Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Squashed that humbug!

I woke up today knowing it was going to be a good day! And, for the most part, it was.

This morning I had a family meeting at the breakfast table. I let my boys know my expectations and they agreed to try to remember to do what they're supposed to be doing anyway. Is it just a "penis" thing? I'm starting to think so.

I got my shower, got ready and made a mental list of what needed to be accomplished. (Too much so I threw that idea out the window.)

Benji woke up so we made him breakfast and got him ready for school. . . then he tried to throw a monkey wrench in my morning by being a little toot when it was time to change him a) from his wet diaper to a dry one and b) from his pj's to his clothes. He is just...well, he's a little jerk. He kicks me... screams... pulls at everything. I've lost several fingernails because he will jerk a leg while I'm snapping and pop -- back my nail goes. And I'm not talkinga bout Lee Press-On Nails, these are MY NAILS. OUCH! It sucks. He's a twerp. I'll be so glad when he outgrows this stage.

Ben, when you're reading this in 20 years -- you were a little TWERP TODAY! I still love you but boy I didn't like you much!

Drop off the twerpy toddler at preschool. LOVE how he holds me when we get him out of the car. He just lays his head on my shoulder, I cover him up with a blanket so the wind doesn't take his breath away (32 degrees and a biting wind does not a happy toddler make), and we walk and I talk to him all the way in. Love that. Kiss. Kiss. Hug and I was out the door.

I went home and decided to check e-mail for ten minutes (huge mistake). I seriously need to learn to set a timer.

An hour and a half later, I was done.

I wound up taking an on-line training course for Scouting so that all of my training would be up-to-date. It was a labor of love so I did so willingly knowing that it's for the better of the Pack/Troop taht I get it done.

After I took the course, I made a trip to Wal-Mart (that's enough to screw up anyone's day especially THIS time of year.) to pick up some items I'd ordered from their website. While I was there, I grabbed some wrapping paper, red bows for the tree, an over-the-door hanger for Josh's bathroom (he needs somewhere to hang towels so he will quit leaving them in a pile on the floor GRRRRRrrrrrr), and a few other knick knacks for Christmas. I grabbed a Subway and headed home.

From there, I fa-la-la'd all the rest of the morning. It was great! I put on my favorite Christmas music and GOT IT DONE! All the boxes are now out of the foyers. Almost everything is done and in its place. It's nice. It feels good. I felt stress levels decrease exponentially. God is good.

Check the clock...

I went to pick up Benji.
I went to pick up Drew.
I went home.

Drew went upstairs to get ready for his play date with his BFF and walked in to see his surprise...
Ta daaaah!

I hung Christmas lights up on the headboard of his bed and picked up his room for him. He was thrilled. He immediately ran to Josh's room to see that, yes, I'd done the same for Josh.

He finished up his homework and ran to Hunter's house. I had to run to pick up Josh from tutoring (yes, after being home a whole 30 minutes -- it's a whippin'!) He came home and thought his lights were quite "cool" too. We've apparently entered the age of one word answers, descriptions and conversations I see.


Look, I can play that game too! D'oh!

While we were now home for the day, I took advantage of cleaning this huge mess in my kitchen.

THIS is what happens when you have a child that didn't do his chore of emptying the dishwasher for TWO DAYS so that I could LOAD said dishwasher.

My eye is twitching.

Just keepin' it real folks.

The real fun part of this is that Benji loves to help unload the dishwasher. I mean -- LOVES it!

The silverware is his job.

I think he does a great job!

Don't you?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Boy... a Monday... a monday

You know it was not a good start to the week. It was definitely a Monday. I was just settling into my chair at 7:55 when Josh phoned from school. He'd forgotten to wear pajamas for his class' pajama day. Could I please bring them up there? Uuuuugh....


