Saturday, December 29, 2007

the girl who has had a lot of celebrating

All my Boys in one place!

So the month of December regularly kicks my ass. As if Christmas wasn't enough of a stress factor, I have two big birthdays in the immediate family and then various ancillary birthdays I have to remember.

The season really kicks off at the end of November with my wedding anniversary. Next up is my hubby's birthday on the 19th. This year, he had to work and my employer decided that the 19th was the perfect date for the Employee Holiday Party. I really didn't want to go, but as Human Resources Manager, was obligated to. So my poor guy worked all day and then had the kids all night while I was out making my appearance.

I tried to make it up to him the next day. He had the day off so I sent the kiddos to the sitter's for the day so he could have some "alone time." Then I got us some steaks for dinner and we watched "The Simpsons Movie" (his present, he's a huge Simpsons freak) as a family.

Happy Birthday Baby!

Next on the Birthday list is Mr. Ian. He turned five this year on the 22nd. I can't believe I have a five year old! Let alone the 8, soon to be four and 5 month old! When did I become a MOM? lol, I still being a mommy and wouldn't have it any other way.

Ian had a Diego birthday. He has been so excited ever since we picked out his cake a few weeks ago. I went to go pick it up and it said "Happy 5th Birthday Jan" They quick fixed it by piping an "I" over the "J" but I wasn't happy. They could have redone it, but it would have taken an hour and I was on a timeline. So I asked for a discount, got it and decided, in the long run, the only one it would bother would be me.

We had the usual cake and presents and Ian got all Diego'd out. A good time was had by all.

Next, of course, is Christmas...and that is just the usual fun stuff. Lots of mess and cute stories, but I can't remember them now. I've caught a cold that's been being passed around since right after Christmas and it sucks.

I'm really consolidating now because I started this post after Christmas and its now after New Year's. Just a sign of how stressed I am. I have, however, started scrapping again. I want to try and do at least one Layout a day. Last night I did four! So let's see if this helps me put a dent in my backlog. Enjoy the creativeness below.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

the girl who went to see Santa

So I braved the crowds and took the kiddos to go see Santa Claus this weekend. I am a Bad Mommy. It was the first visit for everyone except Zack, and he hadn’t been since he was three I think. Every new kid decreases my interest in leaving the house. However, I figured that I really did need to do this if only to try to extend the magic a little longer for my eldest who is 99% sure Santa Claus does not exist. Strangely enough, he does still seem to believe in the Tooth Fairy. Then again the Tooth Fairy brings money and perhaps he’s afraid if he stops playing the game, the $$$$ will dry up.

(Aside story: Zacky lost a tooth last week, but it had a cavity in it. He jiggled it so much trying to work it out early, that it broke, so he only presented the tooth fairy with half of a tooth. The Tooth Fairy only left half of a dollar bill and didn’t take the tooth (that part was unintentional, but that’s what happens when the Tooth Fairy’s husband fills in because the Tooth fairy went to bed early). So when Zacky asked if half a dollar bill was worth anything, I told him, “Not without the other half. I bet half of a tooth isn’t worth anything to the tooth Fairy and she was trying to tell you to take better care of your teeth.” I think he bought it. He’s been brushing much better since then.)

Back to the Santa story. Downtown Disney really has the best Santa Claus. Real hair and beard, snowy white and the right build. And while he isn’t exactly “jolly” he certainly looks benevolent. I think he could get cast as God in the next 10 Commandments if he lost his “bowl full of jelly.” Lol. Seriously, he does have a really “all knowing” look about him. Well, we got to the line and it didn’t look too long and then they put up The Sign.

You know.

The one that says, “Santa has gone to feed the Reindeer and will be back at ____”

Great. Half an hour of standing in line with four kiddos and not even advancing. Just great.

And about that time, the temperature decided that after weeks of 80 degree weather in December, it would be a good time to drop the temperature about 15 degrees. Of course I hadn’t made the kiddos bring jackets.

Wonderful. Just wonderful.

Have I mentioned we haven’t been to see Santa in years? Now you know why.

Anyway, thanks to the family behind us and their kids because they kept my kids entertained with games like, stroller shake, toss the popcorn, and, my favorite, SCREECH! Those parents were so understanding, and I think they took pity on me, standing in line with a hyper 8yo, whiney 5 yo, and no fear, not gonna mind Mommy 4 yo with a 5 month old strapped to my chest. Why haven’t mothers evolved extra arms?

