We had our Christmas party at my brother's house on Dec. 14, because my parents left for Florida the next day. We had a nice brunch, and then the kids went out to play in the snow that had fallen the night before.
Ben and Noah had an epic game of Monopoly. They both love that game!
I had lots of good snuggle time with the kittens. This is Zebra getting warm in my coat.
Sarah's spelling lesson was to use these six words in a story:
It takes a long time selecting the perfect sugary fruits from our entirely new pantry. It takes even longer cooking with them. Oh no! I spilled the Juicy Juice (the dog was right under me). Now I have a pink dog!
Some genius decided to organize an afternoon of games for dads and kids at church so the moms could have a break. After convincing my husband that he should take the kids, I settled in for a peaceful break involving making food for parties this week, vacuuming, and mopping the kitchen. I preheated the oven and starting mixing ingredients for chex mix. I went to get the bag of pretzels that I had just bought, and it was missing. Wasted ten minutes searching for it before concluding that someone must have eaten all the pretzels without my knowledge. The oven was all ready, and I didn't want to take time getting dressed and driving to Kroger, so I wasted another ten minutes calling all my neighbors to see if they had pretzels. None of them did. Doesn't everyone keep pretzels on hand at all times? Apparently not.
So I turned off the oven and moved on to my next project: vacuuming. I hate vacuuming, so I put it off as long as possible. Today it was long past shamefully overdue. I turned up some music and fantasized about lying on a beach, mindlessly pushing the vacuuming all over the kitchen. I was more than half done when I glanced up from the ocean to check on the dirty floor. It was as dirty as ever. I inspected the vacuum to determine why it wasn't doing its job. Nothing was coming to me. After all, I'm not a vacuum repair person. But then I saw this:
You don't have to be a vacuum repair person to realize that's the problem. So I wasted fifteen minutes looking up the company's website and doing a live chat with a service representative, who was actually working on a Sunday afternoon, to my surprise. Then the battery on my computer mouse died, so I wasted some more time trying to find a good battery. After no success with that, I ended up calling the vacuum company, and they said the vacuum was still under warranty and they would send a new hose. Sadly, I can't vacuum for 7-10 business days until it arrives. Maybe it will get lost in the mail, or at least delayed in the holiday rush. It's probably wrong for me to hope for that, but I do. This is the best excuse I've ever had for not vacuuming!
Then I remember we have another vacuum in the basement. So I drag it upstairs and finish the vacuuming. Now I only have 30 minutes till my family returns, so I need to get the mopping done so the floor gets dry before they get here. I had just barely started when they arrived, a full 30 minutes early.
Our church put out a call for people to help make cookies to thank the vendors for all they do for our food pantry. I thought that sounded like a good service project for the kids and me, but does it count as serving if you really enjoy it?
Sarah was especially in her element.
Noah was lining up pretzels to make turtles, but he was pretending he was lining up soldiers for battle.
I was driving Noah to a friend's house to have an airsoft battle. He wanted me to "step on it!" so he could have as much time there as possible. I commented that if we got in an accident on the way he wouldn't be able to play at all. (I just realized I've become my mom. She used to say stuff like that to me.) He said, "I wouldn't care then. I'd rather go to heaven than play airsoft anyway! Hey, I could play airsoft with Jesus and Isaac! God might be kind of hard to hit, since He's a spirit...."
Yesterday I worked in the two-year-olds class at CBS. It's been a few years since I've had a two-year-old, and I'm starting to forget how fun and adorable they are (besides the snotty noses and stinky diapers, which I don't miss). I was in charge of a group of six of them, and we were playing with play dough. The only color we had was a beautiful, bright blue, so I was making sharks, dolphins, birds, etc. while my charges were mostly just squishing their dough around and getting it in their hair and all over the floor.
Suddenly, one kid's eyes got big and she gasped, pointed behind me, and whispered, "Uh-oh." I whipped around, saw nothing unusual, and asked, "What?" She continued to stare, horrified, and said, "They mad!" I turned again and realized she must be looking at the small poster behind me, part of which depicted a scene with two kids grabbing for the same balloon. They both had angry-looking faces. I said, "Yes, they do look mad. It looks like they both want that balloon. What should they do?" Another little boy smiled and yelled, "Peace! Peace!"
