Friday, December 21, 2012

The Reluctant Hostess

I've been told that at least one reader (ahem...Shauna!) likes my blog because my misfortune spreads joy by making everyone else feel better about their lives.  And who am I to stop the spread of joy during the holidays?  I'm going to make a concerted effort not to focus on sad stuff anymore...enough ridiculousness happens in my days that these blog posts should write themselves!

I had a mini-breakdown last week when I realized that I would be hosting my in-laws for Christmas dinner...quite by accident.  Every year since we've been married, we've traveled to Virginia for the holidays to split time between our two families.  It worked out great because my family tradition growing up was to open family gifts on Christmas Eve (giving Santa all the glory on Christmas Day), and Dan's family tradition was exchanging family presents on Christmas Day after Santa presents.  So we always spend a few days leading up to Christmas at my parents' house, and then Christmas Day and a few days afterward at Dan's parents' house.  This was great until we had kids...when traveling on Christmas Day became something I dreaded about the holiday every year.  Not only do we have to rush the poor kids through opening their Santa presents, but I don't even get to enjoy watching them play because I'm so busy packing everything up to head to another house for a few days.  It takes me hours to pack and load, and then we have to yank the kids away from their new presents and take them to my in-laws' when we are all pretty exhausted from the morning's fun (and work, if you're me).  It's always fine once we get down to Dan's parents' house, but the lead-up puts me in a bad mood every year.  Now that we live in the same state, thankfully we don't have to pack up to stay at other houses during the holidays, but we did tear the kids away from their presents again last year on Christmas morning to go down to Dan's parents' house.

Abby on her first Christmas, 2006--the last time we spent Christmas Day at home!

This year, for the first time since Abby's first Christmas, we decided to just spend Christmas Day at home with our little family, enjoying the fun together and not worrying about anything other than freeing the new toys from their crazy packaging and making sure we have batteries and screwdrivers on hand.  Dan's brother and his family invited Dan's side of the family (including us) down to their home in North Carolina for the holiday, but we declined that invitation since it would have meant missing Christmas with my family and more traveling...exactly what we didn't want to do.  So the plan until last week was for Dan's parents to head down to NC for Christmas, and we were just going to see them and exchange presents some other time.  Then my brother-in-law and his family rescinded their invitation for Christmas, because they literally just moved into their new house down there on December 18th and clearly, it's not ready to host family for the holidays...something I wondered about when the invitation was extended, but I figured they were just way more organized during a move than I ever am.  Apparently that's not the case, and Dan's parents now had no place to go on Christmas.  Being the Good Daughter-in-Law that I am, I invited them to come share the fun at our house, totally oblivious to the fact that that invitation would also involve me cooking a big meal and "entertaining"...not something I'm good at, obviously.

three kids playing nicely on Christmas Day 2011

Once it sunk in that I'm now hosting a big family Christmas shindig (and Dan nixed my idea to have cereal for Christmas dinner...seriously, I threw it out there), I freaked out because our house is a mess.  Christmas crap is everywhere, wrapping paper is all over the floor, we're overrun by Abby's school papers yet again, I don't even remember the last time I vacuumed (or dusted...), and the kitchen is a sticky disgusting disaster.  I didn't know when I was going to have time to get it all done, so I asked Dan if he would take yesterday (Thursday) and today off work so that I could dedicate myself to playing Cinderella and not have to worry about watching the boys.  He obliged and took the days off, but yesterday didn't go as planned...  I got about 4 hours of sleep night before last--Jake woke up screaming right when I was getting ready to go to bed at midnight with a nightmare (apparently a "nightmare train" was coming into his room), and after I calmed him down, he informed me that his room is now creepy and he doesn't want to sleep there anymore...  It took me a good hour to convince him that he and I were not going to sleep on the couch downstairs together and get him back into his own bed.  By that point, for who knows what reason, Alex was WIDE awake in his crib downstairs--he was still laying down, but he was emphatically yelling at the top of his lungs, "WHOA!  LOOK AT THAT!  IT'S SANTA CLAUS!  IT'S AWESOME!" or some variation for almost 2 hours.  I thought for sure he was going to wake Abby up, since his room is right below hers and they share a heating vent that allows all sound to travel like they are standing next to each other.  Somehow she managed to sleep through it, but his shenanigans over the monitor in our room woke Dan up, and he irritatedly told me to turn the monitor off.  I couldn't sleep through all the noise, either, but I didn't want to turn it down--even though I was exhausted, his cute enthusiastic ramblings were making me smile, and I don't like to turn the monitor off in case he really does need me.  I fell asleep sometime after 2am, and was awoken at 6am because Alex was crying in his crib--it's not like him to do that, so I hopped up and trekked downstairs to see what the problem was and if I could get him to quiet down.  I picked him up and put him on my shoulder, and the front of my shirt was immediately was Alex and his entire bed.  Great.  I had to strip him down, with him screaming and freezing because he was soaking wet, I had to wipe him down with cold baby wipes and get a dry diaper and fresh pjs on him.  He was screaming.  I then had to carry him upstairs with me to get a new crib sheet (he was not going to let me leave him room without him), and get his bed back together and also convince him to go to sleep without his favorite (now soaked) blankets from his bed...  That whole process took me about 45 minutes, and when I returned to my bed, I discovered that Jake was awake already--probably from all the screaming Alex was doing.  Ugh...

So despite the early start to my day yesterday, I was a zombie and didn't get much done--Dan, Jake, Alex, and I all took naps during naptime, which was kind of nice, but I totally didn't get any cleaning done.  I did make it to the grocery store to pick up some fruit and tried to clear the clutter in the kitchen so that I can start cleaning today.  Must start cleaning today...

I think this will be my last post before Christmas--clearly, I'm too good at procrastinating and will use the blog as an excuse not to do the things I'm supposed to be doing.  Today is cleaning and then dropping the kids at my parents' house for a sleepover this evening so that Dan and I can put together some gifts that Santa helpfully dropped off early, do more cleaning, remove toys from the playroom and the kids' rooms to make room for new Christmas stuff...lots to do before the kids come back on Sunday.  Then Christmas Eve at my parents' house, and Christmas Day here at our house, hosting Dan's parents.  Wish me luck, and I wish you and your families the happiest of holidays!  :)  I'll be back after Christmas with stories of how it all went wrong but we still managed to have fun...ha ha!

Christmas 2012


  1. See! I feel better now, don't you?? :)
    I hope it all goes great! We still don't even know what we're doing, where we're going, or who is hosting what (basically, me host Monday AND Tuesday, or one or the other? ...blah..need to figure that out ASAP)!

    1. I pre-ordered some rotisserie chickens from the grocery store, since Dan's mom can't eat most things that I would make! So hopefully it won't be too bad...I'm certainly not planning to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The whole point this year was to let me enjoy the holiday with the kids! I hope you don't have to host both days--good gracious, your family is large enough that someone else should step up!!