a Merry Little Christmas, Indeed.

Ahhhhhh.  Christmas.

This year has been so great.  And gone by so fast!  How is it already Christmas Eve, I ask you!?

This is my view.  I wrapped one gazillion Santa presents (he ran out of time and asked for my help), baked Jesus’ birthday cupcakes, cleaned out our upstairs AND downstairs toy stash, and Oatmeal is still working away on the dollhouse assembly that he began at 8:30pm.   Better him than me is all I can say!

This was at 8:30pm…

8:30PM

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So let’s back up, okay?  Here is how our holiday season began.

One morning on the way to church, we decided to go to Dewberry Farms and cut down a Christmas tree!  This is the first year Poppyseed is old enough to understand Christmas and all of the fun and meaning.  It seemed like an awesome idea to start what could be an amazing family tradition!

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So off we went in Oatmeal’s old truck, singing Rudolph all the way to the tree farm!

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The weather didn’t look awesome that day, but we were hopeful that it would all work out.  And by “we” I mean me, because all of this was completely my idea.  If Oatmeal had had it his way, he’d have grabbed a tree from Lowe’s and called it a day. But humor me he did, and pushed the kids about a mile across the murky, muddy farm while I said, “I don’t like the shape of that tree…. these aren’t as full…”

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IMG_7525My visions of the kids frolicking through rows and rows of gorgeous Christmas trees didn’t exactly come true.  It began to rain, dropped about 10 degrees, and was too muddy to even let them out of the stroller for a second.  Clearly they were thrilled.

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It soon became obvious that I needed to lower my expectations of this being a fun filled new tradition.  I pointed to a cypress and Oatmeal went to work.

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Well, watching him cut down a tree in the mud wasn’t exactly the worst thing I had to witness.  Ha!

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By the time we got the tree loaded into the truck it had started to really rain, the kids were grumpy, and Oatmeal was swearing because it looked inevitable that we’d get stuck in the mud.  Thank goodness for four wheel drive, because that didn’t happen.  We went home and spent the evening decorating our tree!

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Am I the only mother who becomes a total sap around the holidays?  Cue Aaron Neville’s song, “Please Come Home For Christmas” and pull out some ornaments.  That’s all it takes for memories from decades past to come rushing back.  I probably teared up a dozen times during this whole tree decorating process.  Our wonderful house, my precious kids, the way my husband did everything I asked… including taking multiple pictures and posing with Poppyseed at least a dozen times while I captured the moment the angel was placed.

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I can’t lie, I felt an enormous amount of gratitude and disbelief that this picture perfect life was my own!

IMG_7554I went to bed that night feeling like it couldn’t get any better.  Our house was halfway decorated for the holidays and it wasn’t even December yet.  I felt like I was really on top of my game and couldn’t wait to start polishing all of the silver snowflake ornaments my mom used to use on our family tree.

The next day I woke up feeling… odd.  I felt more tired than usual and struggled to open my eyes.  As the day went on I found myself rubbing my eyes more and more.  That night as I sat on the couch working on my computer, I began to feel itchy.  Uh-oh.

By about 10pm, I was covered in a red rash.  Oh man.  This is not good.

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I’ll cut right to the chase.  I am allergic to the most non-allergenic kind of Christmas tree that exists.  Apparently handling the tree so much while stringing lights and hanging ornaments was too much.  My body pretty much went into a full out reaction.  I had a bumpy red rash on my arms, legs, and face for about 5 days.  It blistered in areas and pretty much knocked me right out of commission.  I tried ALL of the things, y’all.  The only that that helped was Claritin.  It was a long, red, bumpy, ITCHY week!

During that week, our beloved Christmas tree was banished from our home.  We moved the culprit to the front porch and later sent it to live with a neighbor.

The following weekend I mentioned to Oatmeal that we should just get a fir tree.  We’ve had live firs in the past and never had a problem.  Well, I woke up to a quiet house the next morning (which is always somewhat creepy when you’re a mom) and realized he and the kids were both gone.  They soon arrived and I opened the door to see THIS on my front porch.

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Y’all.  I know he meant well, I do, but Oatmeal brought home a four foot tall frocked Christmas tree.  I’ll abbreviate the conversation that ensued, but it was like this in a nutshell:

Lola:  “Um, what IS that?”  (Stands on porch in bathroom, scratching wrists.)

Oatmeal: “I got another tree.  It’s a fir.  You said you wanted a fir.”

Lola:  “It’s WHITE.  And SHORT.  Why did you get a white midget tree?!?”  (Look, I know that’s not the most PC thing in the world, but it’s how it came out.)

