My Noticer

My Noticer
There's always time to stop & smell the roses!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Pinterest Fails & Learning to Embrace the Perfectly Imperfect this Christmas

Yes, that is a dinosaur "Christmas" cookie... and I am a little worried about that gingerbread man

Christmas snuck up on me this year. We traveled out of state to visit family for Thanksgiving so that threw me off a little bit. Not to mention Landy and I both came home with colds and of course I had copious amounts of dirty laundry to wash and bags to unpack... so this year we were a few days late getting our tree up. I am a creature of habit and I struggled with this. Alas, the tree is up and my version of decorating the house is complete! I don't go crazy with the decorations. Not because I don't like them but because I am simply too lazy. I love seeing people's homes all decked out in ways that would make Martha Stewart proud. However, setting all that beautiful crap up also means having to put it away and STORE it somewhere after Christmas. No thanks, I will just look at Pottery Barn catalogs and drive around to check out the hours worth of  labor someone ELSE put into their outdoor light display.

There are really only three arenas that I totally commit to during the Christmas Season.

1. I like my tree to be PERFECT. The lights have to be arranged just so. I mathematically space out my ornaments and need things to be color co-ordinated. I HATE homemade ornaments and there are NONE on my tree. Typically I only like white lights BUT I have given in and added colored twinkle lights because Landy likes them.

2. When I bake Christmas cookies they need to look bakery worthy. This means piping bags for the icing, strategically placed sprinkles, uniformity as far as size and color are concerned, and of course cute little gift bags so that I can give them to my neighbors because I obviously need validation :) Also, I suck at being a neighbor 99% of the time. So, at Christmas time I like to make up for it. I have actually hidden on the floor of my back porch so my poor elderly neighbor wouldn't see me and invite me to one of her church's tea parties or other social events. I am also really good at just pretending I didn't hear the other 90 year old neighbor call my name 5 times. In my defense I am usually fresh out of bed taking out the trash with no bra on so really I am doing said neighbor a favor by not subjecting her to that kind of imagery first thing in the morning. My point is, I am pretty good at baking and take great pride in the appearance of my goods.

3. I am a boss at wrapping presents. I like pretty paper and ribbons and bows. I adore cute name tags, and stamps, and all kinds of different embellishments to make the gift that much more special. There is a scene from "Love Actually" that I can totally relate to! It gets me every time. Check it out if you have a minute and need a good laugh!

Gift Wrapping 101

So far Landy hasn't cramped my holiday style too much. Last year he helped with the tree a little bit but mostly just wanted to play with his little people nativity scene. Also, he didn't seem to notice that I re-arranged all the ornaments he so carefully placed on the lower quadrant of the tree. When it comes to cookie making he has always been happy to let me do all the baking and decorating so long as he gets to eat some. His approach has been sort of hands off, he likes to watch me create. These days are long gone! He is coming into his own as a little crafty elf and creator of beautiful things.

So, this will be my year of reckoning. This year I am embracing all things perfectly imperfect and changing the lens through which I define beautiful things. Probably something we could all benefit from in the pinterest perfect allusion of a world we live in.

The Tree:
This year one of my strands of white lights broke. I didn't realize it until I was already committed to decorating the tree. So, this year my tree will only have colored twinkle lights. The other small strand of white lights I had are in Landy's room framing his window. He couldn't be happier. Okay, I can live with that. Also, this year Landy picked the candy canes....he didn't pick the classic and might I add uniform red and white striped ones I like. No, he picked a multi colored variety with Mickey Mouse pictures on the wrappers. They are strategically hung on the lower portion of the tree where he can reach the branches. Some of the branches even have two or three candy canes gracing them. Not sure what his mathematical formula was maybe its too complicated for my simple mind. Typically with my Christmas balls I stick with a color coordinated theme. In years past its been silver, gold, and red. I have some other colors but I don't normally add them to the mix. Well, Landy had other ideas. My tree is covered in a multitude of colored balls. Like the candy canes several; okay most of the lower limbs have multiple balls clustered on them like grapes. Then there is the glory of glories....the box of "special" ornaments. Landy gets an ornament from us every year with the hopes that some day I can lovingly pass this box onto him and his future wife. He has also received some really beautiful ornaments as gifts. Needless to say his little collection is growing. Normally hanging these keepsake ornaments and finding that perfect spot is something I revel in. However, this year Landy couldn't wait to hang all of the "special" ones on his own. Most of them are airplanes so I shouldn't be surprised.... So, while I watched Landy lovingly place ornaments the same way I do my heart instantly melted. I realized to Landy this was the most fun and magical night and he thought the tree was beautiful. He told me over and over how much he loved our tree. I could see the pride on his face and the way he searched for the perfect home for the ornaments. When I stopped to pause and see the tree through his eyes I had to agree. It was the most beautiful tree I had ever seen. The lights twinkled just so and the ornaments suddenly seemed perfectly placed. My mathematical mind that desires order could see the organized chaos and I loved it. Decorating the tree with him was the best. We laughed and danced to "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" like a thousand times. We ate fruit flavored candy canes (weird) and I told him the stories behind all the "special" ornaments.

