Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas is Coming...

I have the utmost respect for our friends and relatives who manage to get holidays photos of everyone in your family with everyone smiling and who can buy a tree and decorate it all in one day (or even a weekend). We have yet to master either of these skills.

On the holiday card photo front, we realized the other day we have two pictures of all four of us together from 2012 (both courtesy of traveling with our friends the Karstens). Yes, we could attempt to get dressed and have someone come over and take a festive photo of us but both Chad and I think this sounds like torture. So instead our card will be a bit of a photo montage. (Note I do not call it a Christmas card card because at the pace we are going we will be lucky to get it ordered by Christmas.) Chad and I are noticing prices are dropping the longer we wait to order our cards so we may switch to a New Year's or Valentine's Day card being the cheap finance people we are!

In terms of Christmas trees, after having an artificial one for the last four years we could not wait to get a live tree and have the house smell like fresh pine. This past Saturday we went to a place where they have both pre-cut trees and cut your own. We went expecting to get a pre-cut tree but none of us had every cut our own so we starting wandering through the field of trees (and the mud!). We found a great tree and so Chad went back and got a saw and sled to pull it on. The girls were all gungho to saw for about 2 seconds until they tried it. Chad luckily had a wood burning stove for heat for a period growing up so his sawing, and chopping, skills are well honed. In no time, our tree was down and ready to be pulled to the car. The girls promised to pull the tree if we cut it down ourselves. We positioned them on either side of the tree at the front with the rope, gave it a shove and they were off. They said a few times "this is heavy", but they stuck to their promise and pulled it the whole way (so glad they are now 8 and 10 and can do things like this!).

While the tree was getting prepped to be loaded on our car we had some hot chocolate, checked out the reindeer and got a wreath for our front door. It was a totally fun family outing. I told the girls on the way home about the only tree buying family trip I remember from growing up and how glad our day had not been like the one I remembered.

My mom wanted us all to go together as a family to get our Christmas tree. We just went up to our local high school where they sold them out of the parking lot. No one had much interest in going that year. We were all mostly in middle in high school. My mother almost never yells but remember her yelling that "we were all going to go, and we were going to all have fun". Yeah, nothing like forced family fun. It was awful. There were puddles and mud everywhere. We had waited too long to get a tree so the pickings were slim. None of us wanted to be there and we were all adolescent girls so we added to the joy of the experience with complaints, feet dragging and the like. It was pretty miserable.

My smugness of our joyous family purchasing of the tree on Saturday evaporated on Sunday when we started decorating the tree. We got the lights on, we had a fire going in the fireplace and started in on the ornaments. It quickly become clear that Chad had a vision for decorating the tree the girls did not share. Katherine and Margaret were both jockeying for position on the step ladder to hang ornaments, and for which ornaments they got to hang. It all came to a head when after Katherine had a big meltdown because of some dire injustice against her related to who got to hang which ornament. We ordered her to her room to calm down. She stomped off (making note we heard each stomping step) up the stairs with her back to us screaming she hated us and was going upstairs to pack to runaway... She paused once on the landing to scream she was runaway permanently, with extra emphasis on permanently, in case we were not sure about how long she would be gone.

No one ran away, everyone was playing happily later on that day but we did not finish decorating the tree that day (and it is still sitting half decorated). Tonight after homework we are going to try and finish but only if everyone can get along. If you come to our house and our tree looks a little light on the ornaments you can know it is not for a lack of ornaments but my insistence on halting when family activities cease to be fun.

So while I love fun family togetherness, I also think some of the big annual tasks or traditions can come with more expectations of being fun than actual fun at times. Christmas is a lot of work with the decorating, sending out cards, making cookies, getting gifts. It is one of my favorite times of the year and I love seeing all the decorations up, eating the cookies, getting cards, and giving gifts.  We are definitely trying to take a balanced approach this year and keep things both simple and fun, as much as we can.

My next appointment with my doctor is Monday. I am anxious to see what my blood work says...hoping for a bit of white blood cell progress.

1 comment:

  1. We have been missing your posts...and still appreciate you taking time during your battle to make the time for us.

    The tree adventure sounds so fun - makes me chuckle because my husband and I put the tree up ourselves this year. 17 and 15 year olds just don't think its fun anymore. And since our prelit tree from last year was showing as half prelit this year neither do I. My husband and I armed ourselves with wire snips and cut the lights off the tree - knowing it would be cheaper just to put new lights on the already perfect tree. Not sure who put the original lights on prelit tress but I bet they are underpaid. They sure wrap those suckers!

    It sounds like you are getting stronger every day. We thought of you yesterday at work during our Christmas party and gift exchange. Jack ended up with a purse insert as his gift. It was priceless.

    Will await your post on the blood results - I am headed out Friday to give blood again!

    Keep fighting - and Happy Holidays!