Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our story of Christmas Eve

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a present was wrapped especially for the spouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
While the kid freaked if St Nicholas would ever be there.

The kids were worried not snug in their beds,
While visions of lost Santas danced in their heads.
And mamma with her beer all cold in a can,
Had accepted her fate of not sleeping; not a big fan. 

When up in our room there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my seat to see what was the matter.
Away from the pile of toys I was midst,
Tore open a storage box and threw up a fist.

The reality of running out of paper and tape was clear,
It's too freaking bad I didn't buy enough this year.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But only one dispenser and eight packing tape spheres.

With a little bit of patience, so rare for this chick,
I knew in a moment I wanted a St Nick.
To come to my house and wrap these presents for me,
I'd be lying if I said I didn't have the thought to flee!

Now toys! now, movies! now, mittens and socks!
On, dolls! On, paints! On clothing with no box!
To the bottom of the tree! to the top of the wall!
Now wrap away! Wrap away! Wrap away all!

And then, in a twinkling, I heard right beside me,
The placement of the final gift under the tree.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
this wretched task was done and it was time to lay down.

My eyes-how they twinkled! My heart oh how merry!
My cheeks were like roses, my nose like a cherry!
I'd like to say it was the Christmas cheer,
but I think we all know - I probably had too much beer.

The pile of presents they were all finally wrapped,
If one more was delivered, the mail man would be slapped.
It wouldn't be pretty if he came by one more time,
I'd probably spend the holiday convicted of a crime.

Back to reality, I thought, did we get everything?
God damn it Alessandro that Elf on the Shelf.
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
How I'm glad we didn't name him Chippy or Fred.

I sprang to my feet, to get my ass to bed,
And thought of how long I'd sleep, those kids I did dread.
But I heard the ball & chain say, ironic & trite,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Christmas Eve - decoded

Me/ "L, you want to write a letter to Santa?"
Her/ "Um, nah."
Me/ "You don't want to tell him anything?  Thank him for coming?"
Her/ "Well, I would like to tell him I hope he enjoys the cookies."

Maybe you aren't reading it the way she said it - but what freaking five year old says she hopes he enjoys the cookie? She had a slight British accent when she said it. Who IS this kid?

She also needed to ask him about was the chimney situation we have. We have a fireplace in our bedroom and one in our living room. We sound fancy, don't we? Something you should know: neither work which The one in the living room that I stare at on the regular particularly irritates me because not only does it not work, but it's a gas fireplace. And I don't know. I don't understand gas fireplaces (sorry). I don't mind them.  I think people should get what they like, but I like a mess. The smell of wood burning. The real deal. Instead I have a pho fireplace that doesn't even do me right by not taking up space. It's large. In charge. And just for looking at and how could you not see it? It's huge. WHICH I would love, if it would work.

I digress.

We have two fireplaces, which means two chimneys in her head. I didn't really want to get into the fact that they share the same chimney. She was obsessed.

What if he goes in your room? What will you do? Will you be scared? If I hear you scream, what if I forget it could be Santa and I come to your room?? Will he use the stairs to get in the living room? Will he leave the presents in your room? Will he go back up to come back down? What will happen if he goes down the wrong chimney????

She got stuck on it, I was worried (terrified) she wouldn't go to sleep. This was problematic.  I may or may not have been ONE present wrapped. She could hypothesize all night long about how the big man was going to choose the right chimney. If she didn't hush it and go to sleep that bastard wouldn't be able to wrap a single one of those packages. And by that bastard I mean me and the ball&chain. Oh and PS I didn't have one of his gifts wrapped either. And he had many a gift to wrap. MANY. Oye. Oh and the kids. Between Santa, us, the generosity of family.... I anticipating seeing the sun come up. We have been receiving deliveries to our house for weeks. And for weeks, I've been saying "I should start wrapping."

We solved the chimney issue by having her include it in the letter and explain that Santa knows which one to choose. Worst case scenario, (if you don't freaking go to sleep you will have nothing to open. NOTHING I say!) he'll figure out where the tree is. Think about it, not everyone has a chimney- he has to know how to get to the tree? That seemed to satisfy her so we could begin the wrapping process.

Each year, I get made fun of for having too much wrapping paper and a million rolls of tape. Each year, I hear him say "Gee. Hope we have enough paper." Sarcasm is the language of the devil. And this year? I decided - not this year! NO.

It was just hilarious when two gifts in I realized we were out of tape. (Sarcasm may be the language of the devil, but it's mine.)

