Thursday, December 30, 2010

On Christmas, Briefly.

In remembrance of the emotional frenzy into which I whipped myself last Christmas, my only goal for this Christmas past was to keep my own stress at a minimal level and to just enjoy myself and the family. This endeavor was only tested once as I knelt before Chloe on Christmas day in Mom A's bathroom and surveyed the streaks of vomit that now decorated her white shirt, her jeans and her hair. It splattered around the toilet and slid across the sleeves of her parka, and for two seconds I fought back tears as they stung the backs of my eyelids.

They were not tears for throw up, but tears for Paul who was napping at home and safely removed from a puke-splattered seven year old; tears for his oldest daughter who hasn't quite figured it all out; tears for cranky attitudes; tears for homesickness, and tears for sleep deprivation. But, as I am learning how to do, I pulled it together, grabbed a roll of paper towels to mop up the offending detritus as thoroughly as possible, and poured another glass of wine.

Our Christmas should not be summed up in my own overwhelmed tears, but in family, in generous spirits, in good food and in celebration. It was with these attitudes that we trekked from one parent's house to the next--from Gig Harbor to Oak Harbor and back.

And although I didn't dwell on the fact, I knew in the back of my mind that this was the last Christmas to be celebrated in Oak Harbor--the last Christmas to be spent at home.

It was a good one.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Little of Nothing

  • I just made our ferry reservations to head up to the island on the day after Christmas.
  • I'm excited about that just a little...
  • We have less than half of our Christmas shopping done, but I'm okay with that. I'm not panicking.
  • A few of you will be getting homemade gifts this year.
  • But most of you will not.
  • I was going to take a picture of my socks just now, but my co-worker walked in and caught me. How embarrassing.
  • I think I covered well though.
  • The Wall was amazing.
  • The aging hippies and rednecks, not so much.
  • The pot smoke...let's just say that if my sinuses hadn't been so stuffed up, I probably would have gotten a delicious contact high.
  • But it made Paul furious.
  • Back to the socks... one is Lauren's. It's aqua.
  • The other is mine. It's grey.
  • I can't find any of my socks but I'm pretty sure they're at the bottom of the 'giant laundry basket of doom' that waits so patiently for me to fold its contents.
  • I always know it's time to do laundry when I've run out of clean socks, and Paul has run out of clean socks, too, because I've worn them all.
  • My first dress fitting is in three weeks. Do you think I can lose 20 lbs by then?
  • No, me either. But I can try...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

One Thing Before I Die

I don't have a bucket list. I probably should, and of course there are many things that I would love to do, but I've never gotten around to composing a list--mostly because I can never coordinate my thoughts for long enough to remember the things I want to do. But if I did have a bucket list I know exactly what item number one would be. It's been on my mind for years.

I want to blow something up with a Molotov Cocktail. It doesn't matter what (although I have a few ideas...), as long as I have the pleasure of watching the ensuing destruction.

I let my thoughts wander every now and then (usually when I see one being thrown on TV), and I imagine myself clutching the glass bottle in my right hand, my shaking left hand holding a Bic lighter to the kerosene-soaked rag that snakes out of the bottle neck. I watch the rag ignite; I watch it burn just for a moment before I cock my arm back and hurl the explosive at my target. The bottle shatters against the object, releasing a flaming ball of kerosene and glass shards and I shiver as I watch the explosive results of my efforts.

I feel powerful. I feel destructive. I feel like a bamf.

Don't let my subdued nature fool you...I walk on the wild side! can stop laughing now. Really.

Wordless Wednesday--So Excited



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Topical Tuesday...Just Go With It

-I learned about throw up last weekend. There's a reason why moms are supposed to learn about throw up from babies. There are fewer chunks, and babies are cuter and therefore less gross. Step moms get to learn about it from seven year olds. Seven year olds who have little brothers who dump over the throw up bowl in the Durango. Seven year olds who had Top Ramen for lunch.

