Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You {Our Trip To Visit Santa}

"It hurts me more than it hurts you."

Just the other day, that old saying got put to the test here in our household. Oh boy howdy, did it ever get put to the test. And let me tell you a little something about that old's definitely still in the business of ringing true--of making a momma fight her crumbling heart between what it wants to do & what she believes is right to do

In all honesty, I can't tell you if I did the right thing or not. I'm still pulling out lessons from that day & wondering how I could have done better as a momma.  Parenting has a real way of bringing you to your knees & humbling you. It's a circle of failing & getting up & trying again & again. I don't do parenting perfectly, not even close. I get impatient. I raise my voice. I have my days. 

As soon as Jett woke up Wednesday morning, the first words I spoke to him were, "Today is the day we see Santa!" I played it up all day long-- reminding him that he'd have to speak loud & clear when he asked Santa for that special gift he's been talking about every single day--a piano. I did my best at convincing him he'd have to be strong & brave & sit on Santa's lap like a big boy so Sissy wouldn't be scared. I reminded him of how special he & Lulla are--that Santa was making a very big trip from the North Pole to come & visit them. He was excited. He couldn't wait. The day was dwindling down & the time was drawing near. 

And that's when things began unravelling. Our passes to see Santa were for 6:30. And just minutes before 4:56, the day went to hell in a hand basket {4:56 is the time I tearfully sent Jared the text saying there was no need to hurry home from his company happy hour--that our trip to see Santa had been called off}.  Back up. 4:56 was the time that it all hit the fan, but really, the entire day, from early morning had just been off.  Looking back, I can see that each passing hour of that whole stinkin' day had been brewing into a combination for a perfect storm--an irritable momma, a baby who hadn't napped well & screamed relentlessly every time she was removed from Momma's hip, & a two year old insistent on making matters worse. Please, oh please, tell me you have these off days too. That I'm not the only one who's almost three year old whines through every sentence, who's six month old poops through three sets of clothing & screams the second she's put down. Where you look at the clock & back at yourself only to realize it's after three in the afternoon & you haven't even had a shower yet. Because those off days? They happen around here.

I laid Lulla down in the middle of the floor for a moment while I ran to the kitchen to shut off the beeping oven & pull dinner out when I heard Lulla's screaming hissyfit escalate to an even higher level than it had been at all day. I dashed around the corner to find toys--little planes & cars, bouncing off the top of her head. The little girl who screams bloody murder if you even look at her wrong was now getting plucked by tiny toys. You cannot even imagine the meltdown that ensued from her. And there stood my Jett man--the normally sweet, tenderloving big brother, standing across the room chucking toys at his crying sister while telling her, "You're makin' my nuwbs!" That's code for: you're getting on my nerves.}. 

I should have stopped right there--taken a breath, told my own ball of winding nerves to chill for a sec. I should have stopped Jett, explained to him that I understand his sister's crying makes him absolutely crazy-- that it just so happens to "make my nuwbs" too--but that his behavior in hurting her is wrong. I should have allowed the steam that was building inside of me to fizzle out before I even took on the situation.

Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

Instead, I saw red. I marched into the living room, steam spewing from my ears. I spanked Jett's bottom, plopped him in time-out & before I had time to even process the words, they were rattling off my tongue, "We are NOT going to see Santa tonight!" Ugh. The minute those words were out there, I immediately wanted to retrieve them, gather them back up & pretend I'd never uttered them. Here I'd spent a whole entire day preparing for our trip to Santa. I'd arranged dinner & naps & nearly killed myself squeaking in a five minute shower, all for the sake of making merry, magical memories for my children as they visited the jolly ol' fella, himself. I had watched my little boy ooze with excitement all day long & now I was watching that excitement be replaced with gigantic tears & a shattered heart as he sat sobbing in time out.

The smoke eventually cleared. My nerves settled. I apologized to Jett for yelling at him. Jett apologized for hurting his sister. I explained that it's okay for him to express himself, to tell me when he feels angry at Sissy & that if he can tell me when he is frustrated instead of taking matters into his own hands, that I will promise to do my best to help him in any way that I can--whether it be taking his attention off of the crying by engaging in something he loves, by having him help me with something "important" or just by corralling him away from his sister until his own nerves can settle. We had a good talk. Good hugs. Good reconciliation. And then he asked, with wide eyes, "I go see Santa now?" 

Oh, the sting, the burn, the hurt in my heart, the tingle in my eyes from the quickly forming tears. My heart began wrestling itself a hundred times over as I looked into the eyes of my hopeful little boy-- Oh, just take him. You were wrong as a parent, too. You shouldn't have spouted that off without thinking. The punishment didn't really fit the crime. And see? He's genuinely sorry. You're all ready to go, anyways. Just take him to see Santa. 

I answered him, despite the lump in my throat, "No buddy. We can't go see Santa tonight. You hurt your sister & that isn't okay." 

For the next twenty-four hours, that same hurt filled my heart each time I overheard Jett say to Daddy, "We not go to see Santa, Daddy. I hurt Sissy." or to his own toys, "You sit in time-out. Two minutes. We not see Santa!" Over & over again I met face to face, the It hurts me more than it hurts you phrase.

