This time last year, Maria was still in what we will call her "comestible phase." It was all cupcakes all the time. That's not quite right---there was the occasional glass of smoothie or chocolate milk, and once and a while, she would pencil "i heart porridge". I wondered if she had a sugar addiction. These days, Maria's artworks are lush with stars, planets, angels, and crazy machines. Her compositions have a satisfying, folkloric symmetry. It has been fun to see creche scenes spouting up on papers around the house. Here is one of our favorites.
If you look carefully, you will find Jupiter, Saturn, astrological symbols for Mercury, and a few Christmas trees thrown in for good measure.
There is a book called "Mr. Wilowby's Christmas Tree." We don't know the book well because we have the French version and can only just make out the gist of the verse--but it is charming for the premise and illustrations. The top of a large Christmas tree is lopped off to allow the tree to fit in Mr. Willowy's grand hall. The rejected piece becomes a Christmas tree for the maid, who in her turn, lops off the top so that it will fit in her apartment. This chain continues, with various people and then animals, using the rejected pieces of the tree and trimming and discarding the top. At last, the very tip becomes a Christmas tree for the mice in Mr. Willowby's mansion.
When we put up our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, Maria asked if we could cut off the top for her. Happily, the tree had a forked top that needed trimming. Paschi magicked a stand, and, voila, Maria and Loulou had their own personal Christmas tree.
Christmas Eve, after wrapping arranging presents around the family tree, I snuck into the girls' room and placed some of the smaller presents around the tree, and staged some of the girls' stuffed animals having a tea party around the base of the tree.
It was very sweet to hear the girls waking up an finding the scene. Maria kept saying, "It's nursery magic!"
Donnie insisted that I share this video, which is from some weeks back. All I can say is that I have a vitamin D deficiency and have not been cheery, cheery, cheery this winter. In case you can't tell, that last line is "Now I have to delete this."
And here's a picture of the banditti.
Meme and Grandpa took the older girls for three days. It was a lovely rest, and allowed Donnie and I to tackle a few household projects. I sorted and organized the kids' clothing. Here's a picture from midway through the process.
And I had this delicious being as a helper: