Christmas 2011 came and went at lightening speed. I kept things pretty simple (aka: "Heather was lazy"), with decorations, this year. After the big trip to WA, the sadness of Grandma's funeral, and all the catching up with school lessons that was needed, I just couldn't muster up the emotional or physical energy to go all out for Christmas this year. I dragged out my sad, fake, little, twelve-inch-three-dollar-Big-Lots-bargain-tree from the attic, and used that. I did miss the real tree smell, so I sprayed a can of pine-scented air freshener every so often. You know, the good stuff. Yeah, um....not as "fresh". Anyway, I've been feeling very nostalgic recently, probably due to the death of my Grandmother (on my father's side), in November. Also contributing, is the fact that Isaac (my very last "baby" ever) is almost three stinkin' years old already, the fact that my oldest baby will be sixteen this year (and may leave me in just two short years).....and the fact that I am almost thirty-gasp!-seven and I have no idea, whatsoever, where all the time has gone. I have had feelings of incredible thankfulness and joy, as well as some of sadness and loss. Bittersweet visions of my own childhood, memories of lost loved ones, as well as all of my children's infant-toddler-hoods, have been floating gently, and persistently, through my mind and heart. So, even though I kept things "simple" this year, of course, I still had to bring out the "special" Christmas things, such as:
1. The ceramic nativity set that Justin's sweet grandmother, who passed a couple years ago, gave me for (if I recall correctly) a wedding gift.
2. The St.Nick tree-topper that my grandmother, on my mother's side, gave me, (which was the size of this year's tree, so it sat on a desk instead) when Seth was little. A year and a half ago, she also went to Jesus.
3. Various ornaments and paper angels that the boys have made for me in Sunday school over the years.
4. Sesame Street ornaments that Auntie Rara gave Seth when he was in his "I love Elmo" stage. Of course, they were a little too big for the tree, so they were hung....elsewhere.
5. The beautiful, wooden, advent calendar that Nanny and Papa gave the boys a couple years ago.
6. Mine and Justin's "First Year Together" ornament.
7. The Disney tree skirt that my Aunt Violet made for me several years ago. Granted, I had to stuff most of it behind the bookshelf, in the above picture, due to the petite nature of my tree, but, gosh-darn-it! I made it work!
I felt a little like Mr.ScroogeMcGrinch, not stringing lights, garnish, and tinsel on a big ole, fresh-smelling, real tree....and wreaths around the house, but let me tell ya......clean up afterwards was a breeze. I may do it again next year. It saved money, it gave me more time to sit around and snuggle my babies before they grow up and leave me, and clean up was so much easier this year. By the way, did I mention that clean up was easier? Still, it was a trade-off. The real tree smell is also very nostalgic for me. Maybe I will have the motivation to decorate more thoroughly next Christmas. Or maybe I'll just try a different brand of air freshener.
Christmas morning consisted of Daddy reading the Christmas story to the boys, which is our tradition, anxious wiggling, giggling, and waiting to open presents, and the excited unwrapping of the many lovely gifts that Grandma Colleen had given them, and the few cheap gifts from Justin & I. Because we're cheap. Of course, they got several lego sets & lego-related items, since they are all fairly obsessed with such things. My poor mother-in-law wishes that they would learn to be obsessed with something that isn't always out of stock, in every single toy store, during the holiday season. But she did a bang up job of getting them what was on their wish lists anyway. The coolest gifts, though, in my opinion, were the Ukuleles that Jarod & Micah received. They were horribly ecstatic in opening them, and have since learned to play several songs, as well as some that they have written themselves. I am quite proud to say that I, myself, have even learned to play the very difficult tune, 'Row Row Your Boat'. After present-opening, we got dressed for church, ate Justin's delicious Christmas breakfast and loaded up into the van. I'm not sure why we got dressed before eating, but most of us, oddly, did not spill ketchup on our clothes. A true Christmas miracle.
During the Christmas season, we had a couple different Christmas dinners with the in-laws, and went to see Abigail and Olivia's Christmas musical. On stage, Abi was a perfect little lady, but Yaya stole the lime light with wee little bit of microphone-hogging. But she sure had soul up there and gave it her best shot. I was very proud of her. My nieces sure were pretty in their Christmas dresses.
So was Gideon, at one of our family Christmas dinners. Having girl cousins certainly helps him to express his.....um.....individuality.
A little late, but, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us, to all of you!