Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oh December !

December happened.  It happens every year.  Decorating.  Buying gifts for all the kids.  Shipping gifts for family out of town.  Teacher gifts.  Christmas parties.  End of the quarter school projects.  Out of town travel for Christmas?  If we go up north, do all six of us have enough warm clothes?  Drive or fly?  Weekend soccer tournaments.   Big brother's birthday.  Should we have a party?  Will anyone come at this time of year?  Trying to stay on budget.  Christmas cards - we send over 300.  What about lights on the outside of the house?  Shipping deadlines. 

I love Christmas. I love the music.  I love the magic.  I love decorating the tree and remembering each and every ornament.  But since becoming a mom, Christmas has morphed into my most stressful time of year.  I know it shouldn't be that way.  I vow to keep things simple.  I try. 

This year I entered the Christmas season already drained.  Parenting Wenxin has been a wonderfully exhausting adventure. Enough said, except did I mention that he has a December birthday as well?

Thanksgiving weekend was devoted to the Christmas card photo.  My goal was to put up my tree the next Friday.  Wednesday afternoon found me sitting outdoors in freezing Florida weather watching the girls practice for the upcoming weekend's soccer tournament.  That evening as I worked on the computer my neck got stiff.  By bedtime my left shoulder and arm were hurting.  The pain kept me up most of the night.  Thursday morning I wasn't any better and began to feel tightness in my chest.  Hoping he'd call in a muscle relaxer for me, we contacted my doctor who promptly sent me to the emergency room.

After an overnight stay in the hospital, I was declared to have a very healthy heart.  The best guess was that I had muscle pain, most likely brought on by stress.  I went home on Friday night, only to get up early on Saturday for a weekend of soccer.

At some point that weekend, we set the tree in the living room.  I was too busy to decorate it on Monday.  Our home school day just ran too long.  I set my sights on Tuesday night.  But come Tuesday night, I was back at an urgent care clinic with a bacterial infection.  I started antibiotics only to find out a few days later that I had a strain of bacteria that was resistant to the medicine I was taking.  On a different antibiotic, I finally began to feel better.

Mike made a decision that we'd stay home this Christmas - even though he really had hoped to take Wenxin to meet his side of the family.

At some point the tree got decorated.  It's all a blur to me now.   
It's indeed magical.  Possibly the prettiest tree we've ever had.

For the next week or so, I put out a few more simple decorations each day.  No rush.  

Christmas cards from friends and family around the world hang from winter tree branches.  Mike thinks this is hideous and can't believe I put it on the blog.  He says it looks like it should be in someone's front yard along with the cars up on blocks. 

My parents came down for a week and celebrated an early Christmas with us.  Wenxin met them at the car and actually hugged them.  I was amazed.  He met them briefly when he came home from China and hasn't seen them since.  But he warmed right up to them and Mike and I were able to go out on our first date since the adoption in September. 

Nathan turned eleven.  We were able to give him an amazing lazer tag birthday.  We have too many kids to let everyone have a big party each year.  So most years, we celebrate as a family and the birthday child gets to invite one special friend to celebrate with us.  But this was Nathan's year for a big blow-out birthday with friends.

So a lot of the big stuff is done.  Tree's up, school's out, presents are shipped, Christmas cards mailed, Nathan's birthday celebrated in a big way and 2010 soccer's completely over.  I can finally catch my breath.  I'm looking forward to some quiet days at home.  And I hope to catch up on blogging.  There's so much to share about all I'm learning along the way. 


  1. Wow, I am glad that you are finally able to slow down & enjoy the time as a family. Since being sick two years ago, I've tried to make our Christmas as simple as possible.
    Also, I experienced the same chest pain, hospital trip & diagnosis not too long ago...us moms get too stressed!

  2. Dana..I feel your pain on the stress of the holidays. I tell myself every year that we are going to slow down and CELEBRATE Christmas and not let it whiz on by us in our "busyness". Praying that you and your family have a relaxed week and enjoy your first Christmas with Wenxin!

    Judi Peters
    (Cedar Grove Baptist Church)


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