Tuesday, December 30, 2008
For the first time in at least seven years we had a tree! Isn't it amazing how time flies? It wasn't until I sat down and really thought about it that I realized so much time had gone by without a Christmas tree. I always justified it as not really necessary since the kids spent every other Christmas at their dad's house and the years they were with me, we spent Christmas at my parent's B&B and they ALWAYS had a tree. Truth be told, there were more than a few years when it was either buy a Christmas tree or presents. The presents always won out. I managed not to miss a Christmas tree, or so I thought. RockCrawlinChef's brought a lot of positive things into our lives, not the least of which was the tree. But I'm especially thankful about the tree.
I love the smell of a live tree - it reminds me of Christmases as a kid. Have I robbed my own kids of that memory by not having a tree for so long? Lord, I hope not. This year has been so different than years past, and Christmas was no exception. The kids and I always had GREAT Christmases, just the four of us and our family, but this year blew all the others out of the water - at least for me. We actually celebrated four times in a 24-hour period - how crazy is that? I suspect that will be the standard from now on, too.
RCC and I each had a non-negotiable, don't-even-consider-asking-me-to-change tradition; luckily, they worked out perfectly. My non-negotiable tradition (well, besides Baking Day) is Christmas Eve at Grandma Mary's. As much as I hate crowds and noise, I live for the crowded chaos of Grandma's on Christmas Eve. Food in abundance, kids in abundance, "butt space" lacking (gotta claim your spot early), wrapping paper flying and kids "oohing" and "aahing" and yelling out "thank you!" - what could be better?
RCC's non-negotiable was Christmas Morning at his parent's. Luckily, his youngest brother is a sleeper-inner and we weren't expected over there too early, which gave us time to open our own presents under the tree (another benefit to having a tree - whoda thunk?). Christmas Morning at his parents was the polar opposite of Christmas Eve at Grandma's, but still a ton of fun. I enjoyed watching everyone open their gifts without the distraction of ducking the flying wrapping paper and elbows as kids tore willy-nilly into their gifts.
By 11:00 am, we had three of our four celebrations down and headed up to the Lodge for the final one. Christmas at Mom's is kind of a combination of both Grandma Mary's and RCC's parents; the kids still tore into their presents, but with Mom handing out the gifts it was much more controlled and we were able to see pretty much everyone open their gifts.
Sadly, Bill's mom had been admitted to the hospital in New Mexico the day before and he'd driven out to be with her, so we missed getting to spend Christmas with him, but he'll come home to plenty of gifts and some left-over Shepherd's pie.
The non-stop 24-hour celebrations took their toll (or RCC and I are getting old) though, and we fell into bed well before 7:00 pm. The kids teased us about our early bedtime, but didn't stay up much longer than we did. As with everything else so far, our lives are melding pretty darn well and I'm so excited about our new life. I'm not sure it gets much better than this!