the halls are decked

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Welcome to December!  The past week has been spent doing some serious bedecking of the halls around here, and as you can imagine, the boys are boiling over with excitement.

Before we could start thinking about Christmas, we had to get the gobble on.  We headed up the Charlottesville, Virginia to spend Thanksgiving with Russ’s family.

IMG_0147The Herakoviches invade Hartsfield International…

My in-laws’ house backs up to some incredible land and a horse farm.  The boys love going out there to visit the horses and try to feed them.  Some children are braver than others…

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IMG_0163This would be the child not in to hand feeding large animals.

We also attend our one and only Christmas parade of the season in Charlottesville.  The Barracks Road Shopping Center parade never fails to charm, mostly because it is hilarious and has a very small-town feel to it…beauty queens of all shapes, sizes and ages…random things like a person dressed like a smoothie from Smoothie-King..a herd of llamas…Santa in a truck.  It’s small town goodness  at its best and never fails to make me miss the Christmas parades I went to as a little kid in my hometown of Vidalia (well, except for the terrifying scimitar-wielding, belly-dancing Shriner; I’m willing to bet that that dude has scared every child in the 912 area code).

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We rolled back into town the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and I started migrating decorations up from the basement before we were even unpacked.  One of the first things I unearthed was an ancient white ceramic Christmas tree from my grandmother’s house.  I can clearly remember sitting in front of this as a child, mesmerized by its twinkling brightness as it lit up the dark of the little indented phone-nook beside her kitchen.  I was literally moved to tears when I plugged its dangerous looking, frayed cord into the outlet and the tree began to glow. I loved it then and I love it now even more.  Even better, it seems that many of my friends had grandparents with this same decoration (likely all bought at the same Belk Matthews, circa 1975) and this little picture below warmed many a heart with memories of Christmases past.  Rock on, little white ceramic tree.  Look at all the happiness you bring!  Even Henry can’t help checking you out!

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Yesterday was the Great Tree Hunt.  After carefully perusing many, many trees, we all finally settled on one–all of us, that is, except Theodore, who insisted we get a little “Charlie Brown” tree this year.  Here is Theo with Calvin Coolidge, his tiny tree named by Jack.  The tree-people thought we were completely insane (Jack also suggested we name the other, bigger tree John Q. Adams–so “Quincy” it is).

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Pulling out the tree ornaments is a favorite of mine each year.  I am a pack-rat and nostalgic to a fault, so I could spend the better part of a day unwrapping ornaments one by one and placing them on the perfect branch.  Of course, my family prefers to go at it at warp-speed, which is probably why we hit a new record of 5 broken ornaments this year.  The boys also tend to stick ornaments on things that are not tree branches.

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Theo hangs his special 2011 ornament (a Waffle House one) near the trees.

Each and every ornament on our tree has a story to tell…

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What to do with the world’s most expensive clothespin? 
Leave it to Natalie and Jill to devise an ornament!

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Love her authentic feathers and that brown patch, Alice!
She also appears to be smiling; perhaps her name is Camilla.

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…has amazingly survived for 8 years

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…has even more amazingly survived for 32 years!

While I’m taking my sweet time, assuring each ornament is prominently displayed, the boys are overloading the other side of the tree.

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One branch.  Four ornaments.

In addition to ornaments, we also have several very special Nativity scenes.  Russ’s mother gave him one a long time ago, and as a toddler, Jack loved to haul around the Baby Jesus.  That Baby Jesus–who is maybe the size of a walnut–has been to Publix, spent the night in Jack’s crib and even attended Music Class.  When he’d tire of carrying him around, 16-month old Jack would head back over to the creche, drop the baby in the manger and say (a bit too forcefully, perhaps), “take a nap, Jesus.”  It’s a true Christmas miracle that we even still have the tiny figurine.  So when I opened up a box from my Mama B’s house that contained the exact same Nativity set and saw that she had rubberbanded Baby Jesus into his manger, I had to laugh.

Our newest Nativity set has already been claimed by sweet Tucker.

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Tuck would leave these guys out year-round if he could.  Who could blame him?  That side-staring camel is a hoot.

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Twenty more days…

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Here’s to hoping the Christmas spirit you’re feeling right now–that warmness in your heart and sense of philanthropy, that twinkle in your eye and pep in your step–is just a warm-up.  Merry Christmas!!

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