Quick Takes

Friday, January 30, 2015

1. I love sitting with my laptop in the upstairs family room on weekend mornings, listening to the house slowly wake up. I can hear Aaron snoring faintly, and Avalon and Lainey wake up and get out a puzzle to put together in their room until it's time to get up. Phoebe is looking at a book in her crib and babbling to herself. Just for this little space of time, it's wonderfully peaceful.

2. I guess that in an absolutely perfect world I wouldn't ever get anxiety attacks. The next best thing, though, is definitely having a husband who knows exactly how to help me through one when it strikes. I am so crazy in love with that man!

3. He and Phoebe are both feeling significantly better and I think (knock on wood!) that the rest of us have been spared the evil stomach bug. I felt fairly sick yesterday, but I think it was more of an anxiety thing than a virus. And thank goodness, because I can't get a stomach bug! It wouldn't matter if my entire household and the whole school and the greater part of the Metroplex came down with it and were violently ill...let me admit to feeling queasy and the "Are you SURE you're not pregnant again?"s would commence. 
(I'm not. Someday I will be. Yay babies! I'll let you know when, and I'll publish a list of the questions and comments that will earn you unrepentant throat punches. Imaginary ones, but still.)

4. Avalon and Lainey's class went on a field trip to see Charlotte's Web performed at Casa Manana this week, and they are now all about spiders and pigs. Mostly spiders. Which is funny, because they were never interested in the movie of it. Now they want to read it as soon as we finish Pinnochio. I question us ever finishing Pinnochio, but as sick of it as I am, it certainly gets its point across to the pre-k/kindergarten set. "HE'S MAKING ANOTHER BAD CHOICE, MAMA, I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!" Can be heard most bedtimes. I love reading to them.

5. Flint's Open House is tomorrow, so today I have to try and banish as many yellow feathers from my classroom as possible, thanks to those wee little dancing Woodstock costumes we've been working on all week. I also have to decide which type of mini-lesson to go with for my presentation. I never can pick until I see who shows up in my room, though, so really I have to plan for several contingencies. Narration, ANI columns, or just a lot of rambling on and on about how come there's so many feathers everywhere...we'll see!

6. The cast list for the upper school play was announced this week, and I've been inundated with students wanting to know/wanting to tell me what their costumes will look like. I refuse to think about Guys and Dolls right now! I insist. We're working on Charlie Brown costumes, and I really need to finish them before my trip, so you will just have to WAIT PATIENTLY. I try to tell myself the same thing, but I can't stop looking at cast pictures. I'm kind of a hypocrite, I guess.

7. The Circe apprenticeship retreat is in TWO WEEKS. So soon! I know I need this time to be Just Nicole, more even than I have in the past, and I'm letting myself acknowledge that without feeling horribly guilty. Regular guilty, yes, just not horribly. Being away from my family for an entire week is hard. And I enjoy it so much as soon as I'm there, that I usually feel ashamed of myself. Which is silly. I wouldn't feel so bad if I was miserable, is what it amounts to, and that doesn't even make sense! Except to a mama. So I'm acknowledging that as a human being it's okay to enjoy a week away from my ordinary responsibilities. It helps, knowing that Aaron won't be trying to take care of everything by himself this time. I can worry less about preparing meals in advance and more about the chapters and basketball games I'll be missing.

Ooh, Look! Another Virus! Let's Bring it Home!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Aaron and Phoebe have both fallen - and fallen hard - to a nasty stomach bug that is making the rounds right now. Which, no. Didn't I JUST finally get everyone all healthy? Didn't I JUST say we were done being sick? I'm about ready to put life in time-out, and don't you MAKE me turn this universe around because I will TURN IT AROUND.

Kim took Phoebe to the pediatrician yesterday because we were getting worried about dehydration since this has been going on with her for a few days now. Probiotics were suggested, which I kind of already knew, thanks. The trick is getting her to take them and keep them down.

Aaron started feeling awful on Monday night, which he spent mostly in throwing up. He tried going to work anyway yesterday, but had to give up after a few classes. Most people, I think, would just stay home, but he had a GAME TO COACH last night, so yeah. He was too sick to drive, so Dan drove him back to Flint at the end of the day and then drove the shuttle out to Flower Mound for the game. Flower Mound is not close to Arlington! That is not a pleasant trip to make whilst trying to keep your Gatorade down and being pestered to death by teenagers! 

