Monthly Archives: December 2011

My extra Christmas gift

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Can’t. Stop. Eating. Fudge.

We all know how I feel about winter. How by the end of February I think my hands will just fall off if I put on gloves or mittens again. How I don’t care anymore what I’m wearing, because all anyone sees is my coat. Well I have gotten an extra Christmas gift this year. A brown Christmas. We haven’t had much in the way of snow, and what we had melted. So it feels much more like November than almost January. Temps haven’t dipped much below 30, and we’ve still been having an occasional low to mid 40. In Wisconsin. In late December.

On Christmas Day there were kids playing in the park by our house. The kids across the street have been playing basketball. And while our Texas or Florida friends would have put on a parka long ago, those kids are out playing in tshirts or sweatshirts.

It’s been a great Christmas so far. We’re in between houseguests for about 24 hours. Just long enough to get the sheets & towels washed. Which I think has done wonders for our Christmas break sanity. The girls would be going completely stir crazy by now, but instead they’ve been hanging out with grandparents.

I think next year I should give the girls all the money for their Christmas gifts and let them buy for each other. Because there was nothing sweeter than watching their excitement over the gifts they’d gotten each other. Each of them was so excited about the gift they gave. It was nice to watch them be more excited about giving than receiving.

We had a laid back couple of days, and it was so nice to sit and think about what Christmas means. Since becoming a mother, I’m much more drawn to Mary every year. I think about the pain of childbirth, and the new mother worries. I can’t imagine being in her position. I’m amazed at her willingness to take it on. And I wonder if she was intimidated by it. Do you go about raising a child differently when you know he’s the son of God? Did Jesus have terrible twos?

I think this is my favorite Christmas Bible verse:

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

I love that even Mary — just a very young woman, but mother of a very different kind of king — knew to take time to treasure that moment. To ponder it in her heart. How full her heart must have been, there in that stable. How thrilled she probably was to be done being pregnant, done with labor, and to hold her baby in her arms. It probably felt like forever since the angel had spoken to her, and yet like no time at all. I wonder how often she looked at him, full of a mother’s love, and suddenly realized, this is the son of the most high. Did Jesus keep her up at night? Did she ever exhaust all options to stop his crying, and repeat to herself, “He is the holy one of Israel. He is the holy one of Israel…”

I could go on forever, but that’s definitely what keeps my brain occupied at Christmas. You know, that and if I can manage one more piece of fudge or not.

First day of Christmas break: A diary

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8 am: I think about crawling out of bed. Older two sound like they’re playing downstairs. Baby is jabbering to herself in her room. Captain America is off at work.

8:30 am: I actually get out of bed after exhausting my iPhone options. Set the kids up with breakfast and get ready for a shower. This is so nice! Hooray for not having to be anywhere!

9:15 am: I’ve showered, kids are playing.

9:45 am: “I HAD IT FIRST!” “I NEED IT!” “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!”  {high pitched, wordless scream} Which brings me to the kitchen. I find my EIGHT and SIX year olds in a wrestling match over a doll stroller. I strongly encourage the necessary apologies and a settlement is reached. Mandatory separation decreed. Eight year old mopes off to her room, ever the martyr. Six year old chippers up and decides to play dolls alone.

10 am: Baby starts screaming. Six year old cries because baby is giving her a headache, but she refuses to be anywhere else because she doesn’t want to be alone. Also the first “I’m bored” of break. “Find something to do, or I will find you some chores,” says Mean Mom. She finds something to play, but mostly grunts and groans over the loudness of the baby. “Play somewhere else, then,” says Mean Mom. “I don’t want to be alone…”

10:40 am: Eight and Six year olds are begging to play together again. Baby has finally stopped screaming.

11 am: Crafting! And baby’s almost ready for a nap!

11:30 am: Baby is napping! Older girls are playing some form of pretend. It involves a lot of “Pretend he said ______.” “Pretend she did _______” “Pretend they didn’t want her there.” “Pretend you saw I was asleep.” Etc, etc.

12:05 pm: Lunch. Shoot! Lunch! Kids eating at home today – I hope we have something to eat, because the baby’s sleeping so we’re not going anywhere.

1:15 pm: Ate lunch and watched Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas. I love that movie. (Side note: may never make cheese ravioli again – so blah.) Girls are back to crafting. Baby’s still napping.

1:30 pm: More crafting!

2:30 pm: Baby is up.