Even after flip flopping & replaying that day over & over again inside my head, I still in this very moment cannot tell you if I did the right thing as a parent, or not. I don't know if there is a right-- or that any decision will ever feel right in the moments where my heart is being pulled & stretched & forced to make decisions I'm torn about. But I do know I took some lessons from that day. And I know my little Jett learned his own set of lessons, too. And I think maybe that's all I can do as a momma. Know that this parenting thing--it's a learning experience I won't ever do perfectly. But what I can do is commit to giving my very best & letting my not-so-very-best-moments mold me into something a little better.

At last, a new day dawned. And let me tell ya, there ain't a momma out there that was happier to see the that brand new Thursday morning sun shining through the bedroom blinds, than this girl right here. A more collected momma. No toys being bounced off heads. A renewed eagerness to see Santa.

On Thursday evening, with a pass for six o' clock to see Santa Claus...we did just that.

It was a picture perfect moment. Jett asked for a piano.  Lulla didn't scream her head off.  And Santa went on & on & on about what beautiful, wonderful children they are. 

I'm with Santa. They are two absolutely wonderful & beautiful kiddos & I treasure their sweet little lives more than I can put into words. I wouldn't trade any of our moments--the perfect and imperfect ones for anything.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Six Months & Seventeen Days {starting solids}

At six months, seventeen days, Lu-Lee Beans had her first taste of rice cereal. Yeah I know, six months, seventeen days is a bit of a late start but 1) it's hard to find time for it with two busy kiddos  2) she really hasn't shown interest 3) let's face it--it's a mess & good grief, I don't have time for another mess 4) today it's rice cereal, tomorrow her senior prom. Maybe if I can just keep her on formula for the rest of her life, she'll stay with me forever & never, ever grow up...

and last but not least, 5) she could live from the chunk she's packin' in these cheeks alone for at least another six months. Girl isn't hurtin' for food.

Alas, six months & seventeen days later,  it was time to toss the excuses--all five of them-- out the window & get our girl up to speed on her developmental milestones.

It looked a little something like this:

and this...

and this...

She was clearly offended by the goo we were shoving in her mouth.

Well then, that settles things. No rice cereal. No senior proms. She's never growing up. This is working out rather nicely.

Oh, if only.

We all took a turn at trying to convince Lulla that a bowl full of mush is delicious {or "DEEEE-wish-us", as Jett would say}...

but she wasn't buying it.

I am crazy about this photo. The looks on each of our faces--they're priceless. I think we are all a tad terrified.

So after a few bites, some terrible faces & eventual gagging, we called an end to all the fun. We'll give rice cereal another go here in a couple of days.

Here's to hoping she doesn't whither away on us in the meantime.

**I realize that a "Starting Solids" post may not be all that exciting of a read to everyone. But for me, it means so much.  It brings a smile to my face. It makes me laugh. It captures moments that one day, when she's headed out the door for her senior prom in high heels & a formal dress, I'll be so thankful I have to look back on. And that my friends, is why I do this whole bloggity blog thing I do. Thanks for coming here & sharing in the big & small in our lives.**

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Last weekend we flipped the pages on the calendar to December--the merry, magical month of December. I know I don't stand alone in saying that this month is one of my very favorites. I have so enjoyed seeing the stream of facebook & instagram feeds lately {you can follow me on instagram at happeningsofourhome if you so wish}, slowly beginning to transition into all things Christmas & holiday--family traditions, sweet treats, home decor, crafty creations. We each have our own special way of magically marking this beautiful season, of making it one that fills our cups with cheer & warms our hearts with gladness.

Just four days into December, here's what's making me merry thus far:

Hot Cocoa. Its how I kick off the Christmas season {well that... & reciting every single word of watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation}.  Almost every single evening after the kiddos are snug in their beds, I shut off the lights, curl up with a mug of hot chocolate piled high with jet puffed marshmallows & I sip by light of a glowing Christmas tree. And this little addiction I have to hot cocoa?  It's quickly rubbing off on my family members--every once in awhile Jared joins the fun by grabbing a cup for himself & meeting me by the Christmas tree. And Jett, well, he begs for "hot cocooooo" all day every day. I suppose it's to be expected when there's a hot cocoa station set up in the kitchen clear through the month of February.

inspiration for my hot cocoa station comes from one of my favorite bloggers--Sarah at Clover Lane

This girl. Her first Christmas. Our first as a family of four. She has added so much joy to our lives in her tender six months of life & this Christmas season just feels so incredibly full with her here. I feel so completely blessed to have two little souls to make such magical memories with.

Merry mail. I make the list. Check it twice. Find a pretty pen & give myself Carpal Tunnel addressing stacks upon stacks of cards to send out to our loved ones. This year I got a little crazy with my scripting {thanks be to Pinterest} & I got worried that maybe the postal service wouldn't deliver my foo-foo covered Christmas cards. Thankfully, my husband knows a guy who knows a guy & they checked out okay. Let's hope I start receiving a mailbox full of cards...that aren't my own.

Four stockings hanging on the mantel. I searched high & low for family stockings that suited my fancy. I considered making a set myself, but with the full plate we have right now with two little ones, a big move on the horizon & holiday hooplah in general, my husband was quick to shoot my not-so-grand-idea down. He knew it would result in a tired, overwhelmed, about-to-blow-a-gasket-momma & that ain't a pretty sight.  So I began my search & fell upon these little pretties. I really love them. When I opened them from the box just last week, I actually squealed I was so excited. They are so well made, fully lined, & much larger than I expected. I couldn't be more pleased. I can't wait to fill them with tiny treasures for many, many years to come.

Custom stockings created by Louie at Etsy shop Shabby Chic Home

Brown paper packages tied up with string. Oh how I love a pretty package. This year I decided to decorate on a dime, though. No filling a cart full of ribbons & bows & three different styles of wrapping paper for this girl. Instead, I made use of the things I already had at home. A spool of yarn, some doilies left over from two Valentine's Day's ago, remnants of gingham ribbon, the never-ending ball of jute twine in my craft room drawer, stickers & crocheted flowers--I made do. And it was fun. It challenged my creativity & I got a kick out of that. Actually, with the exception of our new stockings & a few ornaments for the tree, I changed up the entire look of our holiday decorations & spent very little money doing so. 

The twinkle in this kid's eye. Oh man, he is making this Christmas so special. He wants the Christmas lights switched on first thing in the morning. He spends hours playing with his manger scene & asking about baby Jesus. He asks to lay out a quilt in front of the fireplace so he can drink his hot cocoa where it's cozy. He watches Frosty The Snowman {yes, the old classic one that we watched as kids} every single night before bed. He knows exactly what he's asking Santa to bring him for Christmas--a piano.  The excitement & eagerness this little guy exudes honestly brings tears to my eyes--it's a pure childhood giddiness that I always dreamed to give to my children. Getting to witness those feelings bubble up inside of him, the ones I couldn't wait for to manifest--well, it blesses this momma's heart.

New traditions. I know of a few people who do a form of this tradition & I've also seen it floating around on Pinterest recently, so I figured why not give it a go? The kids get to open a new book every night until Christmas & we read it just before bedtime--just before Frosty The Snowman. I thought I was going to have to stash them away that first day because the anticipation was just too much for Jett & he proceeded to ask every ten minutes if he could open them all. But then he figured out the deal-e-o & knows now that he chooses ONE a day--right after bathtime is over. He has turned pretty clever on me though--asking for bathtime to be bumped up so he can get a few minutes closer to opening that gift. Little stinker. I honestly am not sure what I'm going to do with this tradition after this year. Buy more books? Put these ones away with the Christmas stuff & wrap them up year after year? Add a few new ones? Eventually they will outgrow these. I don't know. All I know is that this year, it's fun & it puts a sparkle in their eye.  I'd love to hear your ways of celebrating & counting down the days to Christmas. Feel free to share!

Old traditions. This might be my favorite tradition out of all that we do. Probably because it was a childhood tradition of mine that I always loved & looked forward to. A brand new set of Christmas jammies to open up & snuggle into on Christmas Eve. I know I will only get away with coordinating their pj's for a small window of time before they become too cool for it, so you'd better believe I'm jumping on it while they don't know any better. I have been known to exhaust myself in an effort to find the perfect Christmas jammies. But this year, I let that go & ordered Jett's from Gap & Lulla's from Old Navy. I didn't spend an arm & a leg on them, I didn't spend hours scouring the internet, & guess what--they're still cute to boot.

December is shaping up quite nicely, if you ask me.

The best part?

We've still got twenty seven days to go!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Hustle & Bustle

There's a date marked on the calendar for Jared & I to finish up our Christmas & stocking stuffer shopping. We're looking forward to a night of ice skating with our Jett man. I've got blank canvases sitting in my craft room, waiting for little painted hands & feet to transform them into crafting masterpieces. Our 2012 ornaments have been carefully chosen. My worn & tattered sugar cookie recipe has been dug out of my recipe book & my pink stand mixer is calling my name. I've already made one batch of homemade cocoa mix {taste tested & approved by my sweet friend, Amy} & there are still homemade marshmallows to be whipped up. We'll visit Santa in the next week or so. I'll sit down & plan out a menu & place settings for Christmas morning breakfast. We'll watch Frosty The Snowman at least a hundred more times.

And if all of that isn't enough to keep us busy this holiday season, well then....

our big move is sure going to!

That's right. We're moving! Yep, right smack dab in the middle of the Christmas season.

It's crazy. It's busy. It's hectic. But we're making the very most of it. As the Christmas gifts are being dropped off the Fed-Ex truck, labeled boxes are being loaded onto moving trucks. The best part? It's all set to the tune of John Denver & The Muppets.

We are so looking forward to this new chapter in our lives. A home that's a hop, skip & jump from all of our family. The Smalltown, USA we have always dreamt of bringing our children up in. A house big enough to grow in. We are excited.

Even if it does take the term hustle & bustle to a whole new level.