to the church we belonged to when we first moved to town. We'd left that church ultimately because of the pastor, not because of the people in the congregation or anything else. Well, that pastor is no longer there and we'd heard from friends that still belong there that the new pastor is great, so we decided to give the new pastor a try. Yesterday was the first time we'd been back there to worship in several years, and it wasn't nearly as weird or awkward as we'd thought it might be. We stumbled about a bit in trying to explain to the new pastor (who was eager to welcome potential new members, as pastors usually are) what our exact situation is - "Hello, we used to belong here but haven't for several years and now we're planning to worship here for the next 5 or 6 months, but then we'll be moving and aren't sure whether we will keep attending here or where as that will depend on where we move exactly..." But as we'd figured, the folks that remembered us welcomed us back with open arms, the pastor and his wife greeted us warmly, the service was much more satisfying and uplifting than any service we've attended in ages, and I even was offered my old spot in the choir back. There also were several other children Kiddo's age so when she went to the "Discovery Center" following the Children's Moment during the service (you know, where they take the kids out so they don't sit through the sermon and do an activity with them elsewhere), she wasn't the only kid her age - there even is another kindergartner from her school who goes there. That was one of our issues with the church we've belonged to for the past few years - there are very few children and even fewer who are close in age to Kiddo. It has been hard to make the decision that we were not going to continue worshiping at the church we've belonged to for the past several years (I miss the choir and the people in the congregation especially), but it got to the point where we had to do something, and I'm glad we finally did, even if it is just a temporary stop until we settle in to a new home in the spring. At that point, we will begin to look for a church home that will meet all our needs and hopefully be close to our new neighborhood as well. I grew up going to church every Sunday and our family was very involved in the church. I went to Sunday School and was in the youth group and the choir and all that good stuff as a kid. However, the church we went to was a few towns over, so there was always a bit of a disconnect for my siblings and me, as the kids we were in Sunday School and youth group with at church all went to school together in a different school district than the one we attended. I'd very much like it if Kiddo could go to Sunday school with the same kids she goes to regular school with, so she doesn't have to have "church friends" and "school friends" the way we did. So, we'll see where we end up in the spring, but for now, I'm just glad we have someplace we can attend until that point. Especially so since Advent started yesterday - Advent and Christmas are my favorite times of the year. I mean, yes, Easter is definitely a more important holiday, but I love the anticipation and joy of Advent and Christmas. I especially love singing the Christmas hymns each week and seeing the sanctuary all decorated for the holiday.
Speaking of the holidays, today marks the beginning of the countdown to Heather's Holiday Extravaganza. You see, my birthday, Christmas and my wedding anniversary all fall within the next six weeks. While the bloom is well off the rose with my age rapidly advancing towards the big 4-0, I still enjoy my birthday nonetheless. I am wondering if I can still claim to be in my "mid-thirties" once my birthday rolls around this year, as I will be 37, which could go either way - mid or late. Hmmm. I suppose I can get away with "mid-thirties" for one more year, dontcha think? Mostly, I'm looking forward to the birthday cake. This year I've chosen a carrot cake from a local establishment known for two things: cheesecake and carrot cake. Kiddo and Hubby love this carrot cake as much as I do, so I am sure that there will not be leftovers for long after the candles are extinguished. Hubby has made all sorts of fantabulous cakes for my birthday in years past, everything from chocolate wonders with a delectable ganache to lemon and raspberry confections complete with homemade lemon curd and raspberry coulis. While I have always appreciated his heartfelt and amazingly tasty efforts, this year we're going store-bought and as my birthday is less than two weeks before Christmas, having one less thing to worry about doing is always a good thing. (Oh and PS to LL Bean: if you feel like sending me one of these for any one or all of my upcoming holiday celebrations combined, I will gladly mention it with raves and exclamations of joy even more than I mention George Clooney, okay? Pretty please? I've been drooling over it for ages now, but can't justify such an expenditure for a purse with our budget, so I will happily be a walking advertisement for this bag if only you'd send me one, preferably in the brown leather... Well, a girl can dream, can't she?)
Kiddo is presently obsessed with all things Christmas. She spends most of her spare time making new ornaments for our tree, which we put up on Friday. The cat also is obsessed with the Christmas tree, in that she enjoys climbing it, batting ornaments off of it faster than Kiddo can create and hang them, and sleeping on the tree skirt underneath it (which is made of a cozy felt...) when she needs a rest from her tree-destroying labors.
When Kiddo isn't creating masterworks of art for the Christmas tree, she is in her room playing with her VeggieTales nativity set. I wouldn't have a problem with that at all - better she plays with the set that is made to be a child's toy than the way I used to like to play with my mother's antique, porcelain, fragile nativity set when I was young - except that when one presses the Christmas Star at the top of the stable, one hears a little song, and that little song is more annoying than any other song one could imagine at this time of year, especially when repeated over and over and over again. Seriously, it is worse than The Christmas Shoes, which is my all-time least favorite Christmas song. *shudder* Oh the treacly, overwrought melisma of that song, ew ew ew! I'd rather listen to Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer on repeat than hear The Christmas Shoes just once. By the time the angelic children's choir joins in, I'm ready to start throwing elves or jamming candy canes in my ears. And the little ditty that bursts forth (sung by Junior Asparagus in a tinnier-than-usual voice) from the VT Nativity? Worse than The Christmas Shoes, I tell you! It turns me positively Grinchy Green after enough listenings...
Which reminds me, I have all the Christmas specials set to record this week so Kiddo and I can gorge on Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown and the gang for the rest of the season. We own the Grinch (I mean the *real* Grinch, the original, animated version) on DVD so we can watch that over and over without having to FF through the commercials as well. Kiddo's still a few years away from being old enough for A Christmas Story, though I can't wait until she's old enough to watch that with us (we own that on DVD too). This is the 25th anniversary of A Christmas Story's release, which I saw for the first time for my birthday, along with several of my friends and my dad (Mom stayed home with the too-young-for-the-movie young'uns). I still remember how hard we all laughed, especially my dad, that first time we saw it. Hubby and I quote lines from the movie year-round, too, I mean, doesn't everyone?
In non-holiday related items, Kiddo's principal called me this morning to say there are four candidates for the sensory diet aide position, and she hopes to have interviews scheduled for this week. This is a short week with no school Thursday or Friday because of conferences, and there is supposed to be a substitute in place until the permanent position is filled, so hopefully Kiddo gets her full sensory diet in the interim...
Well, I need to get to the post office and mail off the final batch of holiday cards (I never can figure out the proper postage for international mail, so I need the post office employees to tell me) and also to mail the ornament to my Christmas ornament exchange person, as well as running a hundred and three other errands, like returning books at the library, doing some Christmas shopping, getting the oil changed on the car, etc. Since I have such a busy Monday ahead of me, I'd better stop rambling here and get to it! Congratulations if you've read this far and please do come back tomorrow for all the excitement!