This was the first Christmas in the new house
This was probably also the first Christmas that all the kids were into it.
Sure, they had moments, short tempers, fights over the dumbest things (so dumb I don’t have a funny example because my brain can’t even fathom how they managed to fight over it) however each said without fail that this was the best Christmas ever.
I missed being in NY, the kids missed their cousins and grandparents and quality time was spent on facetime. On the other hand, I feel refreshed after 5 days of break instead of trying to fit everything in and burning sleep to do it. Not that I’m napping the break away, it is just removing all responsibilities beyond feeding the kids is mentally nice.
There is also a new secret weapon to sanity; I can leave the kids home for an hour or two and it is OK. Not just legally ok (and it is) like, actually ok – they don’t seem to kill each other while I’m gone and I’ve come home to happy kids doing their own thing or watching a show every time. It is incredibly freeing to run to the grocery or hardware solo, or, with Lars and NO KIDS. They BEG to stay home, I didn’t know I had been torturing them so all these years but I did read a good article once about viewing shopping from a kid’s POV. Where you have no control or choice about where you are going, have to stick with someone else the whole time, can’t ask for anything, can’t even touch stuff that catches your eye. The article said imagine doing that with an adult friend – you would never – since then I’ve been treating shopping more kindly and looking at things that they think are cool and treating their opinions as I would a friend and it does help, but hey, it isn’t as good as undiluted Minecraft/kindle/TV/game that spreads toys all over with no one to tell you to pause and come pick up your socks or load the dishwasher etc. Anyway, sorry for that tangent, but it is relevant to my current good mood because I had the BEST Christmas eve and a really good Christmas day and day after even.
‘New house’ is an excuse I’ve used long enough that I’m sick of it. Yes, the house has eaten a ton of money and energy but when we made the decision to stay I also felt like I could reallocate some energy to getting back to normal and not so frantic. We actually made 3 types of cookies and creme brulee for Christmas. We used frosting and cookie cutters and we just stopped when they were ‘done’ even though that means there are 3 dozen unfrosted cookies in the freezer. I wrapped a mountain of gifts, nearly all in fabric so the clean up was relatively easy and I didn’t feel like I was filling a landfill. We threw out one single kitchen size trash bag and that was mostly packaging, not wrapping paper. I’ve posted about it before but it really is so easy to pack soft things or oddly shaped things, it all fits in a bag and bags don’t rip on crazy open areas to ‘show off’ the toy. They also make a very pretty collection if you make 6 or so a year, after 5 years you have a variety.
We got teacher gifts and even neighbor gifts done. Having Christmas on a Tuesday actually made things easier because that last weekend saw lots of Christmas prep time. For teachers, I broke the candy rule and made them all emergency sweet boxes. I know all the teachers well this year and I’m pretty confident they all like candy. If they don’t, still a useful bits box once they give away the 20 odd pieces in there. Neighbor gifts were from Pinterest and I hit a great sale early in the season at Michaels where nice wrapping paper was only $1.50 a roll and a 3 pack of tape was $3 ish and then there was a coupon…. It didn’t get together until 2 days before Christmas but the point was that it was emergency last second wrapping supply. I also sent each of them an invite to a new years day party so even if I don’t do it again, I had a good reason to this year.
Christmas Eve we had no plans – being in a place you never usually are cuts down on traditional invitations – but we kept busy somehow. I used my freedom to go pick up groceries using the pickup service and it was great to avoid that store on Christmas eve AND gave me time to pop into the thrift store. I intended to go to buy butter knives for Lars who has taken up thrown weapons and saw a youtube about using butter knives and to keep his grubby hands of the silver I got him a dozen of his own. While I was there (solo) I browsed the Christmas clearance and scored a house for my collection, a nutcracker for Zoe who is oddly into them and it was the best dollar I spent all year for her joy, and my best purchase was specialty Christmas dessert plates. I have room to store them finally and I really love them and they were under .50 each.
Santa was left a tray and kids practically put themselves to bed. This being the first year in the house the furniture got re-arranged to suit gift opening and this room is more and more my favorite. I wish the chair could stay full time but it is also needed in the living room. The final crazy thing we did is total potty humor but that is still very funny over here. The Tamtes all pooped mints for Christmas morning! We put a handful of mints under each one and it was worth it because they noticed right away and are delighted by it. I had intended to do it earlier in the season but this worked too.
Christmas Day started early (2am Fiona!) but they did let us go back to sleep until 7:30 and Niamh made cinnamon rolls and Fiona made coffee and Zoe made joyful noise and they actually spent their time organizing the gifts into people piles and that was helpful for opening, plus, it gave them time to wonder over the gifts and that is the best part sometimes. We had nearly no lull because Vacation Mom came for brunch and then the rolling family calls and then we hosted dinner for a set of friends and we finished the night with a new game that was a bigger success then I had anticipated.
Boxing day was totally lazy. PJ’s worn well into the afternoon. Kids cheerfully doing kits and playing with toys. I sequestered myself in my room to finally get my closet organized. It still had lots of boxes, lots…. I didn’t finish but I did get the shelving up I needed and I’m at 70%. I’ll have a picture when I’m done but there is no before picture, however, you can just imagine a small room full of boxes and 30 graphic t-shirts hung up. (ps. Lars didn’t notice there were boxes in the closet?!?). Maybe unearthing so many of my things beget my good mood but I definitely have one. I said goodbye to 2 bags for donations and 1 bag of garbage but I’m ok with letting it go.
Here we are today, on a bonus December day. A day off that has no obligation to society, church, family, or even airlines. Our plan is to go to the zoo but it is somewhat weather dependent. Tomorrow or the next day we need to start pulling out of vacation and getting ready for our open house party on New Year’s day but that isn’t today. I have house projects cooking too but none are quite done enough for pictures.
I hope your holiday week has been as good, good enough to outweigh the not so pretty times in the week. Believe me, there have been lows in my week too but as always I am focusing on the positive here and it doing so it sets the positive points in my brain. It is my worst fear that someone reads my blog and feels bad about themselves in comparison – I’m cherry picking – I could post a giant list of shortcomings, fears, messes, and disagreements but I don’t want to, and would that be interesting or helpful? In the interest of full disclosure and your feelings trust me they were/are there!
Can’t end with that, just not my style so; Merry Christmas and enjoy the last few days of 2018.
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