Christmas traditions

I love the Christmas season, I really do. It seems like the rest of the world cherishes family time and tends to have a more appreciative attitude in general. It seems like every place I go, people are just a bit kinder than they have been the previous 11 months of the year.  Strangers hold doors open for you, cars let you pass them, people give bigger tips at restaurants, there’s just a different mentality this time of year.

Usually the week of Christmas is really exciting for me, I love wrapping the presents, spending time with family, enjoying the lights and decorations, experimenting with new recipes with my ladies in the kitchen, but this year a member of my family is trying to devastate my week!  You may have heard about this handsome little guy whom I adore.  I have this sweet, stud muffin of a son who is 8 months old.  8 months old and teething.  This is how our household has been functioning …and mind you it is nothing like how either of my girls behaved while teething of course! Little man thinks he doesn’t require sleep and when he does sleep he wakes often screaming.  That painful scream babies have that breaks your heart. He has just enough of a fever for me to keep checking it to make sure it isn’t getting super high. My week has been consumed with mid night baths attempting to cool him down, alternating Motrin and Tylenol, singing lullabies, teething rings, frozen washcloths, walking around the house bouncing, feeling like I’m threatening my girls if they aren’t able to remain silent for the small chunks of time that he sleeps, and A LOT of coffee. So, I’m completely drained.  I’m like putting the cereal box in the fridge exhausted.   Last night or this morning…I think 4 am-ish he finally seemed content.  I was downstairs to ensure the rest of my family was sleeping peacefully upstairs (one grouchy baby is bad enough, no need to add 2 grouchy children and a husband who has worked all day with no sleep) and my baby and I were rocking on the chair my mother in law gave us. I love the sound old rocking chairs make, the creaking of the wooden rods that other mommies have heard before you when they rocked their babes to sleep is soothing to me.  It’s just like the sound of wooden floor in an old home when you are swaying with your baby in your arms. Something about that always comforts me. As we were rocking, I looked around my living room at the soft glow of the tree, our nativity set lit on the shelf and it was wonderfully still.  I sang “Away in a Manger” to my little man and I stared at him envisioning baby Jesus sleeping just as soundly and I felt peaceful , I was thankful for the lack of sleep that helped me to appreciate that moment.

Then 6:30 came. My youngest daughter was in the bathroom calling me and she woke up the beast.  Two and a half hours is the most solid sleep I’ve had in a week.  I was not happy he had been woken up because in my head I was holding onto a hope of all my children resting until 10am without an issue. (For the record, my family never sleeps past 7….ever) I was irritated to say the least.  I told my girls not to move and went downstairs, put my little guy by his toys, went in the kitchen, made my coffee and took a minute to regroup.  It’s the week of Christmas and I was not going to let my fatigued attitude ruin the day.  The ladies came downstairs, turned on Disney Junior and I opened my Bible while my children ate breakfast. My day is always more intentional and focused when I take time to do this in the morning.

 “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus”. Revelation 13:12

Hmmmm patient endurance. That sounds like something I need in my life this week.  Funny how God had advice prepared long ago as He knew this day would happen.

So traditions…see how I get off topic? I’m running on coffee here and my baby is gnawing away at a toothbrush on my lap. Here are some of our favorite Christmas traditions around here.

  • Letting our children pick out Christmas ornaments. It’s always fun to see what they think is beautiful and fits their personality.
  • Cuddling on the couch watching Christmas movies ( my fave is “It’s a Wonderful Life”)

wond.jpg

  • Sledding/snowmobiling/shoveling if there’s snow!
  • We spend a day cleaning our home together then getting our decorations out and placing them all over the house.
  • My husband takes the girls shopping for me and I take them for him. They are so thoughtful in their choosing of gifts and we have fun with it.  This year we tried to buy my husband a live chick but the store said we had to get a minimum of 6. NOT HAPPENING.
  • Making cookies. My daughter shares my affinity for throwing parties. This year she begged me to have a cookie/PJ party. We invited my nieces, nephews and Grandma.  I’m incredibly grateful for the conversations that arise from time spent with my grandma.  We had a lot of fun imagining her at the swimming pool in a classy bikini, even if it was inappropriate! 😉

 

  • Military Christmas: Each year the unit my husband is in has a Christmas party for the families.  It’s neat for my children to get a glimpse of what their daddy does each month when he goes away and I like that they see the respect amongst the soldiers as they do formations and clean up after the party.  I’m always so proud when my husband introduces my girls to a soldier and they are polite and able to hold a conversation with them.
  • Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpas: This is the one tradition I’ve had my entire life. It’s a cozy, happy, fun night filled with food, games, family and friends.
  • Christmas morning: The world stops here.  This is our sacred family time.  We slow down, open gifts, eat a yummy breakfast together and get ready to travel to our destination when we are ready.  I cherish this morning so  very much.

 

I pray that whatever your plans are this week, if things get crazy and stressful, or you become exhausted from the busyness, that you would remember to ask for patient endurance, give yourself a second to regroup and grab a cup of coffee while you’re at it! Merry Christmas!

PS- We love starting new traditions around here, so please share any fun ideas you have!  We are not interested in ideas that involve lack of sleep for mommies or babies. 🙂

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