Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day

Well, as it tends to do, Christmas Day has come and gone more quickly than we wanted it to--except for Elyse, who was very eager for it to get here. I myself am a little disappointed that the holiday season is nearly over for another year. I probably won't play any Christmas music after today, and soon we'll put away the ornaments, and then we'll just have several weeks of bland (and probably very cold) winter.

In any case, here are some pictures from today, the first couple at our house and the rest at Granny and Pa's:

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Rock City Christmas

Today we drove up to Rock City to get our annual family pass and to see Rock City during the day, and again at night for their seasonal "Enchanted Garden of Lights."

We headed out around 9:30 and made decent time, especially for us (we tend to be slow travelers), stopping at the Tennessee Welcome Center a little before noon:

(Elyse isn't checking Twitter or Facebook, she's looking at a picture she just took.) 

The girls were fascinated by the decorative lettuce--or is that cabbage?--in the planters outside the Welcome Center:

By 1:00 we were finishing up our lunch in the Big Rock Grill inside Rock City:

And then we went on the trail:

(Elyse is pretending to be asleep, possibly at Jessica's request.)

This is the gift shop at the end of the trail. I've always loved gift shops, so I'm including a picture of it for future posterity:

This is me inside Woodland Wonders:

Here's all of us in the car, heading to our hotel to check in before returning for the evening lights:

These are from a couple hours later:

Elyse decorating her gingerbread man in the Lodge:

As you can see, she took full advantage of all that frosting:

Some of that frosting made it's way onto the front of her jacket:

While Anna and Elyse were going back through the trail and having the above encounter, Jessica and I were waiting for them outside the grill and freezing:

(We eventually did move inside the grill; even though it was closed, the doors were unlocked and we sat on one of the benches just inside the entrance and waited.)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Stone Mountain Christmas

Tonight Anna and Elyse went to Stone Mountain to participate in some of the Stone Mountain Christmas festivities, including meeting the fabled "Snow Queen" in Memorial Hall. Here are some of the pictures Anna took:

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Goodbye, Jupiter

Today we said goodbye to Jupiter (or "Buddy," as the girls insisted on calling him), our sweet black and white boy. He was only a couple of months away from being seventeen years old, but his kidneys were failing and his quality of life was suffering so we had to let him go. Anna and I are heartbroken; as I write this, we haven't yet told the girls, who are at Granny and Pa's house.

Here are some pictures of Jupiter with the girls from the last couple of years:

And here's Jupe with me and with Anna when he first came to live with us back in March of 2001:

Update: My parents brought the girls home around 5:00, and we broke the news to them. They were upset, of course, but they took it pretty well. Jessica knew that Jupiter had been very sick for the last few days, so we think she had been preparing for this possibility, even if she didn't realize it. Elyse knew, too, but at seven (nearly eight, actually), she's not quite as aware of these things as her older sister.

It's hard to believe we are now a one-cat family. When Anna and I got married we had six cats, which, in those days before we had children, didn't seem like too many. I wouldn't want to go back to that many cats again, but I miss them all as individuals, and I'm grateful we had the time with them that we did.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Ten Christmases Ago

I was looking through some files on a CD this afternoon to see if I needed to keep the CD--I didn't; I already have all the files it contained archived on a pair of external hard drives--and I found this picture of Jessica and her mommy from November of 2007:

This simultaneously makes me achingly happy and breaks my heart. If you're reading this years from now, Jessica, in one of the books I print of our blog, don't ever forget how much your mother and I love you.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Christmas Concert

I'm copying exactly what I wrote last year, because it's all still true this year:

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the music, and I especially love going to Christmas concerts. For several years I went to the Gwinnett Choral Guild's Christmas concerts, but, sadly, the Gwinnett Choral Guild called it quits in 2015. However, last year I found a wonderful replacement: the Gwinnett Young Singers. I loved their Christmas concert last year, and tonight I went to their 2016 Christmas concert [except this time it's 2017], and it, too, was wonderful.

In the past, when I was a reasonable person [I have since realized I was never all that reasonable], it would have been enough to go to the concert and enjoy it, but now I have a smart phone, and therefore felt compelled to take pictures of the event. So here are some of them [from 2017]: