Our tree trimming has not gone exactly as planned this year. I like to think of it as a Norman Rockwell-esque activity. Last year we managed it. We went to a local Christmas tree farm and picked out the tree together (I believe lights shone down from heaven and angelic voices were heard when the ‘perfect’ tree was located). We brought it home, put some cider on the stove top to steep, put on our favorite Christmas music, and set to work decorating our tree. Here are a couple of pictures of last year’s Christmas joy:

Trinity decided the tree was a little prickly and she needed to wear gloves!
This year has been less than smooth. We learned the Christmas tree farm we wanted to return to is not open any of the days we were available to go tree shopping. We DID manage to find a beautiful tree elsewhere. Yay! However, we had only returned home from Thanksgiving travels the day before and by the time we got the tree home we were too tired to decorate it. No problem, we would just make an evening of it together the next night. I planned a lovely meal to enjoy for our special family kick off to Christmas.

However….the next morning I discovered a mouse had taken advantage of our time in California to set up residence in our home! When I wasn’t running Trin to or from school or ballet, or out buying more plastic food storage containers I spent the entire day pulling everything out of every cupboard and putting it into said containers. I was exhausted by dinner time and wasn’t about to cook. We ate pizza. Barely before the kiddos bed-time. No tree trimming. But we felt bad because Trinity was so excited to decorate the tree that we at least had her put the tree topper on. Lilly got one ornament to put on as well.

Lilly thought being on daddy’s shoulder’s looked like so much fun, she wanted to put HER ornament up high, so up she went.

In anticipation of the 3rd time being a charm, I made Fool’s Toffee for last night, thinking it would be the perfect treat to enjoy while we FINALLY decorated the tree. That didn’t happen.  So I gave up on the picture-perfect family tree decorating night and started the dang tree early this morning. Trinity joined me. I’d love to tell you it’s finished, but it’s not.  The following have all interrupted our decorating mojo:

  1. Bath time taking longer than it should – including an incident of Lilly throwing Trinity’s boots into the bath to watch them splash!
  2. Lilly needing more Cheerios, then spilling them all over the floor.
  3. Trinity deciding she wasn’t feeling well so she could lay down on the couch and watch a Christmas movie. She simply MUST have her temperature taken!
  4. Mommy stepping on an ornament Lilly took apart (unbeknownst to me) that contained 4 sewing pins sticking straight up. (Do I need a Tetanus shot?) At least it was me and not one of the girls that stepped on it!
  5. Lilly needing more Cheerios, then throwing them on the floor when she decided she wanted dried figs instead.
  6. Trinity deciding she’s better and wanting to help again. (Okay this wasn’t an interruption, just part of the sequence of events.)
  7. Stopping so Trinity could read aloud. She wants to win the prize for the most reading minutes in her class this month.
  8. Taking Trin to school.

I returned home feeling pretty aggravated. Life is just interrupted these days. If I can’t get dinner made without 17 different interruptions, what made me think we could get through a whole night (or morning) of Christmas decorating? As I stood in my kitchen, (which was clean this morning and is now piled with ornaments and decorations still waiting to be put out, toys Trinity left on the counter-tops, and anything I’ve placed there so it was out of Lilly’s reach) I looked at our unfinished tree. I could be finishing it now, but I needed to sit down and remove myself from the madness for a little while. I needed to take a break and remind myself that one day I may decorate the tree with a quiet, clean house that has no cheerios on the floor. I may get my tree decorated the same day we take it home because I won’t have to make a bigger priority of helping someone with homework, or giving baths. My tree topper will be on straight and there won’t be any clumps of ornaments that are too close together. Right now that sounds like such a treat. Which is precisely why I am not finishing the tree right now. I needed to sit down and remember this time with the girls is a treat and one day will be missed. It may be aggravating at times but I’m sure when those peaceful days come part of me will think it’s just a little too quiet and a little too easy. Maybe I’ll even think back to the year that it took us 5 days to decorate our tree and smile.

It’s also good to remember that life just doesn’t go according to plan. If we can’t roll with the punches on the small stuff how will we survive the big stuff? In the mean time, I’ve taken a few moments to put things in perspective and it is now time for me to go tackle that mountain of stuff in my kitchen before I leave to talk to Trinity’s class about one of our family’s Christmas traditions. I think I’ll leave out the bit about this year’s tree. Here’s to hoping this one DOESN’T become tradition!

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