Monday, December 31, 2007

'Twas the night before Christmas (a week ago)

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
The stockings were hung by the chimney with careIn hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there
The children were nestled all snug in their beds While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads

I realize that I'm a little late with this, but hey, I took a little time off last week and I was really busy. I guess you can't really tell from the picture, but I was BUSY. Christmas was really fun this year. It was a blast seeing the girls so excited about Santa, and seeing them open their presents. By the time my parents got there, the loft where all of their play stuff was looked like some sort of toy explosion. Of course, my mom immediately started tidying up. Bless her little heart, she just can't help herself. I dragged her back downstairs, where she proceeded to wash the dishes I had used cooking that morning. Sigh. My first time hosting Christmas dinner went really well, despite the blizzardy weather, and Santa Chris did another amazing job of getting me presents. He stresses out about it every year, but comes through big time. Last year, he got me crystal champagne flutes. This year, I got new jammies (which if you know me AT ALL, you'll know that I love jammies), perfume, and a new Coach purse. That he picked out all by himself and that I love. He's so good to me.
It was a pretty snowy week, so I decided to use up some sick days and stay home. I took a lot of naps and read an entire book and basically hung around and relaxed. P.I.C. was in town for Christmas, so he came over on Friday night (I lured him into the 'burbs by making his favorite - chicken enchiladas) and he and Chris and I sat around laughing and drinking wine. I miss my P.I.C. I wish he still lived in town.
Anyway, all the extra rest I got was negated this weekend, because Riley got sick with pretty much the same thing Abby had a couple of weeks ago. She's a great little patient. She doesn't whine or complain, and she just wants to snuggle with you. Abby, however, is the one that kept me awake. She loves to sleep with her sister, but I said no because Riley needed to be left alone. So Abby fell asleep in our bed Saturday night, and Chris took her up to her room. She showed up again at about 3. And wanted to chat. Last night we let her sleep with Riley, but she still showed up at 3. I get to leave work at noon today, and guess who's taking a little nap? My excuse is that I'm trying to stay well. Besides Abby being sick a while back, Chris was sick last week, and now Riley. Must...resist...germs...
I'm not complaining though. We had the best Christmas, and I see every day how blessed I am. Stay tuned for my review 0f 2007.
Happy New Year!
*p.s. that mouse in the picture is not from our house - he lives at camp in Montana. I didn't want anyone to think that we also got hanta virus for Christmas...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm dreaming of a clean Christmas

In case you didn't know, living in a house with four people ups your laundry considerably. Especially when one person works on a muddy construction site, one person tends to spill whatever they're eating on their shirt, one person manages to get the majority of whatever craft they're doing onto their shirt, and one person is relatively good about keeping their clothes clean, but hey, everyone needs clean socks and underwear. FYI, in case you think I'm tooting my own horn, I'm not the "relatively good" one.

Anyway, our room looked like a textile mill exploded in it. There was a mountain of clean clothes on the floor at the bottom of our bed, and our closet was chock full of more piles of clothes. There was a huge box of shoes that I hadn't unpacked (instead, I would just root through to find the pair I wanted to wear that day - klassy, I know) and a few other piles of stuff that hadn't been unpacked yet. I can't believe I'm even telling you this.

So Sunday morning, Chris hauled all of the clean clothes into the living room, and I watched all my TiVoed shows while I folded and folded and folded. We spent the entire day cleaning and folding and unpacking and sorting and getting rid of stuff, until by the evening, our bedroom was totally clean, our closet was organized, and it looks like tidy people live there, instead of the mess that was. And lest you think it took us all day to just clean one room, the rest of the house is also clean. Ahem. Also, as a side note, I'd like to thank TiVo for its complete and total awesomeness. I never have to miss a show ever again. Ever. Everyone needs TiVo.

My point (and I do have one) is that I'm really glad we got all of the tidying up done, because for the first time ever, I'm hosting Christmas. This means my dad, my brother, and my mom. In case you haven't met my mom, let me just tell you that she is known as either Ninja Mom or the Tidy Fairy. When I used to live at home, I lived in our basement, with my own living room and t.v. and everything. I swear, Ninja Mom would silently hang from the ceiling, waiting for me to finish my drink. Because I'd walk away, and when I came back, my glass would be gone. And when I lived in my own house, my mom would feed the cats, and I'd come home to a cleaner house than when I left. Clearly the Tidy Fairy had come by. Of course, I had to clean my house before I left so that I wouldn't have to hear about what a slob I am. But it was worth it to have the tupperware cabinet totally organized.

Lest you think I'm like Pigpen, I'm not. It's just that my mom is serious about a clean house. She doesn't have one of those pesky "outside of the home" jobs, and so our house has always been super clean. Which I totally appreciate, but sometimes I wish she had worked outside of the home so that she would actually understand what it's like to work 10 or 12 hours with people who need stuff RIGHT NOW and then come home to children who need stuff RIGHT NOW and so it would be logical why I can't muster up some righteous indignation at that dust on the side table and leap to action right that second.

I'm not complaining, not at all. I love my mom, and I appreciate that we grew up in a clean house and were expected to take care of our own spaces, because I learned how to be a good housekeeper. As an aside, I wish I had also learned how to iron like my mom does, because she can perfectly crease a pair of pants and I can't iron for shit (sometimes I still purposely show up at her house to go somewhere nice with a wrinkly shirt so that she'll make me take it off and she'll iron it perfectly for me - I can't believe I'm admitting that either), but that's neither here nor there.

My point (and maybe not my original one, but I've kind of lost track at this point) is that we still have some tidying up to do before Saturday. Why Saturday? Because that's when the cleaning lady is coming. I can't have the Tidy Fairy ruining Christmas by commenting on any sort of lack of housekeeping ("This house is just too big for you to take care of") and so I'm going to nip that in the bud by pretending that Chris and I cleaned the house in all of our FREE TIME. Chris thinks she might be suspicious, but oh well. I'm going to act innocent and pretend that it was all just a Christmas Miracle.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I feel like something's missing...

The Shepherds are there...

The Angels are there...

The Wise Men are there...
Wait a minute
I never figured Joseph to be one of those guys to run away from responsibility, but I suppose being the stepfather of the Son of God might be a bit overwhelming at times.

I seriously cannot find him anywhere.
And I'm sure they had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ho ho ho and whatnot

So it's a damn good thing that we went shopping the day after Thanksgiving and got all of the girls' loot, because I haven't had time to do any shopping since then. However, at Alice's request, I will now tell you what I have gotten so far...

It all started when I made a list before Thanksgiving with stuff that the girls have mentioned that they wanted. This is no small feat, because since Abby and I spent a lot of time on the couch watching "Spongebob" last week, I found out that she wants pretty much everything that there is a commercial for. But she is asking for it for her birthday, because she already went and saw Santa, so in her mind, there's no changing that order. Lest you think that we are raising a greedy and materialistic child, her list to Santa had the following: 4 coloring books, 2 Barbies, a new truck for her grandpa, and a Spiderman for Drake (a friend at school). That's all. I thought it was adorable and so sweet that she asked Santa for things for other people. Of course, I pretty much think everything she says and does is totally adorable, so I suppose I'm not much of a judge.

Anyway. Back to the list. I was originally going to order everything from the internet, since I love Christmas but hate crowds and lines. Then I got all concerned that something horrible would happen and the stuff wouldn't get delivered in time and the girls would have a Christmas morning like that episode of Friends when Chandler and Joey get everyone's presents at a gas station. AND since they both still believe in Santa, once the gifts arrived, we'd have a hard time explaining why Santa uses UPS.

Ok. THE LIST. Geez, I am not good at the focusing. Ahem. So I decided that I would separate my list into the two places where I could find everything - Toys R Us and Target, and then we'd go shopping. Even better, we'd go the day after Thanksgiving AT 5 A.M. - because that's when Toys R Us opened. I'm not usually that girl (see: I hate crowds), but I figured if nothing else, we'd see some die hard crazies. I was not wrong. By the time we got there at 5:45, the checkout line already stretched to the back of the store, around the whole back and baaaack to the front. Essentially, the end of the line was at the entrance to the store. We walked around for about 5 minutes before I declared that there was no holly jolly way I was standing in a three hour line. So we went to a nearby Super Target (which opened at 6) and spent about an hour and a half and got EVERYTHING on my list and then some. Including stocking stuffers and groceries. The best part? There was no line. That, my friends, was totally my kind of shopping.

So what did we get them. Well, Riley is getting a lot of crafty things, as she loves crafts. A friendship bracelet maker, needlepoint, a fancy version of Spirograph, chapter books, a puzzle, a stuffed dog, a Strawberry Shortcake Doll (because they'll be getting skanky-ass Bratz dolls over my cold dead body) and a hair beader. I didn't WANT to get the hair beader, because our house seems to be a strange sort of bead breeding ground. The laundry room is right outside our bedroom and dear god, the racket. I found a bazillion beads in there this morning when I opened it up. I also step on them constantly and find them in the folds of the couch. But the hair beader was specifically asked for, so I got it. Along with assorted other things. Abby is getting a Fisher Price digital camera, so that I no longer find 55 pictures of her stuffed animals on my phone ("I took 4 pictures of each one!"), a coloring book, a Strawberry Shortcake doll, a puzzle, some books, spirograph, a stuffed kitty, and some Littlest Pet Shop stuff. They are also getting gifts for them together - a lot of coloring supplies, a bowling set, and dominos. And of course, they're getting clothes, including matching jammies and robes for Christmas Eve. It's a good thing they're not spoiled, don't you think? We were very careful to spend similar amounts of money on them and make sure that they have an equal number of presents, because Santa does NOT like to have the Fair Police on his ass.