Holiday Cookies:
Landy and I baked our first official batch of Christmas cookies. He of course wanted to do rolled sugar cookies and I had to get out all of my cookie cutters....even the dinosaurs. I guess dinosaurs like Christmas too. Normally I just kind of do everything and I save two or three cookies for him to "decorate" and I do the rest. Nope, my little pastry chef wanted to be involved in it all. He ended up covered in flour, sprinkles, and frosting. And plain white frosting wouldn't do. We had to have white, green, red, and yellow..... And of course after seeing me frost the cookies he had to try too. In general I am not good at sharing a kitchen with ANYONE. Its kind of my sanctuary. Its therapeutic for me. I like to think and create in quiet. I lose myself when I am cooking. Try explaining that to a 4 year old! By the end of it all Landy was in cookie heaven. He even discovered the deliciousness that is RAW cookie dough!! Honestly, I can't blame him. If I wasn't pregnant I totally would have joined him! My kitchen counters ended up being covered in cookies, sprinkles, flour, and frosting. My sink was full of measuring cups and frosting covered utensils. A frosting covered beater  I precariously left on the edge of the counter slowly dripped frosting onto the floor and sprinkles of all colors covered the floor like annoying beach sand. No matter where I stepped sprinkles were attaching themselves to my feet like leeches....I can't stand feeling dirt or crumbs under my feet. During all of this Landy was totally in his element enjoying the moment. Once I let all the messy stuff go I was free to join him and I'm glad I did. I reminded myself that once we were done having fun I could sweep and mop the floor. The dishes would get done and my counters would be clean again. But the moments we were creating together were little treasures I could lock away in my memory for days when he is grown and doesn't care about frosting dinosaur cookies.

I realize I can easily re-arrange the tree when Landy goes to bed but what message would that send? I don't want to undermine his contributions and his view of beauty. I think his perspective is better than mine anyway. The lens he sees the world through is raw and unfiltered. He isn't comparing our tree to anything. Its beauty stands on its own, and that's saying something. He isn't worried about anyone else's impossible standards or really what it boils down to once we become adults is our own impossible standards. While he is young and his mind is free I want to let him experience his own unbiased ideas about beauty and contentment. As far as the cookies go I think I'll keep them for the two of us. Not because they aren't good enough to gift but because someone else might not appreciate how beautiful they actually are. Other people wouldn't know that these cookies were actually better than the bakery shelf worthy cookies I would deliver in perfect packages. Our cookies are just too good to share if that makes sense.

This holiday season is shaping up to be one full of joy and love and laughter. I'm glad Landy reminds me to see past consumerism and the bright and shiny pictures of staged homes and trees we see in catalogs and advertisements. I'm glad that even though our cookies may not be pinterest worthy they are perfectly imperfect  and making and creating them with Landy is one of the sweetest and most beautiful moments I will cherish forever. For now I get to remain the wrapper of presents so I'll let my OCD run wild in that arena.

Here are some little gems from the holiday season so far.....

Seriously better than any bakery display case cookie

How I found the nativity scene this morning.....

I LOVE that Santa is chilling with the wise men....He even brought gifts! Oh, and I just realized the angel is missing and has been replaced by a camel. Nice Landy....Nice.

Landy's world is way too cool! I see the angel wanted to hang with the shepherd and Santa's Elf.

Sidenote: There are so many people who want to fight and argue about Santa vs. the Nativity....My 4 year old just figured this super complicated issue out. Why not combine and get the best of both worlds!! I swear he is a genius!

Once again Landy, thanks for the dose of beautiful reality and perspective!