Surviving the Holidays

christmas2

Ah, Christmas. That special time of year. Great food. Holiday traditions. Memory making. Spending time with family and loving every minute of it. But does it always turn out exactly the way we want it to? And do we REALLY enjoy all the time spent making sure that the rest of the family has a great Christmas?

Here’s my honest opinion on this holiday season:

cookiesI hate baking. But Christmas cookies (and fudge, and brownies, etc) are something the kids love to make and deliver to the neighbors and close friends. Maybe I’m getting OCD in my old age, but watching the kids make a huge mess on the kitchen table with flour, frosting and 50, 000 different types of sprinkles gives me hives. We’ll still do it, because they love it and I love them. But…Christmas stress.

alvinI used to have so much fun, the first couple of years, with Alvin, our Elf on the Shelf. But that sucker arrives the day after Thanksgiving and stays through Christmas Eve. That’s a whole lot of Alvin antics to plot out. And with the kids getting older, and not playing with toys much anymore, Alvin’s bag of tricks is sadly depleted. Little Guy is seven years old and still believes that Alvin is magical. So I struggle to come up with inventive ways to delight him each morning. And that leads to…Christmas stress.

stockingsWe needed new stockings this year because the names were becoming unreadable on our old ones. I found some at Target and bought each of us our own color. I figured if I ended up not having the nerve to attempt to glitter glue our names on them then at least we’d know whose was whose by color. I ended up attempting the names. They came out pretty good – until I realized I wrote Big Sis’ name on MY pink stocking. And then, while they were nowhere near dry, Little Guy managed to ruin every single one of them. My fault for leaving them on the kitchen table to dry. We have brand new stockings, less legible than the ones I threw away for that very reason. Next year I will pay big bucks to get some professionally personalized stockings. And save myself some huge…Christmas stress.

One day? How about a good FIVE weeks?

Now everyone is home from work and school for the next two weeks. I planned a mini-vaca for a few days after Christmas. But for now I’ve got to keep them all entertained, keep the house from getting trashed, keep the kids from killing each other and keep myself from hiding at the bottom of a bottle of wine until after the New Year. I hate Christmas stress!

Please tell me I’m not the only over-achieving, Martha Stewart screw-up. Anyone else have holiday horror stories they’d like to share? Bring me a Christmas giggle or two. I bet it bring everyone who reads this post just a little bit of Christmas cheer to know they are not in this alone.

The Second Child Syndrome

Big Sis and Little Guy

Big Sis and Little Guy

I was weeding out paperwork over the recycle bin the other day (read: tossing kindergarten homework) when I realized something. I’d put together a box – a big put-together-style box from Staples of adorable artwork and first writing projects, etc from Big Sis. Starting in preschool and going through first grade (because, truly, after that it’s just not quite as cute anymore).  But I had never done the same thing for Little Guy.

Yep... facepalm moment.

Yep… facepalm moment.

The only thing that is saving me in this situation is the fact that I am slightly behind on the paperwork weeding. The stuff I was doing before? That was just to clear off the kitchen table. But the desk, the filing cabinet, the microwave cart? Well, let’s just say I hope to have a boxful for him once I get all that sorted through.

But this leads me to examine what other things I’ve slacked on with the youngest that I went all out on with the oldest. She got Mommy and Me classes. He did not. She got story times at Barnes & Noble. He got… a couple of them. She got trips to the toy store and the bookstore to buy awesome new things to play with. He got…to play with the hand-me-down toys and listen to the chewed-on, colored-over picture books.

I kept a journal with each of them, including milestones from their first three years. (Though his is decidedly thinner.) And I did manage to take as many (if not more) photos of him as I did with her. Though that could be because I’m obsessed with documenting the cute moments and camera phone technology is a lot better now. 😉 But I swear we only dig out the digital camera for our one family vacation per year and Christmas morning. So, thank God for those cameras in our phones!

When Big Sis was a baby, it was just the two of us all day. I saw everything. I marveled at all the changes, all the milestones. Do you know who caught Little Guy rolling over for the first time? Big Sis. She had to tell me after the fact. I missed it.

Double facepalm moment.

Double facepalm moment.

Life goes fast. They come home so tiny and helpless and then the next thing you know, they are tugging their hand out of yours and telling you not to embarrass them in public. (Sorry, kiddo – I’m your mom – it’s my job.) I think a portion of today is going to be spent weeding through paperwork to get to the cute stuff. I need a reminder of my Little Guy when he wasn’t quite such a pro at reading and writing. When he couldn’t count to one hundred backwards or list dozens of random facts about the presidents. I need to make sure I’ve got plenty of memory-joggers to keep me company when my Little Guy is all grown up with little guys and gals of his own.

Geez, even this photo is several months outdated. I tell ya, I'm slacking!

Geez, even this photo is several months outdated. I tell ya, I’m slacking!

Just A Regular Morning (This Is Normal, Right?)

You ever get the feeling you are living in a sitcom? You start to wonder where the cameras are hidden because, seriously, this is too crazy to be real life, right? Yeah, that was me this morning.

It started with me swiping a frosted brownie bite for breakfast and stuffing the whole thing in my mouth before the kids could see and demand their fair share. What they don’t know won’t kill ’em. Then coffee…blessed coffee and catching up on email. Holy crap! Little Guy’s teacher sent an email reminding us about early dismissal on Thu. and Fri. When was that decided? Did anyone else know? Thank God I actually read the dang thing. My kids would be the only ones hanging out waiting for the ‘no show’ parent. Good grief!overwhelmed

Let the dog out 15 minutes after she came in the last time. Does she need to pee? No, there are just some insanely awesome smells to investigate on the porch. Kids think if they don’t announce their presence, they can sneak out to the living room and get in a few minutes of video games. Busted! Could Little Guy please go wake up Daddy. Sure. Next thing I know, he’s flipped on the overhead light and screamed at the top of his lungs. What? You asked me to wake him up. Oy!th (1)

Big Sis heads to the bathroom at 7:15 to shower and get ready. 8 AM Little Guy is banging on the door, waiting to brush his teeth. 45 minutes? Really? And she’s only ten years old! What is life going to be like when she’s a teenager? OMG!

Putting lunches together for the kids. I notice the yogurt I just bought yesterday for Little Guy’s lunch expired on Jan. 31st. I throw an extra ice pack in the lunch box and tell myself he’s got a strong stomach. Mother of the year, folks! There is no room on the kitchen counter to maneuver because the dirty dishes still haven’t been loaded into the dishwasher. Big Sis, where are you? I’ll do it. I’ll do it. Sure you will.funny-mom-pic3

I have five minutes before everyone goes out the door for the day. Socks, shoes, coats. What am I doing? Forging a reading list for the month of January for Little Guy’s teacher. Total BS. Do I bother switching out pens to make it look like I was writing everything down the whole month? No time. Make stuff up. I call myself a writer and yet I can barely find time to read to my kindergartner. His sister read to him out of a couple of manga books. That counts, right? Write it down.

They’ve left for school/work. The house is quiet. The dog needs to go out and sniff again. I need another cup of coffee — and maybe another brownie bite. Is it Friday yet?mom1