Though I'm pretty sure it defies all laws of the time and space continuum for it to be possible, today is the last day of November. Which means that tomorrow is December 1st. Which means.... CHRISTMAS SEASON! But before I can talk about Christmas (and boy howdy, can I talk about Christmas) I have to lay November to rest.
What a November it was.
First, today I logged the 50,017th word of my novel, bringing it to completion - for now - and earning me all the rights, privileges and honors of being a 2009 NanoWrimo winner. What does it mean? Absolutely nothing. But it did get me this nifty little web badge, and well, I admit I got quite a thrill when I pushed "submit" that final time and saw a congratulatory fireworks display.
I learned a lot by doing the project, not the least of which is that writing 50,000 words in 30 days is a lot of writing! I missed one single day, and ended up staying up half the night catching up. I learned that despite my penchant for dabbling, for trying something new then moving on when it gets too boring (or hard or tedious or un-interesting) I can in fact see something through to completion when it's really important to me. Yes, I threatened to quit about, oh, 23 of the 30 days, but I did not. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I learned how satisfying it was to really devote time to my own pursuit. One of the few things that gave me pause about doing it was that it meant time away from my kids. Not only did they survive the month, but they were also incredibly supportive and interested in what I was doing. I think I've had such a great frustration with everyone's need to get away from their kids (and I do still have that frustration... seeing people complain about having their kids home from school for 2 whole weeks for Christmas vacation? Sad.) that I've overcompensated. And well... I don't spend huge amounts of time away from my kids, and I don't send them to school, and I don't make them cry it out so they'll learn to fall asleep on their own. Those things won't change. But this past month has shown me that I can - and should- have my own interests and pursuits, and that when I do, my children will show me the same support that I've always tried to show them.
And while I'm on the subject of support: Paxton and Everett both had their final games of the fall season this month, and were so excited to have their grandparents, aunt, and uncle there to watch. Paxton burned it up on the pitcher's mound...
while Everett celebrated with a pizza party with his team...
I haven't loaded anything onto Photobucket for eons now (see my earlier mention of my quitting something when it ceases to be interesting) but I do have lots of new pictures on Facebook, including Halloween and our most recent trip to the zoo.
On a sad note, on November 22nd I said goodbye to my cat and companion of 19 years (19 years!), Zoya. I was with her when she died, and while there was some comfort in knowing that she was not alone when she passed, it was by far one of the most difficult things that I've ever done. I miss her like crazy, and the rawness of my heart cast more than a few clouds over the following week - which unfortunately included Mike's vacation, and Thanksgiving, both of which were lovely in spite of everything.
And tomorrow, tomorrow we start another new month, and our official countdown to Christmas. The tree is trimmed, the stockings are hung, and the advent envelopes are loaded with twenty five cool things to do as a family.
Just like last year, I'm going to try to post daily pictures and blogs, in an effort to document my favorite month of the year. (Says my husband as he sees me blogging: "Aren't you sick of writing? You just wrote every day for a month." And the answer is HECK NO! I am estatic to have time for my blog once again. This is the fun stuff.)
In addition to the advent calendar in the picture above, this year we're also doing a Jesse Tree.
One of the great things about having a strong faith in God, but not belonging to any one specific church or denomination, is that we learn from, and appreciate, customs from so many different places. I actually got the idea for the Jesse Tree from a Catholic website (I am not, nor have I ever been, Catholic) It is wonderful! Each day we'll hang a new ornament with a different picture. The pictures all correspond to a different bible passage, starting with creation and leading up to the birth of Jesus. So far we've done a dove, standing for peace and harmony; an apple for Adam and Eve; and today was an ark.
I love the marrying of family fun with reflection on the season, and I am so completely excited to experience the next 25 days with the kids.