(I have to make a little note about this photo - Kate never stands still like this for a picture or for any other reason, but there was a little girl right next to her posing for the camera, so she decided she could do it too - she kept looking over at the other girl to make sure she was doing it right and holding her hands just so - it was too funny to leave out)
Friday, we all went to cut down a Christmas tree. We did this last year and loved our imperfect, aromatic, locally grown Virginia Pine, so we decided to do it again this year and make it a tradition (at least for now). We wanted to have it done before the baby comes, so it was sort of now or never, as they say. At least it was chilly (it was in the 40's), so it didn't seem too early. Kate had fun running around and looking for stamps with Nana (they had placed 8 stations with stamps throughout the fields and gave us a paper to collect all 8). Hot chocolate and candy canes rounded up a fun little outing.
Saturday, Tom and Laura had to leave and James got to work putting up the tree. I think James would agree it was one of the least painful tree-standing experiences we've had in our ten years together. I'm sure that's because I was minimally involved (James was probably thankful I couldn't and didn't do much to "help" or "advise"). James and I strung the lights (again mostly James as I found the tree would poke my belly if I got too close!) and then we all decorated the tree when Kate woke up from her nap. Kate had fun pulling ornaments out of the box, unwrapping them, examining them, and hanging them on the tree. We only had to move a few, as she tended to put them all in the same area. I thought she would be wanting to touch the ornaments a lot, since she liked the Christmas trees at Target so much, but she hasn't shown much interest since we decorated it. And I think I figured out she actually prefers to see the fiber-optic village scene decorations with moving trains and ice skaters, which are right by the Christmas trees at Target. We've spent lots of time looking at each one the last few times we've been.
Today (well, once today actually begins), James goes back to work after a nice little break. Kate and I have gotten spoiled having him home so much. It was nice to have this extra little bit of time to get some decorating done and spend some time together with just the three of us before the baby comes and shakes things up. Kate is really turning into Daddy's girl lately, and I wonder if she somehow knows I won't be able to be there for her as much once the baby's born or if it's just a natural part of her growing up, which she is doing so quickly. Every day I'm amazed at the things she says, the observations she makes, and the independence she displays. The other night at bed time she wanted to brush her teeth all by herself and wouldn't let me or James even leave her bedroom or open her door to watch. She shut her door behind her and we could hear everything in the bathroom next door - her clambering up to the sink, turning on and then off the water, her little battery-operated toothbrush running for a minute while she brushed, and then she reappeared with a big smile, very proud of herself. She really is growing up so fast. I keep wondering what things this new little child of ours will be doing to amaze us and knowing that it will all be happening before we know it. Is there someway to make this whirlwind slow down? Cliche, I know, but ever true.
I can't even begin to express how thankful I am for all of the many blessings in my life. I just try to thank God every day for at least one of them.