To be short, we've had a big day.
Final preparations for company to come in town.
Birthday party for Jesus at our friend, George's house.
Lunch time and naps back at the homestead.
Christmas Eve church services.
Christmas Eve dinner at Nana and Papa's house with the whole family.
Christmas light decorations tour on the way back to the homestead.
Wake up A.E. to put cookies and milk out for Santa.
H.J. was a trooper and stayed up all the way home, despite the late 9:00 hour.
Put cookies out.
Put girls to bed.
Come back downstairs.
Santa had already come and eaten all the cookies.
(PLATE FULL OF COOKIES+CRAZY DOG= DUMB PARENTS)
Yes, the crazy dog has struck again! He explained that he was just helping us with our diets.
Have a Merry Christmas, ya'll!
And yes, I'm still Mother.
I usually ask, "What color is it?" to narrow down the endless possibilities.
Tonight as we drove home at dusk, A.E. shouted, "I see something!"
I immediately knew to what she was referring. The Daddy asked her what it was.
To that she relpied, "It's antlers! It's antlers! I see antlers!"
She saw this:
"No, honey. That's a menorah."
"...No, I see antlers"
Some on the half-eaten works of art
The kids getting started
Sweet James, our host
Stacie and her daughter Mary Alice (cleaning up "snow")
Hayley was all about the sprinkles
A.E. sneaking a gumdrop
H.J. gets her chance to decorate, I mean eat
I'll save this part for later
Pat it down
After "resting" we headed over to Stacy's house for some more cookie decorating, arts and crafts, and general merriment. Stacy always has the cutest ideas and a great big spread of food for us hungry moms; she had peppermint tea, sliced apples, fresh popped popcorn,--get this, NOT from the microwave--a new and delicious thing called a chicken ball with crackers. The chicken ball was kind of like chicken salad but with way more cream cheese than chicken. Maybe that's why it was so good!
- 2 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
- 1 can chicken
- 1/2 can water chestnuts
- 1 pkg ranch dip seasoning
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Mix first 4 ingredients at medium speed until blended.
- Form into a ball.
- Roll in nuts.
- Serve with crackers or Frito's. (I would go with crackers. Stacy did.)
How cute! They are supposed to look like s'mores, and they came in a kit. Moms helped. Kids liked. We're going to string ours up on the tree. A.E. did the reindeer on the far left, and H.J. did the Santa on the far left.
It's a very subtly competitive tradition. Everyone wants their ornament to get "stolen". That way you know you have good taste. Should you wrap your present in a deceptive way? Should you have the exclusive store you found your ornament in gift wrap for you? It's a shoe-in to be picked! Should you bring a dud just to mix it up a bit? I'm always tempted, but my competitive nature gets the better of me.
This year I let the competition in my spirit out and just let the spirit of the season take over. It felt much better to be honest. I grabbed an ornament out of the bin at Hobby Lobby and was done with it. I gave away my "winner" I bought last year to a dear friend last month and let all that ugly competitive junk out.
Each year after Christmas, I search for next year's ornament for half-off prices. I would tell you my favorite place to shop post-fa-la-la-la, but then you might get ahead of me in line. Oh, yes a line will form before the doors open. One year, I saw a teacher I worked with, but we never let the name of the store pass our lips when we saw each other next. Another year, I saw Lou-Lou's MIL and SIL enjoying some great deals on chic steals. I almost didn't recognize or acknowledge their presence in my shopping high.
Oh, yes. It is that good. I scoped out the store this week on H.J.'s and my day-date while A.E. was in MMO. I've got a mental list of where to bolt when the doors open. I just hope they don't change the floor plan on me. Ornaments were already 25% off. I hope one of the three I want will be there next Friday.
So this year, we met again at Claudia's warm and decked-to-the-halls home. Here are some pics of the scene and the scene stealers. That's the ladies. Us. You know.
What treasures lie within?
Don't you love Claudia's live tree and fresh arrangements on the mantel?
A beautiful table scape
In the dining room
Another table in the living room
I talked in my first blog post ever about why I wanted to blog and the pressure I felt to be a "PERFECT" example of creative and grammatically correct writing. I no longer feel that pressure. Thank goodness!
But as we trudge nearer to Christmas, I still have a strong feeling of compassion for the teacher. Especially the English teacher. The papers. The grading. The deadlines. The students who just aren't motivated. I'm reminded of one of the reasons I began teaching: a love for teenagers at such a pivotal moment in their lives.
Having lost my mother when I was a sophomore in high school, I could relate to some of the tragedies students go through during their pubescent years. Sometimes it was easy to talk to them and let them know someone understood. Sometimes it was hard to watch a student make such negative choices for themselves.
Now that I have two children in "school," I have a different perspective. Granted, I don't get calls from the teachers that my child is failing, got in a fight, threw a tantrum, but I know a preschool teacher deals with a lot of attitude and, quite frankly, pee-pee and poo-poo.
I made the unfortunate decision to send A.E. to school in big girl underwear last week. She had been progressing quite well in the potty training ranks, and I thought this was the next level we could go to. Just in case, I sent some extra pants, socks and underwear. With feelings of apprehension, when I walked in the school to pick up the girls, my eyes scanned the hallway for signs of success. I was greeted with a bag full of urine soaked clothes. And I was angry.
I wasn't angry at A.E. I was angry with myself. Do you ever make parenting decisions where, in retrospect, you knew what you should have done and didn't? I had that mom-moment where as I helped A.E. get dressed that morning, I knew it in my core that she wasn't ready. When I dropped her off, I knew she wasn't ready. An hour before it was time to pick her up, I knew she wasn't ready. AND I contemplated picking her up early to avoid any accidents. But I didn't.
So I was angry with myself. I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know what else I can say to A.E. to help understand how to know if she needs to go. I'm just going to have to have more accidents. And wake up earlier. And do more laundry. And laugh.
So today when I picked the girls up from school, I left with their teachers a little Christmas present. H.J.'s teachers got cute metal magnets that look like presents, bow and all. But for A.E.'s teachers, they got soap. And it looked like this:
QUIZ: Did you catch the irony?
The Mama's stocking- with A.E.'s on the right
The crazy dog- his first Christmas
Suggestions for this guy? He needs a face? A hat? What???