Thank Goodness, The Most Wonderful Time of The Year is OVER (Yup, I said it)
I am breathing again. I never thought I'd say this, but I am so glad Christmas is over! I had this thought in my mind that I would take it easy for Thanksgiving and Christmas and all that goes with 'the holiday season' this year. I fully intended on using being pregnant as my excuse to not stress. To not feel the pressures of cards and gifts for every single person and decorations and baking and party going and more cooking for more events...but it happened anyway. My brain has been man-like since early November. By this, I mean it's been compartmentalized, where I've only been able to focus on the task at hand, and nothing more (no offense, men). Ask me a question about next week and I haven't a clue. I'm just surviving the day and working on whatever the next big thing is. We've had youth group projects and holiday projects and birthdays and house projects that I should have saved for another month. I know I know, everyone is that busy this time of year. I'm not saying I was busier than the next person...what I am saying is that my ability to cope was less. And yes, I wholeheartedly and unashamedly blame it on pregnancy!
The most unfortunate part is that I've been having these massive contractions whenever I get stressed, to the point that one night we had to drive to the hospital for contractions that wouldn't stop and were getting worse and worse (I was only 30 weeks), and I had to be given the shot that makes you feel like you've had 40 cups of coffee with a few Red Bulls for dessert, to get them to stop.
So. That said. I can breath now. All the parties are done.
My decorations are already taken down. The house is put back together. (Sort of...we're doing a massive project upstairs...at the moment I can't even get into my bedroom, hence the reason I'm still awake and decided to ramble on like this, while Brad works tirelessly upstairs, putting together a bunk bed!)
New Years will be low key...dinner with friends, an early toast to 2015, and I can pretty much guarantee I'll be asleep hours before the clock strikes twelve.
How did the holidays become so stressful? Men say, "So just don't do cards." "Don't go to the party."
"Don't bake anything, just show up empty handed!" (As if!!!)
And maybe we women should listen sometimes. But it's hard, the pressure is real, and I always succumb. This year, I was more determined than ever (which in turn makes me feel like more of a failure than ever!) to have a simple Christmas. To finish all the shopping, gift wrapping, mailing, card sending...all of it, every last detail, one full week before Christmas. That way, I could have a solid week to not only enjoy the season (like in the movies: cuddled up on the couch, watching the snow fall softly, peppermint hot chocolate or spiked eggnog in hand, whilst basking in the gentle glow of the white lights on the perfectly decorated Christmas tree, while watching It's A Wonderful Life with the husband, kids tucked in and not yelling for more water or to get up to poop, again), but also, and more importantly so, to really focus on the reason for all the celebration. To really settle in to my Advent devotionals and meditate on them and let them sink in and mean more than they usually do in the harried frenzy that is December.
In reality, there was maybe a night or two we watched a lame Christmas movie as I gagged down excessive amounts of water in attempts to stop my nightly contractions (no spiked eggnog), the Christmas tree was hideously decorated in my attempt to buy "cute but cheap" ornaments that could withstand my toddlers pulling them down repeatedly, and I still had tons to do up until 6 pm Christmas Eve, when the partying finally started and work was finally as complete as it was going to be.
Where did I go wrong?
Is it possible to have a 'simple' American Christmas?
Or a non-stressful, non-pressured one?
I'm not sure. I know this: we put play dough and jelly bellies in each of the girls' stockings, and got them each a wooden doll with magnetic clothes (think paper dolls, slightly upgraded).
Plus we're making them a bedroom. We stuck to our goal of simplicity when it came to our kids.
We really want them to understand the meaning of Christmas, and to be more excited about celebrating the birth of Jesus than they are about the gifts and lights and parties and 'kay canes' (how Lily screams 'candy cane' in excitement when ever she sees one, and begs for them every morning for breakfast).
We went to great lengths to talk about our nativity scene on a regular basis, to read the Christmas story most nights before bed and really talk about it, and to sing meaningful Christmas songs through out the month. We even attended a birthday party for Jesus that a friend hosted for little ones. I thought we did a good job. Until Christmas Eve, when I asked Addison (already feeling prideful over the answer I just knew she was going to give) why we celebrate Christmas. She pondered it for a few moments, then her eyes lit up so beautifully as she exclaimed, "CHRISTMAS TREES!!!!"
Mmmm kay. Maybe next year.
She is only 3, after all.
I actually really enjoyed the season. It taught me a lot about enjoying the moment, not always looking ahead to when things will be this way or that way (better)...which is a whole post in and of it self. Sort of an epiphany I had, via Ann Voskamp:) and in all honesty, it's life changing. I can't wait to share more. It's actually kind of morphing into my over arching goal for 2015, and if you know me, you know I love, love, love goal setting and 'fresh starts'. It was a good December and a lovely Christmas with lots of memories, laughter, food, and family time (how cheesy was that last sentence! But I meant it!) It truly is more fun now that I have kids, and watching their enthusiasm is just the best. (Like how when we were in the Target Christmas shop and Addison was literally jumping up and down screaming "CHRISTMAS!!! LOOK MOM, IT'S CHRISTMAS!" and running up to strangers to show them Olaf wrapping paper or snowmen ornaments or scotch tape. She had the whole store laughing. Seriously, I think she made several stressed shoppers' day so much better, including mine;)
So, this post wasn't meant to be a giant complaint of how stressful life's been, but rather a reminiscing of the past couple of months, a wondering of how to get it 'right' next year, and a giant sigh of relief that it's over and I can relax. Put my feet up. Sip tea and read my new book. Regroup.
For seven weeks. Until life goes cra-zy... Newborn and all... Butterflies in my tummy.
By the way, I am typing this from my brand spanking new computer!!! Thank you, husband! I had pretty much stopped blogging for the past six months or so, because both mine and Brad's computers were from our college days (old) and had gone into permanent failure mode. So, I'm hoping to get back to this regularly, which I'm so excited about. I've missed writing a lot.
Oh, I tried not to take lots of pictures at Christmas, so here's what I got...an early morning walk in the field with Brad before the day got started; and the girls with their new shades from Grammy and Papa. Christmas photos, 2014, there you have it!