3:00 pm: Kicked older girls outside because an inch of snow fell. It’s enough to sled! Trust me! Off you go! Goodbye, then! I took the opportunity to do the wrapping I should have done weeks ago. Ignored fighting outside.

4:30 pm: Let kids back inside. Made the requisite hot chocolate. Preheated oven for snickerdoodles.

5 pm: Finally starting snickerdoodles and anxiously awaiting Captain America’s arrival…

RTT: Followup has never been my gift.

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Hooray for Random Tuesdays!

  • Thanks to Pinterest, I happened upon this laundry soap recipe. What has surprised me most is that I think it might be outperforming my store-purchased detergent. I bet I’ll make it again. But not for a long time, because so little is required that it’s going to last forever. It’s supposed to work in HE washers as well, because of the low suds. I don’t know, because I have an old fashioned, not HE washer. That works just fine. I’ve even noticed my washer looks cleaner than it did with my old detergent. Win!
  • Sending children off to school is fascinating. My girls have this whole other life that I know nothing about. They see each other at lunch, and on the playground. They have mutual friends. It cracks me up to here them talk about it like little grown ups, or at least teenagers. The other day we saw someone driving their Christmas tree home. Ella says, “I think it’s a Balsam. It has a bowl shaped bottom, and the needles are close together.” HUH. No idea she’d been learning about various fir trees.
  • There’s a slight possibility we will not have a white Christmas. In WISCONSIN. Fine by me. It’s a rarity to not have a white Christmas in the upper midwest. The small amount of snow we had has been rained out. In December. IN WISCONSIN. I figure there’s plenty of time for snow later. My children are pining for it, but they have forgotten how sick of winter coats they were by last March. I have not. Besides, it would make my annual watching of White Christmas that much more special.
  • I made pancakes for the first time last week. I just used a box mix because I wanted to see if I could navigate the griddle. If I’d known it was that easy, I’d have made pancakes so many times by now that my family would be sick of them. You know what’s funny? I’d never really made pancakes, but I’ve made crepes. Complete with flipping them in the pan. I actually did a demonstration on it in my Spanish class in high school. Because we had to demonstrate something in Spanish. So I made French crepes. Which I described making in Spanish. Confused? French wasn’t a language option at my school, and I was bitter. Some things just make sense when you’re 16.
  • We had a successful babysitter experience on Saturday! What with Zoey’s deep separation issues, I was doubtful it would be possible. But she’d gotten to know the sitter through some church things, and she did great. I feel like there’s hope in the world. You know, not without this particular girl, because last Sunday she got kicked out of the nursery at church (by which I just mean she wouldn’t stop crying, so they brought her to us). But next time she’s over I plan to just lock her in my basement. Problem solved!

Stacy’s always got more random if you’re interested.

RTT: Snow. Soap. I don’t know.

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Thank you, Tuesday, for not expecting me to be organized. Although, who am I kidding? Every blog of mine is random thoughts.

  • We have 1, maybe 2 inches of snow on the ground. It settled so heavily on tree branches early Sunday morning, that it’s still there. So it’s basically a winter wonderland wherever I turn. It’s beautiful. By February it will have a couple feet added to it, and I will want to gauge my eyes out before seeing snow again, but for right now, it’s pretty.
  • Natalie is busy crying because she doesn’t like the pajamas I bought her. That she picked out. They are too tight on the legs. They fit the way they’re supposed to fit, but she doesn’t like it. Welcome to shopping for Natalie. Now, not only can I not buy clothes without her, but I can’t buy them with her either.
  • I did make my own laundry detergent. Can you believe that? Just like my prairie sisters of yore. Making my own soap. To use in my washing machine. Before running the clothes through the dryer. JUST LIKE my pioneer sisters. It’s 3 shredded bars of Pink Zote soap, 2 cups of borax, 2 cups of washing soda. It made an ice cream pail full, and I need about 1/8th of a cup per load. So far, I feel like it’s working great. I’m nearly caught up on laundry, because I sort of dig using my own soap. Thank you, Pinterest!
  • I have only managed to get the tree up with the lights on. (White lights again! Mwahahahahaha!!) Hopefully we can decorate tomorrow. With ornaments that can’t break. This is why I leave my tree up til Twelfth Night. Because I’m a little slow out of the gate.
  • Something I’m enjoying about Zoey right now, is that she won’t go in a room if the light isn’t on. It’s as good as a closed door. Turn off the light, and she’ll walk right out. It could be over tomorrow, or even in 20 minutes, but I’m going to enjoy it while it’s that easy.
  • I am strangely managing to be super excited for Christmas and not in the Christmas spirit at all, all at the same time. It’s like I’m Christmas bipolar. Fa la la la la, la bah humbug!