Other than that, I've gotten a present for my parents and that's all. I got my mom and dad tickets to see B.B. King when he comes here in April, which they will love. However, even though I haven't been shopping much, I'm having a great Christmas season. I love Christmas (did I mention that?) and I've realized that it's even better when you can experience it the way kids do. Everything is so exciting and interesting and new and it's just fun. I've gotten to bake and frost homemade sugar cookies, decorate the tree with little people, talk about Santa as if he were real, tell them the ACTUAL Christmas story and play with the nativity scenes I have, and sing Christmas Carols. A lot of it is stuff I've done tons of times before, but I never really paid much attention - I just did it because I always have. But this year I get to do stuff with the girls that is still new to them, and that's been the best. It may sound stupid, but it helps me remember what Christmas should be all about.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Apparently when I said "tomorrow" I would update the blog, what I meant was "in about one week."

Here's why. Abby was sick allllll last week. Day care sent her home again on Thursday, and so she couldn't go back Friday, so workplace was graced with the presence of a 4 year old. We just remodeled, and the boss is all about "open spaces" and whatnot, which is totally great for Abby. To run through at top speed. She only fell into a cabinet and hit her head once. She was a big helper, and actually, unbelievably well behaved. She was pretty quiet (although I guess it took the relative quiet of an office to realize that she talks loud and also kids that age don't control THE VOLUME OF THEIR VOICE), and was so patient about staying much longer than I meant to. Her day of work was so exhausting -- what with the running and the talking and the helping and coloring and movie watching and writing on my dry erase board and sort of my newly painted wall (oops) -- well, she pretty much didn't say a word the whole ride home and then took a nap. She and I went to bed early too. Because mommy had a long week and a lot of sleeping next to a kid with a fever who also likes to sleep sideways.

I've figured out that work is pretty much just people constantly saying "Amber, I need..." and I've decided that I need something. For people to stop telling me they need stuff. I'm really not complaining, because I love my job, but come on. You're killing me people, I'm not even kidding. In fact, I'm typing this at work while I wait for stuff to download so I can take home some more work. FUN. I've almost given up, but then again, it's supposed to snow tonight and just my luck it'd take me eight years to get to work and then the guys would be all "AAAAAaaaaaack!" and I just don't want to hear the freaking out.

Still waiting on the downloading. In fact, I'm giving up and burning a cd instead of screwing with my stupid memory stick.

I'd like to take this time wish myself a happy three year blogiversary! I was trying to get to the 300 post mark by the 3 year anniversary, but this post marks my 296th. Still pretty impressive, I think. I'm patting myself on the back right now.

I still am going to talk about Christmas with kids and all that, but right now I have to go home and make dinner for said kids.

I'm not going to re-read this because I'm afraid I'll be like "not going to post -- too disjointed and boooooring". So enjoy!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Being a parent is hard: Part bazillion

This is not a complaint, but merely a statement. Being a parent is hard.

The newest hard part of parenting is the sick child. Abby has had a fever for the past 3 days (Chris took her to the doctor today, who said she probably just has a virus. Helpful.) and so even though it's her mom's week to have the girls, we have kept Abby because we can stay home with her. Since Chris' ex tends to go through jobs like some people go through underwear, she doesn't have any sick time accrued at her current job, therefore can't stay home with a sick child. So we have just kept her so that she doesn't have to wake up early at mommy's and come to our house - she can just sleep as long as she wants to.

This of course does not mean that WE get to sleep as long as we want to. Monday night, Chris slept in a different bed because Abby slept with me - she had spent most of the day laying on me on the couch and wasn't about to relinquish the snuggles to Daddy. I worked yesterday morning and Chris worked in the afternoon. Then last night Chris put Abby on the floor next to our bed after she fell asleep next to me, which lasted about two hours until a little voice said "Amber, I'm not comferbul on da flor." So she slept in between us for another couple of hours until she woke up again and asked for the cold "wafclof" for her hot forehead, and then she couldn't get "comferbul" again, and I took her temperature and it was almost 104 and I was all worried and I laid there worrying for an hour until she finally settled down and her temp went down to 100. It was my turn to sleep later this morning and work in the afternoon, so I at least got a little sleep. Very little, but better than nothing.

Again, not complaining. Because even though I hate for her to be sick, I love to spend time with my little baby snuggling on me and laying next to me in bed while I read a magazine, spelling out every headline until she falls asleep. Kids are funny. And totally cute. And exhausting. And adorable and worth all the other stuff.

Anyway, I should probably stop procrastinating and get some work done. Tomorrow I'll tell you all about why parenting is way cool, especially at Christmas.