Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Wow, where to start? Today was awesome and fun and busy and hectic and tiring and amazing. Perhaps the best Christmas Eve of all time! Today was about as "typical Kelsey" as a day can get. It felt good!

This morning I meant to get up super early and get a lot done. Did that happen? Nope. Slept in until 6:30 at first, when I discovered Kimmy standing at the foot of the bed playing with my blanket. I'm still unclear whether she was awake or sleepwalking. I told her to get back in bed, and then I didn't get up until 8:00! I took a shower and got completely ready and had to go coax her out of sleep because she was so knocked out. Got her dressed, and our day officially started!

First, we hopped in the car and drove through McDonald's for a lazy-mom breakfast. Then we went to my work, so I could do payroll real quick and for Kimmy to meet a few of my coworkers. You never know what a toddler will do, so I certainly didn't expect Kimmy to waltz right in confidently and hold up her foot to show my coworker her Cinderella light-up shoe. LOL! So random. She happily ate her McD's breakfast and acted like she was perfectly at home in the office with Mommy.

Once we finished up there, it was off to Indy for free admission day at the Children's Museum. We had never been because it's not really in our budget, so I thought free day was a good time to go. Parking was also free, which is a major winner in my book.

We got there a little before 11:00am, and holy crap it was packed. Not just buzzing, but PACKED. If I had claustrophobia, I would not have made it out of the parking garage. I vowed not to let myself get too stressed out (it's really hard to take a young child somewhere all by yourself and not be intimidated or nervous), keep a strict eye on the Kim-bird at all times, and have fun.

And have fun, we did! Actually, "fun" is an understatement. There was so much to do! Kimmy loved everything--the dinosaur and train play tables, the musical instruments, water table, sand, drawing with chalk, the holiday displays, the giant polar bear on the 2nd floor (which we had to go back to 4 times because she was so enthralled), dinosaur bones, blown glass with plastic play versions for kids, the big train car you could walk through, the play castle near where Santa was, and, heck, even the hand dryers in the bathrooms and ramps to and from each floor--and I loved watching her have fun. She had a blast! We probably walked 2 miles seeing everything.

After the first hour of exploration, we got in line to meet Santa. We waited less than an hour, I think, but it was exhausting. There were kids running around everywhere, people getting in and out of line for bathroom breaks and phone calls and who knows what else, and Kimmy was starting to feel tired. I basically split the wait time between watching her like a hawk and grabbing her anytime she tried to run off and holding her on my hip, so she could lay her sleepy head on my shoulder and rest. Hard manual labor with a 30-lb. toddler.

We finally made it to the front of the line, and the much-anticipated first-ever Santa meeting took place. Kimmy LOVED Santa. She was mesmerized. She whispered, "Wowwwwwww." as she walked up to him. (She also stuck her foot up and showed him her Cinderella light-up shoes. They are apparently her most beloved possession right now.) She sat still as a statue as I snapped a picture of her with Santa Claus. She was starstruck and completely in awe. So hilarious to watch her reaction! Also, this Santa was the best ever. He was 100% in character and didn't show the slightest annoyance at any of the children or 4 hours of non-stop photo opps. Very impressive.

We hung out at the museum until 1:00, when Kimmy was just too tired to go on. We never made it to the 4th floor to ride the carousel, but luckily the Jay-jee wasn't even aware there was one up there! Before we left, though, we went to the gift shop. I have to say that I am a pro at finding the coolest cheap things to get at museum/aquarium/zoo gift shops, and this was no exception. I'm pretty proud of that skill. But what made my finds even better was the nice mother in the line next to me who used her museum member pass on my purchase to save me 15%. It was such a nice gesture! In my opinion, the best moms are the ones who help each other out and have each other's backs. I hope mystery mom and her kiddos have the best Christmas ever because her small kindness made my day a whole lot brighter, especially after several stressful hours of wading through throngs of people bouncing around like pinballs because of their unpredictable toddlers' footpaths.

As we were walking the skywalk over to the parking garage, I noticed that Kimmy was slowing down, down, down until she was barely even picking up her feet to walk. Hilarious! I carried her the 500 ft. back to the car, and she was asleep in about 5 minutes.

