Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

I get pretty emotional around the holidays. (Shut up, Josh, I know "around the holidays" isn't the only time I am teary.) I love the sentiment and the specialness and memory making. I love buying presents and watching people open them--to me it's like saying, "I know you and I love you and I bought you this because it made me think of you!" Even gift cards can seem personal when you know it brings that person joy.

I also love the real meaning of Christmas. The whole Jesus thing gets me. Bo and Sascha were little babies their first Christmases and I found myself staring at them all the time wondering how Mary felt. I used to think she must have felt sad because He was going to have to die on the cross, but then I remembered that at the time, they all thought the Messiah was going to come and save them from Rome and tyranny and reign as a king, not live a lowly life and then die for their sins. Can you even imagine what it was like to look down at your baby and KNOW HE WAS GOD?! I mean, I used to look down at my babies and just get overwhelmed with joy and love and responsibility. My stomach would get all fluttery because I had so many feelings. But Mary had God. Wow.

I get teary, too, wondering what Christmas eve was like for God the Father and Jesus. When Granny died, I started thinking about how short (in the grand scheme of time) our earthly separation would be before I got to see her again in heaven and hang out for eternity. It didn't really lessen my pain any. Or when Josh traveled for weeks at a time a few years ago, even though we could talk by phone or skype, I missed his actual presence. I know time is different for God the Father (you know a day is like a minute or an hour or whatever), BUT He was sending His SON to earth for over 30 years to be tempted and tried and hated and eventually killed after taking on all of our sins.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. Traditions, smells, family, great food, memories, music, lights, candles, laughter . . . but mostly, that sweet baby who chose to come to us because we were literally lost without Him. He gave up a throne and a host of angels and hanging out with God to spend hard time here JUST FOR US. Because He loves us. Because we need Him and He thinks we are worth it.

That's the gift I most enjoy each year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sicko Kidos

I am crossing my fingers and toes and knocking on wood that Caroline and Tru can avoid (will avoid) whatever little bug attacked Bo and Sascha last week.

Tuesday, I picked Bo up from school around 11 and he was crying. His teacher said she didn't think he felt good and that he had fallen asleep in the reading center and complained of being cold. By the time I got him home and set up in our "sick spot" (aka, the couch bed down in the playroom), his temperature was 102 and it stayed there until sometime overnight when it broke and stayed gone. He was pitiful and lethargic and didn't move except to go to the bathroom. He was so polite though, saying, "No fanks," when I would offer him food or drink. I finally got some medicine down him around 10. Wednesday, we stayed home (so sad that he missed his school Christmas party) and he was slow but better.

Sometime that morning, Sascha handed me an empty bowl and said, "Yum! More crackers please! Those were dood!" I thought and thought, trying to remember giving her a bowl of crackers. I realized with some impending doom that she had been snacking on Bo's food--his half-eaten, germ-covered crackers. We often say that Sascha is too mean to get sick (love her so much), so I had kind of forgotten about her self-exposure until Saturday morning when she was whiny and slow and refused a donut and then barfed her milk everywhere. We cleaned her up (and the floor) and got her settled on the couch where she pretty much stayed for 2 days. Her little bug was harder on her and longer lasting even though her fever wasn't as high (it was a constant 100.2 for 48 hours or so). Bless her heart. Mischievous, energetic, constantly on the go kids seem so much sicker when they are sick. And, God love her, she was more worried about how close she came to throwing up on the Christmas tree then she was about how she felt at the moment.

Today, everyone is pretty ok. I will admit that I am kissing foreheads a little more frequently to secretly check for fevers. My Christmas wish is for the rest of us to stay well and enjoy this break. But here's a word to the wise: milk + feverish belly = fountain of yuck.

Friday, December 16, 2011

O my Christmas!

Well, the holiday season has kicked off! There have been parties for hosting (well, attending) and marshmallows for toasting (or floating in hot chocolate) and some really cute boys caroling us while they tossed toilet paper all over our front yard.

Thankfully, I am not feeling overwhelmed by our level of activity this year; if anything, the holidays are providing a break from our usually crazy schedule. Golf is over for the season and dance is about to have a 2 week hiatus before competition season kicks off. I think I am done shopping and I think I came in close to (maybe even under) budget.

It is a magical year. All the kids are into it, especially Sascha, who is very adorably into Christmas--she loves to sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and may be slightly obsessed with "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". (But only if you define obsession by 3-4 viewings a day.)

(Not that I let my kids watch that much tv.)

(And what is my apparent obsession with parenthesis?)

