Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Crafting and Travels

With finals all over and done with, and nothing but break time in my near future, it is finally looking a little like Christmas! The Southern weather is not exactly cooperating with my schedule--it still feels like early fall jacket weather. Nevertheless, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care and we're hoping St. Nick will soon be... elsewhere. We're traveling for Christmas! 

This stage of life is a really interesting one. It's really fun, and I can see how many couples would decide not to have kids after living here for a while... The freedom to do whatever you want and to be spontaneous is a beautiful thing. There are limited ties on your money, and all your activities are focused on you and your spouse. There are no carseats, no snacks to fix, no schedules to keep besides your own. It's like college, only better, because you don't have to share this experience with a lot of awkward people smashed into one building, trying to find themselves and whatnot.

This makes for some interesting holidays. Sometimes I think that without small children in our lives, we have a strange void in Christmas. There is no more magic, there are no more silly games, there is no more waiting up at night or setting out cookies. The adult world, the starkly "real" world, is a world without pretending. Our imagination is used towards conceiving the perfect treat to share at the potluck family social; our minds limited to the details of travel and the logistics of packing the perfect suitcase.

With children in our family, I wonder if that magic will return, if we will all put on the guise of Christmas past as we relive our fondest memories through the creation of new ones with these new small people. It makes me consider the traditions lost in youth, and the ones kept childishly. Mr. Kopf and I still sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, as was the tradition in his house--we still make and decorate sugar cookies as was the tradition in mine. The difference is that the Happy Birthday song carries a little more reverence, the cookies less so. Maybe the lack of magic refocuses us on the true meaning of the holiday: the religious significance, the family connections, the lengths we go to in order to make each other happy, the memories of the ones we miss, and the traditions that hold us together, despite time, distance, and age.

My nieces and nephew fill the void on one side of the family. This year, I made them drawstring backpacks for all their adventures. Nephew was a little discouraged by his, but I think he'll come around. The girls gave the present a vote of confidence by wearing them around immediately. 

My sister in law got a jersey knit infinity scarf, as well as a coupon for free kid-sitting whenever they want to have a date night. The gift that keeps on giving!

So the young, childless adults travel... this was Christmas number one. Christmas number two at my folks', here we come.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hello World...

I am still alive, but it feels like it's just barely! The end of a semester is always a crazy time in teaching high school. This second year of teaching has gone a lot smoother than my first, but it's still pretty intense. Why did I pick a job with the longest, highest learning curve ever and homework? Oh right... because I love it! I'm a glutton for punishment I guess.

In all seriousness, stepping back from the crafty life was good in helping me refocus on my first priority: my kids. I truly do have a passion for good, solid education and I try to do right by them every day. I get so excited when they blurt out these crazy sentences that, to me, translate into: I am becoming a critically thinking adult and I have decided I hate/love this philosophy! And sometimes there's blurts that don't make a lot of sense entirely, but I can tell they're working through their thoughts. While I teach philosophy, I don't expect everyone to become a philosopher at the end of it--just to be able to evaluate some crazy ideas on their own.

There's been a lot of grading papers, a lot of presentations, and some hanging out with kids during lunch times, after school, and during my off period. That typically means that when I come home, I crash, and I crash hard. Some evenings, my husband and I don't talk very much. We just sit in a mutual and comfortable silence and give each other silly, delirious smiles that say "yes, honey, I know. We're teachers, and we've been talking for eight hours straight. You know I love you, but let's just watch Colbert and laugh sometimes."

 Finals week is the craziest, but it's winding down. Tomorrow is the last day, and after that, I hope to return to crafting full force! I'd like for crafting (and eating pie, and sleeping in, and reading books) to be a profession but when it is not your full time gig, it has to be ok to ebb and flow. I'm climbing out of a sewing rut, and at the top are all the left behind projects, calling to me like little orphans for me to finish them and put them somewhere that is not the limbo of unfinished crafty things...

And on that note, enjoy a picture of the outdoors until I can give you pictures of crafts. I hope you've all had a wonderful fall season and I can't wait to update you on the winter months.