It is January, after the holidays, and we are mostly back in the swing of things. 

On Monday Jesse returned to work and our dog sitting days ended too, but I knew Monday would not be the day we returned to our regular schooling routine. The one thing I've learned about December as a mother is that it is exhausting. Fun, but exhausting. So many things to do and experience. It's great, but for me to get back into the rhythm of home and schooling life means I take things slow.

 Monday and Tuesday were for cooking, cleaning and chilling. The children were notified and were glad they didn't have to rush into a structured routine yet either. I knew it would be time by Wednesday to take the plunge into our learning system. Turns out well rested people are happy to learn. Some subjects are more happily digested than others, but we're back at it all the same.

January is so good for hibernation. Reading on the couch in the afternoon has actually lulled me to take naps a couple of days. Napping is not my norm, but as I age I'm trying to be kind to myself. If I'm tired, sit. If I'm sleepy, close my eyes. Just a few minutes can do wonders for rejuvenation. I received The Best of Stillmeadow for Christmas and it is a wonderful read. I discovered Gladys Taber this past Summer. Her commentary on country life in Connecticut with descriptions of children, weather, gardening, birds and dogs resonates with me, I guess (although I've never been to Connecticut!). I've always liked simple, charming perspectives on life. 

Roone and I began reading The Ranger's Apprentice series beginning with The Ruins of Gorlan. I previewed the book for Ella, and although she'll probably read it herself, it is a good one for Roone and I to read together. I like having one book that we take turns reading aloud together. I want to hear how the children are reading and it's of course a great way to learn how to pronounce new words. Ella and I just began The Chamber of Secrets. Both children read so fast! I'm always telling them to slow down. I suppose I should consider leading by example and think "Slower, slower" as I read myself. 

Not to leave Jesse out. He read The Revenant and 13 Hours over the holiday. One book was about a man who survived a bear attack, the other was about men trying to survive the terrorist attack in Benghazi. I had Jesse relate both to me as I didn't want to read them myself. The Revenant took place in the mid-1800's in the wilderness are of the Louisiana Purchase and dealt with fur trappers and Native Americans. This background was interesting to me as we've talked so much about that in our study of Missouri history and the Missouri river. 13 Hours is written from the perspective of the men guarding the annex where the American ambassador was attacked in Benghazi. I'll just say that firsthand accounts of events that our politicians try to spin a certain way can be very compelling to read. This isn't a political blog so I won't get into it, though.

I keep looking outside, gazing at the bare, frozen ground and thinking of the Spring garden. This compelled me to go ahead and place some orders. Potatoes, onions, carrots, pole beans, bush beans, black beans, and kale have been ordered. We're doubling the planting of potatoes, growing onions and bush beans for the first time and planting more greens and carrots than ever before. This all makes for wonderful Winter dreaming! Living in the moment isn't so bad as this is Ella's birthday month. Celebrating will commence soon.