I think I have figured out why it feels more like Christmas season now than it did at this time last week. We finished our shopping (or the vast bulk thereof), part of which was the purchase of a 750 piece puzzle. Last night, when I got home from work and everyone else got home from their workout at the YMCA, we ate a dinner of black beans, white rice, tuna, and pico de gallo all mixed together–food does not get much better than that. After that, Lorena talked to Grandma Conchita on the phone while Kelly, Christian, and I corrected school work. Then, we gathered around the coffee table in front of the fireplace in the family room, listened to music, and worked on the puzzle for over an hour. It was absolutely a great time. It dawned on me that the puzzle pulls together all the things we associate with the Christmas season: We have done this every year at Christmas time since the kids have been big enough to work on a puzzle so the memories and feelings of Christmases past are brought to mind. We are together to do something that also allows us to talk to each other and listen to music which adds to the atmosphere. It was pretty wonderful.
The only problem is that I think we are going to finish the puzzle this weekend and we really want it to last through the New Year. Last year, the same thing happened when we did a 500 piece puzzle, so we ended up doing a second 500 piece puzzle after we finished the first. The kids are only a year older, so I do not think their ability to work on the puzzle has improved that much. Maybe it is their focus this year. At any rate, I think we are going to get another 750 piece puzzle when we finish this one. 1000 piece puzzles just seem to tedious and small. Also, the likelihood that the twin cat sister will foul everything up before we get the thing together seems to increase dramatically for a puzzle with 1000 pieces. I have found that Good Earth Original Sweet & Spicy Tea & Herb Blend tea with a good dolop of molasses is particularly well suited for drinking while putting together Christmas puzzles.