Well, we are one week into 2011.
We did take down our Christmas decorations, including the tree, last weekend. No, not because we are under the delusion Christmas is over. Everyone here knows it is still Christmas and music, books, DVDs and treats still remind us we aren't quite in ordinary time yet. But, due to the nature of the house we are in this year, the only place we could put the tree was in the playroom, which then had to be blocked off from Elizabeth. She was generally forbidden from the playroom for 2 weeks. We did have a few of her toys in the living room for her and before every naptime and bedtime she ran into the playroom to see the tree but it restricted not only her toys, but the amount of space in which she had free rein. Keeping up the tree would have only prolonged that.
Fortunately, on New Years' Eve, I was struck with an energy and nesting burst that lasted 4 days. So I didn't have any difficulty taking down the Christmas decorations and putting them all away or clearing our home of pine needles. I also got a jump start on the more thorough cleaning I had been planning on doing throughout the house in January. (Another is planned for March, if I can, before the baby arrives and the last before we move again by June.) I got our bedroom dusted and vacuumed with clean bedding, the girls' bedroom dusted and vacuumed (their bedding was cleaned only 2 weeks ago when they were both sick), my dad's bedroom dusted and vacuumed with clean sheets, and both upstairs bathrooms scrubbed, disinfected, wiped and mopped. I also got done a quick cleaning of the playroom (pine needles were not all that had accumulated), the kitchen table, chairs and floor, and a vacuuming of the sofas and carpet in the living room. It is nice when those bursts kick in!
Of course, they never last indefinitely. By Tuesday I was definitely coming down off my high and slowing down. Fortunately, on Monday, we did pick back up on our schedule that had slowly disintegrated throughout Advent. Cecilia began school again and I began trying to include a little bit of "school" for Felicity. Felicity knows her numbers 1-10, her colors, and her A,B,Cs by name, but some numbers and letters, when she sees them, she doesn't recognize, so we've just been reading some books or playing and going over what a 6 looks like and what an e looks like, etc. Having the schedule re-started helped guide me once my energy left me. Cecilia really picked up her schoolwork right where we left off - much better than I remember ever doing in school after the Christmas break. Her reading impressed me and she dove right back into her addition. She is almost halfway through her Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons book, seems to have mastered counting by 10s, has a pretty good grasp of numbers 1 - 100 and gets all her simple addition (as in 1 digit plus 1 digit) right.
So school got off to a good start in 2011 as well as cleaning. Unfortunately not everyone I know is getting off to such a beginning. Our parish prayer group had been praying for a local mother named Rachel. She has 3 young boys and was 3 weeks behind me pregnant with her fourth boy and had been having pregnancy complications. Her water broke and her baby boy was born on January 2. John lived a few hours snuggling with his mother before dying peacefully in her arms. She was sent home the same day, obviously very distraught, and her young boys do not really understand what has happened.
Within 12 hours of learning about Rachel, a friend of mine, Susan, informed us her daughter, Katrina, seems to have Parry-Rosberg Syndrome, which is a a rare disorder characterized by slowly progressive degeneration (atrophy) of the soft tissues of half of the face (hemifacial atrophy). Katrina is only 8 or 9 years old and has had type 1 diabetes since she was 3. She is an absolute sweetheart of a girl who donated her hair to Locks of Love and sewed hats for babies at crisis pregnancy centers. She will be getting an EEG, MRI, MRA, and various other tests. In 2 weeks she will begin getting chemo once a week for two years to suppress her immune system while they try to stop the PRS, which has no known cure. The good news is that the ophthalmologist said her eyes were not being effected.
Please, please keep Rachel and Katrina (and her parents, who have 4 other children all younger than Katrina) in your prayers.
My first week of 2011 ended with the purchase of a new bunk bed for Cecilia and Felicity to share, although it won't be delivered for another week or so, so that Elizabeth can move into one of their beds before the baby arrives. (Although she has not yet climbed out of her crib, she definitely could if she wanted to, and we don't want her shift to coincide with the arrival of the new baby but having Elizabeth and the new baby both sleeping in our room would make for some bumpier-than-necessary nights.) I also had my 28 week OB appointment with the I-can't-believe-its-not-orange-soda blood test hour long wait. Here's hoping I pass my first test of 2011! But I got to see my favorite OB (their office has 6, all of whom I've seen, but I have my preferences) and hear my baby's steady ~140 beats-per-minute heartbeat! Later that afternoon, even though James had babysat all morning already, he watched the girls a little longer while I ran to the post office and went to our parish for Eucharistic Adoration. I got to spend about 45 minutes there before relieving James.
Not a bad start to the year if you ask me, but I ask you to join me in prayer for Rachel and Katrina who would have preferred their year began much differently.