Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Two Christmasses in a row without your husband really starts to wear on a person. Even the strongest of us! Last year he had *just* left, and I was at my parents house. I did ok, but he struggled. This year, as hard as it is for him, he's too busy to think about it and I'm the one with all the time at home by myself to mope.

Time is getting closer. It will be so good to have him home. 14 months is a long time and I know many wouldn't get through it as easily as we have. I don't feel I did anything special, and we'll gladly do it again the next time around. Ok, maybe not "gladly"! But we'll do it just the same.

Christmas Eve we always let the kids open a few presents. They always get new pajamas right before bedtime. By the way, if your daughter isn't into High School Musical or Hannah Montana, it might not be a good idea to go PJ shopping at Walmart. I didn't have much of a choice. Luckily the lady next to me found Tinker Bell and asked if my daughter would like that. Yeah! Hunter got Kung Fu Panda, which he says so funny I can't repeat it, and Drew got Transformers PJ's.

I also let them open one of their gifts from Nana & Gramps. My parents like to give one big present for all three of them, which I appreciate. It's nice because they don't play with toys and whatever my parents buy them they have to share. The kids are usually good at sharing in the first place. Last year they got a Wii and it's been put to good use. So this year my parents surprised the kids with their very own laptop! And I was grateful that I don't have to share mine because I'm not as good at sharing as they are!

After that we found ourselves at a friend's house. We spent Thanksgiving at her house, and we'll probably spend New Year's Eve there as well. And when I think back over the year as far as holidays go, the same friends have been there for almost every one. That's comforting when I think of the turnover rate I have for friends. At least I've held on to the same ones for a year!

We let the kids open one gift at our friend's house. I gave Hunter some HotWheels I meant for his stocking. And Louisa has been begging me for these bangles they sell at Walmart. Everyone in school has them (which yes, a lot of girls do), so I gave her some rainbow ones, and lucky her... Santa gave her blue bangles in her stocking! While roaming the store one day I found this really cool deck of Star Wars information cards. I knew Drew would love them, and he did. He didn't put them down for the rest of the night.

Yesterday morning the kids got to open gifts their family sent them, but had to wait to open their Santa presents until Daddy got online. He wanted to see them opening their presents on webcam. Oh blessed webcam! Daddy was happy to see the frenzy of wrapping paper, and the kids excitedly held up each gift in front of the camera for him to see. They each got three presents. They don't need more than that. They got exactly what they wanted and we don't have a lot of excess that they won't ever use. Less is more!
Christmas evening we ran over to Andrea and Colton's house. Another staple in our lives the past year. The best friends a gal could ask for. We had gifts for Colton, and they had gifts for the kids. We weren't planning a dinner with them, and I don't know why, but I didn't plan a Christmas dinner at all. I think I had been so focused on Christmas Eve dinner, and the 5 other projects I have going on right now, that Chirstmas dinner just escaped my mind. Silly me. Another crazy chaotic moment among many.
Because everything was closed except the Chinese buffet, we settled for a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. If you don't know what that is, watch this.



(You can fast forward to 3:05 to see what I'm talking about, and yes, that's really what we had, minus the jelly beans!) Hey, it happens. We all get too busy sometimes. I'm busy with several huge projects right now that take a lot of my time. God is putting me in certain places to do certain jobs. And He's blessed me with children who love to live life outside the box! I'm sure we couldn't get away with this in more structured households.

In closing, I leave you with one of my special children who is extraordinary in every sense of the word.

video

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

After 12 Days of Christmas... Chaos Mommy goes Insane!

The kids and I came up with our own version of 12 Days of Christmas. And really, any time of year Chaos Mommy is lucky to make it out each day with sanity in tact, but Christmas backed up with Husband finally coming home make life much crazier! You can go ahead and fill in all the extra verses because that's just too much typing for fingers that have been wrapping presents and baking pies all night.

On the first day of Christmas, Chaos Mommy went insane with one pair of Missing Keys!

On the second day of Christmas, Chaos Mommy went insane with two trips to Wal-Mart.

On the third day of Christmas, Chaos Mommy went insane with three letters home from school.

On the fourth day of Christmas, Chaos Mommy went insane with four poopy diapers.

On the fifth day of Christmas, Chaos Mommy went insane with five after school activities.

On the sixth day of Christmas, Chaos Mommy went insane with six broken ornaments.

On the seventh day of Christmas, Chaos Mommy went insane with seven party invitations.

On the eighth day of Christmas, Chaos Mommy went insane with eight loads of laundry.

On the ninth day of Christmas, Chaos Mommy went insane with nine bills to pay.

On the tenth day of Christmas, Chaos Mommy went insane with ten Sponge Bob re-runs.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Chaos Mommy went insane with eleven crabby neighbors.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Chaos Mommy went insane with twelve More Months of Deployment!!! (just kidding :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Getting Ready

Can you believe there's only 4 more days till Christmas?! Where o' where did time go? Not only did December fly by, but this whole year flew by quicker than a jack rabbit on fire!

