You may have wondered where I've been. I've been doing what I've been doing all year-- standing at the sink washing dishes.

It's cookie gift box month in the Fleur Cakes kitchen and this year I estimate that I made 900-1000 cookies. Boy, are my beaters tired!

I delivered the last client gift box yesterday and I don't care if I never see another cookie again.

Fleur Cakes does  have three more cake orders this month, including the last wedding cake of the year (number 51) on New Year's Eve, another small wedding with a diminutive tiered cake.

Of course there were the usual December activities- school, piano recital, shopping, class presentation, and decorating.
The first sign of Christmas to appear here is the village. The boys are experts at its creation now.

We also had a family Christmas party to decorate our little tree. For the first time in many years, all the kids attended and they each brought friends too. We ate smoked salmon spread and listened to Nat King Cole.

After weeks of warm, rainy Oregon weather, our first snow of the season finally arrived in mid-December. It didn't last for long and after another larger snowstorm we had pouring rain that created some seriously dampened spirits, squelching the hopes for a white Christmas.  A few days later the weather turned wintery again and we had another proper snowstorm. We are now under a wonderful white blanket of Christmas snow, nine inches deep. Yesterday morning when I drove Samuel to his art school ride before sunrise, I was stunned by the early morning winter landscape. The mountainous hills around us were like a painting, all the trees frosted with snow, the fields edged with fog, the white road bordered by snowbanks, all in the glowing blue hues of a winter morning. Seeing the beauty of it made rising before dawn and going out in the cold all worth it.

It's a good thing that the snow arrived during our school break because when that first clean covering of snow arrives, all other activities cease for the boys. For them, the only thing in the world is the snow and there is so much to do with it.

They forget to eat and do their chores. We should have a name for the first snow sickness.

So there are four days left until Christmas and I am about 70% ready if I don't count all the cooking and feeding of people yet to be done. I'll finish my shopping today and then the cooking will begin as well as church activities. Another December, another Christmas.