Buying our tree was one of those fiascos that sounds really fun in theory but was sort of painful for all involved in reality. We went for the real deal two years in a row, so our well-loved fake will stay in the attic indefinitely in favor of the messy, aromatic Frasier Fir. Tree-purchase day was cold and windy and the kids were underdressed and cranky. We didn't go ALL out by cutting our own tree down at a farm because we stuck to our favorite local gardening store. We discovered The One after looking through two rows of trees and declared, 'It's good enough!' I wanted to strap the beaut on top of the van for effect, since it would be the first time the van could participate in our Christmas memories. And can you imagine the perfect Instagram shot, tree on top of the van and three
We decorated the inside and outside of the house the same weekend that we got our tree---right after Thanksgiving. I'm still mildly obsessed with decorating this house for Christmas. The red and lights and sparkly things make me happy, although I'll be more than ready to ditch it all after the new year. For now? I love it. It's cozy and fun and I only bought a few new things to spice up our tried-and-true Christmas decor.
We didn't actually decorate the tree until a few days after it took up residence in our front room. Again, an ARE WE HAVING FUN YET? kind of moment that was 50% fun and 50% chaos, and also ended with tears from at least one child---cause unknown. But one thing that makes me incredibly happy is our ornament stash. Both Nate's mom and my own gave us a yearly ornament growing up as kids, and since we've gotten married we have one per year as a couple. And you better believe we are carrying on the yearly ornament tradition with our own kids, which means...TONS of ornaments on our tree. I just love the vintage ones from the 80s (yes, vintage ornaments, since we are the opposite of young anymore) combined with little ultrasound pictures of the next generation, keys from our first home together, baby pictures, newlywed pictures....such symbols of different life events hang from that needle-dropping Fir. I think only two ornaments have been shattered this season which is a pretty amazing record considering little curious hands that just cannot get enough of the most breakable ornaments.
Of course, every single strand of lights we had from last year's tree refused to shine when we were finally ready to light it up. All four strands were half-lit so Nate begrudgingly went to Walgreens and bought highly overpriced LED strands in white, green, and red. That solves the popular question of all white versus multicolor! Just go for red, white and green for total Christmas saturation. Really a big fan of his choice in lights this year.
Nate helped me wrap presents, too, and so I'm officially done with that task thanks to him. I don't know why but must wrap presents, must wrap presents, presents aren't going to wrap themselves and they are multiplying rapidly down there hung over my head this year until it was finally complete. Nate saw that I was unusually stressed out about this ridiculous To Do (I mean, really? Talk about a first world problem, right?) and we kept it simple without pretty bows and name tags, in the name of sanity. As if the children and our family members will care, right? I secretly miss my elaborate bows and tags but we are calling this a major win since it's done and does not really matter. Taking it down a notch with my need to beautify everything at once!
Because I know of a few reasons to be thankful this time of year and always. Hint: this is the part of the post when I really just want an excuse to show you cute pictures of my family. Let's pretend these images fit in nicely here, alright?
Little man is our most favorite 'present' of the year. Seriously, best gift ever.
As far as actual presents go, we did a lot of online shopping as always, but also got a few things in stores. In fact, Nate and I went shopping together, alone, at Target on Thanksgiving night---aren't we wild? When you ask Truman what he wants this year, he will reply, 'Telepods and Mr. Peabody and Sherman DVD.' Do you have any idea what telepods are, dear readers? I didn't either and I fear that I'm reaching the mom-of-big-kids stage when I'm clueless about what is cool. Not that I've ever been at the pulse of little children and their desires but now I'm really out of the loop. Telepods (as best as I can tell) are some sort of little figurine that goes with the iPad game of Angry Birds (his ultimate favorite thing in all of the world). We also got Truman an XBox 360 as his 'big' gift, and Nate sold me on this gaming system because apparently it's somewhat active and not just one more screen to battle over all day long. I guess we got a few games for the XBox that make the player jump up and down, play sports as the controller (without sitting down to hold a controller the entire time), and we even got a dance game which I'm especially excited to try. Because I am an awesome dancer and my children need to learn this about me. Sarcasm. Anyway, the XBox and games, telepods, and his Peabody DVD will be the biggest hits for Truman, I hope. He's getting a few other smaller items but I'm blanking right now, since I think the XBox will be an immediate hit and I picture our entire family down in the basement
Cecelia is a whole different story since not only does she suffer from Indifference of All Television Shows, but she also doesn't care too much about toys. Who is this child?!?! When you ask her what she wants, she will promptly tell you, 'That giant Hello Kitty at Michaels, and stickers.' I'm sure you weren't aware that there is a 12" Pez dispenser with a huge Hello Kitty head on top sold for $30 at Michaels, because I had no idea anyone would make such an odd plastic creation either. Freaking thirty bucks. For a weird candy holder. It holds entire Pez sleeves, still wrapped, so the candy itself is not giant but the Hello Kitty sure is. When shopping with CC and Porter one day, Cecelia saw this monstrosity and lost her mind over how much she wanted it. I talked her down and pinned responsibility to produce this mammoth Pez right on Santa's shoulders. Thankfully with a 40% off coupon to Michaels, the punch was a little less severe as I purchased the beloved HKP (Hello Kitty Pez, as it shall be called from here on out) in Santa's honor. The 'sticker' request comes from another shopping trip with me when she saw some reusable Melissa and Doug stickers at the check out and again, had to have them. Pretty sure I'm just going to skip over those and pray she doesn't notice, though. She is getting a lot of other 'fun' things from us that she didn't request: a wooden easel, this tent making set of giant Tinkertoy-looking sticks, a Dora microphone and doll, and a flap book--her favorite.
