Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Surviving The Holidays.....And Other Stuff....

I saw this post on Facebook and it resonates with me.

We have always kept the holidays simple here at Family of 4.  The girls for the first few years, really did not do well at the holidays.  If you followed the old blog, you probably remember a few frustrated posts of mine about surviving the holidays.  Dave and I felt like zombies when they were over and basically just wanted them to be over and to move on.  The last few years the girls have been really into the holidays.  They like to decorate the tree and their room trees, make decorations at school, drink hot chocolate, candy canes, Christmas music (started already a few weeks back) and Christmas movies.  It's been fun to enjoy the holidays from their perspective and I really am glad we can enjoy them together.  That's not to say that their aren't meltdowns or acting out, because, let's face it, while we do enjoy the holidays now, there's always that missing piece that comes with missing another family or feeling you are missing out.  I understand that now, having lost my mother, brother and father.  So we address it when needed, we allow memories and talking about whatever they want, and we move on.

I have never been one to schedule a lot of activities though.  I just have to keep it simple, especially for LGA. She can't handle all that overload.  She really needs a very quiet, low key environment.  Activities we have done in the past, which have gone over well, have been to ride the Christmas train, see Santa at the local Bass Outlet Store (free if you live near a Bass store), see movies, and bake cookies.  These things when scheduled sporadically and then down days in between, have helped us to survive.  One year we spent at my friend Kim's and the girls had hot cocoa, candy and were amped beyond belief. I don't remember if that was pre ADHD meds or the meds had worn off, LOL.  But we add little things - new traditions - over the years, (this year I think we'll do some sort of Christmas craft), and it seems to work for us.  I am not one of those moms who tries to cram it all in and have an overloaded schedule. I just am not really into it and I remember growing up, spending time with my mother decorating the tree, baking, shopping and enjoying time with her. That's what I want the girls to remember.  Not that we were rushed doing stuff and getting it all done. I have done the stressed holiday seasons before and I just can't be that kind of mom.   But I do admire the ones who can do it.  I just decided a long time ago it was not for me.  And when the girls were not really into the holidays it was hard to try and do it and not really get any reactions.

On that note, we added another kitten to the mix. I blogged about thinking about it previously.  And as most of our pets are rescue, this kitten was also a rescue.  She came from a local shelter.  I saw her when I made a visit to the new shelter, the one I blogged about where the girls could pet the cats.   Well, I saw this sweet white and orange, green eyed kitten there and she mewed really loudly.  She wouldn't come up to the cage to see me as the other kittens/cats did, but she sure had a voice.  And a purr.  The little boy I saw was so sweet, too.  So I kept going back to him.  But I took the girls to see the kittens/cats yesterday as I figured it would be a good thing for them to do. I had no intentions of really getting a kitten and we looked at a few of them (both of these 2 kittens were gone), and the girls had fun playing with the kittens in the room where they were loose and running around.

We left with a bit of disappointment on the girls' parts.  They really wanted to stay longer but I had some errands to run.  But I did promise a visit to the local pet store, so we could get dog and cat food.  When we walked in, who was in the large cat enclosure but mewy white and orange kitten!  The girls were smitten, and she was still mewing from behind the glass.  What did it for me was that we would never be able to pet any of the kittens unless we were interested in them.  A sales girl said we could pet her if we were 'really' interested in her.  Of course the girls begged.  So we pet her.  And she cuddled, something our other cat does not do.  She leaned in and head butted the girls and I as we each took turns cuddling her.  I hesitated on getting her and we still had errands to do so we agreed to come back.  The sales girl said she could not hold her and the girls were really upset (of course, didn't expect they would be, I know I would have been at their age too).  We ran errands we had a rare meal at McD's and the play place (the girls are officially too old for them, all they want to do is play the video games) and then headed back to the pet store.  Dave said it was ok but he was not cleaning another litter box (that's what he said about our other cat and I pretty much have had litter box duty except when I can't do it and he has had to).  So we decided the girls would need to learn this task as they really wanted the kitten.  So now I will have to show two little girls, one of whom gagged the last time I showed her (BGA) how to clean out the cat box.  I am glad someone else is going to do it but I wonder how often they will do it or if it will fall back on me.  So now we have new kitten and she's a bit feisty than they mentioned on the card they had pinned on the glass.  We will see how this goes, but the fact that the kitten went right into LGA's lap and cuddled, and snuggled her, was SO worth it.  LGA was in cat heaven.  This is what our other cat was supposed to do, but never did warm up that much.  So LGA got to have some time in the am before BGA got up, with just the kitten (with my supervision as she's only 8 weeks old) and I, and she was in heaven.  I hope it works out as I know that LGA desperately loves cats/kittens and really wanted a friendly cat.

