Sometimes you have grand plans and need to adjust your expectations. On Friday night our ambitious plan was to attend our town’s tree lighting ceremony and later in the evening see the Holiday train roll in for a musical performance. Maybe even go on one of the horse and carriage rides in the village. Really none of that happened as by the time we picked up my stepson and had dinner we were running horrifically late. We attempted to make the train but parking was impossible to find so we actually saw the train while in our car stopped at a red light! We also caught a glimpse of the horse and carriage rides and that actually salved my disappointment as the horses weren’t really pulling the ‘carriages’ I had anticipated, instead they were more like wagons. Honestly it is just as well that things turned out as they did as my stepson is a little too old to be interested in tree lightings, wagon rides or holiday trains and Julia is still a little too young to appreciate them. Plus evenings can be tricky for my usually good natured little girl, overwhelming her with unfamiliar activities at bedtime is not usually a good idea!
On Saturday we headed out early for round two of holiday activities. First stop the mall for Santa pictures. My goal was to arrive early when Julia would likely be in the best humor–we arrived early but Santa alas did not. I had remembered arriving early last year at that very mall for Santa pictures so had neglected to double check the hours. Apparently later in the season Santa has early hours but this Saturday he wasn’t wasn’t available until 11. We were able to kill time until Santa arrived but it wasn’t ideal because the photo shoot was now smack dab in Julia’s usual naptime so forget good humor! Falso hope was achieved when she actually smiled at Santa but all collapsedsoon enough. She had been holding an empty cardboard Starbucks cup which she’d been playing with in line and and when I took it from her she had a full on meltdown (she was grouchy because she needed her nap) so was screaming before she was even deposited into Santa’s lap. So I have a classic baby tantruming with Santa picture. Which honestly makes me giggle. Especially since she wasn’t truly distressed, within 30 seconds of the picture being snapped she was fine. (I gave her back her cup)
Our next stop was purchasing our Christmas tree. Although the needles are the bane of my December existence, I do love, love, love a real tree. I love the smell of fresh pine filling our home and I love the variety of having a ‘different’ tree every year. And our tree this year is certainly different–it is much smaller than what we typically get–maybe 4 ft or so. But the presentation is the big departure, since Miss J gets into EVERYTHING, we worried what she would do if given access to a tree. So we took her seldom used anymore Pack N’Play and put an old end table inside of it and the tree on the table–an inexpensive glittery snowflake tablecloth was draped over the Pack N’ Play as well as the interior coffee table–this perches our small tree very high and out of reach of small, curious hands. No one would pin a picture of our tree set up on their Pinterest board (that tablecloth is fooling no one!) but it works for this season in our lives. It definitely removes an element of stress from our holidays to not have to worry about Julia and the tree!
Sunday morning was church of course. Julia went up to the nursery for the second time and did pretty well! Apparently there were a few tears and attempts to escape by crawling to the door but overall she was OK and she seemed perfectly fine when I picked her up. But wow after an hour away from her mommy she was CLINGY! She wouldn’t even let her daddy or brother hold her after I picked her up and she draped herself tightly against me. But within an hour or so she was fine (it felt good to be missed!). After church Robert and I decorated our tree and he set up our oh so classy inflatable Santa Claus lawn ornament. I also decorated a very small tabletop artifical tree for the nursery–I love that Julia has already acquired so many special ornaments! Next year I will get her a larger artifical tree for her room but this year a tabletop version is just fine. Robert also has a tree in his room to display his ornaments, it is always one of the first things he does on the first Dec weekend he spends with us–sets up his tree. One of my favorite traditions!
Our time with Robert was abbreviated as my parents picked him up early in the afternoon in order to attend a Milwaukee Symphony Holiday Pops concert. I am so glad they take the time to do one-on-one things with Robert! It was especially kind of them as it was my dad’s 71st birthday yesterday. After they left Jeff, Julia and I (and the dog) had the very best lazy Sunday afternoon. We went upstairs and got cozy in bed and watched movies and napped. I love the flurry of holiday activities but those quiet moments of just enjoying time together are the most important.