Friday, December 30, 2011

Successes in 2011

As the year draws to an end I always like to review my accomplishments for the year. It is so important to think back on your successes. So frequently we (or at least I) think about what to do different, better, what I didn’t accomplish and don’t think about all of the things that we did do. So here’s my list:

#1 on my list. Give birth to a beautiful baby boy. Most of my year was spent being pregnant and preparing to add to our family. The pregnancy and birth went well and now we have a wonderful baby boy.

#2 Decrease the debt in our company by about 30K

#3 Parent my older son and daughter well. Okay, so who knows if you are doing a good job, but to my knowledge my 15 year old son hasn’t taken any drugs, had sex with anyone or cut class and he did get almost a 4.0 in his first semester of high school. My 3 year old daughter on the other had has been more of a challenge. When the baby arrived a devil child inhabited her body and she hasn’t been the same since. Each day she recovers slightly and we are hoping for a full recovery at some point before she turns 18, but before the baby came she was a perfect angel (most of the time).

Next up: my goals for 2012. Stay tuned…

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Favorite Decoration

This is my favorite new addition to the Christmas decoration line up for the year. I like this because it is beautiful and timeless. I also love it because it is in the hallway of our new addition. I love that I have a square window. Who doesn't want a beautiful square window. I decided not to put in window coverings on this window because through it there is an ocean view. I can see the sun setting at the end of the day (which comes a lot quicker with daylight savings time). I can also see the moon setting in the early morning when I get up to go to the bathroom. There is nothing more beautiful than the full moon glowingly setting on the Pacific. I love it.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Expectations

Expectation: A memorable family Christmas holiday that conveys the “reason” for the season to my children while being the most enjoyable experience of the year.

The Four Dreadful Days of Christmas:

Day One: My parents have invited us to their home for dinner and to go downtown and look at the massive display of beautiful Christmas lights. Husband and daughter have both had the stomach flu just a few days prior. Lovely, just lovely. Who doesn’t want a touch of the stomach flu with Christmas? So after husband and I engage in quite a bit of low key bickering we decide to go to my parent’s house for the festive occasion of clam chowder and Christmas light viewing. There is a bit of animosity from husband, why he asks do we need to go to your parent’s house on Friday when we are going to see them on Sunday. Because I explain, my mom really wants us to come over and she really wants to take the kids downtown to see the lights (my mom has just recovered for a massive battle with ovarian cancer and so my mom gets whatever she wants. In my book she’ll get whatever she wants for the rest of her life, from me anyways). I must explain that my mom and dad don’t live close to us; they don’t live close to anything. They live about 45 minutes from our house and 15 minutes from their local downtown Christmas light show. The evening is a very nice night with all of the usual suspects, we rush to get there and we’re an hour early (oops), my daughter only wants to eat candy for dinner, and husband asks if we are ready to go home about every fifteen minutes (this may be a bit of an exaggeration but it sure feels like every fifteen minutes). When we arrive downtown to view the lights we decide that it is best for husband to stay in the car with our three month old. As I’m leaving the car to walk my daughter around the downtown area to view the lights husband says, don’t be gone too long. Well isn’t that just great. I do realize that he is tried and not feeling 100% but that kind of stuff sets me on edge. I don’t want to be gone to long and bug him, but I also want to enjoy the lights. After all that is the main reason for the evening. We leave about half an hour later. Husband doesn’t mind how long we were gone, so I’m good and he’s good and we’re all good. When we arrive home I wrap gifts for about three hours which is good, I don’t want to stay up too late on Christmas Eve and be tired on Christmas morning. I wrap all my gifts and hit the sheets a not to unhappy girl.

