Christmas 2015


The first week of January was the return to Belfast, the return to the routine, and the return of ready-for-anything-Reb. Yet as I write this it is 1am, I can hear Reuben bouncing from wall to wall in his room, and I am lying on my belly on my living room floor sucking helium out of balloons from his party...which was 3 weeks ago. Reuben is coming down from the Christmas sugar high and I'm coming down from the 'no work all play with lots of pringles and shloer' high. After spending a few weeks in Castledawson, I think we're both suffering from severe disorientation and are not as ready as we thought for exam revision and creche confinement. I mean today he ripped the door off my TV cabinet. New year = new reasons to give off to Reubs. Not that I'm any better - today I went to the library to revise and instead I decided what my (very distant) future son will be called and nearly booked flights to Amsterdam.* The holidays are a glorious but distant memory. Here's some of our highlights from Christmas/December/last time I updated y'all.
*EDIT: I actually ended up booking them.

Multiple trips to the Continental Market. I have lost count of how many visits we made to it but lets just say I'm on first name terms with the Churros guy. Reuben + pram + crowds + long length of time = nightmare. But this year I realised if you add a foot long hot dog into the equation, you're onto a winner. And I am not ashamed to say that I did this on every trip. The best part was that Reubs obviously couldn't finish the whole thing so we both ended up chewing on either end of it until it was all gone and I got a big slobbery hot dog kiss at the end. We made a very uncute and unclassy version of Lady and the Tramp. 

N.B. I feel obligated to admit that one of our market trips ended in tears and a forever scarred child. My amazing friend Mark had been sending my equally amazing friend Anna a card every day for 100 days. On this particular day the card said we were to write down our hopes and dreams, stick them to a balloon, and let them go into the sky. So we bought a giraffe balloon, had a really cute dream-writing time, and let good ol' giraffe go free. But not before we ripped the legs and tail off it to make sure it flew, not realising the effect this had on Reuben.

He. Was. Traumatized.

For the next hour he sat quietly murmering 'bye Raffe bye Raffe'. And not a day goes by without him pointing to the sky and shouting 'RAFFE'. I'm pretty sure in 18 years if Reuben is going through will all come back to the Raffe.

R.I.P. Raffe December 2015

WE PUT UP OUR FIRST EVER CHRISTMAS TREE. When I went to view our house for the first time, I looked for two things - 1. A separate bedroom for Reuben. 2. Space to put up my Christmas tree. When the night finally came I wrestled with lights for an hour and a half and Reuben nearly choked on a bauble... But watching him excitedly put the decorations on the tree himself was more than my heart could handle.

Lots of birthday cakes. Reuben turned two. Multiple times. With multiple cakes. He really had no clue what was going on. All he knew was that there were lots a new toys, lots of sweets, and lots of tears from his mummy. Whilst Reubs was overwhelmed by the amount of sugar he had consumed (by eating skittles with a spoon) and the sheer amount of dinosaurs and cars he was now the proud owner of, I was was overwhelmed with thankfulness for everyone in his life. I'm not sure if it was the consumption of pro plus from a deadline the night before, or if I'm just mentally unstable in general... But I had to leave the celebrations at one point and take myself to the bathroom for a little cry. A little thankful cry. Reuben is growing up surrounded and influenced by some of the most amazing people I've ever met. And they love him more than I could ever have dreamed and prayed for.

FOOD. My jeans currently don't fit. I don't think I need to say anymore. It was a beautiful season of turkey, chocolate reindeer, and family size bags of sensations. But now its back to basics... I am giving away all the Christmas chocolate, apart from the secret bar that I have hidden from Reuben to get me through the week.

Reuben's first major acting role. This was the first year where I actually got Christmas. I got that the significance wasn't about santa or decorations or eating my body weight in chocolate. I got that it was about Jesus coming to earth as an actual human child. And through his life and death we could become actual children of God. HOW EXCITING IS THAT. You always hear Christmas Carols with 'Immanuel' in them but it never registered with me that Immanuel means 'God with us'. BECAUSE HE CAME AS A BABY SO THAT GOD COULD BE WITH US. 

Anyway, we celebrated with a Worship night and a nativity in true Liberty style with a real life newborn in a manger. You might as well go all out at this time of year. Reuben was Joseph and I spent the whole time giving him the 'mum look' to make sure he didn't touch/lift/punch the newborn. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful night and I couldn't write a blog about Christmas without showing photos of what I think was the cutest nativity scene I ever did see. 

Henry joined the family. If you know me or Reuben, then you will most likely know about Henry by now. On 25th December 2015 we adopted Henry the Hoover. Since that momentous day he has come everywhere. He comes in the car, he comes shopping, he comes to the bath, he comes to church, and he comes to bed with Reubs. I have mentioned his crazy obsession with hoovers before, so this probably comes as no surprise. Pior to this we could go to any house and he would seek out the hoover, no matter how well it was hid. However, as psychotic as we both may seem right now, I will honestly never forget that child's face when he realised he now owned his very own Henry. I have convinced myself that I am teaching him the importance of responsibility. Realistically the only thing he is learning is how to creepily hoover people's legs in public. 

Lots of quality friend/family time. By the end of the holidays I was convinced I should just rent a table in Ground in Magherafelt after spending the majority of Christmas having coffee centred reunions there. I am forever thankful for my parents who were eager to have Reuben and set me free on various occasions, and since uni work was non-existent to me there was plenty of guilt free chill time with friends. With looming exams around the corner, I am dreaming of those days. Stressy library sessions just aren't the same as campfires at the beach and five hour long breakfasts. 

Quality Reuben time. If I'm honest I didn't have as much quality time with Reubs as I would have liked. Being back in a confined space with my whole family reminded me why I moved out. I have a couple of days off after exams and I fully intend on being greedy with Reubs and going into hiding. Nonetheless, I spent the last day of the holidays with him at the North Coast and I grabbed the odd dinner date with him here and there. I mean, I'm not surprised he was in high demand. The kid is pretty fab. But I missed having him all to myself! 

Writing this blog post has made me even more depressed that December is over. On the bright side in the time that it took me to write this, Reuben has fallen asleep in my bed with approx. 687 dinosaurs. I'm off to climb in beside them and write a very thorough list of everything I need to do to get through January, which begins with finishing off all the Christmas chocolate that I planned to give away.