I sorta fell off the face of the earth there for a while, sorry about that! But I also sorta liked it. I love this blog, but it's good to step away from time and time. This post is going to be a random mish-mash of Christmas catch-up, New Years and random thoughts along the way. I've gotta do this every once in a while--a good old fashioned journal type post. Forgive me if this is of no interest to anyone but my immediate family. But who knows, maybe as I start to type I uncover some little nuggets of wisdom and I start to get all deep up in here. It happens.
Christmas was great but, as it tends to be with young children, not that relaxing. Which is also great. Whenever I start to feel stressed by all there is to do around Christmas time I remind myself that one day I might be a little old lady who is all alone at Christmas--sitting by a fire reading a book by myself, eating a plate of cookies all by myself, watching It's a Wonderful Life all by myself... OK I've got to stop because this actually sounds amazing (introvert alert), but really, there is so much joy to find in the chaos of this stage of life and so I did my best to embrace it. Which, by the way, could totally count as nugget of wisdom #1...if there is anything or anyone you're struggling with in your life the best way to get over any icky feelings is to embrace it. Jealous of someones luck/wealth/house/talent/body? Embrace it. Become a fan and brag about it for them and fully embrace the thing that was causing you discomfort and suddenly you'll find that it no longer causes you discomfort. Frustrated by your messy house and your lack of control over said mess and ensuing Holiday chaos? Embrace it. I didn't even clean the floors before my parents got here. One could say I was being lazy or one could say I was embracing it. I choose the latter. My mom and step-dad came to make Christmas cookies with the girls and the day they left, my in-laws came to enjoy Christmas with the family. Back-to-back in-laws? Flour and sugar all over the floors I so wisely choose not to clean? I like it, I love it, gimme more of it. Mmmm, embrace.
And you guys, lets just be clear that I still have not got a handle on the fact that I have a child with a birthday 2 days before Christmas. Second year in a row that I barely pulled it together enough to hang a banner and put a candle on a bowl of ice cream. She definitely had separate birthday presents (I'm not that jacked up!) but still... I've used up my allotted "birthdays that they won't remember so you can totally screw it up" time table. Next year I've got to have my stuff together. But as far as this year goes, I got some cute pictures and she got some cute presents. Win/win.
Any other Holiday birthday people out there who have advice I am currently taking suggestions. I'm thinking that we may need to do a party at the beginning of December.
Anyway, we made cookies...
Went caroling (something we did for the first time last year, but already feels like a fun tradition if our neighbors can stand it)...
Painted wrapping paper...
Made a gingerbread house (thanks to some friends who invited us and had everything ready to go! So great)...
...and even released a lantern on Christmas eve just so Santa would be sure to find us.
As far as Christmas morning this was the year of the American Girl doll. I know this is one of those things that incites high emotions on both the pro-American girl doll camps and the anti-American girl doll camps alike. Obviously we're in the pro-camp, but with some stipulations. I only like the old dolls, back when they were all historical and before Mattel dumbed everything down with terrible design choices and pink and purple everything (which also means I hunt everything down on eBay) and I will only ever buy my girls one doll. Also, it's a huge nostalgia thing for me as I had Samantha as a girl and passed her down to PSP last year. What can I say, Samantha was my red-rider BB gun. So this year Lamp got Kit Kitteridge, who was born and raised in Cincinnati, so it feels very appropriate and PSP got more Samantha stuff. But honestly, if you're anti-AGD I get it and hope we can still be friends. Not American girl doll for Zuzu--she's too young--but she did get a new accordion which she's pretty stoked about!
There's something about the explosion of Christmas morning with small children that fills your heart with joy. It's nostalgia, mixed with memories in the making, mixed with cozy family-ness topped with the love of Jesus/humanity/life (hopefully) permeating it all. That's like a crazy joy cocktail, the likes of which I'll gladly OD on anytime.
In short, we Christmassed. Hard.
My only sadness about Christmas was the lack of snow. Two years in a row in Cincinnati and no snow... I'm really hoping that changes next year. Wink, wink Mother Nature.
As far as New Years goes, it was a chill family affair (oh and binge watching Making a Murderer for B and I on Netflix. That was CRAZY right?) So a chill family affair with a little murder thrown in.
I don't usually get all crazy with the resolutions but as I mentioned in a short New Year's post I did, my word of the year feels like hope. It doesn't actually feel like a resolution at all, but rather more like a driving force for me this year and a jumping off point for being able to tackle other goals.
I did do one thing that feels very resolution-y though that I wanted to share here, I made a "100 days of No-Yelling" chart for myself. PSP is currently doing a 100 days of violin practice chart, and over the years the girls have had a myriad of behavioral or chore charts to help them learn behaviors or adhere to rules, so I figured it was time I had a go. I wanted to show them that they're not the only ones expected to improve their behavior and that I'm not above the same type of charts they have . To be clear I have definitely gone long stretches of time without yelling at my kids, before--ha!--but they don't necessarily think that! You know how they say that for every negative you have to have 5 positives to balance it all out? Well, yelling is one of those things that even if done in "moderation" can feel like a lot to a littler person's heart. And while I have gone long stretches without yelling the fact is I yell more than I like and more than my kids like. In addition to wanting to actually change a negative behavior, I also wanted to simply show them that their mom could admit when there was something she needed to change. I have been surprised at just how meaningful the chart on it's own has been. They were grinning ear to ear, even a little giggly when I showed it to them. I will never pretend to be a perfect parent--I make that clear to them all the time--but I will say I'm sorry, I will try again and I will do my best to fill them with love.
The quote that keeps coming to mind in this endeavor is "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." --Maya Angelou
To be honest for years I didn't have much hope that I could change. I've thought about doing something like this for years, but I was afraid to try because I was sure I'd fail. Now, I believe in the power of starting again... if I fail, I can always start again. But I also believe, for the first time maybe ever, that I can succeed. If that's not hope, I don't know what is.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
While it's been a bit of a dry spell, I have a lot of posts up my sleeve, so I'll be seeing you soon. Please email if you would like to be a part of the special needs spotlight at thislittlemiggy at gmail dot com! Also, it was my birthday last week and I wrote a little thing here. It's a big one...my last year in my 30's. I actually really excited! Anyone else super stoked about being 40 or almost being 40?