a tree is nice

Eventually, the effort to undecorate and the fresh space feeling after is nice too, when the house loses some of its big tree energy and can breath a sigh of relief along with its humans. 
A tree is nice. No tree is nice too.

I have to make a very concerted effort during this busiest of seasons, careful not to get caught up in the traditions and the consumerism. The idea, in December, that our affection must manifest itself in yet another sweater is reductive. Most of us don't need more stuff. Time is more valuable, and sometimes harder to supply. 

December is nice. Being done with December is nice too.

Over break we've tried to make time for things we enjoy most - infusing magic and affirming words and eating cookies. We've also tried to give the boys the gift of rest. 
We made time to be with many of our favorite people - a city bus ride to breakfast with a buddy, a Thursday movie matinee, gatherings with grandparents and cousins, a progressive dinner around the neighborhood. Plus screen time and bowling and like six trip to the fish tank store.
The boys had energy to devote to new passions and long-standing interests, aquariums and instruments, water colors and logic puzzles, summer trip planning and recipe trials.
It is hard to write thank you notes wrapped in wearable blankets and in the throes of cat's cradling and I only want to do what I want to do days, but in terms of living out values, we are for sure going to keep putting pens on paper and clothes in suitcases. We are grateful for all of it, and we still have the better part of a week to go!


seeing the stars

In between gingerbread castle parties and bon voyage to Germany gatherings and youth group caroling, the boys worked together on another Rube Goldberg marble apparatus. There was also time over the weekend to match clean socks and research the Brecon Beacons, produce special presents and wrap a few gifts, make puppy chow and review for midterms. Andy and I even snuck out for our own grown up holiday get together, where the tradition is to meet in the back of the house with someone who knows how to play the piano. It is never not fun to harmonize with both solid friends from high school AND neighbors we barely know, all of whom are our favorite humans in the world on this night every year. Music is magic.

And on another note of seasonal joy, I was reminded that in the book "Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia" the notoriously confused housemaid tops the Rogers' Christmas tree with a mirror because “I would like to be a star…I guess everybody would." So underneath the mirror she puts a sign that reads “See the star.” 


and now December is nearly half over

These boys, whom I have to remind that not everyone needs to be kung fu fighting, and definitely not right next to the Christmas tree. 
What if there were a rule that you were not allowed to say a word unless you knew how to spell it? Hank pondered aloud. The world of guidelines and regulations is a big area of interest for him, and his head seems to have barely enough space for his ideas to roam.

Meanwhile Tolliver wanders the house in his wearable blanket, giving warm-as-toast Little Fur Family vibes. He mixes Nesquik to make chocolate milk, unless he's frying an egg for a sandwich. He adds arugula and tomatoes to the grocery list, to maintain his habit.

Last night Tucker bowled in his first high school match, and today he accompanied the choir at three holiday concerts. I tried to send him from my spot in the audience tonight this smile that had a lot in it. You know, one of those smiles that said, almost word for word, "I'm so proud of you." He smiled right back, really big.

These boys, who leave socks lying around and the toilet seat lifted, who are really loud and often stinky, who tell me they like my earrings and thank me for making bucatini for dinner. I could not love them more.