When the reindeer were fat and happy, Santa came back to the tune of “Here Comes Santa Claus” and then he completely floored me by actually walking through the line of kiddos waiting to sit on his lap, shaking hands, giving hugs, and tickling baby’s chins. It was such a thoughtful entrance. Zack almost seemed to get that spark of belief back meeting the Big Guy in person. Matthew was so overcome by awe that he hung back on the sidelines and Ian—well Ian though the music was too loud, so he stuck his fingers in his ears and wouldn’t even look at Santa!

When it was finally our turn, Matthew had regained his courage and his charm and stuffed Geckie (his security blanket) under his shirt and walked up to Santa with his big belly going “Ho, Ho, Ho! I Santa!” I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture! Bad Scrapper! Bad! But he made Santa laugh! They were quickly shuttled on and off Santa’s lap (ugh! I know its necessary, but I wish they could have spent some more one on one with the Big guy) and gave their lists to Santa very quietly (for my kids).

Zack wants a Wii, a DS and Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl game to go with either. (In his dreams!) Also, High School Musical 2; the extended edition. (That’s the important part, it MUST be the extended edition. I don’t think they even MAKE a non extended version, so he’s pretty safe there.)

Matthew wants a Cars bed, and Cars Toys, and Cars game. Basically, put Lightning McQueen on something and he wants it. They could sell Cars broccoli and he’d want it.

And Ian. My sweet, precious Ian. His needs are simple. He just wants some crayons and paper.

I think Santa can arrange that!

Eli, of course, is too young to want anything besides his next bottle, so he was singularly unimpressed. Plus he’s nursing a cold, so he wasn’t his usual smiley self.

So the kids got their requests into Santa, a little magic was restored in my suspicious 8 year old, and Mama got her pictures. Sort of.

Afterwards, instead of a picture, I was handed a card and sent on my way.

Wait, what?

No instruction or anything, just a little business sized card with a website address and an ID number and NEXT! To the people behind me.


Disney has a program where every time you stop and have your picture taken, they assign it this special ID number and you can basically get your entire Disney vacation online. You can view and share the pictures and order prints or even just the cd with all the images to print yourself ($12.95 per print, $124.95 for the photo cd) Yep, Disney always finds new and creative ways to make their $$$ while making it more convenient for their guests to spend it.

But I wanted to walk out of there with an actual picture!

So I sigh, and figure online ordering won’t be so bad and go off with all my little duckies in a row to Ghirardelli’s for some of the world’s best hot chocolate. On the way there, we pass the Guest Service Building and notice a family that had been behind us in line striding purposefully in as another family that was ahead of us came walking out…looking at a picture.

Light bulb!

So I go in and see that we can view and order our prints there. Let me tell you something. I have worked in Orlando for nearly 15 years, and one thing I’ve learned is that Disney really does want and expect their employees to always be on, not have a bad day, and always treat each person as if they were put on earth only to serve them for that moment. I like that. I appreciate that. No matter how many times I am disappointed by bad service when I go out and about, I can always rationalize it with “What do you expect? It’s Wal-Mart after all.” (Or Subways, or Burger King, or McDonalds.) There are places where bad service just doesn’t surprise you. Disney is not one of them.

The guy behind the counter apparently had not gotten his dose of Pixie Dust that day because he was monosyllabic and offered no instruction or help at all. He just stood there, waiting on me to do…something. I finally had to say, “Pretend this is the first time I’ve done this and have no clue what’s going on.” And even then, all I got was a bored, “Pictures here, prices here. Choose which one you want.”

After waiting an hour to Santa with four kiddos in the rapidly colder weather, I really could have used a little Disney magic and I just wasn’t getting it.

And apparently, the photo ordering section doesn’t have a register. So I had to go to the store next door to pay and then bring the receipt back to pick up my picture. The added inconvenience of dragging the kiddos to and fro ate up my last nerve and we cut our visit short. We got the hot chocolate, grabbed a quick shot with Buzz and hightailed it out of there.

Still, I did end up getting a shot of the kids. I wish the photographers had actually tried to get the kids to smile…they will on cue, but were overwhelmed with the moment of meeting Santa. (Who was awesome in making sure he got full eye contact with each kid) But I understand with the cattle call nature of Santa Pictures and the line behind us they were rushed. I can understand that, but I also think my perception of the pictures was a little distorted because of the experience I had just had with the associate.

I wish I could share the picture with you so you could judge for yourself, but after all of that hullabaloo, I'VE LOST THE CARD!! So I guess extra prints are now out of the question. Lucky I go the one.

Even after all of that, we’ll go back to DTD next year for more because that Santa RAWKS! I’ll just try to either go earlier or find a time where the line isn’t so long and the boys can spend a little bit more one on one time.

Now all I have to do is help Santa out with the shopping and Christmas is done. Yay!


