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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Loving Lacey

No, this isn’t a sappy post about my blogging/crafting/homeschooling/dressing wacky/make cool stuff out of other stuff buddy, although many of you read her blog, so I could probably tell Lacey stories and you would be just as interested. I just liked the title. I’ve had lace on the brain for weeks now, as I’m finally doing things with a stash of tired, over-loved tablecloths, napkins and doilies I got from my folks. I’m super excited today because I finished my “winter garland,” made from a sad old table cloth that was absolutely begging to be gently disassembled and turned into something that would make someone (that’s me!) very happy.  My favorite part of this whole process is finding something that has beauty in it, but no more usability as it is, and turning it into something fun that can be enjoyed again. I really think that little “lightbulb” moment is the best part. I’m not always the best or most skilled in my follow through, and often, once I make it, I have to give it away because I have no place for it, but I love the “oh, I could do THIS with that!” moment.

As to the garland, now I’m thinking winter nothing, this baby’s staying up year round! It’s really not all that wintery looking. The lace isn’t even ivory anymore, it’s more of a beach sand or wheat color. Of course, it’s got a handfull of my antique buttons and it’s just simple and sweet. Next year I may hang it on the Christmas tree, but not sure. I also may divide it into two and put one at the mantle, and one over the “window” that separates the kitchen from the dining room. I’d love ideas for a place to put it. I do wish the pictures were better, but my house is dark, these days are gloomy, etc., etc. It is what it is.

Enjoy your holidays friends! Hope you’re all making and buying hand made as much as you can!

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As I mentioned yesterday, I don’t normally get my Christmas decorations up the day after Thanksgiving because we traditionally stay in GA with the Martins/Jacksons/Stovalls, etc. on the Friday after and I’m just too beat to use up my Saturday. This year though, thanks to VZW and Black Friday madness, Andy was working and there was just no way I was going to get in another day of school in this week. Knowing in advance that I was setting myself up for a lot of frustration, I hauled down the boxes and told the kids we were going to decorate today. Their excitement was through the roof until I opened the box with the Christmas tree and told them to start fluffing the branches to look like a young blue spruce.


Well, the seven year old and the five year old were pretty typically hyper/enthusiastic/bickering/too short to reach anything/digging through everything and asking “what’s this?!” every two minutes. I tried blaring Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and Christmas Cannon Rock all morning, thinking I’d just party through the annoyances. You can guess how well that worked. Although there was this really cute moment in there when they were pretending to own a Christmas shop and were trying to sell me boxes of lights, candles and bulbs. They even made a sign. It was pretty dang cute.

In the end, of course, they ended up watching lame early 90’s Christmas specials while I did all the decorating.

It was a good thing I guess anyway, because I have a hard time letting go of things–especially my tree. I want it just so. I don’t want the homemade ornaments on my tree. I want a little tree to go in their room that their homemade ornaments can go on. Actually, we don’t have any homemade ornaments yet. (Don’t tell, but we really teach our children at home JUST to avoid them coming home from school with homemade ornaments.)

Just kidding.

Sort of.

Is that bad? Do I have control issues? I mean, I’m all for handmade, I’d LOVE handmade . . . if they were good . . . . .

Ohhh, that IS bad!!!

I really did do better this year! I let them do the tree all by themselves and I only readjusted about a half a dozen ornaments when they weren’t looking. Difficulties of their age aside, they really made it all worth it. As I was putting on some final touches Gillian ran up behind me and squeezed me hard and said, “I love the Christmas you made Mommy! Thank you for the Christmas you made!” Ahhhh. Moments like that are priceless gifts.

I remembered how my own mom always made our home a warm and festive place to spend the holidays both in very lean years and years full of blessings. It’s a gift to get to do that for my kidlets.

