So…

Before we left South Africa for our 2-month-US-Road-Trip (and indefinite nomadic travels thereafter)… I had this little dream.

I thought:

“How wonderful it would be to have our kids experience their first White Christmas… with everything from a traditional Christmas carol coming to life”…

I imagined a snow covered cabin in the woods… with a log fire and hot chocolate.  I imagined sledding and Christmas lights.  I imagined snuggling down somewhere cozy and beautiful with my little family…

I hoped it would happen… but I wasn’t sure if it would.

Three days ago, as we drove through Pennsylvania,  I was convinced that my secret little White-Christmas-in-the-Woods dream wasn’t going to happen.  The snow (or, at least where we were driving) had melted.  We didn’t have much in the way of budget and couldn’t afford to just plonk ourselves anywhere.  We had also left it ’til the last minute (in true Costaras style).  We didn’t know where to find a cabin… we didn’t know where we should drive to find decent forests and wildlife areas… and/or if those forests or wildlife areas would have any snow left.

Two nights ago… we were holed up in a very tiny motel room in Schenedacty, New York… furiously googling “cabins for rent”… and trying to figure out where to spend Christmas.

A friend from New York state suggested visiting the Adirondack region (a very massive National Reserve)… so I googled that too…  and – I found loads of cabins to rent… and the photos were gorgeous… but everything was either:

  • fully booked for at least the next 2 months and/or
  • way too expensive!!

As I was about to give up…  (and just settle for a very average Christmas in a very average roadside motel or hotel)…  I clicked on a link which offered a “Last Minute Special” – and I thought:  “That’s exactly what we need!  Because this is definitely the last minute and I could do with something special!”

And – hooray!  We booked ourselves in to a cabin-in-the-woods for an affordable price (it’s a wee bit above-budget for us… but, what the heck – it’s Christmas!)

So here I sit typing this post… on Christmas Day.

Everything on my little Dream Christmas Secret Wish List?  It’s all here!

  • The house is set in the most gorgeous region… think mountains, lakes, forests, wildlife…
  • The house is right on the banks of the Indian Lake (which is frozen!!)
  • There’s SNOW!  Not only is everything snowy… but, as we arrived, the flakes started drifting down to welcome us!
  • Nick bought a cheap sled for the kids, and they’ve been sledding down the hill next to the house… right on to the frozen lake (loads of squeals and fun – as you can imagine!)
  • The house is perfect – fully stocked – warm and toasty on the inside with… a huge, stone fireplace!  I mean… c’mon!  It’s almost too good to be true!
  • We’ve been sleeping on the most comfortable, king-sized bed that I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing!
  • And… we’ve been quaffing hot chocolate by the fire… playing games… building puzzles… telling stories… scrap-booking… lego-building… weaving… reading… and having the best possible Christmas imaginable!

I feel happy.  I feel blessed.  I feel very, very fortunate.  And very, very grateful for my life.

I do not take any of this for granted.  I really don’t.

So – today… this Christmas day… as I sit next to the window upstairs, enjoying the beautiful view… listening to my children playing downstairs… enjoying the warmth of this place… and the taste of hot chocolate in the mug next to me…  I say:  Merry Christmas, everyone!  To friends and family:  thank-you for being a part of my life!  To the Divine Mystery… to Life… to Love…  thank-you!

I am grateful beyond measure.

Here’s some photos…

Nick and I… with the cabin in the background...

Nick and I… with the cabin in the background…

Nick & Joah sledding from the hill on to the frozen lake… with Morgan in hot pursuit...

Nick & Joah sledding from the hill on to the frozen lake… with Morgan in hot pursuit…

Pulling the kids on the lake (this is the first time we've walked on a frozen lake)...

Pulling the kids on the lake (this is the first time we’ve walked on a frozen lake)…

My turn to sled with Morgan...

My turn to sled with Morgan…

The view...

The view…