We decided to build a castle weeks ago. Our gingerbread structure was for sure going to be a castle. But then the day after I made the dough, when it was just chilling in the fridge, Micah started sketching robots. A family of robots. Our family, as robots. And I suggested maybe we do robots instead?
We liked the idea, but still, the castle. We couldn’t pass it up. So maybe robots would guard it?
We got to work. Made a trip to Dylan’s Candy Bar for supplies (heaven and hell at a single address), and came home to create our masterpiece.
In the end we decided that because robots are naturally antagonistic, they would be the attackers. The hapless gingerbread men would have to defend. And in the end, they seemed to be holding their own, even as the castle began to crumble — not in the hands of the robot army, but in the hands of the little giants (and their parents) who planned this whole thing to begin with.
Another Christmas, another lovely time with the family. I had high hopes that this Christmas would be a time we really made good on serving others and helped the kids feel some joy in giving, rather than merely anticipating opening gifts. It didn’t go exactly as I had hoped, but we did spend a few hours on Christmas Eve delivering gifts before heading to the city. We had hoped to catch a pageant, but missed it and ended up walking through Central Park instead. We hopped a train after that and went caroling at Washington Square Park, then back to our place for hot chocolate. At the end of the day, even though it was wet and rainy and we’d been out all day, we all agreed it was a pretty magical.
And Christmas itself wasn’t all that bad either. It is nice to have just our little family, to have only our own expectations to fulfill, only our own time to spend. And then, our own home to open to friends for dinner.
It may not have turned out as I had originally hoped, but then again, I couldn’t have planned it better.
I used to think 10 years meant that we were old married people, that we would be, you know, settled. Boring, even.
But now that we are here, well, we are not settled. Or settling. We still have so much to pursue and so much we are just discovering.
I’ve heard people talk about getting bored, or knowing their spouse too well or becoming complacent. And even though I do often know what Micah is thinking, and how he will respond, and what his particular quirks are, I am still often surprised by him. And I am happy to find that knowing so well leads to lots of easy laughs and to lots of moments in which we can say something random and have the other say, “That is exactly what I was thinking.”
It actually feels pretty good to get that first decade out of the way. Now that we are past that awkward “getting-to-know-you” phase, we can really enjoy the time we have left.
I’m looking forward to all of it.
Oh December. I lovehate you so. I’m trying to think of one experience inspired by that photos on my phone to sum things up.
There’s this one of the penguin pancakes, which Micah made for the kids after Simon wrote a nice note requesting them for breakfast ASAP, accompanied by the picture from his Ranger Rick magazine. This would demonstrate the parental instinct to make magic happen, no matter the tediousness of the project.
There’s also this photo of Elsa, lying on the floor of our apartment building. She had been my partner in running errands all week and had taken most of her naps in the stroller or on the bike. We had sent packages at the post office that day. (There were more than 20 people in line when we got there, and only two windows open . . . the Christmas miracle was that not only were people not grossed out and rude about the fact that Elsa kept lying on the floor, they were kind and understanding about it. There was for sure a lot of charity happening in that tiny post office.) We had also biked to Costco and picked up LOTS of groceries. Elsa fell asleep within a few blocks of home and slept while I unloaded the bike, got everything into the elevator, unloaded the elevator, and put everything away. I did eventually have to wake her up so we could go get the boys. But, yes. December.
This other photo of Elsa, or rather of her artistically adorned arms, is a good one too. This would be a testimony to the distractibility of her mother. (But then again, she does this all the time, as you would know if you saw how many pairs of her pajamas have sharpie on them. So maybe I can’t blame December for that.)
The photo of our Christmas tree on our bike is classic Heiselt. This is how we roll, people. Micah rode the Firebolt home while I took the kids on the bus. He beat us by a long shot. But we had a great time trying to decide whether or not we should walk to the next bus stop just to keep busy.
Finally, there’s this nice one of Oliver sick in bed while Elsa watches over him. Oliver’s class celebration was earlier that day. All the families were invited to see all their work from their Family study at school. I took him straight home since he had a fever, and both the kids napped while I participated in a conversation on HuffPost Live about stress during the holiday season. It seemed pretty representative of life in December, doing the best you can in the time you have . . . again and again and again.
Having chosen the poem only the day before, and having only practiced it a handful of times, the boys stepped up to the plate and delivered a homerun with their recitation of “The Birds” by Hilaire Belloc at our ward Christmas party. (Grandma Blackhurst would have died of pride, I’m sure.)
They followed up that performance by trying their hands/voices at karaoke. (Yes! Karaoke Christmas party!) I didn’t take a video of Simon, but here’s Oliver giving “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” his best shot. (This is the last little bit of the song.)
If you were hoping for photos of our lavish spread or perfect pies topped with sloppy whipped cream in my Thanksgiving re-cap post, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I was not in charge of Thanksgiving this year, so I basically took a nap and didn’t worry about a thing—even documenting it. (I know! So unlike me!)
Instead, I thought I would share this little nugget from our Thanksgiving. We celebrated with some friends who moved from Brooklyn about a year ago. Their 7-year-old daughter could not get enough of Elsa. She basically adopted her as her little sister and spent the weekend dressing her up and calling her Queen Elsa. And Elsa ate it up. Never mind that I have to physically force her to get dressed half the time. She was putty in Ellen’s hands and wore whatever “queen” dress Ellen handed her. She put on headbands. She let Ellen braid her hair. And then she “glided” downstairs with her royal pets to show us how majestic she had become.
Priceless. Beautiful. Heartwarming. Lots to be thankful for in that little snippet of life.