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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

This Really is a Wonderful Life!

Our Tree - Christmas 2012
It's Christmastime again and I can't help but think about the first time I blogged about Christmas.  I had just found out that the sweet baby growing inside of me was going to be Karl.  When my husband and I found out  he was so excited to be having a boy because, as he said, "that means if we have a girl next she'll have a big brother to protect her!"

Those words turned out to be prophetic.  Just 2 short years later, I have a rambunctious, energetic, busy, brilliant, and beautiful little boy.  I ALSO have a sweet, yummy, cuddleable, and precious baby girl.  Wow.  Talk about blessed.  There's not a thing I want for Christmas that could ever pale in comparison to what I have already received.

"Kiss-miss tee in Time Out!"
To me, the gifts that keep on giving are the moments I get to spend with my kids everyday now that they're here.  Every day is special but there's something about Christmas that makes the funny moments poignant and the stressful moments funny. Since we put our Christmas tree up and have decorated it, I've had to put a dog pen around the tree to "protect" it from my 20 month old son who loudly proclaimed "Kiss-miss Tee in TIME OUT!" at the sight of the caged in tree.  I've had to fish his toys out from behind the pen because he inevitably drops them in between the tree and the pen and can't get them out himself.  I've found ornaments stuffed inside his toy box, our refrigerator and on our book shelves.  I've caught him standing on his tippy toes, perched on the arm of the chair that sits next to our tree, reaching out with his "Go-Go Gadget!" arms to grasp the forbidden fruit that dangles on the higher branches.  Even though he can drive me bonkers trying to keep him away from it, off of it, and out of trouble, I LOVE the curiosity and awe Christmas has inspired in my son.
Trying to sneak ornaments off of the tree from our chair

 I suppose I've just been feeling sentimental this year because I realize how blessed I am.  I'm writing because I need to get my gratitude out "there"- to express it to the universe, I guess, to acknowledge that I fully understand just how wonderful and blessed my life is.  I get to spend Christmas  with my kids, my husband, and our family- what could be better than that?

I have always liked Christmas but I've never been one of those obsessed-listens to Christmas music nonstop from Halloween through the New Year- kind of people (unlike my husband, the real life version of Buddy the Elf).  There's something special about Christmas now that I have kids, though.  Really, being a mom brought the evanescent magic of the season from my own childhood back to me, only this time it is even better because I get to live the magic through my kids' eyes.  I know they're little now but just by seeing how Karl reacts to the lights, the jolly music, the sweet treats, the allure of the tree and its bejeweled limbs, plus the tantalizing promise of this mystical man named "Santa Claus" bringing him presents, at this very young age, I can not wait to see how he will react in a few years when he really does "get it."

I was struck the other day at just how fortunate I am when I was at my mom's house with Karl and Hana and my Nana (my mom's mom). We were all listening to Christmas music.  Occasionally a really happy up-beat song would come on and Karl would dance to it and we would all laugh.  My mom would dance with Hana to the music and stand her in front of the Christmas tree so her little eyes could admire and transfix on the lights. My Nana and I were putting the finishing touches on my mom's handmade ornaments; each year she crochets a new one for every family member and this year's addition is a stout, plump Mrs. Claus to join last year's addition of Santa.  My Nana and I were hot gluing experts by the end of the day.

We all joked and laughed and had a fabulous time being together and it was one of the most special moments I've had with my children so far.  Christmas time is about finding the love in your life in all the small places.  It's about giving and caring and joy.  I am so lucky that I get to share it with my kids and my family.

This year's Mrs. Claus and last year's Santa Claus made by my mom
Looking at my tree the other night after the kids had gone to bed I noticed that most of my ornaments and trinkets were either made by my mom or given to us by my husband's mom.  Each one of them holds a special story and meaning.  My son can point to them and say "GiGi made 'dat!"  or "MiMi gave you 'dat!" and that is so special to me.  I can't wait to pass those ornaments on to him and my daughter when they start their own families- to share our traditions and our sentiment with them for a lifetime.  The treasures that decorate my tree are priceless to me and I hope that my kids will feel the same way about them as they grow.  I pray they get excited to see each ornament be unwrapped and hung in its own special spot on our tree each year.  I hope they feel proud to display them and that they have a favorite out of the bunch that means something extra special to them.  I hope they love spending Christmas with me and the rest of their family as much as I love spending it with them.

One of my mom's snowmen

My mom's penguin from a few years ago
Another one of my mom's snowmen
Spongebob!  My mom made this one with my cousin Matthew one year
My mom's beautiful, lacey hand crocheted snowflakes

This is really a wonderful life I live.  This life, my life, really is a blessing.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be a mom and to have invaluable moments with my kids during the holidays. Life at Christmas time really can't get any better than it already is!
Karl with Santa and Hana with Mrs. Claus
Merry Christmas!

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