Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Love You Stinky Face

I found myself in the doctor's office with my two rugrats recently. During the visit the doctor had to excuse himself to take an important phone call. Which is exactly when my children started farting. The treatment room in which we were confined was basically airless and my boys were really getting smelly. Exasperated I asked, "Who stinks!?!?!?"

Without a moment's hesitation Mason answered, "Grandma Go Go."

Love you, mommy.

Monday, December 28, 2009


For some unexplained reason I insisted that my family join me when I picked out my new camera -- I'll tell you about said camera a little later on, maybe tomorrow.

Anyway, the camera store is directly across the street from one of the largest DSWs I've ever seen. And let me just say, I'm always on the look out for a good DSW. As we pulled out of the parking lot Mason noticed the DSW and screamed, "Mommy! There's the shoe store!"

My husband rolled his eyes.

There are a few places my children know on sight.

1. The library
2. The elementary school
3. The gym

... and ...

4. DSW

Is this a commentary on my likes and dislikes?

Friday, December 25, 2009

What Does This Mean?

After a few hours of tearing into paper, throwing boxes around, and enjoying the bounty of Christmas morning I looked up and sighed, "This place is a mess."

Cooper replied, "Mom, that's what Christmas is all about ... long pause ... and being good." That last part was added pretty sheepishly.

I'm wondering if there is a record for uninterrupted, non-structured play? We're going on 15 hours and there is no predictable end.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

On The Eve of Hysteria

There is something about Christmas Eve that is more special than Christmas. When we stand on the brink of expectations, excitement, and even a bit of anxiety, there is much to treasure and cherish. There is a field of imagination yet to be mined and our minds dig right in and try to. That's the magic of it.

By the following day, we've had what we're going to have and it's over. Only to be wished and planned upon for another year.

At my home right now... we're wavering in between the Eve and the Day. It's warm inside, but cold and snowy outside. The boys are asleep in their beds. Santa has done his (and her) job. And only my busy fingers are flitting over the keyboard searching for memories and thoughts that remind me of some of my favorite years.

At about this time some 16 years ago I charged into my parents' home after a night out with friends to find Santa had done his (and her) job for the night. The house was dark but already I could see the bounty of what would be Christmas morning and my heart broke a little bit. It was the first time I had seen the workings of Eve into Day. Of course I suspected there was a little more to the process than a jolly fellow falling down the chimney. But I'd never peeked behind the curtain. And part of me still wishes I never had.

Rewind even deeper and Christmas Eve would have meant a tiring night of cousins, second cousins, and a bunch of uncles and sweet but alien aunts. Because Christmas Eve was always the night of my Great Grandmother's party cum talent show. There must have been 100 of us -- seriously -- from all over the country in her little farm house. We'd feast on homemade popcorn balls and candy while waiting for our turn in front of or at the piano. And then Santa would come -- who looked a lot like one of my great uncles -- and we'd each get a gift. Something my great grandmother would have sewn for us. Usually a slip with lots of lace, and always longer than any of my dresses and skirts. (I guess she knew what kind of girl I was going to become and was trying to send early hints.)

On the way home my brothers and I would slump in the backseat, sick on candy canes and hot from our party clothes, and fall asleep. But by the time we were home, none of us could sleep in our own beds. You might think this lasted until we were 7. But I distinctly remember staying up well past 4 a.m. on at least one Christmas Eve when I was in junior high.

I'm not sure how my parents decided what traditions we would follow. How they weeded through their respective families' customs to find their own is a mystery to me. I look at my own little foursome and I wonder what I should do. I thought I wanted to have and keep lots and lots of Christmas books. And now it's starting to seem like a storage issue to me, rather than a heartfelt tradition. I thought I wanted to keep the same stockings for my family year after year. But every time I see new trims and patterns, and baubles I want to remake the ones I've already created. (Plus, nothing fits in Cooper's.) I thought I wanted to be insulated from obligation and plans on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. But I felt a little lonely this evening.

One thing is for sure. I don't have to figure it out in one night, or one year, or ever. It's the most fluid holiday I've ever experienced. The only thing I'm hellbent on preserving is the magic. So, for my children I wish...

May you never see the strings that orchestrate the puppet show and may Christmas EVE live in your mind forever.

PHOTO NOTE: My Great Grandmother (when she was a child).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another Word for Nutcracker

You know that fabled legend claiming a nutcracker shows power and strength and can guard your family from evil spirits and danger? Yeah, my kids don't buy it either. But they sure like staring at 'em.

Only problem is, they can't ever remember what they are called.