Day Two- Christmas Eve: We don’t have plans for Christmas Eve, or at least husband doesn’t have plans. I have plans, as he says I always have a plan and if that plan doesn’t work out then I have a backup plan. I have a plan. My plan is to clean the house, prepare the food for Christmas day, a breakfast egg bake prepped and ready to go into the oven, a butternut squash lasagna, and a pumpkin cheesecake. Nex my plan is to have a nice early Christmas Eve dinner, go to a Christmas Eve church service with our friends, after which we’d all go out to dessert and partake in a gift exchange. I tell husband that we are going to do the gift exchange, but I don’t tell him about the church service. He isn’t a fan of church and I am, so we like to fight about it, not a lot but more than I’d like. So I come up with a plan, I tell my friend to text husband and invite him to the church service. I think hey, if she invites him then he’ll say yes, if I invite him he’ll so no. No harm no foul, right? Well, he doesn’t see it that way. He says that my friend and I are in cahoots and that we are trying to manipulate him into going to the church service, which we most certainly are. I, however, wouldn’t admit that if my life depended on it. So after an afternoon of tension and a bit of squabbling we head to church. In order to make it to the church service in time, we must wake our happily sleeping, not entirely well daughter; upon waking she beings to cry, and cry and cry. She does that sometimes, cries and cries and cries. So much fun. We wolf down our dinner in a recorded 5.5 minutes and rush to the church service. As we walk up the stairs to the church we are encountered with a hoard of people. Who knew that Christmas Eve church service was so popular? The church seats about 300 and there are about 400 people there, so it is packed. I think oh great, we aren’t even going to get to sit, this is NOT going to go over well with husband. Fortunately we are given folding chairs to sit on in the back of the church. The service is lovely, everything that I’d hoped it would be and certainly a highlight to my Christmas weekend. We leave the service and decide to go to Starbucks for a dessert and some coffee. We order and are seated with little fan fair and I’m thinking to myself, see this is just how I imagined it, and then it goes downhill quick. My daughter decides that she doesn’t want to share the toys that my friend has so graciously brought for her daughter to play with. So I say if you don’t stop we are going home. I don’t want to go home, but hey if she’s going to act like a brat than we are out of there. She continues to be a general nuisance so I scoop her up and take her outside. And then she loses it, I mean really loses it. She is screaming at the top of her lungs. The entire coffee shop is looking at us as well as the hoard of people in the downtown corridor. So I motion to my husband it is time to go. He acts like he doesn’t understand what I’m saying (which he later admits was meant to just annoy me- lovely). He comes out with our infant and tells me to get control of her. I tell him I’m doing the best I can and that he should take her. She at this point is in full flip out mode. Not just screaming, but flailing her arms and legs and attempting to take us down. Husband grabs her and we proceed to the car. When we get to the car, husband places her ever so gently in her car seat, okay so maybe it wasn’t the most gentle of moments, but come on really, he then tells her that she is being so bad that Santa will not be bringing her any gifts tomorrow morning. Alright supermom where are you? These are the moments that I most enjoy, trying to calm down husband and daughter. So I say, well I don’t know about that. I think that maybe Santa will come. For God sakes, I just spent three hours wrapping gifts the night before and I most certainly am not going to unwrap and return all of those gifts. Besides even when you want to ring her neck she is still the cutest child I’ve ever laid eyes upon that is if you aren’t counting my other two children. Once home, children nestled all snug in their beds I turn to my to do list. I haven’t yet prepared the food for Christmas day. So I begin to prepare. I prepare and prepare and prepare until it is midnight and I’m all prepared, so much for getting to bed at a reasonable hour. We set out the presents, fill the stockings and head to bed.

Day Three- Christmas Day: We are given the gift of a late morning start and that certainly is one of the highlights of the day. My daughter wakes me at about 7:50am with a small, “mommy I have to go to the bathroom.” I get up and take her to the bathroom where she proceeds to empty the contents of her entire body into the toilet, poor thing. She doesn’t seem too bothered by it though and we head to the tree to see what Santa has brought. Santa brought her a tricycle. The tricycle isn’t wrapped, but for some reason she doesn’t see it. We look at all the gifts and talk about everything until I literally have to point the bike out to her. She is excited about it once she sees it and that has some blessing. We have a nice morning, open gifts, cook and eat the egg bake that was prepared the night prior, we take a walk and ride the new tricycle and somehow manage to get out of the house only thirty minutes late to Christmas dinner with my family.
When my brother-in-law opens the door to my sister’s house I can tell that something is wrong. The house is in shambles and no one is to be seen. I’m then informed that my sister has the stomach flu. Oh no, we gave her the stomach flu. Just what everyone wants to get for Christmas, the stomach flu. And that is that. Christmas will not be standing around talking lightly while sipping champagne and nibbling on hors d'oeuvres. Okay let’s be honest it was never going to be like that at least not since we had children. With six children between our families Christmas was going to be chaotic, but if my sister were well at least there would be those moments of blissful peace and champagne and hors d’oeuvre nibbling and that organization that my sister, despite her special needs son always brings to a gathering that she’s hosting. I felt terrible. We’d ruined her Christmas. She was confined to the couch for the rest of the night. And we were left to make the most of the night. We did have a nice dinner and opened some great gifts. And then we left, but not without first taking several trips to the car and filling our small vehicle to the gills. Christmas day was over.

Day Four- The Extended Family Gathering: Every year since I’ve been a child we’ve gotten together with my Aunts and Uncles for a Christmas celebration. This year it was to take place on the day after Christmas and we were all to bring a pot of soup. That is our tradition a soup Christmas. As a soup lover I’ve always enjoyed this. Husband and my brother-in-law are not all that fond of soup Christmas. Husband asked me at his first soup Christmas gathering what we were having for dinner; that was after we’d eaten dinner, the soup dinner. Why must you have a big piece of meat to call a meal dinner? That I will never know. I wanted to go to soup Christmas. I’m the one who initiated the gathering (after the real adults were taking way too long to plan something). I wanted to go, but alas who wants the stomach flu for Christmas? Not me. Not anyone. So here I sit on the fourth day of Christmas typing away on my computer at home while the rest of my extended family, with the exception of my sister and her family celebrate soup Christmas without us… pity me, pity me.
Christmas is over. The gifts have been bought and opened. The cookies have been baked and it turns out not passed out this year for fear of spreading Montezuma’s revenge. The church services have been attended and our Christmas tree, in true tradition is dryer than the floor of Death Valley. Christmas cards were sent and received. Holiday cheer was shared and now it is over. It is never what I want it to be. It is never enough. Not big enough, not fast enough, not long enough, not happy enough, not fun enough, not enough. I guess nothing on this earth is. God is all that is enough. So next year, I’m going to focus on that. Okay, so that isn’t entirely true, I’m going to try and remember the reason for the season, Christ’s birth and I hope that we don’t have the stomach flu. Please, oh, please let us use more hand sanitizer next year.