Not So Great, Christmas Expectations

This Christmas season has been one for the books. A week before Christmas we made cookies as a family. Despite a last minute run to the store, due to having to start over thanks to a mom mess up, they all turned out great and were fun to share with friends.

And then the tables turned...

A few days later the girls went from runny noses to full on sick. Just in time for my parents visit to celebrate Christmas. What was planned to be a full three days of fun became a gross: puke in the van and bed, crazy spiked fever, and green goopy eyed few days for the girls. There were some high points. It really wasn't how I envisioned the time we would spend together.

Christmas Eve morning we contemplated taking the girls to the doctor. However, I recently examined the contents of medicine I just took, I wasn't thrilled about what I found. We decided to wait this out and give them a chance to fight it on their own. They hadn't gotten worse and did seem to have some good times where the sickness and goop subsided. We skipped making cookies and had a lazy day full of liquids and rest. We put them to bed hopeful that Christmas morning would be magical.

Tim and I played Santa, the scene was set. We were excited for the morning.
After a few hours of sleep I felt nauseous. Thankfully some good ol' Pepto helped me get a bit of decent sleep. I was fearful of a repeat of me being sick on Christmas a second year in a row. I woke up feeling better and readied the house for the girls. I stood at the bottom of the stairs to take a picture of their excited faces. This is what I got...
Not quite the reaction we were hoping for. And so began our Christmas morning...

Karoline was not sure how to react to being the center of attention or to the presents that were there. She was too confused and somewhat overwhelmed to want to go to the bathroom. After a few presents we did have to take a break so she could go. On the way up the stairs her sour attitude turned rude. Tim had to speak with her and remind her that while Santa brought the presents, mommy and daddy can (and will) take them away. Having to parent your child apparently does not stop on holidays. It actually may even be more important. This seemed to help...a little. The excitement of which we thought we would watch was not there as they went through their gifts. One by one they unveiled their gifts. When a box contained an item they would take it out completely and play with it for a bit before moving onto the next. I'm fairly certain two small pieces may be in our recycle bin. New rule, no opening the box until the paper is cleaned up. Glue all barbie shoes on barbies before wrapping. Identical presents may not be a good idea after all. One child sees "her" toy in the others hand and a fight ensues, even though there are TWO! Live and learn.

We had breakfast and then resumed playing. Somewhere in the midst of it all Karoline made a small mess in her panties. Something she NEVER does. I was in shock and had to laugh. The morning I had envisioned as so magical had go to, um, poo. It just was not at all how I think either Tim or I thought it would be. As I reflect back on it I have to remember that we do have a 20 month old and a 3.5 year old, still so young and they were and are both sick.

Present examining was quite slow and took us just about up to nap time. Alexandra went down easy. Karoline never slept, despite me laying with her for over an hour (pushing back our dinner time). Alexandra woke up screaming, a sure fire way to know she didn't get enough sleep. Sure enough, her nose was stuffed and had woken her.

With the addition of Uncle Matthew there was a bit more screaming and crying on Alexandra's behalf in the afternoon. She takes quite a while to warm up to people. She did eventually decide he was ok when she saw the present he had brought with him. Smart guy. I was somehow able to make dinner through this. I was so excited to find an organic stuffing and as I dumped it in the pot I noticed the package said, "Savory Herb," in small print. Those little letters were more like a giant red flag. I knew I was taking a gamble when I didn't get the stuffing I know my husband knows and likes. Our dinner was mediocre.

The ham, despite being in the oven for much longer than it needed to be, was cold two seconds after it reached the plate.
My garlic mashed potatoes weren't as creamy as usual and my second head of garlic had disintegrated inside the bulb. I'd never had that happen before.
The green beans weren't as soft and tastey as they should have been.
The gravy was from a jar.
And that dang stuffing tasted like an entire spice rack of "savory herbs" had been dumped in the bag. It was not good.

The girls did enjoy having sparkling apple cider in shot glass momento's from a wedding last summer. Side note, a shot glass can drop off the table, hit the chair and fall onto the hard wood floor without breaking. Just in case you were curious. I wouldn't test this. I was fully prepared to have to clean up glass as I cringed watching it fall.

The green goop was coming back in full force as evening set in. I got the girls into the tub. They had my full attention. Thank goodness, because as I saw Alexandra take a squat position I knew that our insane day was going to finish with a bang. Oh that four letter word and that squat, "Poop." Thankfully I have become skilled in this department and on a poop tub scale this incident was only a 2. Thankfully Tim was home this time to bring me the cleaning supplies. *You know you're a mom to young kids when you have a poop tub scale.

The girls were content for part of the evening while I cleaned up the dinner mess. As I tossed the stuffing into the trash I managed to get a good majority of it on the floor. Par for the course for the day. I didn't even cry, go me.

As I sit here typing I am watching on the monitor as the two girls, who had such rough starts to the day and were so grumpy and whiney, take their sweet time falling asleep.

Today was not perfect. I had high expectations for today and realized very quickly that it would not be the joyous day I had envisioned. There were happy moments and those will be the ones I journal for the girls. A kiss from Alexandra. One piece of paper being taken off at a time by those sweet 20 month old fingers. A, "Merry Christmas, Mom," from my sweet Karoline. The smile on her face as she opened some of her gifts. Their joy of getting to use an actual glass at dinner. The smile on my husband's face as he opened his gift from the girls. The fact that he and I were so determined to have a good day that neither of us got grumpy or snapped at each other. These are the happy things, the little things.

There is so much hype and excitement in the preparation for a Hallmark Christmas. I think it's easy to get a Pinterest picture in your head of what you expect to happen. As the days draw closer we reminisce of happy memories of the past and compare them to today. Family members are far away or no longer with us. New families create new traditions that take place of old. Decorations aren't as we remember them as a child. Christmas lights are too expensive. Snow doesn't fall. Today was not how we hoped it would be. At one point I was ready for a new day to begin. I was ready to get back to our usual days with no great expectations. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I won't get this day or this Christmas with my girls again. We maybe have ten good years of fun Christmas' left. It might not have looked like the movies and attitudes might not have been as cheery as we would have liked. But, it was ours, there were bright spots, and it's one we will cherish. From here on out I vow to not have expectations for a great Christmas. My hope is for the mindset and attitude that each day, special or not, is a gift and a day I am thankful for.

We have one perfect Redeemer and for Him I am thankful this day and every day. Merry Christmas!