We've been sticking close to home this past week and loving it.
The boys closed out their school days with a Christmas concert. I led the very first school choir our school has had. 35 kids joined, which was amazing. The school only has 100 kids, and the 35 kindergarten kids were too young to join, so I actually had one out of two kids sign up.) It was a tough job, because I had to find music in French without religious themes to sing, and which sheet music I could find. Which left me with pretty much nothing. I translated one song we sing in church about Christmas Bells, found a translation "My Favourite Things," and then taught them "Betelehemu" which was neither French nor secular, but was in an African language and so they let it slide. The kids were amazing and had a great time.
We past our days building Lego (Colin), learning to cook (Caleb), colouring (Juliette) and building train tracks (Benjamin.) I helped the boys make presents for each other. Benjamin cut a slot in a pretty bucket and put stickers on the metal lids from frozen juice cans for Juliette, which she thought was the best gift she got. The other boys made homemade juggling balls from balloons and split peas.
The great ice storm left us with a couple days of cancelled plans. We danced a lot to "Deck the Rooftop" (a new favourite song) and sat around the piano and the guitar for at least one Christmas sing-a-long a day. I pulled out my violin again and gave myself a few new lessons.
Yesterday the boys wanted to go outside, and once I tried to shovel a little path in the backyard, we discovered a thick layer of ice. We pulled out the skates and they had a blast. It was Benjamin's first year on skates. I tried to put on the double bladed bob skates, but they would stay on. He asked for a "real" pair of skates instead. Once I laced them up, I asked if he wanted me to hold his hand while he got on the ice. "Don't worry mom, I got this," he assured me. And he did. The boy was born to be on skates. Oh yeah - and he couldn't start skating around until he had sung the national anthem (in French), just like in hockey games. Juliette was not to be left out either, eager to get into her winter gear every time the boys did.
We still have a few more get togethers in the next week, including Christmas with my sisters on New Years Day. I'm still hoping that in the next year or two we can start a tradition of renting a winter cottage over New Years and all hang out together, the kids with their cousins, to ring in the new Year. but for now, we fill our days and call in early nights, with time for James and I to cuddle up and read or watch something together in the evenings.