Archive for holidays
A year ago, Doug and I took the two youngest children to AC BuyMoore for supplies to make Valentine boxes. You know, the homework assignment to decorate a shoebox for classmates to put tiny cards, candy and stickers in on Valentine’s Day. Teachers now make this assignment with the caveat, “Be creative.” Anyway, Doug and Sawyer walked into the store with the mission of collecting supplies for an R2D2 box. While they wandered the store doing their thing, SuperTween and I (1) looked at the container choices, (2) chose a container, (3) imagined what that container could become and (4) decided how to do it based on the supplies in the store and at home.
When we got home, Sawyer hovered over Doug for the 30 seconds that Sawyer’s attention span lasts. Sawyer then ran off to play Legos, while Doug played with his old drafting class tools. SuperTween and I teamed up and got her box done in less than an hour. Doug stayed up the entire night building Sawyer’s box. In the morning, both children were thrilled and Doug promptly fell asleep for 12 hours.
Fast forward a year and we once again found ourselves at AC BuyMoore with the youngest children. Just like last year, Sawyer had declared exactly what his Valentine box was going to be while SuperTween went looking for inspiration. I suggested that since last year, Mom was SuperTween’s helper and Dad was Sawyer’s helper, maybe we should switch helpers. There was some reminiscing about how the previous year’s project went and Sawyer announced that, “Mom’s helping everybody this year.” I could see Doug’s thought bubble laughing in relief.
SuperTween picked out the box she wanted to use, declared what she wanted it to be and made it almost entirely herself. My only contribution was holding the box and rotating it while SuperTween threw glitter at
my face her box.
Sawyer’s box had to be hunted down and the debate about what materials to use took DAYS. Once the right materials were acquired, I spent an entire day hunched over the table with a ruler and scissors while the peanut gallery occasionally wandered by to offer useful input. “Why is it taking so long?” “I think you should have used different greens.” “It really needs sound effects.”
This morning, both children were thrilled.
Next year, Sawyer will be my only child in elementary school. I think his older siblings should be his Valentine box helpers.
Dad and Professor Teen went camping yesterday, so the two youngest and I huddled under blankets in our basement bedroom and watched Stardust. SuperTween declared it her new favorite movie. Since the answer to “what was your previous favorite” was The Hobbit, I suspect that whatever she watched most recently is her favorite. I’ll have to test that theory with a viewing of something super boring like, Antz.
Tonight’s schedule might include a movie in bed, but it definitely will include games. New Year’s Eve is not the only night for board and card games, but it is the night when we let the children stay up late playing them. Several years ago, the youngest children were sound asleep in sleeping bags on the living room floor while we sat beside them playing a board game with the teens. At midnight, someone announced the time and a teen replied, “Happy New Year, now roll the dice.” That was a perfect New Year’s Eve. It wasn’t the hour on the clock that made the evening special. It was everything else. It was everyone in the room. It was the good stuff.
No matter who you spend tonight with or how you spend it, may it be your version of perfect.
Actual phone conversation:
Her: “I seriously need to finish the crafting and shopping today.”
Him: “Why? Christmas isn’t until Wednesday.”
Her: <- stunned silence ->
Her: “Christmas is Tuesday.”
Him: “No, it’s not. Stop messing with me…”
Him: <- several different voices audibly shout, "Tuesday" in the background ->
Him: I seriously need to start my shopping today.”
My brothers and I have a homemade only rule for ourselves every Christmas. Last year, Doug made lollipop trees for each of them. My children heartily approved. This year, I am using my extremely limited crafting skills to make something simple, but time consuming. The result is that several hundred times a day, the children walk by me working on the gifts at our kitchen table. In the beginning, they asked questions. “What are you doing?” After that, they asked more questions. “What IS that exactly?” Now, they just make confused faces. Well, Sawyer makes faces AND asks questions. “But WHY are you doing that?”
Now that I am about 40% done, I’m seriously starting to doubt my choice of craft. I wonder if it’s too late to switch to baked goods.
Since last March’s great car breakdown left us with one semi-functional car for the entire family, I have been stuck at home Monday through Friday. I love being home. Really. What I don’t love is the hamster wheel of dishes and laundry that defines my days. You have no idea how much you depend on running out for a coffee or buying groceries to break up the monotony until you no longer have that freedom. So, I entertain myself by arranging the clean wet dishes on the counter in upside down displays or sorting the folded laundry by color. The fact that these things go unnoticed only makes them funnier. When I’m really lucky, I get to add a little web project for a friend or a fluffy craft project to my day.
The year that Sawyer was born, Starving Artist made our family Christmas stockings. Since then, I have been unable to part with the pile of tiny fleece scraps that remained. I didn’t want to blanket stitch ornaments, but I knew there had to be a way to use the scraps in our Christmas decor.
We have used two dozen mittens on a lighted garland as our Christmas countdown for several years. Last year, the lights on the garland refused all attempts at a repair and it was used sans lights. This year, I decided to put the twinkle back on our mitten wall with the popular Pinterest rag tye light string as the garland. I had almost everything on hand, but did go buy tulle to create the effect I was seeking. Regrettably, the store only had glitter tulle. Glitter is the herpes of craft supplies. The day after I made the garland, the floor of the bath tub looked like a mermaid had barfed green glitter.
The project is ridiculously easy, but surprisingly time consuming. If I repeat it for other holidays, I will have an entire season of an unwatched tv show to keep me entertained while I do it. A rotary cutter would probably reduce the time needed. Also, did I mention the glitter mess? Skip the glitter.
There’s one last thing I need to say about entertaining myself. For many years now, we have included a shelf elf in our Christmas routine. The elf moves to a new location every night. Each morning, the children race around to find the elf’s new spot. They love it. Sometimes, it’s somewhere creative. Usually, it’s just a shelf. In the past, I could post pictures of the elf in sparkly holiday decorations or doing something silly. It amuses me. This year, there is a HUGE amount of shelf elf hate out there. If complaining and criticizing entertains you, go for it. I’m still going to do the things that keep me and my family entertained.
For Christmas I would like a Friends Lego House, a Magna Color Dots 3-D thingamabob, art canvases and paints and lots and lots of DUCKTAPE!!!
That is all that I wish for this Christmas. As usual I would like for the rest to be surprises. I would like to ask for my family members too.
For Noah, a new pair of tennis shoes.
For Evan, a Lego Melinian Falcon and a couple pairs of underwear.
For Tommy, a few video games for his computer and LOTS of deodorant.
For Sarah, art canvases and easels.
For Mommy, Doctor Who stuff and funny adult jokes about bad funny things.
For Daddy, finger puppets, computer stuff and cream eggs.
The plan was simple. We would cook the meats and dessert. Granny would bring the sides.
After spending Tuesday shopping for and purchasing our assigned groceries, we returned home in the evening to discover that Granny had purchased ham and turkey. Now, we have lots of meat and zero side dishes.
What kind of lazy bones person waits until Thanksgiving eve to buy groceries for side dishes?
At some point, I need to crawl out of the quicksand of depression and fake Ça ne fait rien long enough to tell the youngest children that Starving Artist isn’t coming home for Thanksgiving because travel costs are doubled on holidays. After I tell them, I will resume hating myself for encouraging Starving Artist to take an extra shift at work on Thanksgiving. I should have told her to go watch the parade.
If you eat out for Thanksgiving, tip extra. Those employees probably have terrible moms, too.