December, Four Days In

So here's the thing.  The longer I go without blogging, the less I have to say.

It's true.

And now I just wrote a whole post, ready to publish and everything, and it disappeared into cyberspace.  Which is vexing.  Austen never had this problem.  All that cleverness gone, me the only witness.  Like I said, vexing. 

Anyway, we've had a bit of a rocky start into December, but the end of November was quite nice, so I will start there.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving, thank you very much.  I think my favorite part was the little place cards the girls created for everyone at the table.  The big dilemma was whether the person in question was more of a "pilgrim" or more of a "Native American."  My place card was a Native American, "even though I like church" (their words).


We played hours and hours of games over the holiday, much to Caleb's delight.  We even finally read the directions to "Dutch Blitz" and were soundly beaten by David.  Caleb ruefully pointed out that he got the game for his birthday (in June!) and this was the first time we had played it.  The height of tragedy.

We had a little party on Saturday night with my brothers and their families.  We had dinner and played a new game called "Say Anything" which turned out to be a lot of fun.  A couple of them even commented, with surprise in their voices, how fun it was and how we ought to do it more often.  Amen to that.

And now for a few snapshots of December, four days in:

1.  Caleb had his big aerospace challenge all day on Tuesday.  He competed against 100 teams and did not win.  Not even an honorable mention.  We were sad, and me doubly so to see his palpable disappointment.  He really did do great though.  His team was visited by 10 teams of judges, all looking at different elements of the project.  My favorite moment happened when one of the judges asked Caleb about how big the space station was.  Caleb immediately replied, "The area of the torus is 42,223 meters squared."  The judge could not help grinning and neither could I.  We had a little bit of downtime between judging groups and once one of Caleb's friends asked where he was.  I said, "Pacing," and pointed to Caleb walking the hall talking to himself, going over figures in his mind.  I spent the whole day nearly bursting, alternating between pride and anxiety to see all his earnestness.

2.  The first of our Christmas string concerts is tonight and Olivia is delirious with anticipation and giddiness at the thought of "performing on stage" (which she says with dramatic emphasis).  She asked me what I thought performing would be like.  I said seriously, "Amazing."  And she said dreamily, "I thought so."

3.  Ethan came home from school yesterday with a note from the principal that he had been fist-fighting on the playground and she wrote specifically that, "he had to be pulled off the other student."  I know.  We found out later that it was a student who was three grades above him.  Heaven help me.  I told David that we're going to have to ban "A Christmas Story" from our holiday movie library. 

4.  I cleaned out my sewing room yesterday.  Found a home for my new disco ball motor and 16 wooden dowels with various-sized holes drilled through them.  (Apparently their story will never be told.  This is probably for the best.)  David is still smarting a bit from the jamba juice incident (as I like to refer to it), and shaking his head at how stubborn a person has to be to let perfectly good jamba juice melt into mush.  And I have no good answers for that.  I can only say that for me somehow "stress" is always connected inevitably with "distress."  Which is unfortunate.   

5.  Olivia left for school today clutching Caleb's copy of Fablehaven.  When I questioned her about the book choice she told me that her friends had told her that it was good and she was "desperate" (her word).  Fablehaven is about the exact opposite of Laura Ingalls Wilder, but she has been increasingly forlorn without something to read and I'm waiting for Christmas to introduce her to Anne with an "E".  She looked down at the book skeptically and then up at me and said, "Mom, I don't think I'm going to make it to Christmas.  And I mean it."

As an aside:   The kids were playing a game in which Olivia had to pick her favorite place to go on vacation...she chose Wisconsin (Laura's childhood home) over Hawaii and Disneyland and even Michigan.  David was flabbergasted.  I, however, completely understand this romantic non-logic.   

6.  We had our first gifts of the season on Tuesday night.  (It was supposed to be Monday, but we're not going to talk about Monday night.  Ever.)  This led to a sweet, spontaneous moment around our tree, which included singing a couple of Christmas hymns, all of us off-key but Olivia.  I'll admit I shed a few tears and finally felt a bit of Christmas spirit.  I always get a late start on holiday cheer, but I make up for it in the end.