Friday, December 31, 2010

Where Princesses Live

Daddy: "How was school today, L?"
L: "GOOD!"
Daddy: "Who did you play with?"
L: "I dunno."
Daddy: "Was Ellie in school?"
L: "Yup!"
Daddy: "What about Eitan?"
L: "Yup."
Daddy: "What about (insert all the kids name in her class)?"
L: "Yup."
Daddy: "What about Buzz Lightyear?"
L: "NOOO! He lives in Toy Story!!!!"
Daddy: "What about Jessie?"
L: "Which Jessie?" (She does have a little girl named Jessica in her class.)

Daddy: "You know, with Bullseye?"
L: "NOOO! I told you, they live in TOY STORY!"
Daddy: "What about Cinderella, was she at school today?"
L: "NOO, Daddy! Cinderella lives in the Cinderella castle. And in my underwears!"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Addiction to Merry & Cheer

I've been MIA and I can only attribute it to my addiction of holiday cards, for real people. It's a true alibi.   Truth time: I totally use labels and I don't write out greetings for all - which I know isn't very personal but I am only one woman. I STILL haven't finished sending all of our cards out yet. It's complicated, there is cross checking, always running out of stamps, just remembering they are in the back of my car to be dropped in the mailbox. Anyway, that's where I have been... working with Santa on the whole presents thing and addressing holiday cards.  To be fair, it's not just holiday cards it's mail of all kinds.   This year's Thank You cards did not disappoint (in my not so humble opinion). Seriously? Can you stand it? 
(front)
(back)
The pressure was on for the holiday cards this year. EARLY on with the magic of picnik, I thought this would be our holiday card:


Can we take a time out and give big ups to the ball and chain? He humors my need for a laughable and fun holiday card so much that homeboy is in living rooms across the world in tights. To be fair, it's knee highs - but still. Knee highs or full on tights - he deserves a standing ovation for his cooperation and commitment to THE holiday card mission. 

Long story longer, the card I thought we'd be able to do wasn't possible when I uploaded the edited image. I'm sure there was a more expensive way to make my dreams come true, but it wasn't in the cards this year (pun intended). 


Then an opportunity from Shutterfly came about. Write the truth and 50 free cards are yours. So I whipped 
this up - and whored it up for the love of holiday spirit.  Truth be told, the quality of the holiday cards did NOT disappoint. The free cards were awesome, but 50 doesn't really cut it for our holiday list (if I have your address, basically you get a holiday card, I can't help it - I want to share the joy). We ended up going with additional variations of the following OR going with photos that didn't include the ball & chain in tights. You know, mix it up and all. Plus, he's only so understanding.  I don't really want to prove how crazy about this I am, take my word for it.  I won't show all the variations we had.  For the most part we used the same images (except for the one variation minus the tights). 


I don't know, I might be biased, but another year, another success in providing our family & friends with some holiday cheer! So folks that are lurking about,  to you we wish you the happiest of holidays! We truly wish you a magical holiday season & the very best in the new year.  Love, Peter Pan, Wendy & Tinkerbell... if you couldn't tell. 

Check it out, I'm not the only one who has a love for the holiday cards. Phew. Having some company in the madness sure is nice! Check it out. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

wordless wednesday

(comment: I don't know.. Santa seems to be a little too jolly about all of this? Doesn't he?)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Traditions- The Tree Hunt

This year was our second annual trip to Geer Tree Farms. Last year the tradition began, and I am fairly sure it will be on the agenda for years to come.  The scenery is breath taking and despite being true city folk in our heart - we like the hunt of the tree. 


Geer Tree Farm


And while we aren't huge fans of having to cut a tree down with a saw, luckily we had a visit from BoBo who hit the tree with chain saw.  He knows us well, we had our pictures so why sweat it out?

BoBo getting the tree down & ready to go in seconds vs. our saw workout.
Measuring the tree - want to make sure it's tall enough, but not TOO tall!



On the hunt
L helping.

L & her buddy - he's serious business
Having fun with Liza while the tree gets wrapped & ready to go!

Family Photo - PRE Tree

Another GUnit tradition that continued this year was the tree trimming. We had visitors, ate and was merry. The tree got lit up and the ball & chain got LIT. Daddy may have hit the wine a bit too hard there was some ricochet, but all survived with minimal after affects the next day. I'm working on a little video on how that all went, but the indecisive girl in me, can't decide on a tune. You'll have to stay tuned for that. The result of our hard work (and many bottles of wine that met their maker?) is a perfectly decorated tree. If we could have the tree all year long, I'm pretty sure I would. 

Happy Holidays are HERE!


