It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Christmas is coming

882762_disco_overdose…you can tell by the conversation around here.

Timmy, on looking at the creche on the mantlepiece:
“God lives at Mary’s house!”

Anna to Emily:
“I’m going to be an angel for Christmas!”

Emily beams and points to a (deliberately unbreakable) ball on the tree:
“Indie was eating this, and I put it back on the tree.” Her face breaks out into joy and she does a small skip of purest delight. “I’m a helpful girl!”

Anna, exuding joy, races toward her dad as he’s about to leave after morning drop-off. She has something pink and sparkly in her hand. “Oh, wait, daddy! You forgot THIS!”

Mary spins on her heel, whisks the thing out of Anna’s hand, and hides it. Fast.

“Yes, but not now, Anna!”

Daddy chortles and leaves. I pick the pieces of Anna from off the floor, put her back together with a snuggle, an explanation, and a distraction: “We have to WRAP it, honey!” She resumes her natural state: chirpy delightfulness.

Joy, anticipation, tears, confusion, and general mayhem. Christmas with toddlers: Such fun!

December 19, 2008 Posted by | Anna, Christmas, individuality, the cuteness!, the things they say! | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Christmas meme

Lifted from Creative Gene.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Once upon a time, I made reusable drawstring fabric gift bags, and it’s always been in my mind to create more, so that I needn’t use disposable wrapping of any kind. I don’t think it’s going to happen this year…

2. Real tree or Artificial?
Artificial. It’s always seemed wrong to me to kill a tree every year for a few weeks’ decoration. Besides, yeah, it smells nice, but the needles and the mess. We had a real tree one year, and I kept getting stabbed in the feet. (If there’s a way around it, I smell ‘maintenance’, as in ‘more work’.) Mine looks real enough, requires zero maintenance, and we’ve used the same one for ten years now.

3. When do you put up the tree?
December 8, the day after my eldest’s birthday. FIRST she gets a birthday, THEN we look to Christmas. I promised her that when I was pregnant with her. Even though she’s grown up and living on her own, I still wait.

4. When do you take the tree down?
January 1.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Nope. Too sweet.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
I recall going mental at the age of eight when I received a suitcase from my grandparents. Squeals and whoops and dancing around. I’m still not quite sure why that was so very exciting…

7. Hardest person to buy for?
Normally my son, but this year he supplied a KICK-ASS list.

8. Easiest person to buy for?
No one. My eldest, she has a real gift for choosing great gifts for people. Me, I need lists. Lots and lots of lists.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, though I call it a creche.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I was going to cite the six broken cookies in a crumpled piece of wax paper (from an adult, not a child), but then I remembered the year I got Nothing.

I mean that. Quite literally nothing. The last Christmas with my ex. (We hadn’t even decided to separate then, though things weren’t good obviously! We didn’t make the break until the following November, almost a full year later.) Not only did he not get me anything, but he didn’t organize the kids, who were at that point young enough to need adult help. So, at Christmas, there were presents for the kids from both of us; there were presents for him, from me and the kids, and, when all the unwrapping was done, there was
for me.

It was bizarre. I’m not even sure I was upset. It was just so weird.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Charlie Brown’s Christmas Special

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
January. Really. I like Christmas shopping. I hate feeling rushed. (REALLY hate it… :-))

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Often. Regifting is practical, economical, and thoughtful. Just because a gift isn’t to my taste doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be the perfect gift for someone else. Why let it sit in the back of a closet, or, worse, be thrown out, when someone else can enjoy it?

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Mashed potatoes and gravy. Or stuffing and gravy.

16. Lights on the tree?
Yes. Multi-coloured.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
“Oh, Holy Night”. Or perhaps “Go tell it on the Mountain”.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Home. Unless I could travel somewhere tropical…

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Yup! I can also recite the entire of “The Night Before Christmas”, and large chunks of the Christmas story from the Bible.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Angel. She looks a bit faerie, though.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Morning. When I was a child, we opened one gift on Christmas Eve. Officially this was out of deference to my German grandparents, but really, it was a scam so we kids could get a present early. At least, that’s what I always figured…

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
Crowded malls. Which is why I get my shopping done before December. (See #13, above.) When I’m not desperately seeking a gift, though, I can enjoy the bustle and the lights and the music.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
I collect angels for the tree.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
The traditional one: turkey with stuffing and gravy; mashed potatoes, three or four vegetables; cranberry sauce.

25. What is your favorite thing about the holidays?
Time off! Time with family.

December 13, 2008 Posted by | Christmas, daycare, memes and quizzes | , , , | 6 Comments

Seeking inspiration…

As you know, Mary is tired this week. Tired, tired, tired. I have all sorts of terrific post ideas in my head. Well, I’m sure they’re in there, because lord only knows they’re not appearing on this screen. And stuff has been happening. Lots of stuff. Stuff is always happening around here. I recall laughing at least six times this morning, but can I remember why?

No, I can not. Because I am tired, tired, tired.

Which has me wondering if I’m scaring the children by bursting into sudden, unexplained fits of laughter at irregular intervals. Maybe that’s why they’ve been so exceedingly well-behaved today…

Poor little buggers.

I cannot tell you what happened this morning, so I will tell you about my plans. Or my plans to make plans. Because really, I’m too tired to plan this week. But I am planning to!!

I have gotten so far as to gather some Christmas craft supplies. See?


I know just what I’m going to do with some of that stuff. The egg cartons? Cut them into cups, smoosh squares of tin foil around each one, poke a thread through the top, and Christmas bells! Easy. I have four egg cartons so far. That’s one dozen bells for each of the three-year-olds, and a cup or two for the one-year-olds to gnaw on and leave in sodden lumps on the dining table.

At the left, you can see two variation of the pipecleaner candycane, which they can do. The older kids can push beads onto pipecleaners. The younger two can moosh pipecleaners in their pudgy hands prior to stuffing them in their mouths.

On the blue plate are my faves, the foamy stickers. No idea what I’ll do with those. Nor the glitter (in the white box), or the metallic, 10-cm twist ties. The Christmas balls are entirely shatterproof. When you press them, they bend.

The silver doilies are going to be angels, of course.

What else?

Brainstorm with me, oh parents-of-teenies. What would you do with these things? More to the point, what would you like to see coming home from daycare with your kid?

Take as a given that I have all the accessories: scissors, hole punch, tape (masking, scotch, and duct), glue (sticks, white, and hot melt), string… I also have the standard craft supplies: construction paper in a rainbow of colours, white paper, crayons, markers, foam sheets, stickers, toilet paper tubes, envelopes, card stock… If it’s basic and I don’t have it, it’s likely only because we’ve run out, and I’m totally prepared to buy more.

Help my weary brain. What can I do with this stuff?

December 3, 2008 Posted by | crafts, holidays | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments