Christmas has come and gone and we are facing a new year. The past two weeks have been full and busy and joyous and (at times) trying. The lead up to Christmas is a busy time at my job so I worked extra days to both help out and make some extra money. My days felt rather dominated by lists of things to do before Christmas – baking, gift wrapping, gift shopping, packing – but we tried as a family to also enjoy the anticipation of Christmas Day and I tried hard to stay focused on the season of Advent by praying and reading my Bible.
The week before Christmas also took an unexpected turn when we had some much-loved extended family visit. They had initially planned to visit the Coast after Christmas but decided to move their visit up as Covid-19 restrictions have ramped up once more in our province. We were able to get some visiting time in all together and Peter and the girls had a fun time with them on the days that I worked.
On Christmas Eve we celebrated something we dubbed “Bonus Christmas” in our house. This was essentially a recreation of Christmas morning before we left for a few days in the city. Pearl and Rose wore their matching jammies, we had cinnamon buns, and we opened our presents for each other, as well as stockings. Maybe my favourite thing on Christmas morning is watching the girls open their gifts for each other. We make sure to give them opportunity to pick gifts for each other and they do so with great thoughtfulness.
That afternoon we caught a ferry and headed to Vancouver for 3 nights to spend Christmas with my parents and my brother and his family. Christmas Eve we joined them for a family church service. This was only the second time the girls have been in a church building since March 2020 and it felt so special to be able to worship in person on Christmas Eve.
Christmas morning came bright, early, and snowy! We did indeed have a white Christmas – a real rarity for the West Coast here. In fact, we still have snow on the ground and have broken records for cold weather at this time of year. Here on the Coast, we hit -11, which blew the previous record of -6 in December out of the water. Again, if you had any doubts about the reality of climate change, we in BC are living it.
We had 3 days in Vancouver with the whole family and enjoyed some quiet days together, some walks in the snow, and lots of yummy food. The girls love hanging out with their big cousins, who kindly shared rooms to make space for all of us. For the first time ever, Pearl and Rose bunked with their cousins and they did pretty well.
On Monday we unfroze our car and headed home. (The locks on the car were literally frozen!) We were very excited about a week full of absolutely nothing and have enjoyed it to the fullest.
Once back home, we got another load of snow and had a morning of sledding at the nearby hill followed by lunch with friends. We’ve been enjoying simply being at home and the girls had a sleepover with their grandparents so Peter and I got some quiet time, just the two of us.
Unfortunately, omicron is spreading in the province just as it is everywhere else. Numbers are rising close to home and we are seeing cases closer to us than ever before. School in BC has been delayed by one week (for now) so though Peter will be back at work next week, the girls and I will be home. Our New Year’s Eve was quiet – we put the girls to bed at their usual time and Peter and I stayed up until midnight. We read, talked, ate chips, split a bottle of Prosecco at midnight. In the morning, seeing the empty chip bag and the bottle, Pearl accused us of having a party!
It’s hard not to feel a bit demoralized, going into yet another year under restrictions and lockdowns. It feels impossible to know what 2022 will hold or to know how to make plans with so much uncertainty around us. I’m not much of a goal maker at the best of times so I’m not making any grandiose goals for 2022. I want to continue to read good books, to make time for the people I love, to be patient and loving with my family, to find beauty in small things. As I journaled and prayed before midnight on New Years Eve, the Bible verse that came to mind and that I have decided to make my only goal for 2022 was Micah 6:8
He has told you, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?Micah 6:8
Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with my God. That’s my plan for 2022. Happy New Year to each of you!
10 thoughts on “2021 Highlights: Week 52”
I love that verse in Micah! I always want that to be my plan for the year, although I’m not sure how often I manage it – though it’s more of a process than an end goal, I guess.
I’m a bit jealous of your white Christmas, despite it being a sign of climate change – we also had unseasonable weather here, though in the opposite direction, with temperatures up to around 15C over the Christmas period (8-10 degrees warmer than usual). It looks like you made the most of the snow!
It’s definitely a process rather than something I expect to fully achieve. Something to focus on and keep praying for.
Having a white Christmas was pretty magical! I can only recall it happening maybe twice before in my life. And we were fortunate that it arrived after we’d made it to Vancouver and then the second round came when we were already home so it didn’t affect our travel too much!
I have to know more about that photo in which your family is playing instruments like the Von Trapps! I didn’t know any of them were musical. So cool 🙂
I can’t quite understand what people in other countries mean when they say lockdowns. In the U.S., nothing is locked down, so I’m having a hard time understanding. In some places school has been delayed in person meeting by a week (they’ll do virtual), but that’s not common. Kids are going back come hell or high water because they want the economy to just be normal. Which, it was never normal and we’re all more focused on product output than safety. But, it is what it is and we’re all doing our best.
As cool as it would be if we were like the Von Trapps, the photo is a bit misleading! Peter plays guitar and when he was playing the other day the girls wanted to play along. We have this ukulele that he’s been learning on and teaching Pearl a little bit and I am hoping to get her started on piano lessons this year but I wouldn’t say we’re a very musical family!
I don’t even know if lockdown is the official term anymore but it feels pretty similar to previous ones. School has been delayed by a week (for now) and gatherings are all limited or simply not allowed. You can have one other family in your home if you’re all vaccinated but no personal events like weddings. Restaurant service is limited, bars and clubs are closed, organized events (like sports games) are half capacity plus you have to show vaccine passports.
I was surprised when they announced that schools will stay closed because they’ve worked really hard to keep them open. Partly for normalcy for the kids but also for economic reasons. Once schools close, the economy really changes. Pearl was disappointed but we’re going to try and have a fun week at home.
My friend Lou @ LouLouReads is a pediatric nurse in the U.K. and she is absolutely against keeping children out of school because of the increase in abuse at home and the mental development delays as a result of staying home. In the U.S. schools are pretty much open, as are restaurants, bars, etc. Mainly, if a place is closed or has reduced hours or no in-building dining, it’s due to a staff shortage.
I think that is a big part of the desire to keep schools open here. I read something about how much calls to Family Services dropped during the first lockdown. Which sounds like a good thing until you realize that the abuse didn’t stop, it just stopped being reported. Our family is fortunate that this week hasn’t been hugely disruptive but I definitely know of others who have had a harder time with their kids home the extra week.
Sounds like you had a lovely family time even if the pandemic seems never-ending. It does look as if Omicron is milder at least, which is just as well considering how easily it spreads. The weather has been all over the place over here – freezing for a couple of days then exceptionally mild for a couple then back to freezing. My poor old cat has more or less gone into hibernation! And frankly, I’ve more or less joined him… 😉 Maybe life will be normal again next Christmas, though I seem to remember saying that last year…
The fact that omicron seems to be milder is its one saving grace. This is the first wave where we’ve had people close to us catch it and thankfully they’ve all been ok. (And were all vaccinated.) The schools are telling us to prepare for shutdowns due to staffing shortages now!
Do you get much snow where you live? Your climate seems similar to mine but I always think of Scotland as slightly colder.
Yes, it’s the staff shortages that are affecting us too now rather than the severity of the disease.
We usually get snow at least a couple of times a year but not much and it usually disappears quickly. On the odd occasion that we get more than an inch or two the whole country grinds to a halt because we’re just not geared up for it! It always makes me laugh at how pathetic we are when we see other places coping with feet of the stuff for months on end!
Your snow reactions sound exactly like ours! Everything shuts down, no one knows how to drive, other Canadians make fun of us!!