Saturday, December 23, 2006

Got snow?

We've got lots.

And lots.

And lots!

We are loving the results of this Colorado blizzard! These pictures are from two
days ago, but we look out today and have a BRIGHT blue sky and sparkling white snow. It's beautiful everywhere you look. The girls love it (and I do too). I'm so thankful it forced us to stay home. It's been a rich few days!


The stocking situation

This is one of my most favorite recent Christmas stories... and one of Gary's least favorite. LOL! I think it's so cute; I'm not sure why he doesn't...

Expectations... we all have these expectations of what Christmas will be like from year to year, and our first married Christmas was no different. Gary and I had talked about Christmases growing up, and determined that nearly all of our traditions were very similar if not the same! WHEW! What a relief.

So Christmas morning came in our tiny little apartment, with our meager little tree and a few presents waiting to be opened. It was so fun and quiet. Then it was time to open the stockings... one of the most anticipated part for both of us growing up! My mom was always so good at finding the most special little trinkets for my sisters and I - yummy chapstick, cute little pads of paper, fun pens, earrings... girly stuff. Frivilous, fun, fancy-free kind of stuff! As I began opening my stocking, I was so completely disappointed.

Toothpaste.

Razors.

Tweezers.

Toothbrush.

DEODORANT.

Barely married three months, was I to take this as a personal hygiene hint?! I thought it was a joke.

But imagine Gary's surprise as he opened his stocking only to find golf balls, golf tees, new pens, nails, and other manly fun-type things. His disappointment? He was fully expecting - and hoping for! - toiletries.

In an O. Henry kind of twist, we both looked at each other in stunned silence before realizing that we failed to iron out the details of some of our lifelong traditions. After getting over our initial shock, we were able to giggle about it, although I think we both secretly longed for our mom's special stocking touch.

So now, we've merged our traditions and do a little bit of both the practical and the fun. My girls have both toothbrushes and Tinkerbell stickers in their stockings this year. And I wouldn't want it any other way!

Although... sometimes I do wonder if Gary just raids my cabinet upstairs. :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I need to REST!

Today was a nightmare. One of those days I insisted I wouldn't have this Christmas season. After a horrific morning here at home (I was reduced to tears twice, and locked myself in the closet once just to scream. How's that for good tidings?), I decided the girls and I needed to get out of here. We ran around to a couple of stores shopping for more things we don't need and in the process had several tantrums, lost one of Addie's shoes (my favorite pair, nonetheless), and completely missed the nap window. What a proud moment it was during one of the girls' spats when a woman (my age, probably) turned to her friend and said, "Doesn't it make you want to have kids?" to which her friend quickly replied, "NO!" I wanted to sink into the floor.

But when I got back into the car and remembered I had my favorite Christmas CD in there, everything came rushing to me and I was reduced to tears once again. Christmas will still go on if I don't have the perfect presents for everyone, with the perfect bows and wrapping. I don't need to be out running last minute errands with everyone else when I could be at home enjoying the season and slowing down with my girls. As my favorite Christmas songs played, I couldn't help but tear up and realize that once again I've lost sight of Christmas, just as I vow not to do at the end of every Christmas season. "Next year will be different..."

Last week at our MOPS brunch, my friend Lucy spoke a poignant message to us. She told us that Christmas shouldn't be about STRESS... but instead about REST. (Rearrange a few letters... see?) She gave us an anagram for REST -

R: Remember... remember the reason for Christmas (JESUS!), remember Christmas pasts, remember to rest!

E: Enjoy... enjoy the season. There's so much beauty in traditions, history, family, snow, and most of all, the Christmas story. If we don't enjoy it, we miss it.

S: Simplify... learn to say "no" to some of our obligations. What can we do without this year? Maybe it's just cutting out something we feel burdened to "get done" during the Christmas season. This season, I decided to not decorate the outside of my house, save for a wreath on the door. It feels good seeing those bags of garland, knowing that don't HAVE to be put up. Probably no one cares but me anyway! And Gary isn't too upset that I'm not having him put up outside lights, either. :) We haven't taken our family Christmas photo for our cards yet, and if we don't, that's okay too!