We wrapped it all up with cuddles on the couch “readingA Charlie Brown Christmas, drinking hot cider. As I admired the soft glow of pretty, twinkling things that makes December my favorite month to hang out in my living room, I gave thanks for my family and tried to hold on to the way Gilly says “ordamins” instead of ornaments, for next year she’ll be a big girl of six who won’t make that mistake ever again.

On a final note, I didn’t take many pictures, because I’m not very good at getting indoor pics that do the decorations justice. I did want to show my “new” windows. I’ve not done these before. The “snowflakes” are hand crochet pieces from a tablecloth that I’m taking apart and repurposing. In your mind, picture them attached and think winter garland. It’s coming ya’ll.

I always do my little “Charlie Brown Tree.” This year I let Liam decorate this one all by himself too and he was quite proud.

The entry way is always one of my favorites. I also had a “new” apothecary jar to use and I’m not sure this is quite the best use of it (or the best picture). It’s all I had on hand though, so that’s what we’ve got this year. I’m going to keep brainstorming on that. I love the glass jars/vases/hurricanes filled with ornaments look, but it always seems too modern in my rustic room.

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This Christmas was a little foggy. It was good of course, time with family, so many blessings, many reminders of grace. Sickness descended on us the day before though, and we’re just now sort of coming out of the fog.
After Christmas is always a little hazy anyway, isn’t it? . The leftovers, the stocking stuff scattered around, wrongly sized gifts to be returned (where’s that receipt!?), all the wrappings and trimmings that weren’t used laying in a corner and, of course, the half unpacked suitcases and LAUNDRY.  Add all of that to the normal chaos of a family with three wee ones who are sick and it’s a wonder anyone is sane over here at all.

There’s always grace though.

Even in the middle of a whole lot of coughing and fevering, there was grace.  I want to confess to you (certainly not for the first time!) that I’m not a very compassionate person. I’ve never been good with Andy when he gets sick or has a migraine. I don’t personally get sick often. Sickness is very inconvenient and I just don’t do well at dealing with other people when they are sick. That is my norm. I have to say though, to make God big, not me, this sickness in the house didn’t effect me like it normally does. There was this HUGE sense of “okay-ness” about the whole thing, and while it still wasn’t fun, I made it through caring for my sick ones calmly and with some measure of joy. What a kind gift that was to me after Christmas! When my nature is just to make everything worse by my bad attitude, God comes along and says, you don’t know you need it and you haven’t even asked for it yet, but here’s some grace to get through this.  Isn’t He good?

Along with the peace I had personally, there were also little things, little moments that I was so thankful for amid all the yuck. One, goes without saying, was the CUDDLES. Boy, do sick babies love their mamas!!! I got cuddles like I’ve never gotten before out of Gill and Eliot. Gillian was so sweet, during her sickness. It was almost weird how precious she was with her snuggles and secrets, raspy giggles and songs. (It almost made me wish she got sick more often. . . . . no, you did not just read that.)   We also set up the air mattress in the living room for a few days to intercept sick kids and give one adult a good nights sleep.

(breaking down the air mattress today)

It turned into the family gathering spot on which we all crammed to have a Star Wars marathon. So, ten little arms and legs, three runny noses, tons of pillows and an ungodly amount of spilled popcorn discovered the wonder of science fiction and made memories that will hopefully stay with them through the years.

Things are getting back to normal now though. Today the boxes came down out of the attic. The decorations gather together on the table to discuss living arrangements in the boxes for the coming year. (Yeah, Toy Story had a profound effect on me).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tried to let the kids help. I knew that if I was going to make the decision to let them help that I would have to let go of the order and “just so-ness” with which I intended to pack everything away. Again, my need for control kicked in and it took a great many deep breaths and prayers for patience. Sadly (thankfully?) they got bored with it before long and I ended up doing it myself without much difficulty.

 

 

Is it weird that I’m showing you pictures of the Christmas BREAKDOWN when I didn’t show you any pictures of the way things were set up? As if I had things together enough to take pictures then, let alone post them.

(The tree skirt always looks so lonely and pathetic when the tree is taken apart)

As the kids are in the habit of bidding adieu to inanimate objects,

GOODBYE CHRISTMAS THINGS! SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

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Sometimes I don’t think. When I was a kid my dad would say, “use your head, kid!” I hated that, because as a kid, obviously, I assumed I knew everything and was therefore constantly using my head. As I get older though, I feel more and more keenly those times when I really should have seen something coming and didn’t. Anyway, the actual details are boring, so I’m not going to go into them, but I just made this really stupid mistake concerning our insurance and feel like I could have saved us a lot of (this spring’s tax) money if I’d planned better. SIGH. Well, there’s the whole “trust God because he’s going to provide” thing, which I know. I’m not worried about him providing. I’m embarrassed that I made a mistake. As if it would be fine if this just happened to us, but because I did it with my own stupidity, it’s a really bad thing? Why is it “easy” to trust that he’ll provide but so hard to trust that he may allow me to make mistakes for some other reason? It doesn’t come to me easily that not all financial mistakes are about learning to trust in God’s provision.  I don’t like being the one to make the mistakes. 😦 Trying to apply to gospel to even this.

On a lighter note, I was driving today, eating a chocolate mint cookie that was left over from our fantastic shepherding group holiday feast only to have one of those “oh crap!” moments. I’m not talking about serious mistakes (see paragraph above), but little things that make you say, well . . . . “oh, crap!” (sometimes you say worse too, but I’m going to keep it nice for the holidays!) Sometimes they’re just really annoying and inconvenient, like “oh crap, I’m half way to Earth Fare and I left the water bottles behind.” Sometimes they’re really embarrassing, like, “oh crap I got sidetracked this morning and forgot to put on my right eye makeup!” as you’re walking into a meeting with one eye glammmed out and the other . . . not. (True story, really did that once). Other times they’re really expensive, like, “oh crap, I just set my phone on the top of the car and then drove away!” Then sometimes, they’re just gross.  I think the just gross ones happen the most-at least to me-at least to probably most mothers of small children. See, as I was about half way thorugh this yummy, gooey, chocolate mint cookie that I had so clandestinely sneaked from the kitchen into my purse and then into my lap without a single child noticing, I remembered that this specific cookie I had put into a baggie for Gillian to eat today. The “oh crap” part wasn’t that I was eating Gill’s cookie–there were more cookies.  The problem was that this particular cookie went into a baggie to save anyone from eating it because she had already licked the whole thing to get the powdered sugar off. Licked it good then handed it to me a slimy, soggy mess.  Who knew it would dry up so nicely and even re-gain it’s former perfectly crunchy outside?

Who knew?

I noticed a sign today at the gym that the Kid Zone workers were so thoughtful as to put up: Only 16 days ’till Christmas. I am so not ready. I am so far from being ready. I am trying not to freak out. I miss the days of lying under the tree (and fitting!), listening to the Carpenters Christmas, having nothing to worry about but whether or not we were going to have chocolate pie or pecan after Christmas dinner. Being the grown up isn’t nearly as fun for a lot of reasons. I’m so thankful that there’s much more to it than that–so much more than what will happen if I don’t get all my gifts bought and wrapped. There are a lot people out there digging through Christmas traditions, trying to find the “magic,” trying to find “the soul of Christmas” and they just keep missing it. There’s this hodge podge of sentimental holiday feel goodness that people cling to in hopes that they can recapture the joy that Christmas brought them as a child, as if that would satisfy their soul’s true longing in the first place.  If I’m not careful this will turn into a grinch post about stupid Christmas movies and their lame plots and emotionally manipulative scores. I’m just glad that Christmas isn’t ANY of the things that movies or advertisers or even our fond childhood memories tell us that it is. I’m thankful that Christmas is a reminder of a much bigger picture, and that 16 days are going to come and go, and with or without the presents, the party, the feast, I’m good with God because of Jesus.

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