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So many anticipated moments!

I grew up with quite a bit of anticipation in my life. The holidays were big, the countdown to our birthdays were exciting, graduation ceremonies, religious sacraments, the annual summer vacation at Bass Lake, the advent calendar, wedding ceremonies, memorial services, and the list continues.

With a Mexican and Polish heritage, both sides of the family embraced the need to celebrate, to be festive, and enjoy whatever milestone or holiday there was. We would invite over 100 family members to celebrate a high school graduation or include just the close relatives, over 50 to a small birthday party.

Scott jokes with me and says we make up holidays just so that we can have another day to celebrate. To tell you the truth, I love it. But what I love even more, is the anticipation that builds up to the big day.

The meaning of anticipation is “the act of looking forward especially : pleasurable expectation.” When I was little, the countdown to my birthday and Christmas seemed like a marathon stretch. I would wake up each day, cross off another X on my calendar, and eagerly await that incredible day.

But what I also found, is on the actual day, I had almost a twinge of sadness. All of the build up to the festivities came to an end after those 24 hours. I wanted to bottle it up and keep it going all year. In an 8 year old mind, that seemed impossible and then I would move forward. We would take the Christmas tree down, the lights would come off the house, and we would do a “deep clean” for the new year.

In a 42 year old mind, I have a different approach about the build up to each momentous holiday or life celebration. My goal is to savor each part of the experience. Taking out the bins in the garage rafters to decorate, creating a flour storm in the kitchen as we have our holiday bake off, decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping presents at midnight while watching Hallmark, receiving a holiday card from friends and family we might not have hand a chance to see this year, and singing along to holiday songs.

This all occurs before December 25th. And, guess what? I am now better when the big day comes to an end because the celebration wasn’t just 1 day for me. It was maybe 10 days, maybe 30 days, maybe even months of preparation. I was able to chronicle it in my mind.

Scott’s mom used to tell me when I first started teaching that we needed to fill up our bucket every summer before we dove back into the trenches of the daily job. As a long time teacher, she knew how rewarding and exhausting the life of a teacher can be.

I wonder if we can all fill up our buckets this holiday season. Embrace it all, be present, stash it away in our heart and minds. When I am back to my daily life in January, I call on those moments and it brings a smile to my face. The human mind has an amazing capability to forget and to remember life events. This season make memories that you don’t want to forget.

Iler family waits for an unexpected surprise. . .


Day 3: Rocky Road Recipe (This was my Grandma's recipe- from a woman who had 6 children) This recipe is fast and easy!

1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup chunky peanut butter

36 regular size marshmallows

Line an 8 x 8 square pan with foil. Melt the bag of chocolate chips with a half cup of peanut butter in the microwave. Spread a small amount of chocolate mixture on the bottom of the pan. Line 36 marshmallows. Use the rest of the mixture and spread evenly across the marshmallows. Place in a refrigerator for 2-3 hours until it hardens. Lift out of the pan and place on the cutting block. Cut into pieces. Keep refrigerated and covered. It is so yummy!

Family Challenge: Each family member chooses a Holiday movie to watch. Rank them as a family and see which one wins!

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