December 23

I was talking with a friend last week who said that the kids’ Christmas program is one of the things she most looks forward to every Christmas season. I absolutely agree. Maybe I feel this every year, but this morning’s felt especially sweet. By the time the service started, I had already teared up a few times watching the practice (thankful tears for adults and older kids who pour their hearts out to teach and serve mine, sympathetic tears of pride with another mom whose daughter sang a beautiful solo, joyful tears because listening to kids sing “let every heart prepare him room” gets me every single time). And then looking around seeing so many dear faces–one for the first time in church, grandparents and family that I realize I recognize only/mostly from many years of community with the same friends, a few that I only saw from afar but that warmed my heart to see in passing, and then also some faces missing this year that made my heart ache. This year has had at least its fair share of suffering and darkness, but what a gift to remember why we really celebrate this season. As Simon put it when I asked him to summarize the sermon, “Jesus came to us. He came to save us.”


December 22

Ian spiked a high fever last night, and we ended up calling our pediatrician’s night hotline. He’s been on antibiotics, but because he had the stitches a week ago, the nurse suggested he be seen this morning. The good news is there was no infection in his sutures (in fact, he got them out while we were at the office), but the bad news is his Influenza A swab came back positive in a hot second. So…this is where we’ll be for the next 5 to 7 days. I’m thankful for this little helper to wipe down all the light switches and door knobs. We’re washing sheets and slathering ourselves in OnGuard, letting the little guy get lots of rest, postponing all Christmas plans, and praying the rest of us can avoid getting sick too.


December 21

This kid is always up for helping me wrap gifts.

December 20

We went driving to look at Christmas lights tonight, and then my family voted on which picture I should choose for the DPP. Artsy no. 2 edged out Artsy no. 1 and Straightforward.

December 19

Today the first graders made gingerbread houses. It’s fun to see how the kids’ different personalities play out in what they create. Some are nice and neat with color schemes and whatnot. Others are chaotic like the candy factory exploded. My favorite thing today was that when Clara finished her gingerbread house, she proceeded to pull off some of her candy decorations. I do love a good editorial eye.

December 18

December 17

I heard some good advice today (from the Lazy Genius, of course): when it’s a busy week, make (or buy) food that makes you feel like yourself. Well, I certainly did do that today: I picked two recipes that I’ve never tried before, both of which looked fairly straightforward, but both of which also tricked me (ahem) with their several easy steps. See, every single time I forget that easy + easy + easy (infinity) = maybe or maybe not easy but more time consuming than I thought. Also, thawing. And brining. And peeling the butternut squash. And texting Jason to pick up a couple of key ingredients (and one less essential, but since-it’s-my-first-time-it-seems-like-I-should-follow-the-recipe-exactly ingredient). All of this to say, making dinner today has made me feel very, very much like myself–not at all the most efficient or genius part of myself but so very myself nonetheless. Now I just need to invest a lot of stake in and get my feelings hurt over my kids declaring the meal “not my favorite” and also lose objectivity over whether I myself even like the meal because it’s new! and I worked so hard on it! and that will complete the quintessential Renae-ness of it.

December 16

When I think about the must-dos for the Christmas season, making a batch (or three) of my Grandma Johnson’s ginger snaps always, always makes the list.

December 15

It was a five-stitches-in-the-head kind of a day. Ian and a buddy were enjoying the beautiful day by playing tag on a playground. Somehow the two collided, and Ian ended up with a deep cut and his friend with quite the toothache. Poor dudes. Ian was brave, and so was I (heads bleed a lot; I had to sit down). A few hours later and we’re probably a little more tired than we expected to be today, but all is well.