Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Outfits, A Christmas Miracle & The Big Man

Because Elizabeth grows so slowly, she has lots of Christmas outfits that still fit (parts from all of them since her first Christmas). We find things that coordinate for the boys and look Christmasy at church for the whole month of December. Here are the outfits from 2009.
Elizabeth's outfit from 2008 looked great with Harrison's outfit from 2004, which fit Johnny perfectly.
Here are the pictures from the Santa visit. I forgot to upload the one of all three of them. I'll add it later. Elizabeth had accidentally told the Santa at the church party that she wanted a Barbie. She kept asking me to remind her to ask this Santa for a Princess Umbrella. She remembered all on her own.
She said she wanted to wear red and white to match Santa, so this is what we came up with.
Johnny had the typical baby's response to Santa.

I mentioned the Pillow Pet incident in my last post. Harrison was thrown off because when he told Santa he wanted a Pillow Pet, Santa asked which one and then named a few. Harrison had been teetering between a panda and a dog. Well, Santa named off a few including the dog. He did not mention the panda, so Harrison took that as meaning the panda was not an option. Grandma went out and purchased the dog the next day and the panda is sitting in her basement waiting to be returned to Bed, Bath & Beyond.
We had a bit of a Christmas miracle that day. We had to go to a different library because I didn't sign up in time for our local library. It was 30 minutes away. Well, we left his school uniform sweater there accidentally. He and I were both pretty upset about it. Him because it meant he'd have to tuck in his shirt (he loves the sweater because you don't have to tuck it in) and me because going back to get it would be a major pain especially at this crazy time of year. Later that day I was helping in his class and in walked a parent with his sweater. I was stunned, confused and very happy! It turns out that another parent from our school had been at the library and seen the sweater with the school logo on it on the floor. She brought it to the school and because I had written our name in it, they brought it straight to his classroom. Yeah! These are the Christmas outfits from 2007. Elizabeth's 12 month skirt still fits. Harrison's tie still fits (getting a little short) and a friend was selling Johnny's outfit at a garage sale that was from the same collection. So, so cute! Nate didn't get the memo about wearing grey and red, so he was the photographer.

Little Two Fingers looking quite spiffy. Of course, he wanted nothing to do with the hat during church. None of my kids have tolerated hats.
We're at my parents in Virginia right now having so much fun!!! If I have time I'll do some posts from here. Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ebenezer & I

I'm sorry to report that I've been in a very Scroogey mood this month. I'd really love to blame it all on my naughty children, but I know it's too little organization and too much procrastination that have lead to a very stressful Christmas season this year. Which has lead to one too many one AM bedtimes for Mommy.
Tired, cranky, stressed out Mommy + overly excited about Christmas children = extra naughtiness.
Which only makes Mommy worse and it's a vicious cycle. Add the pressure of an Elf on the Shelf witnessing the whole thing and you've got one ugly scene. (How many times have one or more of us yelled in an ugly voice, "Buddy can see you right now. He's going to tell Santa!")

I have felt really bad about the lack of Christmas Spirit around here this year. There has been some concerted effort, there really has. And there have been some nice moments. But amidst
-a child breaking one my beloved, irreplaceable Christmas dishes
-Nate having to miss his off Friday and work Saturday last week
-poor decisions on my part such as going to Great Clips on a Saturday in December with all three kids by myself (exact opposite of Heaven on Earth)
-spending a full week stressing over making Shutterfly books that we had coupon codes for and working until literally the last minute before the codes expired only to find that it was "limit one per household"
-having the tree stand break which lead to a "TIMBER" situation
-getting up extra early to try to meet our 2009 goal of being to church on time for once and then spending 20 minutes searching for Elizabeth's shirt which I remembered was in the car after giving up and doing a last minute outfit change (alas, the goal was not met)
-Elizabeth cutting the neighbor girl's hair again and them not being very happy with me
-and all of the other normal stresses of getting ready for Christmas, getting ready to go out of town, and life with 3 kids in general
I have not felt very merry.

Now, I am not sheltered or self-absorbed enough to think that any of these things truly qualify as having a hard life or tough times during the holidays. But I have still let it get to me. I have lashed out at everyone in this house besides the baby. And then the motherguilt sets in and I just feel worse.

Fortunately, we had a few turning points last week. The first was when I finally found our Sesame Street Christmas CD. It is copied from a record from my childhood. It is an integral part of Christmas at our house. I love it and my kids love it and I could not find it until last Monday night. They usually listen to it as they fall asleep every night in December. Once we started listening to that it started to feel a little more like Christmas.

The next night, when the guilt of only reading the kids one of the Christmas stories from my extensive collection got to be too much, I was determined to read them another book before bed that night. It was way too late for a story, especially a long story, but I wanted to read them my favorite Christmas story, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. I knew it was a sad story and would probably make me cry a little, but by golly, I really wanted to read it. Little did I know that all the pent up emotion had me a little on edge and I could hardly get through the book. I had to stop several times and gain composure as I choked out this heartbreakingly touching story. My kids were pretty perplexed as to why Mommy was balling during the story she had declared her favorite just minutes before. They asked if they were Happy Tears. No no, these are sad tears. But don't worry, there's a happy ending to the book. 30 minutes later the children were nestled all snug in their beds with visions of sad mommies dancing in their heads.

Some might not enjoy a good Christmas Cry, but I think it was just what the Dr. ordered. The next morning brought snuggles and giggles in bed
and later an impromptu performance of Silent Night at the piano by Harrison and Elizabeth. (The video didn't work on Blogger, so here's a link to Youtube).

Now if that doesn't make your heart grow three sizes, I don't know what will.

Thursday was pretty awful again. You can't expect teary story times and sibling singalongs 24/7, people. But that night I did some serious repenting and had a new determination to make this final week before Christmas better than the last two had been.

Friday we went to see Santa. It went really smoothly and was very enjoyable (other than the part where Harrison told Santa he wanted a dog pillow pet instead of the already purchased unbeknownst to him panda pillow pet). I helped out at Harrison's class Christmas party. Nate took Elizabeth on a date to see Christmas lights at these special gardens (all his idea, so sweet). Saturday Nate took Harrison snowboarding all day. I'll tell you what, spending a day as a single parent is a lot easier if you're down a kid! Plus, for the first time all month, we had absolutely nothing on the calendar. The three of us stayed home, in our PJs ALL day! I wrapped presents while watching the newer Miracle on 34th Street that I'd never seen (cried again -- I swear something is wrong with me). Sunday was church and it was the first time we've been in our ward on the Sunday before Christmas (we're usually with family at their ward). I really liked being with our own ward family and sharing the special spirit of Christmas with them. We did a gingerbread house in the afternoon (with a kit, of course, there's no way I'd do one from scratch at this point) and had a really yummy dinner. Then kids and I drove around and delivering Christmas gifts and looking at lights.

Soon we're off to Grandma and Grandpa's and then the fun will really begin. My point is, better late than never, Ebenezer and I aren't seeing nearly as much of each other lately. Next year, I will do as much as I possibly can to eliminate "bah humbug" from my vocabulary by planning ahead, simplifying and letting go of the crazy notion that my family will suddenly be blissful and angelic just because the calendar says December.