Up... shower... dressed... wake the sleeping baby who is now fussy because he was stirred before he was ready to get up. No breakfast for him. In the car. Give him a graham cracker and a sippy cup of chocolate milk. Drive to the school. Unpack the warm baby from the car in the bitter windy cold. Deliver said jammies to the office. Return said baby to the bitter chill. He's asking for "more" (grahams) but I'd only grabbed one. Epic failure. Stop at McDonald's for some pancakes. Get home. Feed the kid. Seriously, the day seemed to go just from one thing to the next.

I went to playgroup and that was nice. I was glad to make it finally. Always something seems to come up on playgroup days. But we were there today darnit!

Back in the car toward home and get the kiddo down. I seriously need to sit down and brain dump but I am so just... not in anything even remotely related to Christmas that it's really bringing me down. I am just not fa-la-la worthy.

I'm a crotchety bitch lately. I think that having kids the age that Ben is now really brings out the grumpalumpagus in me. They throw everything. They hit everything. Every item is a projectile. They have no remorse. They headbutt you in the nose, the eye, the leg. They hurt the dogs. They won't be still to have their diaper changed. They can't talk so they get frustrated. It's a great age of discovery but it's oh so exhausting.

Josh is focused more than ever on his grades because he let his math grade seriously tank.

Drew is turning into an irresponsible little imp that is driving me nuts.

The socks being left EVERYWHERE are seriously DRIVING ME NUTS.

The boys not lifting the toilet when they pee thus leaving all kinds of unpleasantness all over the seat IS DRIVING ME NUTS.

The fact that they seem to not understand they need to pick up their crap.... and don't... and don't care... IS DRIVING ME NUTS.

I want to do my December Daily album and I have no idea how to pull it off. No idea. ??? Who finds time for anything remotely photo worthy... with a toddler around. Who finds time to do ANYTHING with a toddler around.

I think that the majority of this entire ball of stress comes from the fact that right now I feel like I'm running in circles and have no help. I wasn't able to get all the planning done ahead of time like I always do and so now... it's being reactive rather than proactive and I don't respond well to this type of format. However, as stated, the little ankle biters make life difficult. That freakin Duggar woman...she's just a nut. There's no other way about it... oh wait...she has an entire daycare staff working, I mean, living there to take care of her children so she doesn't have to... no wonder she keeps having more. She hasn't had to take care of them when they're this age...she just pawns em off on someone else in the house.

I tell ya... at this point... I'm THANKFUL for Monday night Troop meetings because it seems like the only chance for me to have a sanity break lately.

Right now... I seriously just want to cry. So... I'm saying screw it to the pile of dirty dishes in my sink that need to be put in the dishwasher. Screw it to the loads of clothes in the laundry room. Screw it to the infinity of lists that are waiting to get done. Screw it to the tree that I'm ready to box back up that has no decorations on it... because the boys want it up.... but not enough to actually decorate it. I'm just ready to say screw it to everything... for the night. I've had a three day killer headache going so I'm sure that is exacerbating everything.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

It has to be...

...I've got too much crap to do.

'Tis the season.


Sunday, December 4, 2011


  • I've discovered that although, I like the bacterial killing power of Lysol, the smell just makes me ill. It's like that whole love/hate thing with Listerine. It works but it makes your breath stink!
  • I love cold weather because you can eat soups/stews/chowders. It makes me happy.
  • It's hard to fa-la-la the house for Christmas with a curious toddler trying to climb the stairs, throw your boxes of ornaments and such. Thus, I'm having to do it after he goes to bed. Frankly, it is kind of killing my joy.
  • I'm so far behind on what I have to do, I can't ever die.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First Day of the Advent Adventure

It was a crazy day of driving here and there and back and forth, but we just do what we gotta do, right?

I made Josh's lunch for school and Ben's lunch, too. Then I realized that Drew wouldn't like what they were having for lunch so rather than mess up my clean kitchen, I just told him I'd run lunch up to school for him. That sure put a smile on his face. I like that he's not too cool (yet) to want to have lunch with his old mom.

I got Benji up and ready for school. Today Santa visited Noah's Ark so he was dressed up extra cute in a Ralph Lauren sweater and jeans. So cute, in fact, that I had to take some photos before we even left for school which, of course, made us late. C'est la vie!

