Diapers and Dragons

Monday, December 28, 2009

I'm Back, and All Vestiges of Grinchiness Are Gone

I'm fairly certain this has been the longest I've gone between posts since my three-month hiatus a year ago. Perhaps some of you thought I'd disappeared off the earth again, but NO! I have not. Just off the Intarwebz. DraftQueen would be more ticked off about this if she wasn't buried cute-little-nose-deep in massive work (I happen to know she was back at work on the 26th, which was a Saturday people!) so I haven't gotten any snarky little text messages from her about abandoning her. On the one hand, I'm glad she isn't feeling abandoned (well, I hope she isn't.) On the other hand, I miss her. And you. Oh yes, dear readers, I missed you.

BUT.

I have been off in Real Life having an absolutely wonderful holiday break, the best I've had in a long time. It's amazing how that can happen when one strips away the excess, the stress, the materialism, the worry about schedules and traveling and events and gifts and STUFF that has clogged my recent years. I kept it simple this year, and I'm so very glad that I did.

I kept the focus on a small circle of people: my children, my siblings, my boyfriend. So the 23rd and 24th were my Christmas Eve and Christmas, spent with my boys and my siblings. We stayed all together down at my parents' place in Detroit (which made me feel closer to them as well, even though they're off in West Africa) and celebrated by doing all sorts of our traditional family activities. The males decorated the (artificial, which is also traditional--West Africa, peoples!) tree and house, which made for some interesting choices:


This is, in case you can't tell, a piece of plastic greenery stuck in the frame of a mirror. Very classy.

As well as some sweet moments:


My sister's husband, "Muttonchops Hubby", helps The Widget place an ornament.

My sister and I made candles as gifts (more about that in a future post) while the males baked cookies. Then we had a delicious dinner of Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables on couscous (my sister is vegetarian) and watched Claymation Christmas, a family favorite since someone taped it back in 1987 and sent it out to us poor television-deprived missionaries.

(I showed this to Joe a couple of days later and he said that while he liked it well enough, once a year is just about right. Barbarian.)

The morning of the 24th, I managed to keep DramaBoy and The Widget in bed with me until just about 7 a.m. Since we had all ended up in the same twin bed, you can imagine how well I slept that night. So I went down to put a firelog on the fire, light the candles, make cocoa, and put on Amy Grant's Christmas album at high volume while I sicced the boys on the peaceful sleepers. We read Luke 2 together, prayed, and then opened presents.

Interestingly enough (and SUCH a surprise, knowing our family), the vast majority of the presents were books. I myself received several books, a set of exercise videos (which I need to use), and a lovely pair of earrings. Oh, and two little handmade tree decorations from my boys via daycare.

Simple, but wonderful.

Then we made our traditional breakfast of Christmas Eggs (details again in a future post) and sweet rolls, and then relaxed before making dinner. The boys didn't so much relax as run rampant, much of the time wearing the awesome custom-made reversible superhero capes I got for them from BeeBeeBug:


DramaBoy action shot: orange side out, blue side in


The Widget action shot: yellow side out, green side in


The mighty superhero team of DramaBoy and The Widget, fighting a villain: colors reversed. Pants were, apparently, optional.


It was wonderful.

My sister and her husband left for his family's home that afternoon, so my brother and I took the boys to a Christmas Eve service at my family's home church, where my uncle is now head pastor. It was lovely. Then we had a simple dinner of leftovers and relaxed while watching Surf's Up with the boys. That movie was far better than I expected!

Christmas morning actual I took the boys to their grandfather's house for their Christmas with their father and his family, and since then I have been relaxing and *gasp* enjoying WINTER for the first time in years as well. We went four-wheeling through fields and wetlands until my feet just about froze off. I had no idea just how beautiful that stark winter landscape is. We went ice-skating, and I learned how to skate in hockey skates since I forgot my figure skates. We dropped by and visited friends and some of J's family. We drove around and looked at holiday lights. We went to dinner with friends at PF Chang's, and now I know why people like that place so much (nom nom nom). Last night I dragged J to see Avatar, which was somewhat cheesy and predictable (hello, it was James Cameron), but really quite good and well worth seeing in the theatre and in 3-D. J even managed to stay awake the whole time!

