1. This past week we took everyone in our house to get passports. Apparently, the entire rest of the population in our town had the same idea because it was super crowded! So, crowded that we split it up in to two different days thinking that the next day might be better. It was actually worse. So, the kids got a lesson on why you should never let your passport expire.
2. We have loved this break from school/work/dance/piano teaching, etc. I'm aware of how busy our lives are, but not really aware until we actually have winter break. It worked out that the kids had two full weeks off from school, and Todd a week of vacation days plus holidays, so it was nearly 2 weeks. We were all mostly healthy the whole time, so it was simply a delightful gathering of playing games, reading books, getting more video game/movie watching time than usual. The kids getting to hang out more with friends, etc. Just nice.
3. I'm really enjoying the ages of my kids right now. Other than the 12 year old being a little too 12 sometimes, they are all at ages where they can really participate in a lot of family decisions and it's nice to hear their input on things. (Sometimes.)
4. When Lilyanna asked what I wanted for Christmas, I replied, "A clean house." She laughed and laughed like I'd told the funniest joke ever and then said, "Mom! It would take too much wrapping paper to wrap up a house!"
5. I have wanted for many, many years now to hike the Appalachian Trail. About 5 years ago, I decided that when the kids were old enough, we could do it in 2 week chunks. However, now that the kids are at that magical age, there are no 2 weeks where that's feasible. Also, Lilyanna is coming with, and hiking for 2 weeks with a 5 year old is probably more fun than I'm prepared to have. Anyway, we've decided that for this spring, my 2 Boy Scouts and 1 Cub Scout (almost Boy Scout) AND my 5 year old and I will hike 2 states worth of the trail. The 2 easiest states, but still, it will take a little less than a week and we'll have Maryland and West Virginia crossed off the list. We may try to add NJ this year as well, but we'll see how this first hike goes. Did I mention that we're doing it in the spring? When it will likely be cold and wet? I may be a little bit crazy.
6. I will do a whole post about this later, but in November, I took Nathaniel down to FL for his birthday/Christmas present to swim with his beloved manatees. To say he was a happy kid on that trip, would be seriously understating the situation. It was a delight to get some one on one time with him, too.
7. Benjamin, Nathaniel, and I sat down this afternoon to talk about college in earnest. We looked at how much things cost and where there were the best programs for the cost of the things they currently think they might want to study, and what other programs are out there. (Nathaniel was disappointed to learn there is no US school that offers a degree in parapsychology. But was enthusiastic that there are some classes offered in that field at the University of Edinburgh. Or was until he saw the price of said classes.) Benjamin is halfway through his Freshman year of high school and plans on serving a mission for our church for 2 years immediately after school. Because Nathaniel skipped so many grades, he'll be able to do a year of school before missionary work (boys have to be 18 before they go). It was sobering for us all to realize that their life outside of this home begins in 3 and 4 short years, respectively. But it got the boys really thinking about the things they are doing now and how it can affect THEN. I don't expect they'll always remember their revelations from this afternoon, but putting some hard data in front of them helped demystify some things.
Happy Sunday, everyone!