In other news: Zachary continually tries to find ways around practicing his handwriting. One of the exercises he has to complete every week is to use each of his spelling words in a sentence. Well, he figures that if he can write a sentence that uses multiple spelling words, then he doesn’t have to write as many sentences. Pretty smart, huh? Of course, then you end up with sentences like this:

Morning has two vowels and, of course, no planets.”



Gotta share the kiddos artwork with everyone. These are so going in the “save until they’re grown up and embarrass them with it on Prom Night” box. Just cute, nostalgic little memories no one but their Mama appreciates!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

the girl who has a strange child

This post is dedicated to Ian. He is such a unique child. I mean, you can really see he has his own outlook on how the world should work. One thing I have found holds true when raising children, is that they will always surprise you. Not always in a good way, but at least parents (moms especially) can never say that their life is boring.

How can life be boring when your kids do things such as this?

It’s a lovely diorama/playhouse nicely ensconced in a drawer. It reminds me of when I used to make Barbie furniture out of Kleenex boxes. At least my kids’ imaginations won’t leave me hanging when I have a runny nose.

The other strange thing from Ian I, unfortunately, did not take a picture of. Basically, it creeped me out—although it was done in innocence. Ian enjoys “decorating” the underside of Zachary’s bed (it is the ceiling over his bed after all.) I wandered into their room the other day to find a Beanie Baby hanging from the underside. By his neck. I mean, seriously, it looked like he just couldn’t take the cuteness anymore and decided to off himself! I half expected a “Goodbye Cruel World!” note clenched in his furry little paw. I found this mildly disturbing and morbidly funny at the same time. Of course, Ian wasn’t thinking of lynching that poor bear on purpose. He just wanted him to decorate his space. Lol.

Or how about this?

Ian saw a commercial for a nail salon on tv and decided he wanted his nails painted. I asked him what color he’d like and he requested blue. As luck would have it, I happened to have some blue nail polish. (incredibly old, I haven’t painted my nails in years) So we end up with blue nails for Mother and Son.

We also end up with a slightly miffed Dad. Nail polish, of course, is just for girls. However, it was late at night, I was folding laundry and watching Jon and Kate + 8 and Ian woke up and wanted to join me. We had a silly bonding moment (for the record, he painted my nails after I did his) and it was F-U-N!

At least he didn’t ask for pink nail polish!

And then there was last night.

Ian enjoys dressing up so much that I keep all the Halloween costumes in a drawer for him just for that purpose.

Last night he got into the Christmas Spirit, so allow me to introduce…

Buzz Batman Claus!!!


Thanks to my friend Jen for the kick in the butt needed to start menu planning. It took a couple hours of thought at the puter, and my shopping trip was longer than usual, but I planned meals for the month and went shopping for the next two weeks this past weekend. Now, she bragged about spending only $250 for the month and I’m not quite there. Of course I have twice the number of people in my fam, so I think spending $285 for two weeks was a good deal. Plus, between store specials and coupons, I saved $50. I put so much in my cart, I actually had to park the cart in a closed lane and put a note on it: “Working on cart #2, please don’t put away!”

And how did I fill up one and a half carts prior to checkout, but walked out with three carts? Some weird grocery physics. I guess it just proves all those hours spent on Tetris weren’t wasted after all.

And here is something to make you feel old. The bagger (little whippersnapper that he is) had never had homemade Rice Krispie treats! He said he didn’t even know you could make them at home, he grew up on the premade stuff!

Ok, Sonny. I’ll make some for you as soon as I get my walker out of the shop and my gout dies down.

Anyway, the trip was great and so far, I’m loving not having to do any thinking about dinner. When I go to make tonight’s dinner, I’ll pull whatever I need to defrost from the freezer and it will be ready for the next night. I’m starting to get a system and I really like it.


Eli update. Nothing new really with the little guy, but I wanted to show off some pictures!

This outfit on Eli sparked Matthew’s infamous “baseball game” adventure.

And this was taken last night after his bath. Can’t you just smell the “new baby” scent?


The tree went up last night and I finally allowed the kids to put more than one ornament on the tree this year. Unfortunately, they still wound up all in one spot, so I let them do one box worth of ornaments and then went back and rearranged. Hey, it makes me feel better!

Anyway, we had our first casualty of the Christmas season. R.I.P. Oscar, the Grouch. Zack fumbled him in his excitement and he wound up breaking…although you can’t tell in the picture. The entire back side of this ornament is completely caved in and broken. I am actually expecting more as this is the first year with the concrete floors. Sigh! I miss carpet!

So, again, the past two weeks in a nutshell. Time is flying and I can’t believe that 2007 is almost over! Now all I have to do is panic about Christmas and the year will be done before I know it.