4 years ago

The Most Riveting, Long-winded Christmas Recap You’ll Never Finish Reading.

The only kind-of-good shot I have of the Svellingers 5.

First of all: am I just insane or is anyone else having problems with their iPhone insistent on autocorrecting Christmas to “chrostmas”?

Cause 50/50 times, Carolyn’s DumbPhone is determined that’s what I really mean. yaw.

We hosted Christmas Eve at Happy House.
I’ve hosted family gatherings before. In fact, we had just hosted Emmett’s birthday party two days before. The difference is usually my mom and my mom in law bring most of the dishes and drinks so that I only have to cook a few things. Team effort, no one feels the yoke.

Nay this year, Lil Momma Svell runit.

Usually, my dad’s family celebrates Christmas Eve at my Aunt Carla’s house, and Craig and I have always enjoyed splitting the day between my Dad’s family (early afternoon) and Craig’s family (At his mom’s house for dinner). Hectic, but worth it.

A week before Christmas, my momma in law injured her leg to the point that she was ordered to take her holiday vacation a few days early and not move or drive. For an extrovert, this borders on being exiled to an island. A glacier island, in the Arctic.

“Can you imagine sitting all day long and doing NOTHING?” Jeannie bemoaned her prison sentence to me over the phone.
“…yes…Yes I can,” wistfully says the introvert.

We figured the best solution for celebrating Christmas Eve was to host dinner at Happy House so that Jeannie would be forced to sit back and relax, and hopefully not feel guilty about it.

Naturally, I expected that I could handle it all this year and emerge with my wits intact. Our first mistake was continuing our plan to visit my family’s gathering for a few hours in the early afternoon. I envisioned a seamless prep of our dinner the morning of, a snap washing up and dressing the boys, and absolutely no interruptions as I painted my face and ironed my hair. That’s how it goes, right?

However when your husband’s job requires him to be available 24/7 in the exact literal sense, having him home on these so called “vacation days” is actually more frustrating than him never being home at all, and suddenly during the hours we are supposed to be seamlessly getting ready for the day, Craig’s work people need him on the phone for the next 5 hours. Not that he enjoys it, and not that I’m not beyond thankful for Craig’s truly wonderful job… but. holiday. and I’m a child.

So there I am, cooking, stirring, baking, sucking down coffee, stepping on pointed toys, Collin winding around my feet like a feline, Emmett having a cow over a magnetized train set that he was trying to stick two negative poles together, and Lexington bouncing off the walls, repeating the day’s agenda back to me, planned to the exact amount of sips from his juice cup he might take before nap time.

And then we’ve all filled our diapers, and Lexington needs help at the toilet, yes indeed. And then we’re all hungry. And then it’s nap time. And then we don’t nap. And then we’re hungry again. And then we’ve gotten into one of mom’s craft boxes and emerged with a plate full of glitter. And then. And then. And thennnn.

And then why, Supermom, don’t you have everything cooked and cleaned?

I’m really surprised the rolls weren’t burnt.

Lexington not able to contain his excitement for the presents, happy dances a mere 17 hours before Vomit Face enters the scene,

I am also thankful Craig’s work people left him alone long enough to vacuum and hide the small hurricane remaining boxes from our move from Bumpy Bridge House into a spare room.  Thank you, Lord, for a Spare Oom this time ’round. No wardrobe though.

We make it to my Aunt Carla’s house 2 hours later than we’d planned- leaving the rolls to rise and beans in the crockpot at Happy House- and as Emmett begins to devour a serious mountain from the fruit tray, I remove it from his presence because lemme tell you right now: 1lb of raspberries, strawberries & blackberries do not a pleasant diaper changing make the next day. All day.

I see the cow starting to have it’s moment as Emmett realizes the fruit is gone and my brain scatters to think of another type of food group to shove in front of him. By the time my hand reaches the baked chicken, the bellowing has begun and Craig is helping Lexington eat his food and I’m  hauling a separation-anxious Collin on my hip and can’t squeeze between the counter and table fast enough.

I know we are with family, I know most everyone knows Emmett has autism, but I still felt like… It’s eating time, it’s a holiday, can we really not avoid just one breakdown?

Every time the stress level in the room is sliiiii g h tly elevated (ie: everyone gathering into the room to line up for food), Emmett responds with a nice little writhe fest.

So what’s the problem? Well, the everyone-is-gathering-into-the-room part.

