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Cheryl's Parenting Journal

Entry 17 ~ December 29, 2008
~ Another Christmas Under Our Belts!

Annie is pleased Christmas morningIt's over already? How can that be? I ask myself this same deep question every year when Christmas night arrives-how did it come and go so quickly? Every year I think I am going to find the "magic solution" to making the actual day it self last forever, but as we all know-that never happens.

Instead of pondering how I can hang on to the day itself a bit longer, I have changed gears a bit. First, I know in my heart (and in my tired, aching bones!) that Christmas Day is always as special as it is because it does go by so quickly. How awful it would be to have 3 PM on Christmas Day arrive and be wondering "when will this day ever be over?" It's a much better sign that the day is going by so darn fast because that means we are all having so much fun that it's moving that quickly. (Or so I tell myself!)

I also realize that with the kids all getting a little bit older each year (that is how it works, right?) that Christmas has new meaning to them each year as well. My older kids (ages 12, 13, 14 and 15) are still kids at heart, but they don't necessarily need to get up out of bed at 5 AM any longer to still feel the excitement of Christmas like the younger ones do. They also have different gift desires . . . ie. big-ticket electronics or pricey boots and clothing . . . so they don't have the same towering piles of gifts awaiting them under the tree that our younger ones who still love Tinker Toys, Barbies and Train Sets do. (Believe me . . . one of my biggest jobs each year is to make sure all eight of them have "Even-Steven" gift allotments!)

Brendan and Brady still love Star WarsAnd I'm also starting to notice my older daughters taking a much bigger interest in some of our traditions with baking, cards and working on their grandparents' annual Christmas scrapbooks than they did even a year ago. With a family our size, we certainly have many, many chaotic moments (every day, not just during the holidays!) but we also get to experience many different things all at once because of their age differences, which is really a gift in itself.

So this year, although I was truly blown away that Christmas had come and gone again in a flash, I also felt a lot of gratitude for being able to give them all a fun, loving Christmas-and hopefully when they are grown with families of their own-they will look back and have nice memories (and a few that probably won't be so warm and fuzzy!) of these Christmases spent at home with all eight of them still living together under the same roof. (Why hasn't Hallmark contacted me yet for a family line?)

Butler Gang enjoys Christmas morningThe kids have one more week of school vacation and I have to tell you that this is my FAVORITE school vacation of the year! They not only have new toys to keep them busy with all week long (so I won't be hearing "I'm bored, what can we do?" very much this week) but I also love the week between Christmas and New Year's because I'm one of those nostalgic saps that loves to look back on the year we just had and then give some serious thought to what 2009 will look like. With the doom and gloom of the economy at the tail end of 2008, it seems that many people can't get to 2009 fast enough. It's an exciting time for our country with a new President being sworn in in just a few weeks and God willing, all of us will hang on to our good health, discover some new friends in the year ahead (as I did with Ann from Michigan this past year!) and embark on some exciting new experiences that we may not have had in year's past.

A New Year can be like a blank slate full of fresh possibilities for each and every one of us, and that in itself makes me excited and helps squash those "post holiday blues" in a heartbeat.

Christmas Card 2008So my friends . . . I wish you all a very HAPPY, HEALTHY and FUN-FILLED New Year in 2009. Our snow that we finally got the week before Christmas melted on Christmas Eve Day due to a warm front with lots of rain that blew in ahead of Santa! My kids are also wishing for a little more snow in 2009, "little" being the key word for me. But we have no control over Mother Nature so we take what we get.

Happy New Year everyone! I'll let you know if we do anything exciting New Year's Eve. The kids got lots of new games, so we'll probably order some type of "Take out" and have a big family game night. Yours truly adores her champagne a few times a year, so that will be my beverage of choice when I'm getting beat at Monopoly or Candyland in a few nights!

Take care,
   ~ Cheryl

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