I am home with four kids - two girls, two boys - ages 14, 6, 5 and 3 (and when I started this blog, just a little over two years ago, I had an infant, a 2yr old, 3yr old and 12yr old - feels like a lifetime ago, but it wasn't ;-). Until about four or five years ago, I worked in marketing. I have been and done many things - dancer, magazine "multi-tasker", advertising copywriter, gymnastics coach, resort town waitress, grad student, etc. Now my areas of expertise are different and diverse. I am savvy, efficient, patient and earthy (like it or not). I am a better cook, an Ok herb gardener, an impressive artist to my kids, an active and prolific photographer, a childrens' clothing stylist (in my head), a manager of all things "household" and a news enthusiast (from politics to celebrity). I am more cynical though less of a worrier / hypochondriac than I used to be. I am increasingly proud of what I do with kids, family and home, but I do still present myself as a "freelance writer".
A lot of posts lately with exclamation points, and I am not an exclamation point kinda writer - weird. I think I am feeling some of these passages this year (finally being able to get out with the kids & no toddlers in tow, both my boys leaving preschool, the year of chaos ending only to start a new challenging one for which I want to be primed and ready ;-). I have been reflective lately, thinking of the past - what I've taken for granted - what I'll miss - what I am finally looking forward to. AND... for that last point, I say "finally" because I have been enmeshed in babies, family angst to varying degrees, and my own physical decline (back issues, pregnancy anemia, unable to get to a dentist for filling replacement, teeth whitening - all my usual "tune ups" - used to love the dentist ;-) for such a long time that the fact that actual home improvement, working out regularly at a gym, and taking vacations (at all) that will allow me to relax are all new ideas to me. Oh - and welcome ones - trust me. Also, I have a new niche as a writer, a lucrative and interesting one - I have some new ventures on the horizon, all new to me and all exciting - plus, I have finally (there's that word again) figured out that some people are worth mending bridges and odd rifts over YET others are best left to their own devices and their own lives, a hard but valuable lesson.
So ... the semi-solemn year-end review begins. I am really looking forward to this passage. I normally do not like to see that time is passing as I am a lifelong sentimental fool, crying over lost loved ones and moments gone - lost summers, friends moved away, children growing up - long before they actually passed or moved or died. I am a worrier, and I often dwell on such things. For the first time in a long time this year, I feel renewed and freer than I have for years - more like ME. I recognize myself now (from my clothes down to my newfound motivation), and I feel that I am, as a result, a more useful (yes, I mean that) and loving person. Hopefully, my hubby, my mom, my 4 sweet cupcakes and other new and old friends will benefit. I don't want to be a bitch anymore; I want to be zen-centered calm :-). Is that a resolution? I believe it is ;-).
So... Happy New Year, everybody!!!!! (exclamation, exclamation, exclamation....)
Photo: Playing with the iPhone again (and you know how I love self-portraits) - don't even mind that I can see my dark circles and some lines around my mouth this time - marks of a life well-lived? OR.... marks of these last 5 years or so with my wee ones and my life as a SAHM. You decide; I am OK with either.
Apparently, Milo tackled the ice like he does everything else - with a vengeance and with no fear. Enzo was more methodical, as he always is, and was doing really well - able to skate faster than his older cousins. I was treated to videos of Milo having one of his meltdowns, which kinda made me chuckle, as he was able to right himself on his wobbly skates and continue on his way as freaked out skaters looked on, and Enzo with his sweet face just beaming with pride as he glided along unaided and happy in his surprise ability to skate well. Anyway, next time, Lil's feet will be big enough for skates (though she had fun with Mommy on our shopping outing :-), and Olivia, who has rediscovered ice skating, will join us (I feel confident in that ;-). I actually took lessons as a kid - though did not take to it like my Mom had hoped (she is a really good skater - many times, my mom showed me up on both roller skates and ice skates :-), so... I will, of course, be present for the festivities as well. For tonight.... just glad they had SUCH a good time with Daddy :-).
So ... Lil and I got all gussied up in our jewels and lipstick and went grocery shopping tonight (we like to get the to do list out of the way then indulge in some coffee for me - chicken nuggets for her ;-). So ... with Olivia at her friend, Danielle's 15th birthday party (cannot believe these girls are THAT old) - and hubby taking his boys (mine too, but... his tonight ;-) ice skating downtown (still waiting on some photos, MF...).... Lil and I are left to our own devices. I think I have a tea party, a bubble bath and a girls' movie night on my agenda tonight (Lil picked out a winter watermelon for herself at the store - so we'll have that with the "tea" ;-). Love it! Love, too, that Olivia, on her way out, said to be sure to tell Enzo that she was using the cosmetic bag he got her at Santa's Treasure Shop for her sleepover tonight, and... well... isn't that sweet? Lil using the "prince-ness" bath gel he gave her too ... Milo also gushed over his gift Christmas morning (Enzo got me the best gift ever, which was... to the "not in the know Mommy here" - some sort of Transformer robot thing :-). See? They don't have to fight all the time (holiday cheer not entirely lost on my angels at all ;-).... because they DO look out for one another (whether they know it or not ;-). Feeling happy. Hope you are too.
We chose Tamari in Lawrenceville - went with hubby and a friend (Salt not open until New Year's Day, but... if you are interested... they are doing the traditional "good luck" pork and sauerkraut meal - no reservations allowed, though). We did appetizers, beers, wine and sushi (don't know why - but I am so into avocado and cucumber these days....love it... crazy for the California Roll ;-) - though, tonight, I tried my "When Harry met Sally" ordering technique where I want everything customized, and I confused the waitress, resulting in one extra order of spicy tuna. Oh well). Conversation. Nice atmosphere. Night out!!!
Have I said this yet this week? Take care of "you", blogger pals :-). Enjoy family - soak in the season - remember the charities, but... take care of YOU. Very important.
Photo: Waiting and waiting to go out tonight - kids fed, bathed and in pjs - pizza ordered for teens.... Now - where IS that hubby?
Not really - but... we have a whole lot of togetherness going on. Everyone in the house all at once. Took my cold shower yesterday morning - took the whole brood to D's for lunch where my veggie dog was burned beyond tasty - was late to our original choice of movie, Megamind, because we were carting the teen back and forth from sleepover to lunch to house to shopping and had to see the Jack Black, Gulliver's Travels, which wasn't that good - spilled my chai tea latte in the theater (HUGE sticky puddle) - just one of those days......
Did get to relax and watch a Harry Potter movie with little ones late night - then... engaged in a midnight game of Scrabble with Olivia, Olivia B and hubby (should have photographed game board - we had words that I'm not sure were words.....) - snacked on homemade nutroll, cookies, and other holiday dinner leftovers all day - played with our new air hockey table and Hungry Hungry Hippos - got the boys signed into a ski school for MLK weekend - so..... mostly good. Ebb and flow - yin and yang ;-).
Enjoy time with those close to you this week if you can :-).
OK - so yesterday, morning was chaos and the day was a blur, but we did have fun in the evening - eating, talking and trading gifts with this other side of the family. And, yes, as I said Christmas morning was great too, but I did spend all day cooking, cleaning, and taking the gifts that cluttered the living room up the stairs - hubby (who treated us all to family electronics as group gifts - Blueray player, surround sound stereo, boxed Harry Potter set, etc. - spent a large part of the afternoon hooking it all up and hiding wires... good times). I would have rather sat on the couch and watched our new Harry Potter, eating cookies and drinking coffee, but... that's not how this year worked out. All good. I was a little peeved at first, but... like I said, happy to see that everyone enjoyed themselves in the evening (including me - again, need to lighten up ;-). Of course, there is no zen approach to Christmas with this group - they shower everyone with little gifties and bring trays and trays of cookies and candy. So... the photo? Yeah- all that is filled with cookies, pie, nutroll, etc. Christmas lights tonight - possibly a matinee this afternoon.... Enjoy yourselves, all! Oh - and make a run to the Community Food Bank or write that check to another favorite charity if you already haven't :-).
Was reminded this morning of the fact that Darci Kistler, someone who I watched growing up as she is just a little older than I am, danced her last dance as a professional ballerina earlier this year. Wow - passages.... huh? The year in review begins.....