Family Photo - Post Tree Trimming

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Be Scarred for Life

Dear L, 

Remember when you were unfazed by the horrifying nature of the crazy man in red? Maybe his belly made you think of your mama? Who knows, but year one you were calm, girl.  Those. Were. The. Days. 

"What's all the hubbub about?"
Last year, we went to the same Santa. You would have thought we were throwing you down the highway to hell. Sure we took a year off, in-between the seemingly enjoyable experience, maybe you didn't remember you had a chill time the last time? Last year, what a different reaction. Sure, I am a horrible parent for allowing Santa to pin you down as I laughed (and cried) on the sidelines to capture the shot. I think I was trying to prove a point to Nana Lu, who insisted on these dang pictures. This is what she got for pressing the Santa issue.  This is what I get for giving my mother a hard time. Side note: don't do this to your mother, ever.

 "Get me OUTTA HERE!"

This year. OH this year.  I thought it would be different. You've been wanting to see the big guy for weeks. You were ready to sit on his lap and tell him all of your hopes and dreams (that we carefully placed in your head as parents we are licensed to do).  It was going to be magical, to watch the magic (not horror) in your eyes. Despite a rough night out on Saturday, Mama & Daddy pulled ourselves together with one mission for Sunday: see Santa.   


We waited on an (almost) 2 hour line to wait for the same Santa that you had been with for the last two years; he's legit. As soon as we got there, we realized either Santa got a serious surgery to shrink himself by 35 elves or a totally different guy altogether. You waved to Santa, you didn't notice.  You had a great time on the ridiculously long line.  It didn't hurt that the adult to you ratio was 4:1.  Nana Lu & MyUncleChris came and entertained you for the 2 hour line, but all was looking up. You wanted to review all the things you were going to ask for, you were READY. As the line twisted and turned around the mall all was well. There were smiles, laughs, giggles, dancing; it was holiday time magical.  We turned the corner and it was your turn to talk to Santa.  As we turned that magical corner, we entered the vortex of Christmas year's past. Last year to be exact. 


You held on to me as if I was about to jump out of a plane. I could barely pull you off of me to throw you on the Southern Belle of a Santa before us - but pull you off and throw you I did. If faced with a choice - I would take a warm & fuzzy picture showing you having the time of your life.  Mama didn't have that choice. My choices were limited. 


My choices, as I saw them were as follows:


A) Sit down in the picture with you.  First of all, Santa may have been Southern, but he was no gentleman - it's not like he scootched over.  Secondly, and really more to the point, with the night Mama just had it isn't even fair to put this as a choice because this was not an option, Mama looked like a
hott tranny mess. 
B) Bag the picture altogether. See talk of 2 hour wait, not an option, Sweetie. 
C) Throw you on Santa and hope for the best (worst) picture to add to our collection.

"No. No. No. NO. NO."


You see my dear, childhood scarring aside, Mama had no choice. Throw you I must. I hope you get what you want for Christmas, kinda a missed opportunity here - not getting the big man's ear when you had the chance? (see last week's post - I'm channeling Rudolph's dad here).

Next year, we'll try again if you want - it's your choice, dude. But know this:  if you are going to have me wait on a line like that, I'm going to get a picture out of it.  Adorable or horrifying - that's up to you.

Love,
Mama


P.S. Don't worry. I put in a good word with Santa, turns out you are getting EVERYTHING you want and more.  Mama used a little bargaining when I had the chance. Santa had some choices too.

A) Give you all that you are dreaming of. 

B) Leave you there with him.

He decided on A - spoiling you. You appear much more unruly than you really are. Way to go girl. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sometimes lurkers aren't up to no good

When it was time for the kid to get a bike (thanks Santa), I went to the store, ill prepared. Let this be a lesson to all parents - those looking to purchase a bicycle and those being stared at by another in the bicycle section. 

Here's how it went down. Santa wanted to bring something for his best little girl special, so bicycle it was. When I went to go do Santa's dirty work (truth: it's not elves that are working around the clock, it's overweight moms like myself. Not quite the picture you expected, huh?). I got to the store and in typical fashion - I'm checking out the style.

She loves pink. I hate pink. But I won' t be riding this bike - so pink it is. I checked out the selection on pink, and it was character based or neon. I will bend on the pink thing, but I can not, will not, get character based apparel (though I have) or toys (though I have). It's your typical parenting conundrum. You say you won't do something, but you do. I decided to pass on Barbie and go for a Tony Hawk neon pink "racing" bike.
Too much. Apparently.
Just enough. Turns out.


I'm hoping she "fits" the bicycle, because of course I learned something new on my shopping spree. Size matters.  I didn't measure her before I left, nor do I know really how tall she is. I basically just stood in the section awaiting children running by looking for someone "her size" so I could ask that parent if they knew how tall their child was. 


