Friday, December 18, 2009

A for Effort, B for....

A couple of posts ago, I happily mentioned that I probably wouldn't be mailing Christmas cards out of a variety of reasons (none of which are that I don't love Christmas - believe me, I LOVE Christmas!). Well, the guilt got to me. I could tell Jason was kind of bummed and we keep getting such nice cards from people including dear old Grandma Reba from Arkansas who sent not one but four cards to us - one for each child, and one for J and I - how cute is she? Then yesterday I was visiting a friend and I admired her mantel full of Christmas cards from friends and family, so as I was driving home I resolved to get myself onto the Snapfish website and get the whole thing done and over with ASAP so I could sleep at night again.

Everything was going perfect. I found something I liked, ordered it and picked it up this morning at the drugstore, got my address list, and got to work on it right away because I was not going to drag this thing out. I was even sort of enjoying myself! So I was about halfway done when James comes up to me, and I was thinking he was going to ask me for a snack, but NO! Without any warning he BARFED! All over me. And all over the remaining envelopes. AAAAAAH! It was so weird. And then he was perfectly fine and back to normal. I am not feeling very encouraged.

So HALF my cards went out today!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Last Year's Champ:

Miss Holiday Hoochie Mama Piggy from last year's Annual Ugly Ornament Contest, peeking from behind our tree in her ever so do-like manner. We can't possibly outdo this one which we won last year from the Hams (of all people - with their pig ornament) Can't wait for this year's party!
Kids decorating. I have a nice cluster of wooden ornaments at the bottom of our tree. Perfect for Phillip to yank, grab, and put in his mouth, then drop on the floor, every day, all day, until we take it all down.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Toward Bethlehem

This morning my pops came over just to watch the kids for me so I could grocery shop. It made my day. Shopping with my kids takes so much energy out of me, makes me feel anxious and dismayed. When I do take them shopping I try to appear cheerful, but inside I'm saying "HELP ME!" But I do try because nobody likes to see a mama carting her kids around with a big sneer on her face, hair disheveled and and beads of sweat forming a mustache on her upper lip. It invites people to ask themselves questions under their breaths like, "Why keep having all those kids if you so clearly dislike them?" I can see it in their eyes. And I wish I could tell them without being a total nut, that I'm really not that bad of a mother! I'm just kind of tired, I'm just having an off day, I'm just not good at negotiating a cumbersome and cantankerous cart (why is it I always get the carts with wobbly wheels that only want to veer to the left?) I'm just, I'm just, I'm just......
I really like coming home to those little cherubic darlings AFTER I've done the shopping. Thanks, Dad!

Now that the pantry and fridge are full, we've settled in for the day with books, movies, and crafts.

Oh and laundry. I've been at war with the laundry for the past several days, and I am losing. I just cannot catch up. Cloth diapers? Forget it. Not this week. You need socks? Better go to the nearest box store and buy yourself a package of them. But that is a venture not for the weary, this time of year.

I'm trying very hard to keep my eyes on the Nativity of the Lord - to make it much more than retail. The two times I've ventured into Retail Land (and this was one time with just one child, and the other with my dear husband) I felt myself nearing a zombie-like state. It was physically exhausting. The sappy music (and I do enjoy lots of Christmas music that isn't performed by Michael Bolton and Celine Dion) was so physically irritating, my head was pounding. I developed a blank stare to cope with my overstimulated mind. My internal distress was only heightened as I saw a young dad with his little girl of about six, on a chilly,rainy day, wearing strappy, stiletto heels. I gagged. I told myself I was being judgemental. But crimony! What is wrong with people? I held my five year old with her sensible rain boots close and prayed she would not notice that there was a little girl about her age in shoes that she would not be allowed to wear for another decade, at least. Ugh. I suppose the blatant and often accepted sexualization of children is another post. Alas, I felt instantly better upon exit and my taking deep cleansing breaths of unfiltered, crisp air.

But to the Nativity we go! And unto all that is lovely - these things I strive to gaze upon. For one, I have begun A Christmas Carol. I've never read any Dickens before (I KNOW! I'm so uncultured.) and I'm finding it very readable and lots of fun. Obviously I know the story and have seen the movie - the best one that pales all others with Alaster Sims just about every year at Christmastime. I have zero desire to see the newest Disney one. Anyway, it makes me want to read more of his works.

Also the kids and I are reading lots of Jan Brett books by recommendations from several other blogs. They're so beautifully illustrated. We also love The Christmas Story by Gennady Spirin.

We started decorating and this weekend we plan to put up the tree. The wreath is up, though looking slightly forlorn at the pile of pumpkins that have yet to have been discarded next to the front door. I'll get to them when I get to them. And another thing that needs tending to is Christmas cards. I told my mom last night on the phone that sending out Christmas cards is the bane of my December existence. I'm a jerk that loves getting them, but hates the trouble of sending them out. But! My mom and and dad, and Jason's parents both have already sent their cards out with - oh joy! - pictures of us and our kids on them. So I kinda figured it got me out of them. That's what I'm telling myself anyway. So, if you are not on my parent's or in-law's Christmas card lists - this is just in case I happen to not get to them accidentally on purpose:

We wish you a blessed Advent and a most Merry Christmas!!
Love, The S. Family

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A play-by-play of sorts.

Hope you and yours all had a wonderful holiday. Jason looks forward to Thanksgiving every year because he always gets the Friday after off so it's a four day holiday. This year he also took Monday off for our parish patronal feast of St. Andrew.

Thanksgiving day was really nice and warm. We ate outside and we hosted Jason's dad and his brother. The kids played outside all day. Grandpa Bill does the turkey in the BBQ and I take care of all the sides. I panicked the last half-hour before we served the meal because I foolishly squandered too much time, thinking I had a whole hour. I had two pots of potatoes boiling, green beans to blanche and then saute which I should have done the day before, I was feeling completely overwhelmed. After barking at the kids to get out of the kitchen and cursing myself for miscalculating the time, my dear Jason assured me there was no rush, the turkey could wait, and my dear father-in-law poured me a delightful glass of wine, in which I obligingly took some sips (gulps?), and pressed on. Of course everything was fine and came out pretty good. Thank God.
On Friday Jason had projects so I took all our leftovers to my parents. The weather was changing that day, and it rained all night. Saturday morning was so beautiful we talked ourselves out of going shopping (I think most of our shopping will be done online this year) and into going to a nearby park that has a trail, perfect for Hannah to practice her big bike on. I'm so glad we did.

Hannah takes pictures now:

Sometimes I fantasize about living in a house right next to this trail. I know it's wrong. I just can't help it.

Sunday was church and our normal after-church-protocol of sunning ourselves in the backyard, watching the kids play, book reading, some beer, some food, some laughs.
And then on Monday we had a Liturgy for St. Andrew in the morning, enjoyed some fish tacos at the best hole-in-the-wall place ever by our house. When you walk in a Mexican food restaurant and your family looks really really white like ours, and the restaurant staff looks at you, like "What are you doing here?" you know it's gonna be good. We won them over too. We headed back out to church for a special Vespers service on our freshly poured slab for our new temple with not one but TWO bishops - our Bishop Joseph and the OCA's Bishop Benjamin to be exact. (hee hee - hard hats, too cute.)

Father Josiah as Vespers began. The sun set by the end of service. Nice. I confess to going to the van with Phillip in the middle of it. He was wiggly and whiny and I was cold. There was a banquet after but we didn't go mostly because our little Phillip. He squawks too loud and I didn't want to feel resentful holding him outside while Jason stayed inside or vise a versa.

Back to routine today. House cleaning, laundering, baking, preparing for the Nativity. Glory to God for all things!