Teen back asleep already after opening a literal pile of gifts - Lil cried the entire "Christmas morning video" but then calmed to see her "kitty" and "My Little Pony" - NEVER seen the boys so excited - listening now to the constant sound of "Sher - I need your help" (hubby) - smell cinnamon rolls and coffee - have pot roast, chicken pie, pumpkin curry soup and other yummies (wine, pie - the whole deal ;-) on the menu for when family comes over later....
... drinking ginger ale and eating cheese and crackers (I know, right? You would think it would be hot chocolate and sugar cookies. Hmmm... Definitely going to tackle the cookies and milk in a bit - though reindeer's carrots may go back in fridge ;-).
Lovely night - driving to my Mom's along that familiar stretch of road reminds me of my childhood - totally. Summers at the pool, dance class, long drives back from my grandma's.....
Good time this Christmas Eve - fantastic, actually. Felt nice to be back with my brothers and my Mom - nieces and nephews from many blended families all got along so well - yummy dinner piles of gifts and good cheer (as corny as that sounds - it is TRUE). And... all that worrying and fretting.... sheesh. Goes to show you that even hurt feelings and odd behavior will come to pass when more important things matter, ya know?
So ... time to partake of coffee and get a'workin'. Actually, just nice to enjoy some quiet time (because presumably all the children ARE nestled all snug in their beds while visions of Ds's, Kinectimals, "kitties that walk" and UGGs dance in their heads). LOVED seeing them all have a good time tonight. Olivia got the crazy, loud, happy family that she loves SO MUCH together again - the boys were thrilled to be at Grandma's and... Lil seems to finally understand all the hoopla this year :-). And... miracle of miracles.... another side of the family - a bit distant now due to unavoidable circumstances - did send a friendly greeting. Maybe they heard me - maybe they just wanted to? Doesn't matter; I'm glad they did.
I've said it before - I'll say it again.... Happy Christmas, all!
Woke this morning and got to do the highly coveted snuggle buggle under the comforter while watching Curious George with the little ones (after a truly calm and lovely evening watching Love Actually, my favorite seasonal movie, and drinking tea :-). The boys put the last little star up on the Advent calendar - we read Olivia helps with Christmas one more time (and giggled again). Coffee - holiday finery - beautifully wrapped gifts - CHECK. Cookies and cards to neighbors - almost check. Most importantly, it is a day to spend with those close to you and a time to, once again, think of and reach out to others hurting or worried or otherwise upset this season.
....So.... I was out amongst shoppers tonight - all of them cheerful and polite, a far cry from what I had experienced earlier this week and last. Fat, wet snowflakes fell as I went about my errands - picking and choosing last minute items for family gift baskets, and... I really got into the spirit, picking things I knew people would really like.
I came home to find my three boys (hubby included) having a snowball fight in the front yard, Christmas lights ablaze, snow still falling (and little Lil inside - eating Cheetos and watching Finding Nemo alone - hilarious ;-). Olivia was ready for her "reunion Christmas party" (friends from Oakland Catholic and Shadyside Academy), all dressed up in cute boots and scarf tucked around her neck, holding some nicely wrapped gifts. The night is cold, but... the temp is hanging around freezing, so it is pleasant. My brother in law showed up to go to the Steelers game with hubby (these are my family's tickets, so he rarely gets to go - which makes it all the nicer that this opportunity occurs at Christmastime). I spoke to my Mom earlier, and she was anxious for a visit with my kids (and me and hubby, of course) - so what if my brother changed the details of the Jan ski trip on us, right? I need to lighten up.
By some miracle, I AM organized - gifts wrapped - cookies and pumpkin bread on the agenda for tonight (and books Auntie Claus and Olivia helps with Christmas) - downstairs and upstairs cleaned up for guests (thanks to my hubby and kids who helped with everything from grocery bags to vacuuming to laundry and toy schlepping up the stairs :-). Holiday greetings keep rolling in - I am watching movies fireside with my little ones - all the mysterious wrapped packages have me all excited (as I said, I do like the retail - CANNOT help myself).
Anyway, so what if I have some laundry to do and some baths to give. So what if all can manage for dinner tonight is pasta with butter. So what if I'm still laying out and laundering holiday finery. We are happy and together and excited for the festivities to begin.
So ... I wrapped and wrapped last night - ran out of paper - had to leave a number of gifts under a big comforter in my room lest someone for whom they are intended see them. It looks like a dead body - or.... really... several dead bodies. BUT the gifts that I did get wrapped look beautiful (nothing special - just sparkly Crate and Barrel paper and ribbon).... and ... we wrapped our porch up in greenery, and I think it looks sweet and retro with our big, funky house lights. I happened upon an extra Barnes and Noble card (guess I bought my Mom two - oh well), AND... big score... an extra Williams Sonoma mulling spices (which are only $10 and so tasty in cider).
I'm a little stressed this week. An old back / hip injury that I've had since I was about (and I'm not kidding) 17 years old is acting up - has not been this bad since my late 20s, and it usually reacts when my body is tensed - I have a filling that hurts, though it is on the side of my mouth on which I grind my jaw when I'm stressed - and I kinda can't sleep. Still - today, I awoke today renewed (after much introspection at 4 in the morning), but then the toilet overflowed, and my five year old ran into the wall face first in response to the fact that we do not have apple juice, we have orange juice. I hope this doesn't set the precedent for the rest of the day.
I DO love hearing my boys get excited about the Advent calender, counting down the days to Christmas. I love the covert gift-wrapping (and even the Christmas Day menu planning as we watch Top Chef), and the fact that Olivia has her super cool teen gift exchange tonight. I do not like the fact that I have to rearrange my downstairs for Santa gifts and a large number of people on Christmas Day. I do not like all the spending. I mean, I do like shopping, but I feel obscene, crazed - the way I've been flashing that debit card all over the place (our online financial summary sent an alert this morning - "exceeded budget on gas and fuel" - what? just fuel and gas? how 'bout ridiculous kitchen utensils, sweaters and designer crap? - which... we all know is actually fabulous, to buy AND receive - I love my designer crap and all the fun kitchen toys, etc. - I am always a very grateful recipient of anything at Christmas - love seeing the thoughtfulness in gifts and love returning the gestures :-) - in truth, the retail side of it actually does kinda thrill me - just like when I was a kid :-). I dislike the daily fighting between the kids, a little bored because the adults have work to do, and the snow isn't deep enough to be fun. And... while I'm glad that I did get to do some shopping outings with Olivia, and did get to go out to dinner with hubby, I have not had time to enjoy the magic of the season with Lil or snuggle more with the boys on the couch or even bake more (and hubby IS going to the Steelers game tonight, so... maybe another family movie night like we did last night, which will be truly lovely).
So.... today - yes, there are errands to run, but... I want to bake and cook, filling the house with all sorts of nice smells - I want to deliver our neighborhood Christmas gifts, and... I want to rest a bit - keep wrapping, preparing for family, enjoying my kids, looking forward to Christmas carols and a beautiful ceremony at our familiar little church on Christmas Eve, family joy and fun Christmas morning....
I am anticipating craziness over the next few days, so... my Christmas greeting to you comes today (and some of you will be receiving New Year's cards soon.... yeah - did not get to cards in a timely manner - and, AB, the scene will look familiar to you - though your card WAS better :-). Stay safe and cheerful, everyone - Happy, happy Christmas!!!
And, I mean my morning routine, whether or not I eat lunch or dinner, if I am stressed at all traveling Christmas Eve with little ones AND hosting Christmas Day dinner, if I get ANY of my Christmas / Santa errands done, if I need help with the piles of laundry, dishes or messy, messy "winter break" house (and, it is slowly coming back to me why we decided that hubby should no longer work from home even one day a week.... I mean - have you EVER tried to keep a teen, a kindergartner, a preschooler, and a just turned three year old completely quiet and well-behaved in a "Christmas house" while your creative director hubby handles important call after call and tries to "think straight" with all the "commotion"? Good times).....
Deep breath. I think it's time to create another list (the one on the door this morning was horribly incomplete - BUT still had eight immediate need items on it - like take van to car repair, pick up old UGGs from shoe repair, pick up photos, create grocery list, do "dry run" of pumpkin curry soup recipe for Christmas Day, etc.). Of course, hubby is my partner in all this - my teen has been pulling more than her weight babysitting, etc. And, above all, we are looking forward to seeing my Mom and brothers on Christmas Eve - plus, I actually like to entertain so want to make the house look warm and inviting on Christmas Day - full of warm food, candlelight, friendly faces.
