Additional Awesomeness...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry Grinchmas? Happy Humbug? What am I missing here?

Sometimes, the holiday season really depresses me.  There's just so much focus on consumerism and the me-ish-ness of it all, that I can't fathom what or why we are celebrating in the first place.  I really try to teach my kids that the holidays, Christmas in particular (because that's what we celebrate around here, the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ), are not about them, but about what they can do for others.  Which is really a pain in the butt-shelf to accomplish, what with the daily toy catalogs from big-box stores, extra 3 minutes of commercials with outlandish toys meant for adults yet targeted during the 3-7 age group cartoon marathons, and constant questions of what they want for Christmas.  I mean, come on people, since when did we decide to shamelessly promote selfishness during the season of GIVING?

It's been my recent experience that many people become rude, antagonistic, self-centered shrews who would just as soon mow you down with their shopping cart or back their car into your in a vain attempt to snag a parking spot 35 milimeters closer to the front door as they would smile at you, or wish you a Happy/Merry something.  It's sad, disgusting, and generally infuriating, although it's tough to remain infuriated long when surrounded by 3 kids who gasp in awe at depictions of the Nativity, or a house draped in millions of tiny energy-sucking lights.

Nevertheless, I decided to brave the madness of Target a few days ago, to spend the gift card my cousin had blessed us with for the holidays, along with the random one that came addressed to me in the mail from an anonymous friend.  I went in, fully prepared to abandon cart and make like a snake & slither through the jam-packed toy aisles, muttering excuses and begging pardons to reach the second-to-last of whatever, hoping that my cart would be where I'd left it 17 seconds earlier.  Also to ignore the plaintive whines and moans of the shoppers and tag-alongs.

I began my adventure in the parking lot, were I was almost rear-ended twice, and some wild man in a Prius almost took me out as I crossed an empty parking spot near the door.  The guy on cart-duty outside tried really helpfully to take my cart, and seemed genuinely confused when I thanked him but refused to give up my surprisingly steady and non-squeaky cart.

I gained access to the toy area after bypassing the chaos of the dollar-bins and the shoe department, which are usually my own personal kryptonite.  I witnessed nearly miraculous things. 

I saw older couples dividing and conquering in an attempt to satisfy the grands' wishes without breaking the bank or a hip in the process.  It was kinda cute to see grandpa staring helplessly at the huge bank of Barbie dolls and accessories as grandma walked away telling him to pick one and an outfit to go with it.  I took pity, asked a few leading questions, and sent him on his way with a cute brunette and fashionable party dress.  I think I ran into grandma in the RC vehicles area too.  Helped her find the last one of a sale item, that had been magically shoved two shelves up and behind some play-doh.  I hope her grand kids have fun with it - TT2 was hoping for one of those.

I also saw (gasp!) HELPFUL EMPLOYEES!  One woman was fortunate enough to come across a young guy (wow, I feel old writing that!) who was willing to help her find each and every item on her list, despite the fact that he did not work in the toy department, and had to search for everything.  He kept apologizing for walking her back and forth along with department, but she was just so grateful for the assistance, that it was becoming comical to listen to the apologies and effusive thanks being exchanged.  The same woman, following her helper with laden cart, begged pardon to pass, and actually THANKED me for my attitude when I obligingly backed up a bit, smiled and gave her a 'Sure thing, no problem'.  We exchanged heartfelt Merry Christmases, and went on our way.

I saw a guy, likely an uncle judging from the blank stare he was aiming at the learning toys, standing in the same spot for at least 10 minutes while shoppers rushed around him, shoved past him, and just generally ignored him.  I finally decided I had to get into that area for the last 2 things on that days' list, and gently asked if he wanted any help.  He started, looked at me like I had a third eye (or perhaps a monster zit), then proceeded to flip out about why there are 3 different leapsters and how in the whuck he is supposed to know what the kid has and so on.  I asked if he'd seen the device in question - he had.  I asked what color it was - pink.  We determined that the Leapster2 came in pink with purple buttons, and found a game appropriate for his niece.  Thankfully, there was more than 1 game, since I had come for the same one!  The man walked dazedly out of the fourth level of hell toy department, muttering about how to wrap the thing.  I just 'happened' to walk by mumbling audibly about gift bags being easy and near the registers, and tissue was a dollar.  I thought I was rather clever, don't you?

Anyway.  Those positive interactions served to lead me back to my Christmas spirit.  I think I spent more time grabbing things off of high shelves and helping with the price scanner than I did actually flinging items into my own cart.  The smile on my face seemed to part the seas of disgruntled shoppers and hangers-on, not that I'm likening myself to Moses or anything!  I did not have to wrestle for a single item, and actually ended up with something I think TT2 will enjoy more than the helicopter, and get more use out of (because we all know how long toys last around boys under 8).

I feel so blessed to have been able to, through the generosity of others, obtain some of the items most wished for on my kids' lists, and I'll be sure that they know those things are from the people who made them possible.  I hope that, in some small way, I've been able to spread that blessing and a little Christmas cheer by resisting the holiday funk, and doing my best to practice what I preach: Do Unto Others. 

How is the holiday season treating you?  Have you found your Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanzaa spirit?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rollie Eyes and other Mother-Magic

Apparently, I have super-powers.  I know!  How awesome is that?!  I did not even know half of this stuff, but then again, I am also sorely lacking in the knowledge of super-heros area.  Just ask my boys.

