We're in the midst of some preparation for a trip up north to visit Nicholas' family, but I wanted to stop by and talk about life lately. I've settled fully into pre-Christmas rest. This past week was filled with the last-minute busyness of mailing Christmas cards and shipping some Christmas gifts to my family, filling the stocking with a surprise for Nicholas, and regular, ordinary life things, like work, laundry, etc.

But since all the Christmas errand-ing is done, now I can usher in a bit more of the fun Christmas things. To be sure, we don't have full Christmas season agendas, so we already have a decent amount of free time to spend how we like, which I don't undervalue by any means.

Nicholas' work had a fancy Christmas party at a historic hotel in Austin. It was fun! We rarely dress up and go on "fancy" dates. He's been wanting a nice blazer for awhile and we finally found one that fits perfectly that we bought on sale. He looked so handsome. It was the rainiest night ever, and we ran through the rain, me holding his arm under the umbrella, still getting our legs a bit wet. We played trivia and ate fish, greens, rolls, mac n cheese, and some rich desserts. It was so nice to see his coworkers again and meet some of their spouses.

And on Saturday, we had our (now) annual reunion with some friends at a Tex-Mex restaurant. We all get together when one set of our friends makes a trip to the States from where they live in Germany. We ate chips and salsa and queso and I ordered a quesadilla, and we found out another couple is expecting! It's a big, loud get-together that I look forward to, and that always leaves me with a full heart.

Apart from the bigger events, here is what I've been up and enjoying recently:

  • making cauliflower soup. When we lived in Indiana, I made this weekly! So healthy, yummy, easy, and inexpensive. Plus, it reheats well. She hasn't updated her blog in years, so the photos aren't there, but this is too good not to share.
  • finishing the (huge) world map 1500-piece puzzle
  • diffusing rosemary + lemon
  • watching vlogmas videos
  • watching Love Actually and White Christmas, loving the latter more than the former, of course, but both are Christmas classics for me. Planning to watch more Christmas movies soon*
  • not actually taking very many photos with my phone (& being okay with that, knowing I live a full life!)
  • walks with friends outside in the sunshine, hugs from affectionate one-year-olds
  • wearing a pinecone necklace from my sister-in-law
  • impromptu visits to snuggle friend's babies and sit together on the couch
  • singing silly Christmas songs with Nicholas in our home
  • enjoying Austin's still-very-autumnal weather (as long as I can wear sweaters, I'm a happy camper!)
  • hand-winding Christmas yarn in the car on the way to dinner with friends
  • washing the flannel sheets and tidying up so we come home back to a clean home after our trip
  • making Pannukakku for an easy (& tasty) post-work supper. I use this recipe, but leave out the blueberries and lemon zest, and put some fresh nutmeg on top instead
  • finishing my most recent Jan Karon book
  • a trip to the library to get a book** to travel with (although I might finish it in the next few days!)
  • making Thai curry for me, and sweet soy chicken for him (sans the soy, subbing coconut aminos), rice for both of us
  • being excited about my advent study, the prompts, and the bible readings. I'm praying more (there are always things to pray about and I like that it's more natural the more I do it) and approaching the season more thoughtfully. I don't always get to it on work days, but I've caught up on my days off.

And as of last night, I finally sorted out my knitting projects and I'm getting some vision for what I want to be working on. I finished the first sock that was in-process, cast on the second, and now that they're in a less precarious position, I'll set them aside to work on two different projects (two new cast-ons!):

  • A Tecumseh sweater. I've had the yarn for this for awhile, but I needed the right headspace to do a little math and figure out how I wanted to approach it. Plus, I envisioned knitting this in the winter, once all the Christmas knitting had been completed. I plan to raise the split for the sleeves so it's less poncho-like. I like the look of the original sweater, but this will be more practical to wear with vests and under coats, etc.
  • Fun Christmas socks. Socks are a portable, comfort project for me, and they're great for travel. I set the other pair aside, so this one can shine in its most seasonally-appropriate time. I plan to do some subtle texture in an easily-memorizable Hermoine's Everyday Socks (free pattern), unless I don't like the look of it once I start the texture.

After so many months of having a set knitting agenda and operating in autopilot, it feels so good to settle back into a more creative groove with my making. And I'm excited to do some more sewing sometime soon! I'll share my annual creative goals in a separate post, once I've thought some more about it.

In the meanwhile, I'll be packing for our trip, baking PB oatmeal for the next two mornings, mulling over which knitwear to bring on the trip, and reading my library book.

To-note:

*My "short" list of favorite Christmas movies: Christmas with the Kranks, The Family Stone, Elf, Home Alone (series), Christmas Vacation, Love Actually, & White Christmas. I actually don't love a lot of the Hallmark movies, but that could be because I haven't see that many!

**I read far more when I don't have decision fatigue about choosing a book. I'm a one-book-at-a-time girl. And I love series because I never have to decide what to read next; the decision is already made for me. ;) I'm still working my way through the At Home in Mitford series, which I recommend 100%.