On Christmas Eve Holiday Market was over at four. Every year on Christmas Eve we pack up all our things and our booth structure, load it in the car, and end up getting home late. This year we no longer have a truck and we brought so many things to Holiday Market, we couldn’t fit it all in our car (it took two trips to bring it there, one with our booth structure, one with our stuff), so we decided to just bring our handmade items home and leave the booth. I’m really glad we did that this year. We were able to get home earlier and we were all so exhausted after Holiday Market this year, especially those last four days in a row.
A few days before that, I had talked to my sister on the phone and she told me that they were going on their annual bike ride around town with friends where they decorate their bikes, covering them in Christmas lights and things. When I got off the phone with her, I told Bracken that his Aunt Sam and Uncle Thomas were going on a bike ride with Christmas lights on their bikes. Bracken liked that idea very much and told me that he wanted Christmas lights on his bike. I planned on getting some for him at the store, to surprise him, but then one of our market friends gave him a string of colorful LED Christmas lights to use for that very purpose. Bracken was so excited to come home on Christmas Eve and wrap his bike in lights. We did just that as soon as we got home. They are still on there and my guess is that he’ll want them on there permanently.
On Christmas Eve, we told Bracken that he could choose one present to open early. I did that growing up and always thought it was really fun. Somewhere along the line, Bracken started singing “Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell” and the way he sang it was so sweet, it was my favorite version I’ve ever heard.
I told my mom this year that I really wanted to get a play kitchen for Bracken for Christmas. Every time we go to our class at the Waldorf school, the first place Bracken heads is to the little wooden kitchen. At a friend’s birthday party he spent a good portion of the time at their play kitchen. When we go to the kid’s section at the library, Bracken heads straight for the kitchen. I thought how wonderful it would be to get him his very own kitchen to play with at home. Normally I wouldn’t want to give him a toy that expensive because I would be afraid he’d just stop playing with it and it wouldn’t end up getting much use. But in this case, I really felt that he would use it and love it. Jeff was really into the idea too. My idea was to ask family members to all go in on purchasing one together, instead of other gifts. My mom decided that she really wanted to get it for him though, which was incredibly generous. Jeff and I got him a little apron and chef’s hat that our market friend made, along with some other traded gifts. Bracken had picked up the apron and looked at it, liking the pattern on the fabric, covered with monkeys and bananas. He got wooden eggs and cups and little cookware and wooden vegetables. He helped put his wooden kitchen together and got to watch it transform before his eyes. And he absolutely loves his kitchen. He’s been playing with it ever since. (I had planned on making some wool felt vegetables for him, but that will happen in time.)
He was given two new books we’ve been enjoying: Giraffes Can’t Dance, a fun and heartwarming board book, and Good Night, Fairies, a sweet story with incredibly beautiful illustrations. He was given such thoughtful gifts and we felt really grateful, it was so fun to watch him open his gifts and see the magic in his eyes. We usually do a little bit of filtering too during gifting times, we try to bring as few plastic toys as possible into our house and aim to keep things natural and simple.
On Christmas day I had a mountain of laundry in the pantry and our house was a mess. We headed straight downstairs and started opening presents, so I hadn’t had a chance to pick anything up yet. With presents everywhere and having so many days away from home in a row, things were feeling pretty chaotic for me. We talked with Bracken and said that whenever we get new toys, we will pick a few old toys we no longer use to bring to the thrift store to share with other kids. Bracken seemed enthusiastic about the idea, but as soon as I asked about any particular toys he wasn’t keen to put them in the thrift store box.
We had put a bag of mealworms in the chicken’s stocking, along with a little clay sign we had traded with a market friend for that said: Chicken Crossing. We hung up the sign in their yard and then we gave them mealworms for the first time. They went absolutely nuts over them!
We had planned to put Bracken’s kitchen in our kitchen, but quickly realized that he wanted real water and real food in his wooden kitchen and that would get really messy really fast. We decided a better place to have it would be in the living room. But we didn’t have room for it. And that’s when we started rearranging our living room, which then led to rearranging our house. It didn’t get finished, it just got started. I guess we were supposed to be resting that day, but the inspiration came so we went with it. The day after Christmas we went back to Holiday Market to get our booth. Before we did that, Jeff stopped to mail out a package at the post office. Bracken had been enjoying his visits to the post office before Christmas because there was a snowman there that would sing and dance when you pushed a button. Apparently, the lady at the post office liked how much Bracken had enjoyed it, and decided to give it to him. He was so happy. If you saw us at market that day, packing up our car with a dancing snowman, that’s what was going on. Admittedly, I told Jeff that it was going to start getting a little old after awhile. The snowman is a tad on the loud and obnoxious side and he likes to play it over and over and over. Jeff told me that we could pack it away with our holiday things and just bring it out for Christmas each year. That sounded like a good idea to me. Bracken really does enjoy that snowman.
It felt so good to start making some big changes around here. I love getting our house more set up and organized. Then I got hit hard by a nasty flu and having the whole house in disarray has been driving us all nuts. I had good intentions to make a bit of progress today, but my body is absolutely forcing me to rest. I can’t stand for long periods of time and only got a few ornaments taken off the tree before I had to lay on the couch again. Bracken was whiney for most of the day and felt a bit warm. Later today I was actually able to move to a sitting position, rather than just laying down, and brought out my computer to see if I could get a bit of work done. This blog post is about the only thing I accomplished today. It feels good to be slowly getting my appetite back. I told Jeff yesterday that the only thing that sounded good to me was a baked apple. I don’t know why. This morning he left for town while Bracken and I were still sleeping. He brought our mountain of laundry to the laundromat and bought apples. He came home with clean laundry and later surprised Bracken and I with baked apples. Bless his heart. All day my body has been telling me loud and clear: Rest and do nothing.
Did you get some rest during your holidays, friends? I hope so.