That duy with the treepy teef. (Mason)

You know, that toy with the handle cruncher? (Cooper)

Graham cracker (Cooper)

Nut-tracker (Mason)

Anyway, hope you can keep track of your nuts this holiday season. If not, well, you better call in the aforementioned guard.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A List

At this time of year, I suspect you are making lists. What food to buy. What food to cook. What food to give away. It's a very simple season, really.

Anyway we have our lists, too. At bedtime, Mason became quite focused in reciting a list of his own.

"I don't like salad...."

"orrrrrrrr totatoes...."

"or cheese that is old."

Try as I might, I've been trying to make sense of this list. Salad? No surprises. And totatoes? Well, that could be either tomatoes or potatoes. I haven't seen him consume a large portion of either, unless it has been in the form of salsa and french fries, respectively. But old cheese!?!?!? Who doesn't like old cheese.

I hope you can make sense of your lists this time of year. Please, please, please remember to make a list that is meaningful, reasonable, and full of service. You'll be better for it. Now, let's see... what did I do with that list I made this morning?
PHOTO NOTE: Mason swimming in "cheese".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Child of the World

What do you say when your 5-year-old asks, "Mom, do you know what strike a pose means?"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Date with Mom

I don't go to extreme efforts to spend days out with only one of my children -- a date if you will. Call me lazy. But recently Cooper literally begged to have a day with me. It was a day in which I had planned to do a million things, things I knew he would be none to pleased to escort me during. But I relented, after a great deal of negotiating and issuing of threats and rules.

It went something like this:

I'm serious, Cooper. No whining, crying, quitting early, or acting like you don't want to be doing what I have to do today.

OK. Really, Mommy, I just want to go with you.


Really. I will be good.

Then following the post office errand we can go lunch, but that is the only fun thing we are going to do all day and I don't want you to give me any guff.

No mom, I didn't bring the guff, I promise.

He's so sweet. I love him. But after that, I had to look up guff. –noun Informal.

1. empty or foolish talk; nonsense.
2. insolent talk.

Basically he was right. He didn't bring the guff.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No, No, Don't Tell Me...

Teaching your children to rhyme is an amusing avocation. Of course, as with so many topics, we take it to the next level. After exhaustive research and several trips to the library we have both boys practicing reading and identifying words that have similar endings.

This has resulted in many hours of the boys spitting out made up words and phrases that they think are hysterical; but leave the rest of us scratching our heads.

One of our tools -- the trusty literary masterpiece, HOP ON POP by Dr. Seuss -- is the source of grand entertainment. Both boys enjoy when we read and point to each word individually. They mutter the words as we go along and pretend to read -- actually Cooper is actually starting to read some of the words, too.

This particular book uses both words and pictures to illustrate the rhyming words and their meanings. In one series of rhymes a fat, furry bear wearing white, 3-fingered gloves fumbles through the task of sitting on various, inappropriate things.

Pat sat on a hat.
(There is a picture of Pat sitting on a hat that is sitting in a chair.)

This page produces roars of laughter.

Pat sat on cat.
(Another picture, this time of Pat sitting on a cat who is sitting in a very smart looking Parsons' chair.)

Again, loads of giggles.

Pat sat on ....

And here Mason interrupted and yelled, "A BASEBALL HITTER!"

We're still working on rhyming.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Gift

Are you a huffer? A honker? A holiday whiner? You know who you are. You stand in line and get exasperated when there are others waiting in front of you, or when it is the checkers first day on the job. If the person in front of you dares pay with exact change you utter profanities under your breath. You come unglued when the long line of cars waiting to turn left is preventing you to turn right. This is your least favorite time of year. Or at least you’re acting like it.

But why? Are you superior to the person waiting in front of you? Are you smarter than the checker? Have you ever been a checker? Are you a better driver? Is your car nicer? And if so, so what!

Now take a step back and think about the people you love. Around those who you never loose your temper. Are you buying them gifts this year? Have you picked the perfect gift? Do you ever look at your long list and wonder how you’ll afford to buy gifts for all those folks? What if there was a better gift? And you could give it to everyone you know, and a few of those who you do not.

What if your neighbor knocked on your door and said, “Can you help me? Just for a second.” Would you agree and willingly follow them into the backyard to tie trash bags, or rake leaves, or scoop dog poop. Probably.

Most of us, when asked, help.

I bet if the checker thought he/she could ask for your help they would. They’d sweetly look into your eyes and say, “Could you please do me a favor? This is my first day and I was wondering if you’d let me practice on you.” You’d agree to it. But the checker doesn’t ask. And though you know it’s his or her first day, you stand in line, stamp your foot, huff and sigh, and may even utter obscenities under your breath.

If you could hear the conversations inside someone else’s car you might hear, “Oh shoot, didn’t even see you there. I’m sorry.” But you can’t hear that driver. Instead you get hot under the collar and honk your horn, maybe even pull your own car up on his/her ass and stare ‘em down. Cla-sssssy.

This year, the hottest gift is not Zhu Zhu pets and ‘New Moon’ Barbie Dolls. It is giving up huffing, sighing, impatiently tapping toes, and generally being a horse’s arse. It goes with everything and it’s always in style. What’s more, it fits in everyone’s budget.

PS -- The best stocking stuffer? Gratitude. Spread the word.

PHOTO NOTE: Our kids giving the babysitter a heart attack. Heart shaped post it notes with sweet words written on them: You are beautiful. You are smart. We love your smile. Thanks for taking care of us.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thank You for all the Hoopla

December is singular in its strangeness. Unlike the eleven months preceding it, It's like a gigantic deadline we're all waiting for to realize, "Oh my goodness the year is almost over and I've yet to have fun." Then we frantically plan parties, activities, and get-together all over the place. In our camp it gets especially frenzied because there are quite a few December birthdays to spread around.

But I have to say Thank You to all the folks who remember December is for having fun. Not just when it's your birthday, or someone else's, or you know... the BIG holiday. It really is your last fling before buckling down for the coming year. You know, that new year when you'll actually loose weight, actually finish updates to the house, actually get organized, actually save more money. Pah-leez. That doesn't sound like fun. But eggnog and good conversation does. So do it. (Actually I'd rather like the bottom of my foot than drink eggnog, but you get the picture.)

We're also grateful to all the people who remember us in December and send us stuff. I even love the parade of ridiculous Christmas cards. Call me sentimental, but I like correspondence. And in this past year, I've remembered how much I really like it. There have been two people who have reignited our appreciation for opening the mailbox this year. Our family -- you just would not believe the spectacular surprises that have shown up throughout the year from our loved ones. And a stranger. Well, she was a stranger until July of this year. Just some sewing compatriot who I spied on via the blog world... you know, like the rest of you. And then I met her. And she sent me a note -- just because -- via the mail. The mail. Antiquated, surprisingly sentimental mode of communication. Try it sometime. Or, at the very least, send a handwritten holiday card. It will make someone's day. (And you might just remember what your penmanship looks like.)

PS -- Speaking of deadlines... I'm busy. I've been sewing Christmas presents and such. No. time. to write.

PHOTO NOTE: I know it looks like Mason is naked in this photo, but he is not.


I told you....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Have My Reasons

OK OK OK. I've been thinking a lot about that little pissed off post. And I'm worried about some of yous. You know who you are. I have my reasons for getting pissed off around here. My boys are cute, but when I'm not looking a lot of crap goes down. For instance:

I wanted to help my kids feel the joy of service and being compassionate during the month of December. So, I wrote out 24 things they could do from now until Christmas day. They were small things -- like decorating the bedroom of their favorite babysitter for her birthday, and opening the door for others, and saying Merry Christmas to at least 5 people in one day. You get the idea.

I was also pretty sure that having a service project advent would be a hard sell, so I was a super nice mom and I actually researched a bunch of LEGO builder sites and printed out the instructions for 24 Christmas-y things you can make with LEGOs. Then I printed them out and folded 'em up with the service ideas and slid one into each slot on our nifty advent counting down thingy.

Lots of work, people.

Woke up on Dec. 3 to find they had already been up for a while and had opened every single day of advent and scattered the papers all over the house. All of them. Grrrrrrr.

On that very same day I slammed the door to the dryer and went running into my room because I could hear some suspicious giggling. Guess what I found? Mason. Covered in white goo. Let's just say it's a good thing one of my sisters-in-law is a stylist and gets us our hair products at a discount. Every last bit of my favorite hair slime was wiped onto Mason's head and face. Grrrrrrr.

Oh, and before I forget... that same day Mason came proudly marching into the kitchen with no pants on. From that vantage point I could see that he had poo smeared all over his rear end and down both legs. What was he so proud of? "Mom! I have dialeah!" Like it's a good thing. Should have seen the bathroom. Grrrrrrr.

I'm just saying. Before you get all pointy fingered on me, wipe a few butts for me.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'll Take One Mingo


Mason: Hey Tooper! I was flying to the rescue of the mingo!

Cooper: What is a mingo?

Mason: It's like an applescotch.

Cooper: Oh right.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How Do You Feel Today?

Nothing good follows a teacher who pulls you aside and proceeds in hushed tones to tell you what your child has said during class. Especially when those words are your own.

In a proper discussion of feelings and emotions, Cooper's teachers posed a question to the class. "Who knows another word for angry?"

Cooper -- my brilliant boy -- politely raised his hand and waited to be called on. Then said, "Pissed off."

Oh, I'm so proud.