Friday, January 2, 2015

December Roundup

What I'm Into

January 2015! I know it’s going to be a wonderful, exciting, and likely exhausting year – we’re waiting for the arrival of Baby in the spring – but now it’s time to look back on December. Thanks to Leigh for faithfully hosting the What I'm Into linkup. It's so nice to have a space for reflection, and motivation to do so regularly, not to mention checking out what others have been into!

Going: We stayed in Madrid this month, with one long weekend on the farm. As usual, it was filled with cute animals, fresh air, deep sleep, books, and good food.
little lambs - pretty much the cutest things ever!
Doing: Resting! No voice again in the weeks leading up to Christmas holidays (I hope this is not a Christmas tradition!), which meant missing a choir Christmas party and also school. I needed the time off though. When rest really is the only curative option, and there’s a tiny person involved, you take it more seriously. I spent my days on doctor-prescribed bed-rest actually resting in bed, and rather than feeling disappointed about what I was missing, I concentrated on relaxing and feeling better, the healthier and more positive option for both Baby and me. Excitingly, all of the rest meant lots of time to feel Baby moving around!

I was well enough to attend the last day of class and also our Christmas festival, where my students either sang shouted their little hearts out or stood there, frozen, on the stage, for our two songs. Fortunately, no one peed, no one ran away, and no one cried. All in all, a successful programme. 

I love singing Christmas carols, so I'm happy my voice was back to sing in a bilingual, bicultural Christmas Eve service. It was beautiful - our voices joining together in our own languages, singing Silent Night in the dark, warm glow of candles. Christmas away from home is never the same, but it can be wonderful in its own, new ways.

Catching up with family and friends is always on the agenda, but especially in December. I was especially pleased to visit with a teacher friend who moved back to Ireland, but came to Madrid for the holidays. I also received a special gift from a little friend, the son of a friend of mine. This little boy loves Hot Wheels cars, and he gave me one "for when the baby breaks out of your stomach." While I hope the birth is more gentle than that, I was so touched that he would give one of his favourite toys to someone he hasn't even met yet.

one advantage of a mild winter - flowers on my balcony!
Reading: A lot! A friend gave me a bunch of baby books she no longer needs, and I’ve started flipping through to see what the first few years have in store. Favourites are The Wonder Weeks (how to support Baby’s first 10 documented mental growth periods, scientific but accessible), How Children Learn (a great read for people who work with children, not just parents), and a week-by-week pregnancy book published by the UK pregnancy centre (informative but not overly medical, so no freaking out!). 

On the Christmas side of things, I’ve been curling up by the tree, re-reading my favourite stories – an L.M. Montgomery Christmas anthology, and reading Tolkien's Father Christmas Letters to Baby.

On the fluffy front (think – unwinding in the tub after a day of managing 3 year olds hopped up on turron, a Spanish Christmas candy, and the countdown to Epiphany, when the Three Wise Men bring them gifts), The Un-Domestic Goddess. I’ve read it before, and I’ll read it again! 

I finished The Pilot's Wife by Antia Shrieve. Such a compelling story about loss and relationships, and moving on, touching on the history of the IRA.

the new year's eve spread
Watching: Way too many episodes of The Big Bang Theory. I watch, I laugh, I fall asleep. Perfect, really, for this time in my life.

I’m also up to speed on Mad Men and looking forward to its final run starting in January!

We went to the cinema (taking advantage of pre-child time) twice last month, taking in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken, and of course the last installment of The Hobbit. I loved Unbroken! While hard to watch due to the sheer inhumanity of some of what happened, the story of Louis Zamperini is truly remarkable. A good pair-watching for The Railway Man, as both deal with overcoming extreme situations and, what seems even more difficult than their acts of survival, forgiving enemies. 

The Battle of the Five Armies was entertaining, but really, one book into three movies? Obviously a marketing ploy to drag the franchise on as long as possible, because the battle scenes in all three films could have been shortened. Two would have been fine. Or three shorter movies. During The Unexpected Journey, I got so antsy I opted for watching the second installment at home in case I wanted to take a break! I'm a fan, but I guess I'm not die-hard enough to enjoy the excruciating fight-scene details...

thanks, husband, for the waffle iron!
Eating: While I’ve been enjoying lots of tasty food, I’m not overindulging, despite the tradition of December being a food month. It’s just not worth jeopardizing Baby. 

I enjoyed a girls' lunch out, with some memorable mushroom croquettas at La Caña in Madrid, and a lovely stuffed trout at my work Christmas meal at Baden, also in Madrid. I highly recommend both if you're in the city. Baden has a bar and cafe-style seating as well as a formal dining room, and La Caña is great for a meetup with friends.

In the holidays, I hosted all the meals (exciting to be able to host now that our place is renovated and we have a nice space for entertaining!) but we went Spanish for the Eves and Canadian for the Days, with seafood buffets prepared by my mother-in-law and a roast turkey and tortiere French-Canadian dinner prepared by me. We try to keep things naturally sweetened and gluten-free so all family members can enjoy our Christmas feasting. With the exception of some traditional Spanish sweets (polvorones, a lard and flour ball, and naranjas confitadas, chocolate covered candied orange slices, we did pretty well).
grapes ready for the spanish countdown, gingerale for toasting!
And that's my month in review! We started January with a bang, and things don't look like they'll be slowing down any time soon, so watch out, 2015, here we come!


  1. Oh, those little lambs. Are they not the cutest things ever?

    How exciting that this is the year your little baby will be born! I'm waiting for 2 newbies to be born this month in my circle of friends/family.

    The Big Bang Theory always makes me laugh too. Glad you're able to enjoy it at just the right time in your life that you're supposed to be relaxing. :) Visiting you from Leigh's link-up.

    1. I hope you're enjoying time with the two new babies in your life - even sweeter than the lambs!

  2. Congratulations on your pregnancy! That's wonderful news :) I watched so much Big Bang Theory during my pregnancy too...!

    1. Thanks! I find myself gravitating more and more to comedy, and 25 minutes is the perfect amount of time so I don't fall asleep in the middle!