december - the past few days!

I think I'm pretty sure I foretold of my inability to keep up with self-enforced deadlines and daily photo projects, so I won't go on about it now. There are genuine and legitimate reasons for not keeping up and it's really only the blogging of the photos that I'm behind with. I have been taking pictures most days and trying to capture a true picture of what's going on in our lives this Christmas.To say it's not the usual December frivolities wouldn't even begin to describe what we've been dealing with. But it is true what they say - life does, indeed, go on. And there have been lessons learnt along the way. So the following pictures are a visual journey of my past week. Please forgive me for not elaborating on each photo but most are fairly self-explanatory and others may have some witty comment attached just for the sheer heck of it!

letters to Santa are safely on their way with great conviction that their 'excellent' behaviour will get them all the Lego and football gear they desire!

the definite nip in the air has arrived and necessitated the annual clearing out of hats and gloves. I've been particularly loving overhearing irate conversations about the state of the weather and absence of gritters as folk tell their tales of slipping all over the place on their way to work. Perhaps they failed to notice the last 2 winters and are unaware that the weather will be baltic until April!

this is a paltry photo all on its lonesome, but what pretty vampires! (Vampire Diaries - it's my new obsession!)

Michael and I enjoyed a spot of Christmas shopping in Belfast this week. I love the new arcs and banners on Royal Avenue celebrating some of the greatest ships ever to come out of this city. I also love Starbucks gingerbread lattes and cranberry and orange muffins! Look at the little muffin alien face!

Thursday was officially Christmas tree day. That it was a tad late only made it all the more fun choosing and decorating it. One of my favourite parts of the season is the unearthing of all the decorations that come out each year to adorn the tree - those that we've had for years and those we bought half price last year in the garden centre sale. It's tradition, it reeks of memories of past Christmases, it's joyful and magical and just so much fun!

this is what I'm referring to as the 'self-portrait experience' series of shots. I hate self-portraits but it occurred to me that I'm in shockingly few of the December photos so far so I had no choice but to take matters into my own hands. These were done with the timer - can you tell?! I am particularly proud of the top one of just my weird looking hand creeping into the top left of the frame!

You've got to love the through the tree shots!

I wanted to document a bit of the festive decorating aside from the tree. There is barely a surface left untouched, between candles, advent calendars and books. The bottom of these pictures really just about sums up my life  - Jesus, Twilight and Agatha Christie! I'm not even bothered about the picture I am painting of myself because, you know, there's not one of those parts of me that I don't feel passionately about and will gladly talk about in an animated fashion!

Ah, Gisela Graham Christmas accessories, how I love you all!

and this is why my documentation is not always up to date. This place is teaching us so many things right now, about family, faith, priorities and patience. For those lessons I will be eternally grateful, but learning them this way is incredibly difficult. I know so many of you have been praying for my dad's recovery and I wanted to say thank you, from all of us. You have no idea what your support, from just across the ring road to the far reaches of the world, has meant to us. And will continue to mean to us in the coming days and weeks. We are blessed in ways none of us ever realised before.

My mum has, however, complained on the journeys to and from the hospital that we need a new cd for the car because we are always playing this one from the lovely Kate Rusby. It is Christmas loveliness like you've never known! If it's new to you I can't recommend it highly enough. Go on, have a listen and see if you can refrain from downloading it!

Edited: I can't get the video to show here but you can see it here.