Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

It is Christmas Eve morning and I'm at work. It's not that I have any actual work to do, it's more that I'm required to be here. It should be noted however that they are only making us work a half day. Now for the facts of this particular Christmas Eve:
  • My brain is swirling, swirling, swirling. It will not stop. I keep trying to grab things and write them down before I forget them but I still feel things I've forgotten waiting at the edges of my consciousness waiting until it's too late to pounce.

  • The lights are still not on the tree.

  • The house has not been cleaned.

  • The baking has not been done.

  • The food shopping for tomorrow is not done. I was suppose to do it yesterday but instead spent the evening at the doctor's with the 10 year old. Earache and possible strep. Every year one of them is sick. It seems he is the chosen one this year.

  • I only have a couple of gifts left to wrap.

  • A Hanukkah miracle has occurred. The older two received Cranium WOW for the first night of Hanukkah. We have all played it twice since then. The miracle? My FOURTEEN year old played and had fun and was animated and excited to play a board game with his family. Trying to hold on to that memory. Who knows when it will happen again.

  • I have a late-breaking gift for one of the children which has thrown off the whole fairly even, fairly fair gift piles. Now I'm trying to figure out how to work it into the rotation. What I'm not willing to do is buy 3 more gifts. What to do? What to do?

  • I really need to relax and approach my shopping without a frantic edge. It's all about state of mind now. I always make sure to not have to go to the store on Christmas eve. I hate the kind of crowds out there and yet here I am making lists of food for tomorrow, last minute needs and last minute chores. I'm afraid there isn't enough time left to get it all done.
Have a Happy Holiday! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! May it be fun and stress-free.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Plans

Today is my oldest's birthday. He is 14. This is a problem for two reasons. One, how can my baby be 14? And two, how can I be old enough to have a 14 year old child? How did this happen?

Since his birthday is on a school night he has planned his own get-together with his friends. They are coming over to a adult-free house after school and playing snow football. Now the reasons I have allowed a bunch of unsupervised teens in my house is this, there will be no girls as they don't usually like snow football, they will be outside most of the time and he is fourteen (gasp) and he and his friends are pretty darn responsible. Please do not take the time to tell me how foolish I am. I'll be home approximately two and 1/2 hours after them. I'm guessing I will find them playing Madden '09 on the Wii.

Tonight is also the second night of Hanukkah. The kids gifts went over well last night - in fact the game (Cranium WOW) I got the older two went over better than I thought it would. Two of the boys gave me a pair of lovely earrings. It seems my second born has impeccable taste. Or at least he always knows exactly what I like. The earrings are dangly and it's weird but I haven't worn dangly earrings since the kids were born. Or at least only when I was dressed up. I forgot how much I enjoy them.

The only disappointment was the gift I got my husband. He always tells me not to get him anything and of course, I always do. Get him something, that is. He always acts... what is the best word to describe it? Respectful? Thankful? Annoyed? Never, ever excited. I've never, ever seen the kind of smile that you just can't repress when you receive a great gift (like the one I had when I got my flash for my birthday). It's been sort of my mission to get one of those smiles out of him. I thought I had finally nailed it. I really did. I even got an amazing deal on it. Turns out? Not so much. I actually think I may give up. I mean, I can't. I just don't know what to do anymore. Accept he'll never be happy with the gifts I give him? Not try to find the perfect gift? Just give him underwear and socks? Gah! It should be noted, he shows proper excitement when other people give him gifts. It's just the ones from me he seems resigned to. Maybe I'm just a terrible gift giver. Seriously? If the Christmas gift I got him doesn't do it, nothing will.

I have decided tonight is book night. The kids and everyone get books. I try to arrange the nights very carefully to maximize excitement and things to keep them busy. I do themes each night and I think only once did I do a misc. night. There is ALWAYS a book night - or two. This year we had game night, tonight is book night (the children have been complaining they have no good books to read which 1. is a lie and 2. there is a library 1/10th of a mile down the street), tomorrow we are celebrating with their Grandpa so no gifts from us, Wednesday is clothes night (so they will be comfy over the holiday), Thursday is Christmas so no gifts yet again, Friday we are going to rent their ski equipment, Saturday is celebrating with Nana and Aunts, Uncles and cousins. I have no idea what to do on Sunday. By that point they will have a present hangover. Maybe I should divide the giant stacks of books into two nights. Guess I better figure that out pretty quickly.

As for Christmas, my mother and I have decided to go with mini foods in a buffet. Oh, and ham. Crackers, cheese, hummus, mini quiches, mini pizzas, meatballs, cookies and whatever else I find at BJ's tomorrow night. We all get too full off snacks on holidays anyway so why bother with the sit down dinner? Snack, drink and pie. Must not forget the pie. Crap! Must remember the ingredients for my traditional Christmas morning coffee cake. This is the only time a year I make it.

As for the cookies? I'm thinking the week AFTER Christmas is a good time to make them. What are your plans for the holidays?

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Best Birthday Ever

Today all my birthday wishes are coming true.

  • Kids have snow day so I don't have to drag them from bed and get them ready for school.

  • The most awesome birthday gift from my husband ever.

  • Cake for lunch. Young woman in my office brought me a homemade, from scratch chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. It may be the best cake I've ever eaten.

  • Work closes early because of sever storm.

  • The ride was was a bit stressful but uneventful if not extremely slow. I saw 2 tractor trailer trucks stuck. One was blocking the main road to my house. No serious accidents were witnessed though so I call it a win.

  • Local liquor store near the local grocery store near my house had lots of my favorite wine. Is 4 bottles overkill? Is it wrong to start drinking at 3pm on your birthday after a stressful drive home? I think not.

  • The kids are shoveling driveway.

  • The husband is picking up Chinese on his way home so I don't have to cook.

Chocolate cake, Gilmore girls on DVD, favorite wine, Chinese food, no reason to go outside again. Whoohooo! BEST. BIRTHDAY. EVA.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Miracles and Madness

WARNING: Apparently 3.5 hours of sleep is not enough for my brain to function.

Yesterday I crashed my site. Complete meltdown. Nothing showing up. Nada. I spent many hours fixing what I'm sure a fourteen year old could fix in about 15 minutes. Many, many hours. As in late into the night or rather, into the early morning. I also installed WordPress. I may even like it. I can't really tell you though because my brain is not actually connected to the rest of me at the moment. And yes, I do have a 14 y/o. But my 14 y/o can't do such things because apparently when you have a mother who knows even a little bit about computers, you don't feel the need to learn anything about them yourself - much like cooking.

It seems to be up and working today. It's actually working much better than my brain. I was even an hour and a half late for work this morning (one of the 3.5 hours spent sleeping was when I am normally getting ready for work and getting the kids ready). Just know, there is not enough coffee in the world right now.

In other news, I have had my own personal Christmas miracle. I would say more but there is always the chance that one of my offspring will read this. A small chance but who wants to blow the miracle now? Just know that miracles do happen. And remind me to tell you about it after the holiday.

I seem to use the phrase, "In other news" much too often.

I have to ask, are your children, assuming you have them or have spent some time with some recently, insane? I mean really. Mine are driving me mad. They are fighting and teasing and whining and WILL. NOT. STOP. TOUCHING. EACH. OTHER. I get that they are excited but lay off already. When at least one is in tears at a near constant rate it may indicate you should leave your brothers the hell alone. For those of you who don't know what I refer to, it goes something like this:
  1. One brother (any brother) does something he knows will annoy the snot out of everyone. Or just one someone.

  2. Said brother is told to stop behavior.

  3. Repeat step 2.

  4. Repeat.

  5. First brother is attacked physically by other brother(s).

  6. Melee ensues.

  7. First brother ends up in tears.

  8. First brother tries to garner sympathy from parental units.

  9. NOTE: Step #8 NEVER works yet child keeps doing it.

  10. Repeat steps 1-9.

  11. Repeat steps 1-9 with different brother playing the part of First Brother.

  12. Repeat steps 1-11 over and over - even while parental units scream, yell, and send everyone to their rooms.

  13. And keep repeating until parental units are dead on floor from apoplexy.
There is no amount of wine that will take the edge off this chaos. Believe me, I've tried.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Swirling Thoughts

Work? What work? Was I suppose to be working?Ah, I thought I was suppose to be mucking around on my web server. Foolish me.

