Merry Christmas!

December has been an odd month for our household.  With the end of the fall semester, we knew to expect a change in rhythms.  And that’s been true: the incessant flurry of emailing and grading has suddenly halted (thankfully!), we’ve sent our students home to their families, and we can look up to assess what remains.

Since I’m on sabbatical for the spring, I have been shifting from adrenaline mode (responding to every new ping on my course management site) to slowly developing the stamina for sustained reading and writing again.  Mostly, that meant I fell asleep when I tried reading something, until I finally caught up on rest.  Thankfully, the reading is now going much better, and I’m going to try to make the most of the next few months of working at home–even if it can’t be as I first imagined it, with long days in a library and my children ensconced in a school building with their own teachers.

In the first week of school this August, though, we learned that Sydney’s dad was diagnosed with brain cancer.  Sydney stayed here for most of the fall, but shortly before Thanksgiving he flew to Nova Scotia, first to quarantine for two weeks, and then to visit his father and brother.  Since he left the camera with me, I only have pictures of the kids.  But, he and I agree, surely that’s more important than pictures of either of us?  The kids have been amused to discover that Sydney and I write back and forth to one another throughout the day, and seeing Sydney’s words appear on the screen usually makes them giggle.  They were appalled, however, to learn that we don’t use standard capitalization and punctuation in our messages, and they went on for a good ten minutes about our lack of good writing skills.

I did get a few pictures of the kids on a recent hike (what my kids think of as a forced march), and on Christmas Day.  Weekly hikes have been a great source of fun: a safe way to get out and enjoy Kentucky’s mild winters.

Nathaniel complains that he feels short in our house, since he’s not quite able to keep up with his sister, who is now only two inches shorter than me.  But it’s clear that both of them are growing rapidly, and I need to be creative to ensure that they get enough opportunities to stretch their legs.

Our paperwhites started blooming on Christmas Eve.

When I reminded the kids that our head tree-wrangler is away, they graciously picked out a slightly smaller, more compact tree.

Katherine gathered pine cones at a recent outdoor meeting of our church small group.

The kids are slowly picking up some of our habits, including a taste for tea.  They have a cup of chai with milk each morning, and for Christmas the kids and I kicked it up to hot chocolate.  Given the blowing snow and temperatures in the teens, we felt that it was warranted.


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