Thursday, December 28, 2017

Katherine at Christmas

As my kids have gotten older and busier I have taken fewer pictures of them. This makes me a little sad, but I think my girls are relieved. In any case, pictures of our Christmas season are few so I'm combining the whole month into one long here's-what-we-did post.

Early in December, we met with church friends to make peppernuts for our church's annual Christmas cookie sale. We've done this for several years, so Katherine was an old hand at cutting dough.
These tasty little cookies are a LOT of work, but it's always fun to cook with a whole kitchen full of friends.

In the first part of the month we had a Christmas open house for all our neighbors. I was a whole new step for us, but one that excited me. Katherine helped me bake dozens of cookies - one batch a night for a week. We had all sorts of great conversations as we mixed and rolled and iced. And the open house was a rousing success!

Katherine continues to become more and more involved in music. During November, she was practicing music for school orchestra, Middle School Honors Orchestra, the local youth symphony, private violin lessons, and piano lessons, as well as playing in the church bell choir and singing in the church choir! This month there was one crazy week of concerts, including piano and violin recitals on the same night. Katherine played beautifully through it all.
And she has played piano, violin, and ukulele for hours during Christmas break. I'm always happy to hear music playing at home!

A couple of weeks ago, our dear friend Marvis died after a long illness. Four or five years ago when Katherine decided she was no longer sitting with us during church services, she moved to sit with an older couple, Jim and Marvis. Over the years they formed a deep friendship. Marvis was beloved by all the kids at church, but the bond between the two of them was particularly strong. Katherine has grieved deeply for her friend, talking about Marvis and playing out her heart on the piano. She has also been worrying about Jim, making him cards and looking for ways to reach out to him. Grief is always hard, but Marvis's death has been a wonderful reminder of how much Katherine loves and is loved in return.

Katherine decided to make cookies for her teachers at school. She doesn't say a lot about school, but she admitted that she really liked most of her teachers and wanted to do something for them. So, she baked and decorated sugar cookies for them.


Katherine got out of school two days before I did, so she came to my classroom the last afternoon before Christmas break. Both of my aides were gone and I was on my own, so I appreciated the help. And Katherine was terrific help. My students adored her (and asked her to read story after story) and she realized how cute my kiddos are. We made it through a preschool Christmas party together and had a good time.

A few days before Christmas we invited over church friends who were struggling through a family crisis. Katherine helped me bake yet another batch of sugar cookies to decorate with them. The two sets of sisters spent a day decorating and giggling and hanging out together. All four had a great time!
We spent Christmas morning at home, opening gifts and trying them out.
We went to Granny and Poppy's house for lunch and spent the rest of the day hanging out with Aunt Robie and Uncle Brandon and the Chicago cousins. I didn't take many pictures, but we had a lot of fun together.

Yesterday we gathered with the other side of the family to celebrate a belated Christmas and just spend time together. All of us had fun watching the three little great-granddaughters (ages 21 months and 14 months). They wanted nothing at all to do with the many strange adults, but were willing to play with the big girls.
We all had a good laugh over the failed attempts to get a group picture of the littlest girls!

Katherine joined in the ping pong competitions and played a round with Grandpa.
And then she hung out with Grandma for a while.
It's been a good Christmas. And we're all enjoying the long break. Katherine is making homemade chicken and noodles for supper. She just handed me a book that she got this week and has already finished and told me I need to read it because I'll love it. And I will. Because this kid knows what I like.

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