Monday, November 30, 2015

Bits and Pieces: November

The year feels like a roller coaster to me. The first few months: slow. You're climbing  to the top of the ride. Then it's June and WHOOSH, down you go, and suddenly it's the end of the November. Have I used that analogy before? Anyway, here we are. The end of November!

I haven't put out any Christmas decorations yet, but the Christmas tree lot at the school next door is in full swing. I love Christmas music, but even I get tired of hearing it every night. All well, they give us a free tree. I am trying not to be a Grinch about it. (It really isn't bad, except for the nights that they are out there drinking until all hours. In the Catholic school parking lot. As you do.)

Christopher's vocabulary continues to grow daily. He also knows at least half the alphabet, the numbers one through 10, and the primary colors. (He can count to five in order, but gets confused after that.) Whenever we're out anywhere, he starts emphatically shouting out letters he sees on signs or buildings. We sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to him every night and he sings along. He knows quite a few of the words. I melt.

He and Clare are both having trouble adjusting to the cold weather. They insist on wearing their fall coats. Clare spent yesterday running around the house in a tank top. Clare's argument is that since it is technically still fall, she should be able to wear her fall coat. I keep trying to explain that in Minnesota fall ends with October, but she doesn't care. IT IS STILL FALL. I don't know what Christopher's deal is. I think he is just trying to assert his independence.

They are playing together more and more, which I love, and not only because it gives me a few minutes of peace.

Clare conquered a major fear this month: Santa. I've always been vague about Santa - you have to be when you have a fearful child. (And I mean really, the whole thing is kind of creepy when you think about it.) However, this year Clare was willing to meet Santa. (She would not sit on his lap. Again, understandable.) She even told him what she wants: a Doc McStuffins doctor kit. Poor Santa clearly had no idea what she was talking about. Luckily, Mommy does, and may or may not already have one in the basement. It was a really fun day all around. We were in Evansville visiting my parents. Evansville held an Old Fashioned Christmas celebration. Eleven inches of snow had fallen the night before, so it was quite Christmasy, even though it was the weekend before Thanksgiving. Clare and I took a ride on a fire truck, and she and my mom and I spent some time drinking coffee and doing puzzles at the local coffee shop. Actually, Clare did the puzzles mostly by herself. She is really good at them and can even do 50 piece puzzles on her own.

And, of course the kids had fun with their grandparents. They love going to the "Cuckoo House."

I hosted Thanksgiving for my in-laws for the first time this year. It went pretty well. Everyone helped. Ben washed all of the dishes after the meal, and made a pumpkin pie that morning. Clare stirred the corn casserole and tore the bread for the stuffing. And Christopher took an extra long nap on Thanksgiving Day, giving me a lot of uninterrupted time to cook. Wow, it is a lot of work to put together that dinner. It was worth it, though. Everyone had a good time.

Next weekend we celebrate my sweet niece's 1st birthday. Her two biggest fans (besides her parents) will be in attendance. Clare and Christopher are just so excited to see her every day. You would think it had been weeks since they had seen her, rather than, you know, the day before. I love that they have such a special relationship with their cousin.

On to December!

Christopher and Baba Ralph.

Watching the snow fall.
Clare got to go out for ice cream with Baba by herself. Can you tell she was happy?
Tearing bread for stuffing. Josie is not helping.

Clare sort of smiling with Santa!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Giving Thanks

I have been trying to write a post about how recent events, both here and abroad, have me so worried about what kind of world my kids will inherit. How I know that there has been evil in the world since the beginning of time, but that doesn't make it any easier. How I want to do my part to create a peaceful planet for my children, and to give them the tools to deal with what may come.

Instead, though, I'll just say that I am grateful. For everything I have, for my family and friends, and most importantly for my children. They are funny and smart and loving and most importantly, healthy. We have food and clothes and a warm place to sleep. What more can I ask for?

They find such joy in the small things. I am going to try to follow that example. Pure joy. Happy Thanksgiving, all!