Archive for December 2009
Dressed and ready for their roles in the church nativity tomorrow… Except poor D has a fever tonight so he might be playing the sick shepherd who had to stay home.
Tonight’s about wrapping presents, listening to carols, trying to convince Cory that we need a real tree to replace the two foot plastic one we have now, and checking on Duncan. His fever’s down and he’s sleeping okay but it’s still making me want to crawl into bed with him so I can cuddle him all night.
We’ve always had a philosophy that Christmas shouldn’t be a commerical gift overdose. Looking at the pile of presents for the boys tonight it seems like we’re pretty far away from our ideal. But we’ve realized that everyone who loves our boys wants to give them a gift, and that love is what really matters. The boys are old enough, especially Duncan, to know who gives them what, so giving nice shoes or a warm winter jacket which great grandparents have done in the past (brilliant from a parental perspective) isn’t perhaps the right choice right now. Bring on the toys…
Sunday we woke to three days worth of hard frost, transforming the castle gardens into a true winter wonderland. The ground scrunched under our feet, little frost icicles clung to mittens, and footprints marked where we’d been. As gorgeous as Crathes is in the summer, it’s far more magical, more personal in winter when we can have the walled garden all to ourselves (even having a game of hide and seek). I know nothing about flowers and gardening, but we know we love it there.
There’s so much to see in a winter garden, structure and shape rather than blazes of colour. When everything is reduced to a muted palette the forms of the hedging, direction of the paths, and hidden views take on more importance. It’s as if they get overshadowed by the big gorgeous blooms and need this rest period to come into their own. Duncan calls this “going to see the sleeping flowers”. I think that’s pretty accurate.
We’ve been back to warmer weather since monday though and the frosted beauty has turned back to green ground that squelches at every step. Aside from an excuse to wear my wellies, it’s disappointing to be back in the dark and wet. I never understand why people are so negative about cold, especially in the country. Here cold means crisp and dry and bright reflected light. I’d take a hard frost over a soggy, +2 degree day anytime.
Fraser’s had his check up at the hospital and been discharged – we had thought he was 100% but it’s wonderful to have it confirmed. Looking back now it all seems so minor, but it was so upsetting while it was actually happening. And the rush of Christmas is totally here along with all the excitement and a few tears. Duncan had his school nativity today; he was the most gorgeous snowflake I’ve ever seen and I’ve watched the video of him twirling several times tonight. But he was a tired little snowflake for the rest of the day and I think the excitement was maybe just a bit much. I know I’m tired already and we’ve still got 10 days to go.
Stubbornness? Persistance? Glee and Joy? This personality of Fraser’s is shining through. He’s more than happy to share sweeties with Duncan and has even mastered taking turns today which amazed me. But when he wants something, and now has the ability to tell us in words, saying no does provoke quite the response.
But determination is also a good thing. It means he’s conquering fine motor skill tasks, learning to climb things he shouldn’t, and learning to master a temper he’s inherited from his mother. I can watch him playing with a toy and see his persistance conquer his frustration, when the toy doesn’t end up tossed across the room. It’s such an important life lesson and one I wish I had more of myself. (That’s this amazing thing about parenting, actually watching them learn).
D and I have transformed the hall into the warmest homemade welcome a 3 year old can imagine. Stockings waiting for Santa and advent bunting that gets filled at night by mummy. With “sweeties!!” he says in his Scottish accent (or non-accent, since Cory & I are the ones that have one).
I’m on a mission to replace the store-bought baubles (okay, not my emma bridgewater ones) with homemade bits of loveliness. We’ve got a wreath on the door (mental note – needs re-glueing), stockings and bunting in the hall, and a stuffed tree that’s followed Cory and I from Vancouver, to the flat, the first house, and now here. With family Christmas carols in front of the tree before bed (a tradition I grew up with) and lots of family time maybe Duncan will clue in that it’s not all about what Santa’s bringing…. Except that he’s asked for a pedal bike which eclipses pretty much everything.
p.s. I am not replacing all the magical Christmas decorations from Keith and Rochelle – those are very special. My brother and I exchange decorations each year instead of gifts and I love looking back at what they’ve given us.