December is like a crescendo.
Everything builds to a crest – preparations from months gone by come to fruition, the days lengthen and lure us outside, answers tor requests for special things and outings become more ‘oh, I suppose so’ rather than a narrow ‘no’ and each day has an overlaying elusive sensation of wonder.
After a month or so of having to get creative with transportation, we finally got a car (Master Wu) and it has been well worth the wait. We are loving the space to move and the plethora of buttons. We took our first roadtrip to Bendigo just prior to Christmas and were amazed by how much we could fit in and still have enough room to get in and out fairly easily. So good to have the situation resolved now.
And then there was Christmas – the anticipation, the delicious food, the enraptured looks on the kids’ faces. What a memorable time of the year in bringing together family and friends to embrace the best things about life.
What I’m Reading
Oathbringer (Stormlight Archives, Book 3) (Brandon Sanderson)
Oh my goodness. I didn’t think this series could get any more epic but it sure did. I love this universe, where spheres of stormlight power incredible feats, realms split and fracture, portraits come to life off the page, and swords can have dynamic personalities. The dissection of moral responsibility, justice and oaths was profound and fascinating and I cringed and cheered as we delved into Dalinar Kholin’s backstory. Sanderson truly has a gift in bringing worlds and characters to life.
Anne of Ingleside (L.M Montgomery)
I haven’t quite finished this one yet, but the opportunity to revisit a much-loved childhood character of mine has been a delight. It somehow escaped me that Anne grew up and managed to fill a household with many interesting children. Reading this as a mother was a rewarding experience and it did make me resolve to recapture the wonder of the little things.
What I’m Watching
Yay for well made Australian dramas. This season definitely upped the action with the introduction of Phil’s character and a shift in two major characters from the last season. There was definitely a jarring element about the inclusion of the baby in the midst of all the chaos, but I appreciated the complexity of it all. The question of what makes us human is a fascinating one and I thought it was well handled. I really hope there is a third season.
Oh man, this movie was amazing. Dave and I were granted the rare opportunity to go to the cinemas for a night and we both blubbered the whole way through it. Auggie Pullman is such an incredible kid and we loved the depiction of the family and the way they handled life together. I think I laughed pretty much every time Owen Wilson uttered a line. Wonder made it onto my ‘best of’ list for books last year and I was so pleased when I heard they were going to put it on the screen. I thought they did an exceptional job of conveying all the emotional depth of the book and definitely recommend this book and movie to all mid-late primary school students and their families (and adults as well!).
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
For our New Year’s Eve this year we decided to travel back in time and revisit this old classic with the family. The kids were surprisingly engaged with the story (though a little terrified of the Wicked Witch) and I thought there were so many profound insights in the film. The nature and importance of journey, the quest for an easy fix, the reality of having to discover the truths for ourselves otherwise we never would believe them, even some Enneagram insights in there… it really was so rich and fascinating. Having not watched the film since I was Eli’s age it was so satisfying to revisit it as an adult.
What We’re Cooking
We delved into Turkish food this month and I was pleasantly surprised with the depth and scope of flavour that it opened up to us. Having never used sumac before, I have begun using it liberally now – particularly in yoghurt sauces and marinades. There were many different meals consumed on skewers, with meats and chargrilled vegetables aplenty. We really enjoyed the Lahmacun (a Turkish version of pizza) and beef kofte. The rest of the month was oriented around Christmas themed cooking, with lots of fudge and other family favourites to round out the year.
What I’m Listening To
I really slowed down with the podcast listening this month but enjoyed the tips and insights in the Frugality episode.
Ryan is an incredibly thoughtful and amazing artist and I so enjoyed listening to his detailing of all the behind the scenes processes that went into creating the Type 2 song.
I stumbled onto the episode ‘Caleb Wilde is a Funeral Director’ from the November What I’m Into posts as a few bloggers mentioned it as a fascinating interview. I do agree that in the West we have a lot of unhealthy and unhelpful ideas and approaches towards death and we can learn a lot from someone who has had to reconcile himself with it over and over again.
It was Dave’s birthday this month and we had a great time celebrating him and how much he means to our family. After a huge month of study, admin and car negotiations, Dave was finally able to take the foot off the pedal a little and enjoy the holiday season. It is a little like willing ice not to freeze to tell Dave to take it easy, but he has managed to reorient his goals towards worthy relaxing pursuits such as reading and building Lego with the boys. We have all so enjoyed having him home for the holidays.
In some ways Eli is still a young boy – relishing nightly lullabies and displaying moments of innocence towards the complicated world. In other ways, he is very adept in pushing buttons, willing everything around him to dance to his tune and becoming very frustrated when events do not turn out as he pictured them. Eli is showing a lot of maturity in his interactions now and delights in cheering loudly for everyone at end of year celebrations and carols nights. He has shown moments of being a great helper around the house and managed his expectations really well during the Christmas celebrations.
Hudson became a ‘father’ this month – adopting a toy baby called ‘Coco’ and insisting on taking care of her very studiously – putting her to bed in Harvey’s room, bathing her in the bath, putting her in the spare high chair during dinner, feeding her a bottle when Harvey has one. He often tells me that he is an adult (often in response to being told off) and does his best to mimic our behaviour. He still asks to bake every day and has a real knack for cracking eggs efficiently. We were so proud of him at his Kinder concert as he enthusiastically performed all the actions and sang all the words. He has grown up so much this year (particularly post surgery) and is developing into an amazing kid.
Ivy has a lot to say. She loves telling us stories about everything, explaining her emotions regularly: ‘I a bit sad, Mum, are you sad?’ or ‘I angee tos you didn’t let me have a snack’. She and Hudson have such imaginative games that often last for the whole day – pretending to be parents, workers, rescuers or teachers. I can’t help but watch them with a smile on my face. I love watching her draw – she is getting more and more creative with her pictures. Her dancing is priceless and the costumes and accessories she got for Christmas are getting a lot of use.
Harvey is becoming so much more aware of the world and his limitations. He knows there is something he is meant to be doing with his body (ie. crawling) but he can’t quite get all his limbs coordinated enough to do it. When he is awake and rested he relishes life and is a flapper – wildly moving all limbs when he is excited about something. He has a contagious laugh and is totally in awe of his Dad.
We had some memorable experiences this month – from splash parks in Bendigo and twilight markets to quirky restaurants emulating Alice in Wonderland. I loved watching the culmination of a year’s worth of growth in the school and Kinder concerts and we packed as much as we could into our Christmas celebrations.
We watched a Christmas movie and had treats and hot chocolate for our yearly tradition:
Mum took Harvey and I for a special outing at the Hatter and the Hare:
Hudson sang with gusto at his Kinder Concert and was inseparable from his two best friends as usual:
We marked the end of Open House with a Christmas Picnic:
Celebrated Dave’s birthday:
Eli and I checked out the new Bunjil place library and gallery:
Stayed in a converted historic school house near Bendigo:
Laughed and relaxed at my sister and brother in law’s house for a great family Christmas:
Enjoyed a traditional roast lunch and mountains of presents for the kid at the Hughes family Christmas:
Celebrated Paw Patrol style at Hudson’s 5th Birthday Party:
As for the rest of the month, we reminisced and planned, savoured and sang. We made memories in the middle moments and stretched the most out of the daylight hours.
2017 has been filled to the brim… not perfect, but rippled with meaning and growth for all of us. We welcomed Harvey into our lives and he brought with him a sense of calm and joy that has permeated us all. We still get grumpy and act out of our base motivations rather than our best ones, but I love the family we are becoming and the journey that life offers. Bring on a rich and fulfilling 2018!