A year ago I didn't think I'd ever get through all these holidays without Husband. I dreaded an entire year away from him. I was sad for all the things he'd miss. Now, here we are. Mere weeks away from our reunion. Christmas is knocking at the doorstep. We've almost made it! But where did the time go? What did we do? Does it even matter?

I tried to make this a year the kids could look back on and say, "Mom tried her hardest that year to make us happy". On the other hand, I wonder if we left Daddy behind. Will we pick up right where we left off when he comes home? How could we? We've all changed and grown so much since he left. Even he's changed. He has a higher position at work (which shortens the list of families we can hang out with when he gets back), he's been living in a foreign land where a white Christian is in the minority instead of the majority. He has to come back home and adjust to our culture and time zone and being able to drive faster than 5 mph! (Yes, really, they can only drive 5 mph through the neighborhoods.)

We'll make it work because we always do. We have great communication skills (namely teasing and sarcasm), and we love to laugh and have fun. Husband is good at separating work from home. And we're good at helping him to adjust (and by "adjust" I mean throwing all three kids at him as soon as he steps in the door and running like hell to the grocery store... BY MYSELF!!!) Ha! I wouldn't really do that to him....

Or would I?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Too tired to think of a clever title!

I did not get all those ornaments made. Not even close. I giggle now, thinking about it. Trying to make 11 of those recycled greeting card ornaments in one night! HA! The results are worth it, but if you want to make those for friends or family, do it very far in advance. And leave plenty of time to perfect your style and work out the kinks.

In the end I made two. One for Louisa's teacher and one for Drew's teacher. The kids were happy with them and excited to give them as gifts and I was happy that I'm crafty enough that I can whip together something nice whenever I need a gift.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Procrastination... again.

I was going to make these ornaments for my Girl Scouts. Besides cutting out a few circles from some greeting cards, I don't have too much done yet. I went to read the directions just a minute ago and it says that each ornament takes about an hour to complete. I need to make 11 ornaments and our last meeting before Christmas is tomorrow evening. Oops! Talk about procrastination!

Um... either I start cutting out the rest of the circles now, or I give up. I can't buy them anything because my Christmas budget is shot. I think I need to get cutting and gluing!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Elmo is not in Hunter's ear...

... but a piece of candy wrapper is!

Last night Hunter kept waking up crying, saying his ear hurt. I assumed he had an ear infection. Twice I found him balled up on his bedroom floor on a big pillow. Finally I gave him Tylenol and took him to bed with me. He slept like a rock in my bed, go figure.

This morning I call the family practice clinic and get an appointment for him. When we got there, the doctor, or PA... or whatever he was... seemed a bit loopy. Long day? Or maybe he's just always that way?

He bounded into the room and said "Hailey?!" I say... "um.... no. We have a Hunter." Doc says "Ok, that'll do!"

No, not That'll do! He left the room for a second and I checked the file to make sure it was Hunter's!

He checked Hunter's ears and asked the usual questions, when did the pain start, how much pain was he in, does he have a cold, has he had a fever???

When Louisa was little, her pediatrician used to find silly things in her ears, like Elmo. My ped used to find potatoes in mine. So now I always tell Hunter that Elmo is in his ear. He says, "No! Not!" When this doc looked I asked Hunter if the doc would find Elmo, but apparently it wasn't the time for joke making. Hunter sat very seriously because, well, there's an otoscope in his ear.

Finally the doctor made the announcement that it was not Elmo that was stuck in Hunter's ear, and it wasn't an ear infection either..... it was.... (he paused for dramatic effect)... a Hershey Kiss wrapper!

Huh??

I am still wondering how he knew it was a Kiss wrapper! That in itself amazed me. It was the tiniest little thing, stuck way down in Hunter's ear, and it was the green mint kind. So it wasn't even silver.

He got it out with the skinniest tweezers ever. Hunter is Kiss wrapper free. For now. I asked him not to stick things in his ears anymore and he immediately points to his nose. No! Not in your nose, either! I had to deal with that when Drew was 2 and stuck a popcorn kernel way up his nose. I think we're done sticking things in facial holes for awhile.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Aprons for Girls

I previously wrote that I was thinking of buying Louisa this apron for Christmas because she is having fun cooking and wanted to look the part. However, the other night I got caught up in one of my favorite pastimes, cruising Etsy.com, and found this apron. I emailed the shop owner and asked if she could make it in a bigger size for a preteen. She said yes, she has "Big Sister" sizes. Perfect!! But... she's out of this material. Louisa is very into Asian culture, which is the main reason I got so excited over this apron. The shop owner did say she creates these aprons from her fabric drawer and she does have other kimono style fabrics if that's ok.

So now I'm excited because Louisa will have a special apron that's made just for her! We're not exchanging family gifts until after Husband gets home, and something this great will definitely come from Me, and not Santa. So the shop owner has a little more time to get it made since she won't have to ship it to me by the 25th.

