Holiday Whirlwind

These last few months have been a whirlwind and seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye. I can't believe November is gone, and Christmas is less than three weeks away. I also can't believe that it's almost a new year. It feels as if this year has just begun, and yet it's nearly over. Time certainly does fly by. I remember this time last year: decorating our house in Menifee for Christmas, stressing out over my demanding job, and wishing the months until we moved to Palomar would fly by. And fly by they did. It's amazing to look back at our life a year ago, to remember what I felt and worried over, and to see where our lives are now. We're living on our beautiful mountain, I work part-time from home, and we're enjoying the country aspect of life. Sometimes I forget how incredibly blessed we are.

Our house is coming along, slowly, inch by marginal inch. It's difficult to find time since Wes works most Saturdays, and we have such a busy social calendar on weekends. We haven't worked on any major renovations in a couple of months, but we've made some small cosmetic updates. We changed out the bedroom ceiling lights, hung up pictures, and bought a few house decorations. We still have tons more work to do. We don't have closet doors, are missing light switch and outlet covers, the kitchen tile is half done, we're missing one upper cabinet, and I'm still waiting on my island and stovetop. This is just a small list of the work that we still need to do. I left out details about the dining room, laundry room, powder room, basement, breezeway and backyard that all need work. This renovation is turning into a very long project.

I feel as if I've adjusted pretty well to mountain living. I love the space, open air, and smell of the fresh trees. I don't mind the long drive into town, and usually can make it up or down the windy mountain roads without getting car sick anymore. I've gotten use to wearing long-sleeve shirts instead of tank tops during the winter months, and have even established a regular habit of adding wood to the fire. It's still colder than I'd like inside the house sometimes, so I find myself bundled up in a jacket or throw blanket. I love the smell and ambience of the wood burning in the fireplace. I love being home, even when I'm working. I have so much more time at home that I've been better at maintaining a clean, and clutter-free house. I love the smell of food cooking in the slow-cooker, and cookies baking in the oven. I love the smell of the rain, and the woodsy wet trees. Over all, I love my new life on Palomar. I miss small things about city living, such as a garbage disposal, good electric wiring, natural gas BBQ hookups, and NO MICE. I'd have to say, the mice are my absolute least favorite part of mountain living. It's been worse for us because our house was abandoned for 10 years, so the mice took over, and now they won't leave. I'm tired of finding mouse poop in places that I've already cleaned (including kitchen drawers and my car), of finding pet food hidden all over the house, and having kitchen food and spices stored in boxes all around the kitchen because the mice are getting into my pantry! Once the mice are gone, or their numbers severely eliminated, I'll be much happier. Who would have thought a rodent problem could be this frustrating.

October was fun and busy. During October we discovered that a mountain lion and her three cubs live somewhere nearby between our neighboring properties. I haven't wandered very far on the property since I found that out. I dressed up as an Indian Princess and helped Cowboy Wes and Chris with the horse rides at a church event on Halloween. The children had so much fun, but I was exhausted and sore the next day from lifting so many children on and off the horses.

Thanksgiving was a small and simple affair, but very enjoyable. Wes and I went camping in our new trailer with my in-laws in Borrego Springs. We made quite a Thanksgiving feast for just the four of us. We had turkey and gravy, buns, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, broccoli stuffing casserole, pear and walnut salad and pumpkin pie! Everything was delicious. It was a nice, rare opportunity to spend time with Dutch and Sharon. It was a fun and relaxing mini vacation.

The house is already decorated for Christmas, and I had so much fun with my Rustic Cowboy Christmas theme. I bought Wes a new cow skull ornament, and used Cedar branches to decorate. It's festive, woodsy and beautiful. I absolutely love it. Now it's time to buy all our gifts, order Christmas cards and bake lots of delicious Christmas cookies. Happy Holidays!