Here are my powers, in no particular order:

  1. Rollie Eyes - eyes that turn around and see stuff out my ears and hair.  Generally used to catch small boys committing acts otherwise forbidden in my house/car/breathing space. 
  2. Sneaky Feet - Honestly, I thought he said 'stinky' feet at first, and I was ready to act all hurt and abused, but, he enunciated again, and now I get it.  Used in conjunction with Rollie Eyes, Sneaky Feet enable the user to stealthily approach small children and pets, usually for the purpose of scaring the crap out of them and/or catching them committing acts otherwise forbidden...yadda yadda yadda.
  3. Thinking - I know what you're thinking.  I have 3 boys, when do I have time to think?  I was informed that Thinking becomes a super power when I use it to devise ever more horrifying punishments, including extra mommy-made homework, scrubbing the dogs' water dish and finding the source of the pee-smell in the playroom by sniffing the carpet.  What?  Was that gross?
  4. Quietness - which apparently works by instilling fear.  The quieter I am, the more nervous they get, although, I wish they would just get quieter too.
  5. Stickyness - ok, so I probably brought this on myself.  Boys love to try and wipe off mommy-kisses.  I've always told my boys that my kisses can't wipe or wash off, because they are full of love-glue, which is stronger than gorilla glue or teal duct tape.  I was recently reduced to incoherent snuffling by TT2, who told me that he was very upset after getting an owie at daycare, and all he wanted was a kiss and hug from mommy.  Then he remembered that he's covered in them, because they don't come off, and he felt better.  True story (sniff).
  6. Sniffy-ness - also known as the shite-sniffer.  I can smell a poopy butt at 40 paces, and pinpoint the cheese-cutter in a room full of people.  I can also tell you exactly what in the trash is stinking, and remind you I told you not to put it in there in the first place.
Now, I never really would have attributed any of the above to myself.  Well, maybe #6.  I would have thought having the gag-reflex of a sword-swallower would be more of a super-power, since I am accosted by a kid with poop-covered hands at least twice a week.  I get that he wants to wipe, but dude, for the love of Maude grab the tp first! 

It's heartening to know that the very things that annoy my kids the most also seem to make me a super hero.  At least to one of them, and well, I'll take that any day.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Holiday Kick-off

So, I’ve been MIA. Again. You know how it is. Life happens, and happens often.
We made it through Thanksgiving without incident. Nothing really noteworthy happened, so I’ll spare you all the details.
D went out on Black Friday, for the first (and last!) time ever. He brought home a new artificial tree and apparently searched 3 Target stores to bring me a pair of K-Uggs (knockoff Ugg boots), even though I did not ask. How sweet was that? Add in the fact that he almost brawled with an 80 year-old woman in Home Depot and it equals a good story for the next few Thanksgivings. He’s not all that happy with the tree we got, but it works, it’s cute, and none of us are allergic to it. And you just can’t get a nice holiday family photo when the family is full of snotty, red-eyed, rashy people.
We started our Christmasn decorating the weekend after turkey day. TT1 and TT3 had a ball helping me decorate the new tree, and tormenting Daddy, who was berating the tangled house lights in the garage. They both had very definite opinions on the placement of each and every item on the tree, so I had to do some strategic re-placements over nap time. TT2 spent most of the day lounging on the couch nursing a nasty head cold, but did manage to rouse himself to decorate the “kid” tree upstairs. Gavin sneaks out of bed every night, turns on all the Christmas lights and just sits next to the “big” tree, fondling the ornaments. He just loves the ‘pretties’ and can’t figure out why he could touch them to hang them, but is not allowed to now. I can always tell when he’s been at the tree, because the ornaments get a little bottom-heavy again.
Of course, no holiday is complete without bloodshed in our family, and so it was that TT# was our first Christmas Calamity. No sooner had we gotten home from church on Sunday, than he decided it was a good idea to pull on one of the stockings hanging from the stairs. Of course, the weighted chrome stocking holder came crashing down and thwacked him right in the corner of his eye. An ice pack and lovies later, he’s chasing his brothers around the house acting like a snake, so no lasting harm done. Now every time he walks by the stockings, he tells us that thing is ouchie.
So, since last we spoke, my house is decorated, although the boxes are still stacked in the corner, and I didn’t really ‘clean’ before putting up the decorations, my husband has strung a few lights outside, and the kids are all fired up about having their own mini-tree upstairs, full of the stuff they have made over the years.
You’ve heard of the Elf on the Shelf right? Well, those things creep me out, so I mixed it up a bit. Every night of the Advent season, Santa’s elves come into the house to leave a treat in the Advent house. Sometimes it’s candy, sometimes not, but they only come when behavior merits, since we all know bratty kids scare away elves and fairies.
Well, the elves came the other night, depositing their ‘Elf Gold’ in the first box of the advent house. Unfortunately, yesterday’s behavior scared them away last night, so nothing today, resulting in some morning hysterics. Hopefully the kids will figure it out (again) that crap gets nada, or worse, more crap! This elf has candy, footballs, board books, stickers, matchbox cars and other fun stuff to cram in that house over the next 23 days, so they’d better shape up fast! Of course, they’d never know if I just stuffed it all in their stockings…
Until next time, may your days be Merry and Bright!