Christmas scenes

I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas had a joyous holiday! Ours was the busiest we’ve ever had, but all the visitors, noise and merriment meant we made even more memories.

Tinsel Christmas tree - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

A glimpse into our Christmas

My family always decorates the Christmas tree with packages upon packages of tinsel—so much that visitors have said they can’t see the ornaments beneath. This year Peeper joined in the Christmas Eve tradition.

She tossed handfuls of silver strands onto the tree, making “spiderwebs” on the branches. The lower boughs still bear thick clumps of tinsel—I couldn’t bear to redistribute them more evenly. After all, having wads of tinsel is a family tradition, too, dating back to when my younger sister was about Peeper’s age.

IMG_4878 - Version 2


This was Kiwi’s first Christmas. She was more interested in the wrapping paper and boxes than opening presents, though she did love the Christmas tree and its tinsel.

Kiwi had changed so much since the last time most of our loved ones saw her. The holidays are all about being with family, so it was even more special that we got to spend uninterrupted time together.


Christmas memories

On Christmas morning, the kids dug into their stockings first. Peeper pulled out trinkets and little toys—and glitter glue.

She couldn’t be persuaded to open presents until after she’d emptied a half-dozen tubes of glitter glue on her art projects. Forget toys and surprises; give this girl some Dollar Store glitter glue!


All the anticipation, excitement and breaks in routine took their toll, though. Peeper threw more tantrums than usual, ate hardly anything and skipped naps four days in a row.

At least she worked on her Christmas song repertoire in bed.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer from Catherine Ryan Gregory on Vimeo.

Christmas is one of my favorite times, but it’s probably good it comes just once a year. This holiday’s cheer will be plenty to get us through until next year.


‘Twas the night before Christmas

IMG_4769“Tis the season of lowered expectations,” I recently texted a dear friend and fellow mom of two. Because in this month of hyped-up hopes and dreams of how you’d like to celebrate, the reality is it’s hard to keep up—especially when you have a few kiddos in the mix.

So this year I tried to scale back what I planned to do at Christmas with my girls.

Peeper really, really likes Christmas jammies.

Lowering Christmas expectations

It was hard to minimize expectations because Peeper is so into Christmas. If she’s refusing wind-down time before bed, I mention Christmas jammies and she sprints to her room. I bribe her not with candy or TV time but with the privilege of putting an ornament on the tree. She literally jumps up and down when I return from the mailbox: She wants to open “Christmas mail.” I’m pretty sure I could call asparagus Christmas trees and she’d dig in.

(Hey, that’s actually a good idea. I may try that.)

Yet when the day we’d planned to cut our own Christmas tree turned into a deluge, I said we could go to the lot instead. And when Kiwi was having a hard morning—and therefore I was having a hard morning—I suggested Eric take Peeper. And when the day got later and we were approaching Peeper’s nap time, I agreed that he should go by himself. And when it took the entire day to get the darn tree into the house, I didn’t mind (too much). And when we put up ornaments piecemeal throughout the week instead of decorating the tree as a family, I sighed but realized I could live with it.

See? Lowered expectations. Read more