Sunday, December 24, 2006

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Shopping 2006: Done

I don’t want to be self-promoting or anything (and if you believe that, I’ve got a 1996 Sunfire in mint condition to sell you) but today is my birthday and I’m having a great day. I’ve had four birthday phone calls, three presents dropped off, a few cards in the mail and people at school who wished me happy birthday. No matter how old you get, it’s still so nice to be thought of. Spencer told me yesterday his gift to me is that he’ll give me a hug every time I ask for one (for today only). That’s the mommy’s boy I always wanted. I can’t imagine a better present.

We survived the kids Christmas concert last night. I start dreading it in mid-November. Here’s my list of Grinchy complaints:

  • If you want to get a decent seat, you have to pick up your kids after school and go straight to the auditorium to find a seat. Or just spread jackets all along the four best benches and come back 5 minutes before the show starts. Who are all these people bringing to the concert??? Is their newspaper boy coming? Their gas station attendant? Their gynecologist? Who?? Let me take a minute here to admit that I am part of the problem. We arrived at 6:10 (concert starts at 7:00) and the best seat we could find was four rows from the back, on the side. Three grandparents were with us, plus we saved seats for my sister & brother-in-law and nieces. But if every family was allowed four tickets and all my relatives couldn’t come, I am pretty sure they would not be heartbroken. I’m sure they could think of something better to do on December 21st, like make snowflakes or watch It’s a Wonderful Life.
  • That brings me to another point – why have the concert this late? Why not like December 14th, or better yet, December 2nd? I know there is the Living Christmas Tree set to deal with, but the kids could just work around that. It would be way more interesting. Especially if the set had nothing to do with their play.
  • Another thing that would make it more interesting would be if they didn’t practice so much. I think Spencer started singing Feliz Navidad in early October (not exaggerating). The best part of the concert last night was when the policeman flubbed his lines. That should happen way more often. That’s what makes a concert memorable and fun. But it’s rehearsed too thoroughly.
  • The offering. Is this a fundraiser? If so let’s make it count. I would suggest a bake sale, but that means I’d have to bring yet another batch of “dainties.” Maybe there could be sponsorships available. If you pay enough, the concert could be called the (your name here) Christmas Concert. Or maybe parents could bid on speaking parts for the children. The more you pay, the more lines or solos your kid has.

I’m sorry this is a very un-Christmas-y, Scrooge-like rant. It really was a nice concert. It’s so exciting for the kids (even Spencer, who was very displeased about having to wear a “hateful vest.” He wanted to wear a shirt with a monster truck on it and I was tempted to let him but the memo said “Sunday best” and I’m way too much of a conformist). And it’s always fun seeing their fuzzy little faces far away on stage (it took me 10 minutes til I was sure which one was Chloe). Anyway it’s all over, at least until the $#*@% spring concert.

I officially finished my Christmas shopping this morning (well maybe one more stocking stuffer left. ha ha). I dragged Neve & Spencer with me and we made five separate stops. They were unusually cooperative and I only had to buy Spencer one stuffed penguin. I didn’t tell him it says La Senza Girl on it. I’m sure Chloe will tease him about it and he’ll get all embarrassed and give the penguin to Neve. But for now, he loves “Cozy” and is cuddled up napping with it.

Well I should take advantage of nap time and finish wrapping gifts. And I still have to clean up the suitcases.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

"Dainties" and Suitcases

We had hardly any plans this weekend and I thought I’d get so much accomplished and organized. Now it’s Sunday night and I’m still stepping over suitcases in our bedroom that haven’t been unpacked from our Vegas trip. That’s going to be the top of my list this week. Along with finishing my Christmas shopping, decorating and baking. This week, I have to volunteer for Spencer’s hot lunch and bring a veggie/fruit platter for Chloe’s potluck lunch the same day, bring a dozen “dainties” (not my favorite word) for Chloe’s classes visit to the seniors’ home on Wednesday, and bring 2 doz. “dainties” (I can’t even write it without putting quotation marks around it) for a Christmas tea on Friday. Spencer has a class Christmas party on Thursday and Chloe has one on Friday, which parents could sign up to bring things for, but I didn’t. And the school Christmas concert is Thursday night. So my week rotates around school, while trying to accomplish the aforementioned goals. Those suitcases better be out of this room by Christmas, which according to the kids’ Playmobil advent calendar, is only seven days away. Our days rotate around this calendar. Every day there’s a box to open, which contains a little Playmobil toy that is part of a Christmas scene. We had it last year, and the kids remember most of the items, but apparently that doesn’t make it any less exciting. Spencer is so into this that he wakes up early on odd numbered days (they take turns – Chloe gets to open the boxes on even days). His sleep patterns are actually affected by the Advents calendar. Chloe isn’t as excited (or pretends not to be) and often waits to open her box until she can’t stand Spencer’s begging anymore. Then she takes her box and hides when she opens it so that she is the first one to see what it is. Then they fight about where to place the objects on the Christmas scene. How joyful it is. Someone should invent these calendars for January and February. I guess we could use the same one, but they always end on the 24th. That’s just not practical.

Thursday night we had a Christmas party at Chris & Julianne’s, which was lots of fun. Darla, who hosts the annual bake exchange that I wish I had participated in this year since I wouldn’t have to worry about “dainties”, was there (how’s that for a mention?). So was Leanne, who gave me two boxes of purple Christmas ornaments to use for my tree. Now Shannon will feel left out if I don’t mention her (I’m not mad at you), and Cassandra and Julianne won’t care because they’re not loyal blog readers like the others (or are you?? This is a test).

On Friday I went Christmas shopping all day, which was no fun at all. Polo Park was Saturday-busy. I almost got in a fight in the New York Fries line up and I could feel no Christmas cheer whatsoever, so I got out of the mall as quickly as I could (after eating my fries). I still have a few gifts left to buy, and a few to return, which is always a treat. The sales clerks are always sour about having to do a return, and I feel like they’re looking at me suspiciously, like “what did you do to this merchandise and how dare you return it?”

On Saturday, we went to two Christmas parties. One was in the neighbourhood and one was at Jim & Sabrina’s. Ate lots of food and laughed and drank and ate some more. Clay was at Jim & Sabrina’s party. We hadn’t seen him since October and although there have been times when I never wanted to see him again in my life, I was actually happy to see him. He says he’s very busy and even has a few more guys working for him now.

And today, we spent most of the day at home and then we went to IMAX to see Santa vs. the Snowman in 3D. Chloe saw it last Saturday with a birthday party, and really wanted to see it again with Spencer. I wasn’t too excited about going, but it was really cute and well worth it. The kids loved it. Spencer kept reaching out to touch things that were coming at him (okay maybe I did too). After the kids were in bed, Dale & I watched the movie “The Break Up.” It was so realistic that I was mad at Dale while watching it. I recommend it.

Hope you have a relaxing, return-free week before Christmas...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Here's Dale working with our tree for the 5th night in a row. It looks like he fell asleep holding it up.

The annual Santa photo (with Spencer holding his catalogue page)

Watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." (We can't find the remote for our DVD player). Our tree looks better in the dark. The darker the better.

Neve being her usual mischeivous self.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fifteen More Days

I don’t know how it happened, but this year it seems Christmas just suddenly appeared on the calendar. I have never been on the top ten list of organized people, but I’m usually not on the bottom of the list either. This year I’m second from the bottom. Lorie E. is last. So thanks for not making me dead last. And hopefully you can start your shopping this week.

We have our tree up and decorated, which took a whole week. Our artificial tree in the basement started looking tempting. But we persevered and I have to say it was Worth It. At first it kept falling over. We tried securing it to the wall. Dale nailed big nails into the wall and thought I wouldn’t notice the big chips of plaster/paint that came out. Now we’ll have to leave our tree up all year to hide the hole in the wall. The tree was still unstable and I didn’t want any more holes in the wall, so we bought a new base. That seemed to be the ticket and the tree has stayed up for a whole week. I’ve even stopped putting poly down on the rug every night for it to fall on. Once it was up, I realized I hate all of our decorations and lights. Every year for the past 3 years I’ve wanted to decorate the tree in purple. I have one purple ornament. My wishes don’t always coincide with reality. I wanted to find purple lights, but I couldn’t find any. I know there are purple lights on some multi-coloured strands, so why can’t they make strings of just purple? And the only purple ornaments I could find were purple and blue, so I decided to do a purple & blue & silver tree. But you can’t tell. There are so many odds-and-ends kids decorations on it that any colour theme is impossible. Apparently I’m supposed to “enjoy this while I can” and it will be “soon enough” that the kids are all grown up and I can decorate the tree all in exquisite turquoise flowers and white pearls and then I will be standing there all alone and look back in regret that there’s not a baby balancing on the arm of the couch trying to reach an ornament at the top of the tree and one kid nagging endlessly for hot chocolate and another making paper “ornaments” to hang on the tree and I will feel empty inside. Hmmm. I guess I’ll find out in about 20 more years. I’m thinking I will embrace solitude and elegant trees by then.

With the tree finally done, now it’s time to think about shopping. I’ve picked up a few things, but have lots more to buy. I try not to go near the malls on the weekend, but a couple of people told me both Polo Park and St. Vital malls really weren’t that bad yesterday. And I was in Portage Place a bit yesterday, and if you want a quiet place to do your shopping, go there. There are actually lots of good shops there, and of course the Bay. If I don’t get much shopping done this week, I’m going to go there next Saturday and shop til I’m done. Apparently it’s in style (according to Teresa, my trend source) to finish Christmas shopping extra early, so maybe everyone’s sitting at home drinking eggnog and playing board games instead of shopping. Why can’t it be in style to do your shopping late? If I can’t be cool even when I try, maybe I could be cool without trying. So you heard it hear first: next year the hottest thing is to not start your Christmas shopping until December 23rd. No one should be in the mall before then unless you’re buying birthday gifts for me or getting your pants hemmed at Stitch It. And you can go to the food court. Other than that though, don’t be caught in the mall. It’s not cool.

I took the kids to see Santa. Spencer wanted to bring along the Sears Wish Book to show Santa what he wanted, just so there was no chance of miscommunication and getting the wrong thing. I convinced him just to bring the page it was on, so I think Santa’s got that under control. Chloe asked for a Tamagotchi instead of superpowers, so Santa was pleased about that. Neve however, was not pleased about sitting with Santa and couldn’t get away from him fast enough. She cheered up a little once she got a candy cane. I wish she had gotten it before the photo.

We had such a good lazy day today. I got some laundry done, school forms filled out, had a nap, and the house is relatively clean (at least the areas that visitors see). I’ve even made a list of gifts I need to buy and am going Christmas shopping tomorrow morning. It’s going to be a good week. Hope yours is too.

By the way, I added some links on the side for those who are all done their Christmas shopping and are looking for something else to do besides play yet another round of Monopoly. (for the Santa one, you have to click once to get him going, then click and hold down til you want to release the slingshot).