If you need a special gift this year for a hard-to-shop-for person, check out Etsy.com. It's addictive and amazing!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Cooking with Kids

All three kids love to help me in the kitchen. Which is great when you have a normal sized kitchen. Or even just extra counter space. My kitchen is small with very little counter space. It can get crowded fast. I always move them to the dining room table (except the dining room has carpet so spills are not always fun to clean up).

Lately I've been letting Drew and Louisa take turns choosing meals out of their many children's cookbooks, making a shopping list (then shopping, obviously), and then getting to be the head chef. They enjoy creating delicious meals. Sometimes we do a three course meal, sometimes it's just the main entree. Either way they are learning valuable skills.

Hunter helps me with anything that needs to be measured and stirred. He's good at measuring (with help) and he's very good at stirring and mixing. Again, the little counter space makes for a cramped kitchen, but he's the right size to stand in there and help me.



Some fun stuff we've bought to get the kids in the cooking spirit are: Monkey Measuring Spoons, The Little Cook Tool Kit, and The Better Homes & Gardens New Junior Cookbook.

For Christmas I'm going to get Louisa this apron. It's SO cute and she has been wanting one for awhile. But I also love this apron set. Excpet that Louisa is just not a "pink" girl anymore. However, if you have a little cook you are buying for this Christmas and need a last minute idea, it's very cute. I thought about getting this Mommy & Me set. I'm not sure yet. It's a great price for all that comes with it, even if it is a little more Christmassy. I love Gooseberry Patch. It's so hard to decide.

This past week we bought this cookie decorating kit from Crayola. The kids had a blast and did an amazing job. I took pictures, of course!

Louisa and I watch the Food Network all the time. We love Iron Chef America, Paula Deen, Rachel Ray, Guy Fieri (which goes to show you that some of those reality series winners DO make something of themselves!), and Ace of Cakes. We just can't get enough of that stuff. Louisa is trying to take some of what she learns into the kitchen. I really hope this turns into something for her. Not necessarily culinary school, but just a love for the art of cooking. I'd love to go to her house for Thanksgiving some day and have a beautiful piece of art laid out for us to chow down on! Then I can smile and say, "All because I introduced her to the Food Network!" :)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Playgroup Makes Me Fat!

Seriously, playgroups are a bad idea if you want to lose weight. Very bad. Every time we meet up we have food. Lots and lots of carb and sugar-rich food. Take this past Wednesday for example. I had some playgroup friends over at my house to make Welcome Home signs to hang in the barracks when the guys get back. I had made some cookies for the little ones to snack on and bought juice boxes. Another mom brought donuts, and another mom brought more cookies. Hunter went in the kitchen to get some food and came back with a plate full of cookies and donut. So, he sat and ate cookies and donut.

Of course, they left all the food when they went home, so I ended up eating 3 donuts that day! I can't just let them sit there! Ugh. Playgroups not good.

Last night we had a cookie exchange for Girl Scouts and I had to take all the leftover cookies that people left there. Today we're having a cookie exchange for playgroup. Maybe it's just Christmas time in general, but wow am I eating a lot of junk food lately. So are the kids. Hunter seems to be on a 24/7 sugar high. Trying to get their Christmas pictures taken on Wednesday night after the major sugarfest he had all day was quite a task. We got one nice picture after... I don't even know how long. Well, at least we got one, I guess!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Update on Flash

And apparently we have a dog again... long story. He's back and here to stay. He's had a long week and he's obviously glad to be back. Hunter is very happy as well.
Oh, and he has Lyme's disease. Poor puppy. Just a bottle of pills and I guess he'll be fine. That had nothing to do with his adventure away from home, though. He got that awhile ago. The shelter we picked him up at wouldn't release him until they updated his shots and gave him a blood test, so that's how we found out. It causes soreness in the joints, which totally explains why he can't walk well some days. And some days he just has trouble getting up in the first place. Hopefully the meds will get rid of all that achy-ness.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Separating the Holidays

Isn't it crazy that as soon as Halloween is over, like on November 1, all the Christmas stuff goes up in the stores? Sometimes stores even get their Christmas section started before Halloween. I get how stores and companies make more money the longer Christmas decorations are available for us to buy. But why can't comsumers fight back? Why can't we boycot buying any Christmas items at all until after Halloween, at least? Let's have one holiday at a time here.

Or we can all put up one of these signs and be done with it.

I've always been taught to take each holiday as it comes. The Christmas decorations never came out until Thanksgiving was over, and each holiday was decorated with that holiday in mind. For instance, we didn't put our Christmas tree up just because we were having guests for Thanksgiving. Which to me is just plain weird. I know plenty of people that do it, though.

In my house, now that I'm a grown-up and I get to make the rules, we don't write letters to Santa until after Thanksgiving, or put up Christmas decorations, or even shop for anything holiday related. Christmas gifts being the exception, of course. Obviously, with the rising cost of... well, everything, and the number of people most families have to buy for, it makes sense to spread that out over several months.

So, my point here (I think I had a point...) is that sometimes we can slow down and take one thing at a time. Let the kids enjoy and learn about each holiday. Fall and winter have some amazing holidays, but each one has separate meanings. It's sad to see kids who have no idea what Thanksgiving is about.