The Countdown

I wasn’t in such a panic as I appeared to be on Friday.  Sure, I was a little behind.  But I’m good at swimming when I’m in over my head.

My photographer friend promised to do the boys pictures next weekend and pinky-swore to get me the pictures the day after.  A sigh of relief.

My class is finished next weekend.

On Friday, when I posted, I saw a weekend ahead of me.  A Sunday.  Free of obligations except class and making dinner.

But then Tornado A was sick. On Friday.  And on Saturday.

And Friday night when I was trying to do my insane research project, lots of research for a stupid 3 page paper, Tornado A woke and needed to be consoled.

And Tornado S started getting warm as we sat in the theatre watching a comedy-musical Christmas play.  Oh great.

And Saturday night as I attempted to work on my stupid project, Tornado A woke up and needed to be consoled.  And woke up and needed to be consoled.  And woke up and needed to be consoled.  And woke up and needed to be consoled.  (The only cute thing was he kept asking for the newest album, a mixed cd.  It was cute even at 4:10 am.)

And on Sunday Tornado S was sick.  And Tornado A was getting better.

Getting better meant sticking to Mommy like a burr or taking out every single toy and then screaming (SCREAMING) if anyone touched it as in to put it away.  Or screaming over every time he didn’t get his way.  Oh God, the screaming.  And he was too sick to be tossed into time-out or into his room or locked outside for the neighbors to enjoy.

So this weekend.  What got done?

Well, I did feed the children.  Sort of healthy food.

I got my projects and my discussion done.  It was to the wire, but I was taking care of sick kids, which gave me a migraine.  (I wish I could write on my late papers “Single Mom, on call all the time.  Sorry.”  I don’t think it would fly.)

And laundry was washed and dried.


Kids were washed.


Dining room floor was swept and mopped.


Oh, right.  My parents’ bought me a book case, and now the DVD collection is not housed in boxes lining my living room.  Woo.


Oh. Homework for the boys was finished, and their chores were done.  Yea!


The picture frames were not decorated.

The family tradition of celebrating St. Nick Day by buying for Toys for Tots was not done.

I didn’t get to sneak away and play Santa.

We didn’t go Christmas clothes shopping.

The house did not get cleaned.

The week’s dessert did not get made.

So, yeah.  Now I’m kinda panicking.

Like wondering when we’ll do Santa.

When I’ll get to the post office.

Maybe I should buy those last gifts.

When I should take Tornado E out to buy his gifts.


Then there are the crafts and the ornaments to be made.

And the decorating.


I really should just calm down and pick the important things.


Holiday crafts for kids and toddlers

Are you looking for something to make with your kids?  I always am.  Especially for gifts.  Once you have kids, gifts for grandparents and aunts and uncles and great-grandparents and godparents become a cinch.  Who wouldn’t want a cute ornament made by a kid?  Decorating for the holidays is fun and economical.  These were the crafts we tackled last year.

As always, crafts can be adjusted for the age and ability of the child.  The older the child, the more the kid can do.

Picture Ornaments

(I thought this was a cute craft.  I make a different ornament with the kids every year and give them out as gifts and keep them for my own tree.  I liked the idea of saving a picture of the boys on my tree.  The boys enjoyed making these.  Anything with glue is fun to them. Younger kids can decorate the ornament.  Older kids can trace and cut as well as decorate.  My children (6, 4, and 1) are not fantastic cutters, so I cut.  I got the idea from here.)

Things you need:

  • Card stock
  • Jar lid recommended 3″ lid
  • Another round lid slightly smaller (to cut the pictures)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Photos
  • Glue
  • Pens, markers, paint, stamps (anything to decorate the front)
  • String, elastic cord, something to hang up the ornament

What to do:

Fold the stock paper.  Make a simple ornament shape by tracing the jar lid and leaving the fold intact with the topper of the ornament.  Cut out ornament.  Decorate the front of the ornament with paints, stamps, whatever or do the activity below.  Using the smaller round shape, draw a circle on the photo, and cut it out.  Glue the picture on the inside of the ornament.  You can glue the string in place or just tie it.  (I’m a rebel.  I didn’t use glue for the string.)

