Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Christmastime

Every year I do this same crazy thing. I spend all of Advent happily preparing for Christmas, eagerly awaiting the big day. And Christmas this year could not have been more perfect! My mom was home, we attended Mass on Christmas Eve for the first time ever so there was no big rush on Christmas morning, I wasn't scheduled to work that night, and we enjoyed visiting with my family at my uncle's house later that afternoon. It was everything I could have hoped for. But still, on December 26th, I woke up feeling weepy and forlorn. Reflective and nostalgic, I longed for the cozy comforts of family surrounding me, and compounding my sadness was the fact that, for the first time in eight years, Darren returned to work that morning and I was left with the lingering chaos and clutter of the day before, with the overwhelming desire to simply hold him and my kids close to me, to bask in the joy of it all. Even my mom, whose visit here had been all too brief, flew back home to Florida that morning. I felt robbed of a season meant to last, in my mind, at least until New Year's Day, as it had always seemed to when I was small. I am ever thankful for the full twelve days of Christmas, and have no plans to put away any of the decorations or even the toys until then. We're looking forward to the Feast of the Epiphany. We had a really great time celebrating last year, and while I have no absolute plans for this year, I'm sure we'll have just as much fun.

In the meantime, I've been gripped by a second manifestation of my typical holiday madness. As is usual for me, I've been feeling over the past few days that we have finally outgrown this house. There is "stuff" everywhere...on the floor, on the counters, on top of dressers, filling the closets...and while I know it is merely a transitional thing that occurs after every Christmas, it makes me crazy and I start searching desperately through real estate listings for something less crowded. Finally resigning myself to the fact that we just can't afford anything bigger at this time (and that it's probably actually unnecessary, anyway), I start looking for ways to make this house, the home I love, feel more accommodating. (One year, when Meghan was a newborn, this resulted in repainting, recarpeting, and retiling the entire house. Poor Darren!) This year I'm starting by reassessing our use of space. When we purchased the bunk beds for the kids' room last summer, for instance, it was with the intention of moving Meghan into the bottom bunk with Caitlyn once she turned two. So yesterday, knowing that I might never actually take the plunge unless I was forced into action, we dismantled Meghan's crib! I don't remember ever not having the crib out in the six years since Dylan was born, but since the baby isn't due until May, and since he or she will spend the first few months in our room, anyway, we figured that for now, it made more sense to free up the space in the kids' room. And they were so excited to try out their new sleeping accommodations last night--it was the first time Dylan had slept up on the top bunk (he did great!) and Caitlyn was so happy to share her bed with Meghan. (Meghan, on the other hand, thought it was all just one big game...this transition might be a lot more work than I thought!)

I'm also working on reorganizing the school room to make it more "user friendly". I'm removing all extraneous items (including the old school desk, and the computer...it just doesn't get used often enough to justify it's presence) and I'm adding things that I think (or hope) will benefit our day to day learning. Yesterday I purchased a large dry erase board and a matching bulletin board to mount on one of the walls I had vacated by moving furniture out of the room. I'm a little stressed that I've yet to purchase the new curriculum items I'm planning to use this Spring, but I think I still have plenty to work with in the mean time.

Today I'm working with the kids to sort, organize, and eliminate some of their old toys to make room for the new. I've got a mountain of laundry to catch up on now that Darren fixed my dryer. (Darren, you rock!) My dad has promised to come by at some point to see everything the kids got for Christmas. I know it will be full, busy day, but I'm happy now. I feel at peace, and content again with my life. Those melancholy blues have thankfully passed! And in parting, I'll leave you with some scenes of our most joyous Christmas:

At my mom's on Christmas Eve.

Welcome, Baby Jesus!

Santa was here!

...And it looks like he forgot his hat!

Stockings are so much fun...

...Santa even remembered the kitty!

"But whose idea was it to wrap these things in plastic?!"

It would appear that all of the excitement (or sugar!)
went straight to Miss Meggie's little head. :)

6 comments:

Celeste said...

So glad to see you back. I have missed you. I knew you were busy like the rest of us and probably extra tired! :)

I have the same outgrowing feelings these days, but it might really be time to move sooner than not. But you know when you set your mind to it, we can always, eliminate, organize and make room for the things we most need or use or love. You can do it. I felt overwhelmed right after Christmas but feel better about it now that I have most of it contained and organized!

I hope everything is going well!

Jill said...

Good to hear your voice again. I missed you! I love that last picture of Meghan. That about sums up the after-Christmas chaos, doesn't it!? I noticed the cute Graco set under your tree. Aslynn has that same set. The litle Graco stroller has gone all over the world carrying little dolls while I push whomever is a baby at the time in a real stroller. It's a great gift for little 'mommies.' Your house looks so festive.
I hope you enjoy your organized home and the rest of the Christmas season.
Just think...this is the year you give birth! yay!!!

Erin said...

That is a RIDICULOUSLY ADORABLE picture of Megs. TOO FRIGGEN CUTE!

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Great post...

mom-in-training said...

So glad to hear from you! It sounds like you had an amazing Christmas. And I, too, am going through that "what do I do with everything now" blues. I know I need to just go to their playroom and clean up, then there'd be more space. I just haven't mustered the energy to do it yet!

I so enjoyed all your pictures - especially that last one of Meghan - too cute!

Muddy Mama said...

After Christmas leaves me feeling the same way. Just this afternoon I both looked through all of the house listings in our area, and purchased paint, a rug, and fabric for curtains for our boys' room.
That last pic is the greatest!!