Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Busy, Busy (And We Still Hate Santa)

We've been super busy cramming in every possible Christmas activity there is. We've shopped for and wrapped all of our Christmas presents. We've baked and decorated cookies. We've made snowflakes out of construction paper. We spent part of a morning at the nearby Bass Pro Shop to gawk at all the freaky taxidermied animals check out country-style Christmas decor.

We joined our Sunday School class for some ice skating, too. The kids whizzed by too quickly to get any good "action" shots, but they really did have a good time.

Sydney posing:


Liam waiting for his turn:


They didn't have skates to fit Evan (since this is Texas and not Minnesota), but he found a way to entertain himself anyway:


We took the kids to a nearby church/camp/compound for a little train ride through a bunch of lighted displays. Liam was so excited about riding the train we thought he was going to explode on the spot:


And, I made the drive out toward our hometown one day so that we could get our annual pictures with our familiar Paw Paw Santa. Unfortunately, Sydney was in school, but Ryan's niece, Kayla, was able to join in the fun.

Evan did just fine when he was a good twenty feet from the fat guy in red:


However, like last time, he completely freaked out once he got near Santa:


Hopefully, Santa won't take it personally and will see to it that Evan gets some great gifts this year.

And since I probably won't be able to post again before Friday - Merry Christmas!!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Meme

OK, I'm short on blogging material so I'll steal Fran's idea, which was to steal Swistle's idea of a Christmas meme. Here goes:

Eggnog or hot chocolate? Most definitely hot chocolate. Eggnog is gross (the taste is OK, but the thickness of it makes me gag).

Does Santa wrap the presents or leave them open under the tree? Santa brings three small, unwrapped gifts per person and they are usually in the stocking or the stocking is sitting on top of them. We figure that if Jesus got three gifts, then that should be good enough for our kids, too.

Colored lights on a tree or white? Whites only. I'm a light racist.

Do you hang mistletoe? Nope.

When do you put your decorations up? Usually the first weekend of December (or thereabouts).

What is your favorite holiday dish? Anything sugary.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No, we do all of them Christmas morning.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? White lights and lots of mismatched ornaments. I have a bunch of ornaments from when I was a kid and each of our kids have ornaments that my parents have given them through the years. We even have some ornaments left over from our wedding, since that's what we gave as wedding favors to our guests.

Snow: Love it or hate it? I like it when we get it, which is about once every four or five years.

Can you ice skate? I can, but I'm pretty clumsy.

What is your favorite holiday dessert? Anything chocolate. I'm only slightly obsessed with it.

What is your favorite holiday tradition? Too many to name, but this year, I've really enjoyed watching the kids hunt for Sheldon, our Christmas elf.

Candy canes: yum or yuck? Eh. They're OK, but they're sticky and if I have one, I want a small one because the big ones are just too much.

Favorite Christmas show? My favorite kid Christmas show is "Charlie Brown's Christmas." My favorite adult Christmas show is "Love, Actually." Colin Firth = swoon.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Poop Talk

It wouldn't be a complete day in our household without at least one conversation involving poop. Just the other day we had two conversations regarding the stuff.

Conversation #1:

Me: (Sniffing) Ick. Who pooped? Liam?

Liam: I no pooped. Evan pooped.

Me: Evan, did you go poo poo?

Evan: (Vigorous shaking of head)

Me: Then it must have been Sydney.

Sydney: I didn't go poop in a diaper.

Me: I sure hope not. They don't make diapers for people your size.

Sydney: Yes they do. They make Grandma-sized ones. I saw them in her room before she died.

I stand corrected.


Conversation #2:

Ryan: Yuck. What's that smell? (He knew good and well what the smell was.)

Sydney: I think it's whatever Mommy's cooking for dinner.

Ryan: No, it's not. Go apologize to your mother.

