Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Merry Christmas.

Today is the last day of '08, and frankly the last 2 weeks seem like they have been a whole year in themselves! Which doesn't really give me a good excuse for not updating my blog, so, like everything else these past few weeks, I'll just blame it on the snow. Darn snow, slush, and ice! I'm actually relieved that we'll be ringing in the new year with nothing but good ol' Oregon rain. (You know I must be tired of snow when 'good' and 'rain' appear in the same sentence.)

Different. That's really the best word to explain this past Christmas. Some things I loved. Like the fact that it wouldn't have helped in the least to stress about the little last minute things that never got done. Being 'snowed in' has its advantages that way. What didn't get done didn't really make a difference. Huh, imagine that. Christmas was still Christmas. And the twinkle in my kids' eyes was no less bright because I didn't do all of my baking, mail out my Christmas cards, or find just the right wreath for my front door.

Some things I didn't love. Like the fact that Arctic Blast 2008 wreaked havoc on so many people's holiday plans, including ours. My brother was supposed to be with us but couldn't make the drive because of the snow. And slush. And ice. We missed him. Lots. Thankfully though my parents did make it. Barely. They sat in a traffic jam on I-205 for 7 hours just to get to us! But my kids were so happy. How they love Grandma and Papa. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for loving them!!!

Finally on Christmas Eve day the snow was wet enough to build a snowman! Maybe because it was raining on us the whole time we were working!


We opted not to put the presents under the tree until Christmas Eve. 2 words why--Molly. Kate.
It has always been my family's tradition to open up presents on Christmas Eve, after dinner. My mom says it's something about "the German in us". Whatever it is, I love it that way. I
love how it looks and feels. I like that it's dark outside but lit up inside with the lights of the tree, etc... I like that afterward we have dessert--something ooey, gooey, and warm. And I like that in the morning the kids still get to look forward to their stockings and anything else that Santa might bring. Tradition. It's a good thing.
Molly got a "doghouse" this year (a.k.a. dollhouse).

And a beautiful Cinderella dress. Oooh-la-la!

Boys and their toys.
One tradition was altered this year. Slightly. Instead of the kids getting matching (or at least coordinating) new jammies, this year's jammies went with a theme. Molly got some to match her Bitty doll, and Grayson got Spiderman to go with his new pbk Spiderman sheets. But this is the only Christmas picture of Molly wearing hers because 5 minutes later she peed. And her diaper leaked. All over. So much for that plan!

Christmas morning. Molly in her not cute, not new pajama pants. Sigh.


Christmas dinner with Grandma and Papa. Delicious!


Grandma and G playing the--ahem--Pretty, Pretty Princess Game! Notice the dangly earrings, necklace, ring, etc... That's my boy! :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Big Molly.

Ever since my kids were babies, I've always sung them to sleep with a particular lullaby--Hush, Little Baby. I'm thinking, however, that it's time to change things up a bit. Quite frankly, it takes amazing stamina and patience to sing Molly girl anything! Here's a sampling of last night's butchered lullaby:

Me: "Hush, little baby..."
M: "No! Molly! Molly!"
Me: "Okay. Hush, little Molly..."
M: "No, Mama! I big Molly."
Me. "I know Molly, but that's just the words of the song. Hush, little Molly..."
M: "No! Big Molly!"
Me: "Okay (deep breath). Hush, big Molly, don't say a word..."
M: "Why, mom?"
Me: "I don't know Molly. That's just how the song goes."
M: "Oh."
Me: "Hush, big Molly..."
M: "Say 'big' again!"
Me: (deep breath) "Hush, big Molly...pause...don't say a word...pause...Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird..."

Needless to say, I was exhausted!!! And it's no wonder that Molly fell asleep, too, before the song was even over! That girl...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Believe.

It has been a different kind of holiday season this year. And I'll admit that I've had a harder time catching the "spirit". I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I did all of my shopping online this year. Don't get me wrong, I'm a HUGE fan of internet purchasing, but at the same time I am one who loves the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season. Call me crazy, but I love the crowds of people, the music, the decorations. But it's not that often that I get to go to the mall sans children but with my husband; hence the need for online shopping. Maybe it has been harder to find the Christmas "spirit" because of the bad economy and how it is affecting my home. And probably your home. All of our homes. Maybe it's because I was "snowed" in my house for 5 freaking days and didn't get to do 1 single glitter project with my kindergarteners! I'm sorry, but a Christmas without glitter? No handcrafted ornaments drenched in glue lovingly wrapped in crumpled tissue paper adorned with scotch tape galore. No class Christmas party either. It hardly seems right.


