Weird Christmas

Christmas Kids 2014

Yesterday marked without a doubt the weirdest Christmas I’ve ever had. But thank goodness, it was still pretty merry.

It started out like any normal Christmas. The kids bounded out of bed at 7:30 (our enforced time) and we opened gifts…lots of smiles all around. But then around 10 or so I got a FB message from my mom saying that Emily’s dad had gone over to get my Grandma to help her get ready for our family Christmas celebration (which would take place at my mom’s for the first time as our Grandma finally couldn’t handle having it at her house for the first time) and found her not quite well. He called an ambulance to come get her, and our Christmas took a turn.

My mom and Emily’s dad ended up spending the entire day at the hospital with Grandma (who is ok, but apparently fell and hit her head – no concussion, though) who ended up being admitted but spent the day in the ER in an overcrowded hospital before finally getting an actual room in the late afternoon.

First year in my ENTIRE life I haven’t seen my Grandma on Christmas. Admittedly, I was pretty low. We weren’t able to visit her because of the whole ER situation plus a high risk of flu at the hospital. However, after it appeared that she was not in major danger, I perked up a bit. But I still felt for my mom and Em’s dad as they spent all day with her and most of the evening, and now have some tough decisions to make about what’s best for her.

So, the Rapsons spent a good part of our day being lazy and playing with toys –  not so bad, really. Then we packed up about 3:00 to go visit my other Grandma, my dad’s mom, who is 95 and has been ailing since August. The past few times I have visited Grandma have been really hard, because she is not well at all and it’s just hard. I miss her vibrancy. But it was a blessing to see her on Christmas day and tell her I love her.

After a visit with Grandma and my aunts (thanks for all the gluten-free food, Aunt Z!!!), we headed over to Emily’s house, because she lives 5 minutes from my Grandma and the kids were dying for some cousin time.  (As was I, I will confess.)

There a lot of selfies ensued.

christmas selfies

#averyselfieChristmas

Then Kate and Sophie got in on the act because Kate is my selfie protege. You’re welcome, Em!

kate sophie

And THEN Emily and I played an EPIC Trivial Pursuit game against our husbands which I am SURE we would’ve won…if we’d gotten totally different questions. And Emily had a couple drinks which made her love me and find me more funny than usual so it was pretty much the best time ever!!

Also, our kids stayed up way too late but they totally loved being together so it’s a win!

My whole weird Christmas, which started and ended with smiles but had a fair share of worry in the middle  - just served to prove to me that these words I wrote at For Every Mom last week are true:

Christmas is so much more than we usually make of it.

We make it about presents and lights and amazing Pinterest creations.

But it is about Jesus, God’s indescribable gift to each of us.

…It is the trying and devastating times in our lives that make Christmas all the more joyful, beautiful and wondrous.

Because of Christmas, all those trials will work together for good. Because of Christmas, we will one day be in a place where none of earth’s ill can befall us. Because of Christmas, what’s broken can be made whole.

Because of Christmas, we are blessed when we mourn! This is the good news we can cling to in the midst of trials … even when we are covered in tears at the foot of our Christmas tree.”

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! Even if it was weird, or full of grief, or just plain carefree. I hope you can still feel the wonder of God’s gift to us today, and every day as we head in to a new year.

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Because Stopping is Not an Option #unstoppablemoms

I wrote this post as part of my participation in a blog tour for The Motherhood on behalf of the makers of Children’s MOTRIN® and received compensation to thank me for taking the time to participate. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

I have to confess that this past weekend kicked off one of the most nerve-wracking times of the year for me: first of all, daylight savings plunges us into way too much darkness, and November kicks off the really busy holiday-birthday-palooza that goes nonstop from now until Christmas. We have Sophie’s birthday November 16, Bobby’s on the 26th, Thankgiving, Jonah’s birthday on December 17th and then Christmas.

So basically, I should’ve started shopping 2 weeks ago. Hey, I am just happy to have already booked Sophie’s big bday bash at the bowling alley!

