Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Christmas Stress turned into Christmas Bliss

I know that everyone is SO over Christmas, but I have to get this posted for our memories.  I already mentioned that Christmas Eve DAY was slightly stressful, just because we were trying to get out a million friend and neighbor gifts and just tie up any lose ends that had not been taken care of.

On the way out the door to my parents house for our Annual Christmas Eve gathering, we were rushing around and I called out to the kids to grab the container with all our Nativity Costumes.  Let's just say there was a misunderstanding, some kids found some gifts that Santa must have dropped off early or something, WHO KNOWS?  But gifts were seen and I was in tears.  It really was all so silly now, but at the time, ALL THAT WORK felt like it was slipping down the drain.  The stress of the past few weeks was all hitting me.  I was NOT in a happy mood nor was I feeling the holiday love heading out the door.  I arrived at the yummy dinner, my favorite dinner of the year, late and announced under my breath to a few of my siblings, "I hate Christmas."  That's how I was truly feeling. Ouch, not a good moment. 

I must say, I pulled it together and by the end of the night I was feeling the holiday love again.  But, less my future posterity think it is always happy pictures and glowing lights at Christmas, there are those moments when we are not our best selves, and when Mother's especially, lose their minds.  (I talked about the Christmas marathon back here.) I truly don't know how my mom did it when we were growing up.  All I had to do was SHOW up to dinner with a salad and a side in hand.  If I had to PREPARE a dinner on top of all the other hoopla going on that day, I might have been in the looney bin. 
Hey, at least the kids were happy…

These guys were the ones that might have heard my less than cheerful comments about my love for the holiday.  Thank goodness I had that fondue pot of cheese to sit in front of, a pot of cheese is bound to cheer anyone up. Drowning your sorrows in a pot of cheese sounds about perfect.  Food, especially food that I did not prepare myself, truly lifts my spirits.  :) 

As I stepped into the house, I thought to myself how lucky I am that I have a family to celebrate that special night with.  How many people spend the holiday alone, with no one to be with?  I thought of our family not with us that night.  I though of all those I know that have lost a loved one, those serving in the military away from home, those serving missions and missing their families, those that have strained family relationships and are alone, those in the hospital, the list goes on.  I quickly realized how selfish and petty I was being, and as usual worrying about things that don't matter.  I said a quick prayer for all those out there in the universe to feel the love of the Savior in their life this Christmas.  A quick cure for some holiday blues is GRATITUDE.  I have MUCH to be grateful for.  

For example, this table of cuties...

Uncle Brett was keeping an eye on this table of growing teenagers.  

"The Middles" 

The number of tables set up has grown over the years and we all commented on how much food these kids are starting to put away compared with even just last year.  

After dinner while people were cleaning up, I decided to try and gather the kids for some games to keep them from running wild.  They introduced me to one in which they create a circular mosh pit of sorts.  They had a great time tossing Eliza to and fro from kid to kid.  

Next they tried Isabelle…(I love Lauren's face here.) 

Finally, they gave Annie a whirl.  

Soon enough, we started to prepare for the Annual Nativity.  Such a cute little cow and angel.  

Something about doing the Nativity, seems to bring out the silliness in everyone.  I think it is the whole costume thing combined with all the excitement of the day.  Let's just say, this wasn't the most reverent rendition out there. 

The sweet angels, with a photo bomb by a lone shepherd.  (James)

Where do I begin?  Luke, what is happening? 

The little sheep out front is resting in the stable, either that or he has lost interest. 

Michael was playing the part of Joseph.  When the part was read about Mary delivering Jesus he yelled, "PUSH!" to Mary.  

The Pollard girls played us some beautiful Christmas Music following the Nativity. 

We sang our 12 Days of Christmas Song, and we could no longer hold the kids off.  They wanted to get to all these presents!  

Each cousin has the name of someone else.  (In reality is more like the five aunts all have about five kids names.)  The kids really love both opening their gift, and seeing what others received.  

Max definitely stole the show that night.  I had both his and Will's names.  I got them both some clothes. I apologized in advance that they would not be very exciting gifts.  Boy, was I wrong!  I wish we had gotten Max on camera.  To say he was THRILLED would be an understatement.  Both boys put their new outfits on over their clothes and proudly wore them all night. It was so cute. 

Max and Will (or Melissa) had Sophie.  They got her a cute little tea set.  She played with it all night and she loves it.  

The kids all open their gifts from Grandma and Grandpa too.  Max was again pretty excited about some new boots. 

Lots of Christmas Cheer to go around...

Shout out to Uncle Michael and Aunt Carly from my Michael up there…thanks for the sweet sweatshirt!  He loves it. 

All the hoopla wears Grandpa out...

At the last minute, and I don't even remember why, I piled all the kids into the car.  It was probably just  to get them out of the house for a minute.  We headed out into the neighborhood to do a little Christmas Caroling.  We have never done this before.  A.  Singing is not really one of our talents.  B. Refer back to A.  
It turned out to be so fun, and the kids even sounded good!   I think this was one of my favorite things we did this Christmas.  One of the houses we went to was a good family friend who's dear wife passed away this year. We all miss her.  She used to bake us a Christmas Sweet Bread/Cinnamon Roll type thing every Christmas.  It was great to see them and feel their holiday cheer. I think they did more for us than we did for them.  I am sensing a new tradition, kids! 

The night was getting late and if we were going to get home before Santa arrived, we had to hurry!  (Pollards all headed over to a Midnight Mass!  Imagine that!)

"The children were nestled, All safe in their beds."

"While visions of sugar plumbs danced in their heads."  

Usually Santa leaves all the gifts in this room, so when I snuck down to peek and see if he had come, I thought he might have skipped our house this year!  

Then I peeked in the family room, and he had definitely come!  Each child had their own pile of excitement waiting for them. Hooray!  I quickly tiptoed back upstairs.  

Joshua and James were even out quickly that night. The house was so peaceful and quiet.  There is nothing quite like Christmas Eve Night.  

So despite my momentary meltdown…it managed to be a Merry Christmas indeed!  

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