Thursday, December 23, 2010

'Tis the week before...

Last night I dreamed about laundry. I was unloading the dryer, and each item I took out was perfectly crisp and folded. The whole family gathered round as though we were witnessing a Christmas miracle. I exclaimed over and over that I had simply loaded the dryer like normal, and wasn't this wonderful!

Hello friends, meet my psyche.

We enter the Christmas weekend with all kids well and healthy, and Mrs. Claus ALL done with her necessities. Hurray for the Mrs.! She usually stays up late on Christmas Eve with a glass of cheer and hours of wrapping ahead.

Now, we are playing and waiting for The Grandmother to arrive tomorrow. The house smells heavenly between the Christmas tree's scent, and the cinnamon crumble I am baking.

We have wound our way through 22 cards of the Banner, and the magic is waning. (I cannot lie.) I finally admitted to the kids that I was smack out of good ideas, and we were going to do some of the same ones from the first few days of December. When is a card promising hot cocoa and tons of marshmallows ever a bad thing! Especially when the cocoa is being sipped from vintage Disney mugs, a second-week Banner gift?!

Behold my holiday sweeties, I will show you them:

My Little Bear, and her beloved Mickey

Cole and Pluto

Phoenix and Goofy
( Jadyn was still under the weather during this treat, but of course she has a Minnie mug.)

I think many a family has some sort of hot beverage tradition, and special mugs. (Susan and her little sweetie make me smile!) When we were growing up, my Mom gave us Bunnykins china for Christmas and birthdays. So our special treat was using the Bunnykins mugs and dishes during birthdays and holidays - or any day she wanted to make extra special. I would share them with my children but my Mother cannot part with our Bunnykins - and in fact I think she hosts tea parties and uses it! ;-)

I wish you all happy preparing and partying and making of merry!

May your Santa be as squeezable as this one...


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On the Solstice

It is the day that was always marked by a birthday.
My grandmother's birthday.

Her older sister Ophelia always marked it by making a pineapple upside-down cake.
My brother Isaiah and I both had an unexplained craving for pineapple yesterday.
He called me, wanting one, and wishing he could have one that tasted like Ophelia's. (We say her name "Aunt AFEEya" and my grandmother always called her "Feeya Baby.")

I told him that I stood in the grocery aisle holding cans of pineapple, tasting one in my mind, but not knowing why.

Aunt Ophelia knows why. I'll bet she made her sister that cake for all of their lives. They were both shake-your-head-it's-so-good cooks, that will not be topped in my family. We would go around to Gig's on Christmas week, and there would be her birthday pineapple cake.

It's our first Christmas without her, and - she was Christmas for our family, for many years. The tie that brought us together. The house we could not wait to go to, no matter what our ages. She and my grandfather had that beautiful knack of staying young, of getting the gifts that every kid wanted. (Big Wheel trike? Check! Loud, singing holiday toy? Check! Cash money for the grubby teens? Check!)

They had the turntable side cabinet, and every holiday album imagineable - cued up from Thanksgiving on. The recent years brought CDs into their lives, but I always enjoyed my granddad DJing the turntable.

They hung stockings for their four children every year. They filled those stockings.
Though my parents decided Santa did not go hand in hand with their beliefs, I chose to believe. I chose to create Santa for my family.

Because she wanted it. She believed that their small years are the magical years, and the only time we can create something for them. And so for her we believe.

And for her, thanks to her wishes, we let Lucy Goosey preside over our hearth. Happily dressed in her holiday cheer, she is at home, Gig.

Lucy Goosey is home for Christmas.

Christmas monkey

Happy Christmas week, friends!
We are all in a whirlwind of activity, right? I have a quick moment to share a mental image with you. It is from this morning, when I thought I could utilize my last chance to wrap without big kids around. (Tomorrow I'll be at school most of the day, running the joint. Ha! Did I say that? I meant doing parties. Running parties! :))

So it started out well, with Phoenix quietly sitting on my bed watching Diego, while I played Mrs. Claus. (Which is really another post, but I will leave it at a big "Hollah" to all the Mrs. Claus' out there. I feel you.)