I spent the evening cuddling poor Phoebe and waiting on tenterhooks for the outcome of the game. I knew he would blame himself and be miserable, and the boys would be horribly discouraged, if they lost this game. Fortunately I received plenty of updates from one of my lovely students. 

So yay! It's not every man that can coach his team to victory while in the throes of such an illness. If you needed more proof of his willpower, he made it through the entire game and the high-fives before ALLOWING himself to throw up. 

And also, yeah, Phoebe. Throwing up didn't bother her one bit, and neither did sudden diarrhea, but when I stood up to clean us both up and change her diaper (which at that point was all she was wearing, other than an Olaf blanket) she got furious mad. WE ARE WATCHING OVER THE HEDGE AND SNUGGLING, WOMAN! WHAT'S A LITTLE EXTRA MOISTURE? Is what I think she said. What she did was throw the mother of all tantrums, twisting sideways and upside down, shrieking, flailing, biting, causing poo to go flying about freely...all while Lainey decided that her hangnail had just reached emergency status and needed attention THIS INSTANT.

I was a thankful woman when I had them all in bed and could do my best to sanitize everything. Lysol! Thieves Oil! Chlorox wipes! Throw everything you've got at it!

(but seriously, I probably wouldn't stop by for a visit without a hazmat suit anytime soon)

Aaron finally made it home to be dosed with Sprite and Saltine crackers. He and Phoebe have both had an uneventful night, thankfully, and the rest of us don't seem to have fallen prey to The Foulness. We'll just cover ourselves in GermX and hope for the best!

Weekend Update: Refreshed

Monday, January 26, 2015

Considering that my biggest goals for this past weekend were things like "finally catch up on sleep" and "take a nap every day" it's probably not that impressive that I met all of my goals. However, I am all caught up on sleep and it is glorious. I feel all reasonable and perky and everything. It's kind of nice!

On Friday we ran some errands and worked at the school for a few hours with girls in tow, then Aaron wrote some of his progress reports and I cleaned and did laundry (and took a heavenly, heavenly nap) and such-like domesticity. It was blissfully boring, is what it was.

Saturday was essentially the same day, except in the evening we went to Ft. Worth for a date! 

We got to eat lobster ravioli, see Mr. Douglas kill it as the creepy mysterious Paravicini, and enjoy all the ambiance from that night's rodeo. It was pretty much perfect!

Sunday morning was special because Phoebe got to be part of the Baby Blessing at church, even though she was a bit old, because it's the first one they've had since we became members. I was so happy she was included! 

She was funny, too. While we were up there with the other families and new babies, she was very quietly muttering, "Wanna eat. Wanna eat." Then she was so snuggly and well-behaved that we never had to take her back to the nursery, which I did NOT see coming. It had me worried that she was getting sick again, but as far as I can tell she just decided it was time for some uninterrupted cuddles. 

In the afternoon Aaron finished up his progress reports, the boys finished staining the fence (an actual job that Dan hired them to do, leading to multiple rounds of, "You don't have to pay us, we can just DO it!" and, "If you don't want to spend the money then put it towards your senior trip.") and I baked cookies for the week. Overly elaborate cinnamon-sugar squirrel cookies, because that's what happens when I am well-rested. I dig through the cookie-cutter drawer, find the squirrel-shaped cutter, and it just kind of takes off from there.

I realized too late that the squirrels ought to be HOLDING some sort of candy, alas. Next time!

After nap time I took the girls to the little community playground that we drive past EVERY DAY but NEVER EVER play in. There's not much to it, but the big girls had a lot of fun helping Phoebe navigate it, seeing as how they are experts at all things playground.

We came home and made chicken tortilla soup and watched Rio, so they were quite pleased with the evening. Later, when the girls were all bathed and had their hair braided and were tucked into bed, and I got out of the shower and was cozied up watching Hulu on my laptop and painting my nails, and Aaron was stretched out next to me adjusting student schedules...I decided it had been just about the perfect weekend! 

Sleep! Who knew, right?

Sunny Side Up

Friday, January 23, 2015

I've been feeling sleep-deprived and crabby all week -  I've even had grumpy dreams every night and woken up MORE crabby. It's been kind of a vicious cycle. I've decided to put an end to it by getting lots and lots more sleep this weekend and focusing on the stuff that makes me happy. Aaron wanted me to go to Plano with him last night to keep him company (he has to drive one of our boys home out there every other weekend or so, and I usually sit at home worrying about the long drive late at night on rainy roads) and I wanted to, but instead I made myself stay home, take a hot bath, and fall into a deep, deep sleep before they had even made it out of Mood on Project Runway All-Stars. I didn't wake up until just now, totally disoriented, with the TV off and Aaron snoring beside me. I never even heard him come in! I feel significantly less crabby now.

