Friday, December 21, 2012

Down to the Wire

I've been procrastinating a little this year with the final touches of Christmas. I have all these presents to wrap, but then I remembered the world was supposed to end today, so I hated to put too much effort into anything. But then I woke up this morning and the world was still intact, so I guess I better get moving.

In all seriousness, could this week have flown by any faster? The husband has been traveling since Sunday morning, and he finally comes home tonight. I was really displeased that he had to travel this week, of all weeks. But, work is work, and work pays for Christmas, so I get it. It's been a busy week, and a pretty fun one at that. And now that Morgan finally gets home tonight, it kind of feels like the holidays will officially start this weekend, which is fun.

The week has been really fun, though. Last Saturday, we took the kids to see Santa. We only had to wait about three minutes. That was the best part. That and the fact that he's the best Santa ever, and just fabulous with the kids. As he should be.

Then there was a really fun party on Saturday night. Too much fun, judging from the bad case of cocktail flu I came down with the next day. Ouch. 

Ava and I saw The Nutcracker Tuesday night:

Not the best pic, but iPhones are not known for their flattering imagery. At least not for me.

Wednesday was a fun dinner with some old college friends, and I scored at our gift exchange with some awesome new pajamas. Perfect, since I really wanted new ones and neglected to tell my personal Santa about them.

Back to the to-do list, though. I do have lots and lots of presents to wrap. I wrapped ten last night, but I still need to do the kids' non-Santa items. Problem is that I'm generally to tired to do it when they go to bed. Plus, Ava was awake and reading in her bed til 10 last night (absurd - who are her parents?). So, I'm really hoping for an early bedtime tonight. I'd like to finally watch the finale of Gossip Girl, have some wine, and well, wrap up the wrapping.

Here's to getting it all done in the next 72 hours! Cheers!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What the Diva Wants

Ava's Christmas list was so girlie this year it's crazy. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since she has always been this way. I was just never into Barbies or dolls or dollhouses, so this is sort of new territory for me. However, I love that she's like this, and it makes shopping for her really fun.

Her list this year really wasn't all that big. The thing that cracks me up most is that she specifically asked for a "Costco" doll house.  This came about because she initially asked for the Barbie Dream House. I read up on it, though, and the reviews were pretty mediocre, most saying it was cheaply constructed. So, I sort of convinced her that it would probably fall apart. She had already seen the one at Costco, and changing her mind was pretty easy.

Costco sells the KidKraft doll house, which fits Barbie-sized dolls, and it's made of MDF rather than plastic. Plus, it was only $90, so much better than the $150 or so for the Barbie one.

She also asked for McKenna's Beam and Bar. In case you don't have a girl aged 5-10, you probably don't know that McKenna is the American Girl's Doll of the Year, and American Girl has very kindly provided lots of overpriced accessories to go with the little gymnast. Ava got McKenna for her birthday.

I'm pretty sure I also got her a new outfit for McKenna. I need to go back through the loot and review the purchases. I'm losing track and trying to keep things even, which is hard. And yes, we do go overboard at Christmas. I'm the first to admit that, but I don't really buy them many toys throughout the year, so that's my excuse. Plus, it's just fun. 

Moving on. Ava also asked for a unicorn Pillow Pet (why??), some new Charm It charms, and some books. So, the list isn't that big. I love a good surprise, so I know she'll be thrilled when she opens this:

Yes, it's yet another American Girl doll. But it's JULIE! She's the one I  Ava has wanted for a while, and I told her that Santa was just not going to bring her another doll when she already has four of them. She was fine with that and said maybe for her birthday. So, naturally, I'm so excited for her to open this, and frankly, the hair possibilities are endless with Julie, so we will be styling away. 

I need to work on stocking stuffers this week. Time is running out faster than I'd like. I'm mostly done with big shopping, but there is a lot of wrapping to be done, as well as a trip to the post office, UPS store, etc.

Ava and I are going to see The Nutcracker tonight, and I'm excited for a Mommy-daughter date. Davis will be with one of his grandmothers for the evening (and a sleepover), so I really need to work tomorrow morning to the fullest and get it all finished up. 

The holidays are exhausting, but still so much fun.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Delicate Balance

I was planning to blog about Ava's Christmas list today, but I feel like I have to address the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school instead.

Like so many of you, I have a child who is the same age as those innocent children who were so ruthlessly murdered on Friday. Ava is in first grade, and on Friday morning, I went to Ava's school, where her first grade class was putting on a play. There were lots of parents and grandparents coming in and out of the school that morning, but it never occurred to me that we could really ever be in any real danger there. We're supposed to check in and out using the computer in the office, but frankly, it's pretty easy to just walk on in. And besides, as we know from Sandy Hook, there are some people who can not be thwarted by any security measures at all.

In all honesty, I have never given all that much thought to safety at our school. I realize now how much blind trust I have put in our teachers, our principal, and the rest of the school staff. If I've ever hesitated in dropping her off at school, the hesitation has come from my concerns for her happiness, not her safety. It's elementary school, after all. And the school is in a really good neighborhood. It's small. We all know each other.