Yeah, nothing weird about that - at all.

Ruldolph's Dad is D*ck & Other Holiday Discoveries

Like a scene from a holiday classic, often times the holidays can throw me into a mood. Are you picturing sugar plums fairies dancing in my head? Don't. 

At different points within the holiday season there is serious stress. There is the gift getting, traveling, working out where we will go and when, figuring out work vacation, traffic, transporting said gifts through the said travel to where we figure out we'll be and sitting in traffic covered in bags. Multiply that by 3 and get BACK from said visits through traffic with more stuff than we left with - it gets me quite a mood, indeed.


This year the kid really 'gets it.' What fun! It's the first year we'll be home for the holidays and Santa is coming to TOWN, our town.  I've been
hoarding collecting things through out the year so there can be a HUGE pile of goodies under the tree.  Santa is going to BRING IT this year.  It's going to be awesome. The best news? Whatever she asks for - I am 99% sure Santa has it covered. How can I be so sure?  The kid has brilliant parents, if I do say so myself.  We may or may not have been planting giving her "ideas" to ask Santa for.  These 'ideas' just so happen to match up to what I have it on good authority Santa already has packed in the closet already wrapped cause I'm unseasonably and oddly prepared like that his sleigh. 

Dad:
"L, have you been a good girl this year?"
L: "Um. YEAH. A real good girl. I'm three."
Dad: "Yup, you are. So, we are going to see Santa next weekend, what are you going ask for?"
L: "Santa coming tomorrow? After school?!"
Dad: "Nope, not yet - we have to tell Santa what you want for Christmas - what are you going to ask for?"
L: "I dunno. Barbie? Horses?"
Me: "How about Barbie ON a horse?"
L: "YEAH! BARBIE ON A HORSE! And Princesses."
Me: "Awesome, what about a princess puzzle?"
L:  "Yeah! Princess puzzle!"
Me: "And maybe some games and videos?"
L: "YEAH!"
Me: (Insert the rest of the gifts in the closet in Santa's sleigh.)
L: "YEAH! I wantta all of those things! Mama, can you help me?"
Me: "Sure, with what?" (we were eating dinner at the time)
L: "Mama, when I talk to Santa, will you help me tell him??" 

CAN you STAND it?  Things were looking up over here on Happy Holiday Lane. All this Santa talk made my heart grow three sizes that day. I had stashed away a DVD box set of Holiday Classics: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and more.  I thought I would break it out, we were all in the mood.  It was awesome. We snugged up on the coach and watched Rudolph together. I admit it. I nearly teared up. 

Fast forward: 1 week later. Things on Happy Holiday Lane are going great. The tree is amazing (more on that later), the house smells like the spirit of Christmas, we are done with presents for the kid and thanks be to major sale sleuthing we didn't really spend that much money and a last minute MAJOR purchase is going to be tear jerking if she has the reaction I think she will.  There is one small exception to this wonderful life.

Rudolph, that god dang bastard, is practically on replay. I don't know if you've re-watched it lately but it's serious. How did we not have more issues with bullying growing up? These elves are little bastards. They are so cruel to Hermie.  The head Elf is a cranky little B and all he does is tear down Hermie who is the only elf that doesn't look like the rest (with the exception of one random tall elf).  It's probably hard enough to not look like everyone else - what kind of world were we living in where everyone looked the same and that didn't raise any red flags? Beyond his Farrah Facet quaff in the front of his face he appears to be wearing lipstick and wants to be a dentist.  I'm not sure what kind of euphemism dentistry is supposed to stand for, but the whole thing is uncomfortable to watch (on re-play, no less).

Beyond the elf leader, Santa is a real D.  He puts down the elves when they try to make a new song for him, alienates Rudolph, is passive aggressive to his wife and Rudolph's dad - just a real a*hole.  Why, after viewing this as a child, did I want to visit this cranky old bastard and put hope that he would make my dreams come true? 

Finally, Rudolph's dad perpetuates a feeling of the opposite of unconditional love.  After a quick google search, apparently this is conditional hate (duh). He hates his kid because he is different. Um, how is this a feel good holiday movie again? In addition to him being a real jackass, he is also sexist. Well, maybe Sam the Snowman is because as he narrated a pivotal scene in the movie he dropped a bomb I seriously do NOT recall ever hearing. What am I going on about? Let me lay it down for you. 

