I'm not going to lie-- there are times when I really wonder what in the world we were thinking when we decided to live off of one income. I really start wondering this when I browse blogs of perfect strangers and see elaborate birthday parties thrown for their kids. Or when a picture pops up on my Facebook feed of someone I haven't seen or spoken to in years enjoying some expensive, tropical vacation over Christmas. And I'm not even saying that I would do those things if we had the money (I mean really, hundreds of dollars on a one-year-old's party that he/she won't remember-- not very practical, no offense if you're someone that would do that though, I'm just practical--on the other hand, I'll take the tropical vacation). But still, the fact that I couldn't throw some elaborate birthday party for my kids even if I wanted to, sometimes gets under my skin, despite the fact that I know that even if Eric were working, his entire paycheck would be paying childcare for our two kids. So instead of an overwhelming amount of presents, I watched my little guy tear into a few simple things that he's been playing with non-stop since he opened them.
Instead of paying hundreds of dollars to rent out a space and have someone else entertain the kids, we crammed into our house, snacked and visited, and the kids made foam robots (he had a robot-themed birthday).
Instead of spending a lot of money on a cake, I made a cake, did my best frosting it, and watched my little boy cautiously poke his finger at the frosting and lick just a little bit before deciding he'd rather have some banana puffs. And afterwards, we watched him tear into a few more presents.
And really, two days before Christmas, I was overwhelmed with the amount of love shown for my little guy. I was so afraid that only Brennan's grandparents, great-grandparents, and aunts would show up. But friends stopped by too and made his (and our) day.
Then there was Christmas. Our house is cozy and you can still barely walk through it despite having moved many toys out of the living room and to the basement playroom. But there is no doubt in my mind that my kiddos are loved (by us, by family, by Santa).
I deliberately didn't take any pictures of Christmas morning as I wanted to be in the moment and not behind a lens. Pictures above are from Christmas Eve and later Christmas Day.
I say all this, because the lesson I've been reminded of these last few days has been this-- sometimes, love really is all you need (I love The Beatles).
Expensive birthday parties and exotic holiday trips are nice if you can afford them. But as I cuddle up in my new pajamas while Cate really gets into playing Playmobil and Brennan zooms his cars on the floor and my hubby listens to some new vinyl, I find that I really can't ask for much more. I've kind of got it made, really. A loving husband who is a fantastic father, two beautiful children who light me up with their smiles, a home full of love and history that comes with a mortgage cheaper than the rent we used to pay, family that is there for us in any situation, friends that laugh and grow with us. That's a whole lot more than most people have. That's a whole lot of love too, if you ask me.
That love may not buy a whole lot, but really it's priceless. Besides, we're saving up to take that awesome, exotic trip in 2014-- when we celebrate 10 years of marriage!
Love and peace to you all! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!