Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

It was an early morning here in the Lauer household come Christmas morning!

Thomas chewing his new teddy bear

Mary reading one of Joseph's new books to him

Mary is taking her first cookbook seriously

Joseph is ready to fix anything broken . . . 

. . . and Thomas is ready to help him!

So proud to be reading her Easy Readers she received!

My new favorite hat for Thomas!

One of my favorite gifts was from Margaret (4) who wrote out the siblings' names on a piece of paper so that when I am flustered or angry, I won't spew out a list of incorrect half-names, but can consult the list and "say the right name, Mama!"

Also, I received some much-needed tape! The children had used up so many rolls of tape in the final days before Christmas, wrapping many, many gifts (even just wrapping nothing and placing wrapped emptiness beneath the tree) that I had completely run out of tape, gone out to buy more, and hidden it away from them. Come Christmas morning, I opened my very own roll of tape. Thanks, children!

We paused in the midst of gifts for a breakfast of homemade coffee cake, store-bought croissants, sausage gravy, eggs, and bacon.

Our plan was to attend the eleven o'clock Mass as a family and that is where the troubles started for this Mama, who had been maintaining equanimity, more or less, until then. Chris had signed up to be sacristan for this Mass, so he left early to fulfill that duty and I realized I was alone getting ready the children and baby for Mass.

That task isn't so easy on regular Sundays, but went particularly poorly today.

There was screaming, and it wasn't all from the children. There were many moments of discipline. It wasn't even that the children didn't want to go to Mass (they did!), but they were off routine and I was herding cats . . . manic cats.

I was feeling pretty sour and bad about myself as I loaded the kids into the car, many fighting, the two-year-old screaming to pierce ear drums over not being allowed to wear his rain boots to Christmas Mass, his face covered in grime still from breakfast, one girl's tangled hair in quick braids, the other girl's hair not even brushed due to a stand-off, and I certainly hadn't had time to put on makeup or jewelry or do my hair. Where was my perfect picture of us at Mass with all our children in newly purchased, matching Christmas outfits? Ha!

I drove grimly to Mass, parked at church, and was unloading the baby last when I discovered he had pooped. I mean epic poop. A poop that, in raising five babies, I don't think I've ever seen. It had filled his car seat like he was sitting in a pond!

My emotions were just so frayed by then, I was about to fall apart crying in the parking lot when Chris had a good laugh, took the older children, and promptly sent me home with the two littlest. I really don't know what I would have done if I'd tried to clean up the baby in the church bathroom. Not only had I forgotten to grab an emergency change of outfit for him (it was sitting at home--right by the doorway!), I didn't have nearly the materials needed. At home, I didn't even unload the baby from the car seat until he was in the bathroom, after I'd changed my own self into a grubby cleaning outfit, and we went through two full-sized bath towels, several rounds of soapy rubbing his whole body clean, and then the car seat had to be stripped and cleaned in the washing machine.

Well, that's enough about poop. Anyway, I wouldn't have believed it if some other mom told me about it. The pond of poop that waylaid Christmas!

After riding their bikes in the balmy weather, the children watched the Cathy Rigby version of "Peter Pan" from Broadway--what a delightful and honest production! (My only tiny criticism is that I wish Tiger Lily were more modestly dressed.)  I really need to devote an entire blog post to my being fed up to my eyeballs with the poor quality of so-called Christmas movies flooding Netflix and Amazon.

Christmas Menu:

Selection of mini cheesecakes from Junior's
One of my absolute favorite parts of Christmas is the "problem" of figuring out just which book to read first! I am so excited about new (old) books to read to the children, as well as new books for me! I can't tell you how much I am joyfully anticipating exploring The Young Folks Shelf of Books by Collier's Junior Classics.

The traditional tallying of Christmas books

Bonus reading: "Dec. 25 Marks the Beginning, Not the End, of the Christmas Season" by Marge Fenelon

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