It ended up with me thinking of that commercial where the monkeys are in the corporate office, jumping on desks and throwing stuff everywhere. I would have taken a picture, but I know you are up to task of visualization. You have your own monkeys! This monkey was quick as lightning and has a rocket arm. We really need to train him.

But I got it all done, hidden and cleared away - just as the tormenting monkey fell asleep, all worn out from pitching in the major leagues.
I hope to get a chance to pop back in here this week, because I know you need to see Advent cards #24 and #25 at the very least!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Feel good quotable

Me, this morning, taking my first sip of coffee, leaning on the counter.

Cole: Mom, you know, you look like you've already had a really hard day taking of kids - and it's only 6:30 in the morning!

Me: (grinning, after a brief debate: push him off the stool or grin.) Cole, this is what a night in the same bed with 2 sick girls will do to you. Isabella moaning and slurping water every hour, Jadyn mumbling and tossing. Asking me questions at 4:45, 5:15, 5:30 - what am I the sphinx?!
(Okay, I totally didn't say that sphinx part. It was only 6:30am. All I can say is gah and goo.)
That boy's on his way to a successful relationship future, right? The girls will love him!
Actually things are better today. And by better, I really mean that Mounts Vesuvius and Rainier have stopping spewing molten lava and ash. Hallelujer!

Rick has returned from his trip, bearing the virus - though I did get the warning call that it would not in fact be relief troops arriving, it would be sick troops. Oy.

And in answer to Susan's question du jour: I simply don't know if it would be better having them all sick at once. Get it over with? Yes. But it hasn't happened that way, ever. We get the hopscotch through the family for a week type. The longest span of stretched out contamination was this year - eleven days. So I know that is not better! :) But... as long as I wasn't one of the sickies, I could go with 24 hrs and done. Let's put in an order for next time!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Let your plague flag fly - pre-Christmas edition

Yes, that's right! We are getting our plague on before Christmas, smart family, we! Nothing like clearing out the ol' innards during the last full week of school, right?
I am octo-arm-Mom, able to hold buckets under simultaneous mouths, produce wet washcloths, and with one well-placed nudge of a foot - keep a toddler from inspecting said buckets. And it's only 9am! Yahoo! You can tell by my exuberant use of exclamations that I'm revved up on a false coffee high!

Cue up the holiday music, to distract you from my misery. Umm, me from misery. Oh, misery!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


In direct opposition to Phoenix and The Banger, is Phoenix and the music class.

Yesterday we had our last class of Kindermusik.

Or, The Hour Each Week In Which Phoenix Redeems Himself. That's right, friends. We had a perfect 14 week run. Not a tantrum to be seen, not a single dot or iota of unruly behavior - he was Little Mister Music. And not only did he thoroughly enjoy each music class session, and behave - he participated 100%.

Dancing slowly, while waving a scarf? Done.
Placing instruments gently and carefully back in the bins? Done.
Sharing gracefully, as the class passed one instrument around? Done.

That's right. The Untrustable Todzilla gleefully rolled out his Little Mister Music side each Wednesday. It gave me joy. It gave me hope. He listened carefully and did everything his teacher asked, every session. Be still my heart! What's this, this listening ear!

I'll admit, his wild side cracks me up. There is something so... unwound about him that is a kick.
But to see he can switch it up, and have a care...

Very sweet.

Phoenix & McCall, his "best friend." I took the two of them to music each week, and yes, it was like twins all over again... :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Phoenix and the Banger

"Where's my banger?!" Where's MY BANGER???"
"Got it. Got dat banger."
"Bang... Bang!! Gonna bang dat sing till it break."
"See me? Watch this banger."

Phoenix has found a toy hammer. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
No more days of little Cole singing "Can we fix it? Yes we can!" while tapping gently on an appropriate object.
No. The days Of Dark Bob are here, and "Bang dat sing till it break" is the new mantra.

He stands in front of the oven glass chatting to his reflection, sharing all of this banging information.
I ask him if he's talking to himself, as I point to his reflection. He looks at me with a frown.
"I not talkin' myself. I talkin' to dat boy in da window. He eating a nanana like me! He's gon watch me bang!"

