No, it isn't writer's block. It's a combination of holiday-busy and dead-2nd-world-Internet that's kept me from my blog.
But the Internet is working again, for now, so I need to catch up. Sadly, I also need to catch up on my sleep. So this won't be the most detailed of posts.
Thanksgiving came and went. As it turns out, there was a group of Iraqi policemen who were in Jordan, at a U.S.-sponsored training course. They were due to graduate from the course on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and somebody connected with the program needed to make a speech at their graduation.
That somebody was Bart. He flew in from Baghdad that Tuesday to give his speech and then, since there were no return flight scheduled until 2 days after Thanksgiving, he stayed on through the holiday weekend.
The kids were thrilled to see him, especially as I hadn't spent much time talking up the visit in advance. It wasn't entirely clear it was going to happen, for a variety of reasons. Even that Tuesday morning, when he was scheduled to fly out, I didn't know for certain if he'd make it until I got a one-word message: "boarded."
So much merriment was had in a few short days. We planned to have a couple of families over for the holiday, plus a few visiting TDY folk, so I spent the week ahead in a mad rush of shopping and chopping and cooking. I love Thanksgiving! I say this every year, don't I? But it's true. The rest of the holidays, I could live without. But Thanksgiving: it's all about quiet time in the kitchen, performing various mindless-but-therapeutic tasks for the good of my family. Food, and laughter, and the smell of happiness in the kitchen. This year was especially nice, knowing I'd have all my loved ones under one roof for a short while - who knows what next year will bring after all? We won't be here, but we don't yet know where we'll be, or who we'll celebrate with.
Now, normally, we're a family that decorates our Christmas trees (yes, trees: we have four) mid-way through December. But this year, we already know Bart won't be here for Christmas. And Christmas is his holiday. So the day after Thanksgiving, we decided to haul out one tree and a selection of ornaments and go ahead with the Christmas kick-off.
It was odd, decorating for Christmas so close on the heels of Thanksgiving. And it was doubly odd to do so little - just one tree and a smattering of other decorations. But it was nice, and I'm glad we did it the way we did.
I am dreading the upcoming holiday. December never was my favorite month to begin with - I usually just grit my teeth and try to make it til January 2nd. But this year seems especially grim, for both of us. Still. I'm glad we got to have just a bit of Christmas mixed in with what truly was a week for giving thanks.
And he'll be back again in February.
No pictures of Thanksgiving. I was too busy running around in the kitchen. But below are some Christmas tree shots. And hey! Despite the fact that I haven't blogged in awhile, it's early for me to be posting Christmas photos. So I can totally pretend to be ahead of the game. Go, overachiever me!
Enjoy the photos, grandparents. Back soon with more.