Tuesday, October 25, 2011

*~*Ode to Holiday Joy*~*

Listen…do you hear that? …If you’re real quiet you can hear the click click click of the roller coaster just about to crest the top of the of the track before it goes speeding down into the rush of the ride that is the Holidays! Halloween is just around the corner and before we know it, that click click click will be the sound of Santa’s trusty brood clip clopping across the rooftop!
Many people look upon this time of the year as nothing but stress amid jam-packed schedules, but for me I relish it all! I am counting down the days to Christmas before we even hit February of the New Year. Yes, I admit I may be the exception to the rule when it comes to my love for the holidays. Christmas music is never out of rotation for me. It is almost disgusting how many Christmas CD’s I own (35 to be exact!). I listen to it all year round because it reminds me of the feelings of love and hope I feel at this time of the year. An instant mood lifterJ
It’s hard to ignore the way the winter chill seems to warm our souls. Once we hit Thanksgiving, the mood changes immediately. It’s as if someone has sprinkled magic into the cool, crisp air. Everyone’s hearts appear polished and shiny as we regard one another with a hopeful spirit. It makes me positively giddy just thinking of all the new memories I’ll be making with the people I love. (If you are not a lover of the Holidays, I recommend you just keep your distance because Christmas seems to radiate out of my being from now until New Years and there’s a strong chance I’ll make you want to punch me out of annoyance and I really prefer not to have a black eye in my Family Christmas Card photo).
Traditions new and old are always the top of my list. Thanksgiving Turkey with family members gathered round, counting our blessings. (A mean poker party to follow of course!)  Decorating the house (inside & out) with lights and garlands. Putting up and trimming the tree, adorned with home made ornaments from years past and creating new ones to hang beside them. (Caution: trimming the tree is not to be taken literally. Those Norelco hair trimmers don’t take too kindly to pine needles). We used to go to the tree farm every year but we had two years in a row where my husband’s back was out around this time of the year and let me tell you, sawing down a 6 foot blue spruce on your own is no easy task! (And neither is dragging it through the mud all the way to the car). So the second year this happened, we both agreed we would bite the bullet and purchase a ‘fake’ tree which we’ve used now every year since it saves us a few $$.
          I always look forward to spending an entire weekend with my Mom and my sister, (freckled with flour, stained with butter, dogs-a-barkin’) baking every favorite holiday treat we know of. Including, of course the sugar cookies that EVERYONE (much to their disgruntlement) has the esteemed honor of helping decorate. (Somehow we always end up with a few angels and gingerbread men that are disturbingly frosted anatomically correct…I will not name the person who usually happens to create these Michelangelo-esce masterpiece works of art that really deserve to be recognized).
          Excitement over the first snowfall, spiced cider and hot chocolate warming our bellies as we enjoy all of the Christmas Classics and some of my personal favorite Christmas Movies as well. (I am not ashamed to admit I am also an avid collector of Christmas Movies and have about 44 in my collection). Reading “Holly & Ivy”, “The Little Toy Soldier”, “Santa Mouse” and of course “The Night Before Christmas” snuggled up in front of the fire. The rich scents of cinnamon, apple, plum and many winter spices weaving their way through my home; their fragrances invitations of fond memories past.
          Braving the cold, and sometimes crazy, winter weather and the always crazy Christmas crowds to head to the mall and find that perfect gift for the people you love. (Whether it’s something practical or just plain knee-slapping-hilarious!) Wrapping the gifts with such excitement over imagining the receiver’s face when they open it with either a smile of happiness or laughter. And then the great anticipation electrifying the air on Christmas Eve, waiting for the jolly old man himself, (Santa Claus!), to make his grand appearance while we dream of the gifts we’ll find the next morning. My sister and I used to write an entire play every year, telling the history of some classic Christmas character or inventing a new one in a completely inappropriate and disturbing way. (Complete with at least a few re-written holiday numbers with lyric sheets for everyone for the sing-along that would follow) One year was a story about a bloated reindeer with a serious need for some bean-o who saved Christmas with a (literally), gas powered (and awful smelly!) sleigh. Another time we re-wrote the fun spirited “Here Comes Santa Claus” song that everyone knows into a rousing rendition of “Here Comes Menopause” that left everyone wondering how an 11 year old knew some of this stuff.

          I love every blessing and memory, all infused with love, that I have from this time of the year. And I know that God took notice of my heart for Christmas because he sent me the absolute greatest gift on Christmas Eve in 2009. My beautiful baby boy! It is beyond perfect that I, (the lover of ALL things Holiday related), would be blessed with my very own little Christmas angel! My joy and excitement for the Holidays has blossomed even more now that I have the gift of God’s love in my child to celebrate every day of the year and especially at this time of the year when we celebrate his birthday! Sharing traditions with my little one (and the other(s) to follow someday) and creating all of the same kinds of wonderful memories I have for the Holidays is what brings me the greatest joy. I can only pray they develop and share the passion I feel for spreading cheer. And that we will all be huddled in antsy-pants excitement at the front of the line whenever this roller coaster comes to town! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Child Chit Chat Overload

The other day my Grandma called my mom and asked if I ever talk about anything other than my son.  She was (half) joking of course, but I’ll admit, it’s true! She and I still write letters back and forth since she will never bring herself to invest in an unnecessary computer that would do nothing but clutter up her home, and my letters do pretty much consist of the goings on of my 21 month old. After all, I don’t think stalking a giant spider until my husband has the chance to kill it or forgetting to put the garbage cans out really qualifies as headline news. Let’s just say it’s not anything to ‘write home about’.  There isn’t much that changes in my day to day life. But when it comes to our little sprout, his world is constantly growing.  Today is always different than yesterday. He is constantly learning something new and I can’t help but get excited about every new accomplishment. Whether it’s piecing together a few more words than two days ago, (even if it is “Oh my! Fart?”- Or my favorite “I love you”), babbling incoherently while looking me right in the eye like this totally makes sense (let me tell you, it doesn’t make a lick of sense but it sure is cute!), insisting on using a big boy cup instead of a sippy cup (and then proceeding to splash half the contents all over the floor), asking to use the potty over and over again (only to sit on there for a maximum 2.5 seconds), putting his stuffed monkey, Benny down for a nap with a blankie and a kiss, or dragging a stool to the baby gate  to climb over it and up the stairs to follow me. I may shake my head at him now and then (or have one of those days when I’m counting down the minutes to nap time) but it never ceases to amaze me what he is learning to do, and even if it includes making my heart leap into my throat (dive bombing over the side of the couch), I still find myself one incredibly proud Momma!
Not every ‘new’ thing he learns is top of the ‘fun’ list though. Such as one of his current little nap strikes he’s been on for over a week now! His longest one so far! It seems every month or so, he will go maybe three days without a nap. He’ll just sit in his crib, babbling away to himself for hours. It doesn’t matter what I do, he just won’t sleep. But considering how great of a sleeper he is over all, we don’t really complain. Usually, these streaks don’t last long…but THIS one. This current Nap Strike of his has been going on now for 8 days. (It’s making me start to think this kid may be channeling Gandhi in protest).  And couple that up with his newest fad of removing every single item of clothing, including his diaper, any time he’s either supposed to be sleeping or has just woken up (I guess nude jammies are the latest fashion choice of toddlers?)….and this just ain’t cutting it.  I don’t know about most people, but I am not a fan of washing pee stained bedding twice every day. Basically my life was starting to look  like one of those Tide commercials where “My tide is the 2 gallon bucket loaded with Febreeze that I go through in less than one week playing laundry maid to my Birthday-suit prone toddler”….Uhhh, no thanks.
So finally today, I tried hanging up a dark sheet over his window. About 20 minutes into his designated ‘nap time’, he was out. Success!!! 
His new choice of bare bum freedom has me wondering though, with all these great new diaper choices they have these days; designer fashions like ‘poo in blue’ jean, over night mega soaker hold, little movers and shakers, and now the easy slip on for the non stop on the go go go-ers, why the heck hasn’t someone designed duct tape tab diapers for the not yet potty trained, but think they are bigger than their pee and poo holding britches?! Come on, I need something stronger than Velcro to keep that sucker strapped on! I doubt that I am the first Mom to think this world would be a better place with a child-proof diaper…so what’s the hold up here?!
            The point is, I could go on and on with all these great new conversation starters now that my life revolves around my main little man.  But not everyone is as interested as I am in how many animal sounds or dance moves my miniature cutie has mastered.  So I guess until I learn how to widen my topics of interest, I’ll just adorn myself with signs reading “WARNING-Has child, do not approach unless you are interested in conversations that could involve any or all of the following: Poo, Pee, Elmo, Goldfish, Naps, Vomit, Barney, Potty Training or Boogers. Speak to me at your own risk.” I’ll add that to my to-do list, right under giving 1-800-HUGGIES a call.

            Having my son was like giving birth to part of my heart and being able to be a witness to this incredible little life makes mine and my husband’s world all the more brighter and so rich in love, so don’t be surprised if you see me shouting from the rooftop how amazing my son is…because I’m not gonna shut up anytime soon J