I know I'm not alone in all this. I ran into friends last night, also out doing last-minute shopping (and it is that last minute kind of stuff - return a camera for a DS, pickup some "prince-ness" stocking stuffers, try to find something hubby will use and like...) at Target. Saw my friend's hubby, wide-eyed and crazed in line at an electronics counter while I carried a pile of little girl sparkly gifts to check-out. He flagged me down and showed the appropriate level of awe when I responded that, "Yes, I am, in fact, on my own tonight." But.... it was nice to feel some camaraderie in all this.
Today - it is strange stuff ... a package that needs to be sent to one family member who is distant and mean and never RSVPs invitations, so... if she and her equally hostile hubby don't want to come to Christmas Day, we CANNOT leave the kids out of the gift-giving, so... need to get their stuff out asap. And.... I need to create some family gift bags for Christmas Eve... though, in the past, our homemade cookies, hot choc and wine REALLY upset one family one year (they felt the homemade cookies and fudge were a slight - guess they wanted something from the mall), and... another time, they felt their older kids were left out (????) YET do not get us or our kids ANYTHING, so.... very awkward there. What to buy someone like THAT?
In the midst of all this, I'm going to meet a friend and fellow blogger for lunch, which will be a nice break in all this. Also, hubby and I may make another stocking stuffer / coffee run tomorrow sometime before our oldest has her friend gift exchange and party (Ooooo - which reminds me - need to bake some cookies for that - a rather pleasant task, actually :-). I think a skating outing for the boys will have to wait until the week between Christmas and New Year's - but... they had their movie night last night - Enzo a play date, Milo a super special Christmas errand with me :-). And, Lil - poor Lil, is still recovering from her recent illnesses, nursing a cough, having some rough nights, so... she is happy to be inside, by the fire, eating cookies and drawing with markers (BIG treat for her). Plus ... we all have Christmas light tour with cousins the day after Christmas AND a ski trip just after the first of the year (not to mention hubby's b-day, Olivia's b-day, and Milo's gymnastics party.... sheesh)...
I think I need to stop analyzing and just enjoy the season. So... wishing all of you some friends, family and fun this week!
I do. I remember hot, windy, long summer days. Time now, however, to embrace snowflakes and the smell of pine. I think I'm up for it, but... can't help reminiscing with a couple of photos :-).
Also time to embrace hubby's office lunch today (had my "work lunch" yesterday - the book I worked on went to print this morning :-) - more shopping (need to coerce Olivia to go) - play date for Enzo - movie night for both boys - house could use some more greenery - Lil wants to bake more cookies.....
.... and forgiven. Me and my boys are onto the next project. And... I am desperately trying to remember to accept that ebb and flow of everyday life. I mean, this morning, just turned three year old, Lil, was in our bed, having crawled in at 2 am, and she woke me by kicking me in the face and thrashing - clearly in the throes of a tantrum - and one that she wasn't sure she even wanted or needed. Hubby calmed her while I went to wake teen Olivia, early (she and pals are planning a birthday surprise for a friend and need an early ride to school), told her I would be bringing clean uniforms and breakfast up in 5 min. and she informed me that I should hurry because we had to leave in 15 min. Could we all please get moving. Excuse me?
So ... my boys awoke... and, obviously, did not dwell on our scuffles yesterday (like I did ;-). We are onto play with plastic horses and orange juice pops from the Zoku quick pop maker (and I love this puppy - have said so in previous posts - in fact, it may have been a gift last year at Christmas from friends... regardless, it is super cool. I like it because you can leave it in the refrigerator and when you want pops, just pour in juice, wait a couple min and enjoy. No waiting for hours while they freeze in the freezer -this thing does it instantly :-).