Hope you are all gearing up for your Thanksgiving day tomorrow.  We are going out, not cooking.  Dave has to work this week and has been working 10 hour days and even went in on his normal day off and has to work the two days after the holiday so he's tired.  I will cook a small turkey breast on Sunday.  But we may, if he's not too tired, go to see the new Disney "Frozen" movie.  It's nice not to have to worry about cooking.

So whatever you do tomorrow, whether you celebrate with family or friends, I hope it's a great day for you. I am thankful for family, friends and health this year.  It's the 2nd holiday without my mom and I miss her, but I will remember some of the great Thanksgiving's we had together or with family.

I will NOT be shopping tomorrow as I really do not agree with the stores opening early on Thanksgiving day.  I feel everyone should have a day off to enjoy with their family and friends, not having to work that day.

Make those holiday memories, but also try to keep the stress levels low and enjoy the time spent versus what you feel you need to make the holidays be like.  I know I will.  Have I finished all the shopping, baking, putting up the tree, etc.?  Nope.  Cause I refuse to put up the tree till after Thanksgiving and it will all get done when it can.  Not gonna stress.  Rinse and Repeat.........


  1. I had to laugh at your post since it brought back memories of how we got our dog when I was little. We had been begging my mom for a dog for ages (because I knew I wouldn't get the pony that was first on my list). So my mom trying her best to prove to us that she would get us one at some point in the future - went out and bought a doggie bowl for the food, a leash and a huge dog collar suitable for a Great Dane. And then just to prove she really really meant it took us to Harrods in London (we grew up there) and the neat thing about Harrods at the time is that you could get absolutely everything there including pets. We were meant to just look and decide which breed we would get at that far future point. But she took us the day before Christmas - you can imagine the rest - 3 kids crying and whining because we saw the perfect dog on Christmas Eve - a tiny Jack Russell terrier. Of course the puppy came home with us that night. And my mom swore never to take children into a pet store again! But she never regretted getting Pip (yes the name was taken from Great Expectations by Dickens - we had a sense of humor about her) who turned out to be the best dog for us ever. So I hope that this little one turns out to be the perfect kitten for you.

  2. So sweet that the girls now get into the spirit of the holidays. It's so much fun when they get all excited, isn't it?
    Another kitten???? How many pets do you currently have? I've lost track!

  3. I didn't know you were from the UK Maggie! My dad was British and I have cousins and family in the UK. I have been to Harrods too!! I remember my dad saying what they used to have at Harrods. And yes, I had two girls crying for that kitten so I broke down and got her. But.......she's the most loving purring kitten around and she's really helping LGA calm. So it's worth it. Plus we are all loving on her. She's gonna be a jumper though. I can see it........

  4. Leigh we have two cats. The first one we had is our semi feral calico. She really is not very friendly but hoping this new kitten will help her be more friendly. She bit in the beginning too, so it was not a good fit for the girls who wanted a loving lap cat. This kitten fits that bill. She's very sweet and loving and the girls are really enjoying her. BGA cleaned the litter boxes too for the first time yesterday so she is learning pet responsibility.

  5. Actually just grew up in London so I am American not English. My dad worked for Time/Life and was stationed there for a year which turned into 20 yrs! My brother and sister were both born there but only have US citizenship. So happy to hear that the kitty turned out to be "purrfect" (yes we love awful puns in our family) for the girls! I was interested to read how LGA is reacting to the kitten. Isn't it amazing what animals can provide to children? When our girls get mad at my husband and I - if we are home they will immediately turn to the cats to tell their troubles too and if we are not home will then cry for the cats! We found the cats to be an invaluable aide to help our girls transition when we first brought them home from China. And they continue to play an important part in our girls' lives.

  6. The girls had no idea how to treat pets as they had never had them. At first we had a yellow lab who was about 8 at the time but loved the girls, and a cat. Our cat had cancer and had to be put down in 2010 and our lab died of a stroke at almost 12. So we have smaller dogs, and one of our dogs is an older Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He was rescued and has a heart murmur. He at first did not want anyone but me. He then branched out to my husband and now when the girls are upset, he will go up to them wherever they are and head but them with his head under their hand so they are forced to pet him. It took him 2 yrs to feel this way but he came out of his shell. Now he will lay by them and go to them, and it's really sweet to see. We have littler dogs now but he's the one who has really helped the girls when they are upset, etc. The kitten really is a love though and that's what LGA needed. She is great and such a sweet kitten. She will be a jumper though, as she plays hard and purrs hard, LOL.

    That is cool that you grew up in London. My cousins lived south of London near Brighton. I spent 6 mos there after high school and I loved it. I made many visits there over the years, but have not been back since 1991.