Christmas music playing in the background and snow softly falling outside...
Hot cocoa with lots of marshmallows and homemade Christmas cookies right out of the oven...
Lots of smiles and laughter as we create beautiful Christmas memories of decorating the tree as a family...
The entire family dressed in matching holiday sweaters so that we can take our holiday family photo as soon as we are finished decorating the tree... okay, that one is a little too cheesy, even for me.
The reality of trying to decorate for Christmas in my house is SOOOOO different than the Christmas decorating in my daydreams. I love holiday traditions and the chance to create special memories with my kids but this last week has not gone as I planned.
It started last Sunday during our drive back from Louisiana for Thanksgiving. I had told Sophia that we could put up our Christmas tree when we got home and she was so excited. Traffic, tummy aches and tantrums delayed our trip. By the time we finally made it to our house, Sophia started throwing up and Tallen demanded constant adult contact. We discovered during his doctor appointment the next morning that he had (and at this point probably still has) double ear infections.
On Monday, Trey managed to get the tree downstairs and put it together. Yes, we have a pre-lit tree that can be assembled in less than 15 minutes. (Talk to me again in ten years and maybe my kids will have convinced me to bring a live tree into the house so we can spend several weeks watching it die). Anyway, Sophia was so excited when Trey taught her how to turn on the lights on the tree by herself. Five boxes of Christmas decorations made the trip from the attic to the living room but remained unpacked. Except for the smallest box which contained the stockings, kitchen towels and blankets which Sophia used to decorate Tallen's exer-saucer (while he was in it playing).
On Tuesday, both of our heaters stopped working... which was inconvenient because it was scheduled to get down in the 30's that night. Trey built a fire, we put a portable heater in our master bedroom and had a four person slumber party in my bed. As I left for work on Wednesday morning it was snowing, so I got a little bit of my Christmas spirit back.
By Wednesday evening, Trey had given up on the idea of me actually decorating the tree with ornaments and moved all the Christmas boxes into the dining room so we could stop tripping over them.
My plan for Thursday night was to take the kids to a lighted Christmas parade in downtown Grapevine. However, with Tallen still recovering from double ear infections and the temperature forecasted to be in the 30's again that night, we had to miss out. Sophia and I made up for it by baking the first batch of Christmas cookies.
On Friday evening, all four of us headed out to do some Christmas shopping. In theory this sounds like fun... but I did not factor in the extra time it takes to put two kids in coats, hats and gloves due to the cold weather. This coat, hat and gloves routine had to be repeated every time we got out of the car to go into a store and again when we were trying to leave the store to go back to the car. After the third store when I realized that I had lost Tallen's hat and had to go back through the aisles looking for it, we headed home and went to bed. The tree remained lit but unadorned...
Saturday morning I was at the mall before 8:00 AM to do some KID-FREE Christmas shopping and then on to brunch with the girls. The plan that afternoon was to take the kids to the Lewisville Christmas parade but Tallen decided that his ear infection is back (or maybe it never got better) so I spent the afternoon holding a fussy baby instead of watching homemade floats and catching candy canes.
Which brings us to Sunday and the the real reason my tree finally got decorated today. Both of the kids went to Trey's parent's house last night while we were at the Mavs game. Sophia was mesmerized by their Christmas tree and could not resist touching all of the sparkly, glittering items on the tree.
In awe, Sophia looked at her Gran and said "Our tree does not have all of these beautiful things on it. Ours just has lights."
So today, after I had rocked a fussy Tallen to sleep, I finally opened the Christmas boxes in the dining room and got out the sparkly, glittering ornaments. I woke Sophia from her nap and told her it was finally time to decorate the tree. And with the Dallas Cowboys game as our background music (instead of Christmas carols), we hung the ornaments on the tree. Instead of having hot cocoa and Christmas cookies when we were finsihed, Sophia and I shared my leftover cotton candy that I brought home from the Mavs game. Instead of lots of smiles and laughter, Tallen's cries filled the room (I really think he still has those ear infections) and Trey had to hold him so that Sophia and I could decorate. And instead of posing for our a family picture in front of the tree, Trey snapped some pictures on his Iphone because he had left the camera in his car and he could not go get it because he was holding Tallen (unless he wanted to go through that whole coat, hat and glove routine again).
So while this may not have been the decorating scenario of my daydreams, our tree is up and are making Christmas memories as a family.
My plans this week? Well, we still have to take the kids to get their picture made with Santa. Check back later in the week to see how that goes...