-Fortunately for all involved, the up-chucking only took place at night and in the car, so our mornings and afternoons were free for festive holiday fun! This year I decided to, for the first time, attempt Christmas candy. Since Max has cornered the market on cookies, I planned to make peppermint bark, peanut brittle, buckeyes, and the Christmas fudge that my mom used to make when I was little. The kids were more than willing to help, especially since helping included pounding the crap out of candy canes (and I might have let them eat one, too. Before lunch! I've invoked a 'no candy before lunch' rule, so this was a little exciting.)

Yes, she's still in her pajamas. Sue me...

-Candy-making, unfortunately, results in large quantities of candy in the house. I'm sure Paul doesn't mind, but I decided to share the sugar-heavy wealth with my co-workers. I even packed them up in cute little Holiday-themed take out boxes. I may turn into Martha Stewart yet!

-But the best part? All day men from the shops have been coming into my office and helping themselves to a piece of fudge. They are usually on the run, but every single one has frozen in their tracks, spun around and exclaimed something along the lines of, "That is good!" "Who made that?" "I'll be back in half an hour for more!" I'm a little flattered. Butter, marshmallow creme and chocolate chips can get you everywhere.

-The worst part? Once one of those guys sticks their grubby hands into the candy jar, the threat of germs and filth far outweighs the appeal of chocolatey goodness.

-Wait. Maybe that's the best part...

-Paul had to work late on Friday, so I took the kids out to eat at The Hat (El Sombrero for those of you who want to be literal). Paul's half-Mexican children both ate cheeseburgers and french fries.

I'm pretty sure they think ketchup is a food group

-We also embarked into the wonderful world of learning table manners and restaurant etiquette. Apparently chewing with your mouth closed is very funny when you're five....sigh...

-This post should have been a lot more random and topically wide-spread, but yeah...not a lot has been going on.

-Except we finally got Netflix, which is awesome.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Will the Real Santa Please Stand Up?

Technically, my parents never confirmed nor denied the existence of Santa Claus to Sarah and me. He remained shrouded in mystery, and to be honest I don't know what I thought on those occasions that we were invited to plop ourselves onto the lap of the Jolly Elf, himself. I was probably skeptical, but I know that a part of me wanted so desperately to believe.

On Saturday, Chloe, Nicholas and I headed north to Poulsbo for the annual Shop With A Cop event (go here for an event rundown). As usual, Grandma Max turned on her charm as Mrs. Claus and this year Bill joined her as Santa, and it occured to me that this might be confusing. Grandma and Bill were Mrs. Claus and Santa?

We got around this little discrepancy by telling the kids that Grandma would take messages for Santa, and e-mail him later. Makes sense!

Sunday found us at Camp Murray for Paul's Christmas Party. Santa was to make an appearance here as well, and I found myself by the bouncy house when he made his grand entrance into the gym, Ho Ho Ho-ing and shaking his jingle bells.

Nicholas had already flown out of the inflated castle, but the other little boy inside wasn't as quick. He poked his head out of the mesh entry, took one look at Santa and announced, "That's not Santa!"

"Of course it is," I replied.

"Nope," he retorted. "That guy's wearing Army boots. Santa wears black boots." Sharp kid...

Fortunately I was ready for him. "They flew Santa in from the North Pole on a helicopter, so he had to wear Army boots!"

The kid narrowed his eyes at me, but he seemed, for the moment, to believe me.

Funny how, in a culture inundated with caucasian Santas, not one kid noticed that this Santa was black...but they noticed that he was wearing the wrong boots!

How many Santas will the kids see this year? There's a Santa in every mall, every department store, and on the street corners. He's in parades and on tv. Shouldn't he be up at the North Pole, working his prodigious bottom off in efforts to be ready by December 25?

This thought doesn't occur to those who believe in him most; it's the child-like wonder and unquestioning spirit that makes the holidays magical. And I have to remind myself that I should enjoy the season in that same way.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mildly Tongue In Cheek

Paul bought a new, very large TV for our bedroom. It hangs almost from the ceiling and is tilted in such a way that we do not have to rearrange ourselves from our sleeping positions in the slightest to view it comfortably.

I'm thinking of calling it Cousin.