Monday, December 5, 2011

The Three Wise Things

Our Christmas card last year.  Eves was going through a weird strange smiling phase. Every picture I look of her looked like this.  Love it.

I decided to adopt the Christmas policy that my best friend, Alissa, has created, for HER children, this Christmas.  She, also, has three daughters, and because of monetary concerns, and the fact that we both feel like our children have everything, and that we throw out or donate a ton of their cumulative junk every few months, we have decided to instill a new policy for Christmas.  It is as follows:

You will get three things from Santa and Mom and Dad (combined) this Christmas:

1.  Something you WANT.

2.  Something you NEED.

3.  Something you will USE.

Now, I don't know about YOU guys but each Christmas my kids get so much stuff (from us and Santa, and the grandparents and cousins)  that it is almost overwhelming to them.  Each year, I end up putting away some of the stuff for some snow day or rainy weekend afternoon because they could not possibly use and play with everything they get each Christmas.

But, make no mistake, I usually forget where I put everything and when I do, in fact, discover the stash, I end up regifting them for peer birthday presents throughout the year.  Bad Mommy foils the holidays AGAIN!

Anyway, this is yet another game I am running on my children this Christmas.  I like the fact that they have to actually THINK about what they really want, and not just give me a running daily tally of what fancies them after seeing some nonsense commercial or hearing of a friend's Christmas wish, or something.

If you guys can keep a secret, I'll tell you what I am giving my children, to illustrate my point.

Eves in my boots.  I love the look on her face.

Eva ( because she never gets to go first):

1.  Wants - American Girl Horse (she is obsessed with Horses right now. I have been making her play with Mills' old one that is missing a leg.  She has to lean it against the wall while she plays make believe.  When she complains, I tell her to play Veterinarian.)
2.  Needs - hat and scarf (would like to knit these, but I will probably buy them from Gap Outlet.)
3. Use - American Girl Stable (goes along with her horse obsession. Already purchased and received both, and then today she told me that the number ONE thing that she wants is a Tiger Webkinz in a tutu.  Niiiiccceee.)

This is Mills several years ago, horsing around during a Christmas card photo shoot.  I am sure I was yelling at her at some point.  And look how great this picture is!  Gawd, I've changed.  I am not even sure if I am going to get my cards out this year.  Maybe I'll just do an E-Card.  Mills says, "Whatever Mom! LAAAAMMMMMEEEE"

1. Wants - a turtle (she's not going to get one because she has killed every living thing that she has ever owned in a matter of weeks.  I got her the Project Runway Wii game that was number 2 on her list.  She knows better anyway.
2.  Needs - winter coat (I like Northface, and I like to buy them about four sizes too big - you know, in case of a growth spurt.  Even when it is passed down, it is too big for Eva for several years.  Genius.)
3. Use - Tetherball (Can't wait for the injuries, fights, and hopefully legal and medical bills of my own and neighboring children.  Good times.)

Hallie.  Last year at Christmas.  It was the last time she let me cut her hair.  It is a hot mess, now, let me tell you.  She has grown about a foot since then.  Eves is right beside me right now (as she ALWAYS is) and she asked who this was in the picture.  THAT is how much Hallie has changed.  WOW.  Mom moment.  Let it pass and publish your blog, for Pete's sake.

1. Wants - Pottery Barn Teen Duvet Cover (after she stole Brad's and my down comforter - guess what we are asking for for Christmas?)
2. Needs - boots (she wants the Ugg Turquoise button ones, SHHH, don't tell, she believes she is VERY fashion forward.  These will also be several sizes lager than her foot and will be passed down twice.  I am my Father's Daughter, people.)
3. Use - Dress form (aspiring designer phase, will be selling it on Ebay next summer.)

Now, I feel like I got rather large gifts for each of them so I don't feel a bit guilty.  The other bullshit, like, oh, I don't know , like the recorder Eva wants or the "anything Selena Gomez" request by Hallie can be handled by their grandparents or bought with gift cards.