Sure, in some ways I've held steadfast to tradition. This year's gingerbread house is on display, lights are up, and our tree is trimmed. The disc changer is full of Christmas cds. But even doing all of that didn't happen with the usual eagerness and excitement that Christmas is supposed to bring.


That's not to say that there isn't a spark of Christmas "spirit" within. Oh yes, it's there, and it's beginning to burn brighter. Brighter because I've spent the entire last week with no one but my kids and my husband. Not that I don't love the rest of you--really I do--but I've been afforded this wonderful time of togetherness with the 3 people I never want to be without. We've watched as the snow has fallen outside our window. So quiet, so peaceful, and so incredibly magical if seen thru the eyes of a child. We've played in that snow, too. We've remedied our cold, red cheeks and noses with countless cups of hot chocolate. One night we took a walk, donning snow gear from head to toe and pulling the kids in sleds. And I'll tell you what. That night the magic passed on to me as we trudged thru the snow, giant flakes silently falling on us, and Christmas lights all around. Yes, indeed, the "spirit" within grew a little stronger that night.


And then yesterday. All was made right. We headed to the IMAX theater to watch The Polar Express. In our pajamas. It's not like I hadn't seen the movie before. I have. Several times. But something about yesterday got me. Maybe it was the huge screen and 3-D effects, but I cried like a baby! Tears of joy. And at last, I felt it. The Christmas "spirit"--what it truly is all about.


I hope that you, too, BELIEVE in the magic that is Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow.

I am used to snow. A lot of it. I grew up in the mountains after all. But what I'm not used to is a lot of snow here, in Mac. Fun at first, especially for the kids, but now after 6+ days of what the news people have termed 'Arctic Blast 2008', I am done. D-O-N-E. I am sick of the inside of my house! Why, you ask? Because I have essentially been here since last Monday, which, as it turned out, was the first of 5 canceled days of school! Five! In a row! Snow wasn't the only culprit. We had snow, we had rain, we had bitter below freezing temperatures, and now we are having the worst of the worse--freezing rain. The light, fluffy, fun to play in snow that we did have over half a foot of is now covered with a layer of ice. Solid ice. And you probably don't need me to tell you that solid ice is not fun to play in (on) unless it's a rink and you have skates. And the ice pellets raining down from the sky? Those aren't fun either. So now not only are we stuck at home, but we're truly stuck inside! And my arsenal of fun is running low! We've played games, made playdough, baked cookies, savored hot cocoa, and watched movies. I'm not saying that any of it has been bad--we've actually had quite a lot of fun--but you know the saying "everything in moderation"? Well 6+ days, I believe, surpasses moderation! The days we could, we played in the snow. That was fun, at first. But even that got old. Again, it goes back to the idea of 'moderation'. To me, once a day out in the snow is enough. I don't love it that much. But Grayson would just as soon live out there! I can't even count the number of times that I've traipsed up and down the stairs to retrieve snow clothes from the dryer. And suiting up a 5 and 2 year-old to go outside in the snow? It gets old! Truthfully, it has made me think about my elementary school teachers. When I was in school, it was just common place to take ALL of your snow gear to school every day in the winter. Bibs, boots, hats, gloves, etc... I hope for the sake of my teachers that recess was 45 minutes long because can you imagine how long it must have taken for a class of say 20 first graders to get ready to go outside?!?! Eek.

**edited to add** Hours after I typed this, the freezing rain gave way to snow once again. And again my Grayson was eager to get out in it. 2+ hours he spent outside! In the dark! I tell you, he must have Idaho blood running thru him. Not mine. (I was born in Oregon. Ha!) But surely his Daddy's.

Notice that the pictures were taken from inside the house. I told you that I am D-O-N-E.

If you look closely, you can see icicles hanging from the swing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A tree, some snow, and good times all around.

Brrrr. Wintery weather has arrived in the Pac NW! I guess it's just another reminder that Christmas is a mere 10 days away! And boy-oh-boy my list is looking good...

The shopping is done (mostly), (fabulous) Christmas postcards are on order, stockings are hung, pumpkins on the porch have been removed (barely), and now a great looking ($15) tree is trimmed for all to see!










It was Grayson's year to put the Christmas angel on top. (Okay, that's a lie. Confession. It went more like this--"Hey Grayson, let Daddy lift you up! It would make a good picture (for my blog). Do it!" Shameful! Too make up a tradition all in the name of blogging...) It does make a good picture though, huh? :)




Perhaps Christmas 'stockings' need further explanation. Not 'socks', silly!

And if trimming the tree wasn't enough to get us in the holiday spirit, we had snow falling outside our window! Actual accumulated snow--enough to cancel school!


Um, a snow...blob? The snow 'man' concept just wasn't working out. Too much light and fluffy and not enough stick.


Snow babes.









And of course the best part of all this freezing cold weather???...



...The hot cocoa that's waiting inside! ")

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This Is Why.

This is why it's okay to let our babies get older, turn 5, and then start kindergarten.

video

Because I tell you what. That first holiday program that they perform--priceless.

Yes, I was one of those parents last night--smiling (beaming with pride, actually), waving, and making constant eye contact with my little performer. Every emotion that I was feeling spilled out. I cried, I laughed, and I loved every second of it.

I can't tell you what a radically different perspective it is enjoying a program like that as a parent. I mean being that I am a kindergarten teacher, I've been going to kindergarten winter programs for years. And each year, the kids are darling. So sweet. But when it's your own kid? Ah. Full heart moment, I tell you. In fact, my heart runneth over with love and joy last night!

Truthfully, I think Dave and I both had doubts as to whether Grayson would actually sing up on "stage". He's a shy little guy, and I knew that he was nervous beforehand. But look at him up there! And like his mama, you bet he made eye contact with me, too every chance he got! I love that kid!




And starring G.R. as.......the letter 'F'!
(But I must include a funny story from earlier in the day. When G got home from school, he told me this: "Mom, I don't know if I will be or not, but if you see me wearing a shirt with nothing on it tonight...that means I'm a finger space." A finger space! If you've never been a teacher of writing, then you may not get it. But we teach beginning writers who often can't yet eyeball an appropriate amount of space between words to physically place a finger (or 2) on their papers in order to create spaces between words. My son--a 'finger space' in his acting debut! Ah, the pride. But truth be told, he made an equally fabulous 'letter F', too!)





See the little girl in green between 'Merry' and 'Christmas'? Finger space.

Now see that there is no space between 'Feliz' and 'Navidad'? Naughty finger space. Who had to be removed. Yikes.


And what would a kindergarten Christmas program be without a surprise visit from Santa Claus?


They almost look like an old married couple, don't they? Too cute.


And, um...well...all I can is they look a bit like an old married couple, too! Okeedokee, then.




Smiles all around. What a great night! Thanks for the memories, G!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gingerbread House. Check.

We may not have a tree yet or decorations up, and we're yet to pay a visit to Santa Claus, but by golly we did our gingerbread house!



I tried to get a picture of Molly actually putting candy ON the house, but it seems that in every picture she appears to be eating candy OFF the house! No wonder the girl was up 'til 11 o'clock! (Not kidding.)


And here, my friends, is Gingerbread House 2008.


And see that nice family picture to the left? Yeah, that was the picture you were supposed to get with LAST year's Christmas card. Oh wait. There was no last year's Christmas card! Right.
(Note to self--Christmas cards don't mail themselves. Or write themselves. Get busy.)

So Long, Farewell...


What's that, you ask? That would be baby gear. The crib, the mattress, the bedding, the play gym, the bouncy seat, the exersaucer. Apparently, some husbands don't believe that these things should stay in the garage when they're no longer needed. Huh. But the odds and ends of old hardwood that we've been moving from 1 garage to the next for 3 houses now?! Oh yes, I'm sure that those will be needed 1 of these days! Just sure. :)

Anyway, the gear is off to hopefully make me some money at Baby and Me!