Monday, December 28, 2009

White Christmas

I am an unapologetic lover of winter, snow makes me as giddy as my five-year-old. So we were all dismayed to see rain fall on top of all the lovely snow that had accumulated when we woke on Christmas Day. We were much gratified to see that rain turn into snow a few hours later and keep on snowing for days!

This whole season since the beginning of Advent has been magical this year. We added elements little by little as the weeks progressed. The day the kids awoke to the manger set up and lit in the dark was very special. Whatever we did the rest of the weeks leading up to Christmas included the manger scene and baby Jesus. When we were making gingerbread cookies one day, I told Puck we would give some as gifts to our friends. His eyes lit up at the word "gift," and he immediately said; "Gift for baby Jesus." He had asked me about the three kings earlier that day, and we must have talked about the presents they brought with them. As soon as the first batch of cookies was cool enough, he carefully carried two gingerbread men over to the manger, where they have kept watch over baby Jesus ever since.

The night of the Solstice we had our first-ever spiral to walk. We had talked much over the weekend of the longest night and shortest day of the year. We evoked the ancient celebrations of the return of the light and what it meant to peoples convinced that the sun was leaving forever to finally "get" that it would return each year. I set it up in the living room in the dark, with candles all around and the lit Christmas tree behind it all. The children were mesmerized as they walked the spiral, in silence, one after the other. When it appeared more difficult to remain quiet, Pierre picked up his guitar and strummed a soft song, bringing us back to a reverent feeling and adding much to the ambiance of the occasion.

Christmas Eve was spent with my family and fond thoughts of our family in France. The weather was fair to middlin', but everyone made it and my parents' house was filled with beautiful decorations, a warm fire, good food and lots of love.

Christmas Day we stayed home in our pajamas, as per the children's request. We were delighted to oblige. The kids got us up at seven o'clock precisely with a leap on the bed and a showering of homemade and other gifts, they had waited so long to give them, they were bursting! Pierre went down to light the fire and candles, a tradition in his family, then we followed, rather at a gallop. After opening gifts and some breakfast, we did not get dressed, but each enjoyed their new toys and gifts. Pierre and I cooked and baked and helped kids figure out how to use their new toys. (Note to us: no electronics next year!) We had a feast fit for...children, lol! They wanted hamburgers and fries, we made hamburgers and fries, along with smoked salmon, some brie, a good baguette and my now-traditional Yule log. We spent time around the fire, playing guitar and knitting, time playing a new video game, and had a little family Christmas music concert.

Since then, we have been shoveling and sledding and watching movies together when it gets too cold outside. Family and friends have stopped by and emails and phone calls made to France. You are all in our hearts and thoughts, enjoy the remaining days of the season, nine more to go!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Blogging 'Bout Boys: Positive Parenting

Blogging 'Bout Boys: Positive Parenting

A wonderful post from Jennifer, mother of four boys, that sent a much-needed wake-up call. When sibling fighting seems to be the main theme of your waking hours, here is something to consider.

Baby and Reindeer

Puck really loves his reindeer. That and llamas are his favorite animals...funny baby.

Sleigh Ride!

We all loved the lighting of the town Christmas tree, horse and cart ride, hot cocoa and carols in the crisp December air the other night. The holiday season is on, may it be a peaceful, joyful one for you.

A Really Big Ball of Yarn

Craziest knitting project ever; size 50 needles and four strands of bulky yarn, wound together in one big, big ball. The combination makes a cool blanket, warm and soft and fluffy (and only a knitter would know how long it takes to make.) Next to them, you can see the size 1's for the baby sock project that is also going on; it's all about balance!

Basement Play: Joan of Arc

The original script by Lily, telling the tale of a young runner, on a mission out of besieged Orleans to collect information. She encounters more than she bargained for when she meets the Maid herself.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Home "school" update

Aragorn is whistling while he does dishes, Lily is smiling as she cleans her bird's cage and listens to "Emma Jean Lazarus Falls Out of the Tree" for the 34th time, Alienor is happily cutting out paper dolls, Arthur and Puck are sound asleep next to each other in my bed, it is a peaceful moment.