My mom and my aunt and I celebrated my aunt's birthday today with a pedicure and lunch and then did some shopping together. We always have fun together; in fact, probably my favorite thing about the 3 of us being together is that we get the giggles. Today was no exception--even picking out toenail polish had us laughing. In the end, just in case you care, we all chose holiday themed colors--mine was/is Very Merry Cherry.

On a blond note, I am not sure what my system for addressing Christmas cards was this season, but somehow I missed several. There is almost a pattern to it. I addressed them the same weekend that the Hogs lost to LSU, so perhaps, in my grief, I was unable to see straight. If you haven't gotten one from us and you usually do, hang on, round 2 is coming! (And if you get two, just know I really, really didn't want to leave you out and couldn't remember if I had. Have some Christmas compassion on me and maybe a bless her heart or two.)

The kids are finally out of school and I have tried to keep our schedule next week somewhere between not boring but still relaxing. I have a few craft projects planned--go ahead and laugh if you know me--and a few places to go. Mostly, however, I plan for us to stay in our warm pj's as long as possible each day.

Have a holly, jolly weekend!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

O Christmas Tree

Confession: we are part of the unspirited masses who buy an artificial tree and use it for years and years. Partially out of practicality and partially because for many years we have had a young child with asthma or allergy issues that made a live tree risky.

But those days appear to be over (or lessening enough to try a live one).

In years past, we have used ribbon and cheap Target balls to decorate the tree. If you read this on a regular basis, you have probably already guessed there are 2 reasons for this--Sascha and Bo. They are curious and stubborn and putting up ornaments that matter and might get broken seemed unfair to all of us. I have always loved how the tree looked and the ease of not getting upset when I heard a crash and "uh-oh". This year, I decided to try a more fun and festive version (and also one that didn't involved glass since Sascha broke 2 of the surviving balls from last year before I even got all of the boxes out of the storage room). I bought beaded garland and glittery ornaments and we set to decorating the tree the Sunday we got back from Polar Express (after Josh added working lights to the prelit tree since the prelit ones won't light).

It was a disaster.

The whole thing was all wrong. Kids were crying; Josh was irritated with the crying kids and may have threatened to do it without one of two of them. That made me sad so the whole merriment and magic was sort of gone.

And . . . well, the picture in my head and the actual tree were, um, vastly different. It. Was. Tacky.


So the next day, I took off the beads and put up last year's ribbon.


I had lost my Christmas mojo. This year I have struggled to get things decorated just so and it has thrown off my Christmas spirit.

So, last week I sent Josh back down to the depths of the house and asked him to bring back the big red box. I opened it up and sights and smells from my childhood overwhelmed me. I took off the ribbon and the glittery ornaments and Target balls and redecorated it by myself as I listened to the classic Christmas music on cable. It was wonderful. I carefully selected sturdy and (probably) unbreakable ornaments from Granny's stash; there were some tears and some nostalgic smiles, but mostly, somehow, it lifted my spirits. Like magic, I felt warmth and happiness and the feelings of the season I normally experience. The tree is finally beautiful and meaningful and just right.

Oh. And christened by Tate.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I got nothin

Really that's not true. I got lots of stuff brewing in my brain, on my to do list, jumping up and down demanding my attention . . .

But word wise, I got nothin because I can't decide which direction to go.

So how about this. I will finish catching up on laundry and cleaning. Make a master to do list with my daily ones on post it notes. Meal plan for the week. Try to enjoy the fact that for the last year EVER I have more than one kid at home (this has not happened since the only full year that Caroline lived as an only child). And maybe tomorrow or Wednesday I will have something witty or deep to say.

Or better yet, witty AND deep.

Or more likely, I will get just enough done and something funny might happen that I remember to post.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Why I might be heading to the nut house

(although that might kill me . . . really . . . since I recently discovered that I have developed an allergy to nuts--especially almonds--which makes me sad because I love nuts--I mean look who I married--hahahaha. But seriously, like I am epi-pen carrying allergic to nuts now. Who knew you could go from nut lover to nut victim?)

But that is not the point of this post. The point is to apologize for skipping 2 days and give you a taste of day to day life here.

* Sascha has changed what she wants from Santa DAILY. MULTIPLE TIMES DAILY! From Bo's school to her babysitter's yesterday it changed 4 times--"Foofa, no . . .  Yo Gabba Gabba toys, no . . .  Smurfette, no . . . Papa Smurf . . . "

* The following statements have been said this week at our house (some repeatedly)
     - "Bo, you cannot hang a bungee cord from the top cabinet and swing from it!"
     - "Bo, please do not put the bungee cord around your neck!"
(I know, I know, why does he even have access to a bungee cord?!)
     - "Sascha, please do not choke your brother!"
     - "Only Mommy can stand on the top of the chair to put the star on!"
     - "Bo, please do not pick your nose and eat the boogers."
(Sorry, but I am nothing if not honest about our life!)
     - "Sascha, please tell me that is mud and not poo poo on your clothes!"
(It was mud. Sigh of relief!)
Have a sane weekend . . . I know we are going to try to.

