Thursday, December 12, 2013

December skies and black eyes: maintaining our Christmas cheer.

In terms of the no-stress holiday, we are doing pretty well.  I am trying not to run around too much, or take on too many ambitious baking projects (but some), and we are spending as much time as we can just sitting by the fire and the tree.

I am reminded this time every year that as parents, we have a lot of work to do to create holidays for our kids.  It's not just the shopping, but the keeping of positive attitudes, the willingness to get sprinkles all over the kitchen, to make home-made gifts for all of their teachers, and all the while keep going over and over the words to the Christmas carols being sung in the pageant.  I want to make a lot of sweet memories with the kids, but they have their limits and they get tired, too. And so do I. 

My mother set the bar pretty high with amazing gourmet meals around the holidays.  So one potential stress is that I guess we need to plan for and prep a Christmas Eve dinner, a Christmas brunch, and a Christmas dinner.  Christmas dinner seems like a lot to ask, doesn't it?  Don't we just want to lie around under the tree all day and watch the children who are still happily occupied with new toys?  Yes, we do. I think I need to come up with a meal plan that leaves the adults as happy and relaxed as the kids.

I'm remembering to breathe and keep the focus on all the goodness and generosity and the blessings that make up our lives.

December is so pretty, and can be so peaceful.  Look at this early-morning sky, taken after I left the pool this morning before school.  So quiet.  I will come back to the image of this sky over the next week or two when I will undoubtedly run out of scotch tape in the middle of wrapping and have to drive to Target, again.

That peaceful sky may turn into a big storm this weekend (yes, please!) and that adds another element of joy:  a foot of snow. And really, what is more peaceful than a snow storm, forcing us to stay by the fire?

Meanwhile, December means Reed has started basketball which turns out to be one of the cutest things in the universe. 

big gym, little people.
It is cute because these 6-7 year-olds are so short but they work so hard.  It is cute because the coach is good enough that the kids actually sort of know what they are doing, and I was so proud watching Reed steal, run, and shoot.  When he scored for the first time, he got at least a foot of air and threw his hands in the air in victory.

He also collided with his coach's forehead during a drill and got a nice black eye.
Look how tough.   On the night of the collision:
And the next morning:

Puffy eye and all, we had a weekend full of Christmas cheer:

Christmas crafting at the UMaine art museum:

Festival of Lights Parade... (with layers, hats, blankets and stuffed animals)
...which ends with a Santa sighting.  And I almost shouted:  "It's about time, Santa!!  IT'S FREEZING!"

 Christmas pageant rehearsal:
For which, I guess we were a little sleepy.

And Christmas tree choosing, cutting, and trimming.

 The kids actually cut down the tree with very little help from us and only a moderate amount of arguing about whose turn it was with the saw.

We ended the weekend with a big family dinner, a house full of people and cheer.  

There was, in fact, so much good cheer and ingestion of so much sugar that the night ended, after the 49th time that I had to break up a squabble between the kids for someone poking someone or taking something from someone, with me grabbing each kid and whisking them upstairs for bed in a rather teary and dramatic scene.

Ah, the holidays.  We can try all we want to make every moment so special and perfect, but apparently sibling rivalry* doesn't take a Christmas vacation. 
At the end of the day, though, we can all sit on the couch and squint at the Christmas tree so that the lights get all sparkly.  You do this too, don't you.

  *Tim reminds me on a daily basis how well Skyler and Reed get along, considering.  They are usually so good to each other.  But when they start to annoy each other, they really annoy each other, and everyone near them. 

So, though these moments aren't all perfect, they are ours, and our fire is always warm, and the next few weeks hold a lot of promise for a very very good Christmas.  

Cheers!   xo


The wellness column that I write each month for the Bangor Metro Magazine is now online, and December's issue was an article I was proud of.  It stemmed from a blog post I wrote a year ago, and has gone through many ruminations and changes.

Thanks so much for all of you who already commented on the facebook post about this article.   Your support means so much to me.

  Here it is.


Rowgirl08 said...

Only 49 times?!? On the really bad days with my 2, I have gone back to a couple of your posts a few years back and say, see, Skyler and Reed were like this, now they are PERFECT there is HOPE!

I see it will continue for the rest of their (and my) lives….;-)

As for the squinty lights…I got it easy, take the contacts out and my almost blind eyes make it so pretty!

Wishing you beautiful moments every where you find them…yes, especially in those two too!

PS apps and desserts - best xmas meal ever!

ann said...

Remember, Emilie, that it is so hard for kids to be good when they are trying so hard to do it! The harder they try, the less likely it is to work!