As you may remember, Rudolph runs away because everyone hates him because he is different.  Despite a youth of being taught to hide who he is (thanks Dad) the breaking point is when the reindeer coach specifically instructs the other kids to "not let Rudolph play in their reindeer games."  The love of his life, Clarice (creepy fact all I hear is "Why, hello Clarice" when her name is mentioned in the movie) chases after him, proclaims her love for him and accepts him for all that he is.  He is feeling better about life until Clarice's red-nosing hating dad come by and crash their dreams. No daughter of his will be spending time with a red-nosed freak. Crushed, Rudolph runs away. 

Now this is where I freaked. As Sam tells the story and Donner (Jerk Dad) & the mom (don't speak unless spoken to woman) realize that Rudolph is gone Donner has buyers remorse and tells the little woman he's going out to find Rudolph. Of course the mom wants to come to, probably realizing if Rudolph is as smart as she thinks he is there's no way he's coming back with this idiot. The response?  

"NO. This is mans work." - Donner, Rudolph's dad. Not only a hater but a sexist. Don't believe me? I'm serious. This happened. 




The story continues on to say, "And no sooner did the man of the house leave..." (Seriously. Is this serious?) basically Clarice and mom decide to rebel again THE man and go find Rudolph on their own.  Maybe the lesson here is "Girl Power!" as long as the man of the house is gone? Geesh.


I've heard of things looking different looking at them through a child's eyes (see magic at Disney), but being horrified after the fact looking at something with adult eyes? This is news to me. Have you ever seen something after the fact and wondered HOW you didn't notice it before? I get to relive this nightmare everyday, at approximately 6pm once the kid requests another round of Rudolph the FREAK Nosed Reindeer and the Dysfunctional Family of the North Pole. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bong Bong (Opening Scene of Law & Order)

Many moons ago (after 2002 before 2005 - somewhere in the middle) it was a freezing cold day in Boston. The kind of cold that if any part of your skin was exposed to the elements it meant possibly loosing that part of your body forever. Frigid doesn't begin to explain it.  During my lunch break I braved the cold and went to the mall, which was across the street from the office I worked in at the time.  It was right after Christmas and hundreds of dollars of gift cards (ironic) were burning a whole in my wallet.  I got my monies worth at the buy 2 get 1 table and had a good sized bag of mindless books to read over the course of the next few weeks. 

I left "early" for work that day, right at 5:30 pm. This was pretty legendary, as I was (am) known to stay past 7pm most nights. I was excited about curling up on the couch and reading one of the said mindless books.  Plus I believe I was still suffering from post-holiday blues. I set on my way, out of the office and over the bridge that connected to the train station. It's a bridge that has cars and pedestrian walkway, not a sole connection bridge.  The bridge is actually called "Prison Point Bridge." Catchy name, huh? It's also called Gilmore Bridge, but I only learned about that when I was trying to find a picture for this here post. 

Serious Snowboarding Mask
Stick 'Em Up Mask
Anyway, there I am walking over Prison Point Bridge, with my gigantic bag of books heading over to the side I'd pick up the train to my apartment at the time. As I started to make my journey, in the distance I could see two guys walking toward me. They were completely covered with a face mask. Not a straight up, stick 'em up mask, but a bottom half we're going serious snowboarding mask.  One guy may have had a bandanna covering the same section of his face, both had hoods and hats on - they were ready for winter and like I said it was freaking freezing. This kind of get up was NOT uncommon in Boston at this time of the year so I have no idea why the next thought and plan came into play.

I
nner monologue: "If these guys try to rob me, I'm going to use my book bag as a weapon and hit them with it and run."

As I approached the two my life flashed before my eyes. This is where I blacked out and imagined someone going for a morning run, under Prison Point Bridge finding my body like in an opening scene of Law & Order. Bong Bong.

The two jokers pushed me up against the side of the bridge sticking SOMETHING in my side. I won't say it was 
definitely a gun, because I'd like to believe if it was really a gun they would have taken it out of their pocket and that I'm not that stupid. A gun is definitely what they were gesturing was in their pocket; they weren't happy to see me - they wanted my bag. I don't know what came over me but the following dialog happened, there are no exaggerations to the following.

Joker 1:
"Give me your wallet."
Me: "What?"
Joker 2: "Your wallet. Your bag. Your money. NOW!"
Me: "(kind of laughing) Are you serious? I don't have any money, I work over there." (pointing to the building I work, because truly, I was barely making rent)

Joker 1: "Your BAG!"
Me: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" somewhere in the NO I got away and started BOOKING it back toward my building screaming, and again - no joke: "Fire! FIRE! FIRE!" I think I saw an Oprah that said people are more likely to help you if they think there is a fire.  There I was listening to O screaming fire, running. 
I don't run. I say, I try not to run unless I am being chased. I guess it is the damn truth because I was, in fact, being chased.