Oatmeal: “Honey, you said you wanted a real tree, so I got you a real tree.”  He was getting irritated with my reaction.  Apparently he thought I would embrace WM.

Lola: “Can you return it?  This cannot be our actual Christmas tree.  It’s four feet tall!  I did say I wanted a fir tree, how did you end up with this one?”

Oatmeal: “Look, I told the guy at the tree store that my wife was allergic to our cypress and he said you’d probably be allergic to a fir as well.  He said if I got a frocked one it would keep all of the irritants on the tree and not all over our house.”

Lola:  “Okay well I can see that, but why did you choose a 4 foot tree?  We had an 8 foot tree, were you just trying to save money or what?   Seriously, can we return this tree and get an 8 foot tree?”

Oatmeal: I’m not returning the tree.  If you don’t like it, it can stay on the porch and I’ll go get you another tree.  I’m not returning the tree.”  He was livid. You know how I know?  Because he stopped making eye contact and didn’t talk to me for about ten minutes.

Needless to say, WM moved into our home and got a makeover that afternoon.  You win some, you lose some.  I’m calling this a win because even though Oatmeal didn’t exactly hit the bullseye with his tree selection skills, he sure got an E for Effort and that’s all that really matters.  I took my “Ba Humbug” attitude and embraced it.

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Our Christmas decorations are simple, but considering we started with nothing 5 years ago, I’m happy that they are progressing!  We wrapped garland and white lights up and down the staircase, set up a small tree next to the front door, gave the mantle some holiday accents and even bought a new TV and console on Cyber Monday.  All in all our home has gotten quite the holiday face lift!  I love it!

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Mine and Oatmeal’s stockings were wedding gifts from friends, and I still remember ordering each stocking for Poppyseed and Middle.  The small snowman was a gift from Oatmeal’s mom and I actually glued every one of those 1000 ornaments to make that wreath!  The framed pictures on the mantle are Christmas cards from years past, beginning with the year we were pregnant with Poppyseed.  It’s crazy how fast time has gone!

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Speaking of time, Oatmeal and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary on December 11.  We took our first trip since having Baby Middle 16 months ago!  It was so wonderful!  We flew into Denver on a Friday, spent the night at a gorgeous hotel, ate our way through the city, and reunited with old friends on Saturday night.  By Sunday morning we had just the right amount of alone time, social time, and away-from-the-kids time.  We were both really, really ready to get back to our babies!

Just arrived at Brown Palace in Denver…the tree and decorations in the lobby were AMAZING!

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I tend to recap my vacations by describing my favorite meal, and we really did eat so well.  Juli of PALEOMG.com posted a really helpful article about places to eat paleo or gluten free in Denver, and she did not disappoint.  The highlights were eating gluten free pizza on Friday night and then grabbing brunch at Snooze the next day.  Best gluten free pancakes I’ve EVER had…. even my very non foodie husband was impressed.

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Well, all good things must come to an end.  I did eat all of those pancakes, and we did come home.  I must mention this one little moment we had together.  Oatmeal and I were killing time in the Denver airport when he made the comment that “Tom Brady is copying my jacket.”  He was referring to the cover of GQ, and I just about died when he joked that Tom was copying him.  Maybe you just have to know Oatmeal, bu the way he jokes around is just so dry and funny to me.  I laughed and laughed at his declaration of style.  Bahaha!  I even made this fun collage…

Who wore it better?  2 out of 3 say my husband of 5 years…

IMG_7953We made it to a few other Christmas festivities… Oatmeal’s annual company party and Christmas at the Janicek’s come to mind as being our favorite holiday events.

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Poppyseed and Middle had a ton of fun with their cousins, of course.  This blurry photo was snapped during the Sealy parade!

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Poppyseed also sang in her preschool Christmas program….OH DID SHE SING.  Front and center, as per the norm.  I just love that little girl.

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Tonight we went to Oatmeal’s parents house in Sealy, ate the most delicious meal, went to church, and opened family presents.  Everyone had a blast!

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IMG_8116Now it’s 1:30am and we are finally getting ready to retire for the (short) night.  Santa has made his delivery, toys have been assembled, Santa’s snack has been left out (and consumed), the reindeer have been fed… now we get to get a few hours of zzz’s and then see what the littles think of their gifts!

This will be Poppyseed’s view as she walks down the stairs – I hope I wake up before she does!

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Everything about this December has been wonderful (other than the horrendous rash, of course) and I’m so excited to see the kids face’s in the morning!  Good night, and Merry Christmas!

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