December took it out of me. I think most moms struggle with the fact that they're usually the ones doing most, if not all, of the presents, decorating, cooking, wrapping, etc, and this year was no different for me. Holiday madness coupled with the fact that work was insane--and even included a mid-month trip to Fairfax--really made me feel overwhelmed this season. And, I hated that feeling. I hated worrying if we were doing all of the fun things associated with Christmas, or if my stress over "getting everything done" was taking over (it was). I wanted to provide special, fun traditions and memories for our children, but it seemed like I didn't really get to relax and enjoy things with them until Christmas had come and gone.
This year, we didn't go see Santa. (Though, after last year's visit, I'm not sure that we really missed out on that one.) We didn't go to ZooLights. We didn't make it to our friends' ornament swap because Will and I were sick. We didn't go to our neighborhood Christmas party, or really many Christmas parties at all.
So after that Debbie-Downer opener on a Christmas post, let's focus on what we DID do: We DID go to the Advent Workshop at our church to kick off the season (and even let Julia come this year). We DID go Christmas tree shopping with my dad (while my mom was in Chicago visiting my adorable new nephew), and got our tree up and decorated pretty early in the month. We DID enjoy the Christmas program and party at the kids' school. We watched all of the classic Christmas movies on TV, and my mom took Will to see them at the Alabama Theater, as well. We read LOTS of Christmas books and wore our Christmas pajamas. We opened our chocolate Advent calendar each day (a big hit) and did our ornament Advent calendar, as well. We talked about the baby Jesus and went to the live Nativity. We hosted Carol and Bill for several days surrounding the actual holiday. We went to children's church at noon on Christmas Eve. We fixed a delicious beef tenderloin for Christmas Eve dinner. We had our traditional Christmas dinner at Mom's house Christmas Day. We ooohed and ahhhed over lights, even though we never took an official light tour. We made Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve and ate them with icing on Christmas Day. We were astounded by a white Christmas (I don't care if the weathermen didn't officially count it as a white Christmas...it snowed on Christmas Day in Alabama and that's all that matters!) We sat by the fire. We opened too many presents. We counted our blessings.
Will and Julia had a fabulous Christmas present-wise. They each got one BIG gift from Santa: a PowerWheels Ford F150 for Will (just like our neighbor's) and a play kitchen for Julia. Though, Will kept pointing out that they were really going to share these gifts: "The truck is mainly mine and the kitchen is mainly hers, but we both get to play with both of them." I think this stemmed more from his desire to play with her gift than to share his, though he has been great about giving her rides in his truck. Other hit gifts were a baby crib, high chair, and Baby Alive doll for Julia, a stand-up microphone for Will, various guitars for the family, books, art supplies, and lots of stocking stuffers. It was almost too much, but they really have enjoyed playing with the things they got. And, they weren't too manic on the actual day...
All in all, it was a great Christmas, made even better by the fact that we didn't have to go to the doctor on December 23rd as we have for the past two years. Will and I were sick before Christmas, and then mine got worse after Christmas, but for the actual day, we were all pretty good. The weather outside was frightful, but the fire was so delightful...so we stayed inside and in our pajamas and just lounged and played and all took a nap. Oh, and Zach and I realized that we already had the two best Christmas presents ever: