Stress you are not welcome or invited to Christmas of 2015

This year has been different.  It hasn't been a bad different.  It has been a beautiful different.  While I love my family so much, I think we can all agree, that the holidays can get stressful. That stress can end up wonderful. That stress can be/end up great.  That stress can also leave me exhausted by 12:00pm on Christmas Day unable to enjoy any more.  It can make me a Grinch.  It can make me Scrooge.  There are only so many hours in the day......but I learned this summer that they(my kids) are growing up so fast.  So, I need to knock the stress out of the house.  Occasionally, the stress appears but things are getting better. 
I like this picture because THERE IS A RAINBOW going across my tree. 
(How cool is that????)

Last year, the idea of gift giving made me cry. I wanted to buy the perfect gift for everyone but I couldn't.  I knew I couldn't because I can't buy something or make something for someone if I don't know them.  Unfortunately,  as you get older in life.....people change......interests change.....they get busy and out of touch with you. It's just change. Change happens just like well😏......never mind! 😇 

How can you find "the perfect gift" for someone you only see once a year, maybe twice. It's hard right?  So, we tried something different this year and we have been shopping since August.  This has been a huge stress reliever.  I have enjoyed shopping for those I know. This year I have tried to get to know those that mean so much to me better through texts and phone calls, rather than depend on Facebook.  I have remembered memories from the past as items have crossed paths. Slowly, gifts are being checked off our list. Gift bags are being filled! No stress. (Don't get me husband has some shopping to do for "his" people! But he doesn't seem much stressed either. This year is going to be great!)

Gift giving isn't the only thing that has changed.

Saving Where and When You Can

We have become resourceful.  Money was ruining our Christmases.  We could never have, earn enough money not to mention heating this house is expensive. 

So this year, with our decorations we have chosen elegant simplicity over grand statement pieces.  Our ladder up to the attic broke. (Another expense)  So,  just getting upstairs is "nearly" impossible. Guess where all of my beautiful and wonderful Christmas decorations are? UPSTAIRS! (With the broken door so we had to get creative) 

While we once use to pay up to $60 on a live Christmas tree, this year we paid NOTHING. 

Our oldest cut down this sapling from our yard. I love it. Our tree is MORE than enough.  We inspected it for any unwelcome guests.  (I.e. Singing chipmunks, spiders, ticks.....although since the frost has happened -most- of those annoyance creatures are gone from our woods). I was kind of disappointed I did not find a chipmunk named Alvin but...... Since, It has a Charlie Brown advantage and it isn't thick..... a full inspection was super easy easy. 

Enjoying the kids While They Are Here

We belong to a local theatre group that is an honor to be part of.  We love them.  My kids love their roles and meeting an older generation that loves the arts seeing the show and making a younger generation laugh.  We live sorta far and the drive is hard but my boys love spreading cheer in theatrical fashion.  We weren't scheduled to go in tonight but when it comes to theater you never know when you might be needed and team work is just as needed on the stage as it is needed on the basketball court. (Make no mistake about that!!) So, my boys dressed into their costumes as we awaited a call from their director.

So, our tree isn't Pinterest perfect but, starting to decorate the tree in an 1820's costume is pretty epic.  Soon Zoey wanted in on the fun and chose to wear her beautiful Christmas dress with sparkly boots.  (Found that dress on sale super cheap #score)

The thing she is handing Nolan is a TODDLER safe plastic (yet not THAT tacky) package of ornaments.  Zoey was pretty excited so her older brothers were pretty excited too! Plastic!  (Hello stress relief!  No broken glass!  Dollar tree saves the season??? Perhaps!) Zoey was in heaven.  The colors, the lights, there is a "TREE" in our own house.  That, in itself, is not normal. Zoey (only 2) knew it was exciting.  

I don't know how but she new exactly where our dollar tree golden star needed to go, but she knew. (Did she remember from when she was 1????)  I captured a beautiful video tonight. A video of her asking her Dad "up"! She wanted him to take her to the very top. I will save that video for her forever. "Up Daddy, Up" "Up on the Tree, Dad" I will save it just for them. (It's their moment.  I will not make it public on YouTube. #sorrykinda It's a great 22 second clip).

They won't stay little forever and I am not going to yell at them for touching elves or breaking ornaments. Zoey exclaims "Pretty Tree", "Pretty Dress", and then point to my wedding band.. "Pretty Ring!"  Yes, Zoey!  All very pretty! 😭😭😭😭 For REALZ! My girl knows what is pretty for sure! 

I know they won't be 12, 8, and 2 forever.  For now I am thankful for those pretty moments and I refuse to let stress steal them.

Just letting them be them! 

A simple tree is easy to decorate and left time to sing music.  Nolan even played "Go Tell it On the Mountain" from last year's piano recital!  We ate candy canes. We tried to smother Zoey in hugs and kisses.

She just wanted to work on the "Tree"!  She really does love us, I promise. 😍. In fact, she wasn't even crying in this picture. (Just trying to escape our hugs and embraces... to work on "the tree"). So dramatic....look at that face!!! I wonder if one day she will be part of the acting community that the boys love so very much??!!  Time will tell.

We got the call by the director that he had everything under control and he didn't need the boys.  Although, the boys love performing they know family is important too! I love that about them. Sometimes, being a parent is hard. Well, almost always being a parent is hard.  But, tonight it was pretty easy. 

They got out of their costumes and put on their Santa hats.  Grabbed a second helping of Candy Canes and just had fun in front of the tree! Charlie Brown trees are quick to decorate. Nolan even played on the piano. 

But then his brother made him stop! Then they were just goofy. 

Jp made a speech and exaggerated ...., ummmm story told about his adventure to find the tree.  

Then he started to sing a song. 

Then Nolan started rapping or something and crazy antics. 

Our Thanksgiving tablecloth is our tree skirt! ......and I am ok with that. 

And yes......Zoey got to help put the star "Up" on top of the tree just like she asked at the beginning of the night.....with a little help from her oldest brother and "her" Dad. 

Getting the sleep we all need! 

One thing that is apparent this year is that my lack of sleep.....Anyone's sleep.......can up the stress level.  I look and feel like a Zombie. If I am is everyone else.  "That if mama ain't happy....." Quote.........It is so true. 

We got to bed at a decent hour. 9:30!  Ohhhhh my gosh......what a gift! Sleep is a good thing.  Especially for me. Especially for my health.  Especially, for stress.  We, our family, hasn't been getting enough. 

Tonight was a beautiful day.  Tomorrow, we won't have a decorating hangover. Tomorrow, I will wake up to a beautiful tree. 

Cost of a beautiful night and tree: $19 and that was including the candy canes. Cost of a night in the memory books..... Priceless! (Psssstttt MasterCard nor Dollar Tree have any clue I wrote this post!!!!!) 

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