As much as I always love the coming of autumn with its longer nights, family holidays, chilly days (well, sometimes chilly days in California!), and cozy sweaters, by the time we enter January I am reminded how much I am a creature of the light. Sure, sure—I do most of my best writing and creating at night, and I am a sucker for a wild rainstorm and cuddles by the fire; and nothing in nature quite thrills me as much as the unexpected grey afternoon with swirling leaves as if I lived on the moor in Wuthering Heights.

Still, I find myself longing for March and days spent outside with my children nurturing our garden, replanting the pots, painting and crafting, and running around barefoot. I’m in the mood for bright spring sunshine, adventure, and the perking up of trees and blooms. Does anyone else start to get the winter blues? I’ve found myself struggling with the blahs the past couple of days.

It could be that the kiddos and Bill have been sick and that I’ve been dreading the same. Or the fact that we’ve been struggling to fit so much into every day (homeschooling is demanding—albeit rewarding—work, and I am feeling it). Or it could be the feeling of being camped out waiting for the change in the air that signals springtime.

Today I started to beat my blues a bit with an intense run this morning. I took music out with me for the first time since starting in July, in hopes of pushing myself to quicken my pace. Usually I love hearing the birds and sounds of the morning (and cars—survival!!), but I truly LOVED running with my music today. It might be a new thing for me. I feel so happy when I am running. Who would have guessed that many months ago? Not me!

With the kiddos recovering from sniffles, we sadly had to pass on a birthday party today. The birthday boy’s mom just had a newborn baby, and this has been a bad cold that we didn’t want to bring into their house. We decided instead to read and to indulge in a little baking. I’ve lost over 30 pounds now and am smaller than when we got married or when I was teaching: I find baking to be a hobby of extravagance that I cannot quite afford calorie-wise at this point, since I am honest with myself and know that I do not have enough self-restraint around homemade baked goods right now. (I truly miss my hobby, especially as a way to combat winter bluesy-ness, but I want my health and a sense of self-control more than I want those moments of temporary pleasure). However, we found the most darling book, Cranberry Thanksgiving, and the whole plot centers around Grandmother’s secret recipe for cranberry orange bread. Cranberry Thanksgiving was originally supposed to be part of our Five in a Row curriculum in K, but the book wasn’t in our borrowed set given how difficult it has been to come by in recent years. In August I checked into buying it ourselves, and secondhand sellers on Amazon were asking around $40.00 for it. Although there are some books I would pay $40 for, I had never seen or heard of this one and didn’t want to gamble on its value to us.  A few months later…and I found it, now in print again, for—what was it?—maybe $12? I ordered it with some other books, so I cannot quite recall. I don’t know whether we’ll be able to fit it in formally now as I replaced it with another book a couple of months ago; however, I still wanted the kiddos to experience it and I can do some informal teaching with it. We’ve read it a few times now, and we took the chance to make cranberry bread this afternoon:

making cranberry bread

We all enjoyed a small piece after a reasonable dinner, and I think we might have a piece with tea for breakfast tomorrow morning. It tasted like a bit of Thanksgiving.

The afternoon was quiet, and I was reminded while the bread baked that we have so much for which to be thankful even when we could do with some sunlight. We thought that Groundhog Day was streamable on Netflix (I could SWEAR I saw it there last week, even), but today, there was no sign of it…so we (Bill, Katie, and I) geeked out on Star Trek instead while Eric napped. Katie’s formal trekkie education has begun. I love how philosophy is so embedded into each episode, giving us all so much to discuss.

Bill and I made a date tonight to watch—finally!!—The Dark Knight Rises. I am a HUGE comic book movie nerd (we saw X-Men: The Last Stand on our honeymoon of all things, much to our mutual delight, at an old theater in Idyllwild with stale hotdogs—love that whole memory!), but we just haven’t gotten around to seeing this one, despite having it on our radar for months before it released. When The Dark Knight Rises released, we were on our road trip to PA and back…and then there was the horrible tragedy, and frankly, I really needed to distance myself from the film for several months after that. I felt torn about seeing it, or not. Too horrifying a reality surrounding it. Well, knowing how much I truly love the Dark Knight series, Bill did buy it for me as a present about a month or so ago. With our work, sleep, planning for kiddo-schooling, and ahem, other things we like to do when the kiddos are sleeping, we just haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet, and we wanted to see it together. We’re only half a year behind or so, right? So we made a date to see it tonight and we’re so exhausted that we made it about half-way through (it’s a very long movie).We were practically falling asleep and my contacts were glued to my eyeballs. Ah well. Our saga continues. Will we ever finish it? The whole thing makes me laugh and I keep chuckling to myself during the film. We’re bringing back the old-school “Intermission” that used to be a natural part of long films!

So I am planning to try to get outside with the kiddos for most of the day tomorrow, to soak up that sun (uh, cloud cover permitting). With their sniffles, we’ve had short recesses, but at this point, I am longing to feel that sun-baked-skin-and-sweat feeling!