Reindeer fingerprints

( I got the idea from Spoonfuls, the same site that brought you the craft above.  I wasn’t able to find the directions.  I thought these were so adorable on the cards.  But I thought they would be awesome on the photo ornament.  A fingerprint to match the picture to show how small they once were.  The boys LOVED this!  They got to get messy.  Tornado E and Tornado S (6 and 4) drew the antlers and glued the eyes and nose.  I helped the one year old.)

Things you need:

  • Card stock
  • Brown washable (I can’t stress WASHABLE enough) ink pad
  • Brown marker
  • 5mm googly eyes (for small fingers)
  • 1/4 in black or red pom poms (for small fingers)

Have the child make a fingerprint with the WASHABLE brown ink.  Finger or thumb.  After the ink dries, have the child draw antlers.  Then have the child glue eyes and a nose.  Our craft we did just one.  If you’re making a card or have a large ornament, do more than one.

Making reindeer

Holiday Wreaths

(I stole this from my BFF and her holiday program at her church.  I was suppose to run this craft and got bumped.  In my disappointment, I decided to do this with my boys.  I did the hot glue.  They decided where to put the decorations.  If you’re A personality, I don’t recommend this.  We made an ugly wreath, but it was done with love.  The boys LOVED this.)

Things you need:

  • Cheap fake Christmas wreath
  • Cheap decorations like mini christmas ornaments and bells (I bought ours at the dollar store and Walmart.)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue
  • Ribbon (optional)

What to do:

Lay the wreath down.  Heat the glue gun.  Have the kids place the decorations on the wreath.  Glue the decorations.

That is a kid approved wreath

For more craft ideas:

Hustle and Bustle

The Christmas recap

– Christmas specials.  I heart Shrek the Halls.

– A photo card site should not be down for 24 hours.  It should not take three trips to Target to get photo cards.  I should have had them out sooner.  At least I saved money in the deal.

– I have great uncles.  Dispensing out presents to the boys slowly throughout the night.  The fart putty though.  That was a little much.

– F-king (Enter The Clan name).  My cousin handed off his white elephant gift to someone to look at and then bolt out of the room.  The victim would hunt him down and hand the gift back.  It was hilarious to watch.  Until he gave it to Tornado E.  Now I have a two foot tall red Christmas tree candle.

– Homemade tamales.

– Me: D. It’s not that big of issue to get ice in your cup if you’re using tongs.

D: I’m not a woman.  (looks in my cup)  Three ice cubes.  Jesus.

Me: I’m drinking this for the caffeine, not the ice.

D: Then get some more sleep.

SIL: Here that, Fae.  D. just volunteered to take the boys for a weekend.

Me: He did!  Thanks, D.

D grumbles.

– Star meringues, holly, and haystacks.  What diet?

– Tornado A tackling and holding a teddy bear his size.

– 2am I finally finished being Santa.  I stargazed.

– Oops.  My mom forgot to give me my stocking stuffers.  A quick dash to fill the stocking with something in case the boys notice.

– The boys.  Christmas morning.  7:15 wake up call.

– Video of Christmas morning.

– Alas no caffeine dispenser with a year supply of caffeine from Santa.

– Cinnamon bread, pumpkin bread, banana bread, date-nut bread.

– My parents gave me a shovel, a hoe, and a rake.  My dad wrapped them.  Without a box.

– Mash potatoes.

– An hour on the organ.

– Boys were excited about every gift.  Even clothes.

– Hours of playing in imaginary lands.

– Two hours at a Chinese restaurant.  My brothers and I planned on dining and dashing.

– A gift card to Hot Topic and a sale on t-shirts.  Sweet.

Ah Cr-

It was Christmas Eve evening, my appetizers had been plated.  The boys were running around my parents house in church clothes.  Thankfully Horton Hears a Who was on instead of A Christmas Story.  The Husband was finishing wrapping his white elephant gift.  My dad played with Tornado A, and my mom was putting on the last minute touches on her outfit.

And I found myself with nothing to do, the first time in days.  So I picked up The Flip.  I noticed The Husband hadn’t cleaned the memory after he made a cool Christmas video card.  I did the natural thing; I deleted all the footage to make sure we had plenty of room for Christmas Eve and Christmas (because I would totally forget later if I didn’t do it right then).  A full two hours of memory was ready and waiting for special Christmas memories.  Ah, memories.