At some point, I turned to see if I had lost them despite it being a straight bridge passing, where I would loose them, I'm not sure. I turned around, as I continued running, and as I did my arm went back. Joker 1 or 2 not sure - grabbed my arm. I wrestled him off and kept going. By the time I got to the other side of the bridge and into a crowd of people they were GONE. They weren't behind me, I couldn't see them anywhere.  I can only assume they ran back toward the train, as there is only one way to go. 


I remember freaking out, almost 
hyperventilating and running into a group of people I recognized that worked in my building, but I have no idea who they are. I told them not to go the way they were going and that someone just tried to rob me. There was one guy in the group and I remember telling him what happened. I also remember him looking blankly at me, not saying a word, and continuing to walk toward the train. 

That guy is a dick and I saw him on and off for the next few years, always hating him after that - though not knowing his name. I found out at some point that there were two guys that looked 
exactly alike that worked in the building, so I'm pretty sure that an innocent guy that looked like the dick that ignored me got a bum wrap, but what can you do? Guilt by association. 

I get home, exhausted and spent from the whole thing. As I walked in I was greeted by my boyfriend at the time. 

Me:
"I'm sorry I'm home late. I got held up."
Him: "Whatever, it's fine - you are always held up at work. No surprise."
Me: "No really, like held up by thugs, likely by gun point, held UP."

Fast forward - I call my mom. Don't know why I would worry her post hold up - but I did.  
At the point where I start screaming "Fire FIRE fire!" in the story she interrupted me.
Mom:
"Why would you run? Just give them the bag!! (insert something about wallet, money, isn't important - your life is more valuable something or another)
Me: "Mom, I had my debit card, keys, phone, SOCIAL SECURITY CARD - everything I own in the damn bag. They would know where I live, what would I do? Oh my god, also hundreds of dollars of gift cards!!!"
Mom: Insert some kind of curse and sigh.

As I continue the story and I get to the part that I outran the bastards she interrupts again.

Mom: "Wait? You out ran them? You got away? You ran faster?" (complete and utter disbelief) She proceeds to scream out to inform her boyfriend: 
"RICKY SHE OUT RAN THE BURGLARS!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??!?!?"

I can't be sure, but I think the pride and disbelief that I can actually move quickly erased the fear and stupidity of me not giving up my wallet. 




*Today has been brought to you by the number 35, 61 & 62 of the "100 Things" List about little old me. 

35. I hate to run, I try not to unless I am being chased.

61. I was once a victim of an attempted robbery.
62. At one point, while my life didn’t flash before my eyes, I envision some idiot taking a morning run would come upon my body – like the beginning of Law & Order.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Santa baby, just slip a gift card under the tree, for me...

Disclaimer: I'm a hypocrite.*
*While I usually do my disclaimers at the end of a post, I have to start by saying I recognize how hypocritical the following is going to be. I can only attribute the need to type this to the new understanding on how weird and wrong I was. 
------------------

photo credit: random google images search -
 specific site may or may not have a weird loop hole to
serious dirty pictures thus not siting here, sorry. 

Needed the picture not the crotch shots  & my own editing fun
I have a new suggestion for the holidays. Let's all bring a stack of cash to our respective holiday gatherings. Let's keep it classy, and stay away from singles.  In the spirit of the holidays which has clearly turned into exchanging cash, let's just keep it simple. What you give me I'll give you. Why not? Right? That's what Santa had in mind. The rumors of Santa's little helpers making toys is clearly just that: rumors. 

I don't know, call me old fashion, but isn't gift giving about giving someone something they wouldn't normally purchase on their own? A gift is something special? Maybe something they need? I looked it up, I'm right - something acquired without compensation. Isn't exchanging cash compensation?

The holidays are out of control.  As a gift giver for nieces, nephews, cousins, parents, partners, brothers, sisters, child and sometimes etc; it is becoming clear that we have lost our focus. When your own wallet is affected it hits home faster, I guess. 
I know I have asked for gift cards in the past, as suggestions, giving stores I frequent. The older I get the more I realize that was wrong and I apologize. Now that I am older and I have a TON of people requesting straight up cash and/or gift cards from me I realize how freaking ridiculous I was. I can only say that I was younger and didn't realize what a complete boob I was being. Also, I think I asked my parents for said gift cards - which feels less wrong to me.  I was trying to make things easier, as necessary since apparently no one understands or knows me. Apparently, I'm the world's most difficult person to shop for (I find this almost hilarious since anyone who REALLY knows me should know what I like).  

Maybe the reason I hate gift cards the most is because you can't sneak in deals.  The gift receiver knows just how much you spent. How is that fun? I like to hide my frugal prowess behind gifts that look more expensive than they are.  Maybe that's wrong? Gift giving shouldn't be about the skill to spend the least amount of money possible, right? Although I don't know - the Target woman seems to believe saving is the key to the happiest of holidays.