I've been trying to come up with something to blog about but have realized there is just too much swirling about my head to form coherent thoughts. I decided that I would try letting a little of the crazy out and maybe make room to string 2 thoughts together. Wishful thinking, I know.
  • We have a tree. It is not decorated. There are no lights on it. The good part is we sort of have a tradition of not decorating it until Christmas eve. Yes, this was born of laziness one year and the children have opted to live by "tradition". That and the Chinese food we eat on Christmas eve. I say go for it. Don't need to stress about decorating the tree in a timely manor and don't need to cook. Win-win.

  • Holiday cards are printed. Envelopes are ready. Still needed are stamps and folding. Lots and lots of folding to be done. Also, I am NOT FUNNY. This makes me sad.

  • Still trying to redirect the old site to the new. Not going well.

  • Have realized I am also not funny enough to twitter. I LOVE twitter. I just am bad at it. Again, sad I am not funny. Funny = FAIL.

  • Spent the majority of yesterday redesigning a logo type thing for work. A logo type thing everyone claimed to love when I first designed it about a month ago. Realized on my way to work yesterday that it was AWFUL. So, so bad. HATE with fiery hot passion bad. Did about four new versions and hated them all. Office chose favorite and now I must use it because the printing is due by the end of the week. Design = FAIL.

  • Wow, didn't realize I had such a high fail rate this week. Instead of making myself feel better this is kind of depressing me.

  • Last band concert of the season is tonight.

  • Have not yet found time to make cookies for holidays. Also just realized I haven't put together a shopping list for ingredients for said cookies.

  • Weight is skyrocketing.

  • Wow. More failure. I think I should go before I depress myself.
Happy holiday making to you!

PS - All images have disappeared from this site. WTF?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Love Thursday

I spent $1.66/gal for gas this morning. ONE DOLLAR SIXTY SIX CENTS. I can't tell you the last time gas was this cheap. Also? The gas near my house? Between $1.99 and $2.04. By work? Between $1.66 and $1.89. It astounds me. Really. I paid $6.50 LESS than I would have if I bought it around the corner from my house. That is huge people. I work about 30 miles from home. The husband works about 45 miles from home and the temple we attend is about 40 miles from home. That's a lot of gas. That's a lot of savings.

More Loving...
If you still need a gift for that hard to buy person. Any person really. I have the PERFECT gift. Bath towels. No really. Not lame like it sounds. Everyone needs bath towels. And these towels are the most luxuriant, absorbent, soft towels on the planet. They are even good for the planet as they are a bamboo cotton mix. The price right now (on sale at Amazon) is between $16.50 - $17.99 depending on color. This is one of those things that no one knows they need. They don't know they want them until you give them to them. BUY THEM. I have 2 and I don't let anyone else in the house use them. They are MINE. Love.

Still need more loving thoughts?
My job. Still love it. Finally feel like I found my niche here at the old place of employment. You may recall how much I despised the job I was originally hired to do. HATE. But the job they offered me at the end of the summer? LOVE.

So this isn't about the love of people but it is love all the same.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More Holiday Stuff

I am finally playing Christmas music. I've been neglecting the playlist on my ipod and sort of skirting around it. I'm not sure why. It could be that I'm afraid of burnout before the actual holiday. Am I waiting for decorating or baking or wrapping? Who knows. And no, I have done NONE of those things yet.

The holiday newsletter is ALMOST ready to print. Yes, I'm one of those annoying people that send out a newsletter. I know. I'd like to stop but I have had complaints when I did. This year I did something a little different. I made the boys write their own blurbs. I have to say it's not nearly as funny as I had hoped/expected. They may actually be more boring than me. If anyone has ideas to spice it up I'd appreciate it. (and so would the recipients)

In other news, I realized I've gone a bit crazy with the gifts this year. It's the first year in 14 that I've been working full time. FOURTEEN. YEARS. So to say we have a little more cash to work with would be an accurate assessment. Not that I can go completely insane but I can actually shop without the palpatations of the past. The downside to this, I just realized, is I have to now WRAP all the gifts. I'm not a talented wrapper. And I really want to do it up right this year. I got the gifts and now I need to make them look like the treats that they are. The big question... do I even have wrapping paper? And where does one buy nice paper? My kids are out of preschool and to be honest, most of my wrapping paper purchases came from their fundraisers. I'm a bit of a wrapping paper snob in that I like a nice heavy paper. That flimsy stuff just pisses me off. Don't even get me started on the stuff you can see through. Who the hell thought that was a good idea? Cheap? Yes. Worth it? NO.

