Saturday, December 31, 2011

Traditions Lost and Found

I haven't done a Christmas post yet. Most likely, I probably won't. Yes, we had the usual opening presents on Christmas morning and I took a fine amount of pictures.

But Christmas this year felt non-exciting. Noah's surgery kind of brought things down a few levels and so did the fact that it never quite felt like Christmas since it rained the whole month of December instead of snowed. When one lives in Michigan, they really need snow on the ground for the holidays.

So looking back on the holiday season, I realized that there were a lot of "traditions" that we usually do as a family that we just kind of missed this year. I wonder if that's where we went wrong.

1. Sledding
We always go sledding as a family during Christmas Break. We were counting on this even more so this year since Aaron got a new "souped up" sled for Christmas and Noah got his first snow board. At this moment, they are both sitting on the floor of the garage, gathering dust.

2. Christmas lights
Every year, we usually take at least two trips in the car to go look at Christmas lights as a family. My parents took Aaron to a really neat display by them, but the fact that our van has now been broken for over two weeks, even after $200 of repairs, kind of brought a damper to trying to go out and see the lights.

3. Santa
We stopped the sitting on Santa's lap last year so actually this is the second year that that tradition is gone. But one still feels it's loss.

4. Trees in the bedroom
A couple of years ago I got the boys each their own mini tree for their bedrooms. This year, Noah never wanted to bother setting his up and Aaron knocked his over twelve times in the first day and decided it was in his way and we packed it back up. So Christmas never really came to their rooms.

5. Christmas Morning Excitement Low
The morning just felt like any other day, but with presents to open. There was no big screaming happy excitement this year. It was the first day of Noah's difficult stage of recovery, where Noah cried MANY times from pain that day, which kind of brought everybody down. Poor kid.

6. School parties
Every year but this one, I was able to attend the class parties, take pictures, and join in the merriment. This year I was working and missed it all. I definitely feel like something was lost and both boys asked why I couldn't have been there for them. It made me sad

7. No Christmas Break Fun
Usually I do all kinds of fun things with the boys over Christmas Break. Due to Noah's recuperation and money that would have been used for that purpose going into a piece of crap car that is still not repaired, we did NOTHING the entire two week period. Big waste of time off with the kids.

8. Non Existent Anniversary
Our 15th Wedding Anniversary came. And went. I think we may have actually smiled at each other in passing. That's about it. Not sure if we even kissed that day.

9. Black Friday
I used to go with my friend. That didn't happen and I did my only shopping online. I wonder if that set everything off to a bad start from the beginning.

10. Hormones
I'm off them for now. Enough said...

I know...major Downer Post. We did keep some of our usual traditions though. And we did enjoy those ones.

1. Christmas Eve Service
It was a really nice service at Cornerstone Church this year. Noah was definitely not in the mood to sing, but the service was nice and everyone got little mini flashlights to keep after using them during the service.

2. Christmas Eve Dinner Out
We very rarely go out to real restaurants any more so we kept our tradition and went to restaurant that the boys have been begging to go to. We took them to Logan's so they could throw peanuts on the floor. What seems like nothing to a grown up is pretty exciting to two little boys. Noah was bummed because he couldn't eat any of the peanuts (Day 5 after surgery) so he wants to go back again. Maybe NEXT Christmas.

3. Christmas Eve "procedure"
All stayed the same...watching Santa on NORAD, new PJ's before bed, family movie (Grinch) and Twas the Night Before Christmas story read.

And we even added a couple of new ones that I hope will become traditions

1. Movie Time
We decided to join the masses and go to a movie on Christmas Day (instead of the sledding that was planned). We took the boys to the Muppet Movie and enjoyed our trip down memory lane. We all enjoyed the movie and the break from the present opening. By the time we got home, there were a few presents left to open and I think we all enjoyed the new plan. Both boys have asked if we can do it again next Christmas.

2. Winterberry Pfaltzgraff
I found a 16 piece set of Christmas China that my MIL had given me over ten years ago that we had never gotten out, because we first lived in apartments and then had little boys who couldn't be trusted with good dishes. But I found them Christmas morning and decided it was time. I was so excited to set a pretty table for both of our big meals and I loved stacking them in the china cabinet to bring out next year. I think all three of the males in the house thought I was crazy by how excited I was but it was something that actually made me feel like a real person rather than a loser who couldn't make a nice Christmas for my family, so I reveled in this little joy.

