November looked like this

Being perpetually behind has an up side. In the case of my monthly wrap-up posts, it requires going back in time to revisit life, sometimes months prior, which has a certain appeal, when one can allow the joy of memories, the stunned realization of accomplished goals, and the beauty of answered prayer, to overtake and suppress the latent hum of self-inflicted anxiety over non-submission to one’s own posting schedule.

A calendar-cum-journal made of a bound, graph paper Composition Book (the black and white marbled cover disguised with colorful scrap-book paper) serves as my memory keeper, along with my phone/camera, our daily checklist and my similarly homemade prayer book.  As I flip the pages and scan photos, I’m always surprised, and delighted to find that recollections begin to flow once the memory is primed a little.

Day to day, week to week, month to month, our homeschool schedule, The Daughter’s biology and choral classes at YMV, piano lessons and church playing, and American Heritage Girl meetings and activities form the spine of our calendar. But we always have a few fun things to flesh out the routine. Mr. Garner and I continued participating in our weekly New Member classes at Christ the Redeemer. The Daughter prepared for District Chorus auditions, and despite her dejected description of a “horrible” Saturday morning audition, was accepted. (I harbored no doubts.) The next day she had a piano recital, performing a Bach Invention.  An audition and a recital made for a more stressful weekend than usual, however we have a long standing tradition of ice cream after recitals. It always helps.

Operation Christmas Child ramps up every year in mid-October, with collection week in mid-November.  At the local OCC kick off meeting, we heard a young man from Rwanda speak about the impact of receiving a shoe box while living in a refugee camp.  He mentioned that inflatable soccer balls and cars are favorites, and tools are popular with the older boys. The Daughter and I used our budgeted funds for our usual colored pencils and sewing kits, but added in some measuring tapes and hand tools as well.

Next up, The Daughter accompanied the Middle School Chorus for their Christmas concert (yes, a tad bit early) on the Friday night before Thanksgiving week, AND the very next day our dear friend and fellow Board Game Mom got married!  It was so beautiful!  Autumn leaves and tulle and pumpkins and candles…sigh.  We are filled with joy for our friends, but seriously bummed that they are now settled two hours away.  After the deliriously happy couple set off for the honeymoon, we managed to fit in some time that afternoon volunteering at an OCC collection center.

After all of this excitement, we launched into our Thanksgiving preparations. Number 1 Son came home from George Mason, Mr. Garner started brining the turkey, The Daughter and I cleaned and vacuumed.  We enjoyed a wonderful day with Mr. Garner’s mom, Grandma Midge, and my dad, Papa Gene, and of course the kids.  Far Flung Brother was in Northern climes this year.  Chef Garner has Thanksgiving down to a science. We all love the apple cider brined turkey, his fantastic cranberry-pear chutney, dressing, mashed potatoes (certain people require potatoes) with turkey gravy, and green beans. For fun we added acorn squash to the menu this year, (certain people hate squash).  We are very thankful for our family, near and far, for our friends, near and far, and for our church.

We closed out the month attending the YMV Christmas performance at the Founders Inn Illumination events. The Daughter accompanied the Middle School Chorus, and sang with the High School Chorus.  She was thrilled that big brother, aka #1 Son could attend!  A lovely ending for November, and a cheerful beginning to…

A few photos:




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