“Remember the Christmas we all got lice?”

. . . .is not a phrase I ever desired to say. But lucky me, now I can! It’s also the Christmas we found and trapped a rat in our garage. Thanks, vermin, for keeping life interesting.

On the other hand, the lice episode (with Katie as patient zero, who spread it to everyone in the family except Brian — and I still cannot fathom how he managed to avoid it) tipped the scales for us on driving to Utah during winter break. For the first time ever, my mom was totally fine with us cancelling a trip to visit her.

[a moment of silence here for Brian’s brother Peter and his wife Katherine, who were staying with us the week of Christmas, and who made the hastiest disappearance into the guest room ever upon the discovery of the systemic nit-storm in Katie’s hair]

Here we are at Deception Pass State Park, enjoying the rugged beautiful PNW!
Loving the giant seaweed thing we found!
Having a pirate duel on the beach!
Whee! Here am I two days later, trying not to think about lice at the Funko Pop store!
Here we are hiking at Snoqualmie Falls, trying not to mentally comb through Katie’s hair!
Oh, look! Katherine isn’t wearing the hat I knitted her for Christmas BECAUSE IT’S BEEN QUARANTINED

BUT! It turned out to be the best cancellation ever. Brian still had the week off work, so we spent our time being lazy, going to the movies, visiting the Living Computer museum, eating out for dim sum and swedish pancakes and staying up late playing games and sleeping in every morning. We hit the Pinball Museum for New Year’s Eve (followed by be bim bop at Uwajimaya for dinner) and then saw the Lion King on New Year’s Day.

This is the first year I realized we can watch the Space Needle NYE fireworks live on YouTube. With the good ol’ sparkling cider for the exhausted midnight toast.
Here we are in the third-from-the-back row. Still a great production!

And yes — we spent a morning at Lice Spies, the local lice removal clinic. (“Your Partners in Lice Crime!”) Let us pray that we are all still nit-free when we have our re-check this coming Thursday. I’m still wincing at how much we had to pay to get all the critters out of our hair. But those ladies really did a thorough job (they spent two hours on Katie’s hair alone) so no grudges.

However, since we cancelled our Utah trip, we had Brian all to ourselves — with no itinerary to follow, no people to visit, no social tug-of-war — and it was such a luxury. It’s been incredibly relaxing, and I’m not looking forward to the return to “real life” tomorrow. So thanks, vermin.

Even if this means that looking at our Christmas morning photos makes me squirm, realizing that in those pictures of happy family members opening stockings and lighting advent candles and eating huevos rancheros we all had lice in our hair at the time including me me me aaaaaaaaaaa.

Look at me, enjoying the Best Gingerbread Cookie Recipe ever in blissful ignorance!
Frosting a full complement of sugar cookies in sweet, sweet darkness!
Brian made this beautiful pesto torta for Christmas Eve dinner. And I was still blindly wondering why my scalp felt like it was on fire.
Those are alternating layers of pesto and dried tomatoes. It tasted wonderful.

[a moment of silence here for the many times this week I’ve woken in the night from lice-adjacent nightmares, scratching myself all over and sweating]

Traditional Christmas morning stair picture. I’m trying not to think about Katie’s hair.
Katie’s just a leeeeeetle bit excited about what Santa brought.
Huevos rancheros and cinnamon rolls for breakfast
Close-up of the huevos. They turned out beautifully.
Lighting the Advent candles, with the special Christmas Day one in the middle
I recently learned that in the UK, it’s customary to take a family walk on Christmas Day. I liked that, so here is our stroll on Richmond Beach.
I can’t believe I spent 30 minutes brushing Katie’s hair for the Nutcracker and DIDN’T NOTICE oh my gosh what is wrong with me ELEANOR WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE NOOOOOOO
This picture was taken only 24 hours before The Discovery. Also the last time in for two weeks I’d be able to let my hair have its natural curls. Sigh.

Today is Epiphany, aka Three King’s Day, and we spent the afternoon after Stake Conference packing up all our Christmas decorations. It’s the first time in a long while that I haven’t felt melancholy while putting Christmas away. I think having such a long, restful hibernation with both parents around allowed me to feel the holiday as a holiday instead of a lot of work. (Work that I enjoy, but still work.) I was able to give myself permission to do whatever I wanted all day, even if whatever I wanted usually entailed browsing on Ravelry for beautiful knitting patterns that I will never make. (So many lovely cardigans! You’d be knocked senseless at how many incredible shawls I like! My aspirations have excellent taste.) I haven’t written a single word or played any of my assigned piano music. (The holiday piano music got extensive use, don’t worry.)

This year, Christmas didn’t feel snuffed out like a candle (as it often does) but more like a sunset, gradually slipping under the horizon, tucked away until it rises again next year.

Bye, Christmas!

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