Posted in Mama, Writer

In Case the Grandparents Missed Visiting for Christmas

The important parts of today, in case the grandparents, who couldn’t visit, are feeling left out:

-Husband and I woke up before the kids, since we were so excited. Then, we didn’t want to miss the part where the kids storm into our room to announce it’s Christmas, so we went back to bed and waited for the kids to “wake us up.” Worth it.

-The stockings were full of dollar store finds, and they are probably some of the favorite gifts overall.

-Jocelyn asked Santa for a tiny stuffed cat with “sparkle eyes.” I bought it the day after she asked for it, and she hasn’t stopped carrying it since 6:20 a.m.

-Breakfast was a lot like a pretend tea party, since we set the table, but no one actually ate much. Purely decorative food.

-We staggered the present opening to try and make the excitement last. Stockings. Break. Small gifts. Break. Christmas lunch. Big gifts. It worked out really well- and Husband and I weren’t swamped with stuff to put together or batteries to find all at once.

-Josie loves her 80-piece tea set… that came with 80 stickers for some hapless parent to put on every. single. item. (It was MEEEEEE!)

-Lunch and dinner were easy since our favorite foods are macaroni and cheese, turkey sandwiches, and bratwursts. I didn’t even bake anything. The house is already overflowing with goodies that will seem out of date tomorrow (Candy cane fudge on December 26th? I don’t think so).

-Noah is playing his new video game every chance he gets. Pretty sure he’s going to turn into a Pokémon.

-We purposefully did nothing but play at home today. It was interesting. I, the watcher of almost no T.V. (besides cooking shows and my kids cartoons- which I admittedly love) watched two movies today. TWO.).

-The kids just helped me take all of the candy treats off the tree. We put them in a big bowl to munch on tonight.

-Husband and I plan to take the tree down after the kids’ bedtimes.

-Tomorrow is my birthday, which will help all of us transition out of Christmas mode. The party doesn’t have to end. It goes on without a tree- and with a more varied color scheme. I think I want a Carolina blue cake with sunflowers on it.  

We missed you, grandparents. The kids asked about you, and we’ll probably call soon. We’ll rehash some holiday highlights. If we skype, get ready for an intense closeup of a kitty with sparkle eyes.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas!

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Posted in Mama, Writer

Might’ve had fudge for breakfast.

How much damage can we really do in two days? It can’t be a lot, right?

Right?

I’m trying to relax my standards for the holidays, but there’s some internal struggle.

After working hard to play Christmas Fairy and getting my kids the special items on their Christmas lists, I’m left wondering: well, isn’t getting them everything they asked for spoiling them? Or, wouldn’t just the special items have been enough? Why are there also 1,000 other things under the tree and planned for the stockings?

Then, there’s the food.

My kids haven’t had a healthy item in 24 hours, and, if I can’t get them to eat an apple at snack time, I admit the menu for the next 24 hours is also planned to be holiday-rich-tastic.

Husband had signs of high blood pressure at his last doctor’s appointment. We were planning on a change of diet after the holidays, but I feel twinges every time I’m serving him anything that isn’t salad- Christmas Eve or no Christmas Eve.

And I’ve been on a slow and steady weight loss program since July-

But not right now, of course.

Is it hot in here? Please get that spotlight off of me.

I also finished my book right at the end of the semester. I’ve been decompressing for a week, but I’m itching to start my revisions.

But, not yet. I can’t be working now. It’s the holidays.

Must soak up magic. Must eat butter. Must color pictures for Santa Claus and watch The Grinch.

Try not to think about nutrition. Or general health. Or teaching the principles of discipline.

It’s just two days in anything-goes-except-work land. Try to enjoy it.

Pass the candy cane fudge.

Posted in Mama, Writer

Back in Time for the Holidays

I have prepared my excuses. There are a lot of reasons why I took a week off from blogging.

Grades were due.

Graduation ate a whole day.

I had fun houseguests.

My son and daughter took turns being sick.

But the whole time I was missing blogs, I didn’t realize it until I was about to drop at the end of the day.

Work, work, work, work, lay down, eyes pop open-

“Didn’t blog today.”

That happened most days.

I’m disappointed to have broken my daily blogging streak. However, this is a great time to come back. I want to share some of my Christmas.

What I write about this holiday, I will probably keep forever. My kids are 6 and 4, and this is a big year for holiday magic.