I do appreciate Christmas lists.  When asked, what do you need or any special requests - I get that you could give someone an idea of what you have your eye on; I'll take that.  I can also accept responsibility for being horrible at this.  Providing people with what I want or need is NOT a strength. I'm actually pretty horrible at it.   With out spending everyday with someone you may not know what they have their eye on. Hell, I spend every single day with the ball and chain and all he wants are socks. Seriously: socks. That's it.  After being stumped last year, I started a note with in my iPhone that was an ongoing list of thoughts for gift ideas - for him, for the kid, for me. Knowing that Thanksgiving would come and shortly after that the on slot of requests for "the" Christmas list.  Oh how I miss the days of checking out the Toys R Us catalog folding down the pages of all the things I absolutely 
needed Santa to bring me.  I thought my plan was fool proof; what a fool I was.  There were a few small things I wrote down this year as SOON as I hear him mutter, "that's cool."  Unfortunately, I gave those secrets away and I am left with nothing and literally almost NO clue on what to get. It's not fair. I am so freaking easy. He is the hardest person to buy for, but does he ask for gift cards? No, he does not.  Do I wish I could give him gift cards? Yes,  sometimes.  Though since my money is his and vice versa - that would be even more hilarious than the gift card fever going on in my neck of the woods. 

What happened to giving the person the chance to "get it right" and hopefully they give you a gift receipt.  Side note:  anyone who does not provide a gift receipt is re-gifting OR trying to make your life difficult, in my opinion.  Re-gifting? Seriously, good for you but you better be making a safe bet otherwise why even give anything? Seriously.  Making my life difficult? Why? What did I do to you? 

OK back to the point, let's say the person doesn't get it right and they provide you with a gift that won't work for you. Perhaps the size isn't quite right or you already have that brooch or game?  Then, with the receipt you can quietly make your gift card dreams come true by way of returning. How fun is it really to open up envelopes with gift cards and nothing else?

The bitch of this whole tirade is (well there are a few things): 
  1. My mother is going to automatically assume I am talking about her.  It's not you - it's the idea and spirit behind Christmas that I am finding particularly annoying. This is a pattern I have noticed Christmas wide, not on any particular side or person. Also, you didn't ask for gift cards, you asked for black socks. Seriously? Who asks for socks for Christmas? OH yeah, my husband - perpetuating the issue here. 
  2. If anyone got me a gift card, I am pretty sure they haven't even gotten this far as they are on the way back to the store. That is not the point. I like gift cards. I think they are effective and important. I love receiving them. I think they are a smart gift idea when you are stumped. What I do not like is how they are taking over the holidays and people are solely requesting gift cards. That's my issue. Give me my damn gift card. 
  3. If I got a list of stores you like (not you, Mom, I'm talking to any gift requester) and sizes, as requested - perhaps I would end up going with a gift card inside a small thing from that store. It would be my choice and I would feel more in control of the gift.  (Maybe this clearly is my own issue then? Nah.) Instead of just asking for cash? 
Does no one see how ridiculous the holidays are becoming? Also, besides gift cards, what should I get the ball & chain. Seriously. It's gift cards all day long with out some kind of direction. 

*Final disclaimer, I am hesitant to hit "publish post" because I am always misunderstood.  Also, I want the gift cards I know that have already been purchased for me. I will leave you (now I am talking to you Mom) with this: grain of salt. Take what I say with a grain of salt. 99.9% of what I say is mostly meant for the laugh of it all.  Sarcasm may be the language of the devil, but it makes me giggle and (jokingly) complaining is the name of my game. If you can't handle it (now I'm talking to anyone who takes the post personally, not just you, Mom) with out meaning to sound like a total and complete Grinch: I would suggest loosing this URL. I need to be me here and I need you to understand me and not take it all so seriously. That's what I want for Christmas - that and gift cards. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

You've Got Mail

I have talked about my obsession of mail. I mean for real? How could I not with the kind of muse that I have at my shutter bug trigger happy finger? This year there is an oh so hott deal where ALL I have to do is tell you about WHY Shutterfly, in particular rocks the house. Need one reason?
I chose Shutterfly because I was totally into the PeaceJoyCandyCanes wording.  Can you stand it? The process was super easy and frankly reasonable prices, which doesn't hurt. Last year I may or may not have ordered a few many, due to all of the excitement.  I tend to do that, I prefer to err on the side of caution. I always order more, for real? Check her out! Wouldn't you want to be sure you had enough to go around? Sure, I'll be wallpapering our next family room with old and unused holiday cards, thank you cards and birthday party invitations - but at these prices? Why not?

