Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas, Kittens, and Kids...

We are a houseful, and that is putting it mildly.  With five kids, two parents,two grandparents who practically live with us, two dogs, and a cat there is a lot of yelling and barking and meowing and stepping over each other.  It can be crazy most of the time and that's the way we love it!  Earlier this year we added another soul to our menagerie, Mabel.  She is a lovely little kitten who we took in when I couldn't resist my teenage son's begging..."Please, Mom, she is so cute and they will have to give her to a shelter if we don't take her in."  *Sigh* How could I resist that boy?

Against this much cute, resistance is futile...

So Mabel came to live with us and really has been a joy.  She gets into all the things a kitten should, cupboards and containers, boxes and shoes, and makes a great playmate for the smaller dog in the crew, Monty, who really did need another friend to chase around.  Her favorite toy is a milk jug ring (that piece of plastic ring on top of the milk jug when you open a new one), she loves to eat people food like fruits and vegetables, and could care less when she is picked up and carried around by all of the kids and their friends all of the time.  Oh, and she was born into a house that kept raccoons as pets so I think she has learned how to be craftier than the average cat.  All in all, a perfect addition to our houseful of crazy.

We put up the Christmas tree last weekend, well Superman put it up while I watched - I'm doing a lot of watching lately - and I promised the kids we would decorate it when everyone got home. Mabel promptly climbed into the tree and we let her hang out and explore it since there was nothing but lights on it (I know, we should have shot her with water guns or whatever, but she is a 6-lb. ball of cute and claws - I don't care for the claws so she got to enjoy the tree).  She was very careful and able to climb up and down without a problem.  Eventually the younger two kids decided that waiting for everyone else was taking way too long and begged to hang just a few ornaments and garland.  I finally caved in and let them put a few things up. 

I promise, they did not hang the cat in the tree - she was fascinated with all the "toys" they put up!  


After watching her reach out from inside the tree and bat all the shiny balls around (none came off, thankfully!) I promptly issued an executive order to the kids that we would not be putting any more ornaments on the tree this year.  I was not about to spend the next two weeks picking up every ornament she knocked off the tree - no way!  They were a little disappointed, but decided that having the cat as the living ornament would be more fun this year.  I was glad they took it so well as I'm a little leery of upsetting the holiday traditions - they all really look forward to decorating the house and especially the tree.  But everything else got decorated, the mantle with the SnowBabies and the front room with the snowmen, so they all felt it was enough for this year.  

I love how my kids always manage to teach me.  Maybe our traditions don't have to be so rigid and maybe I don't have to have an inner freak-out when the holiday cards aren't done, the cookies aren't baked, and the tree isn't completely decorated.

I'm glad for that this year, glad that my kids can still find joy in the season even if our traditions get done in a rather un-traditional way. 

(And, yes, that is duct tape on my un-traditional fireplace, holding the single-digit temperatures that waft down the chimney and through the ancient fireplace doors at bay...brrrrrr!!!! )