Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Triathlon

Well, the Christmas Triathlon is finally over. We have a very interesting family dynamic so we end up going to four different Christmas's. Since both of our parents are divorced, we get double the holiday festivities. Yay for us! Not really, that means being in more places in a shorter amount of time, bringing home twice the stuff to put away, and eating twice the food. Our holiday went like this:

Christmas Eve- Jake had to work until 2pm and when he came home we got a shit-ton (which is a unit of measure by the way) of snow, so he spent 2 1/2 hours shoveling, plowing and shoveling again. We had to be to my former step-dad's mom's house by 5pm for a Christmas thing. (This is my mom's ex but we are still involved as family. I know, I told you it was an interesting family dynamic.) So we made it to the festivities in spite of 7 inches of snow and partying til around 8pm to make it home by 9 ish so that Santa could get to work. My mom met us at our house and helped with the Santa preparations. Meanwhile, Jake went to his mom's house to shovel her driveway, as we would be having Christmas get-together #3 with her the next day and other people would be coming too. My mom and I finally finished organizing, wrapping and laying out all the present around 11pm. Exhausted. Went to bed and Jake came home around midnight.

Christmas -
The children woke us up promptly at 6am. Luci was pounding on the door to get to her presents so we opened presents around 7am. My mom had stayed the night (kind of a tradition) and so we all opened our gifts. Around 9am my aunt and cousin came over to open gifts and have breakfast. We got a late start on breakfast and it quickly became brunch. We did have a fabulous brunch though. By around noon, Jake had passed out watching TV and I let him sleep since he had basically shoveled from 2pm-11pm the day before. Around 1:30, I did have to wake him up since we told his mom we would be over between 1 and 2pm to open gifts. And none of us had showered yet.

So, by 3:30 we left the house to go to Jake's mom's. We were greeted by many hungry, eager-to-open-gifts family members. Well, sorry folks, 'cause Luci passed out in the car, so we'll now have to wait until she wakes up. So sit back and relax, it may be a while. We finally got to open gifts and eat around 5pm and came home around 8pm. Exhausted. Not feeling well, I went to bed around 11pm, again. Woke up at 2:30. Sick. Gross. Sick and not good. That's all I'm saying.

December 26-
I was up most of the night getting sick and decided I must have a 24-hour flu. Jake quarantined my bedroom and I slept most of the morning. We were supposed to go to Jake's dad's for Christmas festivities at 3pm. I knew I was definitely not going to make it, so Jake sucked it up and entered the world a brave, single daddy with two kids that were Christmas'ed out. All turned out well and they had a great time. All survived and I am glad to say that I am better. Jake actually recorded some sweet moments on the FLIP camera and he brought me a plate of food. My sweet sweet husband knew me like no other......instead of bringing me mashed potatoes and prime rib, he made me a dessert plate. Man, I love him!

Today-
Recuperating from "The Illness" I lounged all day.

I am glad that the holidays are over for another year. It is so much preparation for such a short period of time. As I lounged on the couch, I soon realized that I only have six days of Christmas break left, so I better make it good!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Card's Past

I put the 'pro' in procrastination, I tell you! Here we are, Dec. 20 and I have a nice huge pile of all the beautiful Christmas cards that friends have sent us. I have officially send zero cards as of this moment. However, procrastinate be damned, I just ordered ours online and they will be ready in about an hour. Thank God for Walgreen's!

As I contemplated what to put on the card, I revisited Christmas cards past. I remember the first card Jake and I sent as a married couple...... ah yes, the Merry Flippin' Christmas Christmas card. This card was so well planned and executed that I actually got phone calls about it! Picture this: A photo of Jake and I in Chicago O'Hare airport at 3am after nearly 18 hours of layovers and plane changes returning from our honeymoon in the Bahamas. The photo catches our emotions so eloquently. It is us giving the finger to the camera.

I layed out the card so cleverly and I was so proud. It was nearly 10 years ago now so the MasterCard commercials were brand new. Priceless.

The card read:

Gift for your wife: $100

Holiday party- $200

Showing all your friends and family how you really feel about the holidays.....Priceless.

Don't get me wrong, we were not nearly as cynical and bitter as we are now. It was just a funny card to send as a newlywed couple. I really need to find that picture, I'm sure I could use that again sometime. Maybe a before and after children card???

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Girl's Day

Luci and I very rarely get to spend quality time alone, but today it's just been me and Baby Moon. I've realized what a carbon copy of me she really is. She is so full of emotions and feelings, she will tell you exactly how she feels and has the most hilarious facial expressions. Case in point.......
Mischief

Curiosity

Love

Funny

Silly

Goofy

Talkative


Animated

Love

Mischief
Carbon Copy

Twin Stockings

I was reading my favorite blog the other day, M Cubed, which also happens to be my fabulous cousin Mandy. While looking at her Christmas pictures and Christmas happenings, I noticed that she had a picture of a mantel with stockings hung. I spied a very familiar looking stocking that said AMANDA on it.


Pictured here to the far left.

I commented that I had the same exact stocking with my name on it instead.
Seems our awesome Grandma Carol must have given us these stockings when we were little. Since Mandy and I grew up miles apart and really only met in our teens, we never knew that we had the same stocking. This just goes to show how rockin' our Grandma really is. It makes me wonder how many other little things that we may have that Grandma bought in two's!?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Denise

While I was working at the flower shop, I met quite a few interesting people. But none as memorable as Denise. Sweet, sassy, manly, Denise.

It was a Friday, late afternoon and I was about to get off work. At the time, I was in charge of helping customers when they came in . I would take orders, make arrangements and wrap things up for them. It was a pretty normal day, until Denise showed up. I heard the bell ring as the door slammed shut. I finished what I was doing and casually went out front to see if someone needed help. As I turned the corner I experienced feelings of confusion, curiosity, humor, confusion again and then acceptance.

Denise was very tall for a lady, maybe 6'4" or so. She wore a sandy blond, curly, shoulder length ladies wig and big glasses. Her glasses reminded me of Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie. She wore a floral print long skirt and sweater. She was wearing high heels, but not new and fashionable, think orthopaedic old lady shoes. She reeked of cigarettes and cheap perfume and carried a large purse.

She seemed uncomfortable and a little nervous. I smiled and greeted her. She uncomfortably smiled back and turned the other way. I asked if she needed any help and she simply nodded her to let me know not yet. I fiddled around the cash register for a while trying to figure her out without her noticing my stare.

Now, I am very gay friendly and have many friends that are "the gay", as my best gay friend would call it. I grew up in an environment where I just understood that men have men friends and sometimes we call certain friends "auntie Craig." So, seeing a man dressed as a woman should not have been such a shock to me. I think, rather, it was the fact that she was such a poorly done tranny that I was confused by the most. Of all the gay men I know, none would have ever been caught dead in her attire. If I can say one thing about gay culture, it is that you do it in style, honey. Snap snap.

To continue, as I watched from afar, I questioned whether or not she really was a man or woman. I noted the details.
1. Very tall
2. Obviously wearing a wig
3. Walks like a man.

The bad clothes, choice of purse and shoes really threw me off though. I couldn't get past it and that is what made me wonder if she was just a really manly woman. As she looked in the cooler for a long time I finally, after about ten minutes, asked her again if she found anything. She faced me and the moment that helped me make my final decision that she really was a man happened. She had an obvious five o'clock shadow and said in a raspy, Jewish, New York accent, "Yes, I am having a dinner party and I need a corsage to wear on the lapel of my blazer." And as she said 'blazer' she laid her large, hairy knuckled hand on her collar. That hand gave it away!! She had the biggest hands I have ever seen with long fake press on nails. Any self-respecting queen would have had her nails professionally done, but she had obviously gone with the Lee Press on Nails.

I smiled and contained the laughter inside me and proceeded to take her order. She was very nice and told me all about how she was having a dinner party and wanted a corsage to pick up the next day. I finished taking her order trying not to fall apart and wondering where the hell were all my co-workers to see this!! (At the time, I worked with three respectable gay men that would have died to see her!) We finished the transaction and she agreed to pick up her order the next day, which was Saturday.

As she left the shop, I near fell on the floor laughing. The minute the door slammed shut I let out a blast of air, as if I had been holding my breath under water for the last 10 minutes. I scurried around the corner to the back of the shop to find someone, anyone that could catch a glimpse of her to validate my thoughts that she was, indeed, a man in a dress. As I found the first co-worker, which was the manager, I blasted, "DID YOU JUST SEE THAT!?" A confused and dumbfounded response, "What? That lady?"he said. "No, THAT was NOT a lady! That was the worst drag queen I have ever seen!" I replied.
"No, that was a lady. I saw her." He was not convinced either. (This manager happened to be a veteran gay who probably had seen his fair share of drag queens in his day.) I couldn't believe it, they didn't believe me!