Good news / bad news:
  • We had a ton of packing tape we could use. 
  • We had a ton of packing tape we could use. 
It was a crazy pain in the ass, and I feared it would make opening presents take even longer, but it all worked out. We didn't wrap everything and had a few presents out in the open, which really worked out. And of course, I scared up as many gift bags as I could that made sense. I didn't want to take the present opening piece of the morning away, though I considered it. It only took a little under 3 hours but Jingle Bells it was worth. Another magical Christmas, indeed.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The work of an elf is never done.

The very night Santa could say he was "done" with the Guarro girls, this happened.

Her: "Daddy, I've been dreaming things. But I can't tell you, because I want my wish to come true."
Him: "Well, that's not really how it works. Are you talking about a birthday wish? Those you keep to yourself, but you can tell me other wishes."
Me (in my head): "For the love of all things good & jolly what in the what is she going to want now?"
Her: "Well, I've been dreaming about my list for Santa. But I can't say it, otherwise they won't come true."
Him (begins the con on our 5 year old): "L, that's really not how it works - we already sent our letter to Santa and you already told him what you wanted when you met him. If you want to change something, you kinda have to say it out loud so he gets the message? He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake...  he doesn't reads minds."
Her: "Ok, well - you know how I said I wanted a Mérida doll?"
Him: "Yes."
Me (in my head): "SON OF A CANDY CANE. We have 3 Mérida dolls in our possession. Two we bought when we were out because we didn't know if the next place would have the version you wanted. We bought a safety and then found the one you wanted. A third just came in the mail; sent as a gift. You best say you want more than one Mérida doll, because we got'em."
Her: "Well, I don't want a Mérida doll anymore."
Me (in my head): "Of fa la la course."
Him: "Why? Would you be disappointed if Santa already packed up a doll for you? Why don't you want one now?"
Her: "Well, I don't want a doll. I want a stuffed animal Mérida, not a doll."
Him: "Hmmm... honestly, L. I don't know if stuffed animal princesses exist. I don't know if princesses are made into stuffed animals or just dolls."

Her (in her sassiest most serious tone): "Daddy. They are elves, they can make anything!"

Me: (immediately on the Internet finding out if a stuffed Mérida exists. It does. The shipping required, but not guaranteed, due to timing would cost almost $30. There is also a Disney store, 40 minutes away.): "Of course."

While a mother's love can't be measured it should certainly say something that I found my way to the Disney Store that night. I got the plush Mérida. And maybe her horse and three brother bears. If she doesn't freak out when she realizes Santa heard her new & improved Christmas wish, I'm invoicing her for gas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

When you don't know what to say...

you point in the direction of people who have the words you wish you could articulate.

On returning back to "normal" - Brenna (Suburban Snapshots) hits the nail on head, as usual: The Slow Return to Our New Normal.

On why I'm not talking to the kid about Sandy Hook. Why I don't want to talk about it, to anyone - Catherine (Her Bad Mother) creepily in my head and better than I could ever construct : Why I'm Not Talking To My Kids About Sandy Hook.

Trying to laugh again, Allison (Motherhood, WTF) points to those who will let you get your giggle on: Gotta Laugh.

That's all I've got.

Cute ass Christmasry has been happening all around me, and I'm present in those moments. 100%. But when I sit down, here, I'm not here. I'm empty. I'm going to get back into our new normal, but not quite today. Soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


There is no question when a life is taken, at any age, it is sad.  That's not even the word.  Something like that, but worse. And harder.

But these children?

I was entrenched into a workday when news hit of this tragedy, this unimaginable horror in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Blissfully, unaware. I came downstairs a little after lunch to learn about a school shooting. Terrible. Awful. Another. Why?

But then, but then I learned it's a class of kindergarten children, a first grade class? Babies. Babies like my baby.

I almost can't process this. I almost wish I couldn't. I want to be angrier, but I'm just too sad. Heavy hearted, in a way that I would describe as unimaginable, but how can I? My babies are here with me. To be a parent, to lose your baby at anytime, it's unimaginable.  That's not even the word.  Something like that, but worse. And harder.  But like this? Senseless. That's not even the word. Something like that, but worse. And harder.

I don't want to watch the news. But I need to watch. I need to know why. Not that why will make sense. Not that there is a reason or explanation. What was the catalyst? Not that it would even matter, but that's where my head is at.  My youngest is napping as I type this and my oldest is at the gym with her daddy. And during this time of quiet there are lists of things I should be doing, and of all the things in the background I choose this horrifying coverage. I'm almost unable but to take in anything else, because I need to know the how and why.  Which is ridiculous. That's not even the word. Something like that, but worse. And harder.