For example, Husband wrapped the big gifts last night. I’m up early, so I’ll be able to see the kids’ reactions when they come out and see new gifts under the tree (We already had a few under there. They knew exactly how many and who each one was for).

They’re going to freak out.  

Also, this year, we live in a well-established neighborhood. We’ve been able to take afternoon walks and see some mega decorations. People around here get serious about their lights (I suspect a few neighbors are actually dueling).

The kids are enchanted.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. We have plans to make cookies for Santa. I’m trying to figure out what goes in their stockings and what should go under the tree.

We won’t have guests this year. It feels strange that it will just be the four of us. I usually try to make “favorite foods” for Christmas dinner, but with the kids mainly in attendance, I guess that’s… mac and cheese? Festive! Maybe I’ll dye it red and green.

Any minute now, the kids will come blinking out of their rooms to ask me how many days left until Christmas. I’ll tell them just two more to go- then, I’ll watch as they discover (and carefully tally) the new presents under the tree.

It’s already a fun day.

Posted in Mama, Writer

When the Grinch Decks the Halls: a Holiday Paradox

I didn’t know people like my husband existed. He’s a special one.

I mean that for all of the wonderful reasons, of course. But there’s more. He’s unusual because he has this habit of saying curmudgeony things, sometimes just to stir up trouble, even though his actions are the exact opposite of curmudgeony.

If you listened to him expound on philosophy, you’d think he was an uncaring robot who feels nothing from watching the world tear itself to pieces. If you overheard him talking about the holidays, ANY HOLIDAY, you’d probably feel a sudden welling of sympathy for his poor, “deprived” children.

Then, if you plugged your ears, you would see a man who is tirelessly, obsessively caring. His staggering powers of observation make him more empathetic than the most well-meaning people I know, and his inability to be lazy spills over into service for others.

But that mouth, though.

He will argue with me for days, literally days, about buying pumpkins to make jack-o’-lanterns.

“We don’t need them.”

“They’re messy. They go bad after a couple of days.”

“Just let the kids paint the little ones.”

“Okay, but we’ll just get one. You can do it. I don’t want to.”

And every single year, it’s Husband, with his tongue between his teeth, carefully cleaning, carving, oohing and aahing with the kids, taking pictures, and lighting the thing. Every. Year.

pumpkin

He likes to talk about how he wouldn’t help anyone, or even tell anyone, if he won the lottery jackpot. In his opinion, people would only be needier in the presence of that kind of windfall.

Then, when a friend or family member falls on hard times, he’ll wordlessly pass me an envelope and nod in said friend or relative’s direction.

Today, I came home to see he had already put up our Christmas tree. He was waiting for me and the kids to decorate it.

I remembered when we first got married, and I had to convince him to buy a tree.

Today, the kids and I came home to a tree. We all went to the store to pick out an ornament for this year. While shopping, Husband also took the kids to the toy aisle, letting me grab some groceries in peace.

I called when I was headed to the checkout, and, 2 minutes later, Husband and the kids come hustling, panting and heaving, so the kids could throw some new toys on the conveyor belt behind my groceries.  

I raised my eyebrow at Husband, who had recently talked about how materialistic society was ruining kids’ lives. He’d even mentioned cutting back on Christmas toys.

 All he did was shrug as we paid for the cartload.  

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Playing with Their New Toys

We came home, and as I started to help the kids decorate the tree, I felt a bit tired. I didn’t have to say anything. Husband just noticed, like he does, and stepped in.

In the time it took me and the kids to trim a tree, Husband had cleared the dinner dishes, set up the kids’ stockings with new hooks over the fireplace, spread our decorations through the house, and even spent a painstaking hour stringing our Christmas lights on tiny hooks through the hallways.

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Husband did everything from build the tree, arrange the skirt, dig out AND deliver the box of decorations. I hardly moved.

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20171116_194611.jpg It’s one of those magical, cosmic miracles- God gave me my husband before he had a solid grasp of the English language. While we were getting to know each other, it was very much “actions over words.” I never had a chance to believe his curmudgeony stances. All I knew was how wonderful he actually was. He showed me. Telling me (and my subsequent eyerolling) came later.

I’m so grateful for the timing.

And I don’t mind that this heart-of-gold man has a hobby of picking curmudgeony fights. That suits my own super-stubborn, dig-in, inexhaustibly argumentative self to a T.

We were made for each other.

wedding