The weather clearly knows that my brother is on his way home for Christmas break today. After a good week and a half of wonderfully warm weather, we woke up this morning to -16 F windchill. Wind. Here. In the wintertime. We so rarely get any wind ever, and what little we do get usually happens in the spring and fall. The novelty of winter wind and swirling snow definitely does not make up for how insidiously those icy fingers of wind get through all of your layers of clothing... Brr!
We can forgive my brother for bringing the Ohio weather with him, though, because we have all been looking forward to seeing him. Little Bear wasn't even standing steadily when he left in August, and now he runs! It will be fun to see them interact, and see if Little Bear recognizes his uncle at all. When I came home from college on breaks, our baby sister couldn't really tell me apart from my next-younger sister, but there's no one for Little Bear to confuse my brother with... I guess we will see.
Tonight we were supposed to be attending a dinner thanking folks who have been involved with getting KQHE, the local Catholic radio station, up and running. Unfortunately, Little Bear had a difficult night last night, and he's teething and angry, so it doesn't look like we will be able to go; the dinner isn't starting until 7pm, and I think we will be putting a little boy to bed before 7:30 tonight!
There are so many how's and when's and what's to agree upon when a couple is figuring out how to celebrate holidays on their own instead of the way they grew up doing things, and it sure seems like the Advent/Christmas season has more of them than any other! You'd think that, our third Advent married, we would have figured it out by now... but I spent the first pregnant and apathetic, and the second dealing with a new small human and frazzled. With a helpful toddler this year, I was finally up to tackling questions like "at what point during Advent do we start decorating for Christmas? When do we get the tree? How many kinds of cookies, which ones, and when do I bake them?" Many of my questions, Matt didn't even realize they were topics it was possible to have an opinion on: the house gets decorated some time during Advent, we don't get the tree too early or it'll die, cookies can appear whenever I want them to.
I'm all about lists and schedules and order. If I didn't know that "sometime in Advent" was his way of saying that he really didn't have an opinion and I could choose a day/time that made sense to me, the vagueness of that answer would have been quite frustrating. Maybe it's good that it took us three years to get around to asking these questions! But I'm grateful that we have, finally, because now that I have the ability and energy, I really want to "do" Advent and Christmas well for Matt and Little Bear. The few non-tree decorations we have will go up in the next couple of days; cookies will start appearing early next week; we will head out to an old logging area to cut a tree the day before the Fourth Sunday of Advent, as long as it isn't too cold. I'm not sure what we will do if it's really cold that weekend, so Matt and my brothers had better stop praying for a -50 Christmas!
This has sure been a week for feasts! We (Matt) made an amazing Chicken Provençal for supper Monday for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. We did... something that escapes me... Tuesday for Our Lady of Loretto. Last night we made pork fajitas and read Little Bear stories about St Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe. If we were allowed to light candles in our apartment I'd do something fun for St Lucy's feast today, but at least I can make Santa Lucia bread.
One of the things on my must-happen-before-Christmas list was reorganizing and adding things to the storage space we have artfully cordoned off in the second bedroom with the changing table-turned-toy shelf and a folding screen (this apartment is pretty shy on storage space). Little Bear is far too adventurous and "helpful" for me to manage it on my own during the week, so last Sunday afternoon Matt helped me redo the whole area. He is much more talented at organizing irregularly-shaped objects than I! One unforeseen result of the new organization, though, is that suddenly Little Bear has access to all of the books I'd hidden away either because he wasn't old enough or I was sick of reading them. He also has much better access to the toys on the shelf, but it's like he doesn't even notice them; the only thing he wants is "Book, Mama! Book book book!" Clearly, my kid. Right now there's a stack of books I'm reading on one arm of the couch, and five stacks of books that he keeps bringing to me all over the living room.
For more Seven Quick Takes fun, visit Jen at Conversion Diary!