Thursday, December 30, 2010

Savor the Moments

I love the post-Christmas week with children happily exploring new toys, no holiday stress or rush and the feeling that there is still some magic of Christmas lingering in the air. Alas, it is almost New Year's and I can no longer put off finding homes for the presents that have been conveniently stored under the tree since the big day.

There have been many memories created this week and lessons learned:

1) Sewing a strap to the donkey hat doesn't mean a thing if the child takes the hat off in the pew. She will make it to the altar only to be reminded of this and have to rush back retrieving said hat before she takes her rightful place in the stable.
2) Giving your husband the video game he has been drooling over doesn't mean much if the computer's mother board crashed on Christmas Eve. In this event have cool gifts for the children to keep him busy until the computer shop can get the part and fix it (fingers crossed that it happens soon)

3) Monitor Just Dance 2 song choices when Teen is choosing for Boy, it is just not nice to have an eleven-year-old dancing to "It's Raining Men"
4) Encourage childish joy, especially when it gives teens a chance to act like complete goofs.
5) Savor every moment...

I'm off to direct toy and decoration storage so I can be prepared for the teen invasion scheduled to occur on New Year's Eve...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Anticiaption and Great Joy

It is crunch time. The time when parents near and far are busily wrapping-up pun intended last minute items and preparations. Kids are positively humming with anticipation and cookie overload. Plus, if they aren't excited enough, you can always go to NORAD to track Santa who is busily delivering goodies to the the far East even as I type.

We will spend the day prepping for company and listening to Youngest count down the hours until her big debut as the donkey or Christmas Ass as her brother likes to remind us in the Christmas pageant at the family mass today. It will be hectic, busy, and best of all filled with family and friends. Church, with its simple adornments and well known readings, will offer the possibility to reflect on the real reason we celebrate this season with such gusto. A time of peace and hope. Followed promptly by a time of celebration.

Whether you celebrate this season in a church, the bosom of your family, or anywhere else I wish you great joy and many memories worth holding dear. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

First Snow...fall?

Most towns offer snow gratis. It's the perk (or pest) of the location. In order for kids to enjoy the wonders it has to offer wet socks, frostbite they need to go no further than the yard. Not so in Sunnyville.

Snow is such a rare commodity that youngest has never witnessed the white stuff falling ever. While most people over the age of 20 see this as a positive, my kids are not 20 and bemoan their snowless fate yearly while mom does the happy dance and sends gentle jibes to far away family This year we chose to find snow...

First, mom had to coupon shop. Honestly. I did. Snow and cold are pricey here. After driving 2 hours, we arrived...

The parkas were a side perk of spending an hour in the 9 degree exhibit.

We toured the sculptors. "Night Before Christmas" was the theme.

No trip to the ice would be worth its salt without an ice slide.

Of course we couldn't forget to visit the courtyard.

Now this weather is more my speed.

Then we went to play in the "snow" (I use the term loosely)

A great time for all.

All-in-all it was worth the drive and now Youngest tells me she can't wait to see real snow. I guess she doesn't realize those wet knees and gloves are not so much fun when it is actually cold!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fire! Where?

It's 3:30 in the morning. On our very quiet and very dark street, my home is lit up like the Superbowl is being played within it's tiny frame. And is that? Could it be? Yes it is. Another fire truck come to cast light on the scene.  The kids, dogs, and I huddle in the van watching the scene unfold as Boy takes the opportunity to remind me, yet again, that he would like a snack. 

And while a small part of me does have to admit that watching firemen line the entire block with their vehicles and pour into your home is a bit like watching a movie, most of me is focused on a churning stomach, the thought that the fire must have started in the very messy garage, and the fact that my kids are going to be homeless with all of our shoes burnt-up.

Losing it slightly at this point, I say, "You can't have a snack. They are burning up in our house!" Hmm, maybe not one of my brightest moves...

How did we end-up in this predicament?

It all started with an annoying sound you half-hear in your sleep and a nervous dog. Having a newborn at the time (Youngest was about 3 months old) I was half-delirious with sleep withdrawl. Upon waking I couldn't place the sound and the dog was acting very strange, whining and unsettled. I woke Hubby to ask what that noise was. 

We got out of bed to investigate and as we were crossing the house Teen (who was really more of a Kid) crawls at super-speed from her room hollering "It's the FIRE ALARM. It's the FIRE ALARM" on a constant loop. And, hey, she was right. Quick-thinking completely dazed and sleep addled me told her to meet me at the mailbox and thank you fire safety month, she crawled right out the front door. Hubby and I rushed into Boy's room to remove him and Youngest from the danger-zone. Still very much operating on instinct, imagine my surprise to find Youngest's crib empty! Uh, where did she go?  Surely she didn't just leave - she can't even roll over!

Light dawned through my confusion. I remembered I brought her into my bed, and rushed back there.  Grabbing the baby and the dogs I went out to meet the others at the mailbox. I piled everyone into the van, because they were all in their various states of sleep undress and standing in the middle of the yard. Hubby and I headed back in to grab the phone, well he did anyway. Truth be told I went back for a can of Diet Coke and my cigarettes...Hey it was stressful. 

We didn't see any fire. But the entire house was filled with this sweet-smelling smoke. Hubby explained this to 911, as I grabbed my drink. We assumed the fire must be smoldering in the attic. And I was fretting because I knew the firemen would have no access to said attic because the garage was such a mess! Ah, the dumb@#% things I worry about.

In record time the trucks arrived. I think it was every truck in Sunnyville. All lined up on my blcok. And while I do truly appreciate their prompt attention, it is Sunnyville. Did they really think a ladder truck would be necessary? The house is only one floor!

So here we were. Sitting in the driveway watching men and lights travel through the house. Hubby talking with the fire chief and Boy prattling on about his need for sustenance...Maybe my previously mentioned blurt about the snacks burning up could be forgiven.

After touring my home with heat-finding goggles, the firemen reached the conclusion that there was freon pouring into the house from a faulty whatchamacallit in the air conditioner. Because this can be toxic, they brought in HUGE fans and blew the smoke out before allowing us to regain occupancy. Upon reentering the house, I did get Boy his snack and we all decided to watch Pirates of the Caribbean since we were up anyway.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Juggling Act

Fate was peeking at my well-managed budget and planning this year, saw that I was far too calm, and thought to itself: "Ha, where is her challenge?"

In order to keep me on my toes, Fate gave me a car that stalled while I was driving down the street. Being extremely lucky the quick-thinking action hero I am, I threw it into neutral, started it and continued cruising with no one the wiser...except me. After a day spent rationalizing the stall incident, I relented after practicing my race car driver technique for the 3rd time and called my mechanic.

Having a car in the shop lead to a slew of thoughts not all of which involved anxiety attacks and crying in my beer Some I thought to share:

1) Sunnyville children are not meant to walk to school on the coldest morning of the year - their moms aren't either. Running into a friend at drop-off helps to get home more quickly and allows Boy's bike to be there for his return home, not that I would have stolen it...

2) When borrowing one of my sister's cars I was presented with a gas dilemma. What in the heck does "range=LOW" mean?? How can a car go from "range=36 miles" to "LOW" in 1/10 of a mile anyway??

3) Also in borrowed car, what in the heck are all these buttons and doohickeys for? It is a car, can't it just go? and with all these buttons and doohickeys WHY can't it tell me how far until I run out of gas??

4) Christmas shopping while talking to the mechanic about prices definitely brings out the bargain hunter in me. (Do they sell American Girl accessories at Goodwill?)

5) Hmm, is it too early to spike the eggnog?

6) God must have wanted me to be a clown, because He sure does expect me to juggle.

Now I'm off the the repair shop. In the event of mental collapse due to price shock, your comments will be a welcome pick-me-up.