It's always hard to get back to your regular schedule after a week of fun and lots of tasty food, but we're attempting it. Yesterday I still wasn't ready yet and the girls and I worked on decorating for Christmas and did the grocery shopping but that's about it. When I got Addie up in the morning her ear was draining fluid so we had to go get another prescription filled - this one for ear drops - but today she is seeming much much better - finally! - poor baby. Ella got to paint a little ornament for the tree (we put it up Sunday - earlier than normal for us but I was ready to get it done this year and wanted us to all be here to do it together).
She has complete creative freedom over the ornaments on the bottom portion of the tree and I love to see where she has moved them. Yesterday she collected all the Sesame Street ornaments and hung them on a single, now drooping, branch :-). It has been fun to have Ella sooo excited for Christmas this year, although she was a little confused and thought Santa was going to come Sunday night after we put the tree up. She was ready to make his cookies right away! We are going to attempt a gingerbread house this year (per request of Ella) so we'll see how that goes :-). Today we are back to our real daily schedule...we made it to the gym this morning and now Ella is at school. After I post this blog I may actually try and do some laundry while Addie sleeps (or maybe she'll wake up instead :-)!
I did manage to read the last chapter of my book Three Cups of Tea yesterday as well and now have moved on to writing Christmas cards (although we still need to take the picture for them). I really enjoyed the book - it reminded me of the types of books I read for my major and helped me remember why I loved my studies (International Development) so much. I think that although it can be extremely depressing to face up to the staggering amount of suffering that takes place in our world, it is equally inspiring to know that one person can truly impact the lives of so many. The book tells the true story of one man, Greg Mortenson, who was a mountain climber that after a failed attempt at summiting K2 ends up lost and in a tiny village in Pakistan. He comes to love and respect the people and promises to come back and build a school for their children (after witnessing the current state of their non-existent education system). One school has now turned into hundreds and their efforts have expanded into building vocational centers, health centers, etc. He recognizes early on that through educating the women of the villages, sometimes frowned upon in these Muslim areas, you can impact generations. I wrote a few different papers in college on the importance of educating girls, who stay in the village and pass on that knowledge to their children, as opposed to boys who often then leave their villages in search of better jobs and opportunities. Adding another interesting element to his quest to educate the children of these remote regions was the tragedy on September 11th. He started his projects in the 90's and continues today and it was interesting to read about the events in Pakistan and Afghanistan where he was working leading up to and following that day. I highly recommend the book. It definitely gives you a whole new perspective and makes you appreciate that there are people who are willing to put themselves out there to help others. I know when I left Uganda after my semester there I had great intentions and wanted to help the people there, but you get overwhelmed by how much you think it takes to make a difference and wrapped back up in your life and it kind of gets pushed to the back of your mind. Thankfully there are people like Greg Mortenson who don't give up and keep fighting for what they believe in to make our world a better place for all of us.
(The next book for our book club is The Lost, A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn)