Saturday, December 6, 2014

On coming home, and festivities

Well.... in this house, we FINALLY have our daddy back!

After being gone a record breaking 672 days in a row {nope.  I refuse to acknowledge the hyperbole there, because that's exactly how long it feels like he's been gone}, we finally are again a two parent household.

Whew.  Just in time for me to have maintained my sanity, but it was a narrow miss. Once upon a time, back when I had one new baby and was shockingly naive, I thought having him gone for three weeks was a big deal.  Hah.  Those were the days.

At any rate, Casey has arrived to at least as much fanfare from this crowd as Santa earns. The kids and I were all thrilled to have him home at last.

We didn't host Thanksgiving this year, so we were all in the mood to get the Christmas decorations up and running while Casey was still in town.  Which meant that they were up a week before Thanksgiving this year - not our tradition, by the way.  But, the kids and I enjoyed the warmth and joy they created throughout the house as we toughed out those last difficult two weeks without Daddy.

We even let the kids decorate the tree this year for the first time ever.  So, if you've been to our house, you might have noticed that there are huge sections of tree where three or five ornaments are clustered together while other areas remain entirely bare.  It's topped with a giant paper star made and decorated by Leah. I know, I could have re-decorated it while the kids were sleeping, but it brought them so much pride and joy to squeal and decide where to delicately (and sometimes not so delicately) place each ornament, I couldn't bring myself to change a thing.  They neither see nor care about the "flaws," so why would I?

Casey arrived home just in time for the Parade of Lights, which really shouts "Open Season!" on the holidays as far as I'm concerned.  We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Maggianos before rushing out to watch the parade.  Unlike in past years, the weather was actually really lovely.  It was cold, but that perfect kind of cold where it's both festive and completely bearable.

The kids enjoyed hot cocoa, and Casey and I had coffee as we watched the parade.  

And I was again reminded, as I always am at this time of year, how very blessed we are.  And, guys?  I absolutely adore having a tiny baby to snuggle.

Ugh, seriously.  Be still my heart.  Little Livvy did a great job.  She hung in there and didn't fall asleep until the very end, but she didn't cry or fuss either.  She was wonderful!

It's strange, because for the first time I'm very aware of the finite number of Christmases I'll ever have snuggling tiny ones.  I definitely did not feel that way in that photo up there. {sidenote: look at me all glowy!  First baby in her 9 month old glory.}

I wasn't remotely aware of it in 2012 either, though, to be fair, I wasn't really capable of being aware of much outside of our very immediate needs, as I was still in the process of recovering from Logan's birth three months later.  Yowza.

It was so much fun.  At the risk of bragging a little, we have really, really nice kids.  I am so impressed with how kind they are, and how much awe they are capable of in situations like this.  Their excitement was palpable, and they wanted to give everybody a high five.  They clapped and cheered all the different floats, bands and balloons, and were absolutely ecstatic at seeing Santa.  There was a weird gap in the parade where they last several floats including Santa were like 15 minutes behind the rest of the parade.  The kids didn't complain or whine, they just patiently waited for the Man in Red to arrive.  It was so sweet.

And, when they got home, they couldn't wait to sleep by the Christmas tree.

Although things didn't go perfectly the entire time, and there was some bickering and they were definitely up past their usual bed time, it was so sweet to watch and listen to these two that night.  They were mumbling I love yous and holding hands (until poking each other became more fun).  

It absolutely warmed my heart.

It's funny how, as parents, our mistakes flood our vision and stand out more clearly than anything else.  I am constantly aware of how much I do wrong and areas I can improve.  Moments like this make it clear that, while I'm far from being perfect, I must be getting something right amid all the mess.  Those sweet ones up there are pretty great little humans!

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