Things have been happening. Did I tell you that ALL OF US had babies this year? Both of Joel’s sisters, and then both of mine, and then we squeezed Lionel in just under the wire. Christmas was laden with babies, I tell you.
YOU get a baby, and YOU get a baby, and YOU ALSO get a baby!
We introduced some new traditions this year, like the Jólabókaflóð
(this was my first solo day with three children, so it coincided nicely with when I had already planned to dump a bunch of new reading material on my kids)
and held with some old traditions, like the hot-chocolate-Grinching
(also on this, my first solo day. I basically saved all my best tricks for this first day).
And then in and among and around all the Christmas festivities we took Lionel to the dr (all of us)
and painted some nutcrackers
and tattooed ourselfs
And also Eleanor turned six, more about which anon.
And that was the last thing! That I had to plan for. You guys I have been making LISTS and pre-buying shit and dragging things out of storage and putting them somewhere accessible because I knew that once I had a baby, my time was no longer my own. I have been So Organized, because I still wanted to have a Christmas! And do all the things! But now the things are done and I can just sit here, trapped under this baby who won’t sleep in his swing today, and eat leftover cheese and the muffins my mom made for me when she was here, and wait for school to start again.
I had a baby! His name is Lionel Justice, he is very small.
I used to read old-timey novels where an invalid would finally feel well enough to sit in a chair in the sun, and I’d be like, How hard is it to sit in a chair in the sun. And now I’m like, Oh.
That third c-section really takes it out of you! My uterus was allegedly transparent in parts, so it’s a good thing I didn’t go into labor, or want any more children, or end up having twins.
We have been home almost three whole days. Joel took the girls out this morning, they have been gone for HOURS, because he goes back to work tomorrow. I have been spending the day lying under or near a baby, or unstacking the dishwasher, or eating snacks. I did a load of laundry. Everything is so much, so I only get one day like this with this newborn while he is new born. It has been glorious.
My mom moves in for a while tomorrow, and then is Christmas, and then Eleanor turns six, and then Joel is off work again, and then school starts back up and by then, Lionel is nearly a month old.
But for now he is new, and he is so sleepy and warm. (It completely goes without saying but I’ll say it: the girls love him so, so much. They cannot stop telling him how much they love him. It is so, so much.
We started the gingermansion last week because I feel like there is SO LITTLE TIME LEFT and we love it. We got as far as making the dough
(molasses is SO INTERESTING)
and then we lost days of our lives to that ferocious 24-hour bug that was going around. Can I recommend you don't.
So I and then Eleanor were sick in succession, the gingerdough went into the freezer, the kids went to my parents' place for the weekend because Joel and I had TWO (2) holiday parties to attend
and then suddenly it was Sunday morning and we were all home and healthy and had the day ahead of us. GOOD THING I HAVE THIS MASSIVE ISLAND IN MY KITCHEN NOW.
My job is to roll and cut out the gingermansion pieces, but also to monitor what's in the oven(s) (good thing I have two ovens now) (this house is amazing) and also roll out Geneva's dough-pile when she gets frustrated, while these two jokers WHIP THROUGH an innumerable amount of gingerbread cookies THEY ARE BOTH SO QUICK AND COMPETENT NOW I had to use all six of my cookie sheets, even the two sub-par ones I mostly keep around for chicken nuggets.
And then everyone went down for a quiet time and usually that would be it for the day
but I was feeling ambitious and also a little behind, and Sunday is a LONG DAY YOU GUYS so when they woke up, we decorated our walls!
Geneva still decorates like a toddler
but Eleanor has discovered PATTERNS and also RESTRAINT and I'm a little bit *weeping emoji* about it.
We save one wall for Joel, and he has to make due with the candies that are left.
Monday I assembled the house while the girls were at school/napping, and the rage this induces in me is just part of the tradition now. I literally do none of the shingling, though.
Nor the snowing.
I was shopping for candy decorations without the kids, which means I had no one to exercise restraint in front of, which is how we ended up with these gummy penguins.
Look this li'l creeper.
We jusssssst had room for a path this year, in addition to the logpile and lollypop forest. I need a BIGGER BASE. I want to turn some ice cream cones upside-down and make them into trees!
We were riddled with setbacks, like any major building project, but we are DONE and we are DELIGHTED.
Oh yes, hello! How about that NoBlog November. I am still pregnant. I HAVE BEEN PREGNANT ALWAYS my face is fat, my hands are fat, my feet are fat. 'I will read a book to your fat feet,' says Geneva.
Newborns are so difficult and I'm deeply unenthused about getting a needle in my back and being cut open and then recovering while also nurturing new life, but we have so much help at hand this time, and the beauty of late pregnancy is that it's so awful. You KNOW things are about to take a steep dive but you don't care, you're so done. I'm SO DONE.
HALLOWEEN GETS BETTER EVERY YEAR eventually one of my kids is going to be a sad sack about it and I'll have to stop saying that but NOT THIS YEAR.
I made them decide on their costumes like a week into October so we could start assembling the bits, and Eleanor drew up some costume pairings she thought would work.
(From left: Ariel and Rapunzel, an apple and some grapes, Wonder Woman and Batgirl, Belle and Elsa, Squirrel Girl and Tippy Toe)
Eleanor really wanted to be Squirrel Girl but Geneva didn't want to be the sidekick (what is this, last year?), she wanted to be Ms Marvel, and Eleanor took SOME CONVINCING that those two would be a legitimate pairing as they are both Marvel superheroes and have in fact appeared in a few issues together. 'I want them to be in the same book, mom.' But she finally agreed to mock Geneva up a Ms Marvel costume.
And then we spent two weeks pulling bits of things from thrift stores and gluing bits of other things onto still more things and dragging old jackets and boots out of storage.
LOOK AT HOW MARVELOUS SHE IS
Squirrel Girl, Squirrel Girl, powers of both squirrel and girl
And because I will readily admit that these are some niche superheroes and not everyone knows what they look like:
NEITHER OF YOUR SUPERHEROES HAVE POWERS OF FLIGHT, you guys.
And then my parents and my sister and her husband and kids came out, and we met up with my in-laws and THEIR kids and some other kids and it was just a HORDE OF CHILDREN LOOK AT THEMMMMM
We went for like an hour? And everyone else was done and we dropped my sister and her entourage off at our house to get their car and things
but these girls of my heart were not done and it was so balmy and dry and they were being so hilarious and delightful that we kept going.
We went for ANOTHER hour, and by the time we got back, our cauldron, which we had left on our stoop (as is the custom in these parts) was empty.
(Earlier cauldron shot, obv)
'MOM. Can we put some of our candy into the cauldron so we have things to hand out to trick-or-treaters.' I meannnnnnn, can you.
I let them stay up until the cauldron was empty again
PEOPLE ACTUALLY WEAR THESE T-REX COSTUMES IT IS INCREDIBLE
And the girls 'did lines' in the breaks between treaters
and finally the cauldron was empty and everyone went to bed.