Friday, December 14, 2012

Back to Decking the Halls

Well, it's back. The Christmas crap decor. It hasn't been seen since two years ago and if Benjamin weren't here, it'd probably still be collecting cobwebs. But, we are somewhat happy to oblige because we want him to have good memories. It's just hard because we decorated our home literally hours before I delivered Andrew. So needless to say, I re-live that day over and over in my head and it's not as pretty as our Christmas-music-blaring-and-decorating-party we were having thinking our son would be coming home just days later to see the decor himself. Hopefully I can make this a tad less depressing of a post. Meh.

Here's what Christmas looks like from the front of our abode.

This photo. With great deliberation, we decided Andrew's stocking (you know, the one we bought hours before he died, of course) would hang for him, but near his urn. I decided this year to place the cards people sent about him on his birthday inside the stocking. In future years, I don't anticipate many at all, so maybe that will be where the holiday cards go. I love the idea of Andrew's stocking carrying the love people send for our family. He's part. 
Tree Admiring
We have colored mini lights. Growing up, Ray had big, colored bulb lights. We also did, but the majority of my childhood was spent with mini white lights. Our compromise? Mini colored lights. I also think decorations on trees are for children and Benjamin deserves the colorful magic.
Watching Dad hang the wreaths on the doors.
 Making it his goal to suck on every. single. ornament. before it went on the tree.
Part of the mantle. The two stockings on the left are our newlywed stockings. The one on the right is actually one of three. I bought three stockings in 2010, two were green and one was red-- Andrew had the red. We were to be a family of three and he was to be born very soon. We had those three stockings hanging and the newlywed ones were being retired that year. I thought. Now Benjamin is here and we still think Andrew deserves his red stocking. And Benjamin needed one, so he received one of the green ones. If we have another kid, they'll get the other green one. If we're lucky. I sort of like Andrew having a special red one. It made us too sad to have his stocking on the mantle for it to remain empty each year, but it will hang still.
More fun decor. The tree is Pottery Barn and I bought it back in college. The snowman is a thrift purchase, and the 3 Santas are a gift from our tutor in Germany.
Our new Christmas addition of Andrew's name framed from Carly & African man dressed as Santa. I bought his hat and beard at Target a few years back. They're actually for dogs. He's holding a basket of Christmas cards we've received so far.
Maasai Elder African Santa
Our Christmas Pyramid. It's our big purchase from Germany.
Plate, ready for cookies for Santa. Dad is a cookie-monger. Cookies will be made.
The advent I researched and researched and bought and had sent to my in-laws house while we were living in Germany. I wanted it that bad. You know, because my kids would love it. Now, days 1-5 are reserved for Andrew and we'll probably start on December 8 as well. Random tidbit: I remember talking with my parents about how I wished Andrew wouldn't be born on December 7, because that's Pearl Harbor Day and that would be sad. Let's just say we'll be spending Days 1-7 of December in remembrance. We'll re-convene with the whole advent business beginning on the 8th-- when we can turn the house around.
We were discussing Christmas decor the other day. I remember vividly sobbing on the couch and staring at the lit Christmas tree in the corner. The stockings (three-- 2 green, 1 red) hanging and all the other decor perfectly out. We wanted to take pictures in front of the tree with Andrew when he arrived home. But instead, I sat there staring at the tree in shock. You know it's shock when you don't think to strip all of the ornaments off and ditch the tree out the door. As I look back, I had no idea what to do or how to react. We were in such disbelief that we were still in the sad and confused state, not angry. I don't remember when we put the decor away that year, but it's still surprising to me that we didn't rid the house of all the happy objects immediately. I guess we were too preoccupied with sobbing and trying to rid ourselves of the baby gear that was intermingled with the red and green.

To all those families who lost their children today, I'm beyond sad. I burst into tears a number of times listening to the media depict the day's events. This world is such a dark and evil place at times. It saddens me greatly to know so many families have joined such heartbreak.


Renel said... [Reply to comment]

Great photos. Kai likes the rainbow lights so that's what we did last year. I don't really like them so we compromised this year and did white and blue (which is my favorite). I have a feeling the light color may change every year :)
I love the Christmas pyramid and the advent calendar. Those are really cool unique pieces.

The fact that Andrew died and you didn't tear everything down that was happy, surprises me zero. It's like you said... Shock. I sometimes wonder about the things I did after Camille died. We were so lost that it's hard to know what to do, so often I think we either do things we wouldn't think right if we had been in our right minds. Or we did nothing instead of something or something instead of nothing... But no one thing was right... Because everything was wrong.

I am still a miss at what to do with the whole stocking business, even at the second Christmas without her.
Andrews tree is a lovely picture. I wish he could be here to stare at the lights with B and Ray. And help hang wreaths and put up ornaments.

You know I was a total mess yesterday grieving with and for those families who's child died. Their world forever changed. I was thinking of them coming home to the Christmas presents their boy or girl will never open. The laughter they will never get to hear again. The elf that lies waiting for another adventure. Going into their babies room, toys everywhere. Remembering what they said to them last. Laying on their bed and crying. Trying to smell every last piece of their child into their hearts. I just sob thinking about so much sadness.

Sending a giant hug your way.

Jenny said... [Reply to comment]

You probably don't feel strong, but I'm not sure I'd feel like decorating in your shoes. Benjamin has great parents!

We love our German pyramid, too - A. loves turning it... and we've had to hot glue a camel and shepherd's crook back on, c'est la vie. The Scandinavian brass ones with bells are fun for kids, too :-)

Heather (Live.Love.Laugh.) said... [Reply to comment]

Great decorations. I love the African Santa.

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

You house looks beautiful! And I love a shot of B and his daddy admiring the lights... And also the one of B crawling away- crazy!

I thought the same thing as Renel- those families with gifts which will remain unopened.. The ones where the parents wonder why they didn't keep their kid home with a cold, or whatever... I hate that there's so many broken hearts tonight.

Addi's mom said... [Reply to comment]

Dude, I'm super impressed of what you guys were able to do for B. I know you didn't have it in you, but you and E managed to do it anyways. Seriously you deserve a trophy ha! So hard to know the last time you decorated it was for Andrew. Ugh. We are going with my parent's to get their tree so Mason can be apart of the experience even though we aren't getting our own tree. All I can think about is how we did this the week after we lost Addi...we went with them as to avoid getting our own and three Christmas' later here we are avoiding another tree for ourselves. Bah humbug!

Shell said... [Reply to comment]

Love the decorations. Think positive and all the goodness in your lives now. Thinking of you all!

Solange, Nik, Caitlin and Oliver said... [Reply to comment]

Love African Santa and all your unique decor :)
I freaked out when I heard the news of those poor children. So sad for their families.