Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010: The Good and the Bad, the Happy and the Sad

Christmas 2010 was unlike any Christmas we've ever celebrated before, for both good and bad reasons. I will probably remember this one as bittersweet, because there were moments of true joy, but for me there was some sadness too.

The holiday season started off right. We got the tree at Lowe's, and had a blast decorating it. For the first time Emily was also allowed to help put up ornaments, although she had more fun standing back and watching Nora and I trim the tree. Ryan hooked up his old i-pod in the living room so there was a good three week period in which our favorite Christmas songs filled the air along with the scent of pine.

As Christmas day approached, I began to stress out more than in the past, and unfortunately this quelled some of the excitement I had been feeling earlier in the month. First, work became a nightmare. I'll leave it at that for now, but don't be surprised in the next few months if there's a post about how (1) I've run away to become a farmer or (2) I've found a new job.

Second, this was the first year where I really felt I had to make sure Nora got what her heart was set upon. You see, last year Santa failed to bring her a pillow pet, and she was really down and out about that for the last 12 months. I had a heart to heart with Santa and asked him to please make sure she didn't have to feel like that again! Santa secured a pillow pet in early October (smart move Santa!!!) but failed to realize that Zhu Zhu Pet Princess accessories were going to be impossible to find. After many many trips to the store, Santa's elves managed to score both a Zhu Zhu Princess Palace and a beauty salon around December 22nd. Phew!!!! But also Wow!! I never imagined myself to be one of those moms who could get hung up over a toy!

My stress levels, and excitement levels, really started to rise as the day approached. I was so excited because for the first time in Emily's life, I was hosting Christmas dinner. When I was growing up, Christmas Eve was spent with family feasting on seafood, and on Christmas day we went to my Grandma Esther's house for even more amazing food. As we got older, that tradition changed. I spent Christmas Eve with Ryan's family, and my sister began hosting Christmas day. This has always been fun in the past, but as the family is growing and changing, I felt it was really important for Nora and Emily to celebrate some of the holidays in their home with both sides of the family present. That's what we planned for this year. I was so excited to see everyone, Ryan was excited I was making Chicken Stew (not quite the Italian feast but dang its dairy-licious). The kids were just excited, and continued to run around the house singing Jingle Bells.

And then my kids got sick with the snot-nosed virus of 2010. You all know what I'm talking about, the cold where everyone's head was filled with boogers. What a nasty nasty bug. It took whole family with it, draining us of energy and probably brain matter too with the amount of nose blowing that occurred.

The major fallout of this was that my mom, who is still undergoing chemo, couldn't come to the Christmas celebration. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Then Xander got sick with the aforementioned snot-nosed virus, so he and his dad couldn't come either. So there were some moments of disappointment from my point of view. It wasn't the Christmas I had planned, and I must have been more attached to those plans than I realized, because for the first time in my life, I cried--aka freaked out--on Christmas day.

Luckily for all of us, the freak out didn't start on Christmas Eve, didn't delay Santa's visit, and didn't affect those who were able to make it to our home. And it did turn out to be a lovely holiday. We had some laughs too because

---I forgot to defrost Christmas Eve dinner so we had to order take out sushi. Or maybe I forgot on purpose, because I'm always looking for an excuse to order Fushi Yami!

---Nora chided me for not wrapping my gift to her (I redecorated her room! How the heck was I going to wrap a bedroom??? Goof!)

---On Christmas morning, Ryan and I awoke to the sound of feet thundering from the girls room to the tree. One could tell a plan was being hatched by the continued sound of feet, and then Emily entered our room. After telling me a bunch of nonsense, she took a deep breath and said in a hushed voice, "presents!!!!". When I asked if Santa came, she said just as seriously, "Yes". Wow!!! Emily understood Santa! Best present ever.

---Santa was so silly. He hid the pillow pets in the TV cabinet! Nora didn't discover them right away, what a wonderful surprise!

---I discovered on Christmas Eve that I donated all of my Christmas dining stuff to charity at some point in my life I no longer remember; so I set the table with a beautiful new gold tablecloth and paper plates.

---My Dad played trivial pursuit on the i-phone. (This is funny if you know how tech literate my dad is).

---Dinner wasn't funny but it tasted great!

---I left Stephanie and Jessie's presents under the tree, so they drove for hours and hours and didn't even get a gift! Then I thought I saw Jessie wearing the gloves we bought her, so I returned them only to find out on NYE she still wanted them. Ah well!!!

Happy Holidays 2010. Thank you for the good memories, thanks for the not so good ones too. Life isn't ever going to go according to plan, thanks for the reminder! But all that really matters is that Nora and Emily had a magical two days of gifts and family and great food, and hopefully they will remember the moments that mattered with fondness as they grow up.

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