Friday miscellany: The next six weeks

There are three weeks left in 2021. Since I’ve been reading a chapter of War and Peace every day this year, and the year is almost done, that means I’m almost done. Mercifully, I’m in the nice part of the epilogue where Tolstoy talks about the new, cozy, family life of his main characters. It’s even early December, right around St. Nicholas Day. (I sometimes think Tolstoy was writing to have people read the book over a year! There are some really cool match-ups in seasonal time). I am through a handful of boring epilogue chapters musing on the nature of history, and I have not yet gotten into his throat-clearing final few chapters.

Anyway (potential spoiler alerts here if you haven’t read it), Natasha is now in a blissful family-growing state. Humorously, Tolstoy deems her a bit of a supermom because…she is nursing her babies herself. Well, three of the four of them. This cracks me up given modern breastfeeding narratives. Everyone is shocked by the Countess’s decision not to use a wet nurse after baby #1. I guess breast was best, just not your own breasts.

Since my little guy turns 2 before the end of the year, it looks like I will wind up nursing for the full WHO-recommended two years. I have never gone this long before. My other children all lost interest somewhere between 12-18 months. He is not losing interest. As a toddler, and a vocal one, he has lots of dictatorial opinions about when he wants “Mommy milk” vs. “Baba milk.” He will stop and tell me “other side” when he wishes to be switched over. He made his big brother get off a certain chair this morning because he refused to be fed anywhere other than that chair.

His second birthday is just one event occurring over the next six weeks, which are just going to be…full. Christmas is coming. I’ve bought way too much that will need to be wrapped and moved. Speaking of which…we are moving! It’s looking like the first week of January. I’m trying not to think about this too much — all the logistics of moving one house to another. We’re hiring movers but it will take them two days to pack and another day or two to cart everything over. I’m thinking I will just move the family into the new house on day one of that project, and take air mattresses/sleeping bags and suitcases. That way we won’t be frantically trying to protect certain things from getting packed up because we still need them. If anyone has done a local move and has tips I welcome them.

The manuscript of Tranquility by Tuesday is back in my lap. Those edits need to be turned around by the end of January. I’m always looking for a few more stories, so if you followed any of the rules (in the project or not in the project) and have a good story of transformation you’d be willing to share, let me know! As always, lvanderkam at yahoo dot com.

I’ll be running a time-tracking challenge the second week of January (though during the move would be pretty funny — sharing those logs with the world!). If you’ve been looking for a good time to track your time, January 10-16 will have the built-in accountability of other folks doing it too.

Last night I went to my eldest child’s choir concert. I skipped my own choir practice to do this, but it seemed like the right choice — I am happy to cheer on my kid as he develops a love of something I love too. It was really good! He’s in his high school’s main chorus and then he auditioned for (and joined) their select ensemble. I posted a quick clip from their a cappella version of Linus & Lucy over at Instagram (@lvanderkam). The 10-year-old tagged along with my husband and me and she enjoyed seeing the jazz band play a few pieces too. She just picked up the trumpet this fall and has made very quick progress. It is not an easy instrument to start but after two months she can recognizably play the melody of Jingle Bells.

Not too much else to report. I’m going to a Christmas party this weekend (I’m getting to be a pro at taking the rapid at-home Covid tests that some hosts ask for). I’ll watch a livestream of a Christmas concert. I put sending my Christmas cards on my to-do list but we shall see….

12 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: The next six weeks

  1. I like to send Christmas cards but haven’t gotten to it yet and thinking about it makes me tense. I may just skip it this year.

    1. I recommend picking specific people who would really appreciate a card and just doing ones for them. I got the first names of the 28 staff members at my MILs resthome and wrote personalised cards of gratitude and cheer and dropped them off with 28 unwrapped boxes of chocolates. Best investment of 2 hours of time and $140 this Christmas. So appreciated by the staff and my MIL has been the recipient of the thanks so an investment in their relationship too.

  2. I did a local move in July. We had movers clear out our old house and we camped out there for a few days. It was nice to have the buffer for the inevitable last minute cleaning/give aways. And to say goodbye to our neighbors and neighborhood. During this buffer time my husband did some painting and building of shelves so the house was really put together when me and the kids moved in. Just thought I’d share our strategy. Can’t wait to hear all about the move and settling into the new house. I really hope there’s a ton of before/Afters too. Very curious about your renovations!

  3. That stairway (new/old house?!) is gorgeous! We live in a bungalow with a very boring set of steps to the basement, but I just love interesting/aesthetically pleasing stairs.

    Lots ahead for you – inevitably with layers of frustration you can’t fully prepare for (a move will almost certainly have SOME hiccups), but this also all feels like a year full of exciting change. Henry will likely stop nursing before next Christmas (!) by which point you’ll be settled in a new home and another book will have been published.

    It’s most impressive that you’ve managed to stick with the daily War and Peace readings. I hope you get a thrill finishing it off at the end of the calendar year!

  4. Local move tip: put everything you will need for at least 3-5 days in your car. Either leave it there, or move it a closed room in the new house.

    Alternate option, clear out one room in the old house and put the stuff there. Then close the door and put a sign for the movers to leave that room alone.

  5. Have done a local move. Put the essentials in your cars and spring for a nice hotel while stuff is migrated. Mark “night one” boxes that must be unpacked before you sleep there (bedding, kitchen essentials) and take a hotel break to unpack this on top of what the movers have already done. It’s a splurge but so worth it so night 1 occurs, especially if it’s during the school term.

  6. I have done at least 5 local moves, and the most helpful thing I found is to gradually move bulky, fragile and hard-to-pack items in your car, in the weeks or days prior to the move (such as electronics, art, lamps). Movers are required to pack such items with great care and put tons of packing material and padding on them to avoid the risk of breaking, which adds many hours and significant costs to the move. It is a lot more efficient to just stick some of these items in the trunk/minivan etc and shuttle them yourself ahead of time without any time pressure.

  7. Hi Laura, your stairway looks amazing!!!! I hope you have a great holiday season this year! You said that you will be mailing Christmas cards, and i have a question: where do you keep everyone’s addresses? I have tried to organize them in the address book, then switched to Excel, and then lost that Excel file. So i wonder if you might have a better system, if you don’t mind sharing it here?

    1. @Irina – thanks! Just in an excel file. I have all the addresses in there and then I make changes or note whether I didn’t send to someone one year. I don’t print from the excel file, by the way, so it doesn’t have to be in a perfect format so it’s fine for notes or whatever. I hand address the envelopes.

  8. I enjoyed your take on Tolstoy’s take on breastfeeding… like on his being impressed w the rich girl? breast-feeding her own… (did all women have wet nurses, or only some, did they give them anything else etc) and your juxtp of that against say modern breast-feeding dialogue or mother worship /torture … might make a good book like say views of women excerpted w comments … or maybe more like with summaries of a modern woman but not judgement… like a lot of parenting stuff can become stressful to read.. but Tolstoy is just Tolstoy and our breasts and breast-feeding someone seem ours… like you cannot argue w Tolstoy but fun to think about this in context of say exceeding the expectations of someone so famous without having to be perfect… or a certain way…

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