December has proven to be right cozy this year and I am loving every minute of it. We've had some warmish days with beautiful breezes, blue skies, and billowy white clouds. And now we're experiencing true San Diego winter conditions with some chilly rain and dancing wind that sends the Christmas lights hung from the eves into fits of bobbing and swaying. The mornings are cold, eliciting moans and groans as I hunker down under my covers, in denial that my baby could possibly need me at such an inopportune time. I wear socks in the house now to warm my footcicles.
Things I love right now:
~ Getting packages frequently as we procrastinators finally get around to Christmas shopping. Online, of course.
~ Opening my door to collect said packages and catching a whiff of a neighbor's wood fire stove emissions. Always reminds me of a mountain getaway, complete with surrounding pines and crunchy ground covering.
~ The relaxed pace of our daily lives. The big boys are getting into a routine and jumping right into their house and school work before I even get up in the morning!
~ Karsten's toothy grin with crinkled nose and disappearing rainbow eyes. As he is such a genial child, I see it often.
~ Dan's willingness to help me clean out five years of accumulated clutter and make our home a more inviting place to stay in longer.
~ Dan's patience with the lengthy duration of the aforementioned project thus far. (Hey, huge projects + kids ain't no cakewalk, folks!)
~ Christmas movie nights.
~ Playing games with Karsten. He is SO good at Memory and Super Mind (pictured below) and applies his usual zest to executing both. It's a joy to behold!
~ Oskar's cruising and curiosity (though I blame this for my stalling out on "the project"). He scoots his way around the house, pushing with his right toes and pulling with his left forearm. He is fast.
~ My new walking group that meets at a local park every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5am! I'm not usually a morning person, but I adore these women I walk with and look forward to each time. It's also nice to finally be doing something about my body's desperate need for activity and movement. Plus, we are collecting memories, like the time we came across a HUMONGOUS Black Widow spider making its way across our path; and the skinny man with the shaved head that stalks the park with a massive rock in one hand; and realizing that our walking time and days coincide perfectly with Brother Tom and Brother Jon's from our ward (congregation). We've only been at it two weeks and we've already walked in dense, disorienting fog that rests heavily on the world, hushing the regular hum of early morning critter activity and isolating any soul brave enough to push through it. And, the days after the fog lifted we were treated to breathtaking clarity, with stars twinkling down on us from the heavens and the shadow of the ocean winking along the horizon as we marveled from our unobstructed vantage point. People, getting up early rocks. You should try it some time.
~ Our awesome Christmas lights on our tree and around our house. Mini LED dome lights, people. It's the way to go. PAAAARTAAAAAYYYY! :D
~ Anders is reading. He's really reading and he's getting it and he's a perfect testament to me that when a child is ready to learn and allowed to do so at his own pace, comprehension will occur in leaps and bounds with no loss of love for learning as tends to accompany premature, compulsory "education." Knowing Anders' personality, it would have been (and still could be) super easy to crush his budding academic confidence. He's the sort who needs lots of attention, encouragement, and praise. Regardless of performance, I try to find things he's done well and focus on those or he is easily discouraged.
~ Soren is becoming a man. I can see him see-sawing between the fun-loving, goofy kid with no inhibitions and this new young man who is accepting and even embracing responsibility around the house and with the family. He is readily helpful and absolutely tries to make the best decisions. He told me just yesterday morning, "Mom, I was washing my hands after I used the bathroom this morning and I thought to myself, 'Mom wants me to get started with school and chores right away. I don't really want to, but I think I should.'" And off he went getting his stuff done while I was obliviously snoozing away with the baby. I was so proud of him.
~ Adopting new family Christmas traditions like our Elf on the Shelf which Karsten named Pidgery. And reading a Christmas story each evening before bed. And there are a couple more that I just heard about at a really fun Relief Society dinner we had this week. We are going to get a pure white stocking to hang next to ours for the baby Jesus each year. In it, we will each place a "gift," or something we promise to be better at next year (written on a piece of paper). We'll then read our previous gifts the following Christmas Eve. I love this idea because it's another reminder of the true reason for the season and I think we need lots of reminders these days. And the last one I want to adopt is to make our own white stuffed fabric snowballs to have a family "snowball" fight on Christmas morning. Our entire Relief Society engaged in one at the dinner this week and it was SO FUN! What a fantastic idea, especially for us "poor," snow-deprived Southern Californians. :P
Things I'm not loving:
They are both vicious, vicious cycles that I have feelings of acute animosity toward because they simply REFUSE to go away when I ignore them! Not to mention they wreak havoc on my poor (eczema-riddled) hands. :(
~ Silly, obsolete protests (wear pants to church day)
Here are some more images from our December thus far:
|The boys have been doing a lot of this lately. BUT, I figure it's okay because they've also been doing a lot of this . . .|
|. . . and this . . .|
|Anders illustrating his daily journal entry.|
We've also spent some quality time trying to imitate Karsten's facial expressions that we love so much. Here's what we fondly refer to as "The Look":