A nap for Mom; that definitely needs to happen. Lunch is served, baby is fed, diaper changed, story read to Lottie, homework time with Henry and what do you know? The stars have aligned in your favor. You find yourself curled up on the couch in front of the Christmas tree. You set an alarm. Not too long, but long enough to hopefully recharge those Mama batteries. Next thing you know, you're back at it. Lottie re-appears. 'The middle kiddles,' circle around the counter to help with the cookies. Dough is devoured behind your back. It's okay because you're snitching it too. Monkey see, monkey do. Christmas music plays.
All feels Merry and Bright...except, hey wait, stop fighting you two! It's time to place the dough on the cookie sheets. Except... is that? Oh yes. The baby is awake! Time to feed him. "Play with your brother so I can get these cookies in the oven, please!" You look at the clock. Pretending your James Bond, you decide to go ahead and throw another batch in the oven even though it means that once again you'll be cutting carpool pick up close. "Jump in the car kids! Quick!" Another delay. Lottie decides she needs help with her buckle. Back to the school we go. Big sis jumps in the car. She has news of her first ever read-a-thon. She seems more excited over this than Christmas itself! Seeing her again is one of the best parts of the day.
The husband is called. With a loving tone, you encourage him to be home early. The promise of peppermint cookies is made; if he is on time. "I'll try my best." Down to the basement, you go on a hunt for baby sized winter gear. Hooray, you are successful! Returning with a handful of hand-me-down goodies for the baby, it looks like everything is set. It's time to gather and organize six pairs of gloves, winter hats and snow pants. The bag is perfectly organized with the necessities. What do you know? You even know where all of the kid's socks are. Sweet! How about that hot chocolate? Dang, where's the thermos? Another call to Andrew.
"The thermos might be locked up in the gun case." What the heck. So random, it's not even worth asking why in the world it would be there. Boys are weird. Hot dogs for dinner, because we're fancy. I'm still cleaning up from the cookies, so please cut me some slack and fear not, ya'll. White chicken chili is on tomorrow's menu. You check the clock and call the husband again.
Baby is fed once more, diaper changed, lotion applied (poor thing has awful eczema) and the bundling process begins. Daddy's home! The hot chocolate comes together, the car is loaded... except, "Wait! I have to go potty." We're on the road. Finally! Mom blares the Christmas music as Dad stops for a Pepsi. You bite your tongue.
The husband navigates the parking lot as you curse your decision to share your husband's Pepsi. Last year, as a pregnant woman, your bladder was always on the brink when you were out and about. Way to successfully recreate that blessed feeling!
From a parking garage full of crazy drivers to the crowded and cold streets of downtown Salt Lake City, your family surfaces to a bright and beautiful scene: the ZCMI candy windows, majestic lights, traffic cops ushering your though busy intersections...you have arrived.
"Can we have the cookies yet?"
"I need a bathroom!"
And then finally it's, "I'm so cold! My legs are tired." - Lottie.
"Do you want to ride in the stroller?" Her stern reply,
After spending just the right amount of time observing the lovely lights, we head back to the car. Our cookie fed, hot chocolate filled, kids meander into their car seats. The previously grumpy three year old waits until your eyes find hers. Full of intent she questions,
"Can we please come back again next year?"
Satisfaction swells as the memory of the day's efforts disappear.