This is one of my favorite times of the year. Advent is usually stressful, unfortunately. I really dislike shopping for Christmas presents, even when I do it mostly online with no rushing through malls. I just dislike spending the money and making the choices and reflecting on how many more years I have ahead of me of doing this since my youngest is only five. We already have so many toys, I tell you. I toss ruthlessly throughout the year, and we don’t really buy that much, but toys seem to generate toys. There are always too many. It ruins Advent for me, thinking about these things and not knowing quite what to do about them.
But the time when Christmas Day is over, the festive season between Christmas and Epiphany, is usually a good time. Almost every year something happens, so it’s not necessarily a comfortable time. One year we lost all our electrical power for 2 weeks in a major, major blizzard that went on and on. Our whole region’s power was down and we huddled in front of the fireplace to keep warm with one little camp lantern and some flashlights and candles. Last year our water heater was out for 2 weeks and we heated water on the stove to clean ourselves and the dishes. Another year we all got the flu and Aidan ended up in the hospital in an overflow ward while the other children were in the throes of fever delirium at home. For some reason, perhaps family-closeness reasons and because Liam is home from college, these kinds of events haven’t ruined the twelve days of Christmas for us.
I made some progress on my story! No, it’s no longer Novel November, but I did really want to write this story even if it’s one of those cases of walking the last miles of the marathon. Liam, my oldest who is home from college, has made a pact with me; we are to wake up at around 7 am every day and spend an hour or two writing. I agreed to this. The conversation took place in front of the other kids and two of them asked me today if we really did get up at 7. The answer is “not quite”. We stayed up till past midnight watching “Lady in the Water” and then I had trouble sleeping, so I woke up at 7:30 and then only because Aidan was buzzing me (his word for “bugging”).
Today we drove Aidan down to his monthly blood draw at the hospital. One of the disadvantages of living where we do is that we have to drive 50 miles for routine appointments and laboratory visits. Another disadvantage at this time of year is that there are blizzards at regular intervals. So I wanted to get down there between blizzards. When we got back, Clare wanted me to take a photo of our whole crew as “The Magnificent Seven” (since there are seven of them ranging from 5 years old to 21 years old). So we went out in the snow and took photos.
I vacuumed all the corners for the first time in a couple of months, and caught up on the laundry.
Aidan and Paddy got a set of wooden blocks for Christmas. We used to have some when the older kids were small but they don’t seem to be around the house anymore. I thought that wooden blocks are probably one of those developmental imperatives and worth the 40$. For the first few days the blocks simply sat there in their storage box. The little ones were playing with the more accessible gadgets, like the remote control car they got at their grandma’s house. Then Aidan got one of the curved blocks out and pretended it was a phone. Then he made “Grandma’s house”. Then he started stacking the pillars up to see how high they would go (putting my laptop in danger since he was right next to me). Then he made a “pizza” out of triangles. At present there are blocks in carefully arranged patterns all over the floor. Hooray for the simple basic toys!
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