The next day, I had off so I made sure that the manager was aware of the order so he could see with his own eyes when she came to pick up her corsage. On Monday, when I returned, the first thing I said before I even got my coat off was, "So, did you meet Denise?"
As his face exploded with laughter, I knew he had the same realization as me. Turns out Denise had come back the next day in her just-as-bad outfit the next day and picked up her corsage, reeking of cigarettes and cheap perfume.

Denise became a long standing joke and loyal customer. She returned every once in a while, wearing bad clothes and smelling like a shady disco club. She was always very sweet and uncomfortable. She would lay her cigarette outside the flower shop door and pick it up and proceed to finish it after she left. She always came to order flowers for friends or dinner parties. I always wondered who she was having dinner parties with. Did her friends see her as absurd as we did? Why didn't they tell her? Or maybe they were also a bunch of men that dressed so obviously as women. Maybe they didn't care and that's what I loved about Denise. She was a man wearing a dress and wig God damn it and by God she didn't give a shit! She was living her life the way she wanted to and being the person that she wanted to be.  She obviously didn't care what people would think of her and she was brave enough to embrace it.  We should all look at Denise not with a smirk or giggle, but with admiration and envy because how many people can honestly say they are living their life exactly as they want to live it?

Where ever you are Denise, work it girl!  Be yourself, honey and rock those orthopaedic shoes!

Elf Fail

Well, let's see......today was pretty uneventful except for a few things.
1. A first grader barfed during our whole school opening ceremony that we do every morning. We evacuated the area stat and then I had to begin my day by calming down a class full of grossed out second graders.

2. A student lost a tooth in my class within minutes of the barf evacuation. It was a first for me and I wasn't sure what to do so I kind of freaked out. He came up with tooth in hand and blood running down his chin, "Mrs. T, I just lost a tooth." I stuttered a few indistinguishable words and looked around, as if another adult would tell me what to do with him. When I realized it was up to me, I responded, "Uh, ok, uh well.......are you bleeding? Ok, yea. Go to the nurse." Minutes later he came skipping back with some tooth necklace that distracted him for the next 30 mintues until I took it away. Meanie teacher strikes again!

3. I forgot to move the f'n Elf on the Shelf last night and Ivan got up earlier than I did this morning!! F*&#! F&#$! Ivan woke me up with disappointment in his voice, "Mommy, Bob is still where he was yesterday. Maybe he didn't go to the NorthPole last night to report to Santa." As I silently cursed myself and the whole idea of that flippin elf, I devised a quick response. "Well, maybe he just liked that spot and he went back to it for another day. It was a good place to see and hear everything." To my relief, he bought it.
**Note to self, move the flippin elf tonight!!


4. I heard a song that reminded me of a funny story that I could easily write 2-3 blogs about. "Lola" by the Kinks reminded me of my first encounter with a transvestite, Denise. WBL- Will blog later.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I feel a little taller today.


Woooohoooo guess who's 32!!!

This cute chick!!

Alas, it is my birthday day and I am now, gulp, 32. Honestly, it's not that bad and it doesn't really bother me. It felt like any other day, really.

I woke up before the alarm went off, which always pisses me off. The children and husband gleefully wished me a happy birthday. Jake made the baby humans breakfast and I took a little longer shower than usual.

The children at school immediately realized it was my birthday and instantly wanted to know how old I was. (They always have this fascination of how old the teacher is.) Of course, I told them I was 100. Thankfully, they didn't believe me. I giggled at their responses and asked, "Don't I look great for my age!!" They roared in laughter.

They kept asking and wouldn't let it go, so I asked how old did they think I was? (Loaded question, I know.) The initial responses were positive though. A little girl shouts out 29! I spun around and gave her the game show pointed finger and said, "We'll go with that one!" Just then another student said I must be around 23. My smile grew as I made a mental note to make that little darling my new favorite. Then, some hellion said I was definitely 40. I made a mental note that he was now my least favorite.

After the conversation died down a little, ( I never did tell them I was 32) someone asked if I felt any different today. Too cute, since you know that someone has probably asked him that on his birthday. I answered that, no, I didn't feel any different. He looked serious for a moment and then said, "Well, I think you look.....taller."

The rest of the day was a battle and felt as if it would never end. They were beasts today and even the fact that it was birthday wasn't enough to get Problem Child to behave.

We did, however, write letters to Santa today, which was adorable by the way. I saw somewhere that Macy's is donating money to Make a Wish foundation for all the letters dropped off at their stores. Since Ivan is a Make a Wish recipient, I thought what better way to support the cause.

I found some cutesy paper and told the kids we would write a letter to Santa. First of all, they were so stoked. We talked about what types of stuff to put in the letter, like if they have been good, what they want, (but not too much because you don't want to sound greedy), whether or not they will leave cookies and such. One letter that I read said "Santa I will leve you sum cokies and mill. P.S. Don't spil the mill." That means milk. How cute is that!? This is why I love my job. Even Problem Child's letter made me smile, he wants a iPad, DSi, a gun and a car. Eeeeeeeerrrrrrt. Wait. A GUN!?!! I said, "Whoa, a gun. What do you need a gun for????" in a scared teacher kind of way. "Just a bb gun," he said. Breathe sigh of relief, whew. Still, Problem Child does not need a bb gun. Do you hear me Santa? HE DOES NOT NEED A GUN!!

After school, we had a staff meeting, which was short and sweet so I was happy. We congregated in my room afterwords taking funny pictures for our school Christmas card to send to other schools in our district.

Ivan's Christmas program was also tonight and pretty uneventful. Yesterday, I realized we had so much stuff going on and commented about how it was birthday, I had a staff meeting and the Christmas program. Ivan's response, "Well, I only sing one song. Do we HAVE to go, Mom?" He is not exactly the performing type. However, we went and had a good time. He actually sang the song and did the choreography that accompanied it. Proud and surprised as I was, I got to use my new FLIP camera. Yay!

We went out for dinner, had some cake and played before bed. I must say that I do feel a little taller today and 32 really isn't so bad after all.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Changes

"There's going to be some changes around here."
~Nurse Ratched
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Well, tomorrow I turn 32 and some things have been on my mind that need to change soon. By the way, if you want to get me a birthday gift, I really want this. Body Media Armband
It's only $250 and it goes along with #1 on my changes list.

1. I NEED to loose some of this "baby weight". My children are now 6 and almost 3, so I can't hang on to this excuse that "I have kids" much longer. I really really want an elliptical machine for my house, but Jake doesn't agree. He thinks it is a waste of money and space. I have tried the gym membership before and never get my money's worth. I usually go for the first 4-5 months and then life gets in the way. I really need something that I can do to exercise at home or extremely close to home. I don't have time to drive all over creation to get to a gym. If you have any suggestions please let me know.

2. Since I will be 32 in a matter of hours, I think it's about time that I take up a new hobby. I have been thinking about being a master cookie baker or something like that ( this probably won't help my weight loss efforts, however). I have lots of friends that have a cooking niche. My fabulous cousin is insane about making scrumptious ice cream and cupcakes, my sister in law is all about cakes and desserts, and another cousin is all about casseroles and such. If I have a niche, maybe I will seem more interesting or at very least, I will have something better to do with my time, rather than watch TV.

3. I vow to figure out the composting thing this Spring. I had every intention of doing it last Summer, but I was so consumed by finding a job that I said screw it. My garden did pretty good last year, but I really would love to add my own compost to it.

4. I have to quit buying stuff on ebay. My addiction has caused me to buy the same Christmas book for my classroom that I already had. Crap! Which reminds me.....

5. I need to organize my classroom library a little better. I think I need a different system. I have no idea what books I have and even if I do know that I have a certain book, I don't have the faintest idea where it's at! I feel like the beginning of the school year was such a whirlwind that I didn't have the time or know-how to organize all those books. Maybe this is a task to tackle after the new year.

6. I have to take better care of my car. My poor car is a big trashy, toy boxy, over-due-oil-change, kind of mess. We plan on buying a new 2011 Mustang in the Spring, so I guess I better get used to it. The toys aren't my fault, but they keep the kids busy while we are en route. The trash and oil change are my fault, however. I have no excuse other than lack of time or motivation. I keep telling myself once I have the new car I will definitely feel inclined to keep it clean. And I have already been getting the kids prepared for no drinks in the car ( so when the time comes, it's not such a culture shock)!

