Monday, December 30, 2013

The Best Laid Christmas Plans...

We've been enjoying a pretty nice Christmas this year.  Luckily, we learned from last year's insanity, and managed to keep the kids' behavior manageable this year: we spoke to the grandparents several times throughout the year about the importance of them giving our kids a *reasonable* (i.e. small) number of Christmas gifts, we prioritized naptimes every day, and we tried to get "real food" into the kids at each meal before we set them loose at the family parties where every relative would inevitably feed them junk.

But still, the week of Christmas, we had four parties, four gift-opening sessions, four overnight guests, plus a visit from the in-laws which included trips to restaurants and museums!  A lot of things keeping us busy (and keeping me away from the computer). 

Sadly, I have very few photos to share of it all.  I've been so disappointed in my camera and the sub-par pictures it always takes, that I haven't bothered to use it much.  Tom's iPhone takes much nicer photos than my "real" camera, which just doesn't seem right!

Anyways, here's a tiny peek at what's been going on around here.

Before the annual cookie exchange party, Tom and I kept talking about how we wished we could have a 1800's-style Dickensian-type party (think festive carols, dancing...Fezziwig).  Anyways, a few hours before the party started, here's what my husband transformed himself into...

Oh my.  No words for this.

We forced some friends to join us for a dance party to these awesome tunes.

Our tree finally got all decked out.  I was overall happy with it, but next year I want to do more lights (which aren't turned on in this photo) and more tinsel.  I really do like somewhat gaudy and over-the-top trees :-)

Also, I'm thinking of sewing a new tree skirt for next year, since ours is just too small.  Does anyone know of a free pattern for this?

Stella wore an adorable Christmas dress, but all the photos of her in it came out blurry, except this one where you can't really see it.  Story of my life...

eating her billionth cookie of the day
 We did take the kids to see Santa on Christmas Eve you can see, they both had an excellent time.

On Christmas morning, Tom and I woke up before the kids (rare!), and realized that the house was freeeeeezing cold.  The furnace had turned off.  And it was 19° outside.  I doubt it got quite that cold indoors, but we could definitely see our breath. 

Tom tried everything he could think of to get it working, but the pilot light just would not light again.  So Christmas morning was kind of a bust.  We had hoped to have a nice relaxing morning opening gifts with the kids before Mass at 11.  But here's what happened instead: We all bundled in several layers, winter coats, hats, etc.  Tom spent most of the morning in the basement fussing with the furnace/on the phone with the landlord or his dad (who is good at handyman stuff).  Stella screamed her head off for two hours straight (we assumed at the time that she must be sick, but in retrospect think maybe she was just really cold) and refused to eat or drink anything.  Sly also showed very little interest in opening gifts or doing anything, and occasionally burst into tears, saying, "I'm cooooooold!".  So.  No gifts were opened, no breakfast was eaten, and my morning was basically spent shivering in the kitchen listening to the kids cry and whine, and waiting for status reports from Tom (Which were all some variation of "still not working").

We almost decided to have Tom and Stella just stay home while I took Sly alone to Christmas Mass.  At the last minute, we decided we should all just go.  At least it would be warm in the church.  This was a good decision, as it did seem to lift our spirits a bit. 

When we got home, we all opened a few gifts and the kids actually ate some lunch.  We put Stella down for a nap wearing her winter coat, a hat, and about five blankets.  Our landlord - who is pretty awesome - dropped by with a few space-heaters, and a bottle of champagne!  And later that evening, while we were at a party with the extended family, his contractor brother stopped over and got the furnace working!  So things ended up being alright.

Our house is mostly back to order after the inevitable Christmas-time disaster that always strikes.  Tom and I have been setting up the three wise men in funny spots around the house each night after the kids are in bed.  Sly seems to enjoy finding them each morning, but he always tells me, "I don't like them here" and then puts them back on the dining room table.

I'm hoping to enjoy these remaining "six days of Christmas" spending more time with the kids while they play with their new gifts (and I secretly weed out some old toys to give away), happily eating up all the Christmas goodies in the pantry, and making some progress on my baby blanket.

Merry Christmas!


  1. The Dickensian getup is so so so awesome! And Christmas disco? Your parties sound pretty epic.

    I've always wanted to sew a tree skirt of vintage neckties, but I've never had two hundred vintage neckties or however many it would take. YOU, however, with all your thrifting, I'll bet you could do it!

  2. You poor dears! I am so sorry you had to deal with that on Christmas morning, of all times. The good thing is that this might be a good story that you can tell forever and get a lot of mileage out of. And if the kids ever complain about how Christmas goes when they are older, your answer can always be, "At least it's not 19 degrees in the house like that one year when you had to sleep in your snow coat..." Merry Christmas to your adorable family.

  3. We had a 'best laid plans' Christmas here as well. (the mid-Michigan power outage struck us) Ah well.

    May I recommend my brother-in-law's new book A Collection of Christmas Carols, as being perfect for a carolling party. It contains about 150+ of the old timey carols, well known as well as obsure, and includes 4 part harmonies for all of them. It also has about a dozen songs for Advent. English, Latin, German and French. Pretty much anything available in the public domain. It's available on Amazon in soft cover and is on Lulu in a spiral bound edition (which works well for the piano, since it will stay open on a stand). Anyway, I had to put it out there, since you said Carolling party and all.

    Merry Christmas.

    1. Hey! We're going caroling with the Bloomfields tomorrow! Small internet. :-)

      Enjoy the rest of your Christmas, Christine!

    2. How about that! Tell them Anna says hi. I bet this book will make an appearance.

    3. Thanks for the suggestion. This sounds great. I don't know anything about singing in harmony, but my husband and I have enough combined musical background that perhaps we could figure it out :-)

  4. Ug. Glad it's fixed!

    When you figure out how to tame the relatives do let me know!

    Merry Christmas!