Sweet Porter is getting his yearly ornament and he got two new pairs of pajamas from Hanna Andersson. That's it! We still love you Porter, don't worry, but you obviously do not care yet and we will enjoy that part of having a baby while it lasts. Your first Christmas will be cool by you as long as we change your diaper, feed you bottles frequently, and interact with you. Fine by me!
(splurged on their yearly ornaments this year, from Etsy seller Lily Reed)
Giving gifts to our family this year entailed a few Kids Craft projects…thank goodness for Pinterest!
One final pre-Christmas notable: we have never 'done' Santa in this house before. Not because I'm totally anti-Claus or anything, although we didn't really do Santa growing up in my house, either. But Truman has always been really really scared of the big guy in red, saying, 'I do NOT want him to come into my house, I only want presents from Mommy and Daddy.' Just walking within 10 feet of the Santa line at the mall would mean a quivering lower lip from my eldest. So forget it, not worth trying to force Santa on him when I didn't ever fully believe in him myself growing up. But this year Cecelia has been really intrigued with all things Santa and Truman seemed to be more accepting, too. I think it's fun to have Santa as a part of Christmas with little kids while still stressing the real meaning of Christmas. Which, obviously we are doing a great job instilling Baby Jesus' birthday into Truman because this was his response when I asked him why we celebrate Christmas: Because we need more presents? It took every ounce of my willpower to avoid spouting off dialogue about how privileged he is and how some kids have get any toys, and how he has no idea what the concept of NEED really means. Instead, we took a second to revisit the Christmas story and played with the Nativity scene to be reminded of Jesus. Truman then asked, 'Well if his birthday is on Christmas, how old is he?' I told him more than 2,000 years old and that sort of blew his mind, or just further confused him.
Anyway. Santa. We took the kids to the mall last weekend for our first Santa experience and it was pretty awesome to see their reactions. Truman was super nervous waiting in line and said he only wanted to stand next to him, but not on his lap. Cecelia seemed excited and said, 'Santa is a super nice guy, right?' Porter had no clue but was content to chug a bottle while in the Ergo so that he could put his best full-belly up against the big guy. When it was finally our turn, both big kids went up and sat next to the nicest-ever Santa willingly. He also held Porter and nobody cried! Major success in my book, even if Porter does look totally stunned/milk-drunk in the (overpriced) picture. I was so proud of them as they told Santa what they want (Giant Hello Kitty and Telepods, of course) and wished him a Merry Christmas. Seriously that mall Santa is the sweetest and I hope we make it a point to go each year for comparison purposes.
Getting ready for our outing---kids looking mighty cute.
And waiting in line. A little more nervous now.
So this week will be full of family visiting from out of state, which makes the holiday that much more fun. Nate's brother Jon and his girlfriend will fly in from Oregon tomorrow. My mom, dad, and brother all fly in from Colorado late on Thursday night. They will all stay until next Friday, and we'll house my family in the basement. It's going to be so much fun to have our big extended group together and although I worked yesterday (Monday), I don't go back until Friday so we plan to enjoy these three days like crazy. With my shopping, wrapping, and baking complete I am feeling myself relax and chill out a bit more---which is very necessary if you ask dear Nathan;) We have some plans for the next week-and-a-half with our visitors but I'll hit those in a post-Christmas review.
(Facetiming my parents to thank them for the matching Christmas hats. Technology is wonderful but we are so grateful we'll be seeing our family in person soon!)
(aren't the hats cute?)
For now I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas full of magical moments. If that can't happen, I hope we all just maintain some sense of sanity while eating and drinking in excess. Dream big, right?