I intended the post title to imply that I wanted to have a conversation with you, my blog readers, catching you up on what's been going on in my life and at our house. Unfortunately, it could also describe how I've felt for the past week, spending many moments catching up on what didn't get done when our entire household was down with the flu after Thanksgiving.
I guess my time had come. It's been 19 years since I had a true case of the flu. That winter when I was 15, I had 3 separate cases of the flu-- one in December, one in January, and another in February. I'm hoping I won't have a repeat of that fiasco. One round of fever, chills, aches, coughs, headache, and fatigue is enough, especially when you multiply that by a 7-member family!
All told, we were down for a week, but it sure felt like a lot longer. We ate what we could scrape together from the refrigerator or freezer and we took turns stumbling into the kitchen to prepare it. It was not pretty. We were thankful for the angels who delivered a jug of milk to our back door one afternoon and to the other angel who brought us Chick-fil-A for dinner. We were also thankful when we were well enough to cook a proper meal, fold the growing laundry pile, wash the stale sheets, and vacuum the needles from around the Christmas tree.
Now it's back to normal for us-- as "normal" as December can ever be. I took the girls to a production of The Nutcracker on Friday. On the drive there, Alaine gave us instructions: "When we get there, no one pick your nose." It's not the first time she's dished out that reminder this holiday season. Hmmm... After we found our seats, Alaine decided she preferred to sit in my lap to watch the show. She barely moved for the first half of the show, but at intermission she said, "I'm ready to go home now."
The next day Brian took the boys to a Lego event at the mall and they each received a free mini-set! It was the highlight of their week.
On the homefront, we are working to finish our schoolwork before our long winter break. Owen finished his history on Friday. Before narrating the last passage of the book, he said, "Christopher Columbus died. It was sad." I had to stifle a smile because he meant it and I was happy to see him involved personally in his history book! Gavin is counting down the math lessons. I gave him a stopping point and he is pushing through to finish early. We've finished music a few weeks ago and we've shelved health until February.
We are doing our Christmas baking in spurts. We made chocolate chip cookies last week. We ate some, froze some, and put some aside in an airtight container. We made a successful batch of peanut butter fudge over the weekend. My fudge never turns out so this was epic! Yesterday we made more cookies, some to eat, some to freeze, and some to serve to guests that are coming this afternoon to make Christmas crafts with us. We plan to make our family "cookies" sometime before Christmas, too. (If nothing else, click on that post and see how little my kids were when I first blogged that recipe!)
We're trying to make time for quiet this Christmas. It's easy to stay busy during the month of December, but I also want my children to remember the still moments. We've fallen into an informal habit of reading 1-2 short Christmas books before bed every evening. The kids take turns picking one, either from our own personal collection or from the library basket. In addition, we chose The Best Christmas by Jane Mason as our family read aloud this year.
Gavin's birthday was this week. He invited his grandparents and aunts over for ice cream floats on the evening of his birthday. He and his Papa spent most of the night assembling a remote control car. Brian brought home a battery for it last night and Gavin said, "I can't until I can show Papa because we had a great time playing with my car together."
Brian has a few weeks remaining at work until his 10-week winter break. He, Gavin, and Maddie plan to celebrate one his first free days by going to the theater together to watch The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and as a family, we have plans to attend a free Christmas concert.
We're praying everyone in our hosue stays well and calm and joyful (and a bunch of other adjectives) in the remaining fifteen days until Christmas!