Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

When Nate get older he's going to be the one folks want to hang out with on New Year's Eve.

Hope everyone has a fun and safe time tonight.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Even if I use no flash, Andy makes the squinty "cheese" face.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Face Maker

Nick won't smile for the camera any more. He either makes a silly face or he makes a "Cool" face, which looks to me less like cool and more like deranged.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I'm out of practice. I mean at having the kids at home. Sure, they live with me, but usually our lives are peppered with activities, such as school, or gymnastics, or even Story Time at the library. These things keep us busy.

Without them, I'm at loose ends. We wake up, and I can't think of a reason to get dressed, or not to turn on the TV. It's too cold or wet to go out, so we sit in all morning and the boys aren't tired at nap time. They play with their toys very well, but small arguments have begun to erupt - or perhaps they are just playing, and I can't tell the difference.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Santa's Aftermath

As you can see from the above photograph, Santa was much more reasonable this year. In terms of the number of gifts a family with small children are supposed to be able to tackle at one sitting, that is. Last year was ridiculous, and although I realize that last year my family shipped their gifts and this year we 'll be getting them in (the future) person, I still feel better. I don't want my kids to get spoiled and think they'll get everything they want, and I do think there is such a thing as having too much.

In the lull between Christmas and the next thing, I'm busy getting ready for next year. I'm making lists of things I want to do, rooms I want to paint, closets I need to clean out. I'm planning ways to work on my budget, my diet, my workout plans.

Just this morning I got back on the treadmill for the first time since I've been sick. I wanted to go five miles, which I used to do quite easily in just over forty minutes, but which I haven't done in awhile. Because I usually don't even have forty minutes, there are other things I want to do, and the boys have a hard time waiting for me. Even with the TV on, they fight over every scrap of paper there is down there. Andrew discovered the light switches and was turning the lights and the fan off and on. Nathan casually tossed my nine-pound weight onto Nick's lap, and I made it almost three and a half miles.

The boys have actually been pretty good playing with the toys they got. They exercise selective hearing, and don't always hear me when I ask them to get dressed/ clean up/ wash hands/ come eat/ go to bed, but overall they've been quieter, and that's almost the same as being good, right?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mourning Christmas

There is often something melancholy about the day after Christmas. It's kind of like how I feel on Sundays. I'm well aware that I have time off and that I still can enjoy myself, but I can already se Monday on the horizon. And although the tree is still up (although mostly just bare branches at this point) and the boys still have a good chunk of vacation, I can see February hovering in the distance. The party is over, the cold winter is ahead, and there's almost a year until Christmas.

OK, OK, I'm being dramatic, but you know what I mean.

We had a lovely day yesterday. Nicholas was up before 4am asking to open his gifts, and we were only just able to hold them back until 6. There was a whirlwind of paper, a whooshing sound, some shouts, and the living room was completely trashed before 7. Lillian came over, and she helped Steve fix a wonderful meal. We are an incredibly lucky bunch.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Gift ( would you like to hear a poem?)

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Except for Steve's mouse.

The stockings were hung
By the pellet stove with care
With great hopes that Nicholas
Would let them stay there.

With the shopping all over
And the feasting gone by
We all settled down
For a little shut-eye.

When down in the kitchen
Gunther made such a clatter
That I rose from the bed
To see what was the matter.

It was Santa himself
That plump jolly old elf
And he laughed when he saw me
In spite of himself.

I was dressed in my jammies
My hair mussed from the bed
I looked drab right next
To his ensemble of red.

"Santa!" I whispered
"Seein' you here is great,
But could you please keep it down
So the kids will sleep late?

"I know that they won't
'cause kids don't work that way,
But let's give it a try.
What do you say?"

Santa laughed once again
Then he quieted down
And although he worked swiftly
He never did frown.

And I thought to myself
How lucky am I?
For in every way,
Every day that goes by

Is a gift unto me
'Cause there's joy in each one.
If you know how to look
Then you'll find the fun.

And the kindness and love
That so many find sappy
Can often be just the thing
That keeps it from crappy.

And so then Santa winked.
Up the chimney he rose,
And I dabbed at my eyes
And sniffled my nose.

And I wish that you all
May have joy and good cheer
And happiness to last you
All through the year.

If I could wrap it all
Up in a bow
It's just what I'd give to
You each, don't you know.

But I can't, so
You'll all get snuggies instead.
And I am now going back
Up to my bed.

My family's so great!
My friends, out of sight!
Merry Christmas to all,
And to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

As you can imagine, I'm a little busy these days, and struggling not to forget anything.

Yesterday, while I was away, the cleaning people came to clean my house. They currently come every three weeks and give me a week off sucking up the dogs hairs and cleaning the bathrooms, although I am still not convinced that I don't do a better job. Regardless, I love when they come because it gives me a little free time.

Yesterday one of the ladies brought Gunther a Christmas treat. A whole box of them, actually. Or so I was told. I never actually saw them because, when she got here, she placed them on the counter. And when Steve walked in a few moments later, they were gone.

That's right. My dog ate a month's worth of treats in one sitting.

The poor woman was horrified, but Steve assured her Gunther has done worse. Which he has.

And yesterday night when I walked into the boys' room to read them a story, there was a huge puddle of dog vomit. And this morning another in one of the other rooms.

I spent this afternoon lugging out the carpet cleaner to get out the stains. So much for a time saver.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Strain Of Simple

It's Christmas this week.

This is when the panic really hits.

This is the week that I'm passing out the teacher gifts, and leaving little somethings for the mail person, the trash guys, the women that come in and clean my home every three weeks.

This is the week when I start to realize that some of the gifts I have are sorely lacking, especially for a few special people, and I rack up rush delivery fees and run around like a headless partridge in a pear tree. There is no way to grab anything really special at this late a date, but at least I can pile on a huge load of mediocre or tacky.

This is the time when I remember that I never got anything for my husband.

This is the week when the decorations start to fail. The pine needles fall off the tree almost faster than the boys can knock them down, and the candles I place in the windows burn out bulbs at a rate of two a day. The tree decorations mysteriously move higher and higher up the tree, and the candy canes simply disappear.

This is when I realize I usually shop for groceries on Friday, only this year that day is CHRISTMAS! And now I not only have to find the time to squeeze in a shopping trip with at least two hyper and overly sugared children, but I need to make a list and figure out what it is we will eat all week, and on Christmas day, and on Christmas eve!

Not to mention what I'm going to make the kids for lunch tomorrow.

Does anyone know what this is all about?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Real Santa

It gets harder to get a good picture with Santa every year. Andrew was about ready to run. I had to stand next to him. You can see my foot in the picture. Let's hope that this guy was the Real Santa!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Cheer

One thing few people associate with Christmas is catastrophe. Catastrophe comes in many forms, and thank goodness I'm not referring to anything too serious. But last year we did have that ice storm that left us without power for over a week. And as I type this many people are buried in snow without power or the ability to leave their homes. So much for their Holiday gatherings. I hope they finished their shopping.

Something else people rarely think of with Christmas is illness. It just doesn't fit into the Holiday Picture. But as it is just a regular day, and illness can strike at any time, people sometimes are too ill to join in. We did have a Christmas once when I was a child where everyone had the stomach flu.

Well... I'm sick now. My throat hurts. My ears hurt. My muscles and joints hurt. Watching TV makes me restless and moving around makes me dizzy and tired. In fact, it could snow or not snow, bury us or pass us by completely, I do not care. I can't even think about wrapping gifts or cleaning my home or getting the teacher gifts we made to our much appreciated teachers. I just want to fall asleep and wake up cured.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Short Term Memory

I recently filled out a passport application for Nicholas. Not a real one, no. One for his Kindergarten class. They are in the middle of a special "travel" project. On certain days, the kindergartners visit a different classroom, and each kindergarten teacher does a little segment on a different country, and the kids get a stamp in their passports.

"We visited a different class today, Mom!" Nick said when I picked him up from school.

"Where did you go?" I asked.

"We pretended to go on a plane, and we flew flew flew across the ocean!"

"What country did you fly to?"

"Um... what?"

"What country did Mrs. M. talk about?"

"I really don't remember."

So he has no idea which countries he's been hearing about. But I know that some things must be sticking, and he's getting used to seeing places on a map.

I feel like this is important because so much of my family is far away. And this brings me to today's Holiday Tradition: Holiday Cards.

There is no link to follow, here. Truth be told, I think Holiday Cards are mostly out of style. It has to do, I think, with the rise of modern technology. People send out emails, e-cards. They post a "Merry Christmas" status on Facebook or texts their friends and call it square. This is the modern way of doing things.

But I'm still old fashioned. I like to send out cards. And every year I have a few moments where I ask myself why I do this. Gathering addresses, running out of stamps... it really does become a pain. So why?

Well, I really do think there is something special about getting a card in the mail. Maybe other people get real mail in their boxes, but what I get is usually junk mail or bills. Unless it's from a dentist, I always get a good feeling from a holiday card. And this is why I send them. Because I figure other people might feel the same way. Especially people that I don't get to see often.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Time Flies

First off, I have to make a confession. The gingerbread train I posted a picture of is NOT MINE! Which is to say that we made it, but it was from a kit. It's a pre-fab train. And although I'd love to take the credit for it because it's so much more original than the pre-fab house (which I also purchased for an activity earlier next week), I can't take the credit for it. I am simply not that creative.

And it is already not as intact as it used to be.

But what today's post is really supposed to be about is time. Because today was Andy's second birthday. My baby actually turned two today, making him the oldest "baby" I have ever had. And although he's only just two, emotionally he's way ahead of himself. He's been throwing "Terrible Two Tantrums" now for months, and has passed the "No!" stage. Now he's moved on to "No Way!" As in "Andy, would you like a cracker?" "NO WAY!"

This month also happens to be the fourth birthday of this blog. I have been posting for four years. FOUR YEARS! If you've never tried to keep a blog before then you have no idea how challenging it can be to come up with topics to write about, or words to write them with, even if the content seems fluffy or repetitious and is poorly written and filled with typos.

So I'd like to take you to take a few steps into my time machine, make yourselves comfortable, and travel back with me... back, back, back....

To this day last year. We had no power because of the ice-storm, and Andy's birthday was celebrated thanks to a generator and cupcakes that Lillian bought.

And now let's go back even further, to before Andrew, when we were just wondering what he was going to be like. And oh, how things have changed.

The year before I was just learning to cope with two boys and getting ready for Christmas.

Oh! That reminds me - we visited Santa today! All three boys. And at some point I'll post to picture. After all, taking your kids to see Santa is a huge tradition that should at least get a mention. And as for a link.... well, you'll just have to accept this, one of the very first photos I posted on this blog.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yummy Time Of The Year

Gingerbread houses are over rated. We like Gingerbread trains.

We added the gingerbread guy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

And Now... Real Life

It's very tempting, at this time of year, to think about Christmas all day long. And sometimes it feels like I do. I make lists of things I need to buy. I string up lights, and more lights. I watch holiday specials and put them on for the boys. I listen to the music while I write cards. But as much and I love sweeping up pine needles and trading wish list emails with family members, real life intrudes.

I still have laundry. I still need to make dinner. I still need to get on the treadmill.

And we still get sick.

I am not sick. I am merely very tired. So tired. So tired, in fact, that I couldn't think about anything else beyond how exhausted I was when I picked the boys up from school, and again when I took them to gymnastics.

No, the boys aren't sick, either. It's Steve. Steve got sick over a week ago, and I knew it was serious when I got out of bed (I sleep in Sundays) and Steve told me he had made a doctor's appointment. Steve. To the doctor. Steve had been to the doctor exactly once since I met him, and that was when he almost cut his finger off in the lawn mower. (OK, twice if you count getting the stitches removed.) So when he told me he had made an appointment, and on a SUNDAY, I knew it had to be bad.

And he's still sick. I mean, in some ways he's better, but it's been over a week and his voice is gone and he can't hear anything because his ears are clogged so I have to YELL everything TWICE, and he's been coughing like a creature is going to start climbing out his throat, which is gross.

I have no idea why this makes me so tired, but it does. You would think he'd be the tired one. Huh. How 'bout that.

Anyway, today I helped the kids put the finishing touches on the teacher gifts we're making. See, this time of year people give gifts to their kids' teachers. But when you add up the gym teachers, the sunday school teachers, the storytime teachers... for three children. It adds up. Even a small box of chocolate per mentor skyrockets holiday costs. And not everyone appreciates chocolate.

So this year, we are making our teacher gifts. We are making salt dough ornaments. A highly salted cookie dough, some cookie cutters, paints, glitter.... I'm even punching a hole through a small photo of the boys to write the "Happy Holidays" on. It's cute, more personal than chocolate (not as yummy, though) and costs a lot less.

I didn't get this idea on my own, by the way, which brings me to todays link, and one of my childhood favorites: Arthur's Christmas Cookies. Boy, I always felt so bad for Arthur. Nothing ever seemed to go his way.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gift Guide

Someone told me today that, to give the best gifts, one should first make a list of the best gifts they have ever received. This is supposed to give some idea of what the giver thinks is important in a gift.

So... here goes, just a few, in no particular order.

- Into The Woods CD. My brother gave me this for my fifteenth birthday. We had seen it together on Broadway, and I fell in love with it. To this day it is one of my favorites.

- The Passion, by Jeanette Winterson. I love that book.

- Personalized bottles of wine - when Steve and I married we got five bottles of homemade wine with personalized labels, each intended for a different anniversary. Now, the wine is not the best, but I really felt that gift was heartfelt. And I still have the last two bottles (10 years and 25 years.)

- A few times I've actually been able to go on trips without my children. Overnight trips, mostly to warmer climates. I really appreciate the people watching the kids when I took time for myself.

- Disney World. Magic. 'nuff said.

- The letters that I got when I was at college, most of which were sent by my Aunt Frances. Even if I never wrote her back, she always wrote to me. It let me know she would always be there, no matter what.

OK, so there's no way I can remember every gift I've ever gotten. But I guess the overall idea is in there, somewhere.

Giving gifts can be frustrating. Because everyone wants their gift to be one of those gifts. The gift of all gifts. The Ultimate gift. But sometimes... sometimes there is just no way to know what to get some people.

So... Today's Holiday Link is Skipping Christmas, a short book by John Grisham. I have never read it, but it's supposed to be funny. And I have seen the movie based on it, Christmas With The Kranks.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Celebrating Early

Andy doesn't turn two for another few days, but we celebrated today anyway, along with putting up our Christmas Tree.

We made cupcakes in the morning and put up the tree.

I know he knew what was going on because I caught him practicing blowing out his candles when I put him down for his nap.

After nap, Lillian and Nancy came over and helped us trim the tree and Andy blew out his two candles and opened gifts, and the boys spent the rest of the afternoon playing.

Then we watched the Muppet Christmas Carol. Meg mentioned it in comments the other day, but I never watched it as a child, mainly because it wasn't made until I was in college. I don't have a clip from it to show you today. Instead, I'm going to show you THIS, which my boys love, and which is the reason that Andy spent a full five minutes shouting "BEEKAH! BEEKAH!" at the screen.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Trains, Balloons, Books, Dreidles

I decided to celebrate Andy's birthday the day we decorate our christmas tree, which is tomorrow. And I also thought he should have some balloons, because he always points them out, and almost stole one from the house of the last playdate we all had.

So this afternoon I packed all three kids into the car and headed to The Party Store. And at The Party Store we purchased three balloons - a big Thomas The Tank Engine balloon, and two smaller Thomas balloons.

Ever since we got home, Andy has been walking from room to room with his big balloon. He screamed when I made him let go to take a bath. He DID, however, hand it right over when it was time for bed.

Gunther, however, is terrified. He's always been afraid of balloons, even as a puppy, even before hearing his first one pop. So he's within two feet of me at all times. If I take a step to get something and then try to step back, I trip over him.

For me, the most exciting part of the afternoon was after the balloon purchase, when we went to the closeout bookstore next door. We weren't there for me, but for a birthday present for a girl in Nick's class. But as soon as we walked in, each boy shot off in a different direction and kept bringing me back different items. I kept saying "No! No! Andy, come back. Nick, no! Nathan, put it back, Back! Nick - Andy! Let's go over here. Let's go, Andy! Let's go. THIS WAY, NATE!"

Seriously, I must have sounded like a madwoman.

And a lot of the items were scuffed a little, or smushed, or not perfect, but I did manage to find a few good things, and then a few more things, but I had no idea how much anything actually cost. And I was irritated because my kids were... see above.

Anyhow, I was jabbering on and on, like a crazy lady, in the checkout line. Yammer yammer yammer... and the lady checking me out then says "That will be two seventy."

And I fell silent. I mentally tallied my purchases - five items. The lady must have made an error and only the price of one of them went through, and she's tired and had a long day and isn't picking up on it. Should I say something? Should I let her know? I glanced at the receipt. It showed all five items. Each for less than a dollar.

My first instinct was to turn back and buy one of everything my kids had asked me for.

I didn't.

And to honor that, I'm now posting The South Park Dreidle Song. I love this song for all the different parts, but it does have some profanity. And... well, it's South Park. Really funny, though.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

1 of 8 Crazy Nights

I went and bought the boys Advent calenders at the supermarket. They cost a dollar each, there's a picture of Santa, and 25 little flaps with 25 waxy chocolate flakes in them. I figured the chocolate wasn't too much, and it would give them a chance to count down, to recognize the numbers, and to wait the wait.

But there's a problem. There are too many treats around this time of year - the cookies, the gingerbread houses, the candy canes - and this one thing they know they can have every day. So every day begine with a "Can we have our advent calender now?" starting about thirty seconds after breakfast.

At Church school, Nick made an advent calender in his class. I like his a lot, and I might just make some here next year. Each day has a sticker on the number, some smelly stickers, and a task or activity. Like "Load the dishwasher!" or "Write a letter to a friend!" And I know it's cheezy, but frankly it had me at "dishwasher."


While we whip ourselves into more and more of a frenzied meringue over a holiday that is still two weeks away, I thought I'd mention one that is... well, it's now.

Tonight isn't actually the first night of Hanukkah. It's tomorrow, the 11th. But I figure most people read this blog the day after I post, so... there you go.

I don't actually celebrate Hanukkah. But I enjoy the music. What music, you ask? Well... to be honest, I can't think of a lot, besides the Havenu Shaloms. But unless you've been living under a rock, you'll enoy this Hanukkah Song.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Bah, Humbug!

There's something about the light bouncing off the snow that makes snow photos just glow. It doesn't, however, let you see Andy's eyes under his hat. The poor kid gets outside and he can't see where he's going and his boots keep falling off. It made it very difficult this morning when I bundled the three kids up so that I could shovel our driveway. We do have a snowblower, but Steve was away this morning, and was going to have to pick him up from the bus station. And I don't know how to use the snowblower yet.

I suppose I could have left it, but it was supposed to snow and snow, then rain, then freeze and ice. And the last thing I wanted was five inches of icy slush in my driveway.

Fortunately for me, the neighbor has a plow and was neighborly and plowed for us. Santa should bring him lots of cookies!

So here we are - first real snowstorm of the season, first snowday, and I'm already grumpy about it. It seems like a perfect place to post one of my first impressions of A Christmas Carol. There are three billion versions of this movie including many modernized versions (Scrooged), a musical (Scrooge!), and this one, one of the very first versions that I saw, and so much more interesting than the boring black and white ordeals - A Christmas Carol.... with Rich Little. In every role.

I was such a strange child.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Holiday Train Derailed

I am a bit disappointed at myself for falling down on my Blog Holiday Decorating. I had intended to positively pepper it with tips and links and little bows and Christmas kittens. But you have to take my word on this - it's a lot harder than it sounds. Santa's Beard! I have been dry of ideas for days!

Over the next few days I promise to research more links, to post holiday craft photos, to give gift giving tips and gift wrapping advice, and to take deep, cleansing breaths. Everything will fall into place. It will all be OK. All will be calm. All will be bright. Ommm.....

And for todays link, kind of a cop-out re-link. But what better way to say Merry Christmas than with The Can-Can ?

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Challenge

Parenting has been more of a challenge these past few weeks than it ever has been. It's been harder than when Andy was an infant, and even though I'm getting more sleep, I do think I've been shedding more tears over the boys.

I'm not sure what is causing it, but I think it's a combination of the approaching holidays and Andrew turning two.

It's not just the "NO" factor, either. Andy does say "NO" to everything. Even if it's something he wants he says "NO" first and then quickly amends his reply with a "yes." But getting anything done with him - a diaper change, getting dressed, putting on a coat, putting away a toy, going up the stairs - usually requires a good deal of distraction, manipulation, and coercion. Also, he's a climber and a meddler and likes to remove clothing. I'll be trying to get the boys ready for school and Andrew will be writing on the walls with a crayon found under the couch, or grabbing a spray bottle of cleaner from the counter and "cleaning" the living room rug, or scrambling onto Steve nightstand and tipping it over, knocking everything to the floor, including a full humidifier.

Add to this Nate's insistance on being called "Starscream" and Nicholas's obsession with putting coins in his pockets and you have chaos. And this is before the boys all want to play with the same toy at once and hit each other over the heads.

All this has gotten worse with the holidays so near. There are so many special things, so many events, parties, concerts, gifts, traditions... I can hardly blame them. But I stil wish they'd cut it out.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Snuggies for Everyone

Today I went Christmas shopping.

This is actually a big deal for me. You have to remember that, even in the slowest of retail times, I usually refuse to do any shopping on the weekends. Why bother when I can go during the week, when many people work or go to school? As a result, whenever I go shopping and have to wait in a line consisting of more that 1 person in front of me, I consider it a long wait.

But I needed to do some shopping without children. So I waited until Steve could be with them.

I consider a Christmas Season a success if I do not have to go to Toys R Us. If taking this into account, I can consider this shopping season a bust. Because I went there today, not once, but twice. Once to look for a toy I couldn't find anywhere else, and the second time because I found it somewhere else for considerably less, however the other toy I was looking for at store #2 wasn't there, so I made an exchange. I NEVER return items or make exchanges. I am more apt to just keep what I don't want and give it to someone else as a gift later on.

I went not to one mall, but to two, walking around both of them.

And I still have 5 people I need gifts for.

Some people dislike the music at Christmas. Others tacky decorations. I can live with them both, even though I have my dislikes in both categories. What I hate most is trying to find gifts for the same people year after year, and getting stuck on the same people year after year. I hate asking people what they would like and getting no reply. I hate thinking I've found something suitable and finding it on a shelf, in the packaging, when I come visit. I like giving gifts, but for some people it's a lot easier than other people, and a lot more rewarding.

After my crazy day, please enjoy listening to my song of the day, and imagine me singing it. It shouldn't be too hard to do, as I've come pretty close once or twice.

Friday, December 04, 2009

This Little Light Of Mine

I put up some decorations today.

I do love Holiday decorations and Christmas trees, but I tend to lean away from the huge blow ups of Homer Simpson-dressed-as-Santa-going-down-the-chimney and bright pink or flashing lights. I favor green pine boughs, red ribbons, and simple white lights.

I put single candles in each of our windows, which I do every year. It's kind of a pain, because they are plug-ins, and I need to go around plugging them in and unplugging them before sleep, not to mention watching the boys to make sure nobody picks one up to play with it or knocks it to the ground.

