A very happy morning. The first picture is pretty bad, but Sarah was very excited to find an aquarium and goldfish on her bookcase on Christmas morning. She promptly named the two little fan-tailed goldfish Sarah and Lucy. (Sarah has passed on and we now have Cleo and Lucy has been renamed Figaro.) Everyone loves to watch them swim, Sarah and Lucy most of all. The cozy coupe with trailer has been a big hit. I always wanted one as a kid. The playroom at the hospital had one when I got my tonsils out. We've moved too much and have lived in too many small spaces to own one before, but sadly Lucy will never remember the condo or our little house in Minnesota or our Manhattan apartment. Sarah remembers the condo with fondness--and rose-colored glasses--and asks when we can move back there and all of the kids can share a room again. She has a new plan for the Sandgrens to move-in to the condo with us. What do you think, Elisa? Is your house feeling too roomy? Sarah loves her big Christmas dog, which she immediately named Jasper after the Sandgrens' dog. She wanted a mommy dog and puppies for Christmas, and she's lucky that Santa came through at the last minute. Michael fell in love with an expensive set of Legos, but he's a kid who loves deals. He was thrilled with his Legos purchased on ebay from another enterprising young boy. Anna was very surprised with a desk of her own that will fit in her room without needing to get rid of her beloved bookcase. I remember a day in the condo when she was ten, almost eleven. She was trying to do homework on her top bunk--her only little corner of noisy solitude in the condo. Anna is easily distracted and likes things quiet, so the kitchen table was hard for her to work at. She asked if maybe someday, if she ever had her own room, if she could have a clipboard to do her homework on. How I wanted her to have her own room with a desk in it someday! Having your own room is in no way an entitlement. I never had my own room, except for on my study abroad in St. Petersburg, but I'm glad Anna is able to have her own room right now, and that we've found a desk for her to work at.
I enjoy gift giving. There's stress involved in budgeting and wanting to do more than I can and should, or in not always having a perfect idea. It has to be kept in careful balance, but giving gifts easily gets a bad wrap too. I receive so much inspiration this time of year as I prepare for Christmas. I remember just knowing that I had to go to a particular store in October. I had no plans to go there, but one day I just had such a persistent need to go, and there was the exact desk that I had pictured in my mind for Anna, and on clearance for a great price that made it possible. It was a very happy Christmas. It was fun last year with a tiny newborn, but I must say we were able to enjoy this season more fully, even with a lot of sickness in December.