December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve

I'll let Andrew's work stand on its own. He proudly wrote this without any help from anyone. He reported that it only says, "Mom," because he wasn't sure how to do "mommy" without asking.

Happy 2009!

December 27, 2008

Things we've learned this holiday

It is possible to keep Thomas up so late that he will sleep in the next day. Unfortunately he'll also be not-so-delightful a few hours after he does decide to wake.

Andrew loves the Texas Longhorns so much that I would say he's already gotten $50 worth of good from his new helmet and jersey that Santa brought. He wore it two days in a row and is asking if I can wash it RIGHT NOW.

Thomas loves wooden elephants. Who knew?

Waking up to find your grandparents and great grandma in your house is so overwhelming that discovering Santa presents on top of that is just plain too much to process.

Your toddler crawling up in his daddy's lap and promptly falling asleep during Christmas Eve service is for some reason heartmelting. Watching your husband sacrifice being able to stand, sing or hold a candle during the service because he's holding said sleeping toddler is way beyond heartwarming.

Andrew needs to go to church more often. He has lots of questions.

Next year, five gifts a day, MAX.

We must clear out some toys that aren't being used. My house is apparently shrinking.

It's a good thing Santa brought a doctor's kit. Andrew has diagnosed me with a heart infection and Thomas has diagnosed me - several times daily - with ear infections. Hopefully Andrew is wrong, but sadly, Thomas might be right.

Recycling cardboard after a few days of gift opening is somehow therapeutic.

When it's 66 degrees on the day after Christmas, you must pull your kids away from their new toys and force them outside because you could wake up the next day to an ice storm.

Here's hoping your holidays were as merry as ours!

December 24, 2008

One can hope

Thomas' first question each morning is, "Today a school day or stay home day?" Today I was happy to inform him that we have 13 stay-at-home days on the horizon. I told him that all we had to do today was go to church and play, play, play. Andrew jumped in the conversation by reminding him we also needed to be very, very good today because, "You know, Santa man is coming."

Can someone refresh my memory on why we only use this blackmail tool once a year?

December 14, 2008

The beard was real

As previously mentioned, our boys seem to be at the perfect age this year to just soak up the holiday season like true believers. We're reading Christmas books, checking our advent box each evening, wrapping and stamping and just generally tying everything with bows around here.

Yesterday we made a trip downtown to visit Santa, who was making a guest appearance at Weaver's. Weaver's is a 150(+)-year-old, family-owned department store that still has a great housewares section and the only real cosmetic counters in town. It's just one of those quintessential places that's the perfect locale for a Saturday chat with the bearded one. We arrived a few minutes before noon and staked our place in the line that was, in true downtown fashion, sort-of starting to form. There's no rope, no starting place, just nice people hanging around politely waiting their turn.

The boys were third in line and they marched right up and talked with Mr. Claus as if they did it everyday. Andrew shared that he would like a toy skateboard ramp, a tent and a Texas Longhorns football helmet, which is exactly what his letter he wrote three weeks ago indicated. The only addition was Pokemon cards, which Santa still needs to procure. Thomas looked him right in the eye and - in true Thomas fashion - said, "TUMPET, peese."

With that we took their picture with him then Santa produced a candy cane for each of them, which was far more delightful than getting to tell him about their lists. Andrew later reported that the thing that surprised him most about the visit was that Santa had candy. Simple pleasures.

December 8, 2008

Santa, baby

Dear Santa,

Don't know if you've heard, but economic times are tough this year. Like many, our hard-earned savings is worth some disheartening fraction of what it was a year ago and the cost of many of life's necessities continues to rise. Take, for example, Nutrigrain bars. The bars keep getting smaller and the cost per box is up. We believe they might be the only foodstuff that stands between Andrew and rickets, so we continue to buy them and Flintstone's vitamins, too, which are also becoming more expensive by the day.

The point in sharing this depressing news with you is to explain why Mark and I have decided not to exchange any gifts this year. However, I have noticed in recent years that when Andrew writes you a letter he seems to have a good success rate in coming away with what he requested so I want you to know of a couple of items on my list that keep with the goal of a leaner holiday but would still be treasured. I'm guessing your resources are stretched this year as well so hopefully these ideas will come in handy.

1. Please find it in your heart to have someone steal our Jeep. If you want to give me a heads up, I'll even leave the keys in it. I really want to be a team player here and I'm thinking there might be someone else out there who could benefit from having it. You don't need to feel badly about arranging for a theft, because the person who takes it will get theirs in karma since the brakes don't work and all.

2. This one would be good for everyone involved. I'm hoping it might be possible for both me and Thomas to get a few consecutive, uninterrupted nights of sleep. Your role here could be to slip the neighbor's barking dog a little something-something, to bring the paper delivery man a new muffler for Christmas, and to help Thomas see the light regarding the use of blankets. It would take a fair amount of coordination but I hold out hope that it can be accomplished.

3. Bring the Sooners a national title. Andrew spent most of yesterday building his own Sooner Schooner using a foot-powered toddler car as the schooner, a small wagon as the horse trailer and a hoppity horse that's as old as me as the horse. He spent all of Saturday night waving his homemade OU flag during every one of the Sooners' many touchdowns. We don't know why he's such a fan but I think we've been successful in explaining to him that if the Jayhawks are out of it, we always cheer Big XII. He even understands that the one exception to that rule is if the only Big XII option is Missouri. Anyway, he's all for the Big XII South and the joy it would bring him for Sam Bradford to get some recognition would be so gratifying for all of us. Plus, if they lose...

4. I need a dose of patience. I'm not sure if this is something your elves bottle up there but if so, sign me up, please. RIGHT NOW. See? I seem to have less than the average bear to begin with and lately I think I use most of it up between 6:15 a.m. and 8:10 a.m. during our daily get-breakast-get-dressed-get-out-of-the-house-get-to-school routine. I seem to turn up short by noon and, as you know, that leaves a good portion of the day in a bad state. I'm trying to ration but have been thinking that if I had more to begin with it would be better all around. I'm sure my friends and family would agree.

5. If you have a device that will help me remember - ALWAYS - how sweet T's little voice is right now as he conquers new sounds, I'll take it. He's trying so hard.

6. Last, I would love for the baffle that goes in the light above the sink to magically become installed. I promise to leave extra cookies if you'll work on that while you're here.

Best regards,

December 5, 2008

We're making lists and checking them twice

I'm on a mission right now. My mission is to complete my holiday shopping, wrapping, mailing and card sending in a timely manner so that I can enjoy these next few weeks at a leisurely pace rather than at breakneck speed. I've never been one for holiday shopping in October but I've tried to turn over a new holly leaf this year. To that end, I spent this evening addressing Christmas cards with some help from T. (It's amazing how it doesn't even bother me anymore that a rockin' Friday night these days includes Applebee's takeout and arts & crafts.)

He started out just coloring nearby. After a few minutes he began politely asking to use one of my new pens that I purchased specifically for card-addressing. Of course I conceded and soon enough he was using the red pen and had pilfered one of my envelopes because "me sending cards too."

I got busy with my overly-complicated system of addressing, labeling, stuffing, sealing and stamping and sort of lost track of what he was doing. Not surprisingly, however, he was paying careful attention to my work. This was his product:

He proudly told me that it was his letter to Santa, (That would be the one he's been un-interested in talking about to date) and that it says he wants a trumpet for Christmas. That's pretty clear communication from our speech therapy patient! You'll notice that he even added a return address label. It's doubling as a stamp, but still. That's a pretty good effort.

While all this letter writing was happening, Andrew was totally absorbed in watching The Grinch on television. We've got two believers this year and they're about to make me a convert.