The Husband: Ok, finished wrapping.  Anything else you need done?

Me: Nope.  We’re good.  Hey, you didn’t clean the memory off the Flip.

The Husband: Yeah, I didn’t save it on the computer yet.

WHAT?!  An hour of family memories and Disneyland footage gone?!  WHAT?!  What have I done?!  And why didn’t he save it all when he was editing?!

Me: (Probably with a look of pure horror on my face) You didn’t save it on the computer yet?  (pause)  But you made that video.  You were messing with clips.

The Husband: I was working it off of the camera.  I didn’t have a lot of time.

Me: Crap.

The Husband: What?

Me: I erased it.  I erased the whole memory.

The Husband: You did what?!

Me: I deleted everything to make room for Christmas memories.  I assumed you would have saved everything when you made the video card.

The Husband: I guess you should have asked before you erased it all.

Me: I was about to.  But then I thought “Of course, he saved it.  What a stupid question?”  I suck.  God, that sucks so bad.

The Husband: Well, at least all the good stuff is saved on the computer already.

Me: We have that.  And I guess that means we need to go back to Disneyland to record it all over again.

The Husband: Guess so.  Um, can I have that before you do any more damage?

I handed it over before the thing randomly exploded.  No one trust me with technology.


It’s amazing how much work goes in for an event that takes less than 24hours.

Friday I ran around getting things together.  Making appetizers, cleaning the house, finishing craft-gifts, taking care of baby and boys.  I started top really lose it as we got close to leaving for my parents’ house for my dad’s family Christmas Eve party.  I shouldn’t have stressed.  Everyone else was at least a half an hour late.  My grandma was an hour and half late, which was remarkable because technically she was two hours late because my mom gave her an earlier time.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t have two boys that need early bedtimes and a baby who could hear all the fun that was being had without him.  He could barely be bothered to eat.

My uncles indulged my boys with swords and mini-remote-controled cars and other toys.  My mom indulged the boys in extra cookies and desserts.  And I indulged them with staying up late and driving around looking at Christmas lights (thanks, Jane, for the idea), even though The Husband was worried about how long it was going to take us to put together the bikes.

He didn’t need to worry.  He was gone before 11.  I finished up some cleaning and setting the stage for magical memories.  The Friendly Giant, my sweet baby brother, came over at 11:30 with my camera that I left at my parents’ house.

Christmas dawned.  The Husband was over WAY before the boys woke up.  We were ready for Tornado E.  Who took one look around and.  Melted.  There was no blizzard marker to be had.  Why would Santa be so cruel?  Luckily The Husband was in charged of the last Tornado E gift and bought a light saber game, which Tornado E loved, even if it is a little advanced for him.

Tornado S.  Tornado S loved his pirate cave and the pirates I bought on e-bay, three times the price I could have paid if I had bought them the year before.  Sigh.  But Tornado S was in love.  And didn’t care about any presents.  Not one.  For the rest of the day.

Tornado A was just glad to have paper the crinkle and rustle.

Then Tornado E noticed a toy among his pile of Santa gifts.  A gargoyle toy from the cartoon Gargoyles that I had bought for cheap at a used book store.  Still in his package.  And Tornado E was in love.

As we drove to my parents’ house for a delicious breakfast The Husband made for everyone, Tornado E exclaimed, “Santa brought me something I always wanted but never knew existed.”

Yup, that’s Santa.  Or God.  I can never remember.

Now all that’s left is to write the thank you notes that I’m sure I’ll forget to send.  Again.

Starting to loose my chill

I’m drawing a blank here.

Usually I start composing somewhere in the shower.  The only five minutes of peace I have until everyone is passed out.  But lately I’ve been during a shower meditation, so it takes up most of my time.

Usually I have most of the day to compose because I write during nap time when Tornado A and Tornado S are sleeping and Tornado E is at school.  Not only is Tornado E out of school and plays the Piper to Tornado S’s Child, today is counselor day, so the boys will be at my parents’ house during nap time.  I will be doing something to help my mom.