For the record, Evan pooped. I promise that my chicken tacos don't smell that bad.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sad Beyond Belief

I found out today that the son of one of my internet friends accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool earlier this week. I met her a few years ago in an online support group for women with secondary infertility (which I realize seems like a joke considering I now have three children). She and I, along with about ten other ladies, supported each other through the emotional roller coaster of infertility tests, treatments, losses and successes. Her son was born a few months after Liam and I can't help but think of my sweet boy when I think of her losing her sweet boy.

To make matters worse, my friend is now being vilified by the media. You see, she's a popular blogger and twitterer and since I'm not on Twitter and I don't quite understand the whole process or concept of it, I don't quite know what happened. But, according to an article I read in a national newspaper, she tweeted about his drowning several times right after it happened.

While this is probably not how I would have handled the situation, I don't think it's right to judge her or question her abilities as a mother. The poor woman is grieving for her son and the media refuse to leave her alone. I wish they would remember what it is like to be human and let her grieve in peace (which is why I won't give the national newspaper more hits on their website by posting a link to the article).

I don't know what else to say.

I think I'm going to go hug my children now.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Slumlord Non-Millionaires

We are now landlords. Or slumlords if you take the overgrown vegetation surrounding our old house into account.

I spent the better part of last Friday and Saturday cleaning our old house in preparation for our new tenant. I don't particularly like cleaning, but I was not about to have our renter move into a house full of dust and grime. And while I really didn't mind the work, not even the whole standing on the kitchen counters so I could scrub the top of the cabinets kind of work, I did mind the temperature in the house.

See, we had this whole battle going between us, the city and the gas company as to why there was no natural gas being pumped into the house. With no gas, there's no oven, hot water or central heat. Definitely not tenant-friendly. Of the three entities in the battle, we lost (surprise, surprise), so a huge chunk of change later (the plumber we had to call is going to have a fabulous Christmas this year), we were cleared to have our gas turned back on the day before our tenant was to move in. Yikes.

Since Ryan has another job (you know, one that actually pays our bills), he absolutely could not take another day off of work to deal with our money pit house. So he "worked"* from home on Friday while I waited for the gas guy. For six hours. In a house that was, I kid you not, 47 degrees.

Fortunately, I had a radio tuned to a station playing Christmas music to entertain me and plenty of cleaning to keep me busy and warm. Unfortunately, most of that cleaning involved having at least one hand un-gloved and in and out of cold water because, well, we had no gas to heat the water. But I managed to get quite a bit done and nearly kissed the gas guy when he showed up.

And then I wanted to slap the gas guy when he couldn't get the heater to work once the gas was turned on. Turns out it was no big deal, but I wasn't about to stay in the house any longer than I absolutely had to.

I headed home, took a really long and hot shower, wrapped up in my fluffy bathrobe and a blanket and promptly fell asleep on the couch. As my parents were nice enough to keep the kids overnight so that Ryan and I could go out to eat to celebrate our upcoming anniversary, we were kidless. But I was in no mood to venture back out into the cold, so we ordered in and watched a movie. Real exciting anniversary, right?

But you know me and how I always look for the lessons to be learned in a situation. I, of course, found some. First, if you're having a problem with the gas company, you should probably take care of it well before you (or your tenant) move(s) in. Second, most tenants don't expect the houses they rent to be as clean as ours (as verified by several reliable sources). And third, there really isn't a whole lot of variety when it comes to Christmas music. I think if I hear yet another version of "The Little Drummer Boy" I am going to lose it. The only version I even remotely like is the SNL/Mary Catherine Gallagher one and it most certainly was not being played on the radio. (I truly tried to find a video clip to link to, but could not. I promise it was really good though!)

So, we're landlords now. We were feeling a bit nostalgic as we put the finishing touches on the house, remembering various things that happened in our little bungalow. I found it quite odd to watch our tenant put their dishes in my kitchen cabinets. I had the urge to say, "The cups don't go there...they go by the refrigerator," but I didn't say a word.

After all, it may technically still be our house, but it's now someone else's home.