And do we talk to L about this? Of course not, my gut, heart & head scream to me. But what if she asks me about it. What if someone else in her class has a parent that didn't shield her from this. What then?

Side note, as I looked for the answer: I found Cool Mom Picks collected some online resources on talking to your kids (or not).

I don't know how this doesn't change a person, however far, far on the outside I sit. Every moment right now, seems like a reminder. When my baby comes home she's a reminder. I'm reminded to keep this community, and all those parents beyond this moment who have lost a child, in my heart. And as heavy as my heart truly is, there is this massive conflict I feel. Because I am bursting with overwhelming joy.  I'm reminded to be thankful. She's a blessing, she can come home. And I will continue to hold on to that, everyday - forever more.  She'll be coming home.  The alternative is unimaginable. That's not even the word. Something like that, but worse. And harder.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lennie: v. to love something so much that you over do it, killing it, unintentionally*

I've been known to be in the company of those who Lennie.  I'm not proud to say it, but I occasionally Lennie a situation. I can't help it. I love it so hard and so much what other option do I have? Love it responsibly? Hell to the no.

I find a song I love; I play it over and over again, on repeat. I'll read a book that I love, for days. I won't put down. I become entirely too obsessed and will read for days straight, never breaking to talk to a person or sleep. Or I'll love a story so much (not for the writing, so much as the story it tells) I'll read it. Again and again, despite it being a young adult series (whatever, I love their love, it doesn't have to make sense to you). I'll get started on a TV series and since every episode is available the next thing I know I have watched a season of 24 in, that's right - you've guessed it, 24 hours. Sometimes some thing is so funny, I watch it over and over again. Most times, I take things too far.

Exhibit A.

A few years ago, someone passed along this ridiculously hilarious video. It's especially funny if you or anyone you love is from the Island. (Long Island).

And it's a holiday tradition. Pick up that shit around the tree and all. I can't help but play it. A lot. And while I try not to highlight that specific part. It may be a casualty of the holiday & humor. There is even a song. I may have it on my holiday play list.

When we go to get our tree? We call Nana Lu & play the video. We talk in the voice with her, throughout the holiday, going to get the tree, sitting in front of the tree, saying goodbye to the tree. When we pass strangers on the street, we roll down our windows, honk and say "Hurry up! We're going to get the tree. C'mon!"  It's what we do. As the kid gets older, I should probably watch the language... but really? What's the benefit of that? If I did that, I wouldn't get this. 

Photo, me & Instagram. Genius of putting captions ON said photo,
Brenna over at Suburban Snapshots.

This video? It's kind of just the beginning. I may or may not be on a quest to really do the original right. But in the meantime I can't help to but share my gaw-jess girl.

*I'd credit the person who thought of this description, but alas she wouldn't like that. Due to the inability to credit another: I'll say I didn't come up with this term, but I'm taking it. And making it mine. And loving it. And squeezing it & likely over using it until it dies.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Good news, bad news: the holiday card edition

Good news: I am obsessed with mail. We have the best damn holiday card, ever, each year. If I do say so myself. And I do. Toot toot. Beep beep.

No. Serious.

Bad news: there is a lot of pressure to keep up with the amazing nature of the year before. Sure, it's self-inflicted. Sure, no one is waiting by their mailboxes for our genius... no one probably even notices how amazing our cards are... but you know who does? ME. I do. Every year I usually have some kind of idea brewing. This year? I got nothing. Nadda. And when I bring this up... I get "you haven't printed your cards yet?"

Um. No.

I have a few ideas, but they require the kids to make specific faces and do what I need them to do. Let's be honest here: as adorable as they are, doing what I tell them to do is not going to happen.

Another part of the rub, is I have these gorgeous family pictures that we had taken. They are amazing.  We all look cute. We are all looking at the camera. We are in semi-coordinating colors but not catalogey (sorry. no offense, you.) They are beautiful. However after years of funny, different, and surprising... how can I just send cute?