Okay, so all week I had been planning to go to the 4:30pm Christmas Eve service at our church, but as I was driving home today, the GPS was giving me a 2:37pm ETA to our apartment. I decided that I could most likely get us home, changed into church clothes, and to the church just about right on time for the 3:00pm service. Challenge accepted, self.

In typical Kelsey fashion, I caught every red light in town on the way home. We arrived at 2:45, but I somehow got us to church at 3:00pm on the dot. BOOM!

If you know me, you know my Christmas Eve traditions include church hopping to as many candlelight services as possible and singing as much Christmas music as possible. Kim and I used to go to as many as 5 services in one night! So, I've seen it all, or so I thought. This service was way different, though.

Sherwood Oaks put on an AWESOME service! Not your same-old-same music. No candles, but the Wham City Lights phone app. I loved it!!!!! Probably my favorite service ever. The best part was the last song with the app with all the color-changing phone screens. The music was like Christmas carols meets Jersey house music. So much fun! The 8-ish year old boy in front of me was jumping up and down and fist pumping the whole time. It was hilarious! I left with a big smile my face and in my heart. I love a lot of things about Bloomington, Indiana, but the number 1 on my list is my church home.

After church, we ran to Kroger. I know, I know...shopping on Christmas Eve. But I really couldn't help it. My Thirty-One and PartyLite commissions hit my bank account today, and Kimmy was 100% out of allergy medicine. I grabbed that, and Kimmy and I picked out our cake mix and icing for Jesus's birthday cake that we're making tomorrow. I really wanted to make it symbolic and do red velvet cake with pure white icing to be able to chat about the blood and the blanketing of our sins with forgiveness, yadda, yadda, yadda. I guess I temporarily forgot that I have a very girly 2-year-old who is very into pretty, sparkly things as my best mate. She picked out white cake mix and bright purple icing with big multi-colored sprinkles. Well, first she picked out bright pink icing with pink sugar sprinkles, which I smoothly nixed (by showing her a few better options like purple and blue) because I'm not big on pink. Purple it is.

Here comes the interesting part: I was sitting in the backseat buckling Kimmy into her carseat after our shopping trip, when an impatient person started pulling into the parking spot next to us. Door wide open and me being the [too] nice person I am, I pulled the door closer to me. Well, the wind blew it shut completely. Annnnnd, let's just say the child safety lock feature works perfectly in my car. Yep. Locked in the backseat with my child, despite the unlocked door.

Well, being that Kimmy's carseat is in the middle seat and is rear-facing, that left about a 1 ft. space from the top of her seat to the ceiling...a space that I was forced to dive through face first to transport myself to the front of my unlocked-from-the-outside car.

Yes, this really happened. I could not make it up. This is my life.

I'm sure my child now thinks I am the weirdest human being on the planet based on her facial expression as this was happening. My antics may push her into teenage embarrassment mode well before her time. I could definitely see this happening. Go ahead and laugh!

When we got home (at 5:00pm, which is an awesome time to be in for the night on Christmas Eve, by the way), we had our fancy cheese and crackers platter (Pierce traditional Christmas Eve dinner) and a whole lot of blueberries, followed by couch cuddles and Christmas movies. As I got my lovey ready for bed, I gifted her with a Christmas sticker book, Maisy's Christmas. She absolutely loved it! I see a fun new tradition in our Christmas Eve bedtime wind-down! She thought the stickers she could insert into the story were ultra-cool. Toddler moms: I highly recommend this book!

As I was tucking my sweet child in bed, I asked her what her favorite part of our day was. She said, "I saw Santa!" So, there's that.

After she went to bed, I finally got her gifts wrapped and put under the tree. As I sat back down on the couch to watch a Hallmark movie, I had a stunning realization:

I. Am. So. Sore.

My feet are Disneyworld sore. My back is 9th-month pregnancy sore. My biceps are Arnold Schwarzenegger sore. However, my heart is overflowing. Single mom busy-day, non-workout workout for the win. I wouldn't trade this day for all the money in the world.

Merry Christmas, friends! I hope your day was as amazing as ours.

More later.
-Kels