Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out With A Whisper

Scott called from the ED a few moments ago, asking if there was anything I need him to bring home tonight. My answer was a simple "Nope," but in my head I was thinking, "Why?" I'd completely forgotten in is New Year's Eve.

The oldest seven kiddos are already in bed and Elias is enjoying his Baby Einstein Time behind me (weeps for everything else anyway, so why not?) I've honestly never been much into the New Year's thing anyway, but there is something little alarming about forgetting entirely, isn't there? Or am just comfortable enough in my own skin to not even pretend to care anymore?

I love New Year's Day -- traditional Kraut and Pork meal, games, laughter, family. But the whole staying up until midnight just to watch the clock move has never really been a big deal. I do love First Night Annapolis, but I haven't been to that since I was pregnant with Tucker and I was so tired for the next few days that I questioned my sanity for even going at all. (Although, the Shakespeare Players that night were so great!) Nope, I'm more of a go to sleep normal and wake up the next morning normal kind of gal.

On Facebook, everyone was posting their well-wishes and excitement over parties. I just can't get into it. Perhaps if Scott were a bigger New Year's guy it would be different. But, let's face it - he's usually working New Year's Eve, so we almost never spend it together. In fact, the last First Night Annapolis I went to, I took Shelby while Dawson and Isabelle stayed with my folks and Scott was working. It's just not our thing.

So, while everyone else is ringing in the new year with shouts of joy and sips of champagne, I'll be curled up under my electric blanket, fast asleep.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas, Rutherford Style

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, we traveled to Sherlund Tree Farm in order to tag our Christmas tree. Ryan. Laura, & dad D went along and we had so much fun tromping through the woods. Tucker found the tree this year, and we captured his victorious tagging-of-the-tree moment. We've learned that pictures are the best memory device we have in a family of 10!

I love winter. It is by far my favorite season. We had a great snowstorm last weekend, just in time for a white Christmas (although the snow was a little dirty by the time Christmas actually got here.) I took turns taking the children with me on errands and we made a point to walk through the snow whenever we could, just to hear it crunching. I adore that sound, and I would miss it terribly if we do ever move away from the snow. I keep angling for a family relocation to New England, but I am constantly over-ruled. I'm sure that 5 years will find me someplace where snow freaks out everyone around us and the entire world shuts down because of a flake or two. Bummer.

Christmas was fantastic. We had all the traditional trappings with one glaring exception - no cookies. We just never got around to making the cookies. We chopped down our tree, wrote our newsletter, decorated the house, did some caroling, the girls went to the Nutcracker, played tons of games, read gobs of books, laughed A LOT, visited Santa, had some parties, on and on and on . . . But we never did bake those cookies. I am so very thankful we had friends who love us enough to take pity on the sufferings of eight children without Christmas cookies and delivered some to our door. And they were really yummy. And I mean were quite literally - they are completely gone. The locusts disguised as Rutherfords descended.

After the last few Christmas's rushing to be everything to everyone, it was so wonderful to just sit back this year and say such phrases as "Sure, that sounds great. Have fun without us!" or "Hmm, we can come for a couple of hours, but then we're heading home." No pressure, no guilt. When the Shirey family called last minute to let us know of a fun trip to Santa, we were actually able to go. Years past, we would have been too booked to last-minute a trip on December 23. But we went and had a great time walking through an outdoor light display and visiting with the Jolly-Elf Himself. I really found our "no thankyous" quite freeing this year. Why did it take us 15 Christmas tries to finally find the balance between doing it all and doing nothing?

And Christmas itself was smaller this year. Rather than quantity, we went for quality and the difference was amazing. The gifts were enjoyed immediately. Rather than being overwhelmed, post breakfast found each of the kids engrossed in their own pursuits. Shelby working with her new guitar. Dawson pouring over his Lego book. Isabelle painting on her new canvas boards. Tucker practicing his Cuda board in the hallway. Keats & Aidan flying their Backyardigains around on dragons while clomping in their new cowboy boots. Abigail pushing her Baby-No-Name around in her new doll-stroller while wearing sunglasses. Elias gnawing on his organic terry teether. And the happy sounds were coming from all directions.

"Mom - I just made the perfect shade of purple!"

"Mom - listen to this chord! I just learned it on the internet!

BANG!! followed by severe wall rattling. "I'm alright! Just lost my balance for a minute! No worries!"

"Hey- there is a pattern here for making the Sphinx! I can't wait to give that a go."

"Coo, coo, gurgle." followed by big grins when anyone caught Elias's eye.

"Wait for me, Pa-ba-lo!" shouts Keats/Tyrone. Clomp-clomp-clomp.

"Hurry moose! Hey - what's your name again?" Aidan breaks character to ask. "I'll ask mom." clomp-clomp-clomp. "Mom says you're Tyrone. Hurry, Tyrone!"

"Baby-No-Name is coming! Watch out or I'll run you down on accident!"

This was the first year in many that we have slept at home, in our own beds. What a difference! No packing for 10. No keeping everything straight. No trying to get everyone calmed down in their new environment to get some sleep. No dozens of trips back upstairs to remind everyone to be quiet and go to sleep. And, when we all woke up - everyone was well rested, making for a much more pleasant Christmas morning experience. Personally, I didn't feel the need to lunge for the coffee pot and start chewing beans while waiting for the brew like I usually do.

Ryan & I tend to be the traditonalists in our family. But, even I have to admit, our break from tradition this year was really nice. Sure, we did most of the stuff we usually do. But it was those few no's that made all the difference. And, the crazy thing is that the first "No thank you" was inexplicably tough. But each one that followed got easier and easier. By the time we got to Christmas Eve, I was possibly enjoying saying no a little too much. And because there was a balance this year, none of us have felt the Annual-Christmas Let-Down, which is worth celebrating in and of itself!

So now, I am going to place clothes in the dryer (since laundry never takes a vacation), lay a fire in the grate, and cuddle with my boy while he's still young enough to enjoy it. Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Zoom -- Was That Thanksgiving I just Passed?

It is actually Wednesday - the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, to be precise. Really? Where did that week go? Ryan and Laura were here, we spent extra time with Jenna, Aaron, Sadie and even a day with Trinity and Sam. Thanksgiving was a nice, casual day with all our favorite people - Chip and Kathy, Alex, Dylan, the Marshalls, the Dubachs and Dubachs, and us. It really didn't feel like it flew by, but before we knew it, we were having one last brunch with Laura before she caught the plane to go to her folks house. Too fast.

We used to have Thanksgiving and then the next day we pulled all the Christmas bins and boxes from the attic and started festooning the house. Not this year. We told the kids we needed at least a week in between Thanksgiving and decorating. Don't get me wrong - I love Christmas. I love the lights, the coziness, the smell of the fresh-cut tree, the cold. But this year has just been too fast. I think both Scott and I knew we needed a week in between to simply slow down how fast it feels everything is going. I know it won't really slow down the time, but it is helping mentally to ease the pace.

I often wonder if we are the only ones who feel this rush of time, or if we are simply two out of many. Shelby will be 14 in just 3 short months. Yet I remember so clearly feeling her moving inside me before she was born. Does my mother look at my 36 year old self and feel the same?

Ahh, Elias's swing needs to be reset again. Another 5 minutes are gone. Just like that.