Sunday, December 30, 2012

how christmas comes...and goes.

i am always amazed at how christmas comes.  fast and furious, for sure.  but also with the greatest anticipation.  i think we are all kind of wired with tremendous expectation for this blessed holiday, this once a year event.  i know i am.  i would bet good money, most of you are, too.  we expect much. not necessarily gifts or things,  but something miraculous to happen:  everything to go smoothly, serenely, perfectly.  even when we tell ourselves and our family members we have no expectation, secretly, somehow, we do.  and i'm not just talking about the kids, adults, we expect things as well.  on christmas, anything is possible and everything has great potential.  it just does, and there is almost no way to escape that little kernel of hope deep inside each one of us -- that little nugget of "just maybe..."

if we keep our eyes on the birth of Jesus, we know it is exactly that -- possible. potential. incredible.  full with hope and holiness. our highest expectation met and surpassed. the present of perfection:  a Savior, come.

but, we are living in a worldly world, and, on occasion, it rubs off on us.  okay, i'll speak for myself, it rubs off on me.   and if you haven't been able to tell by now,  i want my world picture perfect thank you very much. i want a bow on every gift and a deliciously cooked roast in the oven. i want a full, live, sweetly smelling tree and a warm, brightly glowing fire.  i want a clean house and happy children.  i want cookies to bake and everything to fit. peace and harmony and the scotch tape to be where i last left it.  i want cozy pajamas and cooperative kiddos.  i want a helpful husband and a gentle dusting of snow.  lights which twinkle outdoors and a puppy who doesn't tinkle indoors.  i want it all.  especially at christmas.

and i have to tell you, it feels like we've had it all this week.  all of those things happened (well, to some extent, they happened.  maybe not the clean house, okay, definitely not the clean house, but the rest of it came close).  we surprised the kids with a new puppy on christmas morning.  oh, the absolute rejoicing of it all! connor (and i'm not kidding) burst into tears.  the kind of tears where he had his face in his hands sobbing with joy.  all five of them were over the moon.  (if you have never surprised your children with a christmas morning puppy, i highly recommend it --one of my all time highs to date). there are almost no words to express the utter thrill of that moment when she entered in her red bow and fluffy brown coat.  miss minnetonka or "minne" is a delight. she's a puppy, no doubt, but a real darling little girl and getting along beautifully.  i'm sure i'll have more to write on this large, newfoundland pup in the future.

so christmas came with a lot of joy this year. our first christmas in minnesota has given our family many wonderful moments and memories:  my oldest son, on the lake, trying out his new ice fishing gear before we had even eaten our christmas brunch.  a new puppy curled up at our feet.  kids ice skating out the window while i prepared christmas dinner. cinnamon punch chilling and my husband singing as he attempted to restore order to the house.  roast in the oven, candles in the window and snow gently falling. you know, the typical norman rockwell stuff.

but, as is always the case, christmas came bearing a few not so pretty and polite presents as well.  the two oldest kids were sick with the flu the weekend before, and i came down with it christmas night. both christmas trees are as dead as dead can be. the poinsettia plants are drooping and the strands of garland are brittle and breaking.  the new puppy has pottied a time or two in the house, a toy has broken and some things didn't fit.  it seems more snow's been tracked indoors than out. we've had a few spills, some dishes dropped and a dangerous sled ride. the kids have argued.  even the parents have argued.  we ran out of sweet tea, water bottles and almost out of milk. bella's also had a heck of cough and cold, making her not the most agreeable 4 year old this week.  i bruised my tailbone trying to play both photographer and figure skater out on the ice and my helpful husband had to hit the grocery store too many times because his wife just can't make a complete list no matter how hard she tries.  the laundry is piled high and the cereal boxes are growing alarmingly low.  i'm probably in need of a doctor and some antibiotics....i'm at least in dire need of a housekeeper and a spa day.   but still...

right now as i write this a few nights after christmas, i am sitting here (puppy at my feet) and am feeling ridiculously blessed.  even though i'm still slightly feverish and have to stop and wipe my nose every other sentence, i feel blessed.  content.  wednesday night my three oldest kids had five friends fly in from atlanta to stay with us for this week.  five mcnatt kids plus five more kids!  let's see, that would bring the kid count to a grand total of 10!  ten kids under our roof this christmas week and it has been the best thing ever.  i mean i would have certainly chosen a better time to get sick, but regardless, christmas has just kept coming this year.  there really is no earthly gift my kids could have gotten that would rival the arrival of 5 best buddies from back home hanging out with them.  and the past few days have proved that true many times over.  i've never seen so many socks and shoes and snow pants and hats and gloves and boots in one place in my life.  i've never seen so many pancakes and cookies and slices of pizza disappear so quickly.  but despite the mess and the chaos and the kids in every corner of the house, we are all continuing to christmas.

~our christmas 2012 snapshot~
{five friends arriving. kids embracing. four wheel driving. fires blazing. presents unwrapping. bedroom sharing. evergreen crumbling. children rejoicing. cookies quickly disappearing. hot chocolate making. soup simmering. snow boots, ice skates and  gloves a wearing. scarves and hats and thermal underwear everywhere. mattresses on the floor. jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table. leftover roast beef sandwiches. sledding. skating. skiing. snowboarding. treks across the frozen lake. island exploring. minne cuddling. the flu. 2 am bedtimes. 5 am risings (new puppy schedule). bedrooms in disaster. hockey sticks. big breakfasts. good books. smart wool socks. dripping noses and red cheeks. sparkling eyes. late night movies. girls giggling. iphones and instagram. breakfasts and lunches and dinners blending.  words with friends. guitar playing. kids laughing. pictures snapping. puppy barking. north and south friends meeting.temperatures freezing. dishwasher constantly running. woman constantly cooking. someone always eating. games playing. snow falling. family praying. stories telling. hearts filling. christmas break enjoying. memories making.}

it's clearly been a wonderful week of christmas in the mcnatt home, but as the dear ones depart and christmas begins to give her goodbyes,  my hope is that each of you has also experienced a rich week of blessing .  that you've been surrounded with good friends and great family. maybe you haven't trekked across a frozen lake or played with a large-pawed, newfoundland puppy, but, my prayer is that you, too, have had some time to rest up and, above all else, to remember the Christ-child and the full perfection only He can bring.   i am pretty certain, no matter how hard any of us have tried to control the coming of our christmas, we are all now watching it go with a little bit of chaos and a little bit of mess left behind.  because that's how it comes... and that's how it leaves.  holy and hopeful...beautiful and blessed...wild and wonderful.  messy and miraculous. christmas.

heading out to snowboard and ski for the day
the four to explore minnesota.
crossing the ice to crane island (with lots of caution and instruction).
hangout spot in the evening.

minne's favorite spot!
beautiful girls.  beautiful friends.
more beautiful girls...and eli.
everyone loved to nap with minne
best potty-trainer ever!
heading out for a trek across the lake

first time on ice skates for bella!
a little pond or lake hockey (thanks mrs. larkin and piche family for sticks and skates!)
the whole crew!


jennifer said...

Oh my goodness!!! I LOVE this post! I have to makes me want to move to the frozen tundra!! Well....almost :) Looks like your children are having the time of their lives! Hope you feel better soon...tail bone and all!!! And I surely hope you were able to replenish the sweet tea!!! Us southern girls can't be without that for very long :)

Merry Christmas friend!!!!

DiJo said...

I can't believe you bruised your tailbone... I definitely can relate to that this Christmas!!! The pics are wonderful of your "Camp McNatt" happenings!!! What a blessing for everyone to be together.. And, so thankful Minnesota delivered the perfect weather for tundra memories!!!! Even the ice cooperated! Praying you feel better soon.. It's time for the flu/cold season to be done already!! Thankful for the gift of your family this Christmas!

Hugs from Chan,

Paige said...

Love this post, you capture it so well!!!! Oh my that Minnie is beautiful, the kids gorgeous and look so happy to all be together!!! I hope you feel better soon!!!!
Miss you friend!!

jodymcnatt said...

thanks jen! yes, feeling so much better. now, to tackle that dried tree...makes fantastic kindling, by the way. =) merry christmas from the frozen tundra!

jodymcnatt said...

oh the tailbone thing...yes! i know you can relate. also, wanted YOU to know ESPECIALLY that i fell attempting to save my new lens! it was either me or the camera. you know what i chose! =) LOVE that lens!
minnesota did provide perfect hosting weather...we were in heaven. a cold heaven, but heaven, nonetheless!

jodymcnatt said...

thanks paige! i am feeling much better. i am taking back control of the chaos today...just threw away a dried up poinsettia plant and it felt GREAT! miss you too...what does that animal doctor husband of yours have to say about newfoundlands??? =) she's a cutie for sure!

snekcip said...

Your Beautiful family, that gorgeous puppy, that exquisite snow, that wonderful display of friendship....Awwww you captured it all so beautifully. I'm new to your page and truly enjoyed looking at ALL your beautiful pictures of your family. So happy to follow along!

Paula said...

Oh my goodness! A Newfie incredibly exciting is that!?!?! She looks like an absolute doll. Kids and pets - it doesn't get any better than that. I chuckle at the picture of her lying by the boots and mitts etc. By next winter she'll take up that entire area and you won't be able to see any of your shoes! ;-)

Wishing you all the best in 2013!