Outside: The rich autumn reds and oranges we were blessed to enjoy so long have been blanketed with beautiful snow cover all week. We need the moisture and I just plain love the snow. Then again I loved the leaves. It's a beautiful world, period.
Around the house: We moved all the furniture and dozens of books from the family room/school room. (hundreds? thousands? millions? probably not, it just felt that way.) When we pulled up the carpet we noticed some concrete irregularities and panicked a little. Ok I panicked a lot. We have had enough disaster in our residential history to warrant panic. However the contracter who came out assured us all was well and to carry on. That we did. We are now nearly halfway to a new floor. It is transforming an 80's basement to a clean open farmhouse space. That might be more in my big picture vision than in actuality at this moment but the promise is there. The boys are learning so much working on this project. They have painted and cut out vents and trimmed edging. Real life work.
Note to self: get the leaves and pumpkins rounded up today.
Wearing: Snow gear per above. I need to buy some more waterproof gloves soon. The first snow always surprises us. In other wardrobe news we have ordered the girls' dresses for the wedding. I am probably late on the game but working on mine. An unrelated note - Elizabeth Broadbent wrote this essay about dressing your kids in secondhand clothes which resonated with me. I heart thrift shops.
In the kitchen: lots of veggies. Someone here, who isn't me, had a 'midcentury' physical and is motivated to jump on the veggie train with me. This one was good. Roasted brussels sprouts and butternut squash and onion. Toss in pomegranate seeds or craisins afterwards.
Listening to: Christmas music on the piano. All day. Every day. Carols. It's a wonderful thing though to have a houseful of piano students again. Their instructor gave them a new Christmas music fun book and Tess especially has been all over it.
On an unrelated random note, driving home home last night I was listening to Simon and Garfunkel's America. In the dark, as the music was playing, I was 16 again, right back in an apartment in Italy listening to that album playing on a turntable and soooo terribly homesick. Missing a boy with all my heart. (dear reader, I married him) So funny how music can transport you not just to a place but to the very emotions that enveloped you at that moment. Another random note - the song was written in '68. So basically it's almost as old as I am, which doesn't feel as old as it sounds when I say it. Not at all.
Creating: We are busy making Christmas gifts. Trying to aim low and finish a few. The guys packed up the sewing machine and many of the craft supplies so we are working with a limited cache of tools at the moment. Abbie was given a bracelet making kit for her birthday. Her big sister helped the girls make a ton of them over the weekend.
Abbie's bells and whistles party didn't materialize. Because, life. We decided to make a gingerbread house together instead.
Reading: My time has not been my own lately. Every time it seemed as though moments were going to open up to grab my book they have been taken up with other work. However we finished a huge chunk of our fall reading list and are happily diving into advent and Christmas books. (see right sidebar) Today we will at least begin 24 Days Before Christmas. This was our first introduction to Madeleine L'Engle and the Austin family. In this slim volume we follow the family's gentle approach to holiday preparation. Each day Mrs. Austin puts up a little bit of cheer, usually homemade. Some foil ornaments. A door wreath. A batch of cookies. Without even realizing it you fall into step with her as the days draw nearer. I am so looking forward to sharing it with the youngest of our family and hope this will help to set the pace for our own advent.
Coincidentally, a friend shared this short essay on L'Engle this week. She captures the purpose and role that art plays so well,
"To try to talk about art and about Christianity is for me one and the same thing, and it means attempting to share the meaning of my life, what gives it, for me, its tragedy and its glory."