A belated Merry Christmas to all!
We five (six, with the dog) are enjoying a very welcome, blessedly lazy few days around here at the moment. I hope you are too! Last night, on the eve of a new week, I looked at my calendar to check out the week's activities and uttered a small shriek of pleasure when I saw that we have nothing, nothing whatsoever, scheduled for this week. My only notation was about the kids having no lessons this week!
How awesome is that!?!
We spent Christmas morning at home with the kids and with my parents, and opened gifts and ate a delicious (if I do say so myself) brunch that included our annual French Toast casserole, which I prepared the day before so as to eliminate the need to do a lot of prep on Christmas morning. In the afternoon we headed to my sister's house and spent the evening there with family; and my folks were kind enough to bring in a full turkey dinner that evening, prepared by a local hotel and as delicious as if we'd made it ourselves. What a treat...and it was, altogether a quiet and relaxed and stress-free day.
Yesterday, Boxing Day, we did nothing at all, really. A friend came over for a dinner of leftovers and to exchange a few gifts with us, and that was it for the day's agenda. I spent two+ hours sitting in my favourite chair in our library: Cup of chai tea in hand; puppy sleeping on my lap; blanket covering my feet; reading. Just reading. It felt pretty heavenly. The kids had free reign to do what they wanted, and so their day was occupied with some of the things they received for Christmas, watching tv, playing outside with the dog, and eating whenever/whatever they wanted. We all loved that kind of day and decided to replicate it today...so far, at 11 am, I'd say it's another success.
Overall, it was a great Christmas experience. We spent a little too much money on gifts, ate a little too much food, sat around a little too much (well, maybe, actually just the right amount!), and had a lovely time all 'round. It's the first time in 7 Christmases that we've actually been around for the holidays; for the past six years, courtesy of my parents, we've spent our days with family in San Diego (twice), Los Angeles, the Laurentian Mountains outside of Montreal, Silver Star Resort near Vernon, BC, and Vancouver. They were an incredible six years of vacationing with family, and I woulnd't trade them for anything; and simultaneously there's also been something wonderful and relaxing this year about spending the holidays at home - being lazy, staying close to home, and enjoying each other's company.
The kids loved their gifts...likely all the more so because we spent more money on them than we usually do. All three kids received long-wished-for bean bag chairs with their names embroidered on them; Matthew received an iPod Touch (which he paid just over half of the cost of); Seth received a handful of private horse riding lessons; and Lizzie received an iPod Nano (for the purposes only of being able to listen to audio books and music that I choose/download). They were pretty pumped.
We had a few stressful days before Christmas when our furnace suddenly died...of course just before Christmas and in the heart of winter! But on Christmas Eve we had a new one put in and by the time we left for our church's Christmas Eve service late afternoon, we had heat coursing through our registers (and bodies!) again.
As I write this, I have a puppy squished into the chair beside me, wrapped up in a cozy blanket (yes, she's a little on the spoiled side, but she is my baby, after all, and maybe she hasn't fully recovered from the cool days of having no furnace); I am looking across our library into the dining room where Geoff is working with Seth on the construction of a marble track; Lizzie can be heard singing in the family room while she works on a Lego Friends lighthouse set; and Matthew is stumbling downstairs after a good sleep-in, looking rumpled and sleepy and altogether contented in his flannel jammies. I know that this is a blessed scene and that I cannot take this for granted. They are precious, this brood of mine. Life can be pretty challenging at times, and all too often taken for granted; but I want to lock this picture, this memory of a peaceful time, into my heart.
Merry belated Christmas, all...wishing you blessings and peace in these days and the ones to come.