As far as Things That Make Me Happy go, these little monsters pretty much top the list. As do their sock buns, and the matching coats that Kim gave them for Christmas. Getting to dress up THREE girly little girls has got to be one of the best things ever!

 I also really love our longer drive to and from school every day, because we have more time to talk. Yesterday we spent almost the entire drive home on Nuances of Inflection and Shades of Meaning in Language, thanks to a rousing sing-along of Shut up and Dance with the radio. Because shut up is a bad word, so why is that girl saying it to that boy? Why was that boy happy about it?
We thought about all the different ways you could say the phrase, they way your tone could change its meaning, and the various situations where it would and would NOT be appropriate to use it.

(Being informed that you are princess of Genovia is a totally appropriate time to say shut up, fyi)

My own Shut UP! moment of the week was when I called to book Avalon's birthday party at the Dr. Pepper Star Center ice rink (because of course she wants a Frozen party, and ice skating just made sense...) and when I mentioned the theme I was told that if I wanted, our skating instructor could be ELSA. I'm not telling Avalon, so don't mention it to her if you see her...I want to surprise her with something since she's so overly involved in planning every detail, for one thing, and also I would hate for her to be disappointed if Elsa didn't show up for whatever reason. But still. SO DISPROPORTIONATELY EXCITED ABOUT THIS!

We started on the Charlie Brown costumes this week, and I do mean we, because this year I get TWO student assistants, girls who are interested in fashion and are also calm and sensible and fun to be around. Abby helped me with last year's costumes (and just about saved my life) and this year we added Mikey to our little team. We did some fittings, spray painted a dozen sunglasses, started upcycling a thrift store Easter dress into the costume for Sally Brown (which involved, among other things, the girls passing the dress back and forth during their lecture classes so they could take a Sharpie to all of the pastel embroidered polka dots) and dyed a lot of large Dollar Tree socks yellow.

"Why are you doing that? Whose costume could those POSSIBLY be for?" We keep getting asked. "Just wait and see." We keep answering. (and also, more often than you'd think, "No, it isn't pee. Go away.")

I'm beyond happy with my little costume crew, and I'm not one who delegates easily. But they're perfect! Now I just have to think of an impressive-sounding title for their transcripts. And find more hot glue guns.

My two younger classes have finished reading Number the Stars (the others will read The Hiding Place once we finish To Kill a Mockingbird) as the making-the-Holocaust-real portion of this year's literature. We have some writing to do about Number but we're also going to jump into our next books really quickly. The seventh grade is going to do A Wrinkle in Time. The other, more intermediate class will read that, too, but first they're doing The Outsiders. And we HAVE classroom sets of both books, all new and shiny and ready for next week. If brand new wonderful books aren't happy-making, I don't know what is!

Aaron and I are going to go see Flint's drama and language arts teacher, Mr. Douglas, in The Mousetrap this weekend, and I can't wait! I loooooooove Agatha Christie! And plays! And dates with my husband!

There! Now I'm feeling well-rested AND cheerful...what a great way to start the day!

Long Weekend Wrap-Up

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Having Monday off when we already have Fridays off anyway makes for a LONG weekend! More weekend than school week! That might sound a bit excessive, but I promise we used up every bit of the time.

Friday morning the girls had a pediatrician appointment first thing, and then I hit Hobby Lobby and Dollar Tree hard. Last week I did an overview of the upcoming six or so weeks and realized that yet again I have a crazy amount of Things coming up and I was going to need to be super prepared in advance if I wanted to survive. And can I just say how much I love Dollar Tree? It's underrated and not cute, but I'm not sure how I would take care of everything without it! By the time I got through the check-out my cart was in layers of the different projects I have going on...it was like an archaeological excavation. Valentine's Day supplies (for my students, for the girls to pass out to their class, to fill up the Valentine's bags I make for my little girls and big boys...), really random things I needed for costumes for the upcoming lower school play, snacks and drinks and candy for treats for the varsity, ribbons and bags and cellophane to package up the treats...and I could afford it all because Dollar Tree! 

I spent the rest of the day doing laundry and dealing with Unexpected Teen Drama (which really, I tend to expect at this point in time), and then that evening I took the girls to the basketball game.

Saturday morning Kim and I left Aaron in charge of the girls and we went to IKEA (for the THIRD time since we've moved) to get new dining room chairs and curtains. Later I went to some thrift stores and managed to find all of the pieces I needed for the lower school play. (We've never had a lower school play before, and I'm so excited about it! We're doing Charlie Brown and I get to start on those costumes TODAY!) And some that I really didn't need...that I could have happily gone for all of eternity without seeing...

Picture Title: Sorry I Have to Kill You, My Sweater Told Me To

He's knitted and appliqued on there. And those balloons are pom-poms. It's too terrifying! I considered buying it just because it was so awful, but I wasn't brave enough. I think I might have angered it just by holding it up for that picture. 

We also knocked out the grocery shopping and later I managed to package up all the varsity treats for the rest of the scheduled basketball games. We don't get the play-off schedule yet, but I'm covered until that starts, at least!

Sunday we made it to church because see, we are getting back to normal life. We ARE!

And then I threw together a low country boil for lunch as soon as we got home, because Aaron had decided at the grocery store the night before that he NEEDED some seafood. It made for kind of a late lunch, but yum!

I also baked cookies and took care of as many chores as I could, even though we had Monday off, because I was planning on working all day on Monday regardless. Which I did, and now that it's over I can be happy about it! I drove to the school early on Monday morning and worked on progress reports from 5:45 to 1:45. Since the girls always sleep in on weekends, I felt like that made me miss less time with them. I came home during their nap time (and had a nap myself because my eyes! my brain! I couldn't word!) and then put in another four hours of writing after they went to bed last night. It was kind of awful, but now I don't have progress reports looming over me. And they aren't even due yet! Yay! The only thing I regret is missing a really great basketball game -and Aaron's 75th career win!- last night, but there was no way I could have finished the reports if I had gone, and I needed them to be finished and out of my brain. 

So, I did zero relaxing during this super-long weekend, but I was able to get enough things taken care of that MAYBE I'll be able to relax for a few minutes at some point in the next six weeks!

(But seriously, progress reports, costumes for the entire lower school, Open House, the rest of the District basketball games, Valentine's Day, play-off games, the Circe retreat, Avalon's birthday party, and the lower school play...all in the next month, give or take a few days!)

(Not Very) Quick Takes

Friday, January 16, 2015

The upper grades took a field trip to the Dallas Holocaust Museum on Wednesday. It's a hard place to go, and I always struggle to keep it together there, but I was SO proud of all of our students. They weren't just superficially respectful and attentive, they were for the most part deeply upset by what they saw and heard. That shows empathy and imagination, sensitivity and introspection. It's so easy for teenagers to be desensitized and callous, I think, and battling that has been a huge undertaking. So this was encouraging. Their writing homework for the weekend is a reflection paper on the field trip (can't WAIT to read!) and where assigning and explaining homework usually takes up five or so minutes of class time, we spent most of each class yesterday on it because going over the reflection prompts kept sparking the most wonderful conversations, which I was not about to extinguish!

No photography was allowed in the museum, but I have an incredible mental picture of thirty or so of our students all standing silently together at one of the concentration camp exhibits, listening to the handheld audio things, trying not to cry. These are the only actual pictures I have from the trip...

Getting off the bus in Dallas

The survivor speaker and two of our girls who wanted to meet him after his talk was finished

Lunch at Spaghetti Warehouse afterwards
We can't stay serious for too long around here, though. Actually, I don't think we would even if we could. That doesn't sound healthy or effective for anyone, but especially not young minds. By the end of the day on Thursday it seemed like they were in need of some silliness a la Mirroring. You can't plan Mirroring (well, maybe you could, but I can't) it just has to happen. Furthermore, I have no idea if Mirroring is even the right term. Maybe I made it up? Maybe I'm using a term that means an entirely different thing? Maybe I should just stick to my lesson plans? 
I can't. I'm a free spirit, yo.

 Mirroring (or whatever) happens sometimes when a student gets to my chair before I do and announces that they are going to teach the class. I don't know why, kids are random. Nine times out of ten I will promptly chase them out of my chair and read loudly in my Sarcastic Robot voice until they all settle down. But occasionally - like yesterday afternoon- I kick back at my work table and let them have at it. 

