Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Holiday Spirit

We kind of hit a homerun with the Christmas activities list this year.  I think we may have attended every holiday event humanly possible in the DC area and then extended it to the Southern Maryland region when we ran out of things to do here.  I'm not sure if I should be patting myself on the back or slapping myself and promising to never attempt doing all of these things ever again.

It started off with a gimme.  Snow.  Packable, sled-able, snowman-make-able snow for the first time in Brendan's life and what might as well have been the first time for Niall, since he was under 2 the last time we had a good winter snow.  



I knew that the day wouldn't be complete without a snowman, but I also acknowledged that I was way too lazy to go full size... so a mini-me snowman did the trick.



Then began the tidal wave of holiday events...

Christmas Lights (Obviously, we have quite a lot of work to do for our house next year)




Zoo Lights

(I don't have any pictures because I was too busy chasing my kids up and down a mile long hill in the dark, running in different directions, without a stroller.  It was so much fun that I almost abandoned them for a couple cold brewskis at the zoo bar & lounge)

Trains




Trains at the Botanic Gardens downtown DC (because the first ones near our house apparently weren't good enough)




Breakfast With Santa (with one of Niall's little buddies.  Brendan was not interested in sitting on that scary old man's lap and was sure to let us all know)



Christmas at the Petting Zoo (different zoo from the one mentioned above)...



Christmas Clydesdales & Santa on a motorcycle (which sounds really cool, but actually involves a lot of questions about where Santa's sleigh went and why is Santa riding a motorcycle and other logical inquiries that I am not clever enough to answer)



Christmas Morning:


The bike was for Niall and the train table was for Brendan...


...but as all things go with brothers:



Christmas Birthday Party:




I am seriously sweating just recalling the events of the last 3 weeks, but we had fun.  And against my better judgement, I will probably do it all again next year and cry myself to sleep a few times when Brendan does everything in his power to separate himself from me in an over-crowded public place.  But hey, it's all in the name of Christmas spirit, so how can I say no?

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Just Your Average Christmas

I love Christmas (full disclosure:  I'm also kind of one of those posers who claims that every holiday is their absolute favorite, but that's besides the point)... I love seeing everyone's lights & decorations, and I make a point to visit every single public Christmas display or exhibit within a 15 mile radius, sometimes twice before New Years.

But with that said, I'm a festive Christmas admirer, not a festive Christmas do-er.  You won't find me competing with Betty Crocker next door over whose light display can blow out the transformer first.  But I sure would love to watch and applaud if you are going to kick it Griswold style over the holidays.  All I'm trying to do is just enough to avoid getting sneers from the community members and live vicariously through my ambitious neighbors.  Is that so much to ask?  I'm just trying to get by, that's all.

So why am I finding that I can't even get average right?

We don't have garland on our mantle or railings; no wreaths or candles in the windows; so I really wanted the Christmas tree to look nice (considering that is just about the only decoration we have to offer this year).

And yet here she is, ol' faithful...


Notice anything funny about this tree? (aside from the fact that it looks like it is about to fall over)...


Here, let me give you a couple clues...



At first, I would not only put the decoration that had been taken down back up on the tree, but I would also make sure it went right back into its proper place.  Nothing worse than incorrect spacing on the tree ornaments, am I right?

Now, after a week and a half of wasting way too much of my time trying to figure out where they all came from, I don't even bother picking them up anymore.  Now it's almost become this game of 'let's see if there are any ornaments left on the tree by the time Christmas gets here!'

Niall is cute about it; it seems to matter to him, so he tries to *discourage* Brendan (discourage = whack on the hand) and then promptly puts the decorations back up.  Which ends up being a lot of this:


Nothing makes me cringe more than 5 ornaments on 1 branch, but I have learned to take a deep breath and let it go.  Actually, I take that back; there is one thing that makes me cringe more, and that is when Brendan does this:



Hey, thanks for at least leaving that jagged stabby top part of the ornament hanging on the branch.  How thoughtful of you.

And then there was the gingerbread house.  I was smart enough to put Brendan down for a nap before Niall and I started that project, and it actually turned out really cute...




 It was when he woke up from his nap that we had the problem...


As far as Christmas stockings go, there are 4 hung on the mantle, so I would call that a success.  I didn't quite get around to buying that puffy paint to monogram Brendan's stocking, but I know he's the red and white one, so that should be fine.  It's not like he can read anyway.


Now Christmas lights are tricky.  Do I attach them to the actual house or just throw them over the bushes? Do I have an extension cord long enough to plug those bad boys in somewhere?  Is that extension cord supposed to run through your actual house because I'm not a fan of tripping over cords every time I open the door?  How does everyone else make this look so easy and why have I never EVER actually seen anyone in the act of hanging Christmas lights?

Well, I'm pretty sure that Matt just kind of tucked each end of the strand into a snag at the ends of the gutter. Surprisingly, they didn't turn out too bad...


  Unless feng shui is important to you...


I have to defend myself on this one-- 300 lights sounded like a lot to me.  I think it would be more accurate for them to label the box according to length vs amount of lights, if anyone from Target headquarters is reading this/ cares.  Anyway, even if I got another strand at this point, there is no way that Matt will get up there again to do it.  And I'm definitely not climbing any ladders and risking my life for the sake of Christmas spirit.

So maybe some eggnog instead.  It's hard to get that wrong, but I'm sure I could find a way.

Cheers, Merry Christmas!




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Saturday, December 7, 2013

If I die tomorrow

I knew that the process of making a will and getting life insurance would be depressing-- in terms of thinking about your own death (and the death of your spouse); but when you add young children to the mix, you've got a lot bigger fish to fry than your silly little fears about your own demise... cuz guess what:  now daddy's taking over.

If you are even the slightest bit of a control freak like me, there are a lot of very real, very scary scenarios a mom has to think about when it comes to her husband picking up this whole child rearing gig on his own.

If I die tomorrow, here are a few situations that I don't see panning out very well for either Matt or the kids:

Scenario #1:  Brendan gets diarrhea in a public place that doesn't have a changing table in the bathroom.  God help us all.  It took me quite a few tries to conquer the standing poopy diaper change in a bathroom stall, and I still consider it quite the feat on the rare occasions that I have to do it.  Changing table or not, Matt is so freaked out by poop diapers that he just starts yanking those wipes like a magician pulling ribbons out of his hat.  He easily goes through 20 or so on a standard diaper change; which kind of ends up looking like Brendan had some kind of botched chemical peel treatment on his sweet little tush.  All I can say to help you both in this situation is "deep breaths" (and try to take those breaths as far away from the actual diaper as possible).

Scenario #2:  Matt has to buy a new car.  If he has to take those car seats out, they ain't going back in. At least not correctly.  There are some things that dads just don't seem to have patience for, and installing the car seats is one of them.  Who is going to tell him that the strap up by the head goes over the seat and hooks behind it?  Who is going to help him find the anchors and check that the car seat isn't installed too loosely?  Can I possibly become a guardian angel and throw a force field blanket over the entire car?

Scenario #3:  Matt lets Niall pick the cereal... forever.  You know how there are certain father-son bonds that a mom just can't seem to get in on?  Like... football, rough-housing, playing swords with their pee streams, etc.  Well, for Matt and Niall, this would be going to the grocery store and picking out the most sugary, chemical filled, hydrogenated-fat-loaded cereal and then laughing about what a stick in the mud mom will be when she finds out.  Now picture that happening every day (minus the laughing at mom, since that would seem a little inappropriate).  When your kid already refuses to eat anything remotely healthy, adding Cocoa Puffs to his daily regimen probably isn't a good idea.

Scenario #4:  Matt leaves the house without a snack.  Classic rookie mistake.  Good luck to you, my friend.  I've been punched in the face by Brendan for far lesser infractions than getting into the car and realizing that I forgot the granola "AAH BAR!!! AAH BAR!!!!"  The only reason I really worry about this one is that you might feel the urge, when you get punched in the face by Brendan (which you will), to punch him back.  Please don't.  Thanks :)

The more I thought about this kind of stuff, I realized that I really need to contemplate all of these little daily challenges and write my own private, informal will for Matt:

A Mother's Testament for her Toddlers' Survival (I haven't copyrighted this yet, so don't try to move in on my million dollar idea!)

Matt will never read it, but it will make me feel better to know that if he is really desperate and actually does check one time, I might be able to give him a little divine intervention.

But really, God, can you please wait until they're at least in middle school?  That way, they might at least be potty trained.  Key word: might.

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