Usually I can be focused even with two boys breaking in to tell me something or show me something or beg me for something.  But I’m trying not to think about composing speeches for the counselor and obsessing about the lies that started a year ago Sunday.  Yeah, that not thinking is working out well.  So I drag my brain to another thought.  Like how my mom has just found out today what stage of breast cancer she has and I should call her and see how she is doing.  After I finish this post.  So I drag my brain away to the wrapping I have to do (all of it) and the Christmas cards that need to be done (most of them) and the ornaments the boys need to make (please don’t let me burn them again) and the cleaning I should do (because we’re preserving memories here, folks) and I got to remember to check the directions on what tools we need to build the bikes and should I bake something (because those muddie buddies found their way into my hands WAY too many times the last two days) and maybe I should stop writing and start making a list.  And checking it twice.

I think I’m about to have a panic attack.

Santa, Baby.

We took Tornado E when he was five months old.  There was no line.  My mom insisted.  That’s why we went.

The next year we were given tickets to a Christmas train ride with a Santa visit that was only for OC Girl Scouts.  A neighbor gave them to us because her troop organized it.  How could we disappoint her daughter who loved Tornado E?

The year after we nearly got away without one Santa visit.  But as we walked through one of the neighborhoods where every house is strewed with lights and people walk around looking at the huge electric bills, we spotted a “real” Santa sitting in one of the yards with some young, cute (I’m married with two kids, not dead) Marines collecting Toys for Tots.

The year after that I was too busy with Christmas and the debating over moving to worry about Santa.  My uncle dressed up as Santa for the Christmas Eve party.  My dear, brave, social Tornado E ran for cover, too scared to come out.  Maybe not going to see Santa was a good thing.

Last year we just never got around to it.  I’m such an awesome parent.  My uncle dressed up as Santa again.  This time he bribed my boys over with presents.  Once they noticed he had bells on his buckle, they liked him well enough.  Tornado E showed his own Santa costume.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the kindergartners told Tornado E about the mall Santa.  And I was doomed.  Luckily one of the mothers came to my aid and asked if I wanted to go together.  After many dropped plans due to sickness, we went today.  While I was on time (HOLY CRAP!), she ran late, which was fine.  The kids danced around with each other, glad to be together, trying to get a glimpse of Santa.  After making their Christmas wishes, releasing snow into the air, and testing the naughty-or-nice machine (they came out nice which just means Santa is as forgiving as God), they saw Santa.  My boys just stood there.  As a helped lifted Tornado S onto Santa’s lap, I whispered, “Tell Santa what you want.”  My shy Tornado S launched into a monologue of toddler-accented list of toys.  Then it was Tornado E’s turn, who asked for a Pillow Pet and Blizzard maker.  Tornado A didn’t know what to think as he stared at Santa.  The picture came out nice, and then we added the other two kids.  It took 45 minutes.  And I was thankful that Tornado A was a happy baby without a morning nap.  Oh, and that there was no incidents to mark this as the last year we could visit Santa at the mall.

Then again, maybe that would have been a good thing.

Something is different and very weird

In my second semester in college, something clicked in me.  I stopped stressing about finals.  During finals week as my friends freaked out, studied until their eyes popped out, I would take a little time to review and then turn on the TV or surf the web.  It drove some of my friends CrAzY.  But my mom had taught me how to study.  A little every day.  Study for 15 mins, break 5, 15 more mins, break 5, and so on.  If the test was cumulative, I should know most of the material any way.  If the test was on just part of the semester, then I should just treat it like any other test.  I relaxed, watching how much nicer people were to each other, even though they were all stressed, because they were all in the same boat.  Professors and students were scrambling to finish the semester.  And I walked in slow motion as the rest of the world sped by.

Which is how I feel right now.

And I have no right to feel that way.

No right, what so ever.

My Christmas cards aren’t even at my house yet because I ordered them on Sunday.  So they are not addressed, stamped, and mailed out.  Oh, and I forgot to put something like “Tornado E, Tornado S, and Tornado A wish you a Merry Christmas” on the cards.  So someone has to do that too.

As for the jar mixes that I have to put together for my grandparents and aunts and uncles, I still have to buy the jars.

Tornado E needs another gift from Santa, but at least everything else is bought for the boys.