Let's just all hope that boy in the window can set a better example, hmm?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Auburn Partay Downtown

Thirty years of Auburn history...

I met this crowd 14 years ago, when I was inducted by marriage into the Auburn football tradition. Coming from a basketball-fan family, I was clueless about the rabid SEC fans and rivalries... And now Rick has created 4 small, crazed AU fans that have me convinced we will have to pay out-of-state tuition for four, or move to AL! (Calm down Shah! :)) They are a really fun group, though I needed a few years under my belt to feel comfortable around all that history...

The Championship ticket prices were outrageous, so the crowd gathered from near and far to party at Loew's hotel downtown. We were on the 28th floor, in a clubhouse, and that is THE way to tailgate, for sure. I am not a fan of huddling under a tent in the cold! We headed downtown at lunchtime, and I intended to leave after a few hours. Ten hours later, after the big win, the kids were passed out on the couch and there we still were, celebrating... welcoming back some partygoers that had gone to the game.

The guys remember the various wins in detail, I remember the gatherings by who I was pregnant with at the time - "Oh yeah! The game I wore overalls, and was pregnant with Cole!" or "We were at your house, I was 7 months pregnant with the girls! Did Auburn win that year?" (So sporty of me, I know. :)) None of the crowd had seen the fruits of all these labors, so we had to take the brood along. They ended up having a blast, as being high up in the city was like a wonderland (you'd never know they were growing up just 20 minutes away...).

The hotel clubhouse was surrounded by a huge balcony with a firepit and a pool.

Cole, Tony and Isabella around the firepit
Jadyn & Phoenix staying away from the pool and fire!

Gasp! No one got wet! Shudder! No one was burned!

I thought I would need a luggage cart to roll the sleeping kids (and a wobbly Rick) down to the car at midnight, but we managed easily. Wow. What a win. Rick heads to Phoenix, AZ next month for the national championship!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lo, the weary

"Mommmm! I peeing!"

The week of too many bodily fluids. In the spirit of no time like the present, I dove into my last series of potty training. I am no better at it now than I was the first time. The only thing different about Effort #4 from Effort#1 is that I now know just how little I have to do with the success of it all. No, success will be up to the little ornery mind controlling the business.
And control it he does, with a loud voice and a willful leak.
He has kept me on a short tether, and has only to yell the "p" word to know I will come running. He teeters between wanting to please and wanting to wreak havoc with his new power. I like to think it was a choice that he let loose right *beside* the new rug, rather than on it. Just to let me know he held back, for what it was worth. To make it an accident rather than an act of war.
It's all the Advent Banner's fault. The stair rail curves down to the changing table, which is ruining the look of my darling decoration! So, it was only a small jump from "Yuck, I have to move that changing pad" to "(*sigh*) I have to move that changing pad forever."
"MOM! My tooth is bleeeeeding!"

The week of too many bodily fluids. In between the pee calls, have been the bloody tooth screams. Jadyn has a front tooth that is hanging by some inhuman titanium thread. For THREE days she has ghosted along behind me, moaning "I can't take it, I can't take it anymoooore! Get it out!" And the darn dangler is gray and twisted and caved in like a prizefighter's loss. I have made her geriatric, no-chewing-necessary meals for THREE days. Last night I dreamed her tooth came out and she presented it to me like a prize. I wanted to bronze it.

Lo, I am the weary, and there is no rest. :)
I am hoping for two small victories: a dry-underwear day and a lost tooth.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Gotcha! This will not be The Month She Posted An Envelope Every Day.

Much as I'd like to get off my posting duties that easily this month...

But... just a few more! :)

Check it, my fave:

7,8,9 10... what will you bring?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Hello and welcome to Day One of The Advent Calendar Banner Project! What a moniker that is, eh. Pre-dawn mornings, midnight-late nights (and if you know not-owl me, those hurt the worst!) oh how I obsessed and enjoyed this project.

Today's envelope revealed a ticket for hot cocoa with marshmallows after school...

More to follow... Happy December!