A dear ol’ friend, Ben Piehl, stopped by on Boxing Day and brought his smoker and marinated beef and buffalo strips. We’ve made jerky three years running, and it’s become a fun holiday-time tradition. This year, the result was our best yet, not that I can take much credit! It’s always fun to catch up and play some ping pong. The highlight for Lindsey and me was seeing Ben hold Harvey.
Just a quick note on how December 2013 is shaping up. The month started out with the Santa Brunch at the TCGCC, where Harvey met Santa for the first time. He found his beard intriguing and was a good sport on a long day. On the 6th, we went to the Downtown Traverse City Christmas tree lighting and then left Harvey with his first non-relative babysitter, so that we could attend It’s A Wonderful Life, a radio play at the OTP. The production was good, and Harvey was sleeping when we arrived home. The next day, Michigan State beat Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship football game. MSU is headed to the Rose Bowl for the first time since dad was in college!
Week two brought more snow – I’ve been snow blowing every other day. It’s beautiful outside and I look forward to having a white Christmas. (Knock on wood.) Every day this month I’ve had, “Go Christmas Shopping” blocked off for my lunch hour and I’ve made it out exactly zero times. Although Lindsey and I did manage to do a little shopping for Harvey last weekend. That was a new and fun experience that I look forward to in future years. Although I will be careful to avoid the massive crowds. Tis the season.
This past Thursday was the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home Christmas Party at the TCGCC. We were in the corner dining room with windows this year, which was a nice change. Harvey went to his own Christmas party with Grandma and Grandpa Rogers at Great Grandma Rogers’ home.
On Friday, Peg’s book, Perry Hannah’s Gifts, Then and Now was released to the public and thus began her whirlwind book signing tour. (Congratulations, Peg, and I look forward to reading and looking through the beautiful book.)
Since then, we’ve had our traditional Mode’s holiday dinner to celebrate the end of Katy’s penultimate semester in Nursing School and the onset of the Christmas Season.
Sunday brought more snow, a trip to church, an excellent brunch at Apache Trout Grill, and Harvey (and my) first visit to the Festival of Trains at the Traverse City History Center. Seeing and interacting with the model trains exceeded my expectations and it will be fun to see what Harvey thinks of them in future years. In the meantime, we’re going to try to get Grandpa R to get his train out from the closet.
Until the next update, I hope that you find time to enjoy the holiday season – and remember to keep your car radio tuned to Lite 96.3 FM (all Christmas, all the time!), make a snow angel, go sledding, or chase your dog around the powdery snow.
PS – I learned that the 12 Days of Christmas are the 12 days following Christmas, not preceding it. You can read more here, but you probably knew that!
Harvey, Lindsey and I traveled to Williams Christmas Tree Farm on the outskirts of Traverse City in search of our tree. After bundling up in our warmest winter jackets, mittens and hats, we trekked nearly 200 yards up and around the snow-covered hill between the parking lot and field of Fraser fir trees. I brought two saws, looking to send a signal to the tree gods that I wasn’t messing around. That we needed a tree before our son’s feet turned purple. And quickly did we find the perfect tree with a wide base, full stature, soft needles, and slender top. It was there. The second tree we saw. I shook it free from snow. We circled it, and, with the untrained eye of cold people with a young underdressed child missing a sock, we made our decision. I lay saw tooth to trunk. Forty-seven mighty cuts later, I had felled the eight footer and we stood above it proud of our selection. I dragged it to the car and with my gloved hands heaved it atop my Explorer. Forgoing all but the thinnest of ropes, I grasped it in place while whisking away to The Double Dogleg. The rest is history, and the final result is depicted below. May the merry month of December begin, remain, and invade each of our hearts with the long-anticipated season’s joy.