Stephen went on an overnight retreat, so Maria and I pulled out some DVDs from his college years and watched them while he was gone. I think she may have recognized his voice, if not his face, because she watched him much more attentively than she did the others. We broke open her plastic candy cane filled with Hershey’s kisses from Grandma H, and I made a little cocoa for us while she took the kisses out and put them back in. When I turned around, I realized she hadn’t just been playing put-and-take. The kisses wrapped in silver foil were strewn carelessly on the floor, but the red and green ones were clutched in the plastic tube by the toddler. Everyone knows silver is too boring to be bothered with, right?
Smudges of Christmas cake batter remain on her cheek. It’s been a long evening without Daddy, who is gone on retreat. We’re both tired, but we had some fun and some Russian tea. Less than 20 hours until he returns. I need to leave her to get a few tasks done before I sleep, but the glow of the Christmas lights is so calming, and she’s so soft, so gentle, so peaceful. This baby, whom God gave us the gift of assisting in creating, daily teaches us and stretches us and challenges us to grow in love. Bless our baby, Father. Help me to be a better Momma to this daughter of yours, this sister-in-Christ of mine. Let your love pour through me onto her and everyone else I touch.
Down the hatch! Now to find the treasures Daddy pulled out of the overnight bag before he packed it. Wasn’t that thoughtful of Daddy to leave such a treat for me? Here are some of your pretty yellow packages, Mama! I’ll put them in this bag and carry them around. And look! It’s an old swimming diaper! Here, Mommy, put it on me, please! Why won’t it go up past my ankles? Now I can’t walk! Waaaaaaaah! Everything is awful! Oh! You’re right, Mama! I can wear it as a bracelet! Look at that!
My brothers Fred and Freeman arrived a day apart – Fred was a surprise, three days early! – so there has been much talking and music and talking and cooking and talking.
She received this lovely sweater and hat from one of her adoring fans.
She figured out how to extinguish candles all by herself! (They weren’t lit, lest you panic). She was carefully turning the tool around so that the bell would cover the top of the candle completely. I’m impressed, because it’s been a long time since she’s seen that kind of action up close.
Burlap thumbtacked to the wall for hanging Christmas cards on and Maria’s new magnet station now adorn the wall opposite the kitchen.
I quite enjoyed this article in defense of domesticity by our friend Tyler Blanski. One of the things that stuck out to me is the point that good housework is not necessarily less housework. I needed that reminder. It also helped me realize that all the comments we’ve gotten from visitors about how settled in we are, are not so much an opportunity for us to gripe about how much more work the house needs, but rather an opportunity to step back and go, Wow, all this work we’ve put in has really paid off! This does feel like a home!