Friday, December 31, 2010

Photobooth Friday, Family Christmas Card Edition

I thought it would shock you to discover that in the planning and preparation of the annual Christmas Card that everyone makes, sends, and then promptly throws away I realized there was not a single picture of all four of us. Not a one. Well, actually there was one of all four pairs of our feet. But I was afraid to send that out on account of some of the clients and business associates who get our card. And some people don't like feet. Or so I'm told. (Netti!)
Turns out when I started floating this disastrous piece of information out there I was told by many mothers that they too could not find a single picture of their complete brood. Moreover this discussion ended with, "In fact there was not a single picture of me (the mother)." Weird. What's wrong with our society?
Anywho! So, we got our family portraits taken. I am so pleased. Pleased because the photographer we used was a fellow Aggie, she can do a side crow like nobody's business, and she was really good. Also, she fit us in and bent over backward -- this is funny because her yoga practice is outstanding -- to get us at least one shot we could use on our cards before Christmas. This means that some of you, not all of you, received a card on or before the actual holiday.
But the entire process of looking for a photo of all of us, then being completely disappointed, then scrambling to get one made, made me realize we gotta do something about getting more pictures of ourselves. Actually, not more pictures of ourselves so much as more pictures of the entire family. Thus, the family edition of Photobooth Friday. Thank goodness for timers. te he he...

PS -- Start taking pictures of the mothers!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Tried, But I Can't Avoid It

Sorry, I just have to post the pictures from Christmas. And that's lame. Because everyone has them. Well, not everyone. I can't think of one single, solitary thing to say about Christmas morning that is unique to me and my family.

We woke up, earlier than usual, and opened presents. Argh... see? Not that cool. But there's those grandmas to satisfy, so up on the blog the pictures must go. The end.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How Did It All Begin?

Here's something that stresses me out. Maybe you, too.
When it's a holiday and I do something like, serve hot cocoa or ask the kids to play games I wonder if it will become a thing. You know, like a tradition thing. And then we'll have to do it year after year after year. And then I worry, is it good enough to carry on, pass along, talk about?

And who really knows. Traditions are weird. I thought I had a bunch of Christmas traditions established. But this year, we didn't do a single one of them. In fact, Coop asked me if we could observe Hanukkah next year.
I've always believed that Christmas Eve is the very best day of the entire November through January extravaganza no known as The Holidays. I've tried to make that night special and I've
prepared for it in a different way each year. But now I'm really trying to determine what expectations I'm setting.

I tend to look at everything through the myopic eye of mother's guilt. If we sit down to a night of games I wonder if what the family will want to carry over the following year is the night of playing games, the actual game we played, the popcorn and trail mix we ate, or the matching pajamas we wore. What resonated with them?

Will the kids in time discover that by re-enacting these nights in matching pajamas, or eating popcorn we are grasping at the closeness of family? The wondering and the worrying is making me crazy.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hand Made, Hand Delivered

Some tasks you can trust to no one but yourself. This is why my husband makes the Christmas candy we give out during the holidays. And it's also why we load up the little red wagon and walk it around the neighborhood to all our friends.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Boys, Boys, Boys...

Dear C and M,
I was so concerned when Elf didn’t make it back to headquarters here in the North Pole tonight. At first I thought he had gotten lost or tired. But then I really started to worry about him because he promised me he was going to deliver a report to me tonight -- I was dying to hear how your had performed in your last day of school activities. I had to send a search party to find him. When he was spotted under your Christmas tree I was very worried and I almost cried. He is very sick and it was hard on him to take such a long fall.
Thank you for taking care of him and sharing your duck-duck blanket with him. He has just a little magic left. My helpers and I quickly scooped him up and delivered him straight to the infirmary here at the North Pole. I’ve been told he will recover, but he is in the Elf Intensive Care Unit. He is on a constant intravenous drip of sugar plum juice and sparkles.
Please think good thoughts for him, it will help him heal that much faster. Also, please be sure to be extra good while he is gone so that Elf and I can warm our hearts with your goodness all the way up here at the North Pole – it is very cold here, you know. Look for opportunities to serve your mother, your father, and the people in your community.
I hope I can send Elf back to your house before Christmas. But he first needs time to get better. Watch for him every day. Maybe the strength of your good deeds will help his magic return that much faster.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dear Santa,

