Happy New Year, dear readers!
The kids and I started our week break from school on December 22, so we’re still enjoying our vacation. It’s been lovely. David, Judah, and I woke up the day after Christmas with fevers and sore throats, which was disappointing, but also nice in a way, because we just rested.
During this break I’ve done a lot of sleeping in, lounging around in sweats, drinking hot tea, and watching movies with my kids. I introduced them to a childhood favorite of mine, Hook, last week, the boys are on a Star Wars kick (they’re watching all the old ones), and we also watched the first and second Nanny McPhee movies, which are so much fun.
This was my favorite December yet with our family. I noticed a huge difference in the kids last month compared with other years. I think in the past, the excitement of Christmas-time manifested itself in lots of big emotions and acting out and general holiday fatigue on my part.
But this year felt different.
I purposely planned a very low-key holiday season for us, and for the first time, we also followed our school routine right up until Christmas weekend. I realized it helped tremendously not to be part of Classical Conversations, which ends for the semester at Thanksgiving, and always seemed to result in the kids’ mentally checking out after that point–even though we have more school days to finish.
This year we stuck it out through most of December, and the structure helped to pass the time so that everyone could bear all the Christmas-gift-anticipation. And this is the second year we drove to Home Depot the first weekend in December and schlepped home a real, live Christmas tree.
After seeing David put together our artificial tree from the attic that first Christmas together, the little boys never fail to be astonished by the wonder of a real tree that smells like December, needs water, and rains pine needs across the hardwoods. I think Noah loved it more than his Christmas presents, and we had to explain to him that it’s rude to march into someone’s home and ask them whether their Christmas tree is “real or fake!”
Of course when we brought ours home from the store and screwed the trunk into its stand and pulled out the ornaments, we discovered only one strand of lights was working. Too exhausted to head back out into traffic, we decorated the entire tree with that one strand, and later in the week I picked up a few more from Target. Amie and I proceeded to take every ornament off the tree, rehang the lights, and decorate it again.
It was worth it!
A well-lit Christmas tree is a must.
I found myself enjoying my home and my kids and our lovely, live Christmas tree, and wondering what made the difference.
Having the kids a year older helps. Feeling less busy helps. Also I realized: having some space. 400 sq. ft. more space, to be exact. There was a whole big closet in which to tuck the console table and lamp, and another bathroom, and Judah and Amie weren’t tripping all over one another to make space in their shared room for Christmas presents.
Yes, our addition is a wonderful, wonderful gift.
Other Christmas gift themes this year were Star Wars, board games, Calico Critters, a kids’ cookbook, and lots and lots of Legos. I got cozy Smartwool winter socks and a kerosene lamp, which are both very hygge.
We enjoyed Christmas day with our family, then celebrated Christmas and Noah’s birthday with the boys’ birth family late in the week, and had a fun time opening more presents, putting together toys, and eating dinner and cake together.
I was still recovering from being sick, and did something I’ve never done: rather than make my child his birthday cinnamon rolls and cupcakes, I took Noah to Publix and let him pick out any box of cereal he wanted for breakfast (chocolate Lucky Charms, in case you wondered), and his own cake (chocolate with chocolate icing). It was very liberating for me, and Noah didn’t seem to feel one bit let down.
We asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and he said, “A Dark Vader costume.”
So that’s what he got!
Can you believe our youngest is five? I feel old.
I love five.
Actually, to be super honest, five is the first age I loved with all of my kids. And it just gets better from there, folks. It’s so much fun having older kids! Everyone in our home can now officially take a shower, wipe their own bottom, and buckle themselves into the van.
My work here is done.
Noah’s birthday is on New Year’s Eve, and David performed a wedding ceremony for some friends from church that night.
It was a beautiful wedding, and I got to spend the evening with friends I haven’t seen in awhile. We laughed a lot and danced until 11:00 (my friends and I, that is, not David, he’s not a dancer. Actually I’m not either, but I pretend to be at weddings), and then headed home and were asleep by midnight. That’s what 35 feels like, friends. I don’t mind it one bit.