I know this stuff may seem petty to some, but little stuff like this weighs on my OCD mind. Maybe it's the 'over achiever' in me, but sometimes, you just gotta make a list!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Damn you, over achiever!

In the last week, I have been called an over achiever twice. Twice! I admit that I am an only child (gasp) but I'm not THAT bad. Am I? Today, I was called an over achiever because I put some thought into my door decoration at school. God for bid if I should spend more than 20 minutes planning and executing a door decoration. I thought my idea was super cute and I know that the kids will love it.

My door decoration looks like a fireplace scene with Santa's boots in the fireplace. I am having the kids make stockings with their names on them to hang on the mantel that I created. I used some glitter glue to write "Welcome Santa" on a rug in front of the fireplace. Leave it to me to raise the bar by "going all out" on my door. Really? I spent a whole half hour and now I'm an over achiever. Either I really am an over achiever or other people just have very low standards. Wait....is that the definition of an over achiever??

Elf on the Shelf

I have been hearing about this Elf on the Shelf from co workers at school for the last two weeks, so I decided that we should try this little Christmas trickery with our own children. It sounded like a cute idea and a way to keep the kids motivated to be good from now until Christmas. I did some searching of the internets ( yes I said internets) and found that one could find the elf at most Hallmark stores.



So over the weekend, I went in search of an elf. I went to our local Hallmark and they were out but I was in luck because a cute, little, over-priced kids boutique in the shopping plaza also sold them. I don't understand how I missed the huge window display of elves as I drove by, but I did. After forking out $30 for an elf and book, I started plotting.



How was I going to present the elf? Beacause you know, presentation IS everything! I really wanted to introduce the idea Sunday night, to avoid the Monday morning rush and trying to read, explain and answer questions about this mysterious elf in our house. After talking to my mom, we came up with an idea. I would wrap the box in a paper and place it on the front step. In the mean time, I would have the children go upstairs to clean their room. ( Good ploy on both parts, kill two birds with one elf, right?) Jake would call up to them to come downstairs as I rang the door bell and bolt to the couch, where I would pretend to be vegging out. (Easy enough to believe, really.)



The plan worked and as I "answered" the door to see who was there, Ivan came to see also. I looked curiously around and "noticed" the package on the steps. "Who could this be from?" I asked. Ivan is beginning to read, so with gusto he read "Santa, Santa's Workshop, North Pole. It's from SANTA!?!"




Luci quickly jumped to the window to see if she could see him. Much to her avail, he was already gone. We quickly opened the package and found the elf and the book. I read the book, which explains that the elf is Santa's helper that has magic powers and flies back to the North Pole every night to report back to Santa about how the children have been behaving. The book explained that every morning he will return and we will have to find him hiding in the house somewhere.

**The catch- he is magic, so we can not touch him or he will loose his magic powers and won't be able to return to the North Pole to report to Santa.


For the full details : http://www.elfontheshelf.com/



We also had to quickly name him, because his magic powers will not work until he is named. After much discussion, confusion and contemplation, the children named him Bob. So Bob sat on top of the China cabinet last night.


While Luci was thoroughly enchanted and amused by the whole thing, I got the feeling that Ivan wasn't buying it. As they went to bed, Ivan asked a ton of questions, which continued tonight at bedtime. While he was the first one up this morning and looking for Bob, he still isn't buying it. This was tonight's conversation:



Ivan- "Mommy, when you put him on the China cabinet, what did he feel like? Was he like a plastic toy?"


Me-"Well, he was kind of soft, warm and tingley. "


Ivan- "Was his face plastic feeling? I think it's just a toy. "


Me- "Well, I thought he felt soft, warm and tingley and sometimes you have to believe. Please, don't talk too loud or he will tell Santa that you don't believe!


Ivan- "I do believe. I just think that Bob is a toy."


Me- "Well, then, how did he get here? Where did he come from? How did he move to another spot this morning?"


Ivan- "He came from the North Pole! And I think you moved him last night!"


Me- "Well, I know that I didn't move him and Daddy didn't either and so I believe that he is a magic elf. You can believe whatever you want. Goodnight!"



Now, my problem, you can see is that I have a highly logical child that has always been taught that there are no monsters, that things happen for a reason and there is an explanation for everything. Seems that backfired on me, didn't it??