T: Treasure... treasure the moments of the season and treasure the GIFT of Christmas: Jesus! Lucy also reminded us that the magical years of little ones and the joy in their faces during Christmas doesn't last forever, so treasure it now. I'm glad tomorrow's a new day so I can start over and treasure my girls. I did NOT treasure them today! LOL

I keep thinking, "Okay, once I have Christmas 'done' then I can sit and enjoy it." I think I've realized today that that's just stupid. Christmas was 'done' a long, long time ago. To think I can do anything to make it any better or more perfect is foolish. God gave us the gift of his Son. He came to earth as a man... as a baby. What can be more perfect? That conjures up so many things in my mind. It's such a wonderful, touching story and I'm ashamed that I'm not more eager to share it. My favorite Christmas songs from that CD are all wrought with so much emotion for me (well, almost... Barbra Streisand's version of Jingle Bells is just fun, maybe not so emotional! :) ), that it really gets me thinking about Christmas and its meaning. Maybe I'll write about that in the next couple days. Music really speaks to me during the Christmas season!

Anyway... I don't think anyone ever reads this, but if you're reading, I hope you take time to REST. Let me know how it goes for you! :)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fragile

I gave my girls baths tonight. I just LOVE watching them play in the tub together. Yes, there are moments that give me headaches, but the moments when they make each other laugh are the ones I live for. There is nothing more precious than the sound of their giggles. Anyway... after I got them all squeaky clean and smelling yummy, it was time for jammies and hair brushing. I started brushing Emma's hair and it was a wee bit tangled, and she said, "Ow! Mommy, be gentle. I'm fragile." Yes, Emma, you are!

I want to remember that she's fragile all the time. I think sometimes I'm not careful with my words or tone or even my hands. Of course I don't hurt her or even think about hurting her in any way, but I just want to be a more gentle person. I catch myself speaking in such harsh tones sometimes. Or speaking quickly and thoughtlessly to her without care. Or literally pushing her aside when something else needs my attention. How can I be this way? She knows without a doubt that I love her and would do anything for her, I just don't want there to be any room for question, ever. Lord, please help me to remember that Emma is YOURS, and is fragile. Every part of her! Her cute little body, her tender heart, and her fragile spirit. Even her tangled hair. :)

Geek alert

So my sister and I got in a "fight" on Thanksgiving Day while watching the Macy's Parade together over the phone. (No, that's NOT the geek alert part.) I say "fight", but it's important to know that I was laughing when I got off the phone with her, but I think she was quite serious about it. In a nutshell, I hung up on her (in jest!) when she called me a band geek (hello, I was in band like 12 years ago), and then she was furious that I would hang up on her, kidding or not. Everything was fine and dandy when we saw each other later that day, but apparently, I am (or was) a band geek.

Fine.

But, I confess...

I've been dying to play my flute lately. Maybe it's the Nutcracker music I have playing through my house 24/7. I went online to see if they had music I could buy. I'd love to pull that dusty old flute case out from under my bed and play a tune. I remember how, and I'm itching to do it. Does this make me a geek?

If I do it, I promise I won't geek out like I did in this lovely photo from back in "the day."

Okay, it's a little hard to see. That's my dad mowing the lawn, me playing my flute, my sister Amy "directing" me with a baton (despite the fact she's BEHIND me), and Abby waving the huge flag in back. What a riot!


If that's too hard to see, how about this one?


Same order (minus dad - he took the picture!), but fast forward about 13 years! Yes, we're having a 4th of July parade in the backyard. This time, I'm pregnant. Yep, that's still Abby in the back. NOW who's a geek?!?!?

Well, geek or not, it might be time to whip out my flute. I'm longing to play some Christmas songs!
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