3. New Year's Eve
We are going to try another new one this year. At age 7 and 9, the boys have never stayed up until midnight so we're going to let them try it tonight. I got some small fireworks to do in the driveway and then we will put them to bed. I have no idea if they're going to make it until midnight or not. I guess I'll have to let you know later.

So Christmas is done. I am having a hard time taking down the tree. I definitely want my living room back, but the tree we got this year is so incredibly healthy that I don't have the heart. We stopped watering it a week ago and the needles are still completely soft and it hasn't dropped a single needle yet. Crazy!

2012...who knows? If I don't expect good things then I can't be disappointed. Not the most positive outlook at the moment, but definitely the most honest one at this time.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

'Twas The Week Before Christmas

"Twas the week before Christmas and what did we do
Spent it recovering but NOT from the flu

Little Boy Noah has had sickness galore
So surgery was scheduled so he'd be sick no more

Little bro Aaron went off for a stay
with Grandma and Grandpa not too far away

A quick dinner out for his last solid meal
before it is time to begin the ordeal

The day started early before the sun came out
a gown and slippers but never a pout

Bundled up snuggly with his new blanket and monkey
a few sips of medicine and now he feels "funky"

Sitting and waiting for two hours to pass
Angry Birds and TV shows make the time go quite fast

The time came to go and there were a few tears
A reasonable reaction when one has some fears

So quickly it's over and he's back in the room
Slushies and Popsicles and Disney movies too

The nurses exclaim over and over again
what a wonderful patient our Noah has been

Three hours later it's time to go home
A ride in a wheelchair and we're ready to go

Home on the couch it's time to heal
and constantly get asked "How do you feel?"

Throat pain continues but it's controllable now
Especially since we finally know how

Four days have passed and life is returning
To normal except for some minor stomach churning

So the week before Christmas has passed in a blur
In the long run will be worth it, we are all quite sure

The stockings are hung and Noah's returning to his bed
So that tomorrow night it's Santa's living room instead

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

We're Ready!

It's December 13th. 12 days until Christmas. 7 days until Noah's tonsillectomy. 1 day before Holiday Pops concerts start and I spend every evening performing. 4 days before kids are home from school for two weeks. Lots to do as we come down to the final stretch of the holidays.

Believe it or not, I think we're ready. I really have no way to anticipate recovery time for Noah so I finished shopping and wrapping presents last week so I won't have to deal with that next week. The tree is up and beautiful. We had a wonderful family gathering last weekend where we actually got a picture for the first time ever of our large blended family, including 13 grandkids all looking forward and smiling at the camera. Christmas performances at church and school are done and class party supplies are purchased and sent to school.

Aaron is excited about his solo sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's house while Noah goes in for his surgery. I have a few little gifties for Noah to help him stay quiet during recovery. I have heard various suggestions about what soft foods to have on hand so I will pick those up this weekend. Aaron got his tonsils out when he was two and doesn't remember so it was a very different experience than it will be this time around.

I know it will go well. I really like this ENT...the same one that did all three of Aaron's procedures when he was a baby. I am glad that we are getting this done since I know it will bring better health to our entire household. Noah is a little nervous, but right now he is more excited that he gets a new video game for his recovery.

So I think we're ready for the surgery....and for Christmas.

Now all we need is some snow. Michigan needs a White Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Weekend Top Five 12/5/11

Whew...the start to December came in with a blast this weekend. I have to say we have had a memorable start to the holiday season.

5. Cutting Down the Tree
This is our third year of cutting down our own Christmas tree. Rather than a cold snowy day for tree hunting, it dawned with rain...and a lot of it. After some discussion, we realized there would really be no other time to go so we decided to head out in the rain. Crazily enough, the rain stopped as we arrived at the tiny family farm we tried out this year. We drove out, picked out our tree, loaded it up and just as they were bundling it up for us, the skies opened and it started pouring. It worked out just right for us. Steve told me on the way home that he had never cut down a real tree before we started this tradition two years ago. I love this "newish" tradition and can't imagine it stopping anytime soon.

