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Rebuking the toilet

Two years ago, I shared a Sweet New Year encouragement, little knowing the year in store for my family. Our year of "Sweet" turned out to be a year of  "Sick". Illness after illness rocked us. It was almost comical. A cancer scare turned out to be nothing, but added a surgery to the mix. What a year! But it was sweet. Honest. Through it all, Sweet was the word of the year.

The next year wasn't so sweet. Wow, did 2017 stink. It was a seriously terrible year. For so many around me, it was a very rough year. I stopped naming years last year, but it chose it's own word: Survive.

As if to sum it up with vivid imagery, we wrapped up the last day of 2017 with a stomach bug. I held my daughter's head as she tossed her cookies, thinking to myself, "Just a couple more hours and this ghastly year is over." When my toilet stopped up and I had to sanitize the floor, I wasn't discouraged. I scrubbed and rejoiced that it was almost over.

This morning, on this first beautiful day of 2018, a friend sent me a message saying, "2017 is flushed and gone away." She had no idea that I'd been struggling with a clogged toilet, so the irony was especially hilarious. I choose to believe that my backed up toilet is NOT symbolic and that 2017 is NOT going to come back up to taint my new year with its stench.

The day itself is all the symbolism I need. A New Year. A fresh start, a clean slate. The old has gone, the new has come.

You're killin' me, Smalls!

Photobucket has updated their policies and now require money rather than ad revenue for use of their hosting features. I now have years of blog posts with funny little boxes telling me it's time to upgrade. I apologize for the awkward appearance. I'm working on finding a solution. The blog doesn't actually bring in any revenue, and I'm not in a place to invest in photobucket at this time, so I'll be looking for a creative (cheap) alternative. Sorry for looking funny!


School’s out for summer in Belleville, Illinois, in 1974 via reddit
I don't date my blog posts. I'd love to say it's because the wisdom I share here is timeless, but it's really because I'm a lazy blogger and I'd rather visitors not see how seldom I remember to post things. But since I've had Christmas posts up since November, I don't think anyone is fooled.

This past year has been crazy for me, but I'm sure it's been crazy and busy for you, too. I'm not complaining, just explaining that blogging was dropped a bit, but not forgotten.

I directed Classical Conversations. If you are familiar with CC, then you are already nodding and have instantly forgiven me for my lapse of posting. It was an amazing experience for my family and I am proud of the work I did to introduce a classical education to our community. Unfortunately, my girls have outgrown the Foundations level classes, so I'm handing that hat over to someone else.

In a few weeks, I'm having surgery and I will have a couple weeks of bed-rest. I'm seriously looking forward to the uninterrupted time to read and plan for our next school year. I'm looking forward to blogging about it, too.

I'm also looking forward to fluffy fiction. My latest guilty pleasure is the After Cilmeri series. Linguistically speaking, it requires a big stretch of the imagination, but it is otherwise a blast, particularly if you are a medieval history fan.

School Plans. That's where I was going with this. Yes. Next year, I will have a senior again. My 2nd son will be graduating! This should be a fun year for him because he completely most of his required classes which he shared with his older brother. That created a few complications that I'll save for a future post. The girls have also been sharing most of their classes and we haven't quite determined whether or not we'll continue that next year. Lots to consider there! Future post.

In the meantime, all ballet, piano, violin, orchestra, and all other outside activities have CEASED FOR SUMMER. It's a fabulous feeling. We have no one to please, but God, and it is amazing.

*Okay, that's not entirely true because we DO school year-round. But dropping all our outside activities has made school feel like a vacation. 

Christmas School Plans!

I'm a week later than usual, but it fit our family best to wait until the first Monday of December this year.

Confession: we never took down our Jesse Tree from last year. It's stayed there, on the wall, all year long, waiting for us to finish creating the clay ornaments we started. We didn't. But we will. This year. I'm sure of it.

Day 1, we study Norway and the Advent Wreath. We'll color Rosemaling and eat Pfefferneuse. We'll read Christmas in Noisy Village and work on geography.

Day 2, we study Germany and the Advent Calendar. We'll make a new advent calendar. This year, we'll sing Silent Night and read The Christmas Mouse, a cute story about a mouse who observes the composing of this famous hymn. We'll wrap it up by watching Holiday Inn.

Day 3, is Russia and the Nutcracker. We had the amazing opportunity for my girls to get to dance in The Nutcracker this year, so we'll do some mapwork and move on to Day 4 this time around.

Day 4, is our favorite: England and Christmas Cards. We'll probably spend two days doing that one, watching Muppet Christmas Carol and Doctor Who's "The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe." For geography we'll study about what is included in the title of United Kingdom. What is the difference between England, Britain, and the UK?

Day 5 is Latvia and Christmas trees! My girls love decorating ice cream cones with green frosting and M&Ms to camouflage them as Christmas trees. It tastes as gross as it sounds, but you can't mess with tradition.