Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Intimidating? Me?

Someone told me yesterday that my blog was intimidating.  I was shocked, and asked why.  The example she brought up was last Christmas...apparently I announced by early December that I was entirely ready for Christmas.

Oh.  Right.  Nervous chuckle.  That was me.

I think she may have been referring to one of these posts:

Christmas is Coming, Christmas is Coming!

Ready for Christmas

And as I skimmed through these posts, read the words I wrote last year about my preparedness for the season, I felt a mixture of awe (at the level of organization of that woman), envy (because wow, would I like to be in the same position this year), and embarrassment (because those posts really do come off as a little arrogant...I feel daunted reading them, too).

Actually, I did have my act together last year, which is likely the most intimidating part of it all.  Maybe that's why I had no comments on the second of those posts...'cause I freaked everyone out!!  I'm so sorry.  And J, to you, for your bravery in telling me that my posts were intimidating, thank you...and I'm sorry.  Sometimes we see things only in hindsight.

The truth is that I was ready for Christmas early last year.  By around December 1st, I believe.  Hard to believe, but true.  I mentioned to my friend yesterday that likely the reason I blogged about it was because it was the first time ever I was ready for Christmas by what felt like a reasonable time to be ready.  With three needy and high-attention kids last year, organization and early prep seemed the key to my managing the season...and it felt good to actually deliver on my goal.

But this post, today's post, is for those whom I intimidated last year.  J, this post is for you.  I'm about to make you feel much better.

This year, I'm the one who cannot bear to read any of those self-satisfied blogs written by women who have their pinterest-worthy christmases ready to go!  This year I am more likely to proclaim:  "What?? It's December already? How did that happen??!"

As of this moment:
  • It is December 4th.
  • On Sunday, it was at the beginning of the church service when I saw the four big pillar candles at the front that I realized with a quiet "oh shit" that it was the first Advent Sunday and I'd done nothing about it...hadn't even thought of it until that moment.  I'd just slumped into my seat for the service and was feeling ok about getting the hooligans to church on time.  Then I saw the candles.  Marking Advent is something that I love to do, and buried in the basement bins are my lovely purple and while pillar candles which I love to leave out on our kitchen table throughout December...and last year I came up with readings, etc, to mark each Advent Sunday.  This year, not only have I not marked the first Advent Sunday, I haven't even pulled up yet the little advent tree that my mom made for us and which we're supposed to decorate one ornament at a time from December 1st onwards (while consuming chocolates).  I feel sorry for my kids...they love that tradition and I've failed in maintaining it.  Did I mention that it's already December 4th and we're already three days behind? Oh well, when we finally get to it, I guess we can just eat all of the chocolates for the days we've missed...I can turn that into a parenting hero moment.
  • I have baked not one festive cookie (in fact, I haven't baked any cookies at all in over a month)...I don't even have a list ready as to what I hope to bake for Christmas.  If truth be told, and why not because I'm baring it all here anyways, I secretly don't feel like baking anything this year...but you know...traditions and kids and all....   I did buy a pre-fab, boxed gingerbread house the other day when I happened upon it at the grocery's still in the box.  And OK, side commentary here:  I'm really irked by the number of times recently that I've noticed other writers mixing up the words "bearing" and "baring..." have you noticed this...hmm...actually, I'm confusing myself here...I hope I just used it properly.
  • Until last week, it never even occurred to me to get my gift list going...and that's something that I am usually pretty good at maintaining.  The only thing that prompted any list-generation momentum last week was my sister's innocent query about whether I was going to order anything online for Christmas during Black Friday sales.  "Oh, right," I said.  And so on Wednesday, I frantically prepped most of the list - unfortunately before remembering that, in the heat of annoyance last year, I'd snapped at Geoff that this year he could prep the darn list if he didn't like what I'd purchased for the kids!
  • We actually picked up our Christmas tree yesterday on route home from our afternoon at our Learning Centre.  But, unlike previous years, when we have set aside a weekend afternoon to pick and decorate our tree as a family, this time the kids and I did the picking of the tree without Geoff; I simply pointed to an aisle of some of the more reasonably-priced trees at the tree store and told the kids that they were welcome to choose one from that row.  They chose the first one they saw...literally.  We were in and out in five minutes.  I barely remembered to take a picture of them in front of their choice before the nice man tied it to the top of my van.  The boys lugged it into the house (thank goodness for growing boys with some strength in their arms, but my word they left a trail of pine needles from front door to back of the house...and those needles still lie strewn all over the floor because Geoff was working late last night and because the kids and I were dancing and because we never got around to the cleaning up of the needles...which is ok, really, because they made the house smell good as we took them from room to room with our socks).  The tree is currently lying flat on its side in my sunroom, where it will likely remain for a couple of days until I have a chance to pull up decorations from the storage area in the basement.  Because Geoff has a big work deadline to meet this week, it'll likely be the kids and me decorating it on our own this year...lucky schmuck...jk...sort of...
  • We started listening to Christmas music just yesterday after we brought the tree into the house...and that took a reminder from the kids and their digging through the CD piles that I still haven't uploaded/downloaded (I never choose the right word here) onto my computer or phone.  Good news there was that they/we actually spent over an hour dancing in the family room to the accompaniment of the music; and Matthew and Lizzie actually cut a few nice moves together.
  • My house is a bit of a construction zone at the moment.  The guy we contracted a few months ago to help us fix our house after all of the summer's water damage issues finally came on Monday to start working on our house.  Of course it's right before Christmas.  Currently the contents of one section of our library are lying atop every surface in my dining room; there is a hole (literally) in the floor of the library where he's having to replace the water-rotted floor boards, and two walls have been opened up and have just been re-framed, re-insulated and re-plasticked (is that even a word?).  The entire library and adjoining dining room are covered with plastic and our kitchen will join the gang later this week when he begins to work on the bulkhead area where poopy water from the upstairs sprayed through the kitchen light fixture a few months ago when one of the kids jammed up the upstairs toilet (and that bathroom is still un-usable because I'm terrible with decorating and am frozen at the prospect of having to choose new flooring/countertops/toilet/etc up there).  It's going to be fun baking our festive cookies directly under where our contractor is going to be fixing drywall and repainting ceilings, and bulkheads and walls.  Oh well, what's a little drywall dust in and amongst the shortbread?  Can you see why a few pine needles on the floor aren't really bothering me?  I barely even flinched when I turned yesterday, in the midst of a dance move with Seth, and saw our contractor guy standing there watching this big mama dance crazily with her kids...I'm chill, man.
  • We have not a single decoration fancying up the house yet...unless you count the prone tree in the sunroom.  
  • Our days today and tomorrow and through to Friday morning are totally packed with places to go and people to see and so our immediate horizon includes nothing to do with Christmas plans yet.  Which means that I could be writing this exact same post a few days from now, on, say December 7th or 8th...or 13th...!  Instead of festive preparations we will, over the next two days, visit with friends, go to IKEA because my sister is graciously offering to help me generate some ideas for our upstairs bathroom (the one that's not usable because of the summer poop fiasco), do the kids' mid-week church program, struggle through swimming lessons, take in a theatre production of Peter Pan, enjoy the last art class of the year, and pick up groceries from our food co-op (which I'm not volunteering to sort at this week because of our theatre commitment).

