I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. I love the excitement it creates in my kids. I love the way it brings people together who haven't been together in a long while. I hate the way it ushers in frenzy and very full calendar squares. Full calendar squares make me anxious.
This is the first weekend I haven't had something to read or write for school, in a very long time. I love the feeling of having a weekend to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. It's liberating.
We always put up our tree on the first Sunday of Advent. It's our tradition. I like tradition. While we put up the tree we crack open the first box of the first of the Christmas indulgences. The first Christmas CD that is played must be "Barenaked for the Holidays". EVERY year the girls remark how funny it is that the first CD we play at Christmas is half filled with Hanukkah songs. We then all talk about how much we like that. (See. I told you I like tradition!) I like getting the tree out of the storage room and opening the lids of all of our Christmas bins. I HATE stringing the lights on. Another tradition is me stringing up the lights and complaining about it while Mike sits on the couch eating oranges and peanuts and pointing to spots I missed.
I'm gearing up to make Papanate (Peppernuts) this week, for my third straight year. It's an all day affair for me, but well worth it. It also serves as a good upper arm work-out.
It would be my dream to go away for Christmas and miss the whole thing. My kids don't share this dream.
I do nearly all of the Christmas shopping in this house. Mike is just as surprised as the girls when they open their presents on Christmas morning. More bang for my buck, I suppose.
I've never really liked "Christmas oranges" much. Does anyone else call them "Christmas oranges" instead of mandarins? I'm always reluctant to buy the boxes of them because you're bound to get some duds. I get creeped out just peering into the box of green-paper wrapped fruit. My hand shakes as I grab each one, because I KNOW that one of them is going to be a moldy, squishy, soggy blob of disgusting, rotting orange. Needless to say, I usually opt to buy them in bulk.
Our faith community, St. Benedict's Table, has great Advent resources you might like to check out as your calendar squares fill up. You can find information about the Podcasts, readings, music, and a book by clicking on the St. Ben's site here. I am thankful to be in community with thoughtful, questioning, passionate, brave people, who don't see doubt as something to fear.
Online Christmas shopping makes me very, very happy.
Ellie and Sasha have spent the past weekend playing non-stop with their Maplelea dolls. I love that Ellie still wants to play with dolls. This doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it's a feast. The "game" they've been playing is stressful on me and Mike though. They come up with a theme like "Elegant Dinner Party" and then dress their dolls and do their hair to match the theme. Then they come up and Mike and I have to vote on which of their dolls best matched the theme. When we had a tie, Mike made their dolls do speeches on a topic he assigned. Intensity was at an all-time high. The stress was killing me.
This was the first weekend since September in which I didn't have reading or writing school looming over me. I am used to living my life with the thought of what I really should be doing never far from my mind. As much as I LOVE not having to work on school stuff at home, I miss my friends from my classes when a term comes to an end. When you get used to spending many hours with people every week, it leaves a big hole in your life when it ends. Come January, I'll be taking the most classes I've ever attempted at once. Finding balance should be very interesting.
I have an idea for creating a job that I think could actually work. I think I'd be really good at it. I'd just have to convince other people of the same thing.
I thought I'd have a different job by now.
Rainbow Loom. If you have kids you know exactly what it is. Here's the thing - I don't get it. I'm baffled at what becomes the "it" toy or "it" activity each year. I don't understand why kids would be drawn to it. I do know from subbing in elementary school, that it's very cool to have an arm full of rainbow loom bracelets on your arm. I also know from subbing, that it's very irritating to have kids playing with said bracelets constantly.
I have read so many amazing books in the last few months it will be virtually impossible to pick favorites for our annual "best of" round-up that we do every Christmas.
We hardly watch any TV anymore. If we have time to watch something, it's on Netflix. Makes me wonder if people will be watching TV at all in ten years time.
Jian Ghomeshi announced this year's CBC Canada Reads finalists last week, as well as the celebrities who will be endorsing them. It's going to be a very good battle. My money is on Joseph Boyden's The Orenda. Boyden is one of my favorite writers of fiction. I received The Orenda for my birthday in September, but I'm putting off reading it because I don't want it to be over. I'm thinking this way before I even begin! That's how much faith I have in Boyden's work. To top it off, one man I have a great deal of respect for, Wab Kinew, is touting Boyden's book. Put some of Joseph Boyden's books on your Christmas list while there's still time!
I want to blog more often now that school is less intense. By "more", I mean more than once a month as I've gotten into the shameful habit of doing.