There's Only How Many Sleeps 'Til Christmas?!

With Christmas swiftly approaching, I dreamed about writing a beautiful post with photos of our house all decked out for Christmas.

Then reality set in, and I realized that it's just not going to happen this year. Here's a photo of the sun setting on the Oregon coast in November instead.

The last few months have been full of upheaval and new things for us. Sunshine started kindergarten; Sweetheart started preschool; our well was out of commission for the better part of a week in November, prompting an impromptu beach trip for the three of us womenfolk while Chris stayed home to work and deal with the lack of plumbing. We've been muddling through some new health issues that have led to some major (positive) changes in our family on top of the common illnesses the kids bring home this time of year. Work has been crazy for Chris with an insane volume of peak season processing even compared to most previous years. We've been burning the figurative candle at both ends, and it shows.

We have bags of clean laundry piled in the corner, stacks of library books on multiple surfaces (who knows when they're due?!), piles of papers that need to be shredded or filed, and all sorts of household things that keep getting put off until later. There are boxes of gifts hiding under the table or getting in the way, waiting to be wrapped or stuffed into stockings. Mostly due to feelings of guilt, I threw together the requisite family photo cards once again. They've been addressed and sit in a pile. I almost handed a stack over to my mom to send with the gift packages she mails out every year only to realize I hadn't stuffed the photos into the envelopes yet. I need to buy stamps at some point.

We usually set up our tree in early November, but it was Thanksgiving before we got around to it this year. Then it took us a week to put lights on it. I don't think we're going to get to much else anytime soon. The tree has two lonely ornaments: one that Sweetheart begged for and one that Sunshine cobbled together from various items around the house. The star on top was in the box with the tree, so that part was easy at least. We still need to hang our stockings, and I was hoping to get some new lights up outside, but that clearly is low on the priority list at the moment. Maybe next year.

We usually watch White Christmas multiple times every year; we've only made it through half so far. The Grinch sits on the shelf waiting, along with several of our other holiday favorites.

It feels like the Christmas season is zooming past and we're all just hanging on for dear life.

Sometimes, though, I manage to sneak in a quiet moment where I can bask in the artificial glow of the LED lights we sprung for this year. (I'm kind of wishing we had just gone with regular lights instead! I miss that warm cozy feeling of soft incandescent Christmas lights, even if these ones are objectively better.) In moments like these I am reminded that life is happening all around us, even if it feels like we're missing it in the noise and the clamoring for the world to just slow down for a little while. Our girls won't remember that this was the year Christmas just sort of became a blip on our radar, at least I desperately hope not.

I hope that they'll remember the cookies that we managed to throw together before Thanksgiving and the tree that we did put up, even if we never got around to putting ornaments on it. I hope that they'll remember the time we've spent together in the car, listening to Christmas music as we make our way to the next required destination in our busy schedule. Maybe they'll laugh at how lost we got looking for overflow parking at Zoolights this year. I hope that they remember sitting and eating lunch as we quiz each other with math questions between classes at the homeschool center, Christmas decorations (placed by someone else) glittering in the background. I hope Sunshine remembers the magic of her first dance recital and the way she stood mesmerized by the grace and beauty of the older dancers flying across the stage, Christmas music guiding their steps.

This wasn't how I imagined the holiday season this year. It always happens more slowly, with more purposefulness, in my mind. Yet here we are. Christmas is racing toward us, and so many things have been left undone. But we have a tree. And we even have some presents wrapped and sitting under it. And infinitely more importantly, we have each other.

Related Post: Tiny Home for the Holidays