Cleaning has not been high on the list of priorities this week, as we attempt to get in a full week's worth of school and also make the season bright. But there is plenty of cheerful chaos, and you know what scripture says:
Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox. -- Proverbs 14:4
Here are some word-snapshots of the merry mess that is my house this morning:
I sit at my dining table in the great room (our kitchen flows into our dining room which flows into our family room) at the laptop. The table is covered with old Christmas cards, as Cornflower makes a birthday card for one of her friends. My own Christmas cards, needing addresses and stamps, rest on the tall counter to our left, among recipes, ads and bills. Sitting next to the pile is a little Nativity. (We have another in the entryway, and one on the piano.) Our sloppily endearing gingerbread house is the centerpiece of the table. (The girls have asked repeatedly if they will be allowed to eat it.) At my right hand are several forms for Girl Scouts, which I should be filling out rather than blogging, and Cornflower's math workbook, science journal and photo album rest in front of the laptop, relics from yesterday's schoolwork and today's search for a friend-pic. Cornflower quietly sings "Silent Night" as she works.
In the schoolroom just off the kitchen, Triss sits at her computer, making changes to digital images using Paint and photos. On the table in the middle of the room are Spanish textbooks, a little boombox, and The Wonder of It All . Also my winter gloves, and the computer-to-camera cable for our digital camera.
We are all in our jammies.
I hear the dryer spinning Mariel's clothes, and realize that soon we will have to pull those out and move Cornflower's darks to the dryer. She is waiting for some casual-yet-festive options for the ballet performance we are going to this afternoon.
I need to iron my nice jeans and get out my heeled boots.
To my right, we have Santa Claus pictures from 2000 to the present, sitting atop our kids' chapter books bookcase. (I love this bookcase. It is a low, rolling school bookcase I bought at a garage sale when Triss was two. I painted the blond wood a deep green. It needs a new coat of paint after twelve years.)
Mariel walks in, trailing blankets and looking as if bed is the best place to be. She popped out awhile back to make the comment, "Very snug," and announce that she was going back to bed. Triss admonished her: "That's no way to run a retail establishment!" (That's kind of an obscure Beatrix Potter reference. I can't remember which story it is from. The kids think it is hilariously funny, but it tends to leave folks in the dark rather than amuse.)
Mariel pulls out "The Princess Diaries" DVD and asks if she can put it on. The answer is, not until everyone is festively dressed and ready to go watch ballerinas.
My bookcase is untidy, with stacks sitting on the floor. We prop the kids' Sketch Tuesday assignments in front of the books each week so we can enjoy them. Triss' contribution to the 'something that lives in the desert' assignment was a very sweet prairie dog, sketched from a photo in one of our Nature's Children books.
Cornflower finds a Christmas card I didn't mail last year. This is an unfortunate habit with me. I'm really good at writing Christmas cards and thank-you notes, but mailing them is another thing altogether.
She is now humming "Joy to the World". I love it when the kids hum as they work on projects. Such a happy sound. And the consistent tapping coming from the schoolroom indicates to me that Triss has switched from editing images to composing a story.
My piano sits to the right of me just inside the family room. It is surprisingly neat, the result of having had a piano student and then a run into town and then movie night in quick succession yesterday. The only music on the stand is Mariel's copy of "Angels We Have Heard On High". On the upright lid, we have photos of the girls, and a photo of my grandparents. (We probably have too many photos of the girls displayed in our house for the kids' own good. Humility and all that. But I love seeing pictures of them at different ages.) Mariel's violin rests in its stand to the left of the piano. To the right of it is a slender bookcase containing piano music, Bibles, and reference materials.
Mariel has ensconced herself in one of the easy chairs, blanket over head. She sits next to the Christmas tree and the dollhouses in the family room. Scattered on the floor are reminders of last evening's movie-viewing excitement-- a jacket dropped in one girl's haste to see "A Charlie Brown Christmas", several throw pillows, Mariel's math book and notebook shoved under the dollhouse table. A load of mine and Mr. Honey's laundry that must be folded.
Mr. Honey had to work this morning, and left with sandwiches, coffee, cookies, and plenty of hugs and kisses.
The dryer has stopped. I suppose that's my cue to spur the troops to action.
How about you? What does your merry mess look like?