Saturday, December 25, 2010

A very Merry Christmas

It's been a wonderful Christmas....a little nontraditional- but great!  All of our kids were with their other parents this year, so Brandon and I loaded up the Kia mini-van sleigh and headed to the beach for Christmas Eve.  On the way we stopped at one of the casinos (see I told you it was nontraditional) and stuffed ourselves at their fabulous buffet. Sooo much food!!!  Then we continued on to the Baywood Shores Bed and Breakfast ( in Lincoln City, OR.  What a gorgeous place! I strongly recommend you check it out if you ever have the chance.  We stayed in the "Captains Room". It had a big jacuzzi overlooking the bay, a private balcony, a fireplace and so many other little things that made it perfect.  We went and walked on the beach in the rain, spent a little time shopping at the outlet stores, then made a snack run to the grocery store.

After exploring the town a bit, we headed back to our room for a rousing game of Scrabble in front of the fire, followed by a dinner of cookies and eggnog.  Then we watched a movie and soaked in the tub while watching the twinkly lights across the bay.  So relaxing!  About 3:30am I was awoken by rustling in the corner.  It thought Santa had found us!  But no, it was just Brandon digging through our bags looking for some antacids.  Apparently, unlike Santa, he is not cut out to indulge in a dinner of cookies.

In the morning the innkeepers made us a lovely breakfast of "dutch boys" and fruit. More food, just what we needed!  We lounged around our room until it was time to check out, then went to pick up my kids.  Once home with the kids we opened their presents (didn't take long to open their stocking and gift card!) then got to work on making our Christmas dinner.  Yup, more food!

In the morning the kids and I are getting up at the crack of dawn and driving to Utah to visit my family. (It's going to be hard to get up early after being a total lazy butt for the past week!) Brandon will stay here and "staycation" with his kids.  I can't wait to see my family and especially my little nephews!  Hopefully the 13 hour drive will go smoothly, and the weather will cooperate.  I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cindersoni, Cindersoni...

Today I feel like Cindersoni (ya know, Cinderella's lesser known cousin.  My mom used to sing the little song the mice sing to Cinderella when I was younger and I would complain about doing chores- except instead of singing Cinderell-y, Cinderell-y, it was Cindersoni, Cindersoni).  Like everyone else I've been frantically trying to get ready for the Holidays.  Wrapping presents, finishing homemade gifts, baking, shopping, cleaning, blah, blah, blah.  In addition to all this, I'm trying to get ready for two trips.  Brandon and I are going to a cute little bed and breakfast at the beach, then the day after Christmas the kids and I are driving down to see my family in Utah for a week. 

I'm not sure why these family trips bring out the worst of my slight OCD tendencies.  On three separate occasions in the past 14 months I've proven that I can be out the door and on the road within an hour in an emergency.  But if I'm planning on going, it takes me DAYS to get ready.  Planned visits bring on strange compulsions.   I feel compelled to do things like bleach my children's suddenly unseemly socks, get my brows waxed, detail my car, vacuum all the nooks and crannies of my house, clean out the window tracks,organize the Tupperware, alphabetize the bookshelf, and scrub out the fridge.

I suppose secretly I'm afraid I'll die while away, and you'll all come to my house and judge me.  (I come by this fear naturally- you should see the elaborate plans my grandma makes when going on vacation!)  Anyway, I gotta go change the sheets and pack the suitcases!  Good luck to each of you getting your holiday To-Do list done!

Monday, December 20, 2010

'Twas the night before Christmas

When I was a child, Christmas Eve was Disney Princess magical, not just normal people 'Christmas spirit' magical!  Our family would go over to my grandmas house along with my aunts, uncles,cousins and some second cousins.  Grandma would start the evening off with a fabulous meal.  Turkey, ham, her special layered cranberry-apple jello salad, potatoes, rolls, teeny tiny little sweet pickles and enough olives we could each have our own set.  (Ya know...a "set" of olives- one for each finger!) A plethora of cookies, pies and candy followed dinner.  Frequently, dinner was followed by a visit from Santa or one of his elves- who of course came bearing gifts for each of us. After the initial excitement of Santa wore off, the adults would sit around visiting, while us kids sat squirming, wiggling, and frequently asking "When are they leaving?"

The "they" in question were all the extended family.  It's not that we didn't like them- in fact my cousins Jodi and Janna and I spent a fair part of the evening trying to catch our slightly older second cousin, Kyle, under the mistletoe so we could kiss him.  However, the truly fantastic part of the evening didn't begin until it was down to just my siblings, my 2 cousins, and our parents.  Eventually, the other families would head out to enjoy the rest of the evening at home.  That's when the magic happened. 

Like dutiful little elves we would all march down the hall to the "pink room" (Grandmas guest room which bore a cherry blossom pink quilt and rose covered carpets) and start carrying out the brightly wrapped packages.  We would deposit each of the gifts in a segregated pile marked with our name.  Then while Grandpa roamed around with his huge camcorder balanced on his shoulder, it was finally time!  You know those Christmas movies where civilized families go around in a circle and take turns opening their gifts?  They take time to admire and oooh and aaahhh over each item...we didn't do that.  Someone would count down and then like greedy little imps we would tear into our mountain of gifts. 

Inevitably there was a set of new Christmas pajamas- lacy frilly nightgowns for the girls, superhero pj's with capes for the boys.  While the grown ups picked up our wrappings (I told you we were greedy little imps) we'd all go change into our new pajamas, then hurry back to play with our new treasures.  Eventually, our parents would insist that if we didn't go home Santa wouldn't be able to come.  (Like we needed more toys!)  So we'd pack all our new stuff into the trunk, climb into the car and head home- happy as little clams.  The magic would carry home with us as we  tried to listen for sleigh bells on the roof and eventually drifted off to sleep with visions of sugar plums dancing through our heads.

Years later, when I was in my late teens, and had long since given up on Santa and elves, I was once again caught up in the magic of Christmas Eve at Grandmas house.  Her large family room was surrounded by windows on 3 sides.  As I looked out over the amazing view of the sparkling lights of the city and the glistening lake below, I was stunned to see a tiny sleigh being pulled by reindeer off in the distant sky.  It truly took my breath away in disbelief.  Only a moment passed before I realized I was seeing a reflection of a Santa picture hanging in the opposite window behind me...but for just a moment... I believed!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

day off

I have ended up with the whole day all to myself today.  Whatever shall I do?  I should paint the bathroom that desperately needs it.  I should clean out the "Harry Potter" closet under the stairs (where I'm sure I would find all the things that have been deemed lost, stolen, or missing for the past...well, since we moved into the house!) I should go check our storm drains and crawl space to make sure we're not going to float away in this horrific rain we've been enduring.  I should bake Christmas treats for my friends and neighbors.

Those are just a few of the things that I should do. But what I'm gonna do is make a nice hot cup of candy can cocoa in a snowman mug, turn up the heat, put on my cosiest hoodie, and que up the Netflix. One of the few perks of a rainy day (other than helping with bird poo as mentioned previously) is it makes a great excuse to have a lazy day! Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

bird poo

We have a large elm tree that hangs over our driveway. I love the tree- it provides a glorious covering of shade during the 9 days of summer we are blessed with every year, and each spring its weathered knots provide a nesting spot for the tiny little birds that flit about.  Argh...the birds.  It's no secret that I am deathly terrified of birds, and despise the little critters (they're like rats with wings), but even I can appreciate the cuteness of a nest of chirping, featherless, hideously ugly little babies.  But why, oh why, do they have to poo all over my car?

Sunday evening I glanced over at my car and was thoroughly perturbed to see that once again the ol' Taurus was covered in  white splatter. I shook my head in disgust and resigned myself to parking in the outer parking lot at work so noone would see my shame.  However, on Monday morning I woke to the sound of raindrops pounding on my roof.  "Stupidmiserablerainwithitsstupidclouds" I thought to myself as I stumbled out the door at 6:30am.  (Guess what I like even less than birds?  Rain!) But then, as I looked at my car, I was suddenly grateful for the miserable, wet drops that were pounding the city.  All the poo was gone!  What a glorious suprise!

After making the school run with the kiddos I pulled back into the driveway to get ready for work.  I was parked there less than an hour.  When I went to leave, my car had once again been victimized.  No fewer than 12 poop bombs once again covered the windshield, hood, and roof of my car.

I think I'll cut down the tree.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It ain't what it used to be

When I was a little girl, Christmas was truly "the most wonderful time of the year".  For months beforehand  I would spend hours carefully pouring over the Sears and LaBelles catalogs seeking out my list of desired treasures.  With a colored marker in hand, I would circle each and everything my little heart desired.  An Easy Bake oven and Kewpie dolls eventually gave way to much more sophisticated toys.  Things like the Barbie Dream pool, Snoopy snow cone maker, and a ruffled umbrella.  My brothers circled things like race tracks,GI Joe figurines and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  After months of consideration we'd submit our pared down lists to the fat guy in the red suit. Between Santa, my parents, and doting grandparents we usually made off with a pretty good haul.

My parents went to great lengths to ensure the joy of Christmas magic was complete.  One year a sooty boot print was left by the fireplace. Another Christmas morning revealed a torn piece of red velvet  left behind as evidence of Santas misadventure with our fire grate.   One year I was heartbroken when the baby doll I longed for wasn't there on Christmas morning, but a few days later my mom came in with it from the backyard...seems Santa had dropped it on the roof and it took a while for it to roll off!  We always left out cookies and milk for Santa, as well as carrots for the weary reindeer.Eventually I started counting the carrots that were back in the fridge come Christmas morning and was dismayed to find our offering returned...

When my own kids came along I tried to duplicate the impressive Christmas mornings I remembered from my childhood.  Care was taken to insure that Santas presents bore their own special wrapping paper so as not to be mistaken as a gift from us, the lowly parents.  Cookies were set out, as well as carrots for the reindeer (which were NEVER returned to the fridge!).  With two little boys we saw an abundance of train sets, Hot Wheels tracks, and super hero pajamas, followed by doll houses, stuffed animals and tutus when Andrea joined us.  Later we moved on to K'nex, Legos and RC cars for the boys, and Barbies, Polly Pockets and Little Ponies for the girl.  Christmas was a delight.

Fast forward a few years.  I-pods, phones, and requests for cash make up the list.  That's it.  Nothing cute, nothing fuzzy, nothing fun to give.  Enjoy 'em while they're little- cuz Christmas ain't what it used to be!