The girls have been on Christmas break from school all week and it has been wonderful. We’ve had plenty of time for making cookies, watching Christmas shows, playing games and just being together. I love the pace of life on break. The kids have been playing together – all of them, even Julia, which is glorious for the younger kids as they have missed her so much lately. As the world opens up to her, she’s spending more time in it. She is growing up. Lucy had told me that even Julia’s bedroom feels far away from the rest of the house and I knew just what she meant.
Julia invited them to have a sleepover in her room the night before last. We blew up the air mattress and they all piled into the Big Kid Room and felt very special. They don’t remember sharing a room with her so much anymore. I sat in there with them to ask our three questions (What do you need help with? What are you thankful for? What made you say “wow” today? An idea inspired by this post at Left Brain Buddha.) and do a Dr. Puff Meditation (Oh, how we love Dr. Puff.). As the giggles faded and their breathing got deep, I realized that the time these kids have under the same roof like this is slipping away fast. Julia is twelve and a half. They have less than six years before the big sister goes off to college. (Oh, please, please let her go to college.) I just feel so grateful for this Christmas break.
I am also thankful for our Mabel and Dipper.
The last thing I thought we needed were more cats.
I was wrong.
We’ve been making some form of edible Christmas house during the holidays for many, many years. Usually, I post a photo of the kids smiling with their finished products after I’ve cleaned up the mess, like this. But this year, Lucy pulled out her Hulk hands and smashed hers out of frustration because I guess I should have made royal icing instead of buttercream for building. (Why did I make buttercream?) And Julia felt her Mystery Shack wasn’t photo worthy either, so instead, allow me to show you what the process looks like.
It looks messy.
The Christmas countdown is nearly over. Since I last wrote to you we’ve Elf-ed Ourselves (on paper, not digitally), played Chrstmas Bingo and charades, opened a present (Christmas shirts!), made magic reindeer food for Christmas Eve, played Christmas Mad Libs, had a paper snowball fight, made ornaments for the tree, and we played a reindeer game with some friends.
How about them antlers?
We had our first substantial snow of the season yesterday. It was a bit of a surprise. The kids were dismissed from school an hour early. I was already there helping with the Santa Shop and I had no idea it was snowing at all until they announced school was closing. The kids were tha-rilled. Once we got home, they didn’t even bother with boots or hats, they just jumped out of the van* and went straight to snowball fighting and snowmaning.
*I have a new van. Dave hit a deer on his way to work one night in November. Neither the car nor the deer survived.
So for a few days my van pulled double duty, getting Dave to work and kids to school and it was just too much for Vanessa. Her engine was already on its last legs. I’d been babying her in hopes that she’d hang on until spring. She didn’t. We lived with a rental car – a brand new 2017 Dodge Caravan we named The Super Mega Ultra Ninja Go Machine – for two weeks while we looked to replace two vehicles for less than $8,000. Dave and I are still congratulating each other on that accomplishment. He found himself a Ford Focus and I now have a white Pontiac Montana I call Joe.
Today, the kids have a snow day. Tomorrow it’s back to school for two days and then, CHRISTMAS VACATION BEGINS. I’m just a little bit excited about it.
Dipper is the most adorable kitten in the entire world.
He is happiest when he is touching another living thing, so if we aren’t actively holding or petting him, he will scale the most accessible pant leg and find a place to get cozy and nap.
He doesn’t mind if you’ve got stuff to do. He’ll go along.
And because he owns our hearts, we will walk around bent at a 90 degree angle to let him. In fact, he is perched on my left boob as I type to you.
It’s December and we’ve been doing Christmas things. Julia, Phoebe and Jack danced in our dance studio Christmas show, or shows. There were three. Julia was in all of them. Bee was in one and Jack was in a different one. The girls were snowmen.
Jack was a Nutracker bon bon and I would love to show you video of that, but they asked us not to take video of the show and though I did it anyway (like at least six other people sitting in front of me), I figure I probably shouldn’t post it if we weren’t supposed to be doing it, even though you know someone probably put theirs on Facebook. What I can show you is the requisite after show shot.
(I love Julia’s hair like that. She normally wears bangs that nearly cover her eyes and the only reason she isn’t wearing them like that here is because this was the required hairstyle for her performance. I love seeing her face and asked her if she might like to wear her hair like that more often. She said NO.)
We’re already a third of the way through our Christmas countdown. This year, it looks like this (with a cute guy standing by).
Each box contains a candy treat for each kid, a slip of paper with an activity to do, and an envelope with instructions and Lego pieces to add to the scene we’re creating. (You can see the Lego scene over the cute guy’s shoulder.) The Santa sack is packed with wrapped Christmas books – we open and read one each day. And finally, there’s the Santa beard cotton ball countdown. So far, our activities have included hanging candy canes on the Christmas tree, drinking hot cocoa while wearing whipped cream Santa beards, a trip to the Festival of Lights at Oglebay –
Sidebar: Look! Thanks to the kindness of a stranger, we actually got a family picture while at Oglebay! And I am sharing it even though I am fat! What!?!
Now, back to the list.
– making paper snowflakes, making red and green paper chains, opening a surprise snowball, visiting the Christmas store and choosing a family ornament, enjoying warm sugar cookies and eggnog, and tonight, we will be going to see a live Nativity scene.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.