Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday Analysis: Abridged Version

This holiday season kicked my ass! I could give you a play-by-play on how my holiday went, but chances are most of you lived some version of it, and probably don’t want to relive it again. To sum it up in one word, my holiday was arduous. Which then made me feel bitter because after all this hard work, I would like to at least enjoy Christmas with my family. Let me explain. . . .

First of all, like most moms I know, I was the head producer of the holiday season. I made that sure that there were set designs, wardrobe changes and music for the different scenes, food and beverage for the craft services table, props to open, scheduling hair and makeup, and photo documentation. Harrington was a good assistant producer, don’t get me wrong, but you know, it’s not the same. If you are wondering why it sounds so much like a production, it’s because Christmas is a production when there is a set of divorced parents, my parents, guests from out of town, and close extended family in addition to the four of us under this roof. So in 3 days, we had 5 events. I felt so confident that I planned everything so it wouldn’t be too exhausting, but as my Dad always says, “Six to one, half-dozen the other.” Either way, 5 events in 3 days is exhausting, and from what I can remember, there were some good times and some not-so-good times.

Merry Christmas!
Baby Jesus delivered several Christmas miracles this season, number one being that I lost all but a few pounds of baby weight in less than a year! A close second would be a certain family member finally taking responsibility for a big mistake, not only with words, but with actions and followed through to create a very nice holiday memory for me and the Babes. I also think it should be noted that actually surviving 5 events in 3 days (with Thomas recovering from his 2 month long ear infection) should be considered a miracle as well.

Let’s just say that when given the opportunity to rise to the occasion, some people continue to be the lowest common denominator. Not only continue, but seem content with their chosen lot in life. And although I find this frustrating, at least I can say they are consistent; therefore, I can act accordingly. Instead of getting all mad and confrontational, I just smile, finish my lines for that scene, and remember that I don’t have to be a bitch because Lady Karma already is!

Random Christmas Program Note
I think it’s funny how some people are shocked that Marie, as smart as she is, does not drive her 3 year old self to the store to pick up the materials for her holiday crafts that she makes as gifts and does not have her own Snapfish account or own credit card to create and order her gifts. And shockingly enough, Harrington is not the one who scurries home from work, gobbles down his dinner, and tries to fit in craft time with his daughter before bath time. I know it’s going to come as a shocker, but it’s ME! *GASP* Who would have ever thought that?!?! Anyway-

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Music

Christmas music is one of the most essential ingredients for my holiday season. I remember listening to Christmas music with my Mom when we decorated the tree and baked Christmas cookies. I remember the skip in her Johnny Mathis album on the O Holy Night! song. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the feeling I get when I listen to Christmas music. And I LOVE how Marie gets just as excited as I do so now at least I have a partner in crime. However, I am very particular about what kind and who sings what song. So without any further ado, my favorite Christmas music list, condensed version:

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays sung Perry Como
This song is great because I get all gushy for that going-home-to-my-parents-house feeling . . . even though I see them a lot and they live fifteen minutes away.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time o f Year sung by Andy WilliamsI think this song is loaded with irony. Like when Andy croons, “Everyone telling you be a good cheer!” Yes, be a good cheer when you feel like you are going insane with the Christmas Craziness!! But my all time favorite line in that song is, “They’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.” Yes, scary ghost stories like the time Santa didn’t get to Christmas Eve until 9 p.m. and Marie, who was 8 months old at the time, had a SUPER meltdown (and I told her to be a good cheer, but that didn’t seem to cheer her up, ironically). And I know the lyrics say “glories of Christmases long, long ago,” but I like to think it really says “gories of Christmases long, long ago.” There are too many gories of Christmas past to share, but more recently (and on the tamer side) it would be someone saying something to the effect that I (when I was six months pregnant last Christmas) was big enough to wear a supersize garbage bag and maybe fit in the trunk of her car. Nice.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing sung by Nat King Cole
The women’s voices that sing right before it cuts out to Nat’s voice gives me chills! This song reminds me of my all time favorite movie It’s a Wonderful Life. The whole angel theme just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

O! Holy Night! sung by Johnny Mathis
His voice is like butt-ah! I love it! Actually, I love this whole album. Plus it reminds me of my childhood; my Mom and I used to listen to this album when we baked Christmas cookies. And childhood and Christmas are enough to make anyone all teary-eyed! (And if someone else like Chris Groban tries to sing it, I get all mad because Johnny is the ONLY person who can sing it)!
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas sung by Judy Garland
This song is so sad and beautiful. Judy’s voice sounds melancholy when she talks about being light and troubles out of sight. This is another song when I get all upset when someone else tries to sing Judy’s Christmas song!

