We spent Black Friday hunkered down, relaxing. The only thing I bought was a gym membership. A small local gym was offering a deal from 5-6 a.m., $1 to join and $10 a month. No commitment and $10/month unlimited childcare. For that price I’m planning to listen to audiobooks while strolling on the treadmill. Since I was awake anyway (Logan!), I called in and joined.
We had a rough few months. Sleep is erratic. Potty training didn’t happen. We’ve been working hard on being more patient and gentle as a family, and it’s been exhausting. While dealing with our emotional drama, we’ve watched friends and family go through some incredibly tough times. Charlie passed away the first week of December, just after we had seen him on Thanksgiving. Christopher helped Jansen make another tiny casket and Holly made another beautiful tribute video for her little boy. Our friends and neighbors the Spragues have also been on an exhausting roller coaster as their six-year-old daughter, who was born with a defective heart and had open heart surgery this summer, went into heart failure. She has been in and out of the hospital and December 23 she went back in to begin the process to get her on the heart transplant list. The doctors said it would take 6-9 months to find her a heart. On Christmas the Spragues got a call that they had a heart and the next morning Maddie was back at the hospital getting prepped for a transplant, which occurred from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. the day after Christmas. Everything has been so crazy and so fast for them that they have needed a lot of help, and it has been an amazing thing to witness the service rendered by neighbors, church members, and others in the community. I love going over there and watching the boys, because there is a lovely, peaceful spirit in their home. I even spent the night a few nights ago. I texted Jeannie, “That was the best sleep I’ve gotten in months. I woke up at 8 and all three boys were looking at books in the hallway.” They are a bit quieter than my three boys! They are an incredible, strong family and Jeannie also writes a blog here.
In addition to the hard stuff, we’ve had a little fun. I took Megan to a Tom Douglas cooking class for homeschoolers. Pulled her right out of orchestra and we had a fun afternoon in Seattle. The class itself was a bit basic for my foodie daughter, who has been watching the Food Network since age three.
We got a dusting of snow. It was clear and frigid for a week but the rain finally came back, and with it our normal winter temps in the 40s and 50s. The house was warmer when it was cold and sunny, though. I wear many layers and drink lots of tea these days. This South Carolina girl does not like being cold!
Parent teacher conferences were awesome. It’s amazing how success is defined differently with each child. Gavin is an excellent reader and his teachers described him as “kind and respectful”, and that was enough to make me jump for joy. Ben is still struggling with behavior, but he loves math and his teacher is happy to work with him on being, well, kind and respectful! She’s making accommodations for him such as: yoga ball instead of a chair; solo trips to the library or outside with the teacher’s assistant; extra incentives for good behavior; a “friendship” group with the school counselor. I am very thankful for the experience Ben is having at school. And I’m doing a lot better job being flexible when he, say, trips and skins his knee on the way to the bus stop and the Band-Aid I pick is too small so I end up patching the whole thing up with gauze and wrapping a bandage around his leg like he’s got a gaping wound and then we’re late for school. Again. At least we’re missing the bus for injuries now instead of earlier in the year, when he would decide, as the bus pulled up, that he didn’t like the shoes he was wearing. Or he forgot his gloves. Or he splashed a puddle on the way and his socks were wet. We now keep an extra hat, gloves, socks, and jacket in his backpack for just such occasions. Ben is very well-known at his school and seems to be well-liked by his teachers and tolerated by everyone else. I can’t ask for anything more.
Other December highlights:
One of Megan’s birthday presents was a trip to the Nutracker! This was the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s last year of the unique Stowell/Sendak production (since 1983!) and I’m glad we caught it.
Apparently this is how I look teaching Sunday school. Megan snapped this picture. I absolutely LOVED teaching her class this year. Those nine kids all turned 12 during the year, which is a big deal in the Mormon church. I had this children’s Sunday school manual but most of the time I was able to teach them straight out of the scriptures. These kids are smart and good at understanding and applying the doctrine. I learned a lot, too. Oh, and the lesson manual and scriptures are all on my phone. It would probably look better if I had a book open in front of me. Optics, as Obama would say.
Megan had a birthday party. She loved it, of course.
It was kind of insane because Charlie’s funeral was that morning, so we pushed the party, originally a birthday brunch, to an evening pizza party. And Logan threw up on the way home from the funeral. So much. I was terrified we had a stomach bug but he only threw up once so I didn’t cancel the party. He complained of a stomach ache and whined for days. Then both ear drums ruptured, and in one ear we found a tube. Apparently he had a massive ear infection and the doctor thinks it may have made him nauseated. He didn’t complain of ear pain once. Poor kid.
Of course they don’t stay down for long… especially with the antibiotics in their system.
Making up a Christmas list.
Ward Christmas party. Only picture.
Just kidding. I forgot our traditional Crystal Fisher Santa photo!
Christmas Eve we went to the Carl’s house and it was fun. And loud. Shay and I each made a pot of soup in the spirit of Carroll tradition and the kids were hyper. After dinner some more friends came over and we reenacted a nativity and had dessert. More kids being hyper. Christopher and I (especially Christopher) were happy to get the kids in bed by about 8:30 and enjoy the rest of our Christmas Eve.