In a wonderful Christmas present from the university, Matt has almost the full 12 days of Christmas off from work! So we've been having a very enjoyable, mostly relaxing, Christmas season: building castles and making pretend pots of soup with Little Bear, cooking fun meals together, taking advantage of the mid-20s weather to haul wood, go sledding, and spend Saturday moose hunting. (Saturday was actually a little colder, -10 in town, -25 down in the flats where Matt was hunting. Matt says he was plenty warm enough, but having his eyelashes freeze together got annoying.)
Christmas Eve, the plan was to follow the Italian tradition of a feast of fish dishes; the number of dishes seems to vary based on region, anywhere from seven to thirteen. We were aiming for five this first time, as an ambitious-but-achievable number, but then I felt sick all afternoon and Matt wound up cooking an abbreviated version of the planned feast: cod, linguine with scallops, and steamed vegetables. We should have followed a recipe for the cod... we found one that sounds pretty good for next Christmas Eve.
Christmas was nice: peaceful in the morning, exciting in the afternoon. Little Bear took a while to warm up to the idea of looking in his stocking before Mass, but he did want to see the baby Jesus in the manger (and made a point of fixing the blanket that I'd set the baby on top of instead of underneath). During the homily, our pastor brought Little Bear up to look at the baby Jesus in the big nativity scene (a perk or peril of sitting at the very front!) After Mass, he helped Matt cook eggs and sausage to accompany our traditional German Christstollen. After opening gifts at home and somehow convincing Little Bear to nap, we spent the rest of the day at my parents' house for dinner, more gift-exchanging, and lots of fun with Little Bear's aunts and uncles.
Saturday's moose hunt was a little chilly but otherwise uneventful. Snow had fallen just hours before, so the tracks everywhere made it clear that the area they were hunting was full of moose, but they hadn't seen a single one by the time it began to get dark and they had to turn back.
Other than that, it's really been pretty calm and peaceful around here, with the slight exception of this noon. Matt and Little Bear played together at home this morning while I ran to the grocery store and gas station. On the way home I passed our mailman, so I decided to stop and check for mail... I pulled onto the plowed-smooth area next to our street's mailboxes, and discovered that the plow had pushed snow out past the edge of the pavement: the jeep sank right in and slid several feet into the ditch.
Living in Fairbanks is so great. In the time it took for Matt to bundle Little Bear up and walk the quarter of a mile from our house to the mailboxes, three different guys stopped and asked if they could help. The first ran home to get his towing chains, and Matt got there just in time to help direct us as the other guy used his truck to pull me out of the ditch.
So yeah, other than that, quiet and peaceful! Little Bear has discovered sledding, and loves to have me pull him up the driveway, aim the sled correctly, and then let him fly down to where Matt is waiting to catch him. So far since Christmas we've made several of our favorite meals, including the lasagna I first made for Matt not long after we started dating, as well as his delicious chicken Provençal. It's so nice to have both of us home and in the kitchen together!
Hopefully the rest of the week runs smoothly; I keep thinking that we have this wide-open quiet nothing-happening week, and then I catch sight of the calendar and realize that, oops, there are things happening that I can't forget about! Making supper for Father tomorrow, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day (which is a holy day of obligation!), and it seems like there was something else...? I don't remember. It doesn't matter tonight.
Blessed octave of Christmas!