The weeks leading up to Christmas were filled with a visit from Grandpa Heaps (to build Marty a great workbench in the basement for his present) and, unfortunately, a visit from the stomach flu. We were so generous we even sent poor grandpa home with it. We barely recovered in time for Christmas morning. Ans even then no one really had an appetite for quite a while.
We kept things pretty quiet, but we were a bit stir crazy by New Years Eve. We made an impromptu trip down to Newport--"Newport for New Years!!" We kept yelling all day--and it was perfect. We did the cliff walk, ate some great sea food, and even let the kids have their first arcade experience.
January was spent trying to get back into the swing of things. I felt so behind from December I thought we would never catch up. It was actually a bit of a relief when the blizzard hit at the end of the month. It forced everything to slow down. We had the house well-stocked, and Marty ended up with 4 days off of school. We played games, painted, watched movies, read books, and...got sick again. This time it was hacking lung and fever for days kind of flu, and NO ONE was spared. But hey, at least we were together, right?
Although I love family time, all the extra time these snowstorms have given us together in the same space has also lead to a lot more bickering. It was really starting to bother me, so I spent a lot of time praying about what to do. I kept feeling like we needed a "quiet time" where everyone spent at least an hour separate from everyone else. My kids all stopped napping around 2, and I've never enforced any type of quiet time. I was worried about implementing it. However, it has been just perfect! I lure them all to their rooms with snacks and water and let them have toys and activities that are usually put away. Dorothy has been spending hours listening to books on cd; Lucy works on 100 piece puzzles or Legos; Ezra plays/ destroys his whole room; and if Annie is napping, I get to tackle all sorts of things I have been pushing to the side. It feels so good to have the quiet! And it is so good for the kids to learn to enjoy a little time quietly to themselves. There are certainly a lot more smiles these days!