The Magic

Last year Alice was about 18 months old this time of year–still a baby in my eyes.

This year she is two-and-a-half. There are no more babies in Sluiter Nation, and unless something goes wrong, we are all done having babies in Sluiter Nation. And at two-and-a-half, Alice is totally starting to “get” the holidays.

I love this age.

For all of my kids, really. The Holiday Magic is very real to all of them at 8, 5, and 2.

I remember just before we had Eddie, the holidays had started to lose something for me and I couldn’t figure out what. Now with three kids who could barely contain all the excitement in their small bodies as we put up the Christmas tree and they had to wait for their turn to put on ornaments, I know what was missing.

The Magic.

They actually hugged each other and squealed with delight as I put up on the lights–something that makes me have to bite my tongue because it’s so frustrating.

When I handed each kid their ornament box, they practically vibrated with magic as they took the lid off and shifted through their personal ornaments.

The boys ooo-ed and ahhh-ed as they tried to remember each one.

Alice told me all of them were pretty, and danced while she brought them to the tree.

Each of them is already almost over-filled with the holiday magic.

And it’s both intoxicating and contagious in the best possible ways.

May the magic infect you as well, my friends.

New Traditions From Old Traditions

For as far back as I can remember, my family Thanksgiving always involved my paternal grandparents, the usual turkey dinner and sides, and playing Bingo.

It’s been almost a decade since my grandparents have been able to manage having everyone over at their own house, so we had been gathering in a church rec room, each family bringing something to pass. But we still had the turkey dinner and Bingo.

Since getting married, Cortney and I have instituted and every-other-year tradition with his family and mine, but we always stopped in to see my grandparents while they served pie and played Bingo.

This fall my grandparents turned 93. My grandma lives in an assisted living community because she has taken a few falls and cannot manage to live in their home anymore, but my grandpa visits her every day.

Today it was my family’s year for us to join Thanksgiving, but since my grandparents don’t really get out anymore, my mom had my youngest brother and his family and our family over for dinner without aunts and uncles and cousins. Without my grandparents.

She made a delicious turkey dinner. I brought pie.

I pretty proud of my pies: apple and pumpkin (my mom made a pecan)

And my mom went out and bought a Bingo game and prizes.

I missed my grandparents, and I am going to make time to go visit them SOON, but today was nice. I enjoyed having wine with my dinner (which was never an option when my grandparents hosted–or when we were in a church). But mostly I enjoyed feeling cozy in a home again after so many years of sitting in a church basement or rec room.

Today felt like a new beginning.

Thankful for my people.

The Cottage

For years my family has gone to cottages as our summer vacation.

The last time we went was 9 years ago.

My brothers and I decided to beg ask our parents if we could do it again.

Restart the tradition now that we have families to share.

They jumped on it.

So my parents secured two cottages for 11 people and one fetus (not me, people).

We all arrived on Saturday.

Cort had to leave Sunday night, but the boys and I stayed until Tuesday evening.

It was exhausting.

And fun.

And so many words filled my head and sprang from my fingers into journals for later.

It was wonderful.

Here is a glimpse of what I hope will become an annual trip…

the cottage

games {my brother, Chris and my dad}

a quiet afternoon with my buddy and a Word Doc.

hanging with grandma

Cort makes breakfast for everyone

cousins: Jack and Eddie

small chairs are small

note: a dropped dr. pepper can will explode, but helpful Eddie will wash it off the cottage.

cottages are for relaxing

walk on the dock with daddy.

hot weather makes us stinky, but happy

bath in the kitchen sink

beach day!

campfire food on the hottest day ever

so much swimming!

getting some much needed relaxation

books with grandma

ahhh. cottage life.

Next year we hope to stay the whole week.

With Cortney there the whole time too.

Because despite the heat, humidity, dirt, and lack of TV and internet, it was EXACTLY what we needed.

Thanks, mom and dad, for making this happen.

The cottage is Sluiter Approved!

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If you missed it yesterday, I am helping my friend Mark get his story out there.  It’s important to me because it’s HUGE to him.

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