Counting down to Christmas, snowmen, skewers, scarves, and an adoption trip memory (7 Quick Takes)


Our Christmas tree is up and decorated! We have an artificial tree every year because of allergies in our family, but this year we have a new one, and it might be my favorite so far. It’s a very slender tree, and it fits nicely in the corner of our living room.

We added a new couch and cabinet to the living room in February, so this is our first Christmas with this furniture arrangement. I’m happy to see that the tree fits in just fine. We have had the tree in a few different places in the room because there isn’t really an obvious spot for the tree. I remember that worrying me when we were house searching. There should always be a place for the tree, right?

But it seems that the tree is just fine. So we can relax and enjoy it.


“When is Christmas coming?” “Is it tomorrow?” “Is it the next day?” Every day I answer these questions a few different times. Before I was a mother, I thought Christmas countdowns were cute and decorative and fun. Now I think they exist so parents can direct their children to the nearest countdown feature.

I am not sure that we are ready for Christmas. I have not finished my shopping, which means I’m also not finished my wrapping. And I am still sending out a few straggler Christmas cards since I am not the most organized with my address list. But we are all excited for Christmas. Every year I think our children are at the best age for Christmas, and then the next year comes, and I change my mind.


Our dining room is also serving as a paper-towel-snowman-making area. The boys even help from time to time, and I am grateful for their assistance.

We have given snowmen to teachers and colleagues and friends, and for Christmas we will give a few to relatives.

I don’t know that a paper towel snowman is the perfect gift, but everyone seems to know what to do with a kitchen towel and a roll of paper towels.

No one has handed one back.


We have been so busy making snowmen that I haven’t been focusing on adding to our paper towel nativity scene. In fact, an angel became a snowman last night when we realized we were short on paper towels.

But last weekend we made two sets of the Holy Family so we could give them to Sunday School teachers.

There are other things you can give Sunday School teachers, but these seemed appropriate, and we enjoyed giving them.


For the first time in my life, I dropped a hint on the blog for a Christmas gift I wanted, and a friend—and blog reader—purchased it and had it delivered to me. So now I have metal skewers and no excuse for not producing delicious kabobs for my family. It just goes to show that my mother and nieces aren’t the only people reading this blog. Who knew? (P.S. Thank you, blog reader, for the skewers!)


John and I were getting ready to go to a concert at church last weekend when I half-heartedly said to him, “Does this outfit look all right?”

Daniel turned and looked at me and said, “You should wear a scarf. You look 100 percent better with a scarf.”

I didn’t know whether to listen to a second grader on fashion choices, but he does care more about his clothes than I do. So I went and put on a scarf. I’m not sure I looked 100 percent better, but I can’t say that I didn’t.


Eight years ago yesterday we finally returned home after our first adoption trip to China. We landed in Chicago and discovered the whole East Coast had been buried in a blizzard. All flights were canceled. So we rented a car with a car seat for our 2-year-old and drove all the way home. He had never ridden in a car seat before, but he did fine. We stopped when we were tired. We ran around rest stops when we had been sitting too long. We sang and played and introduced him to McDonald’s cheeseburgers.

I can’t believe eight years have passed since that trip. It was the journey of a lifetime. And it was just the beginning.

There is no 7 Quick Takes linkup again this week, but I hope you have a wonderful weekend and a merry Christmas!

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.