I suppose I will have to plan a wrapping/decorating weekend. It also seems it will have to be this weekend as I'm starting to run out of time. Hanuakkah starts in a mere 11 days. The good thing is the kids' Hanukkah gifts don't get wrapped. I bought big, blue gift bags one year and decorated them with the kids' names with a silver sharpie. Since then I have had to replace them once but for the most part I just drop the gifts in and hand them over each night. Since Hanukkah is not as big a celebration on the nights it's just the immediate family and we're usually short on time (school nights you know) it works well.

Now I just have to get the husband to take the kids somewhere while I set up a little workshop for myself to crank out the gifts.

Hope your holiday plans are moving along smoothly.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Need Time To Breathe

First I would like to say that I'm still loving my new template. And the same place I first found it (Smashing Magazine) I also found wallpapers for December. I'm thinking I will change my wallpaper each week since there was more than one that I liked. I also think I have a serious problem picking and living with things for more than a week. No wonder I have such a hard time decorating my house. What I like today I may not like tomorrow. I get bored easily and I like a lot of different things. Yes, now you know why my house is just a jumble of stuff rather than "decorated". Let's just call it eclectic. Or ugly. Whatever.

In my previous post I mentioned how I wanted to enjoy the holiday this year and focus on the process. I'm having a bit of trouble with it now. The holiday concerts and shopping (for groceries - holiday shopping is mostly done - FTW!) and basic everyday stuff is not leaving room for holiday stuff. And why? WHY? can't holiday baking be done AFTER the holiday? We get all this time off after the holiday but when we NEED it - before to prepare - we still have work and school and eight billion papers that need to be signed and meetings etc. Speaking of meetings, can someone please tell me WHY we need to have a planning meeting for my eighth grader's schedule for next year this week? Seriously? Like no one has enough to do? It can't wait until January? Seriously? When am I suppose to decorate or bake or even breath?

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Whys

A friend asked me the other day how and why we celebrate Christmas. Because we are raising the boys Jewish she wanted to know how we handled the why of Christmas. I explained that Christmas in our house is all about Santa and family. She then asked if I, a recovering Catholic, still celebrated the birth of Jesus. What I said, and what holds true, is no. I definitely identify more with the Reformed Jews, and our temple's beliefs, than I ever identified with the Catholic church. I won't say I believe in Jesus but I don't not believe in him either. I'm actually kind of ambivalent about him. I believe he existed I'm just not sure I believe all the hype about him. And if you're a firm believer you can pick yourself up off the floor now. It's no reflection on you. It's just me. And yes, I've been told I'm going to hell for this so you can keep that comment to yourself.

I keep wanting to get into more detail about my religious beliefs here but that's not really what this post is about. It is about Christmas and why we celebrate it.

On my way to work this morning I was thinking about why I do celebrate and what really is it I'm celebrating. I realized I wasn't really sure. I could say tradition. I could say religion. I could say for the kids. But while tradition and the kids are the reasons why I couldn't really say the what. What is it we're celebrating? Consumerism? Is it all about the presents? Food? Is it about the decorating? Family?

I can honestly say it's not so much the decorating for me. I don't have many decorations. I kind of hate decorating. In fact, this weekend the littles got the decorations from the basement and then while I was out they decorated the house with their friends. Now it's not exactly how I would have done it but it's done. They had fun. And I don't have to do it. I know this would send most of the women I know over the edge. It's like doing crafts with small children, you almost can't help "helping" them or "fixing" it. I suppose that is something having all these kids has taught me. Keep my damn hands off what their doing. They might WANT it to look that way. It's all about the process for them. As it should be.

I get stressed like every adult this time of year. I want to find the perfect gifts. I don't want to break the bank. The lack of time. It drives us all crazy. So I asked myself, why do I do it? And I realized I wouldn't want to NOT do it. I do enjoy finding the perfect gift. I enjoy a well wrapped gift (something I want to spend more time on this year instead of less). I enjoy seeing someone's face when they opened something they never knew they wanted or the one thing they really, really wanted.

I realized I still believe in the magic of Christmas. And just because it sometimes seems like such a chore the memories of the kids' faces on Christmas morning, the video the kids made one year of their "cooking show" while we baked cookies, the family given a reason to come from where ever they are to just hang out... that is why I do it. To celebrate my family.

