If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that life just keeps rolling. Am I right? Whether it’s a low chapter you wish never happened or the brightest moment you can remember, there’s no way to control it. We can’t fast-forward through the heartbreak and tears. But we also can’t press pause when life is its most precious. I’m constantly reminding myself to be present and enjoy right now.
For example, I can’t believe it’s already been a couple of months since we spent Christmas week at our cabin. A big goal was to have the renovations and repairs completed so we could be up there for the big day (which, you might remember, is also John’s birthday!). We’d told Oden for weeks that Santa would, indeed, be able to find us up there. I may or may not be known for setting unrealistic expectations for myself in moments like this, but I had a vision. I couldn’t wait to hunker down and get my holiday cheer on.
Despite its proximity to our home, anything cabin-related takes a lot of preparation- especially in winter, and even MORE SO for Christmas. John and I made some snowmobile trips to the cabin in the week before Christmas to shuttle things like decorations, gifts, food, and even a little live Christmas tree. I hung stockings on the wall in lieu of a hearth (no chimney!). John wrapped colored lights around the deck railing. I tucked decorations here and there, but we keep the tree bare until the boys were there. Despite all of our work ahead of time, we still had two sleds full of winter clothes and 5 days’ worth of food to drag behind the snowmobile!
Well, it was worth the effort. We didn’t get to the cabin until after dark that first night, but we fired up the wood stove and the little dudes immediately started to decorate the tree. Frozen pizza never tasted so good, at our temporary camp table in our freshly-fixed cabin!
Cabin life is casual, my friends. Jammies stay on for a long time each day. There’s a lot of tending to the fire during the day to keep it cozy. The boys revisited the toys we moved from home to the cabin and helped Dad do little projects here and there. We love Jiffy Pop popcorn while we’re at the cabin, and, thanks to WiFi, watched Christmas shows and movies on our little TV.
On a couple of days, John met our nanny at the gate and gave her a ride on the snowmobile to spend time with the boys. They went sledding and had adventures while we continued to settle into the cabin, or snuck to the shed to play Santa. One night, John and I walked over to the neighbors’ cabin for a drink on their deck while the boys and Cassie baked cookies. On other days, John and Oden would head off to explore and I’d spend some QT with Morrison. Can I just say that I’d forgotten how much work it is to hike through snow with the dead weight of a sleeping toddler on your back? Oh, but I adore this memory and won’t forget the sound of the mountain birds mixed with his tiny snores. We took snowmobile rides at dusk and giggled at the boys in the sled behind us, bundled up like puffy marshmallows. At one point, I thought Mo was unhappy, but then I realized the sounds he was making were gleeful: “Wheeeee! Wheeeee!”
I did have to put some thought into our meals for the week, since I wouldn’t be able to pop to the market if I was missing an ingredient! I employed the trusty slow-cooker for BBQ pulled chicken, which we used on sliders and quesadillas. I thought to bring ready-to-bake cookie dough. We enjoyed a fabulous shredded pork taco night on Christmas eve before setting out the cookies, milk, and a carrot for the reindeer. John read the boys “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” and we wore our traditional matching jammies. On Christmas morning, the boys discovered their gifts from Santa. Pure magic. I remembered a can of cinnamon rolls, and of course, all of the fixings for John’s birthday dinner. We did some sledding before we had his annually-requested marinated tenderloin, rolls, “smushed beans,” scalloped potatoes, and cookie-brownies. SO. GOOD.
Guys, being snuggled in with my family during the most wonderful time of the year in a snowy mountain cabin…well, I can’t think of much better. If there’s one thing we’ve had a lot of this year, it’s family time. Sure, sometimes it feels a little stir-crazy and restrictive. I won’t pretend to be singing along with the birds while I float around my family like a happy cloud all day long. Some days, I need an IV-drip of coffee and earplugs. But we are so blessed. This was truly a Christmas for the books.