We saw a beautiful production of "The Nutcracker" ballet this morning and are still a bit in the dream state it left us in. This week brought a big, bad ol'winter storm, showering us with a foot of snow, blowing winds and below freezing temperatures. It was great!

We finished up our study of Medieval times with Joan of Arc. What an amazing figure in history and in women's history. We learned much about the power of one individual with faith in their mission, about what life was like in the late middle ages in France and, sadly, about the corruption of politics, even way back when.

Alienor has been studying the lives of Catholic saints. She sincerely wants to be a better little person and is very devout in her intentions. It's reality that hits her all too often with sibling or other conflicts that put her over the edge. She is the best baby minder ever, and will find things for Puck to do for hours on end.

Arthur has been weaving and finger-knitting his little heart out. His huge accomplishment this week was obtaining his own library card. He had to sign his whole name on the line to do so, and though I have never taught him a single letter, he did it anyway, very nicely, in fact. He is so proud of his card. If you stop over, he will take it out and show you.

Puck is talking and talking and talking. He is very funny, into everything and does just what a two-and-a-half-year-old should do; be cute and make trouble. He loved the five minutes of the ballet he saw before falling asleep yesterday. He sat entranced and silent, like all of the 5000 or so children, including homeschoolers with toddlers and babies, through the entire show. The only difference in my case was that he was entirely out.

We have made candles for our advent wreath, put up advent calendars, and kept our intentions to find kind deeds to do for others in this season. Today we will celebrate Lily's 13th birthday and Thierry's 40th. Time to make pancakes and sausages!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Hey amour,

Happy We Met Twenty-one Years Ago Today Anniversary! I always thought I'd feel so old (not to mention bored) after twenty years of loving the same person, nothing doing, you're the best!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Final Day in the Days of Joy Series: Day Thirty

First Snowfall

How appropriate and how cool that on my last day of posting for this exercise in gratitude, I should wake to a fresh mantle of snow and softly falling flakes in the dark before dawn. This is my favorite day of the year; when winter's white blanket first covers autumn's brown dearth. I am just as excited as the children to see snow. I am lining up the boots, gloves, mittens and scarves by the door so that we can be ready for a snow fling as soon as we've had breakfast. Thank you, Mother Nature, for a fitting end to the days of joy and a beginning of many more.

Days of Joy: Day Twenty-Nine


Even if the baby in question is two and a half...already! Babies in the bath, with their sweet little curls and their absolute delight in water, their pudgy little selves and smooth new skin, all lovely-smelling in your arms when they're dry and in pajamas and ready for a cuddle.

Baby's arm wrapping around your neck as you try to sneak out of bed to "get something done," before the rest of the house awakens. How nice to be needed, how blessed to have known such beautiful moments once in a lifetime.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day Twenty-Eight in Days of Joy

And Counting

It was either a tiring week or one lacking in inspiration, but here I am, a whole week later and no days of joy entries. So, the three days to come will be days of joy, each and every one.

Today is show day; the three oldest are in a play called "The Christmas Wizard of Oz," and I know it will be a great day.

PS It is Monday and I have gained some perspective, in retrospect, of course, on the crazy week it seemed to be last week. We lead a very boring life, all in all. Normally, we are home in the evenings together. The kids fight about setting the table, forget the water, argue about who has to get up and get the water, we eat dinner, read a story (while the two-year-old wreaks havoc). They scuffle while they brush their teeth, need one more drink, have one more question, one more booboo that requires a band-aid or homeopathy, then all are tucked into bed by 8. Last week we had something else going on every single wonder! It was a good week; a first day of Advent tea and decorating of the whole house in one fell swoop, play rehearsal almost every night, a guitar concert/open coffee house where Aragorn debuted his guitar-strummin' stuff, then the play. Lots of joys, lots of complications.

We really do create our own problems and their solutions, on lucky days.