Whew! What a weekend. After an emotionally-trying Friday, we spent Saturday here at the house, not going out for anything. Andrew kept his pajamas on all day, and we all just puttered around, taking care of things that needed to be done. Both boys had homework due Monday, since we'll be gone the rest of the week, so that took quite a bit of their time.
Sunday, today, has been busy and non-stop. The Christmas cantata at church this morning was amazing! We are blessed to have so many talented people at our church. Karen Lamberth always does a wonderful job of coaxing the best out of her musicians. The elementary level choir and youth choir sang with the chancel choir, accompanied by orchestra and piano. It was beautiful! My boys, of course, did good. I love seeing them all in those royal blue robes with the white collars, they look almost angelic.
We kept the busyness going with Ben's piano recital, he played three pieces. One was a boogie song, the others, "The Star Spangled Banner" (we all stood) and "The Twelve Days of Christmas". He did well, his nerves don't seem to affect him (he gets that from his daddy, certainly not from me!). They continued the fun with a birthday party of Ben's classmate at the local gymnastics sports center, and came home tired and hungry.
Speaking of the Twelve Days of Christmas, Andrew's main project this weekend was working on his own "book" about the Twelve Days of Christmas in Texas. Texas-themed items had to be used. I think he came up with some good ones:
**12 bowls of chili, 11 prairie dogs, 10 wildflowers, 9 mesquite trees, 8 oil pumps, 7 cowboy hats, 6 Texas teams (Stars/Mavs/Rangers/Cowboys/Texans/Astros), 5 Rangers! (Hamilton, Kinsler, Cruz, Young, & Napoli). 4 tumbleweeds, 3 horned toads, 2 cowboy boots, and a crappie on my fishin' pole.....**
The drawings are pretty cute. I did help a bit with the horned toads.
I will be taking a vacation from blogging starting Tuesday, I'm ready for a break (and those of you following me may be breathing a sigh of relief). The boys & I head out of town for a much-needed escape from reality for a few days. We're going to put "the most magical place on earth" to the real test. I'll be sure to report on it whenever we return. I'm hoping we return with a bit more Christmas spirit, refreshed, and more prepared to face Dec 25 and 26 (Christmas/Andrew's 10th birthday) without Mark.
Andrew's birthday gift will be labelled "from Dad" since he told me, while in the hospital in July, that Andrew needed a smaller shotgun for beginning his hunting journey. I purchased a 20 gauge youth sized one last week. It made me both happy and sad...happy that I was able to fulfill Mark's wish, but sad he wasn't able to buy it for him. Maggie the wonder dog heard me checking it, as I pumped it once, and she came running from the back of the yard, sitting at full attention at the back door. She looked confusingly from the gun to me and back, not quite sure why I was holding a shotgun. I think she was hoping to see Mark after hearing that old familiar sound.
We continue to get through these days in large part due to the prayers of many folks. Thank you for that. You will never know how much it means to me, and to our boys. Prayer is a powerful thing. I am fully convinced it is keeping us moving forward, and I wonder, how do people without good friends, faith and a church family get through something like this? I'm glad we'll never have to find out.