Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom

I'm a better mama for all you taught me. Have a wonderful day.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008 – Lessons Learned

I had a great few days off and really enjoyed all four of our Christmas celebrations. After a couple of stressful years traveling with a baby, things are definitely easier now.

I learned a few things that I want to remember for next year:
  • Don’t make so many cookies – one batch of gingerbread is enough. No one eats the fudge or thumbprints anyway.
  • Make sure there’s enough flour in the gingerbread (it was flat and undercooked and I didn't know why – Mom said "use more flour").
  • Scrambled eggs, cranberry scones, ham and fruit salad is a perfect, fairly easy Christmas morning breakfast.
  • Take a day off to decorate (I did that and wouldn’t have been able to decorate otherwise).
  • Take the entire week before Christmas off (I didn't do this and about drove myself – or rather, drove my spouse – crazy trying to get everything done).
  • Leaving for a trip at nap time works great – Lauren slept almost the whole way there and half the way back.
  • Buy Lauren fewer presents. She would’ve been just as happy with 2 or 3 presents to open, instead of the 15 or 20 I had for her (including stocking stuffers) – she just wanted to play with whatever she opened, she didn’t want to put it aside and open something else.
  • Spend more money on my brothers – Marc gave Bret a $50 gift card, gave me a sweatshirt with a tag that said $49.99 (don’t know if it was on sale or not, but probably not) and gave Lauren I can’t remember what but I’m sure he spent at least $20 or $30. I gave him a blanket I got on sale for $15 and a $25 gift card. Oops.

All in all, a very nice few days.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Ramblings

We have been battling stupid little illnesses over and over. Seems like as soon as Lauren gets over a cold she gets another one – and I'm getting everything she gets, including a stomach virus on Thanksgiving night that sought every possible way to exit my body, helping me lose 8 pounds in less than 24 hours (which is more than I lost in a year going to Weight Watchers). Seriously, I think that was as sick as I've ever been as an adult, but luckily it was over in a couple of days. Unfortunately, one of those days was Lauren’s birthday, so that sucked. Now I have bronchitis but just got some drugs so should be feeling better soon.

We tried 3 different weekends to go to my mom’s in November but never could because one or all of us was sick. I'm looking forward to spending a few days at Christmas with my extended family, especially my nephews. I talked to Caleb on the phone the other day (he's 2-1/2) and he said, "Aunt Kiss, I go pee-pee on the potty!" He also confessed, “I bite Katie” but I know that kid and I’m sure she deserved it.

Christmastime with a 2-year-old has been really fun . Lauren says "BYE!" to the Christmas tree every night on her way up to bed, and loves to drive around looking at lights. She is not, however, a big fan of Santa, and completely freaked out when we talked about him coming in our house to bring her presents while we're all sleeping (she saw him at the YMCA after swimming one day and ran), so we're kind of downplaying that for now.

I have just a couple of little gifts to buy yet, all my baking to do, a bit of wrapping, some cleaning and then tons of laundry and packing for when we head out of town. I know they say the smart thing to do is to eliminate those holiday chores you don’t really like to do, in order to enjoy the season more and keep your sanity, but there’s nothing I really don’t like to do. I like sending Christmas cards (finished that last weekend, see photo above), I like buying presents (but not the actual shopping, so I am the queen of Internet purchases, plus one big trip to Kohl’s). I like baking, although maybe not as much as I used to because it’s hard for me to find a big chunk of time, so I reduced the number things I make and stick to my signature giant ginger cookies and fudge. I haven’t actually started baking yet, despite my great plans to whip up the dough a couple of weeks ago and freeze it, but I’ll do that this weekend. I love to wrap presents, something I guess I got from my mom. She always does such a nice job with that. She buys beautiful high-end paper and bows (at 75% off the day after Christmas, which we always do together with my sister-in-law and between the three of us pretty much clean out the local Hallmark store) and puts thought into what wrapping paper she uses for who. Anyway, I’ve been wrapping four or five presents in the mornings before work and still have a few to go.

It would be nice to have more time to do these things, but I don’t feel that I’m stressing out about stuff. But I must be, because my hurry, hurry attitude caused a big fight at home last weekend. I know I can get everything done, but it requires me to keep moving, on to the next thing, fast, fast, fast. Maybe that’s the attitude I’m supposed to get rid of during the holidays. But it’s no different than how I operate during the rest of the year, so I can’t possibly turn it off when there are even more things to do. It is the way of the working mom.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Me Likey

I have nothing interesting to write about. More illnesses at home, work crap, blah, blah, blah. So I thought I would instead share some eye candy with you:

I'm a little late to the "Mad Men" party, but thanks to Netflix I'm almost finished with season 1. All you ad people out there should check it out -- so fun to watch the bad boys of Madison Avenue in action, circa 1960. Makes working in advertising now look positively boring. And then, of course, there's Mr. Hamm. 'Nuff said.