And tonight I will celebrate my birthday (which was on the 25th, but I rarely celebrate it that day for some reason), gathering friends and siblings around me in a casual get-together at a place owned by one of J's friends. Simple, no stress. It's becoming my mantra.

I'm thinking this is the way I should start doing holidays all the time. Maybe I'll even get to the point of being able to live my life that way!

You never know. Miracles do happen.

12 bits of love:

mom said...

You had a merry merry Christmas -- simple, carefully memorable, delightful! And you caressed my heart in doing so. I'm thankful for this miracle. God answers prayer, and this is only one way he does it! Happy, happy birthday now, Christmas Angel Teachermommy. I loved you before I knew you; I love you even more now than ever before. That's how it works. May this year be one of deep, true growth in healthy, true directions!

Arby said...

I glad that you spent so much time worrying about how much Christmas would suck in the months preceding the holiday. ;o) Apparently, both Thanksgiving and Christmas worked out well this year. I am very happy for you. (I hope that you will build off of this next year and RELAX!) And your New Year's plans are...?

Nicola said...

Sounds absolutely perfect. Belated Happy Birthday xxx

oreneta said...

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday, glad it went so well!

Kathleen said...

TM, I'm so very happy that you had a happy Christmas and birthday. And that you sound so very happy!! Happiness all around!! :-)

Draft Queen said...

Okay, I DID miss you, terribly, but I've been too freaking busy to whine appropriately about it. Or even read along at this point.

2 more days left of 2009.(Deep breath.)

I'm happy you had such a great holiday!

michelle said...

merry christmas!

happy birthday!

makes me smile to hear you refer to your boyfriend...

Anonymous said...

I had a wonderful time at Christmas with you, too! Muttonchops Hubby even commented that this is the merriest I've been during Christmas time when mom and dad aren't here. In fact, in proper Muttonchops Hubby fashion, he's commented on it multiple times.
Happy Happy Birthday, too!!
Love,
Soccer Sister
P.S. the in-laws loved the candles, especially the sideways striped ones! so thank you for making them with me!!!

LoriM said...

Oh good, you're back! Enjoyed reading your news as always. Glad you had a great and peaceful holiday. And did you see Lauren had her bebe?

Haha, Muttonchops Hubby repeats things, SS? So does my hubby. Right now he's obsessed about getting surprise pajama gifts to my brother's family who is arriving at our lake house BEFORE we do on Thursday night - he wants the PJs *ON* the beds when they arrive.... we were supposed to take them up last week-end, but we forgot, so he's having someone else carry them up there when they go - So cute.

GingerB said...

Aren't pants always optional, when one is at home? My daughter thinks so, anyway.

I envy your simplicity of celebration, having just come out of an orgy of stuff wrangling. Well done, you!

And happy birthday. Did Joe make you a cake?

MomZombie said...

So glad you had a happy -- and simple -- Christmas. I tried this year but failed somewhat as always. I won't give up trying. A house alive with happy, frolicking children is the best reward of all, isn't it?

Erin said...

Happy Belated Birthday.

And, relating to your simple, relaxed Christmas thing: I tried wholeheartedly this year to Just Relax. I didn't want to spend the whole day of Christmas looking at my watch, giving every one schedule updates and stressing over when we needed to leave to be somewhere else. It ended up that my 2 year old didn't nap all day on Christmas Day, but it was OK. She didn't fall over dead (and neither did I) and she was still mostly pleasant to be around as the evening wore on. And I had a much more enjoyable Christmas than I have in the past, even WITH three separate Christmases at three separate houses (ours, my in-laws and my parents). I'm hoping that this newfound laid-back-ness is something I can continue through the year. It's so much more pleasant to Just Chill, don't you think?

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