Winter Wonderland
Living in the Midwest, I am no stranger to snow storms. I love that this song makes snow storms sound like fun. Johnny Mathis or Harry Connick, Jr. both do this song justice!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside! sung by Al Hirt and Ann Margret
Speaking of songs that make snow storms sound like fun . . . I imagine in the old days when people used to listen to records and know how to make drinks like Tom Collins and Old Fashioneds.

Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters
I love all Christmas songs sung by Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters including the following:
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Mele Kalikimaka
Here Comes Santa Claus
Jingle Bells
Poppa Santa Claus
Jing-a-ling, Jing-a-ling

To be honest, the stress of the holidays is enough to kill any joy and merriment that can be so magical during this season. These songs help me find that place of happiness when all I want to do is cancel Christmas. It’s just like Buddy says in Elf, “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”

What are your favorite Christmas songs? What kind of memories do they bring up?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Shopping, the Holy Grail, and the Patron Saint of Mothers Shopping Alone with Two Babes

“Wow!” That’s pretty much all I can say. It’s like I pushed the fast forward button on warp speed after Thanksgiving, and next thing I knew, a whole week went by in a blink of an eye! So what have I been up to, you may (or may not) be wondering? SHOPPING!! And not the fun kind where I browse, and think, “Oh so-and-so would like that. I think I’ll get it.” After paying in cash for my item, I think to myself, “I think I’ll have a Starbucks. I’ll have a large 2% crème Brule latte with whip and the crunchy things on top, since there are no calories in it.” (This is MY fantasy shopping trip)!

No, my shopping this week started with scouring the Internet for deals on princess castles on AND after Thanksgiving, and then again on Cyber Monday. Then I went on Price Grabber a gagillion times to see if I could pay anything less than $50 for a princess castle. And then there it was, The Disney Special Moments Cinderella Castle, the Holy Grail of Princess Castles (according to Marie . . . I would have preferred the one from Imaginarium . . . if it was not like $100+). I found the Holy Grail at Wal-Mart with free shipping for $44. I felt like I made a deal with the devil on many different levels. But whatever, it’s Christmas, and I knew it was a toy she would play with for hours and hours and hours.

Then there were the two super rushed shopping trips to actual brick and mortar stores. Harrington took a half a day, and we scurried around town with coupons galore gripped in our sweaty, deal-hungry hands! We begged and pleaded with the lady at Kohls to take our coupon a day early so we wouldn’t have to go back. We ran in and out of Target so fast, I am sure the child-like security guard thought we had lifted some merch’.

And then I had the insane idea of shopping alone with my babes. I ran to 3 stores with my double side-by-side stroller. I was feeling pretty good about myself as I gracefully navigated through dressing rooms and areas with breakable glass. I felt even better when I went to the Disney Store and shopped for Marie unbeknownst to her. (I took a sales person and literally spelled out what I needed to put in my bag, had her hold it behind the counter while Marie picked out a decoy purchase for her and Thomas. I never knew how fast I spelled when the lady looked at me and said that she only heard the "l-y" from j-e-w-l-r-y). I was feeling all heady from the buy-one-get-one sale, pulling my sneaky shopping trip off without one of my shopping companions being any wiser, AND that I hadn’t lost either babe in the store, we decided to celebrate at the food court. She wanted a hot dog, and my bourbon chicken was on the opposite side. So being the good mother that I am, I bought her from hot dog first and then attempted to push my big-ass stroller in one hand and hold her tray with RED fruit punch in the other. I got so close to my bourbon chicken stand and then I bumped into a table and SPLASH went the RED fruit punch all over Marie, the stroller, my new shoes, and Thomas’s pants. The Patron Saint of Mothers Shopping Alone with Two Babes must have been looking down on me because the custodial service workers were right there to clean EVERYTHING (even the stroller) for me. And when I told the bourbon chicken guy I foolishly tried that crazy maneuver all for the bourbon chicken, he gave me an extra scoop. Thanks Patron Saint of Mothers Shopping Alone with Two Babes! So even though that was a disaster, the babes were great. I also reveled in the fact that (despite The Fruit Punch Incident) I am getting better at taking the both babes out all by myself!

How’s your shopping coming along? Any good stories from this year (or those from Christmas past)?