OK, I'm tired just thinking about everything that needs doing...or maybe that's because it's 4:19am as I finish writing this post because I couldn't sleep and have been awake since 3:00am.  Maybe I should just get up and go downstairs and decorate the damn tree already.

How's this for less intimidating than last year??

J, feeling any better?

P.S.  I just realized that, in trying to figure out today's date, I was looking at last year's calendar (perhaps with a sense of nostalgia?).  It is, in fact, December 3rd today, and not the 4th, which was way more relieving to discover than it ought to have been.  There is joy to be found in small mercies.


  1. Ahhh, you are human like the rest of us... ☺
    My thought as that first Advent candle was lit on Sunday was about how I react "just a little too much" to those who bring out Christmas waaayyy too early and push my own/family's preparations waaayyy too late. I decided it is not fair to the boys but have yet to do anything about it. They keep asking about the Advent calendar but it has not managed to be hung up yet. Sigh....
    So, thank you for joining the ranks of us humans. (BIG SMILE)
    And just so you know, I did not read your previous posts about Christmas with any anxiety but actually look forward to them for ideas for my less than imaginative preparations.

    1. Thanks, Ellen! And I'll share my list soon...maybe there'll be some ideas for you!!!


  2. Hi, Ruth!
    It's your faithful-reader-yet-far-too-infrequent-commenter Sonja here!
    I just needed to tell you that your posts last December were a revelation to me - it had never really occurred to me that one could get totally ready for Christmas before the first of December, and then just enjoy the season! Anyway, it inspired me to get our Christmas tree, Christmas music and Christmas books out last weekend, and although there are lots of preparations (especially baking and shopping) that we will do as "part" of the season, I feel like we are already enjoying the feeling of Advent now, which I really appreciate (and have you to thank for!) Last year was also my first year with a child who was old enough to really get excited about the Christmas preparations, and it was way more fun than I had realized it would be - so having more time to enjoy it this year is really nice.
    I also have to thank you (a year late) for sharing that Pentatonix video of the Little Drummer Boy - it became an instant hit in our family and has been a favourite bedtime song all year long.
    Have a wonderful and blessed Advent/Christmas season!

    1. Oh my goodness, Sonja, what a lovely note...thank you. I felt like clapping my hands together with delight when I read your words!! I still have a big smile on my face.

      I'm so glad that something resonated for you from last year's posts! Wow - that's really awesome. I had the same feeling last year of being able to actually enjoy Advent and many of the preparations leading up to Christmas.

      As you'll see from my post tomorrow, I'm finally getting my act together this year...a little later than last year, but I'm getting there.

      Oh, and I have another video to share with you...hold tight...I'll post something...

      Thanks again for the wonderful, feel-great comment!! Blessings coming right back at you!