For a few days while we were in Michigan, we stayed with Matt's oldest brother, his wife, and their four kids. Abigail did really, really well in the exciting hubbub, so well you'd never know she had the opposite everyday at home. Staying with my sister-in-law was very conducive to family life, as her entire house is baby proof and full of fun toys. Abigail played by herself and with her cousins for so long that at one point I half forgot I had a kid. It was pretty refreshing. I spent lots of time with my 7- and 5-year-old nieces building pony stalls and beading necklaces. When they cried as we ran out to a lunch date with my grandmother, it was refreshing to be wanted that much. Try as I might, I have been unable to teach Abigail how to push a toy train while crawling along side of it, but after one observation of her cousins, Abigail picked up this new skill. Refreshing, her picking something up without hours worth of work. And that date night. That date night was incredibly refreshing. Matt and I enjoying dinner, browsing the aisles of Meijer, sipping coffee at Panera Bread. Just the two of us. When we arrived at the restaurant, I really wanted to say, "table for two - no high chair," but I managed to rein myself in at the last minute. It was amazing to me how nice it was to be able to give Matt my undivided attention while we were out in public. Our conversations were deeper, went uninterrupted, and I even got to primp in the bathroom after dinner. And when we drove back to Chicago yesterday, we took our time, stopped for lunch, and Abigail didn't cry. We arrived at home to find the perfect parking space and made time for both unpacking and lounging, plus fell into bed by 8:45pm CST. The Refreshing Christmas.
And I can now reveal the big Epic Crochet Project of 2012. The project I started in Florida in January. The project I took with me through three states. While moving twice. Drum roll, please.
Those are normal-sized ornaments hanging from those packages to show scale.
Blankets. Seven blankets. The fastest I finished in about a month. I don't know how long the longest took me. I made all seven of my nieces and nephews their own afghans in one year.
I like to crochet, you see, and my favorite thing to make are afghans. Well, I spent years crocheting dozens of afghans for myself and my husband, occasionally a random family member, but it wasn't until I had Abigail that I realized how important kids are. I had barely even gotten my nieces and nephews gifts when they were born, missed most of their birthdays (I was in Florida), and never made them my favorite thing to make. Until 2012. In 2012, I spent 12 months crocheting 7 afghans over 3 states. I actually made almost 9. I was about 1/3 of the way through one afghan when the company discontinued the yarn. I searched through three stores and online, but couldn't find any more of the yarn. So I started over. Another afghan I realized when I finished that it was the smallest of all the blankets for the second oldest kid. I had to start over on that one. So many evenings spent in front of the computer watching a movie while I crocheted after Abigail went to bed. So many late nights sitting under a blanket without air conditioning. So many books I didn't read. But so worth it. So worth it when one boy spread his out on his bed and came back to tell his mom his bed was "so pretty." So worth it when my sick niece wrapped hers around her shoulders, sucking a pacifier and giving the camera her cutest cute face. So worth it when the entire room was "oohing" and "ahhing" as each was opened, one-by-one. Refreshing.
This Christmas was surely The Refreshing Christmas even if Hectic and Stressful made a good run at the title. I don't think I'll fully make any one of my three pre-New Years Resolutions. It was rather fool-hearted of me to even make such lofty resolutions with so little time left. But I made a good run at each of them, mitigating potential damage, I suppose. But Matt and I made more feasible resolutions beginning in January while we were on our date night. Personal, professional, and spiritual resolutions. Resolutions that will carry The Refreshing Christmas into The Refreshing New Year.