-Desperately trying to find the next great holiday card

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Kitchen renovations

Do you remember those catalogs of toys you would go through? I believe it was Toys"R"Us and Sears or something? The paper was thin and with each category of toys there were be a new color bar at the top. It was glorious. I wish my kids would be able to experience this. Oh, the JOY of getting my grips on that mammoth catalog. It's sad. Now, there is an app for that. And frankly, let me be so bold as to say, Toys"R"us... it ain't great. You've saved all that paper - the least you can do is include the same amount of toys. It's all ads, not everything. I've been in a Toys"R"Us, I know.

Over Thanksgiving, the kid used the app to look through toys. It is neat to be able to just click a toy and put it on your wish list, or Santa's list as it were. I miss folding paper, and circling toys - but whatever. In going through her 98 selections, as she felt the need to speak for her sister, I noticed a few things.
  • Two, count them, TWO motorized cars. Both for JJ, of course. 
  • Countless princesses, some I'm fairly sure she has. 
  • Games, many games, including but not limited to a gems like: Doggie Doo Game. True. Doggie.Doo. 
  • A new play kitchen.
Some of these things I can easily talk her down from.

Me, "Babe, we are not getting cars for kids. That's not happening. I will let Santa know that. I override your list, true story."
Her, "Yea, maybe it's a bad idea. But it's what JJ wanted...."
Me, "No."
Her, "Ok."
Me, "Sweetie, we have that princess. We don't need duplicates of princesses, you know? Why don't you choose ONE princess to ask Santa for?"
Her, "Ok, Mommy."
Me, "Um. No. This game, no. This can't be for kids. It's for kids. Well, no."
Her, "Is it inappropriate? Does it say bad words?"
Me, "No. It's gross... sorry."
Her, "Ok, Mama."

The kitchen, she held onto.

Me, "Hon, we have a kitchen. Let's try to stick to things we don't have, just like the princesses, ok?"
Her, "Well, I don't have that kitchen."
Me, "No, but you have A kitchen."
Her, "Yea, but... my kitchen? Doesn't have a microwave. I NEED a microwave."
Touche, my dear. Touche. So guess what? Would you believe they sell TOY microwave? They do. And home girl is getting an add on, not a full on renovation.

I win. Santa wins.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


We were watching Aladdin the other day and the ball&chain asked the kid, "If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?" Thinking a plug for the cotton candy machine she is asking Santa for....

"I wish for a friend."

BOOM. Heart breaks, shatters, and combusted. All at the same time.  And not in a warm & fuzzy sort of way.

She gets along with everyone in class, according to the teacher. And always has great things to say about school and the kids (mostly) - but hasn't found a connection there.  I can't say that I don't understand.  I get it. I wanted to scream, "ME TOO, GIRL!" But I only accidentally fail at motherhood, I try not to try to fail. So I stay quiet and smile, and reassure her that it takes time to make good friends. It's taken Mommy her whole life, and I still struggle with it.

"Mama, what's struggle."

Inner monologue, "Life, kid. LIFE."
Reality, "When things are hard. When they aren't easy. When you have to try harder to do something."

Happy to be with friends.
At their birthday party.
With cake.
And in reality, it IS hard to make new friends. It's always been that way for me. Among the many traits I hope my kids don't 't get from me, that's my greatest wish. Because this face, this kind of true blue smile? I haven't seen it in awhile and the next time I do? I don't know if I'll be able to hide my happiness.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Traditions are important

2011 "perfection"
I'll be honest, last year's photos scared me. Not only did I buy matching outfits for the girls (who am I?) but everyone looked so happy.

I am aware I don't make sense.

I mean, 2011 pictures were ok. It's NO 2009 though. Let's be honest.

Today we went Ohio City Holiday Festival. I hoped, maybe, we'd get to grab a picture with Old Saint Nick. Did I have high hopes for a little less perfection that we found in 2011? Maybe, I did. Would I have preferred tears? No, though I won't say it would have bothered me. Mother of the year, I'm coming for you.

The Holiday Festival was fine, I think (at first), I expected more. To be fair, if you look at the information they said there would be crafts, Santa, and gifts to buy. There were local stands for this & that, one craft and one booth you could decorate cookies. Cute. There were trees for sale, the smell of Christmas. It was nice. But then, in addition to the ability to take a picture with Santa something truly magical happened. Something they should have put on their flyers.

Santa was there, all right. He sung, real songs, many of them. He sung his way into his chair, awaiting the children to tell him their wishes and dreams. But not before he rapped, moon walked, churned butter and did the cabbage patch. 

Good times, had by all. That was until it was time for pictures with Santa. And just like that, tradition continued and the baton was passed.  We'll be back. 2013 I'm looking at you.
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