I guess that’s all there is to say. And really, there was plenty of it that probably wasn’t worth saying as well. More random to be found at Stacy’s place.

Thanksgiving: Part 2

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I have just detailed out the rest of our Thanksgiving trip and erased it. How dull for you. We had a lovely Thanksgiving. It was nice to see our families and be away from home for a while.

I did learn a valuable Black Friday lesson: if you want it, go get it. I hemmed and hawed over a lovely, warm pair of Emu boots at Herbergers. They were a really great deal, but I didn’t want to drive there by myself at midnight to get them. Instead in the morning I ordered them online for the same price. And later, at 2 pm, I went to Herbergers and they still had a pair in my size. Now, the deal was over, but I could have waltzed in there at 10 am and gotten the boots. Now I sit here with cold toes, at the mercy of UPS tracking. Ok, that’s not true. I have my Smartwool socks on, so my toes aren’t that cold. And I have last year’s Emus. And the boots have finally made their way to Illinois. This is a First World Problem at its finest. So really, I’m just sitting here in my warm house, with outside temps still only in the 30s (it could be MUCH worse), with fancy socks, whining about boots on my computer. The computer I use to work from home. So I just wear the boots in the car to pick up my kids from school. Waaaaah.

I guess I’ve just decided that some year, I’d really like to do some Black Friday shopping. And the whole midnight thing actually makes it more appealing to me. I’d rather just stay up and go do some shopping than get up at 4 am. I am not a morning person in the least. I will not, however, be going to a large W-named retailer. I like a little festive chaos, but I don’t need to be shot or pepper sprayed.

I just have a tough time reconciling my enjoyment of a holiday shopping crowd, and my wish for Christmas to not be about stuff. I’m still working on that. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Thanksgiving: Part 1

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We hit the road for Thanksgiving. It’s what we do. Thanksgiving is a big deal. Captain America took several days off, and we loaded up the van.

Our first stop was the Twin Cities. It’s about the halfway mark, and we thought it would be Fun! to stay in a hotel and take the girls to the Mall of America the next day.

Zoey did not agree.

I’m remembering the drive as being fine, but there’s a string of emails to my sister that tell the truth. Zoey was fussing. Natalie felt sick. Ella was coughing. We were all hungry. My baby, who generally sleeps from 8 pm to 7 or 7:30 am, had a little late evening nap in the car. Of maybe a half hour. We got to the hotel, got everyone set up, and said GO TO BED. Which Zoey finally did around 11. And then she got up around 1:30. Finally back to sleep around 2. Then she was up FOR THE DAY. FOR THE DAY. AT 3 AM. Around 4 am, I finally took her out to the lobby so at least the rest of the family could sleep. While I thought about scrapping the whole trip and going home. Meanwhile, Zoey wandered around, smiling, laughing, playing peekaboo behind a couch. While I researched area Urgent Cares to have her checked for an ear infection because WHO THE STINK IS THIS BABY??

After having breakfast at 6 am, taking Natalie for breakfast with Zoey at 7, I was ready to throw in the towel. But Ella and Natalie were so excited about the Mall of America. So excited. I told them I didn’t think we could go, because we hadn’t slept. I didn’t say it to them, but I really thought we should go home. Because I had slept for maybe 3 hours. And I couldn’t bear the idea of four more nights of not sleeping in our own beds.

Sometime around 7:30 or 8, Captain America got up. Fresh as a daisy. Sure! We can go to the Mall! I felt encouraged by his enthusiasm. Who needs sleep!?

What I have failed to mention is why the girls wanted to go to the Mall so badly. This thing. Yeah. The Flying Dutchman Ghostly Gangplank Ropes Adventure Course. Which they somehow got me to agree to taking them on. Me. Me who gets nauseous when other people I don’t even know approach some kind of edge or cliff. Me. Me whose stomach turns when I watch my kids go down a fire pole. That mom. With the intense fear of heights. On 3 hours of sleep. Harness me up! Let’s go!

From the Nickelodeon Universe website: “The Flying Dutchman Ghostly Gangplank Ropes and Adventure Course is the tallest Sky Trail® ropes course in the world, challenging guests to climb 56 feet above Nickelodeon Universe.”

Yeah.

Well, guess what?

There? In the middle? THAT’S ME.

I totally did it. Should get me “Best Mom Ever” points until…well…forever.