Today I began the process of taking down all of our Christmas decorations.
Usually, I'm anxious to get our dried up tree out of the house and everything tidied up by December 26, but this year I felt a little sad as I was putting away all of the decorations. Probably because this was such a wonderful Christmas, likely my best ever. The children were asking, "Why are you putting that away? WHY?" and when I finally took the tree out of the stand and carried it outside, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
The triplets were all crying because they didn't want to see the tree leave. Henry was crying because I put him in his crib to contain him since he would have otherwise bolted out the front door and directly in to the street when I was dragging the tree to the curb. And I was crying because Charlie was at work - I was pushing myself - and it felt like there was a cow prod jammed in to the right side of my neck and shoulder.
Later, as I was packing away all of our Christmas books, I remembered that I had promised to jot down the titles from our "seasonal" library. Not all of these books were wrapped because some were received as gifts. But, seeing as we now have 28 books, I think we'll probably wrap all of them next year since I have learned that the first night of Advent, everyone will want to open a present. Regardless, all of these books will be stowed away until next year when I can bring them out and make them new, again.
With the exception of Alison Julian's book (The Twelve Days of Christmas), I have provided a hyperlink to Amazon for all of the books listed. Those with the astrix were a personal favorite and books that I believe will always be a part of our Christmas tradition.
Advent Storybook (We read one story every night leading up to Christmas)
What Is Christmas?
Bear Stays Up For Christmas
The Christmas Star
Room for a Little One
Stable in Bethlehem
Reindeer Christmas **
The Polar Express
The Gift of the Magi **
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Santa's Favorite Story
Santa's Snow Kitten
Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree **
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bell
The 12 Days of Christmas (We have the Anne Geddes version as well as Alison Julian's.)
Tonight You Are My Baby: Mary's Christmas Gift **
How The Grinch Stole Christmas **
Bear's First Christmas
Great Joy **
The Mitten **
Frosty the Snowman
The Christmas Alphabet
The Night Before Christmas **
I Spy Merry Christmas
As I've mentioned before, Charlie and I have a lot of Christmas traditions. The Advent is just one of them. We watch almost every Christmas movie known to mankind throughout the month of December. My favorites are "It's A Wonderful Life" followed closely by "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."
Cousin Eddie and his full shitter gets me every time.
On Christmas Eve, we are each allowed to open one present. We have English Crackers at some point during our festivities. We read "Twas The Night Before Christmas" before retiring on Christmas Eve, usually after we return from Church and have had a fondue dinner.
We have cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning and lox and bagels for lunch. Both meals are served with mimosas. We draw out the process of opening gifts as much as possible. We open our stockings first and because we wrap each and every item within the stockings and then eat breakfast, we typically don't get around to opening presents from under the tree until a couple hours later.
We send out over 100 Christmas cards and we receive over 80 in return. This year my favorite Christmas card came from my friend, Deana and her family. After having been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer earlier in the year - Deana is now cancer free. The doctors told her that her case was so advanced that if she hadn't been diagnosed and treated as aggressively as she had been, she probably wouldn't have even survived until Christmas. But here she is.
Every time I looked at this picture over the past few weeks, I totally choked up.
It is so, so awesome. ROCK ON, DEANA!!
Another of my favorite traditions is setting up our little Christmas village.
Charlie's Uncle Bobby bought us our first Christmas village house in 1993. He sent us another one in 1994, 1995 and 1996. And then he started sending us mixed nuts. For the past five years we haven't heard from him at all. He still gets a Christmas card, though, and we think of him every time we pull out our Christmas houses.
In 1998, my father sold the pharmacy that he had operated for over 30 years. That Christmas, I just so happened to stumble upon a store that was selling village houses that matched the ones we had at home. And when I saw that they had a "pharmacy" for sale, I absolutely had to buy it. The similarities in architecture were so like my family's drugstore that what first caught my eye is the two-story brick building with large bay windows.
But when I saw the name of the pharmacy I almost keeled over.
Although this wasn't the name of my father's store, it is my family's name. So is this just a HUGE coincidence, or do you think it's likely that the designer of this little Christmas Village House has been to Concord, Massachusetts and visited the historic Snow's Pharmacy in the downtown?
That's what I think.
You know what else I think?
Karma is real.
Recently, whenever I see one of the children attempt to hurt their sibling and it backfires on them, I tell them, "That's Karma."
So when Carolyn tried to hit Elizabeth and instead smacked her hand on the table and burst in to tears and when William tried to kick Carolyn and his feet slipped out from underneath him and he banged his head, I told them, "Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. If not, you will suffer the consequences of Karma. Cause and Effect."
Do you remember when I wrote on New Year's Eve that I did yoga that morning?
When I wrote the post it was morning, so I figured that since my intention was to do yoga that morning, I would. But. The day just kept on going and going. And before I knew it, it was time to get the children ready for bed. And then it was New Year's Eve and Charlie and I had to watch "The Dark Knight." And eat crab cakes. And drink wine.
So. Uh. I never did yoga that day.
(I'm so ashamed.)
And then the next day, when I woke up and was sitting at the table blissfully watching the children dance, it was ON MY MIND that I need to stop eating french toast and I need to get up and do yoga. Immediately. And just then, while the thought was still on my mind, my neck muscles went in to a spasm and I've been miserable ever since.
So not only do I believe that if I had done yoga this "incident" wouldn't have happened, I believe even more so that if I hadn't WRITTEN that I had already done yoga when in fact I hadn't, I would still be able to move my head without cursing loudly.
When the children saw me wearing a neck brace, they were terribly concerned with what had happened. I tried to explain that I pulled a muscle and it hurts to move my head, so I'm just going to take some nice medicine, wear a heating pad at various times throughout the day and keep a brace on for at least the next 24-hours. Not one, but all three of our four-year-olds looked at me and almost simultaneously asked, "Mommy, is that Karma?"
Yes, my children. This is the face of Karma.
(Without makeup. And a double chin? OMG. IS THAT A DOUBLE CHIN?!)