In addition to cards there are some fantastic options for gifts. A personal favorite? Calendars. It's too bad I tend to give calendars as gifts and never get myself one. The result? Everyone else remembers birthdays and anniversaries - except this girl, right here. On a related note? When you enter promo code: MYCALENDAR at check out - you get up to 50% off your order and a free calendar. Holler. PS this offer ends the 28th (that's today, FYI). Ah creeps - so here I am realizing if I'm doing that this year I have to get on this. The only issue with making these happen each year is the ability to get my hands on some pictures to make it happen (I'm looking at you family, reading this, never sending me pictures). Note to self: start stalking your family early for photos to use otherwise you'll end up like me - on a tangent realizing that you are out of time.

Full disclosure, Shutterfly is offering 50 hott holiday cards, free and clear for letting you know about my positive experience. You can do it too, no problemo. Check it out.  This year, while I had the photos done early, here I sit with so many options I can't handle it. I may very well get a few different designs since I am unable to make a decision. When in doubt? Overbuy. 

What is your holiday card plan?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful

I'm thankful for so much, I almost don't recognize the optimistic me.  It's quiet moments like this I am thankful for.  Mornings like this one, sipping delicious homemade ice coffee, watching whatever my heart desires and quiet all around. The ball & chain goes spinning.  If you ask me, exercising, being hot, blaring loud music on a bicycle sounds like torture that should be illegal- but he loves it? Who am I to say not to go? Plus it means he and the kid get some time post hell to go swimming. Me? I get to sit, quietly, on mornings like this.  Thankful, indeed. 

I am most thankful for the kid, who wouldn't be?  I am thankful for her constant... "Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama." And her follow up, "I love you."  I am thankful for all things offspring, including my partner in crime in raising her - the ball & chain.  My grandmother asked me on Thanksgiving, "How she get to be so good?" (heavy accent implied).  I answered, wholeheartedly, it's a team effort.  I know how blessed we are to have that kind of team work.  I don't know how people do it with out that kind of teamwork. Truly. 

This year, I'm thankful for the upcoming holidays. They are usually filled with stress, travel and mayhem.  I've said it before - time and again: we are staying home for the holidays.  Finally the threats rumors are true.  We are (mostly) staying home for the holidays. I can't wait to stay in PJs all day, open presents with out a crazy fever that stresses me down to the core, and not worry about the next stop in our trip.  For the first time, in forever, we are doing what WE want to do and not what everyone wants us to do.  That's a real Christmas wish come true.  It's baby steps, but I'll take it.

We spent Thanksgiving with Poppa & Cami.  Super fun and while travel was required we were gone and back in two days, with a full weekend ahead of us (see thankful for quiet time above).  Christmas Eve AND Christmas will be spent at home (you all are welcome to stop by).  I'll be the one in PJs for the better part of the day, enjoying every moment.  MyUncleChris & Nana Lu will be in attendance (don't forget to pack your PJs).  Santa & I spoke last night, by way of Black Friday sales, L is going to have one seriously wonderful Christmas.  On the 26th we'll make our way to Poppa & Grammy and the whole crew of cousins, aunts and uncles on the ball & chain side with a quick return home. I'll work that week, with the exception of one day in between Christmas & New Years where Poppa & Cami will come for an extended Christmas celebration at our house.  Notice a pattern? Lots of 'at our house.' 

Christmas. Miracle.

I'm thankful for our family traditions to come and the family that we will be.  I'm thankful for everything that we have and everyone we know; for everyone apart of our life.  We have an amazing family and group of friends. To quote another friend, I'm thankful for friends that will be family forever.

Monday, November 22, 2010

World Beast

Last Night

Daddy: "L, what do you think you want Santa to bring you?"
L: "I dunno. Barbie. And Princesses...."
Daddy: "What about world peace?" (side note: I too was confused as to why he would promote her to wish for something that Santa can't deliver on just yet?)
L: "Yes, I want Beauty & the Beast."

--------

Dad: "What are you going to get Daddy?"
L: "Um, princesses, Belle, Sleeping Beauty..."

-------

Tonight

Set the scene: L dropped something in the car. 
Daddy: "Where did it go?"
L: "Under there."
Daddy: "Under where?"
L: "Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!"

Literally hours later - you can hear her laughing about it, still!
"Under where?" Get it? Underwear. 
And so potty humor begins. 

