Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas roundup

This post should be about 10 different blog entries, but Christmas has come and gone and I have not sat down (for writing or much else) in weeks.  So here it is, all smashed up and thrown together like a Christmas fruitcake.  A Barkalow Christmas.  

We began with school parties.  Rosie and Andy had a ball at theirs.  Bubbles, candy and games and a lot of fourth grade silliness.  Zadie would have loved her party, too, I'm sure, if she hadn't been at home with the throw up bug that day.  Poor sweet Zadie, I think her friends will write in her yearbook, "were you in my class?   I don't remember seeing you... oh yeah, you're the one who was always out with the throw up bug."

She did recover in time for a trip to the zoo light festival with our friends Abby and Michael.

Rosie was there, too, but was acting too beastly to get in any of the pictures.  Two year olds are not at their best at 8:00 at night.  Neither are mommys.

Then, we spent 6 hours in the car last Saturday so that Andy could see his favorite cousin (also his only cousin).  He says it was totally worth it.

And the girls got lots of presents, so they went willingly.

Did I mention there was weaponry?

 And swinging?

And people who love us?

Yeah, it was worth the drive.

We also managed to gather a few friends for our annual gingerbread house building party.  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that over half of the families we invited this year were down with the flu.  They were sweet enough not to share it with us.

This was also the first year Rosie made a gingerbread house.  She wouldn't let anyone help AT ALL.  So it was a bit of fun mixed with a bit of frustrated toddler screaming, but it wouldn't be a Barkalow party without a two year old throw down.

We made it to church on Tuesday night (almost) on time, but of course not early enough to stop for a picture of children in their nice Christmas clothes.  I'll settle for this one in their Christmas pjs.  Look, no one throwing up!  A Christmas miracle.

 Santa came, presents were opened, games were played, messes were made, cleaned, and remade.

Am I a terrible person if I say I'm glad it's over?

Now we have two weeks to recover, eat leftovers, and learn lots of new ways to use our rainbow loom.   I may not take my pajamas off for the next 10 days.... and it's not just because I've eaten so many cookies they're the only thing I have that still fits.  Although that is also true.

Merry Christmas, y'all!  I sure hope you don't have the throw up bug!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Back in the pool

Yep, It's December, but it's always swim season for these two.  Andy and Zadie are swimming for a year round swim team this winter and they had their first meet this Saturday.

It was a small meet, but just right for Zadie to settle in.  She's the youngest one on the team and she was really worried that she would come in last place.  I was so excited that they pulled the 5 and 6 year olds out for their own heat and she only had a few little girls to race.

And if you can't see her in this next picture (indoor swim meets are impossible to photograph) this is Zadie winning her backstroke heat by half a pool length.  I was a little proud.

After a summer season that was all about Andy and the zillion ribbons he won, it was fun for her to be the star of the day.  Andy did well, too, but he has moved up to a new age group and he'll have a lot of work to do before he can beat those big boys.  I know he's up to the challenge.  

Friday, December 6, 2013


As I was uploading these pictures from Sunday's Hanging of the Greens service, I got to thinking about how much I love this time of year.  Apparently, I really enjoy waiting.  I must.  Otherwise I wouldn't prefer Advent to Christmas and Lent to Easter.  What is it about waiting for good things that makes them all the more special? 

No matter how beautiful things are in the here and now, there's just reality.  Looking to the future, there's always more.  There's always the hope of a more perfect tomorrow.

I like the waiting.  The waiting for the joy of Christmas.  The waiting for the coming of the Christ child.  The hope of what transformation awaits us upon his arrival.

I like sitting watch.  Finding a still place by the fire to pass the time together.

I like pulling the dusty greens and bows from the attic, fluffing them up and giving them new life.

I like the songs of the season.  Singing People Look East  and remembering all the Advents that have passed and all the people I have sung these songs with through the years.

I love watching the children as they whisper to each other about all their Christmas wishes.

I love the lights and the homemade ornaments and the chance to tell my children about the stable and the shepherds and the wise men and about the power of God to transform even the most common among us into something beautiful.

Wishing you a magical, hopeful, joy-filled Advent and a very merry Christmas!