Merry Christmas Eve 2010

It’s hard to believe that the first decade of the New Millennium is coming to a close. Yet the Yuletide is upon us and the Holidays are here.

Photo: Kids Sending Santa Letter

Kids Sending Their Letters to Santa

We got snow in New England this week,  as if the preparations wouldn’t have been complete without it, just enough for light grass covering blanket. Nevertheless, it should make for some nice photo opportunities on Christmas Day.

Letters to Santa have been sent and the kiddos are anxiously awaiting to see what will be under the tree. Packages from family afar have begun to arrive and I am guessing the little ones will be more than happy with the small haul they will likely receive. The best part, however, is that Hadley is taking great joy in actually giving gifts this year, although she is rather terrible at keeping them secret. She has already proven to be quite the spoiler.

Still, here’s hoping that everyone has a wonderful Christmas Eve and Day.

Happy Holidays Hadley Days!

With the holidays finally coming to a real close, it is time to recap our annual trek back home to the Pride of the Prairie. This year, of course, was the first year we had an infant in tow, which provided surprisingly little challenge. Hadley was never the problem on the trip in either direction. More than anything, I was the problem, if you could imagine!

Hadley with Bunny
Hadley with Bunny
Originally uploaded by fritzwinkle

Coming off a week of feeling progressively worse at work, Friday evening brought an even more daunting feeling of illness, not to mention the fact that the multiple windows of our house began leaking just before we were leaving. So, our departure was delayed, I got even less rest in anticipation of the non-stop drive, and my demeanor was foul to be sure. I was certainly not up for my normal load of miles, leaving the bulk on the shoulders of Ali and Keri. Combine this with the fact that we had to stop more frequently for baby feedings, the drive was taking longer than it ever had when we finally collapsed into an Indiana hotel room late Saturday night. The blessing of this was that immediately after we pulled our necessary gear out of the rental and into the room all the inclement weather we would have faced passed over us while we slept comfortably in beds. Morning came, and we tripped across the rest of northern Indiana, arriving in Chicago late Sunday morning just in time for the Bears beatdown on the surging Packers.

Sleepy Hadley
Sleepy Hadley
Originally uploaded by fritzwinkle

Thus began a week of Happy Hadley Days. No longer were the traditional holidays, like Christmas and New Year’s, fully recognized they were eclipsed by a whole new celbration, Happy Hadley Days. They began before Christmas Eve and carried almost to New Year’s Eve, but we had to leave on the 30th. During this stretch, an outsider would have thought that our child was an Egyptian Pharaoh with all the loot that was piling up for her. We were lucky to stuff everything in the rented minivan for the return trip. Mind you she arrived with the largest suitcase of any of us, as she requires the most attire to fully exhibit the entire pre-Hadley Days gift giving extravaganza. Only Ali and I can fully appreciate and show gratitude for the bounty of gifts for our little daughter has received since her arrival on the globe. So, many thanks to all of you that made the first Hadley Days so stunningly kind.

The only mar on the cavalcade of cheer was that my intense cold began to work its way into our little darling, then Keri, and ultimately Ali, who now is suffering the full bloom. Poor Hadley was in such sad shape we had to harbor her a couple of days away from the outside world, as her little nose and chest crackled with cold and she required ever more sleep than usual. She still hasn’t quite been able to shake it all over a week later, but she has definitely gotten increasingly better with each day. I wish the same could be said for Ali who might not have experienced the full crest of misery before the mend just yet. Plus, a weekend check on Keri showed she has definitely seen healthier days.

Despite the insidious incubation of all these infirmities, we made remarkably great time on the return trip, whereupon we unloaded all Hadley’s booty, which has since taken over the living room of our never-ending work-in-progress home. All in all, it was a notably nice trip to the home front of the Midwest. Hadley coming down with the cold slowed things down just enough that we weren’t racing at breakneck speed to and fro the whole week. So we got to enjoy things in some ways more with the slower speeds, despite all of us travelers being at less than full strength.

So to all, belated Happy Hadley Day well wishes. We look forward to next year’s celebration, when the little sweet pea will be toddling around on wobbly legs and squealing with delight at all the fuss about her, while she rips down Christmas ornaments with fascination.

My Holiday Absence

With the Holiday crush of activity, I found myself overwhelmed with work and Christmas preparations. Add a trip back home to the Midwest and there were few opportunities to actually sit down collect any thoughts, not to mention posting them. It was as if the last three weeks happened in one.

The schedule for my students rendered the week before Christmas as the middle of the quarter. This meant that I needed to produce the dreaded progress report for the second quarter. It is not exactly a nice Christmas present for any of them. Understanding this, I tried to give everyone an opportunity to submit any outstanding work and resubmit anything with which they were unhappy. Unlike most teachers, I generally have a fairly liberal redo policy. In my prior teaching stints it was never a problem. I generally issue a warning that I do not want people waiting until the last minute to resubmit their work. However, this time I got deluged with all kinds of redone assignments. It was so problematic I nixed the policy altogether in one class. Nevertheless, I was grading a mountain of work in preparation for the reports.

No sooner had I found the bottom of the stack when I needed get my things together for the weeklong trip to Chicago. Aside from the general travel items, I had a boat load of gifts to be distributed to friends and family. The combined loads from Ali, Keri, and me nearly left us without room to sit in the rental car. That’s right we drove the 1000 miles from Boston to Chicago. Three of us and the dog, Zerbert, headed West on a non-stop nineteen hour road trip. Since I had to work the 23rd, we did not arrive until the afternoon of Christmas Eve. From that point it was a full Holiday fervor.

Before I could catch my breath, we were back at work in Boston as though we had never left. The exception to this is that I am exhausted and sick. It seems my allergies to dust and cats were more aggravated then I thought in my vacation accommodations. All this has lead to one of my seasonal sinus infections. I can’t seem to get through a year without getting at east two. I guess this is number one for 2005.

Hopefully, I’ll have the stamina to touch on the Holidays in greater depth in future. Plus, Ali is requesting a kind of year in pictures, full of photographic highlights that were not previously posted. We shall see.