Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Post-Christmas Sigh of Relief

I love Christmas, and I loved it this year.  We had a great time.  What a magical time of year, especially with my children. 

But seriously, what a stressful season this has been for me!  I can't even put my finger on why, other than it was just full full full of projects.  I feel like I have been going nonstop since before Thanksgiving, just trying to put Christmas together for my little family.  The crazy thing is that I felt so on the ball this year.  I had a plan, and I thought I was almost done with Christmas shopping by Black Friday.  All I had left to do was wrap things up and ship them off. 

Wow, I was so far off.  I guess I was done planning things by Black Friday, but not actually done with anything at all until a week before Christmas.  I worked on projects while my kids were sleeping all month long.  I shopped, wrapped, packed, planned, ran errands, cleaned, cooked, then did it all some more.  I reorganized my recipe collection as part of a gift for my sister, which was an awesome project, just lots of work.

I had issues with shipping, as always.  The first one was that I ordered Christmas cards from Costco.  It took them a week to arrive, and when I went to pick them up, I found out that they had been shipped to the wrong location.  So I waited another week for correct delivery, only to find out that the picture I used on the card was so bad that I couldn't send them out!  I had taken a quick picture of my boys in front of my house, and their faces were super red, Hobbes was out of focus, and it was just all around bad.  I had good intentions, but sorry to those who would have received a card from us.  I'll plan it for next year.

One package was accidentally shipped to our former house in St. Louis, and then the people who lived there carried it around in their car for a week and half before finally sending it to me!  Gah!  I was so mad!  But alas, all was well in the end.  All packages got to their people on time.

I hosted a book club and decided to make a cake for it.  No pictures of that one because it was disaster from beginning to end.  Lots more stress than it should have been.  Next time I will make cookies.

I am the ward music director, and I was in charge of the Sacrament meeting Christmas program.  It seemed simple, and in the end it was a very nice program, but it was a lot of work for me, organizing and attending rehearsals all month

And after all of that was done, I hosted two Christmas parties at my house, one on Christmas Eve, and another on Christmas Day.  Both were lovely, but it's always a stress to get my house ship-shape for a get-together with four agents of Chaos living under this roof. 

So, anyway, I'm grateful that it was all lovely, but I'm grateful that it's over for this year.  It feels awesome to get back to normal.  Normal chaos is good.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Stories

I was talking to my mom the other day and as we laughed and laughed about my kids, I realized that I have a few more my-kids-are-funny Christmas stories to share with all of you.  So, just in time for the holiday, here is some more Christmas Cheer from us:

I Was Not His Father, He Was Mine:
In the car on the way home from a fun Christmas party the other night, Spiff was humming the tune of one of Michael McClean's Carols Best Forgotten.  Anyone who know Spiff and me knows how much we despise these songs, so it was in jest that he was happily humming this song (He was working late one evening...) as loudly as he could while we were in close quarters in the car.
From the back seat, Gunner said: "Dad, stop singing that awful song!"
It was a proud moment for me as I realized that my son will have good musical taste.

Jingle Bells:
We have a few jingle bell Christmas tree ornaments.  Hobbes gleefully takes them from the tree, jingles them all around and sings, "Di-na-na, Di-na-na!"  It is surprisingly in good tune for his jibberish version of Jingle Bells.
He is showing the first signs of musical talent, too.

The Radio:
We have been listening to the soft rock station in the car this month.  It's the station that plays all the Christmas favorites all month long.  I like some of them, I detest others.  As we pulled onto our street the other day, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" came on.  I didn't mention it to Gunner, but I thought it might be confusing for him, what with his introduction to Santa Claus this year and all.  But as we pulled into the garage and I got ready to turn off the car, he piped up, "I Want To Finish This Song!!!"  I was slightly bummed that he heard it, and I didn't discuss it.  I do wonder what he picked up from listening to it...

Also, he has started singing the station's jingle.  Out of the blue, he will sing, "Y-One-oh-Five...!"
I think it's funny.

The Present Saga:
I love having presents under the tree.  As a kid growing up with my family of six (4 kids), my parents made the anticipation of Christmas so much fun.  We never had a lot of money, but there were always an abundance of presents under the tree--even if it was boxes full of socks.  They would have these long wrapping parties in their bedroom.  They would work and wrap presents for what seemed like hours, and then come out carrying piles of boxes in their arms.

The fun twist is that instead of using name tag stickers, they would hide our names in the design on the wrapping paper.  They got pretty good at it, and it was tricky to locate the names sometimes.  So, when they would come out of their bedroom and put the presents under the tree, we would swarm to the tree and look for names, and we would practically memorize who the packages belonged to by Christmas Day.  I remember loving the anticipation, and wondering what was in each box.

Anyhoo, I have an almost-2-year-old who will happily unwrap everything.  I also have Gunner who desperately wants to open presents.  Last year, he was mad about not being able to open presents during the entire month of December.  But like I said, I enjoy having presents under the tree, and I also think it's good for the kids to have to anticipate an event without being able to open things nownownow!

Here are two good stories about that:
1.  Choices
I decided to put just a few presents out earlier in the month.  I put some things out that are soft, light, and unbreakable.  I knew the boys would play with them, and I thought they would be excited about it. Hobbes was, and he enjoyed removing the bows over the next couple of days.  However, Gunner was mad.  He was mad mad mad that he couldn't open his box.  I thought, "I should just give up and put them away."  But my stubborn side won out.  "It's good for them!" I reminded myself through gritted teeth.

For two days, Gunner insisted that he needed to be allowed to open his, or else, until eventually I said, "Fine.  Go ahead and open that present.  But Mom & Dad, and Santa, do not bring presents to impatient little boys.  So if you open that presents, that's the only one you will get this year.  I think you will be sad on Christmas Day when the rest of us are opening presents, and you don't have anything else.

He thought for a good, long while, and then said, "Hmmmm, I guess I'll wait."

Over the last couple of weeks, whenever he gets the itch to open any of his packages, I just have to remind him that it will be his only one, and he happily moves along.

I feel like a genius.  I am also grateful that he didn't call my bluff.

2.  Helpers
We had a little buddy over one day while I was wrapping presents.  Gunner and our little friend wanted to help me.  I thought they were cute, but I didn't really want them to help me.  So, I had them wrap some presents for each other.  They each got to wrap up two mini candy canes, put tags on them, place them under the tree, and then immediately unwrap them!  What a treat!  Again, I felt like a genius.  A Christmas genius, I tell you!

Gunner later wrapped up a box of mini candy canes for Hobbes that is sitting under our tree.  And he wrapped up a package for himself, labeled To: Gunner, From: Gunner.

And through all of this, I have to say that I am just about as excited for Christmas as Gunner is.  I cannot wait to eat delicious Christmas food and for the kids to open their presents!  How can I possibly wait one more day?!