Except that today we're over at Hallie Lord's place due to Jennifer's illness (please pray)
I already did a Christmas recap in pictures, although this doesn't sum up the change, the chaos and the sheer craziness of spending two weeks at home with one husband and 3 daughters, about to enter my 3rd trimester. So I thought I would reflect a little on the practical things we've experienced this holiday - what we did and didn't do, what worked well and didn't work so well. I know that spending minimal time at the computer has helped with family time, for example. However, this has been due more to a need to lie down on the sofa than any concerted effort merely to log in to read daily scripture, lock the screen and immediately connect with the world rather than stay online indefinitely....
I knew it would be exhausting, being permanently in the presence of 4 other people, and engaging in festive 'fun' (including time with extended family, hosting our annual drop-in for friends, getting our quota of fresh air in an entire chilly day at our local farm park - which had a nativity, on 30 December, so lovely!) I do wonder, however, whether I'm slightly anaemic, as even introverts who are 27 weeks pregnant needn't feel this tired from interacting with family for 2 weeks. Off-routine, I haven't been regularly popping my pre-natal vitamins , and I've been eating what I feel like eating, rather than eating healthily. I see the midwife in two days and also have my second round of blood tests, so this may confirm my self-diagnosis - meanwhile I'm focusing on my iron supplement, orange juice and healthy meals.
It could, of course, be none of this. Extreme fatigue could also be due to the bout of chickenpox experienced by 3rdSister, which included a night where we each got about 3 hours sleep, and has resulted in grizzliness all round. I'm glad I stocked up on painkillers, allergy relief and calamine earlier in 2012 when chickenpox was doing the rounds at pre-school. I have to say the illness was entirely unexpected on my part this Christmas holidays, and initially I thought it could be just acne, or impetigo, or hand foot & mouth - but she was so itchy, grumbly and blistery, it had to be the pox. It's been wearing. Yawn....
|No sleep till...Bethlehem!|
Oh, and did I mention that 3rd Sister also dropped her nap? I knew it was coming and was something I needed to get used to before 4thSister arrives, but OH, that time of day when I could use 20 minutes lying down with my eyes shut is now gone.....(and as we speak, she's still slumbering, meaning on a schoolday she'd be missing breakfast by now!) (EDITED to add that she awoke at 8am, shouting downstairs to me, complaining that "you are gone like in Veggie Tales!" - comparing my absence to that of the Little Drummer Boy thinking his parents had died when their farm was razed to the ground and he couldn't find them. Such feeling in one so young. By the way, Santa Claus gave her the DVD in her stocking, she's watched it on a loop, and it is fabulous and deserves its own Quick Take to be honest!)
Luckily we didn't get ourselves organised to book a mini-break for all in either week of the holidays - too much cost and too much energy and effort involved, we decided. But it's been scheduled in for the end of the month - 2 nights in a room for five at a hotel with a pool that welcomes kids, a day out at a safari park, and one at Cadbury World chocolate factory (where 1stSister has been desperate to go since her school project on chocolate last year.) OK, so it's not Disneyland, Paris but it's a little surprise break for them. We had no summer trip away in 2012 due to husband's work, our usual camping in May will be out due to the new arrival and our only other 2013 holiday will be a week in a cottage 2 hours away towards the coast in August, so I'm really pleased that as well as our musical London day out, we get a bonus break.
Speaking of musicals, we have had so many performances of Matilda by 2nd and 3rdSister this holiday, I am surprised I haven't been dreaming about it. (OK, I'm similarly obsessed, and have ordered the score.) 1stSister is also constantly singing (but not dancing anymore), and surprised me after her trip to The Hobbit yesterday that she really wanted to see a new film called 'Les Miserables' (I put this in quotes because she pronounced it in English rather than French, which tickled me.) Somehow it's passed her by that this is my favourite musical, that I've been devoted to for over 15 years, and I was thinking of ways to
bribe persuade my husband to go and see it with me. Now it seems I have an enthusiast to accompany me and I'm almost getting excited!
I guess this post hasn't really been very Christmassy, but I think our Christmas holidays have been a good balance of the ordinary, the unexpected and family time, against the backdrop of welcoming our saviour and appreciating the love of others. I think this is how it should be, and as our wise men make it over from the microwave to the fish tank (where lieth the stable), and we prepare to wrap up this special time, I can begin to process 2013 as being the year of thirteen years of marriage, nine years as a mother, and the year I get to meet my fourth daughter. And - breathe!