Checking Off the Christmas List…

Christmas has come and gone, and the New Year holiday is quickly approaching.  I sit here in my snuggly warm, new Ugg robe (a perfect gift from my fabulous husband) and contemplate why we look forward to these moments for so long and why, so often, they fall short of our expectations.  Ever since I married (but especially once we had children), the holidays pose a stressful time for me.  Our extended family has landed all over the country, with my parents a three hour drive, and my in-laws a cross-country flight away.  While we make an effort to split holidays between our families, it is inevitable that someone is disappointed and it is beyond stressful to try and coordinate.  On top of that, we have the small children, but are typically the ones that end up traveling throughout the holidays.  How do so many others get lucky, having family travel to them? Explain yourselves!
 I know, growing up, that my family was lucky, having so much family live within easy driving vicinity, but in our crazy life, that is just not the case.  And, as I get older, it is no fun to attempt to sleep in a small bed that is not my own (so I see the other side’s case for argument, as well).

One of the most difficult things I deal with (and maybe others as well?) is that when we are around our parents, they often times do not know how to NOT parent.  What I mean is, they continue to take care of us, which, while thoughtful, is unnecessary.  When I am treated like I am incapable, it makes me angry and frustrated, as though I am not able to take care of myself and basic needs.  Um, I have lived on my own longer than I have lived with my parents at this point, so I think I am doing alright?  I know many people appreciate being waited on, but for some reason, it drives me nuts.  Additionally, when my kids start acting obnoxious and I correct them, only for an older adult to tell me ‘they’re fine, just let them do what they want’ is belittling my parenting and kids see that.  Then we return home and get the pleasure (?) of ‘retraining’ them to behave and act politely.  Believe me, not something to look forward to.

Holidays are a massive combination of emotions and expectations and when I peruse Facebook, seeing everyone’s perfect holiday memories, I feel embarrassed that my experience falls short.  Don’t get me wrong, we often have a great time and/or moments as well, but holidays stand out since they are built up for so long.

For New Year’s Eve, my husband and I most often stay in and watch football or a movie once the kids are in bed, with me falling asleep on the couch long before the ball drops in Times Square.  I am completely okay with this.  My days of unrealistic expectations of this holiday are long behind me and I am definitely glad to be on my couch instead of struggling to find a cab after midnight in the freezing cold.

To begin 2018, my resolution is to become more optimistic in all aspects of life. Resolutions are not easy for most to honor, so I am going to try writing on a daily basis to hold myself accountable.  Not here, as my writings for this experiment are not always long enough to justify a blog post, but a few years ago I tried this and kept a journal on my nightstand.  Each night for a few minutes before bed, I wrote down at least one thing I was thankful for that day, and it truly puts many things in perspective for me, so I am going to go back to that format and we’ll see how it goes!

However you celebrate your holidays these last few days of 2017, I hope it’s happy, comfortable, and relaxing.  To close, here are a few of the amazing gifts I received from family members this Christmas!

I am IN LOVE with my new Ugg robe.  I received it in a dark grey color, of which it promptly sold out. But here is the link to a similar version.  Lightweight and warm, all in one!  It runs true to size, if you like a fitted look, and it’s even on sale right now!

I got this book, Letters of Note, that I have been engrossed with at any free moment (and let’s be honest, there aren’t many!) I have. It’s an eclectic compilation that anyone would enjoy and I am going to work my way through it rather quickly.The coolest thing I discovered was that there is a website connected to this book that displays additional letters online and a short context behind each writing. An intriguing snapshot into historical figures’ lives.

My favorite letter so far was from Mary, Queen of Scots!

Lastly, this coffee/tea press makes mornings a bit more bearable.  Especially when most of them begin before 5 a.m. with an outrageously LOUD toddler screeching, “Ma!” A scarily accurate scene out of Family Guy.  

I can typically get at least two mugs out of a full press.  Something to warm me up on these OBSCENELY cold, midwestern mornings.