We are in the middle of a holiday season...I had my 24th Anniversary in September, Tony's 45th birthday in October, Halloween and now we are coming up to Julia's 14th birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
As has become our new tradition, we are not doing our traditional Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving used to be VERY much based on family traditions. We got together with as much family and friends as you could fit into a home and had the full, tradition Thanksgiving meal complete with the Thanksgiving Parade and football. This is our third Thanksgiving, and we are once again doing something not traditional. I have found that holidays are hard, and I don't like doing our old traditions...they hurt. Our first Thanksgiving post-Tony, we had the entire family eat a wonderful Thanksgiving meal at the Chinese restaurant. Yep, no thanksgiving meal involved in that. We did decide to have a family tattoo at this holiday feast...it was on Tony's bucket list. Last year we went to Disneyland...for Julia's birthday and Thanksgiving. I didn't expect to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal, but Flo's V-8 Drive In had a Thanksgiving meal option. It was awesome. The best of both worlds...Disneyland and a traditional Thanksgiving meal. This year, we will be on a cruise.
Okay, before you freak out, I didn't pay a dime for this trip!! My mom has been saving and being creative for months to take us all on this trip. It will be my mom, dad, and Ben, and then the 3 of us. My aunt and uncle are going to meet us on the boat as well. So this is a nice bonus. I've been a bit discouraged because I tried to take the kids on a small trip...even a day trip...during the summer, but I just couldn't afford it. So this is nice. We get to spend Julia's birthday on the boat and Thanksgiving. This should be fun.
The next topic that goes with holidays is money. I haven't been able to do anything for these holidays and probably won't be able to do anything for the ones coming up. I have been working on my budget like crazy. Every time I think I have it perfect, something else comes up. There is absolutely no savings, and there's absolutely no extras. My parents paid for our traditional Olive Garden for my anniversary and Tony's bday (These are the only traditions I've kept). My parents are suckers...I mean wonderful people. I truly couldn't do it without them. We spent Halloween at BNC at the Trunk or Treat. That was super fun. This was the first year, Julia was able to come and help me. We had fun with our lovely Jasmine. I'll do it again next year if I can work with these two. So now we are coming up to Julia's bday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Because of the cruise I don't have to do anything for Thanksgiving!!! We will celebrate Julia's bday on the cruise...then a family get together when we get back...then a friend party in January. So, that brings us to Christmas..... Christmas used to be my favorite favorite holiday. I tolerate it now. Although, Julia and I have been making presents for Christmas and that has been fun. We will continue doing that when we get back. My biggest problem is the kids. I hate letting them down. I know they will be happy with anything, but the mom in me knows it's been so hard for them these past few years...and it's been getting harder because there's no money for extras...so I have to keep saying no...sometimes even for some needs...they just have to get put off a few weeks...I feel like a failure. I don't really want to say this out loud because it sounds so terrible. It also sounds like I'm begging. I'm not. I just know that people have told me that they want to know. So here it is...the honest truth...I can't make my budget...one of the relaxing things I'm doing on the cruise is working on the budget again...seeing what else can get cut...I think it might be time to cut the cable...I don't know what else... I do have to tell you that I believe there are some nice people out there who will be getting gifts for my kids for Christmas!!! All I want for Christmas is for my kids to be happy, and have enough money for food, gas, and bills. So this paragraph ended up being a super bummer...sorry.
So...the cruise...this will be happy news. We will be flying into New York, and we get to spend a few hours there to see a few of the sites. Then we board the boat. We will go down the coast and eventually make it to the Caribbean...how are you saying it in your head?... We have a cute family theme going...Primates of the Caribbean...it goes along with the Kessler family Wacky Monkeys. We will also be doing a few theme nights on the boat...other than Julia's bday and Thanksgiving. I am looking forward to these. We have lots of fun things planned. Then we will get off the boat in Miami. Then we will go to Kennedy Space Center....I know!!!!...I'm so excited to get to take my family there... I got to go ages ago with Timothy and Dawn Marie Sable. It was awesome. Now I get to geek out with my family and fellow geeks (I think I brainwashed Miah into being a geek!!! Yay!!! Successful parenting). After all that, we will be flying home. I know...whatever...such a short trip...not much fun...not seeing much...boring...hehe..... Have I said lately that my parents are the greatest people on the planet?! No? Okay. My parents are the greatest people on the planet. You can ask my kids, and they will tell you Grammalicious (GamGam, Gammy, there's more interesting names) is the greatest person EVER!! I dare you. Ask them.
So how do I choose joy? Well, I decide not to feel like a failure and accept the wonderful things that people do and give me to help my family. I try not to focus on the have nots and focus on the haves. I love on my kids...all of them...even the bonus kids, and I allow them to love on me. Weirdly enough, I have had random love being poured on me lately. It's been kinda weird...it's been awhile...I kinda felt forgotten...but not anymore...focus on the good. So that's it. Life is hard. Choose joy. Laugh as much as possible. JOY