Now to just remember to enjoy it. To remember to take the time experience the little parts instead of rushing through them as if they are just one more thing I have to do.

May your Christmas or Hanukkah or seasonal celebration be filled with magic. May you remember why you are doing all this and enjoy it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Do It!

I know you love the environment. I do. So the first five of you that click this link and fill out your name and e-mail can win one day of carbon neutrality. The company Brighter Planet will donate 136 pounds of carbon offsets in your name. Just click here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

So very tired

I just realized that the last post makes no sense at all. I seem to have been delirious from staring at code most of the day and night. I'd like to add... am. so. tired. Work has been crazy busy (which I like) but that coupled with lack of sleep and a million things that need to get done tonight - stop at store with child's (only) winter coat with broken zipper! dinner! appointment @ 6pm! dog food! JH band concert! - well, it's making it difficult to keep my eyes open. And before I start babbling again I'm going to pack up and get the heck out of here. Will finish up tomorrow after I SLEEP tonight.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Please excuse me, it's late

Wow! The whole reason I changed my blogging address was so it would be easier to change the design. HA! Not so. Well, hopefully it will be true in the future. So what do you think of the new look? I'm betting you still haven't found me here. Especially if you read through a reader and not at my site.

Anyway, I have to say one of the best parts of having 4 boys (and maybe it's true of those of you with girls too but I would. not. know.) is that things like broken toes are nothing to get flustered about. You know to tape it to the one next to it. You know what it looks like. You know what the doctor won't will do if you were to take the child in. That would be NOTHING. Unless it is a big toe. Then they x-ray it and as long as it's not mangled in some farm equipment, they do NOTHING. Not to worry though, the toe is almost healed. The sick children are almost better. Now it's just left for the adults to fight off illness and find time to do things like... grocery shop. Yes, once again we are at a critical point in the grocery area. The dog is a half a serving away from starvation and there is no go-gurt or granola bars for the lunch boxes. Help! The children will starve. God forbid they eat more turkey.

Now that I've played half the night I must go to bed because it is almost time to get up and I'm not even in my jammies and robe.

Good night all!

Monday, December 1, 2008

New Digs, Holidays and Illness

So, you found my new digs. You did didn't you? PLEASE let me know if you did.

The holiday weekend was nice. Really nice.

Thursday was spent at my MIL's and fun was had by all. All I had to contribute was a green salad and an apple caramel pie. The husband made his famous mashed potatoes.

Friday was spent cleaning and forcing the children to each clean one room in the downstairs. It amazes me that they can whine so much about being responsible for ONE. ROOM. They even got to pick which they wanted. In the end, at about nine o'clock at night, the downstairs was clean. My kitchen (my room) was - and still is - sparkling.

Saturday was yet another holiday celebration at our house. My FIL, mom, dad, both SIL's and various spouses, nephews etc all showed up for a yummy dinner. The turkeys were fab and we had more stuffing than we knew what to do with. I had it easy as my SIL brought her death-by-sugary-goodness-sweet-potato dish and a creme de menth chocolate chip cake. My FIL brought the pumpkin pie. My mom brought a turkey, stuffing, salad & hot veggies. I only had to prepare a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes (husband actually did the work on this one), fresh baked bread, homemade cranberry relish, gravy, apple caramel pie, and drinks!

I know, doesn't seem fair how easy I had it. We even had it cleaned up before bed.

Sunday was a surprise. Two of the kids had fevers. The two who never get sick. We withheld meds and put one on one couch with the football game on. The other went on the other couch with a TV & DVD player and watched movie after movie. The other 2 kids were allowed to hang with their respective partners in crime. So the children happily spent a day vegging in front of the TV. Meanwhile, the husband and I managed to clean the room that was set to have the house condemed. The room that gets random bits tossed in. The room that hadn't been cleaned since the plaster removing and replacing in the hall off said room. Yes, INCHES of plaster dust was residing on every surface in the room. All my card/scrapbook/jewelry making supplies reside in this room. My COMPUTER resides in this room. This is also called the office. I will admit to spending greatly reduced amounts of time in this room since going back to work full time. But still, I did have to grace this room occasionally to pay bills and print children's reports. And now, NOW, it is clean. It is organized. I am happy. And amazed. It is clean.