Well, another day of happiness, Conspicious California Consumer style. Right now I don't care if I EVER see another chunk of that Hellish gray wire that toymakers insist on winding around every toy in weird, inaccessable, unexplainable places. And that damned super-strong clear tape they then cover the stupid gray wire with, as if it wasn't already anough of a pain in the neck. All this while an over-sugared, under-slept, hot-wired 5 year dances and emits high-pitched yowls of anticipation at your feet. Something about this makes my brain just flatline and I lose what little fine motor skills remained in my fingers. Soon the kids are watching me with an expression pretty darned close to pity on their faces. This year I tried to circumvent this somewhat by taking the items out ahead of the wrap session and doing away with the annoying gray wire and tape and placing batteries. This worked fine at home but I still looked bad once we got to N's paternal grandparents home and tore paper there. And we still have another family holiday shinding to go to on MY side of the family. I'll tackle that when the time comes, hopefully I'll have a day to rest up beforehand.
big hit with N. this year (so far) is the replica stuffed bunny I made,
using her favorite, worn-out-to-the-nub toy as a pattern. The problem
was that I could only work on it at night after she was asleep, and by
then I was so tired and wrung out from fighting a sinus/ear infection
that I was making all sorts of weird mistakes--sewing heads on backwards
and the like. But eventually New Bunny got done, and N. now carries
them BOTH around. The other big hit of the day was the huge--HUGE--34
inches--plastic spider courtesy of our ol' fav, Archie McPhee.
LOVES things like this--no dolls for her, she's a plastic dinosaur and
rubber bug kinda girl. She hauled both the stuffed bunny and the spider
along to Grandma and Grandpa's house to share. They looked at us as if
we had three heads, but oh, well.
big hit of the day is the beautiful black and purple velvet
dress/blouse that J. got me. It's got dragons on the purple velvet, a
lace-up bodice, long, flowing sleeves and a long, draped back the
reaches below my knees. It's so cool I don't think I'll ever take it
Along with the goodies, we try to get N. to
appreciate and savor the season. We check NORAD's website as they track
Santa's progress on Christmas Eve. We make a point of reading The Polar
Express and The Night Before Christmas. Another treat is to turn off
the TV and stereo and turn off all of the lights in the house except
those on the tree, then just sit quietly and look at it. I remember as a
child doing this-I'd crawl under the dining room table all by myself,
take off my glasses and just enjoy the beautiful, blurry, colored blobs.
Our tree this year is a nice one, but sadly is too full to allow the
hanging of the lead tinsel (NOT plastic, haz mat be damned). Another
fun tradition we started, is that every year on New Year's Day when it
is time to take down the tree, we each take a pen and write a short
note, memory or comment on the tissue that wraps the ornaments. That
way we have a fun history of notes to read aloud to each other NEXT year
when we unwrap the ornaments. So far we have about 7 years worth of
this. My favorite is the one from a few years ago that notes that N.
took her first steps that New Year's Day.
Last night we went for
our annual drive to look at Christmas lights. I took along a bundle of
jingle bells and periodically held them out the car window and shook
them in a Santa's sleigh-type cadence. Several times we got small
children to freeze in their tracks. The outing to view holiday lights
always turns up with lots of strange ones. This year's oddest was the
large, expensive McMansion wearing obviously the OLD house's lights.
Waaaay undersized and pathetic looking in a amusing way. Interestingly,
we started our annual Christmas light hunt armed with a video camera to
search out the hideous, tacky houses. We'd tape it to show our
family--surely no one would beleive us otherwise--and our snarky,
smart-ass comments ended up on the tape. It's impossible NOT to comment
when you see some of these (Santa on a surfboard!). The trip got to be
popular with the family and ended up becoming a Pointless Family
Tradition--just like putting the bows off of the packages on my brother's
I've just spent the last 2 hours clipping tags from new
clothing, setting up new toys, wrestling other items from their
packaging and reading instructions. Our giant curbside trash can is
stuffed to the gills, it's maw overflowing with bright shreds of paper
and loose strands of ribbon. "A Christmas Story" has been running all
day on one of the TV stations, last night they were running "A Miracle
on 34th Street" over and over. Today we allowed N. to tank up on as
much candy as she wanted, to her cautiously puzzled happiness. Little
half-eaten bits of it are gathered in a small dish for tomorrow. I'm
sure this is typical and a great reason why school resumes NEXT week.
still gets up at a reasonable hour, today was 7AM. We are especially
thankful for this when J's sister tells us that HER kids start trying to
get everyone up starting at around 4AM. I'd use strap clamps and
industrial strength epoxy to keep them in bed if they did that to me.
to download today's pictures off of the camera. As an aside, the
chickens were NOT amused by the giant plastic spider that N. ran out
into the yard to "share" with them. I believe they will need extended
therapy after today...