On Friday, upon hearing the devastating news, I could not wait for Ava to get home. I felt anxious, ready to have all of my family together, safe in our house. Morgan called me and said that no matter what our kids' behavior that night, they got a free pass. We just felt so lucky to have them.

That feeling continued throughout the weekend for me, especially as more and more details emerged out of Connecticut. I felt like I just kept looking at Ava and Davis with newfound awe. I'm in awe of their innocence, and of the future that lies ahead for each of them.

Last night, we attended the Joy Gift Service at our church. This is a family service, and appropriately, no mention was made of Sandy Hook. However, I could not stop the tears when I watched Ava's choir - all first and second graders - and thought of those young lives that were so violently taken. I looked at the faces of our sweet children and wondered for the umpteenth time how in the world someone could do what Adam Lanza did?

I can't imagine what those parents are feeling now. I can't imagine how traumatized the survivors are. Kids are resilient, though, and their lives will go on. I was tucking Ava in last night and couldn't help but think of the poor parents who have to pass by empty bedrooms now. My heart is so heavy for them.

I suppose that if I had to look for a silver lining in all this, it would be the renewed appreciation for my children. Oh, I know it won't be long before they're making me batty again, but for now, I am reminded of just how delicate the balance of life truly is, and how lucky I am to have my sweet children with me.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Shopping from the sick bed

As I told you yesterday, we've been quarantined all week. Ava finally went back to school today, and Davis has preschool, so I'm doing a little happy dance about having the house all to myself. I still don't feel great, but good enough that I might be able to get out of the house for a couple of errands. Since I have not left the house since Monday except for a doctor's appointment and Davis' gymnastics class, the to-do list has really gotten lengthy. This week and next are kind of crucial. Davis' last day of preschool before the holidays is next Friday, so I have little time to get my act together and wrap up all my holiday shopping.

Also, holiday shopping = one for them, one for me.

Luckily for me, I have not been totally out of luck, thanks to my BFF, the internet. The UPS man and I are really good friends right now, mainly because he has been here just about every day this week. Also, I think we might be having a steamy love affair because one time when he delivered a new bag to me, I was really happy, and he said, "Yeah.....that's what brown can do for you." And he's African American, so I think there might have been a bit of double entendre going on there.

On Monday, I finished up my shopping for Davis using our trial Amazon Prime membership. Free 2-day shipping? Yes, please. So, on Wednesday, I got lots of boxes from Amazon, which included:

What's going to blow him away, however, is the John Deere Gator he's getting. Total surprise gift. We got kind of an amazing deal on it.

Oh, but back to the Amazon order. I got him a few books, too. And if you have some books that 3-4 your 3-4 year old boys love, let me know. He's not quite as into reading as Ava has always been, but his interest is on the rise. I can never resist a good book for kids.

I'll be back next week to share Ava's Christmas goodies. She's getting a fun surprise, too, although something tells me she'll love the Gator as much as her brother does. 

As a side note, I have caught a bit more morning tv than usual this week. So,  Kathie Lee and Hoda: if you ever need a third host to drink wine with you at 10am, I'm your girl. 


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Never trust the flu shot

As I type this, I am sandwiched on my sofa between a 3 year old boy and a shih tzu. It's 3pm, and my 7 year old is in pajamas in the chair across the room. We are watching LazyTown.

I can't imagine the level of envy you must feel upon reading this, but please know that it's because the plague has hit my house. It started with Ava, on Saturday. She didn't feel well, ran a fever that night, yadda yadda yadda. I took her to the doctor on Monday, only to receive a FLU diagnosis.

Hey, wait a minute. Flu?

But she got the Flu Mist. In fact, the whole family has been vaccinated this year.

Well, Flu Mist be damned, because the flu has descended upon us. That afternoon, I started thinking I was getting a cold. I thought so until last night when I was running a 101 fever, which has kept up, on and off, ever since. My doctor gave me Tamiflu, so hopefully that will help quickly. I have Christmas parties to go to this weekend. Sick is not on my agenda.

The first two days of Ava being at home were fine. I finished decorating the house. I did lots of laundry. I changed my sheets. All of that was, I suppose, good planning, since I'm now down for the count.

The funny thing is, though, that kids kind of seem to come through for you when you need them to. Yesterday, I had both of mine home all day because Davis doesn't go to preschool on Tuesdays. What started as a day I dreaded turned into a day of two siblings getting along and entertaining each other all day. I think I had to call them down once. Seriously. Once.

Ava even took some time to teach Davis some new shapes on the computer. Or maybe she was shopping online. Either way, they were happy. I would show you a picture but I have a new Mac and I can't get the picture to post. Must practice that a little.

So, I'm keeping Ava home again today. She's fever-free and feeling better, but I think one more day can't hurt. Davis and Morgan are still flu-free, and my fingers and toes are all crossed that they stay that way. Maybe I'll try to be productive and address our Christmas cards.