Anyway - dreamed of my Dad last night. A real puzzling dream. He was with my Mom and not paying much attention to me. This is on the heels of a discussion I had with hubby after a late night dinner at Paris 66 the other night, and a quick conversation in French with a couple employees there. I remarked that my French was now terrible, and, for some reason, I remembered helping my Mom buy a beautiful set of Limoges dishes in Limoges, France years ago. The saleswoman was shocked that she wanted the whole set, and she was curious about what these "rich" Americans were doing in Europe, living and working, etc. (and, btw, I used to edit what I said about my spoiled existence, but.., I don't anymore - my life is what it is what it is, ya know?). I talked to her for a long time - in French - with no problems, and... it was the first time I had done that - without stammering, searching for words, etc. I felt quite bilingual - pleased with myself :-). I love those dishes too - often request them on holidays. They are quite dramatic - purple and gold on the edges - real bone china - beautiful. I would love my kids to enjoy them on holidays for years to come - my grandchildren, etc. Hubby said I should tell my Mom that, and.... maybe I will.... but.... there is a lot going on there... a lot.... Anyway.... ebb and flow ..... rising above... ;-).
So .. funny photos: My boys and the juice pop maker! Wheee..... Hey - it's something to do inside on a cold, snowy day, right?
Off in a bit to proofread a final copy of the book I worked on AND to attend a holiday lunch. I haven't been invited to one of those in years! Kinda looking forward to it....:-). See... recovered! Entirely. Though.... I do think I should get to a'grindin' those coffee beans. What d'ya think? Offset the cranky that plagues me these days? ;-)
... does make Sherri (me) a dull girl. And.... I'm not going to lose it a la Jack Nicholson in The Shining (as my segue to a rant indicates here), but.... I am snippy these days.
After days of folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher, making dinners that no one likes, and getting my winter frump on (UGGs, yoga pants, jogging bra, long-sleeved T, scarf, and hoodie), I get .... well... like I said, snippy (see, I even have advanced brain fry - not good for a writer who needs to be able to.... um.... use words).
I am torn between reveling in the fact that my boys want me to play card games with them, and want to perform holiday-inspired plays for us, and want to "help" me with everything in the kitchen lately... AND .... getting frustrated because I take five min. showers, don't even brush my hair, never watch anything I want to on TV, and .... do NOT get a single minute alone. My teen wants, wants, wants.... my just turned three year old is demanding as kids that age are. And... really .... none of this warrants complaining, but.....
It's just that, after doing the laundry, the dishes, the blah, blah, blah, I do NOT handle things well - even the smallest of skirmishes or late night requests pushes me over the edge these days. I snapped the other night when my five year old Milo (so new to that age, I almost said 4 :-) had the nerve to cry over a hang nail at 4 in the morning. I also snapped at him tonight (after the sweet boy washed his dinner plate for me - which will need to be... ahem.... washed again, btw - and drew me a picture and a holiday card all so I would "be happy") because, when baby sis Lil went to give him a card that she made for him (and had lovingly colored and taped and glued for quite some time in response to the card her gave her earlier :-), he said, angrily, "I don't like pink." And... when her little face fell, I just started to yell at him. He hid his face in his covers (it was bedtime), and... THEN - after the inappropriate, dramatic reaction... I soothed him, explained my position, gave a mini-lecture on the merits of saying thank you to gifts of any kind but especially of the heart. Truthfully, in his preschool mind, he probably just didn't want big kindergarten brother, Enzo, who was right next to him, to think he liked the card if it was pink (clearly a "girl color", right? ;-).
And.... speaking of big brother (a new 6 year old and experienced kindergartner, as you all know), I feel like my attempts to comfort him fell flat tonight. See... all day, they would NOT leave me my space in our 100 year old city victorian (i.e. narrow and close downstairs) house. I wanted to begin to clean up the dining room for our impending Christmas Day dinner with family, but they wanted to do art projects and had paper, markers, paint, glue, and glitter strewn from one end to the other. It is, currently, beyond me. I cleaned their room (on the third floor), put out games, laid out art paper, piled their favorite books, put their favorite Disney show on the TV and, still, they would not leave the first floor for the glorious playroom of a space on the third floor. Instead, they were downstairs, dragging Indiana Jones and Mario / Luigi costumes all over the place - changing into one, then the other (and each "quick change" required help, of course) - loud-talking, even screaming, crashing into an antique table when they tried to be a donkey under a comforter with a handmade donkey face (HIGH points for creativity and fortitude in execution on that one, but... come on.... my favorite table - broken? Screaming? REALLY? Help).
