Tuesday, December 24, 2013

its the most wonderful time of the year...

Its Christmas Eve... which feels like Christmas to me and my family.  We always celebrated 'Christmas' on Christmas Eve.  We'd have extended family come over for 'supper'- and have a traditional Swedish smorgasbord of meatballs, ham, rice pudding, jello salad (?), rolls... nothing green you'll notice.  After supper, we'd head to the living room to open presents... with our plates of cookies and mugs of coffee.  Christmas music would play in the background, there was usually a jigsaw puzzle spread out on the coffee table, and my grandpa would spend most of the night telling stories from his travels around the world or boyhood growing up in the south (unfortunately I can't recall many of these stories- his southern accent was so thick and as he got older, he became harder and harder to understand... plus he rarely finished a story without interrupting himself with his high pitched, wheezing laughter- I might not remember his words, but I'll never forget his laughter!).

Mr. Incredible was shocked to learn that I didn't grow up with presents on Christmas morning.  We sometimes had stockings to open but Christmas day was usually spent doing something as a family- movie, the beach- or traveling.  I can't tell you how many times someone in my family was flying somewhere on Christmas day.

Mr. Incredible's family did open presents on Christmas morning.  He remembers his brother waking everyone one up early in the morning to see what Santa brought them.  They'd share a cinnamon roll breakfast, open presents, and watch a new movie before getting dressed and heading to his grandparent's house for the evening.

Now with my own little family, we do the best of both worlds.  We head to my family's Christmas Eve celebration for a Swedish Christmas and then Christmas morning, open presents with the boys.  Austin's family comes over late morning for cinnamon rolls.

With Corbin being a little older, our Christmas celebrations have been amped up a level.  We've enjoyed so many fun activities and traditions this season and I've loved seeing Christmas through his eyes.

He's become particularly fond of Christmas lights.

We decorated a gingerbread house together (and he doesn't realize that he could eat it!).

The stockings are just another decoration right now- he'll soon learn that there's things inside them though!

Nora getting into the action:

We trimmed our ginormous tree...

And then it fell over...

Leo was pretty much a casual observer in all of this...

Corbin helped shop for orphans in Mexico and pack presents.

We actually had cold, 'Christmas-y' weather and busted out the coats and hats:


 Discovered new favorite books:

This boy... I've never known it was possible to have someone in your life who can completely drive you nuts to where you're doing everything in your power to not punch a wall or cry or scream and then in the next minute that same person says exactly the right thing to make you wipe tears away and completely melt inside.  I've mentioned before that he talks...a lot.  All the time.  We were circling the Target parking lot looking for a spot and I was on the verge of, let's say 'losing the Christmas spirit.'  People were driving badly, I had a long shopping list and a small budget that I was stressing over, and Corbin was whining about something directly behind the driver's seat.  I was going bonkers when I spotted brake lights in a spot just in front of me.  I hit the brakes, turned on my turn signal and said a silent alleluia that we would soon be out of the parking lot of terror (and into the the horror known as Target at Christmastime).  

As I was waiting, another car across the aisle started backing out so a car sat opposite of me stopped to wait for that parking spot. (confused yet?) As the two cars were backing out, another car decides they can't wait a second longer and pulled around me to drive into the middle of all this backing up parking mess.  Of course, this caused everyone to slam on brakes, narrowly miss colliding with each other, and in the midst of it all, some lady loses control of her shopping cart and it slams directly into my car.  She's apologizing profusely and asking if there's damage and I'm still waiting in the middle of the aisle for a spot to open up.  My spot finally is open and I'm about to pull in when an elderly lady careens down the opposite side of the aisle and crookedly parks in my spot.  I even gave her a little honk, hoping she'd look up and see all the cars waiting, but no luck.  Suddenly there are at least 10 pairs of eyes glued on me to see what I would do... including one little set who witnessed the whole thing from his car seat behind me.

Somehow I managed a few deep breathes and realized that nothing would be gained from yelling at an old lady so I shrugged my shoulders and gave a 'whatever' look to those staring at me and resumed my hunt for a parking spot.  A little while later we found a spot and were thrust into the chaos of shopping.

This story is not about how I'm a great person that can control my anger in parking lots... I wish that could be said more often.  We finished our shopping, loaded up the car, and started navigating out of the parking lot- which had only gotten worse during our time in the store.  As we were finally getting to the driveway, I noticed a woman standing on the grassy median, struggling with an armful of infant and a cardboard sign.  I realized she was trying to breastfeed standing up, juggle the sign, and watch a young 3-4 year old little girl who was playing in the grass.  

Her sign read 'Just lost mi job.'

I thought about my own breastfeeding baby and the little, talkative boy sitting behind me munching on some snack I bought waiting in the check out line.  Before I could think about anything else, I flipped a u-turn and circled back to where she was standing.  In that crazy, overfilled parking lot, a single parking spot sat open right next to the lady with the sign.  I pulled in, wiped my eyes, and pulled out whatever was in my wallet- wishing there was more but realizing that I needed to do something.  I handed her the wad of bills, she thanked me, and I jumped back in my car- and two little eyes watched me curiously out the window.

C: Mama, what that lady doing?
A: She's asking for help because she doesn't have a job.
C: What you give her?
A: I gave her some money so she can get food and maybe Christmas presents for her kids.
C: Why?
A: Some people don't have things that we do- like food, and um... trucks.
C: Mama, I can give her trucks.
A: Oh?
C: Yes.  I give her some of my trucks.

Oh Corbin... may you always desire to give more than you receive.  

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