Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas casualties

I feel like I am the biggest casualty.... even though it isn't Christmas.
But then again, it kind of feels like everyone in our family is a casualty right now.
Or at least if some of my delightful children don't start making some good attitude decisions, I may make them into casualties....
Okay, I'm kidding, but I've certainly felt that way this weekend.

It was a tough one.
I think there is a lot of fatigue - we had company all week and then more for the weekend.
Don't get me wrong - we LOVE it, but I tend to be a little more slack on bed times, allow more snacks and treats, and generally the kids seem a little more tired when we have had a lot of people around.
So, after all our company was gone, there were a lot of "issues" - mine included.

All I want for Christmas is more patience.

I think too, that we have all had enough of not having a car - we can't bring the kids to other peoples' places.
We can't so see the sights around Quito.
We pretty much have been house-bound (with some exceptions) for five months.
It has been driving me crazy as well.
Just little things like not being able to go to the store if I forgot an ingredient or ran out of something we really need.
And asking so often of our neighbors and friends - for rides, to borrow things, etc.

Anyway - enough of my blubbering
(okay, I'm not quite done blubbering. I'm really really sick of the internet problems we are having. A few people have commented on my infrequent blogging. It takes for ever to do it - it took over 9 minutes to load these 5 pictures - our connection is terrible, and I can only do it when I take the computer in our bedroom.... and even then it doesn't often work.
Now I am done blubbering)

(OH! I forgot to mention that Eric has been sick again - since Wed. morning. The man was hardly ever sick in California and Costa Rica, but now he is down a lot. Poor fellow.)
So, since we were all having a hard time, I decided to bust out the Christmas stuff.
We decorated the tree!!!

Even though this is the first time in my life (seriously - ever!) that I have not been "chomping at the bit" to play Christmas music by September (Eric has given me a Nov. 1 start date since I have always wanted to start so early), start decorating first week in November, and wanting to watch nothing but Christmas movies for at least two months before Dec. 25th.
If you know me, you know that there must be something seriously wrong with me.
It is not normal Carla behavior.

While I hauled out the tree, the kids went through all their ornaments. I've been buying them ornaments every year - something that represented the past year for them: Their personality, hobby, interest or major event.... that type thing.
There were several casualties.
Apparently, even though I thought I had packed them all really well, I didn't do such a good job.
I have to set up my little repair workshop and mend some very important objects.
Wings, hands, antlers, legs, hats and wheels all need to be reattached.
The poor unicorn might just be a long cause however.
Poor Jewel.
Not only did the ornaments not fair so well, but my list of all the kids ornaments: who got which one which year for what reason, is missing.
And my brain can't possibly remember all of that.
I'm praying it turns up.

The tree isn't the most lovely - no more hinged, pre-lit, Costco tree for us (I still will always prefer a real tree, but I usually don't want to wait that long to get one... or we put up and artificial and then later a real one. We'll see about this year...)
This is a back to the 90's artificial tree.
BUT, I got it for only $10 - and that is crazy, crazy cheap for here!
I've seen the exact same trees at three different stores for almost $50.
I bought two.
I wish I bought 12 - I could sell them for Casa G.....

Here is the beginning, straggly stage.

Not looking so lovely.
After we fluffed the tree, I put the lights on.
Now, I only bought two packs of 100 lights because they are mucho dinero here.
And I'm cheap.
Normally on a tree this size I would put a minimum of 6 strands of lights.
I go a little crazy.
So I started putting them on in the same fashion as I normally do.... and only got through the bottom row of branches.
I had to redo the lights four times until I finally did them "skimpy" enough to go around the whole tree.
Then the ornaments went on.

Bubbles the monkey joined in as well.
Bubbles is Lucy's kindergarten classes' monkey.
She got to take Bubbles home this weekend and we journalled all of the activities we did.
Lucy is going to have serious Bubbles withdrawals tomorrow.
She has become quite attached.

Of course we had Christmas music playing while we decorated.
That was one of the best parts, especially hearing Lucy's versions.
For example, Lucy was singing at the top of her lungs:
"Jack Frost nicking up your nose...."
Not sure what nicking up your nose feels like, but I am pretty sure that I don't want to find out.

The girls all put on their "Christmas colors" clothes to decorate.
It has sort of become a tradition.
A tradition in which there is no way a certain 7 year old boy is so lame as to participate in.

The tree is looking good.

After we finished decorating, Cade and Lucy proceeded to gather up some of their belongings and wrap them up for the rest of us for our gifts.

We got to open them already.
I got a scarf.
The one that Maddy knit for Lucy for Christmas last year.
The ultimate regifter.

So this is a pretty long entry, and not very comical or anything.
It is the state of my mind.
And the fact that it is way past my bedtime and I am hardly even aware of what I am writing.
Perhaps I should do these things when I am a little more alert..... but then of course I might not be able to get on the internet....

And as a unrelated conclusion, I would like to share with you a completely spontaneous, unprovoked conversation that I had with Cade while tucking him in tonight:
Cade: "Mommy, I have a problem.
Look at my face.
When I just hold my face still, I have a frown.
See?" (he points to his natural mouth shape)
Me: "Well buddy, then just don't hold your face still - smile instead!"
Cade: "But I'm not very good at doing something for a long time.
It starts to hurt my cheeks if I smile too much.
I don't like it."
Me: "You could just start with smiling for a little while and smile a bit longer each day. That way your smiling muscles will get stronger and stronger and then you will be able to smile all the time if you want to."
Cade: "But I don't want to.
And I don't want to smile a little each day."
(a sigh and a concealed grin from Mom)
Me: "Okay. But the best thing to can put on each day is a smile. It might be something really good to do. People like people who are smiling."
Cade: "Well, maybe just a little each day.
But just a little."

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