Monday, December 27, 2010

Standing Room Only

As the Christmas weekend drew to a close, silly satire versions of the 12 Days of Christmas kept running through my head...

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

12 dozen cookies
11 bags of trash
10 extra pounds
9 noisy toys
8 cramped in-laws
7 bottles of wine
6 inches of snow
5 muddy dogs
4 rooms are not enough
3 inches of floor space
2 cranky children
And 1 very dry, dead tree...

And I thought about building my blog post around that, but kind of cheesy, overdone and we'll move on.

Christmas was great! I have to say that I'd rather have all those people crammed in to my house than travel for Christmas. I love being at home for this holiday and not having a strict agenda. Christmas should be spent in your PJs all day and lounging around watching new movies and playing with toys. Not running from one house to another.

So let me start from the I've said, I was in a very un-Christmasy mood over the past month. This led to me not able to make myself do anything Christmas related. I barely had the house decorated by last weekend. We also had to do all the shopping, all the baking, Christmas Cards, Calendars, cleaning...and then throw the fact that we need to pack and move on top of it all...

Needless to say, last week was a very busy, very stressful week filled with shopping during lunch breaks, baking until 1 AM and cleaning...well, let's just say my house has been cleaner. But now that every one's gone and it's a total wreck, I don't feel so bad about letting that part slip.

Ainsley and I baked Monday and Tuesday of last week. I baked my butt off for two days. Ainsley did not do a whole lot of helping and it's kind of tough to get pictures when your hands are covered in flour, cookie dough and butter. Luckily Freddie slept through all of it and I didn't have him wandering my un-swept kitchen floor trying to drink from the dog bowl.

Tuesday I also finished my Christmas cards so they could hopefully arrive before Christmas. Some did, but I think most did not. Oh well. I got a couple of cards yesterday, so I guess I'm forgiven. At least they made it out this year.

Wednesday and Thursday evenings I shopped...with the kids...not fun. See, we don't do much on week nights because Freddie gets cranky when he's hungry and tired and if I have to run around after picking them up from daycare, well, he's hungry and tired. Plus, it is at these worst moments that Ainsley decides to run down an aisle, knock over a display or throw herself on the floor. So then I have Freddie screaming and me yelling and Ainsley laughing at me. Like I said, not fun. But it had to be done. This week was all about misery and stress, no reason not to add to it.

Thursday night Clif came home and we went through the laundry list of things we needed to do before our guests arrived the next day. Amazingly, we were able to accomplish all of it.

Carolyn and Mike arrived right around noon as I was putting away groceries and Clif was returning from the mall. The chili for our Christmas Even dinner was cooking and the house was in fairly good shape. I felt like I could relax and enjoy their company.

After opening our Christmas Eve gifts (Christmas Jammies for everyone) we headed to Church and then drove around looking at lights. Both kids fell asleep and we were able to transfer them to bed easily.

The next morning Santa had spoiled us rotten. Ainsley spent a good hour opening gifts. Freddie banged on one until the paper came off...I opened the rest. Santa didn't really need to wrap those. Funny all the trouble he goes through for a baby that doesn't know the difference.

We finished up just about the time my mom arrived with a truck full of more presents. So began our second wave.

Finally, Clif's family arrived around 2:30. However, we decided to wait on their gifts. Cam and Amanda would be in on Sunday and we could all open gifts together.

The snow started sometime in the afternoon, I'm not sure when. The next day Carolyn and Mike decided not to risk the drive and Cam and Amanda showed up. I'm not sure if you're keeping track, but it made for 10 adults and 2 kids the whole weekend. Oh and I don't think I mentioned that everyone brought their dogs (I am not complaining family :). And I definitely didn't explain that these FIVE dogs are LARGE dogs. So if you've been in my house, which some of you have, you know it's not really that big. Imagine 10 adults, 2 kids and 5 dogs in my little box of a house. That's right. That's exactly how it was.

But you know, as I walked around snapping these pictures, for once I wasn't thinking about how small my house was. I wasn't wishing for more. I wasn't hoping that one day we could accommodate all these people, because let's be perfectly honest. What normal person has 5 guest rooms? And a dinning room table that seats 14? No one I know. I ain't hanging with the Hilton's and Kennedy's of the world!

Instead I was thinking about how lucky my kids are. How they have these people in their lives that love them so much. So much that they're willing to forgo the comfort of a couch seat or the ease of a table to eat at in order to spend time with them on Christmas. And that made me really happy.

So I didn't care that my house was a disaster or that the dogs were dragging mud and snow through the kitchen. I didn't care that we had to eat off of paper plates or that we had to stuff the master bedroom to the brink of explosion with toys and clothes and crap from around my house. I was just really happy that my kids have been fortunate enough to come into this world to so many people who love them.

And through all the boxes and wrapping paper and noisy toys and bad instructions and sugary cookies and late cards...that is what Christmas means. I hope that I'm able to teach that to Ainsley and Freddie and I hope they always remember it.
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