While I laid awake at 2:30am this morning - trying to get rid of a migraine - I couldn't help but wish this month would be over. I struggled with this thought because I love Christmas, the spirit, the gift of giving, and the decorations - but it just doesn't feel the same as years past.
Somehow this month seems rushed and I feel like time has flown by, like a rug being pulled out from under my feet. Could this feeling be the result of losing my Uncle Dale recently to complications of brain surgery? Most likely. Loss and grief affect people in different ways. But I also look at the spare stocking everyday hanging on our hutch - not on our mantle with the other 3. Last year, I thought our family would be 4, not still 3 at the next Christmas.
But I know I have to live in the now, look toward the future. I know Dale is more comfortable in Heaven, and my Aunt Chris will heal. We hope to travel to Kazakhstan in June or July and make our family 4. Life goes on...
On a happier note... I am one hour away from hopping into the car to volunteer for Hayden's Holiday party. What was I thinking? It's also the boys LAST DAY of school before break. No more quiet time, no more chances to shop without child. I am soooo screwed!
Like usual, we have a knack for finding the "bargain" priced outings. Taking a look at our "Daily V" pics, you can catch a glimpse of our trip to the park districts holiday festival. Hayden got to chat with Santa, sing some holiday songs with a musician (more on that later), and do some other cool activities. We also visited a house by my mom's that totally goes all out for the season. Think $1,000+ electric bill... if you catch my drift. ;) Another "ritual" we do every year that we plan to do next week is drive through the winter wonderland in Vernon Hills. We go during the week as it's cheaper. We grab some hot cocoa (or coffee, in my case) and the camera, and turn on the holiday tunes to return to childhood. Every single light is mystifying.
Back to Hayden and the musician... this will be a moment that Michael and I will remember and cherish forever. The park district hired a musician named Steve Beno (http://stevejams.com), who plays children music. He played some of his songs, some holiday tunes, etc. Of these songs, Steve rocked out some of Hayden's favs including Frosty, and Feliz Navidad. He gave the kids permission to dance and hop around... but towards the end, Hayden ran out of energy. That is until his favorite holiday songs "came on". Once this happened, Hayden hopped "on stage" and started singing along with Steve Beno. They looked like they were singing a duet. Thank goodness I got a new camera a while back and it takes video. Here is the result - listen closely and you can hear Hayden!:
Shopping this year has been a bit "challenging"... but I have utilized all my resources and worn them out! I use Twitter everyday, constantly check my money saving and freebie blogs. The only bargain I can share with you at this moment (without hurting peoples feelings... because it's the thought that counts, not the amount that came out of your pocketbook!)... I spent $5.27 on our 60 photo Christmas cards... shipped. I think that alone deserves a pat on the back - sorry I had to brag ;) .
That's it for now, be sure to come back soon for more holiday pics (think unwrapping presents!). And since I figured out the video option on my camera, expect more short clips. ;)