4. Christmas Cards
Yes, this seems pretty silly as a bullet. But considering the last two years it was something I never quite got around to, I am quite pleased with myself. Since the boys had to be to church early Sunday morning before their performances, I ordered some cards from Walgreens with this picture from the tree farm, brought them along and got them all done while waiting for church to start. Let's hear it multi-tasking! :)

3. Angel Alert!
The musical went really well.. The first service was WAY better than the second, given that the kids were all tired and had been been there for hours by the time the second performance was over. Aaron got to be a Wise Man's helper and carry a huge banner. Noah was a Shepherd and provided the slapstick comedy to the performance. Right up his alley, right? So they had a great time and I was very proud. I am hoping that they both are willing to try out for bigger parts during the next performance but as long as they have fun and are positive about it, I won't push very hard.

2. Decorating the Tree
Steve had to go sing Sunday afternoon so I decided to pull out the ornaments and decorate the tree. In past years, the kids have usually complained about helping so this year I didn't even offer. The funny thing was, since I didn't offer, the boys were extremely interested and we had such a fun time. Noah took his job of making the colors spread out very seriously and Aaron had fun with all of the "special" ornaments asking stories about them. We put it in a different place this year and I love our living room this way. If only I could put presents underneath without a cat of dog tearing them open. Oh well!

1. FIRE!
So having gotten everybody calm and in bed ready for the school/work week, I was just finishing singing to Noah when there was a constant loud banging on our side door. Our neighbor had a fire in his house and we had to get our children out and the cars out of our shared driveway. The kids went to our neighbors while firefighters handled the fire and it was over in about two hours. But having had a very strong fear of fire my entire life, I am still a bit freaked about it. Way too close for comfort. I am praying for my neighbors as they decide whether they are going to fully rebuild or not. Aaron was a bit nervous so as I was bringing them back home, I had the fire chief talk to the boys and he felt better. I did too.

So the weekend was definitely memorable. Noah starts basketball this week and the kids have their school Christmas concert as well. Still no snow. Michigan Christmas without snow just doesn't work so the atmosphere better start churning soon.

Have a great week!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's December Thursday Thirteen

December already? Yup!

Wow, what a year!

This month always seems like such a whirlwind that I always need to remind myself to slow down and take it a day at a time. I sat down with the December calendar to plot it out since there is always so much going on.

There's a lot coming up in the next couple of weeks leading up to the "Big Day". Christmas shopping is done for the most part, including wrapping, which usually isn't even touched until the week before Christmas. Tree isn't up and I no longer have a day off from work during the week, due to teacher problems at work. Yeah, I got a total of two weeks with a day off before I had to go back to every day again. So getting things done is even more difficult than I anticipated. The funny thing is, I'm really not too stressed about it all. I'm not sure why, but instead I am actually feeling pretty calm heading into the busiest time of year.

13 Things coming up:

13. Kids' Church musical practice Saturday. It will be fun to see it all put together for the first time.

12. Chopping down the Christmas tree Saturday afternoon. It will be weird doing it with no snow on the ground but at least we'll be able to get a good look at all of them before freezing our fingers off this year.

11. Angel Alert! Musical performance at church on Sunday. This will be the first time either of the boys have been part of a production like this. I hope they have fun and want to do it again.

10. Noah's first basketball practice is next Wednesday. I really hope the enthusiasm he has at this moment continues.

9. Aaron's speech assessment will come back before Christmas Break and we'll be forced to make a decision on what we will do regarding him being "labeled" as a special education child

8. School Concert next kid playing the recorder, the other the kazoo. My ears are ringing already.

7. Scholastic Warehouse Christmas shopping items will then be complete

6. Family Christmas celebration...I love this big family of mine!

5. Only two more weeks of work until I get a break...woo hoo!

4. Symphony Holiday Pops...4 nights in a row of concerts. I love the music this's all carols and two songs from the movie Home Alone. And it looks like I'll be healthy enough to actually enjoy performing for them this year. Icing on the parents coming to the performance on Sunday afternoon.

3. Noah's tonsillectomy 5 days before Christmas...a little pain will pay off in a lifetime of better health than his mommy has had. We're all hoping he will be feeling better by Christmas

2. Our 15th Wedding anniversary..are we really that old????

1. Christmas Eve Church Service...going at 2PM this year so we have the entire evening to enjoy as a family...provided Noah is feeling okay.

Such a fun time of year. I should totally be stressed. Maybe I will be tomorrow.

But not tonight.