What I am trying to do for you and your families is to take the fun out of Christmas and I hope that I am achieving that goal for you.  If I manage to make your children as miserable as mine will be Christmas Day, then I will have reached all of my Evil objectives. 

Seriously, this is a little late in the game, but I just LOVED the idea when Alissa shared it with me.  I don't know about you, but I can get manic and forgetful around the Holidays and then I have a basement closet full of impulse purchases for Christmas that they don't remember asking for, or no longer want.

I just like that this idea sets forth a criteria for them to follow so they don't waiver so much as they get closer to Christmas Day.  I mean, I remember Christmas being a day where I really, really wanted something and I either got it or didn't.  Wow, that just sent a pang of sadness down my spine.  Why didn't I get everything I asked for, WHEN I asked for it?  That is something I am definitely going to take up with my therapist.

I asked for ten sessions as my NEED category. (I figure that will keep me until my March birthday, when I can ask for more.) GAWD, I hope I get it, or else I am going to be sooooo DEPRESSED.

Seriously, Hallie, Mills, Eva, and Myself included had as their NUMBER ONE WANT on their Christmas List, a trip to see my best friend, Alissa and her three children, during Christmas break and we are going the day after Christmas.  Come to think of it, it is probably on Brad's WANT list, too, but he would never admit it.

I guess a second recommendation is to visit your best friend this Christmas.  There is no better therapy I can think of.

Peace (on Earth) Out, Peeps.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday Hoopla and going out early

Last night, Brad's Forum Group had an outing at Shadowbox Caberet, which is a local theatre troupe, here in Columbus.  I kept making fun of the outing because the group is this business association where the topics are super confidential so I kept ribbing Brad about what we were supposed to talk about - you know, what is "safe", and what is "off limits".

"Are we all going to use fake names?  Will there be disguises?  I want to wear sideburns.  I think you should wear a fake arm so that one is longer than the other."

Brad was exhausted before we even got there.  The people (lets just call them "Forumers, cause some of them are farn -Oops there I go giving shit away.  Or am I?  Shhhhhhh.)  were really lovely and downright ornery, which I LOVE.

ANYWAY, The show was called Holiday Hoopla, and my takeaway (and everyone else's) was that the second act was soooo much better than the first.  It was almost like two shows.  During the first Act, I found myself bored and preoccupied, and imagining the home lives of all of the actors on stage.  The second Act, I was totally mesmerized, and into it and laughing out loud.

At first I thought that I no longer enjoyed the arts and had become one of those people who just pretend to enjoy things while they make mental lists and play scenario games.  Those people are usually labeled ADD and "well on their way to checking out".

I had a friend in college whose sister's husband used to say that "it is a matter of time before all women go completely bat shit crazy,"  he continued, "I think my wife is going to go out early.  I give her until age 35, 40, tops."

Well, I am well on my way to Crazytown.  Let me tell you.  Nomads wander less than my mind.  It is not a reaction to boredom, like it used to be, it has now become the norm in any situation where I am at rest.  I find this fascinating and disturbing at the same time. 

Anyway, this is going to be a short post, because my mind is starting to focus on several other things and I need to go do several of those things half-assed. 

My Christmas wish for you, today, is to go out and see some Christmas shows during the holidays.  It was quite refreshing and I felt like an adult again.  If you are local, and not my man in Portugal (thanks for the support, Holmes), the link to Shadowbox is  They have a new venue in the Brewery District that is super cool.  It is right next to World of Beer ( . 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Anything sparkly

I really like sparkly red toes for Christmas.  I do not paint the nails on my hands, but if I did, I would do some sort of cool nude color, like Jen Aniston always wears.  But, if you have good nails, definitely do THIS.

I also like to bring out my "Holiday wear" and wear my hair in different ways. Here are some ideas I found on Pinterest.   Lately, I have been thinking about wearing my sparkly gear in the daytime.  There goes that Freak Flag again, inching itself up to half mast.
This is probably my favorite.

Really cool.  My friend, Megan, sleeps in hers and wears it the next day.  LOVE IT.

Anthropologie has similar head bands to this. 

