Sunday, December 27, 2009

Calm was the Christmas

If there is one word that I can think of to describe our Christmas, it would be calm.

And oh Lordy, how grateful I am.

I had a bit of running around on the 23rd, what with wanting to get the house picked up a bit for my parent's visit and our mother's helper who was here for 7 hours uploading all of Mr. Quimby's classic rock CD collection onto our computer so I could sync them with the iPod (his Christmas present - the music on the iPod, not the actual iPod). I was very conscious of trying to get everything done in time. I took a self-portrait to document my state of frazzled-ness. See that lock of hair hanging out of my ponytail ? I went out in public like that. I also had two pimples on my forehard that I didn't even try to cover.

I had a bit of a freak-out on the afternoon of the 23rd when I remembered that I had not coordinated the girls Christmas dresses. My typical M.O. is to have them in semi-coordinating outfits (fairly easy to do when you shop at the thrift store). In 2007 they both wore shades of pink and burgundy. In 2008 they both wore jumper style dresses in dark colors with turtlenecks underneath. My vague plan was to have them wear shades of green this time, but I never found anything I liked at the thrift store for Ramona and when I pulled out Beezus's dress on the 23rd I realized that it would be way too short for her.
I started to berate myself a little bit, asking how could I possibly have forgotten something when I had already simplified as much as I could. Then I came back to my senses, looked in the closet, and look what I found! Knit dresses, each with a floral pattern, each with velvet trim around the neck and each with an empire waist with velvet detailing. Also, matching pale pink tights and black dress shoes. Disaster averted. (Hey I never said that living simply was easy for me - I have my demons.)

On the morning of the 24th I took the girls and I to the doctor's office for our seasonal flu shots and that was definitely not calm. 25 minutes to get checked in and a total of an hour until we saw the medical assistant who gave us our shots. (I love our pediatrician, but the office systems need a SERIOUS overhaul.) Ramona was fine, but Beezus took off and ran out of the little room and made a break for it to the front door. I already had my arm out of my sleeve and ran after her with my shirt above my shoulder, but thankfully re-dressed myself before entering the lobby.

Other than ALL that, it was mainly calm.

To be sure, it's wonderful having an extra set of hands around (or 3 extra sets of hands between my parents and my sister Susan) and that certainly contributed to the calm, but it's also because Mr. Quimby and I made it calm.

We ordered our teacher gifts (8 of them) well in advance, and since they were gift cards they were fairly easy to wrap. I ordered gifts online for our godchildren and had them shipped directly to the recipients. I did make a foray to the post office to ship my e-Bay stuff and a package or two, but I weighed them at home on my scale and printed out the labels from USPS. I still had to wait in line to hand them to the clerk, but at least it took a little less time. As you can imagine, the bulk of the girls presents came from the thrift store or had been bought months earlier as I stumbled across them. Mr. Quimby spent a lot of time sanding the dollhouse, but he did that the week before Christmas. I mailed half of the Christmas cards on the 24th and the other half are sitting on his dresser. Luckily they say "happy holidays." Beezus had asked Santa Claus for only two presents: a dollhouse for her and "a suitcase for my little sister." The dollhouse was easy to deliver, but I just never got around to getting a suitcase. They haven't even asked about it now two days later!

We went to the children's mass on Christmas Eve, and the girls loved the pageant. They are pretty fond of our priest and deacon and Ramona particulalry likes pointing them out at various times during the mass. Afterwards, we had an easy pasta dinner, our typical 20-40 minutes of a DVD post dinner time and a bedtime that was only a little bit late. I was up until 11:30pm hauling stuff up from the basement and arranging the dollhouse (Mr. Quimby wasn't feeling well and went to bed early with Beezus) while my mom wrapped some of my presents for me. I was very proud that I remembered to move the couch out away from the fireplace so that it would appear as if Santa Claus moved it when he was coming out of the fireplace from the chimney.

The girls slept until a very reasonnable 8am the next morning when they saw their Santa Claus presents (Santa Claus doesn't wrap his presents) and played with them while my Mom made egg and bacon sandwiches and we all had a leisurely breakfast. We pacified the girls with the candy from their stockings while they waited and then we opened all the wrapped presents. It was a lovely, leisurely morning. The girls wore their new pajamas all day (thanks Aunt Sandy - we didn't dare try to make them take them off) and they also got to watch a DVD during the daytime, which is also a big treat.

For the most part, I don't know any different than a calm Christmas. Growing up, we didn't live near family and my dad worked retail, so traveling wasn't an option. We spent lots of time with some of our extended family in the summer, and I have wonderful, very vivid memories of those visits. I never felt like I was missing out, and I still don't. Now, as a mother, I sometimes prefer for the extended family in my children's lives to spend time with them NOT around the holidays - I think that the relationship might be able to be more authentic when people are visiting with the girls and experiencing their typical daily routines with them.

Without further ado, I present to you our Christmas scene.

(and yes, Aunt Susan, I remembered that I promised not to post the picture of you in the tutu.)


T said...

the dollhouse turned out sooo GREAT! i too bought every single christmas present save for one at the thrift store and made the rest of my presents. i'm always happy when my friends find treaures too! i got a 1920 whitehouse cookbook for my dad that he LOVES :) it was a total hit! i have to say i was happy not to get all 2nd hand gifts from santa as i really needed plain long sleeve white shirts and he brought 'em! hooray! one of my hardest tasks at thrift stores (although i found a brand new one for my sister along with brand new jeans SCORE!!).

Silvia said...

Looks lovely, and I love the doll house.

Rachel et Natalie said...

looks so cozy.
I am glad your parents and sister were around and that you all had a peaceful Christmas.

Ryaanne said...

Sounds like a lovely day.

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