Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I know it's December 29, but I can still wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Merry, Merry belated Christmas to all of you.

Needless to say, in the whirlwind of the wonderfulness of Christmas, certain things have gone by the wayside in the last week or so, and my blog is one of them. My kids are on Christmas vacation, and home with me all day, which is heavenly. No, really. Do not detect even the slightest hint of sarcasm this time. I absolutely love having them home all day. Bill is off work this week as well, so the coziness and family bonding around here is so sweet that it's cavity-inducing.

And I'm savoring it.

The best part about this Christmas vacation? Nobody around here is bored. Not that they could be if they wanted to. I have declared an official moratorium on boredom, and so far, so good.

Another good thing? It snowed here. Not just a few flakes, but big, fluffy piles of white stuff. Snow and Christmas vacation are copacetic.

Last week I was talking to some girlfriends and we were chatting about how much our kids love to play in the snow. One friend complained how much work it was just to get the kids ready to go outside in this weather. Of course, I agreed, but then I bragged, "Charlie and Henry are so easy these days! They put on their snow pants, boots, hats, coats and gloves all by themselves. THEN, when they are done playing outside, they come in, and put their outside clothing in the dryer, and turn the dryer on!" Jealous much?

Braggy moms can be so annoying. And I was one of them. I was all, "I don't mean to toot my own horn ladies, but....beep, beep! I've got these boys trained."

Yesterday, Charlie and Henry got themselves ready ALL BY THEMSELVES to play outside in the brand-new fresh blanket of snow. They played in the snow with some friends, but were cold after about a half hour and came inside. I greeted them at the door and directed their boots to the rug. Henry took off his coat to reveal a SHORT-SLEEVED shirt underneath his coat. Then, he took off his snow pants to reveal a pair of Adidas SHORTS. Shorts. In 23-degree snowy weather in Ohio. And the socks? It keeps getting better. They were a pair of ultra-short, no-show white socks with holes in them. Whose kid is this? What kind of mother lets their kid go outside for a half-hour in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt?

Who's the cocky mom now?

Yeah. How would I explain that one to the ER doctor? "You know Doc, I'm not sure at all how my boy has hypothermia. He totally had snow pants over those flimsy summer shorts. And that shirt is paper-thin, but at least it has sleeves, even if they are short ones. And those socks? Psshh. That big hole in the toe and the heel is sooo not even noticeable. There was only about 1/2 gallon of snow that melted down into his boots. Who really needs their pinky toe anyway? It's the useless toe."

Charlie and Henry must now go back to passing our rigorous inspection before they play outside in this weather. And the next time you catch me bragging about how I have my boys trained, feel free to mock me.

Back to Christmas.

Bill laughs at me every year because at some point on Christmas Day, I always say to him, "I'm sad." Why am I a little sad on Christmas Day? Because that means it's almost over. Of course we still have another family Christmas celebration happening here at our house on New Year's Day with my parents and sisters and their families, and all my decorations stay up until at least January 2, so it's never over on Christmas Day.

But still.

The radio goes back to playing normal music, the lights and the trees will be down soon, and my house will go from bright and shiny and cozy, to just plain cozy. But cozy is not so bad. Cozy works for me.

If you are one of those people that takes all your Christmas decorations down by December 26 or 27 without a legitimate reason, (i.e. having to travel, etc.) then to you I give a resounding, "BOO."

Did you hear that? Boo. Can't you at least look at that pretty tree until New Year's Day?

Our garbage man is a happy man today. Sorry, Al Gore. Sorry, environment. But really. MOST of our garbage, about 12 out of the 13 miles of it, is recycling.

Blame the packaging industry. It's not my fault that the Fisher-Price Imaginext Batcave came with 2 pounds of packaging and twist ties. Did I mention that I sustained one minor hand injury and several little cuts on my fingers just trying to get Batman, Barbie, twin baby dolls, Tech Deck, Star Wars guys et al out of their packages? Bill helped, of course, but I always strive to be the biggest whiner in our marriage, so that's why I'm telling you about it here, and he is remaining silent. And really, how manly is it to whine, "Dude, I totally shredded my hand on that 'Just Like Mommy' Doll. Man, check out this little cut on my pinky finger. Ouch, dude."

My kids were very sweet and very grateful on Christmas morning and for most of the days leading up to the holidays. They know the real reason for the season. They know whose birthday we are celebrating.

But these kids still love themselves some Santa.

Santa doesn't wrap the gifts he gives to them, so they knew exactly which ones were from him, and which ones were from us. But on Christmas Eve at my parents' house, Bill and I had one of those parenting moments that we were all, "Whose kids are these? Have you seen their parents? Because surely I am not raising someone who would act like that."

This is the part where you're supposed to nod your head and say, "Uh-huh, Clare. Right on sister. Our kids have their spoiled brat moments too. It's not just you." Can you at least humor me, people?

By the time my kids were toddlers, and could speak or understand words, Bill and I have stressed manners. Good manners are HUGE with us. "Please" and "thank you" were always some of their first words. I truly believe that manners and politeness get a person far in this world. As a result, they now know how to behave when receiving a gift, even if it's something they don't like, or, if it's something they already have. They're supposed to say, "Thank you, Aunt, Uncle, Grandma So-and-so! I love it!" Then they're supposed to shut it. Shut. It.

I wonder if training a dog is this easy?

Anyway, Charlie loves Hardy Boys books lately, and Henry totally hearts Nancy Drew. They saw a four-pack of books of each at Costco back in early November, and begged me to buy it for them. I told them to wait for Christmas but they still talked about these books a few weeks later. My boys wanting books in the Age of Video Games? Loves it. "Wow!" I thought, "Bill and I must be doing something right if our boys are asking for books. After all, they do love to read. We are totally taking credit for this." And then I patted myself on the back for my total parental awesomeness.

My parents ended up buying and wrapping up the books for Charlie and Henry. The big unwrap came around on Christmas Eve, and Charlie and Henry both opened them, looked at them, sighed, and then promptly tossed the pack of books down, and said things like, "We don't like these anymore! We wanted a video game!" Whine, whine, cry, whine, cry.

Oh yes, they did.

Doesn't every parent want to hear that stuff? Especially in front of cousins and aunts and uncles they see a couple of times per year? Look at Clare's kids! Wow! How spoiled are they? Kids are starving and going without, especially during this recession, but Clare's kids are all, "Waaa! We hate this stuff! We want more! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Poor us!"

I looked at my boys and I was all, "Whoa. Slow your roll, dudes. SLOW. YOUR. ROLL."

Maybe they were hungry. Over-tired. Over-excited. PMS-ing. Who knows? That might explain the bad behavior, but it does not excuse it. Needless to say, Bill and I had to have another strongly worded chat with them about values and manners and not hurting feelings, especially their beloved grandparents' feelings. It was buckets of fun, especially on Christmas Eve. They apologized to their grandparents, and I think all was well after that unfortunate outburst.

From me and mine, I wish you joy in these last three days of 2009. This year had its challenges for my family and for those we love, but there were many, many bright spots, as I hope there were for you.

We have high hopes for 2010. It's a brand-spankin'-new decade. Can you believe it? Wasn't it just days ago that we were all worried about Y2K blowing up our computers and erasing our bank accounts and making the world come to a grinding halt? Time flies when you're having fun. Which we can happily say that we are, despite challenges and tough moments. Life is good.

Happy New Year!

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