So... back to Enzo ... while he did "doctor" me back to health today with back rubs and ginger ale when I had a headache or drew me pictures and wanted to sit next to me and hug me most of the day, he is the ringleader in all of this. When I say go upstairs to play, he has the big fit, and he forbids the other two little ones from listening (secretly, of course, but I know what they're whispering about). So, I firmly told him that the bags of ice they had all filled in response to imaginary "head injuries", all had to be thrown away because they were melting and creating puddles. I cleared the dinner dishes (total crap tonight - soup, egg rolls, granola - whatever we could scare up with hubby at Steelers game), reminded him about the ice bags, and went about my business. He, with good intentions, took his soup bowl into the kitchen for me (and I know his technique - take the soup bowl, maybe she won't be mad about all the melted ice - but it is still appreciated :-), and... slipped on one of THOSE ice puddles (no "I told you so" here - it was quite apparent). Soup everywhere (like out of a movie everywhere - noodles on his head and all over the front of him - I stifled laughter, btw... and did assist him ;-)! I had to take the opportunity to hit home the lesson, so... the comforting fell a bit flat. We had tears all the way up the stairs to bed. And I tried to make him feel better - I did. BUT..... the other two little ones were nagging me AND poor Olivia needed to have an important paper proofread, and I was having trouble getting to it all.... Just stretched too thin. And not for just that moment.... ALL THE TIME lately.
Sigh. Geez... I really don't know what to say. Do I even HAVE a point? Anyway.... so... the photo: Not my delightful Irish Coffee. Texted to me by someone who did get out tonight (did I mention my hubby froze his ass off at the Steelers game and stopped by an Italian place in Bloomfield for warm food - so... locals, you know it's good :-)... tonight? Did I mention that?).
So .. do you guys lose it? Do you ever feel stretched too thin? OR, worse, like you've just scarred your child by committing some horrible act of indifference or insensitivity? Humiliation (yikes)? I know you're all busy.... this season is nuts. If you have input, please, by all means, fire away. I need a spanking - or a shoulder to cry on - not sure which yet.
So - for my boys - yesterday's P4 singalong with my sweet "Little Elf", Milo, was the last preschool Christmas performance. We have a couple of years of Lil - a couple of years left of anticipating the kindergarten performance, but... my "little" boy - the younger of the two boys... as it has always been and always will be .... will be in kindergarten this time next year. I can and I can't believe it, ya know? He has always been beyond his years - always right behind big bro, Enzo.
Anyway, the performance was so cute - Milo was SO excited to see us - yelling, "hi Mommy - hi Daddy!" (which got the rest of the class going). He sand his heart out - seemed so pleased with himself. Mostly stayed quiet and attentive to his audience, but... at one point, jumped up and said, "I'm Rudolph - I'm Rudolph" (and with the classroom-made "reindeer ears" (actually antlers) on and the red painted nose, he could have been :-) - another time, he got VERY animated when he realized it was time for the bells (a little stage prop for one of the songs). Happy to report that, this year, all cameras were working - no disappointments - and, this year, we may be the gracious distributors of video and stills to parents who, like us last year, did not get good footage (or a good shot).
We left school for lunch at the "smiley cookie place" (Eat n Park, locals), both boys in tow - Milo with his bag of little gifts (and, this year, thankfully, all us parents showed restraint and did not load up on candy but, rather, we just had his paper angel and elf to hang on the tree - he had a gift from his teachers - very nice). Same with Enzo - he did make a gingerbread house for his craft at the Christmas "party" (and hats off to who brainstormed that activity - very nice, and manageable, for such a young classroom of kids) - but not as much junk this year in the back pack. And, I admit, I have sent candy in before too, but.... feeling more in the spirit of community and crafting this year ;-). Lil was along - happy to listen to Christmas music - just as happy to have lunch out at her favorite place (and we ran into a lot of Bede people there, which was nice too).
