Christmas was good! We sang carols in a big barn. We hosted friends at our house. We had a very good time with all my family and I enjoyed the sense of holiday I always get when I'm at my parents' house. We gave and received lots of presents and ate lots of good things. I even did a bit of studying in quiet moments, not that there were many of them.
Manna and my dad reading 'Press Here' for the tenth time:
Ember ice skating for the very first time (my dad on the left, about to crash into the barrier and my nephew and sister on the right helping not at all):
About halfway through present-opening, the girls hit a lull and got engrossed in one new thing. Ember drew an intricate tesselating design for a tree in her notebook ("It's like your art, Mama") and Manna made colour-sorted cog towers. I had a cup of tea :).
One of our loveliest gifts has been Manna's very own quilt, made my her great grandmother. It's toddler-bed-size, but so lovely I couldn't wait and she's using it in her cot already. Everyone in the family has one of these. They are all different and represent hundreds of hours of work. We are very lucky.
And we have been doing some 'normal' things too, things which we know make us very happy. We have been to our lovely mum-run forest school and marauded about with sticks.
Ember has done more rushwork with Linda Lemieux, who worked a lot with Thomas and taught him all he knew about weaving and basketry. It is special to both of us to see Ember showing such enthusiasm and aptitude for this. Here she is, happily engrossed in a basket, with splendidly muddy trousers :).
My mum showed me some 'lovely' photos of myself. I was appalled and cut my hair at once!
So instead of this:
I now look like this:
Well, actually right now I'm in my pyjamas, but I won't inflict that on you.
We have enjoyed the bracing Dartmoor weather (read: sideways rain) and taken advantage of milder days to scramble about outside and, of course, splash in all available water.
More storms are forecast; internally too. I have made it through the sixth anniversary of Thomas dying. Usually I hide in my house behind the biggest bag of crisps I can find, but this year I experimented with going out. A friend had organised a clothes swap (very hard to resist on any day), so I got a babysitter (another thing I 'don't do') and had a good evening seeing how I look in clothes I might never actually buy. Fatter than expected, is the first answer (those damn steroids!), but also pretty good. So I have a selection of the kind of clothes I love...and a bright yellow miniskirt which hasn't been out yet, but definitely will.
On Monday 29th, Manna will be exactly the age Ember was when Thomas died. I cannot hug either of them enough at the moment. I cannot look at them enough or say enough prayers of thanks that they are mine and they are here and that, thanks to my mum, I will be here for them for a very long time.
Storms are forecast, but if you're dressed right, you can cope with anything.