The truth is during these next 8 weeks, I have more to do than humanly possible – working, birthday + Christmas shopping, party planning, Sophie’s two birthday parties (one for friends, one for family) along with the other weekly activities that won’t stop like church, house church, and swimming lessons. But I have done it for years past, and I will do it again this year. Because I’m unstoppable! Here are a few ways I keep it all together during the holidays.

Unstoppable Moms

1) I shop online almost exclusively. Ain’t nobody got time to run around to a billion stores to get all these presents. With two kid birthdays and a husband birthday AND my mother’s birthday and Christmas all between November 16 and December 25, THAT’S A LOT OF PRESENTS. Amazon and Kohl’s.com are my friends. I don’t have time to lovingly pick out each gift at the store and I am not handmaking NUTTIN’. So. I shop online, when I have time, and it saves my life.

2) I delegate. I do make Jonah’s birthday cake because he’s gluten-free, but I let someone else (bakery!) make Sophie’s cakes (although of course I make sure Jonah will have a gf cupcake to eat at her party as well). I ask my mom or sisters-in-law to bring extra chairs or chips to go with the pizza we’ll order. I let my husband wrap the presents because he is WAY better than I am at it and he likes doing it (although the sheer volume of Christmas presents for all our family members is so large that we do that together). I keep our family parties casual. We have lots of fun, but not a lot of frills. Nobody is going to pin pictures of any party I throw and that is A-OK with me!

3) I ask for help. I guess this is kind of like delegating, but much more pointed. If it’s a couple days before a family party and my house is DEFCON-4 level messy, I ask my mom, or my sister-in-law, or a house church friend if she can take Jonah for a couple hours so I can power clean. If I have more places to be that I can possibly be, I ask for help. Sometimes I just cannot do it all, and when I can’t, rather than fail, I ask for help. And luckily I have lots of family team players who will help out in a pinch.

The Birthmaspalooza is on it’s way, and I. Will. Survive. I might even ENJOY it, celebrate my wonderful kids, hubby, and mom, and try to impress the wonder of the Christmas season and God’s amazing gift to us upon my kids’ hearts – whew!

I can do it, because I’m unstoppable! Stopping, my dears, is simply not an option.

What makes you unstoppable as a mom? 

The makers of Children’s MOTRIN® would love for you to share your unstoppable tips over on the Motrin Facebook page. Because one of the best ways we can help each other be unstoppable is to share what works for us! And what’s awesome about that? For every tip shared, they will make a $1 donation made to Safe Kids. Your tip might also win you $100 just for posting (all details on the Motrin Facebook page)

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY, OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES & D.C., 18 AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Promotion ends 11:59p.m. ET 12/28/14.  Sponsor will donate $1 for each approved Submission made as part of the promotion, with a minimum donation of $30,000 and a maximum donation of $50,000.  For Official Rules, and complete details, visit www.unstoppablemoms.com. Sponsor: McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc.  To learn more about Safe Kids Worldwide visit safekids.org

Go give the unstoppable moms who have  inspired you a big shout-out today, and share your tips to help other moms, too!

What makes you UNSTOPPABLE during the holiday season?

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Christmas still happened even though I forgot to be neurotic about it.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the fact that I had forgotten to be neurotic about Christmas this year. I wasn’t in my usual state of panic, for whatever reason.

You guys are never going to believe this. Christmas still happened anyway.

And it was actually pretty great.

The kids didn’t flip out because we didn’t do Advent activities every day. Our Christmas cards arrived before Christmas (the day before, but who’s counting?).

Sam even got the Legos he wanted.

image (20)

It was weird. I felt like I was less prepared than usual, but everything went much more smoothly. I kept my wrapping supplies on the dining room table, and instituted a wrap-as-I-bought policy. I wrapped all the kids’ stuff on Monday, and I didn’t have to stay up half the night on Christmas Eve doing it. That’s a first!

I didn’t bake nearly as much as I normally do, and I don’t think anyone noticed. I made a few batches of cookies (including these, the best cookie recipe ever. Just add crushed candy canes and only bake for 9 minutes. You’re welcome.), but that was about it.

But, despite my lack of freaking out, we had a great Christmas.

image (21)

I think there’s a life lesson in there somewhere.

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