From there it was to fill up my "running on fumes" gas tank and head to Walgreens to buy some more candies and such to fill up the advent bags. I had all the activities, books and movies planned -- I just hadn't had enough candies and such to fill up each day. With that done, I headed home to let the dogs out and then hit McDonald's and had lunch with Drew.

From there I went home and finished the Advent bag stuffing, hung them on the staircase. I also did some laundry, general straightening and such until it was time to go pick up Benji. From there we went to pick up Drew and then home. (Josh had math tutoring.) We were home 30 minutes and it was time to leave to pick up Josh. (Bleh, what a pain in the glutes!)

Finally, home! They went straight to the Advent bag, read it and started asking about what the day's activity meant.

Today's activity was to get bundled up to head to the Grapevine Christmas Parade of Lights. Drew instinctivly said he didn't want to do it. (What a Scrooge!) Josh still wanted to go. Benji doesn't really have a say, he just goes where he's taken.

We didn't have time for dinner but got in the car and headed to Grapevine. Traffic was a nightmare but we still went. Andy was hoping for some type of food vendors out selling SOMETHING but -- nothing. Finally, the parade started. They had over 100 floats and entries from classic cars decked out in Christmas lights to marching bands and Cub Scout Packs. Benji was in his stroller and when some floats would come through he would wave and clap. When there were characters in costume as they'd pass by he would lean up and watch them walk away almost as if he was like, "...did you just SEE that giant thing come near me? Let's make sure it leaves!" It was adorable.

Josh is in that pre-teen phase where he'll go but he's really not excited about anything (other than using his younger brother as a punching bag -- what the hell is up with that? For real?!)

It was getting a bit late (around 8) and I knew everyone was hungry and when it started to rain, I pulled the plug. The parade wasn't over -- it got held up by a train (great timing, huh?) but we saw a lot of it and it was awesome. We'll definitely go next year, too.

This is one of those experiences, like most when you have children, that it's a pain to get to, it's a pain sometimes to be there, it's a pain to wait but they'll always remember it.... and that's what we do as parents -- we sometimes just have to go through the pain to make some great memories together as a family. Was it a pain? Of course. Was it worth it? You betcha!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent Complete!

Yes, I did it! WHOOP WHOOP! The Advent Calendar is FINISHED! For me, it's not just printing out cute cards and sticking them in cute envelopes -- I have to take into account what my family is actually already DOING on many of those days so that whatever we do isn't a huge undertaking and/or potential conflict. Not that there won't be conflicts, because there will. But, the plan is to just have a plan!

Each day we have a "letter" of the day (sometimes two) and the boys are given 1/2 of a page that has a poem printed on the bottom fourth of the page (which leaves the top fourth for them to draw and color me a picture). I help them make covers for these books (we just use old cereal boxes wrapped in Christmas paper). I punch holes and bind them. Ultimately, when they're finished, it's a beautiful, hand-made Christmas gift for me to keep and treasure forever. I love these kinds of keepsakes best anyway!

Also, the first 12 days of December, we do a family devotional that coincides the parallel of the 12 Days of Christmas with Christianity. I found this on some website in the blogosphere so I can't take credit for this and don't know whom to issue credit to.

Each day we will also read a book together and there is a movie as well (those are generally watched after school (unless it's a weekend) while they have a snack). The little bags that the activity cards are included in also contain a little treat or a small Christmas goody. They're all placed around the bottom of the boy's colorful Christmas tree.

And without further adieu, here we go...

