Well, the holidays are over and the jury is still out! I think I pulled out as Spirit Master, but I'm sure some would say Grinch. You be the judge!
After much debate we decided to make the trip to my sister's house for her holiday party. The kiddos and I joined Mima and Poppi for the trip; Hubby met us there. A five and a half hour trip turned into an eight hour trip. Wow. We met at my favorite restaurant On the Border for dinner and got back to my sister's house late. So kiddos are going in to this weekend tired. We had a full day of getting the house ready, and doing party prep; T Bear was on the go all day and we didn't get her to rest (even though I really wanted to!). The party was lots of fun, so I let the kiddos stay up. Mad Man dozed on and off, but T kept going until almost midnight. Even though I knew that T should be in bed, I let her enjoy the party. Big mistake. Huge, actually. She was a real bear the next day for our lovely trip home. I have never been so happy to get out of our van.
Christmas shopping. Some would probably view this excursion as crazy, but to me it is just par for the course. Mima, Poppi, the kiddos and I decided to go to Binghamton shopping for the day. It is about an hour drive. We left later than we wanted to (again par for the course), and managed to see Santa prior to eating lunch. After T had a few meltdowns deciding what she would eat (which ended up being a bite or two of Cinnabon, some yogurt, some Doritos, and some bites of a soft pretzel) we were ready to shop. Mima took T and Poppi and I headed out with the Mad Man. We were able to get a few things accomplished before meeting back up. Did I mention that in between lunch and meeting up we had one potty break, one diaper change, a short nap for the Mad Man, and some snacking for T? I know. We made our purchases and by 4:30 were beyond ready to sit down and have dinner. Now, there was a time when I could do marathon shopping trips - those times are seriously over (for now)! There was even a time when T Bear and I could do some serious shopping, but throw another child into the mix and all bets are off! I was proud of T because she picked out gifts for everyone all on her own (courtesy of Mima's wallet!), and she was so proud of herself and what she purchased.
The many days of Christmas. Now in a perfect world there would be some amount of relaxation during the holidays; this is not a perfect world. The festivities began on Sunday with breakfast with Santa at The Neptune Diner. This was actually relaxing. T and Mad Man were happy and we were able to enjoy a late breakfast with Mima and Poppi. Then the rush was on. We went back to their house so T could wrap her presents and Mad Man's finger prints could be used to make some gifts! Then to our house for Mad Man's nap, gathering stuff for the evening, and baking pumpkin bread. Not usually a big deal, but Hubby was at softball practice (yes, I know it is December, somebody forgot to tell him), and Mad Man only sleeps while being held (we are working on it!). I did manage to find a quiet moment to give T an early Christmas gift: a gold heart necklace which was mine when I was little. I had no idea how excited she would be to wear it. She brought tears to my eyes, and in that moment the magic of the season was upon us. Then back to reality. After some exhaustion we were off to Hubby's dad's house for hors d'oeuvres. We were home by nine, too late for a bath, then off to bed.
The next day was Christmas Eve. We began the day attempting to find our living room floor, which was covered with toys and God only knows what else! My sister and her boyfriend arrived and we visited for a bit, while I continued to clean-up. Then lunch, followed by a bath for both kiddos. Not sure where Hubby was for all of this fun. Then putting curlers in T Bear's hair (I had secretly been dying to curl her hair - it is so long! I mentioned to her that when I was little I always curled my hair for holidays and birthdays, and she was in!). I then tried to locate the correct presents for the evening amidst our mountain of gifts piled in the Disney room (our spare bedroom/playroom/catch all room). Mad Man wasn't having it, so it was time to get him to nap. Following his nap we quickly gathered the presents and necessities for the evening. Now let's face it, it practically takes a miracle just to get myself, T and Mad looking presentable, so this was no easy task. We did manage to pull ourselves together, then Hubby took T outside to spread her Christmas Magic for Santa and the reindeer. At this point I was having my own fit because Hubby had snapped that I was going to burn the house down by accidentally putting a piece of paper on top of the stove. Argh. Now, let me mention that I was emptying the diaper bag while wrestling Mad Man and answering T's abundance of questions! Had he lent a hand perhaps this could have been avoided. Then we were off to Hubby's mom's house for a Christmas Eve dinner and presents with Hubby's family. Following this celebration, we were off to my parent's house for their Christmas Eve party. Mad Man lasted a while, but then conked out. We stayed and did get to watch my favorite Christmas movie 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, which is my Christmas Eve tradition. We were home by 11:00. We got the kiddos to sleep and then I set up the presents. Once asleep, I was awakened by a feverish, crying T Bear who climbed into bed with me and proceeded to vomit. Lovely. She did manage to ask if Santa had come as I was cleaning her up. She woke up again with a little more vomit and then we were able to sleep.
Now my children are not early risers, thank God they take after me on this, but on Christmas they were up and ready to go by 7:30. In spite of T's sickness she tore through the presents under the tree. This was much different from last year where she took her time and examined each and every present! Mad Man was not really into the present thing, not even the paper. He would peruse some of the toys after they were opened (by T) and then cruise around. After presents we had cinnamon buns for breakfast and then relaxed for a while on the couch, while Mad Man napped. Then off to the next stop. We showered, got ready, packed the van, and headed to Mima and Poppi's house for more Christmas. The day was very slow going. We had our traditional Christmas breakfast when we arrived and then started opening presents. T was definitely not feeling like herself, but was a trooper. Dinner time rolled around and we were still not finished opening presents. We opened a few more and then headed home. The next day we were back at it and headed back to Mima and Poppi's to finish opening and to have our traditional day after Christmas, Christmas dinner. By this point T's nose did not stop running, her fever had not diminished, and her exhaustion level was at an all time high. Since there was also a snow storm brewing the kiddos and I stayed over - frankly I couldn't imagine packing up our stuff one more time, just to have to return the next day.
Through all of the madness I maintained some sanity. Keeping my patience level where it usually is was a challenge to say the least. I hope that my children enjoyed the holiday in spite of vomit, fevers, and Mommy's occasional meltdowns. I know I did.
High: Seeing the excitement on T Bear's face when I gave her my necklace.
Low: T Bear's illness all through Christmas - just not fair.