After talking about various ways to work out the balloon dilemma, we moved on to reviewing the Bible story of the day, which was about the angel visiting Mary to tell her that she was going to have a baby. I asked them who visited Mary, and a few of them said, "A angel!" I said, "Yes, it was an angel. And what did the angel tell Mary?" Blank stares. "The angel told her she was going to have...what?" I prompted. Nothing. I picked up my play dough creations. "Was she going to have a dolphin?" They all shook their heads. "Was Mary going to have a...bird?" No. They all knew that wasn't quite right, but nobody could remember what she WAS going to have. I whipped up a play dough baby, swaddled in a little dough blanket. I held it up and said, "Mary was going to have a....?" and the little "peace! peace!" boy yelled, "A blue baby!" They all agreed that yes, Mary was having a bright blue baby. Which is probably what they will tell their parents when they ask them what they learned at CBS.
Noah gave me a lengthy dissertation about war tactics. Part of it went something like this:
"Those soldiers in the Revolutionary War weren't very smart. They wasted a perfectly good guy to carry the flag into battle. I mean, if the flag was that important to them, why didn't they leave it back at the base? Instead, the guy carrying it got killed AND the flag got shot up. And they couldn't do a sneak attack with a big flag announcing them. Speaking of sneak attacks, why on earth did the British wear RED coats? Why not camo?"
Me: Sarah, please put your coat in the washing machine. It's filthy.
S [walking out of the room]: Ok, but I need to blah blah....(fading away, mumbling)....
N: Mom, did you know this fact about sharks?
S: Mom! Did you hear what I said?!
M: No, I didn't, because you were walking away when you said it, and your brother was busy interrupting you.
N: Nice one, Mom! You just insulted two birds with one stone!
Noah's 12th birthday party is going down as the worst so far. Sarah made him the above Angry Birds cupcakes. She and her friend Chloe decorated them. So far so good. I reserved the Proctor Recreation Center over a month ago. Sent the check, called to confirm the date. Packed up drinks, decorations, games, goody bags, 2 vehicles full of kids. So far so good.
Arrive half an hour early to decorate. No workers there to let us in. No problem. I assure the kids they'll be here any minute. The above sign on the door is still amusing enough to me at this point to take a picture of it.
The boys help haul all the stuff up to the door and do what boys do while they're waiting. I admire the architecture of the building and reassure Mike that we didn't need to make a Plan B, because the workers would be there any second now. I confirmed the date twice, after all.
My parents and two nephews arrive. Then our best friends and their daughters. The adults with phones start scrambling for alternative venues. It's really, really cold, but most of the kids aren't complaining. It's now long past the 2:00 start time, and even I have given up hope. We pack up all the stuff and all the kids and caravan back to our house, having found no other alternatives available.
We haul all the stuff into the house. There are kids packed in the house with nothing to do. The bathrooms aren't even clean. I was not expecting to have 23 people at our house. I start getting cake ready to serve. The phone rings (although I don't hear it over the din), and someone shouts, "It's Proctor Rec Center!" The lady is very apologetic. She thought the time was 3:00 instead of 2:00. She says she's there now and that we can come back.
We load up all the kids and most of the stuff again (I had already thrown some decorations and a game downstairs and put the matches away, so that stuff didn't make the final trip) and make the thirty minute drive back there again. I'm feeling extremely testy and stressed. Mike and I are in separate vehicles, trying to contact all the parents. The kids are mostly content and resilient. They're discussing whether or not they believe in hypnosis and if the surface tension of the water would kill you if fell off the bridge and various other boy things, while one of them offers me driving advice.
We haul the stuff in, and the adults help me decorate and set up, because my heart is really not in it anymore, and I don't even have all the decorations. We meet up with some other friends who arrived late (or early, depending on your perspective), and the kids start playing in the gym. I force myself to take a couple pictures for Noah's sake (I'd just as soon forget this day myself) while still trying to contact parents.
In the end, Noah kindly said that he had a good time, and I hope the guests did. The best I can say about the day is that I'm thankful for great friends and family who put up with me, and for my very special 12-year-old who makes it all worth it.