December 1
Letters A&B
12 Days – Partridge in a pear tree (The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ. A partridge often feigns injury to draw attention to herself and away from her young to protect them from danger. Because of its self sacrifice the partridge was used to represent Christ.)
MOVIE: Home Alone

BOOK: How Santa Got His Job
How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky and S.D. Schindler (2002, Paperback, Reprint) Image
ACTIVITY: Bundle Up! Tonight we're heading to downtown Grapevine to see the 7pm Parade of Lights

December 2
Letter C
12 Days – 2 turtle doves (Bring out your largest Bible and show the kids the two different sections of the Bible. Explain that the Old Testament was foretelling of a Savior that was to come, and the New Testament tells of a savior who arrives. "Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments. Because they have one mate for life the turtle doves represent enduring relationships, such as the unbreakable bond between the Old and New Testaments.")
MOVIE: It’s a Wonderful Life

BOOK:Who's That Knocking At Christmas Eve?

ACTIVITY: Bundle Up AGAIN! Tonight we're heading out to Keller Town Square to see the City's tree lighting ceremony and maybe ride a sled down an ice hill

December 3
Letter D
12 Days – 3 French hens (This stands for the Holy Trinity-Father, Son and Holy Spirit.)
MOVIE: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Special Edition)
BOOK: The Best Christmas Hunt Ever

ACTIVITY: Learn the legend of the candy cane -- and then EAT ONE! I just printed this out on a piece of paper and attached it to a couple of candy canes: Click Here

December 4
Letter E
12 Days – 4 calling birds (The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John)
MOVIE: White Christmas
White Christmas
BOOK: The Christmas Star
The Christmas Star
ACTIVITY: Decorate your door (for this I provide two rolls of wrapping paper (last year I got it in the dollar section at Target), some construction paper, some ribbon, tape and scissors and they have a blast decorating their doors)

December 5
Letter F
12 Days – 5 gold rings (The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.)
MOVIE: The Santa Claus

BOOK: Shhh!
Shhh! (Storytime Board Books)
ACTIVITY: write letters to Santa (for this I provide paper, markers, pencils, erasers and a couple of toy catalogs) Josh, in the spirit of things, still writes a letter.

December 6
Letter G
12 Days – 6 geese laying (The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation. (Eggs represent new life))
MOVIE: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

BOOK: The Biggest, Most Beautiful Christmas Tree
The Biggest Most Beautiful Christmas Tree (A Little Golden Book)
ACTIVITY: Take Christmas card pictures (Yes, I realize this should have been done long ago but it wasn' it's being done today)

December 7
Letter H
12 Days – 7 swans a swimming (Seven swans a-swimming represented the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit-Prophecy, Service, Teaching, Encouragement, Giving, Leadership, and Mercy.)
MOVIE: Frosty the Snowman

BOOK: Frosty the Snowman
Frosty the Snowman by Jack Rollins and Steve Nelson (2003, Hardcover) Image
ACTIVITY: make paper snowflakes I used this website as a guide last year and we had some fantastic snowflakes all over the place. Have your vacuum handy, it makes a mess.

December 8
Letter I
12 Days – 8 maids a-milking (The eight maids a-milking stand for the eight beatitudes which Jesus gave in the Sermon on the Mount to spell out blessings for the meek and lowly.)
MOVIE: Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas (which will probably lead to the Twice Upon a Christmas, too)
Product Details
BOOK: The Littlest Christmas Elf
The Littlest Christmas Elf (Little Golden Book)
ACTIVITY: Eat snowman pancakes for dinner

December 9
Letter J
12 Days – 9 ladies dancing (Nine ladies dancing represent the fruit of the Spirit-Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.)

I Spy Christmas
ACTIVITY: Elf the neighbors (here is a printable for "jingling" your neighbors. Same principle, just different term. Click here

December 10
Letter K
12 Days – 10 Lords a-leaping (The ten lords a-leaping stand for the law and leadership symbolised by the Ten Commandments)
MOVIE: The Year Without A Santa Claus

BOOK: Santa Calls
Santa Calls by William Joyce (1993, Hardcover) Image
ACTIVITY: Decorate gingerbread houses. We are hosting a BYOH (bring your own house) gingerbread house decorating party.

