20 December 2012

Of Christmas Traditions

I am a big fan of traditions.  I like starting them and I like continuing them.  With every passing year, I treasure the repetitious rituals - it's what makes a holiday feel "right" to me.

For Christmas, one of my favored activities growing up (admittedly, I think I was the only child who enjoyed this - or maybe my brother's complete disdain overshadowed my sister's shared joy, I can't be sure), was looking at Christmas lights.  Every year, typically after the Christmas Eve service, my family would load up in the van, head to Sonic for milkshakes (because there's nothing like a cold treat while bundling up from the cold . . . apparently) and cruise the neighborhoods, admiring or critiquing the handiwork of others.

Thus, I have been eager to continue the tradition with our own little ones and have been pushing this for the past week.  And tonight was the night.

I prepped myself for the dreamy image in my head of a blissful family evening to go quickly awry - it always seems to with toddlers.  For our two big kids, who are accustomed to watching a dvd during any trip longer than five minutes, I was particularly concerned.

Apparently, though, Harry Connick, Jr. crooning "Frosty the Snowman" is the exact ingredient required to distract children from the lack of animated characters on the screen before them and entice them to gaze out the windows at the colored, blinking lights.  Either that or the "oohs" and "aahs" were simply sympathy admiration given in an attempt to match their mother's exuberance.  Either way, I'll take it.

The cries of, "Look, it's the Mommy purple reindeer and the Daddy purple riendeer!" and "It's Santa!  He's real and he's looking in our car!" were joy to a Momma's heart (for just one night, I didn't even feel the need to correct him).

And, yes, this evening of family togetherness was brought to you by Sonic, who, as always, provided the snacks.

Coupled with the spontaneous caroling at the dinner table for the past couple of nights (our children are loving "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer") and I would say it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

1,000 Gifts:
1063. Family traditions
1064. Lights on the street reminding us of the Light of the world
1065. "Good-bye, Puppy!  Have a special day!" said Emmett
1066. An evening of frustration ending with everything working as it should
1067. Plans, all asunder, falling back into place

13 December 2012

Of Something More

With my husband gone for the evening, I find myself preparing to drown my loneliness in ice cream and chick flicks.  Bringing my new favorite Blue Bell variety in from the deep freeze, I find myself wondering.  Is this it?

Not, "Is this all the ice cream?"  But, "Is this all of life?"

Looking forward to a bowl of sugar and milk and an evening on my couch.  Is this all there is?

It's the same question I asked earlier this evening, as I changed another cloth diaper, putting another insert into the diaper pail, waiting to be washed and re-folded and re-filled and re-dumped into the pail.  Is this endless parade of the same task all there is?

It's the same question I ask myself as I scurry through another December, determined not to be lost in the materialism, determining to let it all go and feeling as though it won't let go of me.  So I find myself, only twelve days left, worried I won't have the packages in the mail on time - the packages I bought long before this ridiculous deadline.  Is this breaking the same resolution year after year all there is?

It's the same question I asked myself a few weeks ago as I realized we're here.  The American dream.  We've achieved it.  If the dream is a warm place to live, food in my belly and a family (pets included), with a little money to spare to satisfy our (smallish) whims - we're here.  But is this really all there is?

And I find myself coming to the same answer: If I'm bored with life I must be doing something wrong.

It's like I have finally achieved all I meant to and now I keep waiting for something to happen and I don't even know what it is.  I feel like Rose of Titanic fame, envisioning my entire life before me, an endless stream of the same.  Glorifying God through it all, yes.  Loving the little moments, the thousands of gifts, yes.  But still feeling, truly knowing, that there is more to this.

And because I still haven't allowed myself to fully seek His path and let go of my own self-imposed to-do list, self-imposed expectations I imagine others have (or maybe don't even imagine, but the importance of their opinion is definitely sheer fantasy) and fully run after what I know He has laid before me, I remain listless unsatisfied, ready to just be home.  Done with here and ready for there.

But I am still here.  I still have a family I love, I still have friends who encourage, I still have the resources I need to do what He has asked - so maybe I should do something about this.

Maybe it's time to do something right.

1,000 Gifts:
1058. A warm December afternoon, shucking the coats and heading outside
1059. Tiny hands grasping orange fur
1060. The baby boy in my lap, giggling and nuzzling, in the warmth of the sun
1061. One bright spot of light on the wall, a ray breaking through the closed blinds
1062. This hope, a knowing, of something more.

10 December 2012

Of a List of Lately

This list has been about a week in the making, thus it keeps growing.  Life will slow down someday, right?

- A couple weeks ago Joseph ate something that disagreed with him - it led to a late-night bath (which he loved), three changes of pajamas, and a cuddle session with Momma that lasted until 2am.  And, yet, when he wasn't getting sick or sleeping, he was giggling and smiling.  Happiest sick baby ever.

- That same week, we studied the 10 Plagues of Egypt here at home.  As a result, Micaiah still talks about how we're all going to live because we put "blood" (in the form of a red ribbon) over our door (though Daddy's fate was questionable, because he was at work at the time and, thereby, not in the house), and the children continue to ask to drink blood at lunch (don't worry, we used Kool-Aid instead, because vampires aren't as cool as some people pretend).

- After a random suggestion by Micaiah, we planned an impromptu Saturday visit to the zoo last weekend.  It was pretty much the best zoo trip I could imagine.  Well, except for Emmett's insistence on calling the Bison "buffalo"- Mommy's still working on him.  He's still not cooperating.

- While playing with the Nativity set last week, Micaiah (playing the part of Mary) instructed the Wise Men, "I don't want the stuff you brought; I just want stuff for the baby.  I need water for the baby; bring me water!"  That's our practical girl.

- Joseph has begun cruising around the house, walking along the edge of the fireplace (which is lined with pillows, lest you worry) and the couches.  We predict walking before Christmas.

- Also, just in time for Christmas, Joseph's two front teeth.  Wish granted.

- Last week, after I got out of class early, I broke Emmett out of his class and spent a little time playing in the nursery with just him.  How fun it was to see what his little imagination comes up with all on his own, apart from influence from Big Sister.  I almost never get an opportunity to have one-on-one Emmett time and those imaginary cookies coming out of the microwave (and refrigerator, and cabinet . . .) of the toy kitchen were just about the best I'd ever tasted.

- I had a rare good-Mommy moment when I created an impromptu lesson on Joshua and the walls of Jericho last week.  We all marched around the wooden-block city of Jericho, shouted for all we had and watched the walls fall.  We then watched the VeggieTales rendition of Josh and the Big Wall, because what Jericho lesson would be complete without the French Peas?

- We made a family (+ Adopt-a-Bison) made a visit to the annual Christmas Parade on Main St.  The weather was perfect and the kids were perfectly content with the short half hour we stayed - they saw Santa (who Micaiah now insists is real) and each got a Tootsie Roll, what else could they need?  After, we decorated Christmas cookies, for which Micaiah promptly created an eating schedule ("I will eat the star after lunch tomorrow, and then I'll eat the snowman after dinner . . .), to which she stuck perfectly.

And those are just the highlights . . .