I know we have had extraordinarily good weather lately (in November), but I really like the fact that it has gotten cold.  I like getting out all of my gloves and hats and putting together new outfits.

The ones I have are red and orange.  I would take a pic but the kids are wearing them today.  They also have one big hole for the four fingers so they would be easier to knit.  I am sure I will research it and never do it.
I got these "arm warmers" in Colorado, when I was there at this little grocery store up in the mountains.  My kids call them "Tetherball gloves" because they have all of the fingers and the thumb exposed and they go all the way up the arm.

I am really into leg warmers, too - over boots, that is, not with a sweatshirt with the neck cut out and Capezios.  I don't mind reliving a trend, as long as it is done in a new way.  That is my rule.

The thinner ones are the best, I think.

Anyway, I decided that due to some stress that I have had lately, I am going to make the effort to dress better during the week, to try and lift my spirits a little.  I am going to paint my toenails Hooker Sparkly Red, an OPI color I have been lobbying for, and I am going to research patterns for hats, scarves and gloves on the internet that I will never finish - but I will start, of course.

Here are some cool sparkly items I found, I own a variation of the black one and am wearing in the pic above.  I got it last year from J.Crew on sale, and I really like the boat neck feature.  I think it would look cute with arm warmers because the sleeves are three-quarter length.  Maybe you will see me pumping gas in this get up some time.  I tend to be like that GD elf that I am sure will consume an entire Christmas post, if not several.  I turn up in unexpected places, in weird outfits, while I "spread mischief and holiday cheer."

This is just amazing.  Would be so cool with leggings and cool black boots.

I love this under a black blazer and jeans or with black Tuxedo pants and heels.

This is similar to the one I own.  Beware.  It is uncomfortable under a blazer.  I think it would be really cool with a bright scarf.

ANYWAY, my tip today is to get out your sparkles and wear them at unexpected times or in a way that you have not thought of before.  You only live once, my friends, so you may as well SHINE - even if it is at the grocery store.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Go Big or Go Home

Our Advent Calendar, purchased from Pottery Barn Outlet 10 years ago.

I decided that I would give myself a little challenge, because I do not have enough to worry about right now.  Actually, it is a distraction, more than anything else - as if my ADD mind needs that either.  Actually, it is my ADD mind that actually thought to do this challenge, so it all works out in the end, now doesn't it?

ANYWAY, I am going to give you guys a Christmas tip each day.  Sometimes they will be positive, but rest assured, most of the time, there will be recommendations, cloaked in suppressed anger, dripping with sarcasm, with just a sprinkling of veiled insults on the top.  You know, your usual post, just Christmas oriented.

I hope you enjoy it and I hope that you can use some of these tips and then credit me, beeeaaaccchees.

Okay, go big or go home.  Usually, the Advent Calendar is a huge pain in my ass.  I hate all of the crap I have to buy that the kids barely acknowledge, and then I step on it, and break it, after the kids leave for school.  To me, it has always represented the exploitation of a holiday, and commercialism at its very worst.  (Think Sweetheart day status).

However, this year, because of unforeseen circumstances, I have had to reconsider some of my Christmas cheer because of budget concerns.  I went out yesterday to find stuff to fill the advent calendar, times three, which can not only be daunting creatively, but financially as well.  I am always discouraged, too, when the kids frown after rushing to the location that is printed on the slip of paper that I slip into each numbered piece of cloth.  (See pic of advent calendar for explanation.)

I mean, I don't know about YOU, but I tend to try to put a lot of thought into the gifts that I give my kids, and when they take this effort for granted and disrespect the process, I tend to get very disenchanted, and then yell at them for not being grateful.

So this JOYOUS thing, that celebrates the countdown to the birth of Christ, is turned into this tense moment each morning where I anxiously await their response to their advent calendar gift.  Then an all out brawl breaks out if one or two of the three gifts is a different color or size.  Guidance tip: Make sure you specify which child gets which gift or, if you have multiple children, make sure all of the advent gifts are identical, to avoid this unpleasant scenario.

Maybe, YOUR children are entirely respectful, and would never think to insult their mother the way mine do, and just maybe your children are made of angel dust, and were brought to life by the shear will of your love, but I am willing to bet that you have all had similar experiences and luckily, for you, I am here to navigate the treacherous Christmas waters for you.

Okay, another thing I changed this year, is to tell the children that every 5th day, they will get a TOY in their advent calendar pouch, and in between they will receive inspirational messages from me.  Just kidding, in between they get candy or chocolate to start their day.

That way, I was able to spend more on those five (x 3) gifts and it gives them something to look forward to.  Also, that way (genius in my eyes) they will be more appreciative of each gift.  See?  In between, each gift they KNOW they will be receiving candy or chocolate, so there is no disappointment there.

I am not a total louse or sucker, (which is yet to be determined, I guess) because I got the candy that I am supplementing their Advent Calendar with, at my favorite local candy/lunch place, The Chocolate Cafe - (
Chocolate Cafe chocolate covered pretzels and "reindeer nose" cherry malted milk balls.  Yummy!

I go there because I LOVE the owner, and she is totally rill ( see post: for definition explanation) and today when I went there we had this great conversation about how Thanksgiving SUCKS and when I told her how all three of my children asked for Pizza Lunchables, 45 minutes after Thanksgiving dinner was over, she concurred that the actual dinner of Thanksgiving is a huge sham and that next year she is "just going to order pizza and be done with it."

I LOVE HER.  She is on my team.  You see, here is the THANG, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to buy from local small business owners who are in it like the rest of us - just trying to make a go of it, with a dream and hard work and the tenacity to keep things going, even in the face of adversity.  I am not gonna lie, though, it helps if they have my same cynical attitude, and they are able to laugh at the absurdities of life.

Okay, here are some examples of advent calendars I have in my house.  If you are dialing it in, this is for you.
Eves can't WAIT to get her paws on this chocolate each night.

 Actually, my sweet neighbors, The Youngs, provide each child on our block with this chocolate advent calendar every year.  Their children are actually in college, and yet they still spread their Christmas cheer to all of the young children on our street for no apparent reason but to give my children yet another reason to look forward to Christmas.

The picture above was taken post breakdown because Eva could not locate the number "1" that housed her first piece of advent delight.

My next picture is of Brad's hand-needle-pointed, yes, I said, HAND needle pointed advent calendar that his mother gave me (she did three of them) that I now use for our dog, Scarlett.  She must die a little death each time she comes into my house at Christmastime, and I don't blame her.

Elaine, our last dog, would stand below it for hours upon end, while drool pooled from each side of her mouth.  Scarlett did the same thing tonight.  AHHHH, Christmas memories.  You just never know where you will find them.

Poor photo quality, again. Who cares?

Okay.  Here are the gifts I purchased from Larson's, another local small business.  I'll let you know if they appreciate them, after this years' Advent Calendar Experiment.  I will try and provide video.

A great book and play, if you are able to see it.  Setting myself up for a huge disappointment.

Flashing light floating bullshit toothbrushes.  My attempt at being the perfect Mom.

Cute hairbands for all.   They look really tight fitting so they can all scream when I am doing their pigtails.  NIIICCCEEE.  Beauty hurts.

Bike horns.  Plan on stealing one of these, when they forget about them in the fray of Christmas.

Vera Bradley notebooks and pencils.  Did not get them at Larsons.  Two to a pack.  Gonna use the extra for myself, natch.

Magic worm bullshit.  I vividly remember playing with these for hours with my brother.  The girls will not like them, Fo Sho.

Gund critters.  Securing an argument and eventual breakdown by providing one that is not like the others.  Can't wait for the riot.  Intend on giving the white one to my "favorite child" which will be announced that morning before school.

Enjoy the Holiday Season, y'all!  Just KNOW that you are not the only one suffering disappointment and disillusionment this Christmas!  Just remember with the Advent Calendar - go big or go home, and try and build their anticipation by denying them their right to a gift each day.

Let's see if it works!  I'll keep you posted with my posts.  Wish me luck on having a daily post.  I am getting this first one out at 11 o'clock in the evening amidst the stomach flu.