Sunday, December 27, 2020

Christmas 2020

 I wrapped gifts on and off for a week leading up to Christmas this year.  I usually wait till Christmas Eve and have a miserable evening.  Wrapping in stages made the chore much more bearable, even joyful, as I meditated on making each package beautiful and the joy that the girls would have in their gifts.

We always buy a gingerbread kit and we always use the leftover and unwanted Halloween candies to decorate the gingerbread house. As you can tell, the girls don't like gobstoppers or bottle caps, etc.

This December, Norah's classmate paid her to paint succulent pots for his mom as a surprise. He used an excuse to bring the pots over to us in secret earlier in the month.  Once the pots were painted, we all went over to their house for dessert and to exchange gifts a few nights before Christmas. That's how we got the pots back to her classmate in secret and in time for him to slip them under their tree. He sent a video of her unwrapping her gift and finding out that Norah had painted the pots. 

The same friend gave the girls a baby yoda she made as Christmas gift. Now "The Child" basically goes everywhere with someone at all times.

We attended Christmas Eve service in the afternoon.

We've been members of Walnut Hill since before our oldest was born more than sixteen years ago, so I realized that I have been to sixteen years of Christmas Eve services at the same church. I am thankful for that.

Our Christmas Eve, we do Advent readings and then open new pajamas.  We also opened gifts from our neighbors. They gave the oldest the most amazing practice sword and the younger girls were given microscopes.  

On Christmas morning, we make cinnamon rolls and eggs for breakfast and read the final portions of our Advent readings.  

We have an extra cell phone that we have let our oldest use when she is volunteering away from home or on field trips, etc. It recently needed to be replaced with a newer model.  Our oldest asked for a music player for Christmas, but we gave her this cell phone instead because it can also serve as a music player.  Note: If she were more interested in having a cell phone, we'd be less willing to give her one. But since she could really care less, that's a strong proof she'll use it well. We had a lot fun writing out terms and conditions for its use. And the whole family had a lot of fun laughing as she read them aloud Christmas morning. Note: She was somewhat obviously disappointed with this gift until we pointed out to her that a cell phone can be used as a music player as well.   

We gave the middle daughter an iPod, something she asked for also, so she can listen to music and audio books, etc.

Dwayne's company sends a ham every year at the holidays. So we had ham, homemade mac and cheese, roasted Brussel sprouts, pineapple casserole, spicy honey mustard, and cranberry chutney for Christmas dinner.  

The sky outside was beautiful as we ate dinner. 

The youngest girls were old enough to make the homemade rolo turtle candies without much help from me. After dinner, we played Candy Lab, a new game our relatives sent.

On the morning after Christmas, we had a big breakfast of sausage gravy and biscuits.  I made sixteen bean soup with leftover ham and put it on to simmer all day on the back burner.  Our relatives sent us Carotgraphers, too, so we played that after breakfast. 

I bought our middle daughter several colors of concentrated water color. So the girls are now able to paint just about anything on Let's Make Art's Your Tube channel. So they have been painting on and off all day.  

We are enjoying these days of celebration, worship, and rest. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Goals for 2021

I'm making some goals for 2021.  

I'm keeping it simple, going back to the basics. 

1. Read the One Year Bible.  

2. Clean with Fly Lady. 

3. Take my vitamins and count calories. 

4. Read at least one book a week. 

5. Exercise five or six days a week.  (Anything from strenuous weight lifting to simple walks will count towards this goal.)

6. Contact one family member or friend every day. 

I've done all these things consistently in the past. I still do most of these somewhat consistently, but the last few years have been so busy and emotionally and physically challenging that I have fallen out of these healthy habits for weeks or even months at a time. So I am putting a renewed focus on these simple things that make the most difference in my spiritual and physical well-being for 2021.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

New Leisure Time

I'm done with my first semester of grad school. My oldest just finished all her CCPlus work for this semester.  It's also the official first day of Christmas break for our Classical Conversations Community.  A big snow storm is only hours away, so it's freezing outside. And I'm still a bit worn out from a full day of Blue Book testing and lively conversation with my Challenge 3 class yesterday. So I've got my feet up by the fire and I am leisurely reading five books at the same, literally. I'm reading one chapter in a book and then switching to another and then another.  I haven't been free to read what I want in months and I just don't know where to start, so I am just reading them all at the same time.  Whenever I get too restless from sitting and reading, I'll listen to my favorite podcasts and do some housework and/or meal prep. In the next few days, I actually look forward to writing a new essay on The Iliad for the Circe Apprenticeship, assessing my students' Blue Book exams, and writing their progress reports. Those are next things on my official to-do list. But for today and maybe tomorrow, too, I'm taking time to simply enjoy life and my new leisure time. The girls are also leisurely doing some schoolwork (but not all of it), reading books chosen from the library, playing piano, or writing their stories near me.