More Nutcracker practice tonight. This is tech week for the Nutcracker, and tech week for the children's production at Free Chapel too. With Mommy doing props and costumes for the church production (which is on Sunday), and Madison dressed with make-up and hair up for ballet all week, you can just imagine the scrambling we're doing this week. Needless to say, one week from today, we will be sleeping in heavenly peace.
Daddy's working on the new series booklets today, proofing finals. But we did spend a lot of time this morning decking the halls. We have all the wreaths up outside on each window, which is a considerable project. Also, the nutcrackers are up on the shelves - we have 18 up there right now, by last count. This time next year, we'll have at least two more. Our new addition from last year is a drummer that was on the fake fireplace of our "Tribes Christmas" set last year.
Speaking of which, we finished that devotional story tonight. We forgot how fun that story was, a mix between Jurassic Park and Santa World. Last year, Madison was all into the LEGO Jurassic World game, so that sort of made its way into the devotional for a fun story.
Everyone is still somewhat under the weather today, although things are improving. And speaking of improving, tomorrow's forecast is calling for an inch of rain! This is the first significant rain we've had since October. Coincidentally, that was the last time Nana and Ba-ba were here. They arrived tonight after a long drive, and are just in time for the rain again.
Our house looks so nice for Christmas, and it isn't even December yet. We put out the framed pictures of Madison with Santa over the years - they're on the shelves in the great room. There are so many pictures with Santa now! The other decorations are out, including Daddy's "major award" from PNC Bank, and a few other items like our Santa nesting dolls and the angel we got from Hawaii, the one that's made from a flower. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
On a somber note, as this is being typed, one of our frequent fall destinations, Gatlinburg, is on fire.
The drought has made the entire Southeast nothing but kindling, an easy target for malevolent fools. This is Chimney Mountain, according to the captions we've been reading. Daddy has climbed this trail to the top of this mountain a few times. This view is part of a beautiful drive we've made each fall (except this past year), one where we look at all the trees and marvel at the colors of fall.
If this is indeed Chimney Mountain, the next time it is climbed, things will certainly look very different. Wildfires have spread across the beautiful Smoky Mountain National Park, and descended into the valley. So many familiar places along that little strip there in Gatlinburg have a looming wall of fire behind them. By this time tomorrow, we're not sure what structures will still be there. The Aquarium, they believe, is safe. Several hotels are on fire, according to some reports. People are in danger tonight, and of course people are losing everything: homes, businesses, property. Beyond that, an entire region is losing a thing of such grandeur and wondrous beauty.
All because of fire, started by one person. As we said yesterday, it's a terrible, terrible thing.