Our Christmas was so-so.  Some years we knock it out of the park and others...well, this was one of the others.  My parents were caught up in that whole Southwest mess, and decided to stay put rather than visit.  They've rescheduled for May, when the not-so-little little boys are performing their Shakespeare plays, so we'll take it.  Still, all those plans for board games and outings with them were cancelled.  

I didn't take many pictures.  Actually, I only took the one picture: my thrifted sugar bowl and Christmas breakfast in the background.  Weird, right?  

I sort of knew a big announcement was looming after the holidays.  I tried not to drown in the overwhelm that is repairing and packing up a seven person household, transferring homeschool and "regular" school children, and acknowledging the grief of farewells to several communities.  We've got until this summer to face all those things, God willing, although my husband begins his extra-long commute in a few days. It's not all grief and gloom!  Our new parish community offers corresponding activities to our current one; dare I suggest that there are even more ways for my kids to put down roots?  If it's possible for a person to feel the whole spectrum between trepidation and joy, I do.  When I look back at the past 25 years, our lives have been a wild and unpredictable ride.  But a Good one. 

In our daily life, we're coping.  I expected the deflated, self-pity and inertia that arrives after the bustle of the holidays and unpacks for a long, long visit, usually until February or March; I wasn't blindsided.  It's a yearly houseguest that's been coming for ages, decades probably, but whose pattern of arrival I noticed for the first time just last year.  The early December appearance, though, that was new.  Maybe it took my awareness as an invitation?  This year, instead of lolling on the couch for weeks, or parking itself at the kitchen table for days on end, inertia is using our digs as a home base while it tours the area.  It departs for days, and then returns just when I've tidied the house.  Maybe I'll get wise and lock the door behind it the next time it leaves?  I'm using all my habits and prayer to push it out.  

Some things that are helping: 

This book.  A big Thank You to Ginny for highlighting it.

Making sure a breakfast is on the table before my children awaken, and an "official" lunch is prepared.  Covid and a household that scatters in many directions throughout the day let me get lax in my meal oversight.  Sure, we had appropriate foods available, and it was easier in the short run to permit people get their own breakfast and lunch when they wanted to eat(rather than make it myself).  I told myself that our habits fostered independence and built cooking skills.  Really, allowing everyone to prepare his own meal fostered selfishness, my own laziness, and some closet gluttony, not to mention that the kitchen was a perpetual mess.  No matter how many good cleaning habits we have, there are certain cleaning skills that are too advanced for some young children, despite their best efforts.  

Prep prep, prep.  This is connected to my aha! moment about food.  If I can think ahead and prepare the day before, hours before, the house runs more smoothly.  We're trying to lay out the next day's school table on the evenings when we're at home.

Working with our family's energy.  We all need breaks!  Especially after lunch, we need at least an hour of rest before we move on with our day.  

Chores alongside the children. Back during the lockdowns, I trained the children to clean their bedrooms every Friday following a checklist while I worked on my own.  How did that fall to the wayside?  I've moved my own cleaning day so I can work with the children to go through their lists.  Their rooms are much cleaner!

Bedtime habits are key.  Looking at you, dirty clothes on the floor.  I'm making my best effort to help the children prepare for bedtime with a routine.  Some children are more amenable to new habits that others.  And one has internalized her bedtime chores already!

Setting the bar low. My knitting goals for January involved finishing two projects and "making progress" on one other.  At some point, I will need to start cleaning out our house.  Our new parish is in an area of the country that is known for its exorbitant cost of living.  We're downsizing by necessity, but I'm not complaining.  It'll be easier to keep a smaller house tidy.  We manage to fill to bursting whatever space we inhabit, which is a sad commentary on our acquisitiveness.  I'll start small and work forward, watching Marie Kondo in preparation.  

Whew!  So much happening here.  All that to say, if this space is a little quiet, rest assured the rest of life chez Pleximama is emphatically not.  Happy and Healthy New Year to all of you!


  1. We just heard last week that friends here will be moving mid-March. He is a deacon and will be ordained a priest this Sun. and has been given a parish in the south. It's hard, but I think Orthodox friendships last through time and distance. I knew his wife 20 yeara ago, from camp.

    1. I agree, Martha! I am looking forward to widening our circle of friends and "framily" along the East Coast.

  2. I also meant to write that I will pray all goes well for you and your family.


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