But this year I splurged and put a wreath on the door, and even purchased some shatterproof globes which I hung on the tree at the foot of our drive. Except it's not a pine tree, it's just a regular small tree which happens to be naked at the moment. And s also too tall for us to reach the higher branches, so most of the ornaments are sadly clustered near the bottom, which the boys could reach. Still, I like to think of it as mildly festive, in a Charlie Brown kind of way.

I suppose within the next week we'll be getting a tree. If I had my own tree I would use only white lights and simple and tasteful ornaments. However, I am outvoted in this house. Everyone else involved in the tree-decorating process prefer colored lights, and ornaments double as toys, despite my protests.

Regardless, the decorations make me happy, just as happy as seeing other lit windows as I drive down my street in my car. There is a warmth to them, and a glow, and a certain peace.

I wasn't going to out up a link today. Then I was, then I wasn't and you'll see why, but here I am, putting this link up here anyway. I couldn't find the actual video of it, so you'll have to read it. But please enjoy these Decorating Tips. I crack up every single time... No personal comments, please.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Warm Breeze

Today we woke to pouring rain, but by the time we went to wait for the bus it was sunny and solidly in the sixties. Windy, but warm. I was glad to not be freezing, but tired because I stayed awake watching bad TV. Also, I decided to go to Super Wal-Mart with Nate and Andy to get one item for Nate's class's Holiday Performance, and regretted it a billion times over.

This is late notice, New Yorkers, but if you can snag a seat to The Last Cargo Cult (playing until Dec. 13th) you should.

Today's Holiday Item is "The Christmas Chronicles", by Jeff Guinn. There are three books in the chronicles, and my favorite by far is "The Great Santa Search," which is just fun. But it might be confusing without the first book, which actually contains a lot of fact about the REAL SANTA! But you have to decide what is fact and what is fiction. I have never read the second book.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

It's The Little Things

The movie "Stepmom" begins with Julia Roberts trying to get her soon-to-be step children ready for school. And there is immediately a problem because it is purple-shirt-day at the girl's school, and Julia has not washed the girl's purple shirt. And then, almost from out of nowhere, Susan Sarandon pops in, purple shirt in hand.

I am sometimes surprised by how many details there are in the boys' school activities. Not only is there the simple day-to-day of getting the boys dressed, to school, to gym, to storytime, but there are the little things. The snacks, the books to return on time, gym clothes to pack and take with us.

And then there are other things. The third Toddler Storytime is a joint party and starts 30 minutes earlier. Nicholas has to keep an alphabet breakfast chart and record what he eats. For awhile each week had a "color" day where they were supposed to wear a specific color. I needed to send in chips for the Halloween party and then something for the trail mix they made before Thanksgiving, but nothing with nuts. HE has a playdate 12/9 with another "Nick." Nathan needs antibiotics each morning (nothing to do with school.) I sometimes sign up to read a story to his class. I had to remember to bring in a gallon of cider the Monday before Thanksgiving, and need to send in a wrapped and labled book for the book swap on Friday. His Holiday concert is the 16th at 9:30. I also need to remember to return the "guest at your table" box at the church, and to select some mittens off the giving tree at the Library (each mitten has a gift request for a needy family or child.)

Is anyone else feeling rattled yet? Because that doesn't count the time I scheduled to bring the car in, my choir rehearsal, my bringing in writing prompts for the writing group, the christmas shopping, wrapping, Andy's birthday, holiday cards, holiday gatherings, and the occasional shower.

It all seems to get mixed up and crazy. Which is why today's Holiday Link is for my new favorite version of the 12 Days of Christmas. If you haven't heard Straight No Chaser, give them a shot. The whole album is really good. It makes me wish I could sing a capella. And also that I was a guy. In this group.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Elves

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

If you've never Elfed Yourself, you should try it out. When I first learned of this, my computer was too old to run the program. But these days I can make five different elves, create up to five dances, save what I make, dowload it, email it, post directly to facebook, or directly to, say, a blog.