Later in the day, Olivia sang, for me, her audition song. And.... she really does have such a pretty voice. Conversation ensued with her pal, Olivia B, about whether she should do lacrosse or play..... Olivia B the seasoned veteran of both. Both BFFs parted ways - Olivia B to meet her boyfriend's extended family (8 kids - all home from college, etc.) - my Olivia to ice skate PPG Plaza around the Christmas tree with a sleepover later. All of us finally semi-well at home (some sniffles and runny noses), I tucked two tired boys in bed last night (Enzo did say, "We had a Christmas party at school, Mommy, and you didn't come." And.... I felt sad about that. Truthfully, I didn't know a craft was planned because I know he likes to do them with me, and there's nothing wrong with that. I should have known to go in to the classroom before Milo's performance, but... in my defense, in the past, I always got a note or email telling me what K had planned the next day, and this year did not. Bad Mommy ;-). Anyway - I told him the party was just for him, and we would do plenty of baking, building gingerbread structures and, of course, more "glitter work" this week :-). Milo was still so smug and content to have performed well. It is important to him to be in the limelight now and then, his two older siblings taking it most of the time - not to mention that demanding younger sis.
Photos: Today, the boys have a fort in the tv room. Obviously - no parents are allowed (see sign). AND.... they are, apparently, reindeer (see giant antlers and painted noses :-).
In some sort of Christmas miracle situation, everyone recovered from their respective illnesses for last night's performance. And, we had a near - perfect night (remember, perfection IS overrated ;-). Enzo performed SO well - walked in with the kings - delivered his line with all seriousness - "projected" his voice to the back of the church as "king #2" "brought the new king frankincense". We were seated perfectly. He stood right next to me while delivering some of his lines (and did not break character to even look at me ;-). Hubby was able to sit in front and tape the whole thing (a first for us because, last year, as you may remember, our files for both he and Milo's performances were corrupted and we had to dig for a copy of the show - and, with Olivia, years ago, I DID get her singing, but... I missed part of the performance, running out of tape of all things). Lilliana stayed quiet - Milo did not, BUT... was excited and animated and, even though he loud-talked a bit, everyone around him thought he was funny, so... that was a relief. Olivia sat with friends in to see the show from Shadyside Academy, Taylor Allderdice, Oakland, Central and Winchester Thurston (yes, the gang was all there). It was just great. The sweet kindergartners - the Christmas carols - all those faces I've known for years, some looking so much older, all in their holiday best - the first and second grade and their spirited performance of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" - and all the songs that I remember even from when I was a kid. Of course, it's nice, every year, to see people we know and to catch up and talk, everyone happy - the night SUCH a St. Bede tradition (30 years now, I think they said). Can't help it - I love it.
So ... today is Milo's performance - today Olivia tries out for the school play (though she doesn't think she'll make it - even kinda doesn't want to because it might interfere with lacrosse season, but... wants the experience) - hubby and I may do some light shopping (I'm almost done - jealous anyone? ;-) - I think we'll do lunch after Milo's performance and Enzo's early dismissal (poor Olivia has to go to school into next week).
So... no magical downloaded photos yet, but I have some recent seasonal fun ones - baking, tree decorating....
Just had to post an update..... Lil is up and around - acting like a kitty - eating salad and mac n cheese - taking an aromatherapy bath and watching movies. Poor Milo is still down and out ... though I have waited on more Tylenol to get him on a better dose "schedule" in case we need to take him this evening (and he keeps asking if he can go), and.... gladly, the fever has not returned with such force - if it has at all, it is very lowgrade. Poor little boy is lethargic and often moans that his stomach or his head hurts (just like Lil did yesterday) and then.... has moments in which he is chatty and semi-cheerful - sits and sips his drink.
And... I did get ahead in my editing / writing project, I am charging all the camera batteries for tonight, I even have everyone's outfits laid out plus I am doing a big load of laundry. Why do I place such huge importance on these things - these performances - these little snippets of my kids' lives? I mean, so much more on a daily basis is just as important - the little things they say - even our "sick time" with them ;-). I guess it is because these moments are BIG in these little lives - filled with pride - surrounded by family and friends. We DO want to remember them, and we do want them to be perfect. I am beginning to think, however, that perfection is overrated ;-).
Oh - the things we "make it" through (and I have yet to get these sick little ones out in the cold to get my kindergartner - hubby working on some deadline projects and Olivia caroling at Shadyside Hospital for Oakland Catholic today, a noble thing :-), but no one can help me... all good :-)... Managing to get work done, supporting our kids in their endeavors, staying attentive to extended family, and... well.... just making it all work. Pats on the back to all today :-)!
So... stay well, all. SOMETHING is going around AGAIN.