New Teacher: Really? Okay! Well all y'all SIT DOWN and BE QUIET, I'm teaching this class now.
Me: That's exactly how I sound, you've totally got this.

They then proceed to delightedly berate and scold their classmates for being late and/or unruly. The other students give them grief for a few minutes, then settle in, just in case I'm testing them somehow. Just as everyone gets on the right page, the New Teacher notices that I don't have a copy of the book and decides to give me a taste of my own bitter, bitter medicine. And game on!

New Teacher: Get a book, young lady.
Me: Oh, I'm good, miss. I'm listening.
New Teacher: I SAID get a book.
Me: Ugh, they're too far away!
New Teacher: Well HERE, lazybones, I'll HAND you one! Page 192.
Me: Whatever.
Students: Her book's upside down!
New Teacher: Excuse me??
Me: Are we EVER going to be finished with this book? We've been reading this book FOREVER.

The New Teacher begins reading loudly in a Sarcastic Robot voice. I wait thirty seconds, until it looks like something might get actually get accomplished in class, then tear a strip of paper as loudly as possible. 

New Teacher: What are you doing now?
Me: Trying to learn.
New Teacher: So what's that in your hand?
Me: (throwing paper at a classmate) There isn't anything in my hand, miss! See?
New Teacher: I am going to SEND YOU TO DR. FLINT if you don't get it together, young lady.
Me: Oooooooh.
New Teacher: You are on your last chance! We are going to READ now if you don't mind!

... thirty seconds...

Me: You can't take my phone up!
New Teacher: Oh yes I can! Hand it over!
Me: Lemme just Instagram this real quick...
New Teacher: Now!
Me: No, no, just let me finish answering this text.
New Teacher: RIGHT NOW!
New Teacher: PHONE! NOW!
Me: This is the worst school EVER!

By then we're all laughing too hard to keep it up any longer and I go back to my chair before someone comes to investigate.

"We're not THAT bad, Mrs. H! Well...not always!"

I guess empathy was just the theme we needed to explore this week!

Link-up here!

Oh, Right, Basketball!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Falcons win 39-69!

We had our first district game last night, which was just what I needed to get out of my Worst Team Mom Ever slump. I've had a really hard time making it to home games and getting game-day treats together the past month or so, but the dust is starting to settle around here and I'm feeling it again! After school yesterday, while the big girls had their voice lesson, Phoebe helped me put together treats to make up for all the lameness. It would probably make up for it more if I had something prepared for Thursday's game, too, but baby steps, right? I'm thinking a treat-prepping night is in order sometime soon.

The minute I started coming out of this moving/Christmas/illness haze I remembered how much I love going to games. Our boys are so talented, and our coach is so dreamy! 

We watched part of Remember the Titans the other night and Avalon immediately formed the life goal of being just like that coach's daughter, vowing to focus on the game and not ask for five million trips to the concession stand or the ladies room. She followed through, too, much more than I expected. "I don't want to color, Lainey, I'm focusing. Now Devon has the ball...now Hunter does...our team is the BEST TEAM!" 

Lainey followed her lead, although she protested that basketball games are too long to focus the whole time. Phoebe threw such a fit when we were heading out the door that I was tempted to let her stay home with GiGi, but she was very nearly angelic during the entire game, saving the rest of her tantrum until we got home again. I'll take it!

My favorite thing about last night, though, was that there was this whole best-of-both-worlds scenario going on. I got to spend time with my girls, sitting in the stands and watching the game together, and I got to support my boys and cheer them on at the same time. AND THEN I was able to take the girls home, read bedtime stories and tuck them in...then go out to dinner with Aaron and some of the team because Kim and Dan were home. Not once all evening did I feel like I was choosing one part of my family over another part, and it was wonderful! Before we moved I could ask Kim or my mom to watch the girls so I could go with Aaron, but I would feel awful about missing an evening with them, especially if we'd been apart at school all day. Or I could be at home with my babies, but not see my husband until really late. Last night I was thoroughly disoriented because there wasn't anything to feel bad about! It was fantastic! 

Weekend Wrap-Up

Monday, January 12, 2015

This weekend we did not Accomplish! All! The Things! like I wanted to, but rather laid low and rested. It was dreadful. Phoebe and I both got sick mid-week, which was infinitely frustrating to me for myself because didn't I JUST DO the whole sick thing? I totally don't have time to be sick again. And awfully scary because my little monster baby was so miserable and pathetic. She stayed home with GiGi on Thursday, I took her to the pediatrician on Friday...and I'm not one to make sick-visit appointments lightly. I'm not one to jump quickly to antibiotics, either, but we did that, too. That baby was sick. She didn't have any appetite for days, and instead of running around causing mayhem she just wanted to be held for hours on end. It was pitiful. She's a million times better now, thank goodness, and she and I were the only ones in the household to succumb to whatever-it-was. I've practically been spraying Lysol in my sleep all weekend! 

The older girls, who felt just fine, were pretty bored all weekend. They like to go places and do things! Instead they got to stare out the dining room window and watch the construction workers framing the house two lots over from us. One of them wears a hat that looks just like a bear's head, so naturally he is our favorite. Give it a few months and they'll be mystifying the new neighbors by insisting that a bear built their house, they SAW IT.

Luckily most colleges hadn't started back up, so we've had a steady trickle of Flint alums visiting. When we came home from dance class on Thursday and Scotty was here, Avalon nearly lost her mind. She's missed him like you wouldn't believe, frequently asking why does Scotty have to go to college? She attached herself to him the minute she saw him, and it was no joke getting her to let him go!

Now Phoebe is all better and I refuse to be sick any longer (or ever again, for that matter) we can get back to normal life again FOR REAL. 

New House FAQ

Monday, January 5, 2015

I guess I just... skipped blogging for the entire duration of Christmas break? Oops. It's been probably the least restful "vacation" ever, but beautiful in its own disordered way. I unpacked my books a few days ago and suddenly felt like I could breathe again. Every time I start feeling overwhelmed by how much is left to do, I look over at those bookshelves and feel instantly peaceful and grounded. So now that I have my wits somewhat about me (and an Internet connection, hallelujah!) it is time for a FAQ!

How do you like the new house? Oh my goodness, we LOVE it. So much. The lay-out is perfect for us (which is why we picked it!) and the rooms are a million times bigger than they looked during the building process. The entire place just makes me happy. We're going to be an island in a sea of mud until the houses around us go up, but that's okay. We were so used to living in the middle of Arlington that we've been surprised by how quiet it is out here on the outskirts of everything. And how many more stars we can see at night!

PICTURES! When are you going to post pictures of the house?? Not...just...yet. Parts of the house are getting very close to being unpacked and set up the way we want, but other parts are not and I just want to wait until it's finished. Not like paint this and recover that and sew some of these finished (there are plenty of such projects cropping up in my mind, but they will have to wait!) but at least completely unpacked and arranged finished. Then I'm thinking VIDEO TOUR! But combining two households is not a quick process. It's way more fun than I had imagined it would be, but it's not quick.

So...you're living with your in-laws...? Yes, but see, we all really like each other! We've been planning this for years now, and while I totally get that it's not considered the normal thing to do in this day and age to live with your parents or in-laws ON PURPOSE, it makes so much sense for our family. The grown-up are...still completely outnumbered by the children and teenagers! But less so!

When did you get to actually move in? Ugh, not until December TWENTY-THIRD. That would be, you know, the day before Christmas Eve. It was not ideal, but we threw a Christmas tree in the empty living room and slapped some stockings on the mantle and Christmas happened just the same. ("It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags." NO WAIT, THERE WERE BOXES! And possibly a Christmas-day trip to Albertsons for some delightful pre-made foods because we hadn't thought of groceries and hadn't unpacked our kitchen stuff.)

How are the kids adjusting? The little girls have been so enraptured with the whole new house! new room! Gigi and Grandad are HERE all the time! thing that they've transitioned really smoothly. Lainey had a few moments of sorrow that her toys were packed away and she wanted to play with them, and Avalon had one day where she was just kind of vaguely sad and disoriented. I've felt badly because this has not been the fun, traditional sort of Christmas break with all of the fun, traditional sorts of things we ordinarily would do. There's been a lot of, No, we can't do (insert wildly messy project or game here) until we finish unpacking. Sorry. They are highly excited for school to start up again today! The boys took it a little harder. I think the tangible reason for this is that moving furniture is no fun, and the less tangible reason is that we are supposed to be stability and comfort, not all this chaos and newness.  But we've been working through everything that has reared its head, and I'm proud of my boys! 

 Are you ready to get back to school? Yes, totally! I think I'm supposed to read a book or something to children today. And sit in my comfy old wingback chair, maybe sip some tea. That sounds like a more relaxing day than I've had in a month!

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