A little while longer? She flipped from just screaming (and laughing) "UNDERWEAR" to singing "It's underwear tiiiime!" Alla Jersey Shore & It's T-Shirt Tiiiiime!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Have Kid, Will Dine

I feel like everyone in and around the Cambridge, MA area needs to know about Full Moon Restaurant. Sure, they don't carry my DOC (in this case, I didn't expect them to carry benadryl, more so my DRINK of choice, Bud Light), but I tell you it didn't make a difference. We met some friends with their kids at this place a few months back and I've been meaning to share the wealth. Despite receiving a text from my friend trying to prep me for the 'disaster' she thought would ensue since there was no BL on tap or in bottles (all microbrewery beers) I couldn't care less. And in an interesting twist of faith, post our Europe trip I've actually grown to like non-watered down beer. Yes, it's true. Despite my unwavering love for the BL, I do recognize that part of the reason it is so 'light' is that there is likely more water than anything else in the damn bottle. I won't apologize for my love of BL, but I will say I am starting to see the err of my way. 

I digress:  h
ere's why I love this place and you should too. First - and not in order of importance - they have fanfreakingtastic food. Second, and maybe this is more important this food? It's served at reasonable prices  A kid menu and everything is around 6 bucks. At 6 bucks I expect the golden arches. OH heck no. Delicious food for adults and little humans. Third(s)? The portions? OH heck yeah they sure are fine. Fourth, the atmosphere is totally casual - but the food itself is more 'bistro' like. Holla. This satisfies my need preference to wear jeans and the ball & chain's preference need for fancy pants food. 

Finally and truly the most important thing is to be able to dine with out the order and rush methods that are sometimes needed when children are involved. You know about this if you are a parent or some unsuspecting fool who was babysitting and took the kid to a restaurant. I'll set the scene. The server comes to get the drink orders - you already know your full order and have specific instructions on what needs to come out when and depending on the kid's mood by the time their meal comes out you might also ask for your check once your appetizer arrives.
"WRAP IT UP! We are moments away from crazy town being unleashed on all of our unsuspected dining neighbors."  Side note: I don't suggest actually saying something like this unless you think the server is going to get it. When they don't - they may accidentally fear for their life. 
This place is MORE than kid friendly. It is a restaurant that has crayons at the front and tables to color on. But what's that? There is more?

There are BUCKETS of toys for the kids to grab at the front and play with. Every child loves a bucket of new toys they've never seen. It's a proven fact. But what's that? There is more? 


A freaking play area. 


Oh how I don't understand how more restaurants don't have a play area? Freaking. Genius. There were only a few seats, I wouldn't want to sit at (because I have a younger child) - but most of the seats you could see into the play area and enjoy you brunch, lunch or dinner in peace and quiet (foreign concept for most parents) while your kid played. It was awesome and I just wanted to share anyone in Massachusetts or driving through you should give it a try. Consider yourself enlightened and you're welcome - enjoyment during a night out is yours again. It's true! Also true? This post is not sponsored. I was going to put all this in a yelp comment but I didn't think it would translate. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's a Kitchen, not a Buffet

The bottom line on our parenting philosophy usually comes down to "whatever it takes." That said, there are SOME things we are pretty inflexible with, no matter what it would take.

Before proceeding, if you are going to be judgey, stop here. You may suffer in silence but I don't really want to hear how this is the wrong way to do it - unless you are prepared for me to come back to YOU on all the things that I feel you are doing wrong.  That said, I try not to think one way is the wrong way or the right way.  The disclaimer on that is I think we know the best way for our family. I'm somewhat wish I was open to suggestions, if you are. 

A wise friend of mine usually says, "it's a kitchen, not a restaurant" but I think I'm going with buffet.  We don't have a lot of rules in our house, but when it comes to eating and dinner we are trying to hold true to one.  You eat what we are eating or you are not eating. Some (all grandparents that are currently connected to the kid) may think this makes me us cold hearted snakes, but I assure you I am not the only true believer in this wonderful cause.  Is it fail proof? Hells to the no, what is?

Currently Halloween candy is making dinner dreams come true. Instead of the threat of starvation, the fact that with out eating most everything there is no treat after dinner. It perhaps could be the end of the road, as the Halloween loot is running thin, but we'll work it out (AKA stock fridge with ice pops).  It's not that we want to dictators, sometimes she gets a choice for dinner.  When we are eating something that wouldn't be cruel and unusual punishment (see chili or salad night after night) she has no choice. She has some choices any day. She can (usually) have any vegetable and any fruit to nosh on.  We are lucky, she likes the good stuff.  Where we run into issues is she could probably live on bread and butter or pasta and ... you guessed it butter.  Would it be the end of the world to make pasta every night? No. It's just not happening. What happens when there is more than one? I am no short order cook, hell I don't even cook.
(c) 2007 all rights reserved. aka don't be a D and swipe any content, photos, etc - sucka. Should you be tempted, let me know so I can be flattered and then give me something write about.