For those of you who know me, you know I talk a mile a minute, always have a smile ready, and laugh often. Deployment or not. But goodness, when Brooks is home, I feel like I could burst from the pure joy of having him around. I laugh much louder, much more frequently. I talk incessantly, much more so than normal. And perma grin from waking moment to pure exhaustion at night.

I could stare at my beau for hours on end. True story. And thankfully, he never tires of me, or my crazy staring. And smiling. And talking.

I’m so used to Brooks leaving us that I soak up as much of him as I can. It’s hard to find silly stuff to argue about when you’re so wrapped up in gratitude over the moments you are able to share. I don’t know if Brooks will leave again before we’re ready to say goodbye again. My mind doesn’t go there now because it’s so murky anyway, the “what-ifs.” I’d much rather focus on today. I couldn’t always say that. I’m a big planner. But Brooks has taught me that it’s so much sweeter to live in the today.

I wish I’d figured that out sooner.

So today was blissful normal. I’ve longed for normal. I’ve embraced the abnormal normal, but our normal is what I really want. What I desire, in the grand scheme of things. Because our abnormal normal is really a way of making it through from one long separation to the next. The perpetual holding of one’s breath. Normal is fully breathing, feeling light as air with joy, bliss.

Today was Brooks’s first day back at work. We woke up much too early, had a lazy breakfast. Talked much.

Like normal, Brooks popped his head into B’s room to tell him he was leaving, that he loved him, that he’d miss him, and that he’d be home soon. Music to my ears.

I got to watch my beau get in his car, after a long goodbye kiss, of course. And like normal, I watched him drive away, waving long after he’d rounded the corner.

Little B and I kept busy with Christmasy things while he was gone. And like normal, he called to tell me he was on his way, so that I could get lunch on the table before he came home to us. Eating lunch around the table, together, talking and laughing.,that’s priceless in my book.

We played a longer than expected game of domino’s (B interjected with sound effects, silliness, and other general goofiness) and then the boy and I went to the kitchen to make our gingerbread house.

We’re playing catch up with our Advent Activity Tree… so the gingerbread house was on tap today, as was the dangling snowman craft.

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Big Brooks came into the kitchen to check on our progress and taste our crazy yummy dough (eggless, joy of joys!). At which point he mentioned that he’d always wanted to eat a whole gingerbread house. I looked at him like he was crazy. Eat the gingerbread house? Is the man mad? You’re supposed to look at the pretty thing and then pitch it after awhile. Right?

Little B smiled broadly at his Dad, as if he’d always wished the same thing but had feared mentioning it because of my apparent reaction: open mouth, eyes wild and crazy. And then I laughed. Because those two crack me up. Why not make the darn house and eat the thing? But I made them promise they’d eat the thing right away after we assemble it (in a day or so).

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For those wanting the crazy good gingerbread dough recipe, here it is:

And the template we used to cut out our pieces:

After we put the gingerbread in the oven to bake The Boy and I began working on his dangling snowman craft. Here’s a version of our take on it:

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B had a blast making this. I worked on putting up some of his snowflakes he had made a few days ago.

And then we took the puppies for a walk around the neighborhood. Which tired me out, slightly. Keep that in mind for later.

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This morning, while perusing the internet for ideas for our Friday night I came across VLA’s Nutcracker Ballet. There were seats left. Not good ones, but seats regardless. When I told B about it he made a groaning noise and then asked if we could watch a movie instead. Really? It’s the Nutcracker! It’s Christmas!

I should have known. When I mentioned it to Big Brooks he made a groaning noise. Then asked if we might see a movie instead. At which point I laughed. Those two. So we saw a movie. Except that I fell asleep about five times. The movie was great, I was just exhausted, from our walk. Which made me laugh because if we’d gone to the Nutcracker the boys would have been peeved that I, who had dragged them there, had fallen asleep.

In their defense, I know if I’d declared an undying love for seeing the Ballet tonight they would have willingly, albeit slightly grudgingly gone. Because they love me. And are amazingly good to me. But I couldn’t bear to have them take me when I knew Big Brooks wasn’t into it.

So we had a crazy good, deliciously normal day. I can’t wait for tomorrow. Not only is my family flying in, but Brooks is off because it’s the weekend. Yay for that. And for normal.