Elijah and my niece Addisyn playing together
In general, I am not a big fan of Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I am beyond grateful that Jesus came to earth and I do like that Mike takes time off work and we get to eat a lot and see family. I am just disgusted by the extreme consumerism of Christmas in the United States. I am not a bug gift person in the first place. Like when my birthday or anniversary or Valentine's Day comes around and I tell Mike I don't want him to get me anything, just take me to dinner, I'm not one of those women who says they want nothing but is going to hold it over your head for the rest of eternity if you don't get me something anyway. I honestly don't want a gift. I'd rather save the money and put it towards refinishing the hardwood floors in our bedroom.
Opening presents with Daddy.
On top of that, it always irritates me when I see ads on TV claiming if you buy this thing you'll be happy or everyone will love you or you'll fit in and become a fulfilled person! I think on a general level everyone knows this isn't true, but people still live as if it is. Even me. Like Mike and I are the only people on the planet left that don't have fancy pants iphones or something similar and don't check email and facebook with our phones. And yet when I see someone with an iphone I start thinking about how much better my life would be with one. Really? Seriously, Bonnie. But of course if I wanted one, I'd rather buy it for myself, not have someone give it to me. And back to the ads, it gets worse at Christmas time. And it works because every year you hear stories of people using pepper spray at walmart to keep others from getting to the last ipad or people trampling others to death (literally) to get in a store and get the reissued Michael Jordan hitop sneakers. It's just disgusting to me how terribly we have robbed Christmas of its true meaning and so I'm cynical about it.
Addisyn opens her new Elmo doll with my mom.
In addition, my anti-gift-giving attitude makes things difficult for me to enjoy getting or giving gifts at Christmas. Like my parents and Mike's always get us way more stuff than we get them. Now, this is partially because we live on one measly income that supports 3 (soon to be 4) people, while they live on at least 2 incomes that support only the two of them. And I'm not bitter about that, it just is what it is. But it ends up making me feel bad because we didn't get them as much stuff and then I react to that with "why do I need to buy them stuff to prove I care"? But again, this is totally my sinful heart going nutso because it's not like they have ever indicated in any way, shape or form that they expect me to buy them more stuff or that they're disappointed by the lack of gifts. They just like to give us things to show they care about us. And this extends to how much they give Elijah. He got SO many toys, books, puzzles, DVDs, etc. for Christmas this year that I recoil and go "am I going to be raising a materialistic, consumer-minded kid?!" And then I remind myself that it's about attitude. If we view the stuff as just stuff that is an expression of how much the grandparents value the kids, then our kids will learn that attitude. At least I hope. And in any case, I shouldn't be Captain Judgey Von Holierthanthou simply because I don't want my kid to rely on "stuff" to make him happy. Modeling judgmentalism isn't any better. Moreover, if I do so I could rob my parents and in laws of the joys they get out of giving gifts to my kid(s).
Addisyn playing with the drum toys we got for her.
So that's my rant about how my cynicism about Christmas has been warring in my heart with a good attitude this past year. I do want to do more stuff in our family to talk about Jesus and about giving cheerfully (something I model just terribly--not because I'm necessarily greedy but because I am just so anti-gifts, which I suppose is just another form of being greedy). Next year I believe we will do an Advent calendar with Elijah. He was too young to understand it this year and plus baby #2 has been making me feel extra pukey and tired so I used that as an excuse to be lazy. I also read on someone else's blog about having your kids pick a charity to give to each year and I think that's a good idea. We will probably continue to only give one or two gifts to our kids each year, partially because there's no need to give more since the grandparents go nuts, and partially to show that our love isn't based on gifts. And I suppose I could tell the grandparents to calm down but I think I should just leave it alone and let them have their joy of spoiling the kiddos. Taking it away isn't anymore Christ-like than showering my kids with gifts to show that stuff makes you happy.
Elijah playing with the drum toys we got for Addisyn.
Okay, so now that I'm done with my rant, on to what we actually did. We did Christmas early at the Oesch household and, unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera so I have no pictures from that. But I'm not sure we would have gotten any good pictures anyway because just before we went over to the Oesch house, Elijah had woken up with a fever and was all cranky. And he remained so for most of the evening. (For those of you who think I'm a bad parent for taking him to Christmas with a fever, they live within walking distance of our house and there were no other kiddos around. Also I wasn't sure at first if he had a fever or was just hot b/c my father-in-law likes to keep his thermostat at 80 degrees.)
Addisyn playing with the moraccas we got her.
Then after a week of us sitting on the couch watching PBS because he was sick all week, we headed to Oklahoma to see my family. We were there for ten days and Elijah got better by day two or three. However, he was not sleeping well at first because my mom only had a pack and play from when he was tiny and so he doesn't fit in it anymore and wouldn't sleep. My sister-in-law let us borrow their larger pack and play but that didn't work either, I think because it's low to the ground and dark so he can't really see where he is. So I hated to suggest that they buy a crib since cribs are so expensive but it looked like he wasn't going to sleep otherwise. Fortunately, God was looking out for us and my stepdad found a really nice crib with mattress at a second hand store for $80. After that Elijah slept better until the end of the week when he started getting really stopped up and coughing a lot. I thought it was because the room is dry (Oklahoma has been in a drought, after all) but the cough is still around even though we're back home and he has his humidifier on when he sleeps. So apparently he just got sick again. It feels like he's been sick for almost three weeks straight because even when he wasn't sick he wasn't sleeping well. So I'm exhausted and really should be napping right now instead of blogging, but whatever.
Me, my brother Rick & sister-in-law Marcie
Back to Christmas, he again was not in a super mood during Hatley/Brown gift opening because of lack of sleep. But it was a fun time anyway. The week in Oklahoma was nice for me because I didn't have to constantly be the one watching Elijah. This was good since I spent most of the time feeling queasy thanks to baby #2 or eating, also thanks to baby #2. I guess the queasiness kept me from going too crazy on food because at my last OB appointment she said I was gaining weight properly. So why I look 6 months pregnant when I'm only about 4 months is beyond me.
More opening presents with Daddy.
I did get my hair done and I got some maternity pants thanks to the Old Navy gift card my dad gave me. I also got other stuff I wanted like this cool tea maker that my brother and sister-in-law gave me and the Eclipse DVD from my mom. I know I got a lot more stuff than that, but again, I'm not a big gift person so if I forgot what you gave me I'm sorry. It's not because I didn't like it, I'm just dumb.
Feeding himself yogurt
So there you have it, that's my Christmas blog. I hope everyone else had a good holiday and didn't get trampled at walmart. All pictures are courtesy of my mom or sister-in-law because I am so dumb that I forgot to charge my camera battery before we went out of town.