Santa, we have a problem. Remember Elf? He fell. Now, I know your book says that if we touch him he looses his magic, but I suspect we dropped it right out of him anyways. So, please try to understand our sad predicament.

First we wrapped him in duck-duck, then we tucked him under the Christmas tree. We're now submitting a plea for forgiveness. Try to understand that a 4-yol and a 6-yol really can't keep their hands off a dandy Elf. We can't. We tried, but it didn't work out.

We're really sorry. We're not bad boys, not that bad anyway. Could you find it in your heart to fix Elf before Christmas?


C and M

Accidental Tradition

Thirty years ago a young, but not small girl was bribed. The payoff to influence participation in a school Christmas play was a McDonald's happy meal. Acrimonious participation behind her, happy meal in front of her, said girl did not eat. Concerned mother ushered young girl into restroom only to discover that young girl had a little known virus called the chicken pox.
Little has changed in 30 years. Well, except for this time the young girl is now the mother of a young boy. And the boy didn't have chicken pox. And there you have it, a tradition is born.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Tale of Two Parties

The truism, "You know you have a lot on your plate when..." has never been more evident than the last day of school before winter break. I actually pine for the last day. No, no, no. I mean to say, I pine for the first day of winter break. I'm not good with schedules. Getting the kids to school in the morning is a drag.

On the last day, however, you still have all that crap to do but it's somehow compounded by all this extra stuff known in some circles as fun and educational distraction. Also known as Christmas pageants and classroom parties. And so, an account of the day begins:

Run Coop into school just as the bell is ringing. Was lugging his backpack full of snack closet crackers and a bag of non-perishable food items for the food drive. He had his lunch, I think.

Begin tenuous negotiation with Mason to eat breakfast, get shoes on, backpack in car, and GET TO SCHOOL on time.

Miserably late to school. All teachers breathe sigh of relief as they were afraid Mason would boycott participation in aforementioned Christmas pageant. Mason is still nibbling the 3 Ritz crackers he agreed to eat for breakfast. I am carrying his backpack and coat and a 20-pack of water bottles intended for after-pageant reception.

Run to car and speed toward home where I need to clean up for the cleaning ladies and leave them a check. Also need to stop at a store and buy kindergarten teacher a gift. Once past point of no return I look down and notice I have Mason's lunch. Resolve to get back to school a little before the pageant so that he can eat.

Rendezvous with husband -- ha ha ha. Anyways, we try to have a brief coffee date before the mayhem begins and on our way to the Christmas pageant. Steve's car (we're driving in separate cars) is dangerously low on gas, however, and he detours for gas while I detour to Starbucks for two Venti drips, cream and sugar. Lots of sugar these days.

Barely get to Mason's school in time to seat ourselves in sanctuary. (Forget his lunch, again.) Discover that drinking coffee -- or anything really -- is discouraged in the sanctuary. Apparently this crowd does not worship caffeine like I do. I down my venti, sling camera over shoulder, and by stealth sneak husband's venti into sanctuary.

Program begins. Turns out painfully shy shepherds with Spongebob Squarepants sneakers are very cute even when they do not sing a note. Following pageant proceed to classrooms for a cookie reception. At which time Mason's teacher graciously thanks me for the opportunity to teach the class the true meaning of sharing. Quizzically I stare at her, mouth gaping, then realize she means that Mason had no lunch and his classmates all pitched in a crust of bread or something so that he could eat. Good mom moment.

We leave the school -- husband in his car and Mason and I in my car -- and head directly to McDonald's (I have more to say about this, so tune in tomorrow or something.)

Get home with just enough time to whip up some royal icing for Coop's gingerbread making extravaganza. Royal only because it is a royal pain in the arse, I suspect.

Check in to school dragging Mason, his duck-duck, a bag of gingerbread making supplies, my camera, a spare lens, and a gift for teacher. Walk into classroom in such a daze I don't recognize own child. Gladly kneel on floor for the next hour or so while trying to keep Cooper and Mason from eating too many of the candies intended for the houses, snapping pictures, and periodically being asked to hold Mason's duck-duck. Did I mention it is approximately 84 degrees in the classroom and I am wearing fur-lined, knee high boots, opaque tights, a wool skirt, a HUGE sweater, and from time to time a small child.

Learn from teacher that Coop has complained of a stomach ache the better part of the day and that when she excused him use the restroom he was gone for the better part of half an hour. Decide I want to get him home and a little closer to a toilet bowl. Check us all out of the school at this point dragging Mason, his duck-duck, a bag of gingerbread making supplies, my camera, a spare lens, an actual gingerbread house precariously perched on a flimsy paper plate, a gift bag full of the stuff Coop made in school this month, his backpack, two water bottles, all while chasing Cooper in the parking lot while he darts in front of school buses, and swings his lunchbox and coat around his head.

I think we can commence the dialogue concerning the series of events that fuel my dislike for the last day of anything. Merry Christmas.

Please note the picture of Mason affixed to the ornament he made in school. His teacher actually apologized to me in advance for that one. She claims he WILL NOT smile if she asks him to.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Photobooth Friday, NYC Edition II

Under the overwhelming let down known as the Rockefeller Center Tree. (If you'd like to see a truly phenomenal tree, go to the SLC Temple Square Christmas Lights Display and look for THE Red Tree on the Main Street side. Honest.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It Takes Getting Used To

We've come a long way from the days of sewing costumes to match the birthday party themes, haven't we?!?!?
Here we are at year 6 and I've finally learned a thing or two. Really, the only thing that matters is that you (the parents) don't have to clean up after said party. Seriously.

Matching balloons, matching streamers, matching cupcakes, matching theme gift bags, matching anything just really doesn't matter.
What does seem to matter is how much the said birthday child is involved in the decisions. Namely who to invite and what they want to do. And with a little PR you can dictate those decisions, too.
Throw in some plates in their favorite color and you are mother of the year. No. More. Costumes.
But he did look pretty cute back then, didn't he?

2010 Card

Noir Stars Christmas
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Monday, December 13, 2010

The Souvenir

There were two things I noticed in New York City -- capezios on women AND men and strange fur-lined, ear-flapping hats. I elected to purchase the latter for the boys.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Some Advice to New Yorkers

In all the guidebooks it says you'll differentiate the New Yorkers from the tourists by the folks who are looking up. Tourists look up, gawking at the mega size of the city and New Yorkers look down. Here's some advice for the New Yorkers: look up.
I appreciate that the real New York might be residing in filth from the knees down... but you can only watch out for rats and feces for so long. Let yourself remember why it is you live in The City. I know it's not the fine odors of B.O., urine, and garbage that assail the neighborhoods and label each subway station with it's own signature scent. It has to be the interesting mix of buildings that reflect the generations and countries who moved here with the immigrants of the ages. Just as your taxi drivers might be an Afghani one day and a long-time New Yorker who looks like Jerry Garcia the next, you can see gothic churches sidling up to the shadows of skyscrapers etched in Greek and Roman architecture of classical antiquity. The odors and constant dreck on every surface takes your breath away. It really does. But if you look up, the view is breathtaking. So try it, just once in a while when you're in a rush to catch the F, look up.
You won't be disappointed. And if you time it right your friends won't be looking up at the same moment, so they'll say, "Poop, step over it." And if they don't, you can always hit Century 21 for some new.