Nothing is bought for my family.  Ok, I lied.  I bought a few knickknacks last year after Christmas, but not enough to give as gifts.

Which means, nothing is wrapped either.

My boxes to my in-laws and my two best friends are not even packed.  (Didn’t I say I would get those out early this year?)

The annual professional pictures I wanted to get of the boys never got done.

I have not baked a damn thing, though I have all the stuff.  Except butterscotch chips.  I need those.

The handmade ornaments and gifts from the boys. I scratched out the gifts, and they have only made one set of ornaments done.  But I burnt those.  (Did any one know you can burn clay?)

And then there’s the grand debate of should I or should I not get some sort of gift for The Husband.  Are there rules for this sh*t?  But I rather err on the side of sainthood than b*tchhood.

Let’s not forget I blew over 200 bucks of the budget on things I forgot to budget for.  Add another 150 because I forgot to add regular groceries into the budget.  Brilliant, I know.  At least, The Husband has done his dirty work too by snagging 150, but he goes and slays dragons for that stuff.  And I don’t feel too bad over the budget.  I mean, Tornado A did NEED his shots, and the boys did NEED haircuts.  They looked like they had been timewarped from the 70s.

So ten days before Christmas, I’m buried under a mountain of stuff to do.  And I’m not worried.  I’m not freaking out.  I’m just chilling.  It’s weird.  The only theory I have come up with is that I’m so worried and freaked out and obsessed over my marriage and my path to maturity that I just don’t have any room for the rest of the stuff out there.  The kids will get to school on time, and they will be properly fed, dressed, and rested every day.  The bills are paid.  Everything else will fall into place.  Gifts will be wrapped.  Food will be prepared.  Budgets will be fixed.  And the boys will have a wonderful Christmas in spite the fact that all the adults are filled with chaos over the separation.

Remind me of this zen place when I’m building two bikes at 1am Christmas morning.

The Pirate Ship

So of course, we had to get Tornado S his own pirate ship.  Since that was all his little heart desired.  The Husband and I stayed up until midnight putting things together for the surprise.  Yet another Christmas Eve of us bickering our frustration at each other because including directions with the toys is now so not cool.

The next morning, Tornado E woke first and looked at his toys before coming and getting us.  We smiled as he exclaimed over each toy.  After 45 minutes and no Tornado S, I went in to check on him.  He was just lying in bed, thinking, contemplating, relaxing.  When he saw me he climbed out of his bed, and I ran into the family room for the perfect spot to catch a picture of the look on Tornado S’s face when he saw his pirate ship.

Tornado S came out into the family, taking in the magical scene.  I lifted the camera up, focusing it.  His eyes landed on the pirate ship.  Those dark brown eyes lit up.  A smile burst on his face.  He took a running step forward.  I started to press down on the button.  Then Tornado E jumped up and bumped his brother out of the way.

Yup, Tornado E cock-blocked his little brother from Tornado S’s own toy.  Nice.

Tornado S was determined.  They raced to the pirate ship, getting there at the same time.  Tornado S let out a yell as Tornado E grabbed the pirates and the ship.

I have spent the last several days trying to make sure everyone is sharing and not hitting, punching, kicking, scratching, biting, pushing, bludgeoning each other over a toy pirate ship.

Christmas is magical.

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network

Where’s Ho Ho?

Christmas Eve is when my dad’s family get together.  Five out of the six siblings with their significant others were there.  All but one of their children was accounted.  Three great-grandchildren.  Plus both sets of the parents/grandparents/great-grandparents where there.  At least it was held in my parents’ house, not my grandma’s double-wide.

One of my uncles dressed as Santa again.  Both my boys were hesitant to approach the stranger, but another uncle threw some presents to Santa to entice the boys, which worked.  The boys took their gifts, thanked him, and gave him a hug before getting the hell out of dodge.

About twenty minutes after my uncle got back to the party, Tornado S wandered the house.

Tornado S: Where Ho Ho?  Where Ho Ho?

Me: Santa had to go, Tornado S.  He has lots of other houses to stop at to give gifts to little boys and girls.

Tornado S: Where Ho Ho?  Where’s my pirate ship?

Did I mention all Tornado S wanted for Christmas was a pirate ship?

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network