But I'm not holding my breath.

Unless someone is breathing peanut butter breath on me.

(I'm looking at you, Josh. Do you want me to die?! Don't answer that.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Show and tell

Well . . . deposit another $100 into my kids' "future therapy fund" . . .

Bo has show and tell on Tuesdays. I haven't remembered the last 2 weeks. (In my defense, Tru and Caroline always had it on Thursdays AND they were both very on top of show and tell AND it had to use the letter of the week so for some reason it was easier to remember.)

Anyway, when I picked him up today, I asked how his day had been.

Bo: "It was good."

Me: (with panicked realization.)"BO! I'm SO SORRY! I forgot about show and tell."

Bo: "Yeah. Der was no show and tell in my back pack."

Me: "I know, buddy, I'm so sorry! What did you do?"

Bo: "Der was no show and tell in my back pack so I showed dem my fingers and knees."

I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.

And maybe I did.

And then I put a reminder in my phone for Tuesday mornings.

And then I went overboard praising his creativity.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Polar Express

Friday afternoon, Josh and I loaded up the kids and went with my parents to Branson, Mo to ride the Polar Express. It was magical for the kids and precious to watch.

We stopped in Harrison for dinner and surprised them with their annual matching Christmas pj's and then drove on to the train depot. They didn't know for sure (although smarty pants Caroline guessed) where we were going until we walked into the the depot with all of the souvenirs.

As soon as they knew, though, you would have thought they had been waiting for years. The anticipation and 45 minute wait for our train almost killed them (or maybe that was me that almost killed them when they wouldn't stop asking, "HOW MUCH LONGER?!").

Here are the kids sitting at the station

I really was as excited as they were . . . randomly in the last month, both Bo and Tru have said they wished they could ride a train! I almost exploded from not telling them that their first train ride would be the Polar Express to the North Pole AND they would see Santa!!!!

The ride was great--hot chocolate, Christmas carols, we saw the elves working at the North Pole, the conductor came by and clicked our tickets, even the hobo made an appearance!

But, of course, the BEST part was when Santa came and we could all hear our jingle bells because OF COURSE WE ALL BELIEVE!!!

Sascha is not nearly as afraid of him as she should be (since she is usually really close to being on the naughty list)--she tackled him with a hug and then we snapped this great picture with all of them and Santa!

The rest of the weekend was also great (minus our Georgia Bulldogs getting torn up by LSU in the SEC championship). We took the kids to sit in Santa's lap and tell him what they wanted (he was too busy Friday night). This proved to be challenging for the girls--Caroline is afraid to ask for what she really wants because she has a perfect record and thinks this year she may not get her big gift and Sascha was very disappointed that you only get to go through the line once and laid down on the floor by the Santa station and threw a big ole fit . . . so much for you better not cry and pout and stuff.

It was a weekend I will treasure, especially since our kids are getting older so fast! I love this time of year even more as a mom than I did before kids . . . the smells, the lights, the music, the magic of it all . . . (insert happy sigh here).

Friday, December 2, 2011

Writer's block

I could fill you in on the mundane details of our life . . . allergy tests, strep swabs, errand running, blah, blah, blah.

But I want you to come back and read again and do you really want to know every snotty detail of our life?

I could recount for you the experience that one of my children (who shall remain nameless out of consideration) and I had at the ped's office. Let me just say that kids are a lot stronger than they look and extremely inventive when it comes to finding ways to avoid a strep swab. I could have won wrestling awards for the holds I attempted and the nurse should get an award for her bravery in the face of certain injury. After several attempts, threats, cries, etc, we got a good swab that came back negative.

I then resorted to a brilliant/evil genius/mean/low/desperate moment of mothering to ascertain whether or not said child was truly sick. I "tricked" the doctor into threatening blood work if he/she wasn't feeling better in a day or so.

Josh and I had dinner with his boss last night, so I cannot say for sure exactly when he/she perked up, but y'all, it's a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! THE CHILD IS TOTALLY FINE THIS MORNING!

In his/her defense, I do believe that he/she didn't feel great, but I question the level of malaise that he/she portrayed (somewhat convincingly too.)

On a totally unrelated note, our Elf on a Shelf, Jingle, appears to have gotten lazy this year. At least twice in the last week, he has been in the same place as the day before. It's like Sascha has given him tips on hiding. Hopefully he will get his act together soon.

Have a great weekend.