December 11
Letter L
12 Days – 11 pipers piping (The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven disciples who remained faithful to Christ.)
MOVIE: Santa Claus is Coming to Town

BOOK: The Lonely Snowman, (no image available)
ACTIVITY: Christmas tree canvas. I found this on Pinterest.
Tutorial can be found here

December 12
Letter M
12 Days – 12 drummers drumming (The twelve drummers drumming represented the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.)
MOVIE: Jingle All the Way

BOOK:Corduroy's Christmas Surprise
Corduroy's Christmas Surprise by Don Freeman (2001, Paperback) Image
ACTIVITY: Take pictures in Santa hats

December 13
Letter N
MOVIE: A Charlie Brown Christmas

BOOK: B is for Bethlehem
B Is for Bethlehem: A Christmas Alphabet (Picture Puffins)
ACTIVITY: Make a Christmas card for your teacher

December 14
Letter O
MOVIE: Santa Claus 2
Santa Clause 2 (Widescreen Edition)
BOOK: Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Santa Claus is coming to town
Activity: Make salt dough ornaments

December 15
Letter P
MOVIE: Muppets Christmas Carol

BOOK: I Smell Christmas
I Smell Christmas: Scratch-and-sniff Book (Little Critter Board Books)
ACTIVITY: Christmas caroling at Mimosa Manor. Our Cub Scout Pack is going to this nursing home to sing Christmas carols.

December 16
Letter Q
MOVIE: Miracle on 34th (the classic version -- I'm all about classics!)

BOOK: What Is Christmas?
What Is Christmas?
ACTIVITY: Fuddruckers and ICE at the Gaylord. It's an annual tradition to do for my birthday (which is on the 20th) but since Josh is leaving town for Christmas, we're going early to be able to do it while he is here, too.

December 17
Letter R
MOVIE: ABC Holiday Classics Marathon
BOOK: The Christmas Trolls (which is actually a story inside a collection book called Jan Brett's Christmas Treasury - the illustrations are absolutely AMAZING!)
Christmas Trolls
ACTIVITY: Decorate sugar cone Christmas trees (this is just a fun little thing to add to the gingerbread houses.

December 18
Letter S
MOVIE: How The Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carrey
Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Full Screen)
BOOK: The Christmas Story
The Christmas Story
ACTIVITY: Make and decorate Christmas cookies

December 19
Letter T
MOVIE: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

BOOK: The Legend of the Poinsettia
The Legend of the Poinsettia
ACTIVITY: Make a new ornament for the Christmas tree
Pinned Image
(I really like THIS idea, however, it's more of ME making the ornament than him, so I am also considering THIS one

December 20
Letter U
MOVIE: 12 Dogs of Christmas

BOOK: The Penguin Who Wanted to be Different
The Penguin Who Wanted to be Different: A Christmas Wish
ACTIVITY: Make treats for the 4 legged kids. We break out the peanut butter and bake up many batches of dog treats to wrap up for all of the fur babies on our list.

December 21
Letters V & W
MOVIE: Prep & Landing

BOOK: Bear Stays Up For Christmas
Bear Stays Up for Christmas
ACTIVITY: Put on pj’s and drive around to see all the Christmas lights (one of my favorite traditions)

December 22
Letter X
MOVIE: Santa Claus 3

BOOK: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Shines Again
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Shines Again (Little Golden Book)
ACTIVITY: roast marshmallows and have hot chocolate by the fire

December 23
Letter Y
MOVIE: A Christmas Story
A Christmas Story (Full-Screen Edition)
BOOK:The Crippled Lamb - Max Lucado (I can't ever make it through this book without crying)
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado (1994, Hardcover) Image
ACTIVITY: Make a birthday cake for Jesus

December 24
Letter Z
MOVIE: The Polar Express

BOOK: The Night Before Christmas (this version has the most AMAZING illustrations)
Bruce Whatley's The Night Before Christmas
ACTIVITY: Party with friends. We have a brunch party every year and Santa pays a visit and gives a little treat to each kiddo... they get personal one on one (non rushed = great pictures) with the head elf...and we all eat and it's just fun and casual and a great way to spend the day!

I hope this helped give you lots of ideas for your Adventure into Advent!