Despite our household being besieged with coughing, stuffy noses, sinus headaches, and just general seasonal health hurdles, we have really enjoyed the season, thus far. December always finds us busy, sometimes overwhelmed by scheduling challenges, but always grateful for the abundance in our lives, including great community and family togetherness.
Joe’s birthday was on the 11th of the month, having him turn ELEVEN! Grandma gave him an nice new classical guitar, which we kept a surprise for weeks. He was quite excited. He also got some cash from Mom and Dad, a treat at Pure & Simple Cafe in Greencastle, time out on the town without his sisters to spend some of his cash at the toy store, and finally, his requested “fruit cake” and vegan, gluten-free birthday pizza! It was a great way to usher in his eleventh year!
We usually recognize Yule, or the Winter Solstice, with a family circle, special meal or treats and a gift. However, Darren and Joe were both sick on the 21st, and Flo was fighting a cold, so we just lit a candle and reflected on the seasonal shift, which was highlighted by the unseasonably warm first day of Winter.
We then opened a family gift, which was a nice pair of Bose speakers for our main computer in our living room, which is connected to our TV. We hooked them up and marveled at the improved sound quality. It was a brief celebration, but memorable. Then Darren, Joe and Flo went back to bed, Zofia went to Grandma’s house, and I got to work tidying up for a potluck we were hosting the next day.
To continue to foster the spirit of conscious community, health and plant-based living in the area, we hosted a vegan potluck with our MeetUp group again this year. We had a great turnout, and there was lots of delicious food and holiday cheer.
After our gathering, we spent the next couple days in our regular routine of music lessons, and daily activities. We did a couple last minute shopping trips for stocking stuffers and a gift for Bruno, the dog. Joe would have liked to take home another pet, but with the wisdom of my forty years, I knew this was not a gift in which I could indulge him. So, he pacified himself by checking out all the pet store critters and picking out a nice gift for his canine companion.
On Christmas Eve, even though Darren was still under the weather, the kids and I went to the Unitarian Universalist church for a little holiday community and caroling. It was bitter cold, but we took a ride afterwards to see all the holiday lights in people’s yards around town.
Then, on Christmas morning, we all slept in until around 10am, before Joe woke us up, eager to open gifts. We leisurely woke up Flo and Zofia, and made our way downstairs.
The kids were happy with the thoughtful items we found for them this year, and we enjoyed watching them open the gifts.
Joe got a couple new Lego projects and a remote control Formula 1 car. Zofia was content with her bag of stocking stuffer goodies, and rainbow themed gifts of a sock monkey, teddy bear and new umbrella. We found things throughout the year for Flo, including a new pair of purple Doc Martens, a longboard skateboard and an electric ukulele. We also got some musical “family gifts” to share, as well, including several new djembe drums. Fun!
After we opened presents, I made the kids gluten-free pumpkin pancakes, Darren and I nibbled on some of the “raw” goodies from our stockings, and we just sat around relaxing. In fact, the rest of the day was spent in this manner, with the exception of a short walk I took, with Flo, out into the frigid day, and, then, another stint out into the cold night, to tear down all the extra holiday cardboard for the recycling pick-up the next morning.
Now, with less than a week left in 2013, it’s time for rest and reflection. It’s time for renewal of commitments and dreams. And, it’s almost time to start the Wheel of the Year turning once again, for an opportunity to celebrate life by creating new experiences and memories! What will 2014 hold?
Happy Holidays and a Hope-filled, Inspiring New Year to all!