Not only do we all see Emmett winding up, it puts my family members in a weird spot because Autism is brand spankin new to everyone and –should they help? Should they just act like nothing’s happening? I know these thoughts because I’ve been the one feeling awkward around a child with even the smallest of disabilities.

I know it’s mostly my own -what is it? Pride?

Most likely it’s my pride wishing to avoid Emmett’s fit throwigs -even in front of my own loving, accepting family- to a minimal of occurrences.

So I know my anxiety over the matter is mostly an internal battle. Emmett is a gift, to rid me of selfish pride (seriously, how do I still have any after this summer?). To transform a selfish pride to a joyful pride found in my own child.

I’m learning every day more of what triggers Emmett’s meltdowns. I still didn’t think far enough to predict there’d be a 10 minute long wailing in my aunt’s basement over a train set which the two 15 month olds kept stumbling over, wrecking Emmett’s train zen.

Cousins Joel and Collin, conspiring against Emmett’s train euphoria.

And then it was time to leave and cook dinner for Craig’s family. Perhaps it’s just my personality in that I am mentally drained by social stimulation, but if you ever want to not enjoy a holiday event, host it.

I don’t say this in a manner of woe is me, omgsh it sucked so bad. It didn’t at all. It was a pleasant end to the Eve of Christmas. But I say it as a young adult who once was lost in the fairy tale of false Grown-up-hood Land, but now is found in the real life version of wearing big girl britches.

In other words: I was way too Martha, and like nothing of Mary.
So really, a great personal fail in my spiritual realm. “Martha, Martha…”

To my disbelief, everything got cooked, baked, and nothing was burned.  I do admit that my mom in law brought a Honey Baked Ham, so the probable Grizwold turkey scene was graciously avoided. Everyone very much enjoyed dinner, delighted in sitting around the living room laughing at the boys and their sweet silliness. I have a newfound full appreciation for my Aunt Carla, and my mom who ALWAYS host gatherings and do 99.9-100% of the cooking, and still come out with Martha temperaments.

After dinner was consumed, I kind of mentally checked out and spiked my rum with a little Coke, immediately reminded that I’m not 20 years old anymore and that anything slightly implying a hangover the next morning would leave me worthless to the world on Christmas Day– okay okay, tea it is, then.

Big girl britches to Granny panties in one day.

Though not as picturesque, a more accurate portrayal of the Svellingers 5.

 Christmas morning was beautiful. We went to Mass: Inhaled the sweet frankincense, asked forgiveness for our transgressions, and received the Eucharist in celebration of the holy day of Jesus’s birth. The sound of a beautiful choir enhanced the atmosphere, and I was so glad I skipped washing my hair so that we could make it only 5 minutes late.  No other celebration for Christmas Day can possibly compare. Regardless of the previous night’s really good mashed potatoes.

We drove into Cincinnati to meet with my mom’s family for their gathering: a good, long drive, our little people napped. Except Emmett, obviously.

We pull in: I have Emmett on my hip, Craig has Collin on his. We open the door to let Lexington out:
“Mommm, my froat hurts—” big ol barf fest in the parking lot.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig.
Merry Barfmas to Lexington.

We came home and opened the not wrapped presents. I took this pic 0.3 seconds before Lexington barfed again. Clearly.

Then Collin got sick and I haven’t slept in 500 hours. So it seems.
Hello, welcome to parenthood. I know. This is the stuff of life, Carolyn.
It is. I’m thankful for life’s stuff.

Sleeping on the floor with a congested Collin, next to a humidifier is the closest I’ll ever come to camping out, says the mom of three boys.

But not right at this moment. Especially not this morning when I thought the Keurig was broken.


But it’s not, so…


Zzz –HA! In my dreams. Which isn’t possible cause see above.

So if you’re still reading this, I’ll reward your kind eyes with the only picture I have so far of my DIY Coffee Mug presents I wrote about here. Painstaking as it was, and after the fact, I was enlightened with a tidbit of info that instead of hand lettering my design directly on the mug, I could have sent the design to Shutterfly and they would’ve done the hard work for me.
 I live. I sometimes learn.
DIY, Sharpie mug, Pinterest
I think I’ll have to make this again for myself, as I am pretty sure I’m the only one who thinks it’s funny. I’ll never be royal, but give me coffee and you can call me Queen Bee.
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