I say "working", not because I don't think Ryan does any real work, but because the boys were at home with him, so I don't know how much work he was actually able to get done.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Santa, Spying and Some Major Sucking Up

I caught her reading to him the other day. She's become quite the little reader, our Sydney, and when she thought I wasn't looking or listening, I overheard her reading one of our coveted usually-in-a-box-in-the-attic Christmas books to him. And then another one. And another until she'd read through all of them. Then she started on her regular books, all of her old favorites. For a good hour she read non-stop and when I asked her why, she said she didn't want him to get bored.

And every morning, Sydney and Liam have a little race to see who can find him first. Because he's an early riser and she's a late and deep sleeper, Liam usually wins. He gets all excited and jumps up and down which makes me wonder whose kid he is since neither Ryan nor I are exactly the spring out of bed in a good mood sort. When Sydney finally emerges from her cozy little den of room on these frigid mornings (and yes, 36 degrees is frigid down here so no making fun of us winter wimps), Liam is proud to show Sydney where our little friend has been hiding.

Who is this friend, you ask? Could it be Evan, the little brother, who loves to be read to and loves to play hide and seek? Nope.

It's Sheldon.

Wait.....have I not mentioned Sheldon before?

(No, we didn't get a dog or a cat.) (Nor did we have another child and neglect to tell you about him.)

We got an elf. An Elf on the Shelf elf. Ryan and I named him Sheldon after our current favorite TV character. Every morning he appears somewhere in the house to keep an eye on all the little people in the house. At night, he magically flies to the North Pole to report behavior, both naughty and nice, flies back to our house and finds another spot on which to perch for another fun-filled day of spying.

The boys don't really understand why Sheldon appears in various spots throughout the house, but they sure do get a good giggle every morning when they see him hanging on the dining room chandelier or peeking out of a vase. Sydney, however, is taking Sheldon's assignment very seriously. Whenever she's on the cusp of, I don't know, being an attitude-filled six year old, all I have to say is, "I wonder if Sheldon is watching you....." It's amazing how quickly she straightens up. It's also amazing to see how much she sucks up to a stuffed elf. All of that reading she did for him? Totally sucking up.

So if you're looking for a holiday tradition to start with your kids, assuming you do the whole "Santa Thing", this one's a great one. He's a bit pricey ($30), but if you've got that kind of cash burning a hole in your pocket, or, if like me you find a coupon to use at a local toy store, he's totally worth it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

No Love For The Big Guy in Red

Just like last year, we did not manage to get a decent picture of the kids with Santa this year. Our record snowfall kept us from going to see our all-too-familiar Santa (also known as Paw Paw), so we took the kids to church to see Santa instead. What is it about a guy in a red suit that makes kids freak out?

It started off fine. Sydney and Liam had no problems sitting on the big guy's lap. In fact, if we only had two kids, this might make a great Christmas card photo:


But, being the good parents we are, we wanted all three of our kids to be in the picture. Evan objected:


He vehemently objected:


He eventually calmed down, but he was not happy about it:


So, the Santa pics being a bust, we thought we'd give Mrs. Claus a chance. Hello? Paging Mrs. Claus...


There she is! But then Evan decided that Mrs. Claus might not be cool after all:


So, if you get a Christmas card from us this year, you will not see one of these pictures on it. There's always next year, I suppose.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Best Day Ever!

Pretty snow falling all day? Check!
Early release from school? Check!
Cocoa with marshmallows? Check!
Homemade cookies for a snack? Check!
Playing in the snow? Check!
Warm bath in the big garden tub? Check!
Pizza for dinner? Check!
Watching "A Christmas Story" while eating the pizza? Check!

We had a great time today enjoying the snow. We rarely get snow this close to the coast, so we did our best to get out and have some fun.


Evan checking out his new gloves.


Evan's subtle way of telling me stop taking pictures already.


The best picture I got of all three kids - it's tough!


Evan loved being out in the snow! We couldn't get him to come in.


Sydney's little snowman. Her gloves weren't very warm (since we pretty much never need gloves around here), so she didn't want to spend a whole lot of time actually touching the snow.


Liam about to hurl a snowball - definitely his favorite thing, next to eating the snow, that is.


Sydney and I in a snowball fight. Fun!


Pretty stuff!