Sunday, December 25, 2011

Taking back Christmas

Just a few short days ago, 3 to be exact, I uttered unthinkable words.

I was at a Christmas get together where I was the mom with the oldest kids. So of course I took my duties seriously and shared my "expertise" with anyone who would listen. At one point I believe I said, "I think each year gets better." I went on to share how cool each new stage my children have reached has been.

I was riding a euphoric project high because I had spent the day remodeling a bedroom. I'm pretty sure that's the only explanation.

That day my 3 sons happily and wholeheartedly helped me to paint and tile and move furniture etc... We worked well together and got a lot accomplished. I marveled that my 7 yr old could safely use a screwdriver and hammer (with supervision) and sat in awe as I watched my other 7 yr old problem solve one thing after the other. My 5 yr old kept us all entertained.

I fooled myself into thinking we were going to have lots more of these moments. Key word here is fool. Then I shared with everyone else how magical my kids and their different stages are.

I forgot to share the dark side. I forgot to tell them about the 3 days before and the every bloody day since where there has been sickness and/or whining and crying and fighting and sneakiness and oh sweet mother the back talk!!!!!!!!!

My sons have turned into Christmas time monsters and I have passed my breaking point. I begged, I pleaded, I yelled and I cried, all to no avail.

And so I threatened to take back Christmas. Because that's the sort of whack ado that I am I guess. I thought I was a little disheveled when I wanted to punish my son for not believing in Santa. We got past that and things are much better now, thanks for asking.

But now, this? It's just too much, I need psychiatric help. Sure, there are glimmers of hope. Tonite my sons were practically angelic at the Christmas eve service and could repeat the message to me after. But before church they were monsters and I was ready to stomp out of the house. I debated dropping everyone off at church and going for some alone time instead of celebrating the birth of Jesus with my church family but I didn't do it because it would have made my husband mad. After church I celebrated their grand behavior and tried to refocus.


There was no way they were going ticket that happen. At grandmas house one kid cried through dinner, another one talked about eating but refused to eat. They all tore through presents and left trash everywhere and forgot to say thank you. And we ended the evening with me taking away looking at Christmas lights (no surfing Santa for me, I am very sad that I ended up punishing myself on accident) and threatening to take back Christmas.

Fast forward and my kids went to bed and I got out the Santa presents and filled the stockings. Except I seriously sat on mY bed pondering taking things back. I somehow felt that they hadnt earned their presents. I was no longer in a happy place and I think I just wanted to make them feel as bad as I felt. It's a good thing this happened when they were sleeping. I made it through my manic moment and finished up with the Christmas eve chores.

But here's the thing, there's no telling what I'll do Christmas morning. One whine, an ounce of back talk, a mere second of ignoring me or God forbid trash on the floor or someone skipping a thank you and I'm packing it in. I've decided that I won't take back Christmas but I might take away mommy for awhile.

So please say a prayer and ask the lord to guard my sons hearts and
Mouths. If that doesn't work pray for my sanity and their safety because something has got to give.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Strange things are happening

We will be officially roommate less by the end of this weekend. We didn't know this was going to happen but our whole family is working hard to embrace this surprise.

My sister and her fiance have been living with us for quite awhile now. For the past 3 months we asked them to housesit for my mother in law while she was on vacation. I guess they liked it so much that they're staying. She seems okay with it and they seem excited so maybe it will work out. Regardless of all that, they announced on Thursday that they are moving.

This means some very big things in our lives. #1, we will officially have a guest bathroom that my sons do not use. This means you will no longer be greeted by moldy baht toys and the wafting scent of urine when you need to relieve yourself in my house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, I know that cleaning would produce the same result, but isn't having an extra bathroom an easier way to deal with the grossness of three boys?

#2 My sons relaxed Christmas vacation just got ramped up into overdrive! We were going to go on walks, bake, do crafts, watch movies etc... Now they are planning and scheming and snatching those free paint sample cards from every place they can think of as they ponder each having their own rooms. They've already held a pow wow and decided who gets which room and they've also had a deep philosophical discussion about why and how it will be okay to sleep on their own. ($10 says they all end up in the upstairs room together most nights!). 

My oldest wants colors for his room. He doesn't care what colors he just wants colors. His room is currently outer space themed so I have now convinced him that maybe he should keep it that way. Except, you know that chalkboard paint? He needs that so he can do math on his walls :) Yep, this was a very entertaining conversation.

The younger twin is getting the new room. He is still in great inner turmoil over whether he wants the queen size bed or the twin size bed in his room. Having this choice may give him an ulcer. He wants a ninja room. He also wants the walls to be red and orange and black. We have some compromising to do. I feel like I will need to put together a presentation of muted subtle adorable ninja themed room ideas and gently try to sway him to my side. If I get lazy (which I usually do) I will just forcefully do whatever I want or reduce myself to the tried and true bribing method to ensure that this room can still be entered by adults without causing seizures or instant migraine headaches.

My youngest is staying upstairs across the hall from my room. He is currently in a surf themed room with bunk beds. He would like it to become a monster Christmas room. I'm pretty sure I can convince him to switch to just monsters, but we'll see. His room is also going to become the reading room. He is my most avid reader so we are going to make it a sort of library in there. Lots to ponder on this still and of course it will also probably need a PowerPoint presentation set to beautiful music with a poignant message at the end. Or, he's 5 and he will change his mind 6000 times so I can basically do what I want and convince him that it was his idea. That's my kind of decorating!

#3 This news officially places me back into my old habits of starting new projects and never ever finishing anything. Yes, my master bath is still not done (although I blame my husband at this point. Curse that beautiful pocket door and all that it entails!!) Yes, I have peeling paint in half my house that really needs a touch up. Yes, I still haven't finished landscaping/re landscaping my yard. As I cleaned my house yesterday (cleaned = shoved things out of sight and swept) I noticed the long long list of little things that I need to do around my house. I accomplished one, I cleaned out a junk drawer and turned it into the drawer for wooden spoons and spatulas etc... The other 300 will sit unfinished while I take my boys on a tour of google and pinterest for ideas today and then we hit up the hardware store to get started.

Now if my roommates would just get their stuff out of my house so I could get started. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO projects make me giddy!!!

What doe your holiday break look like this year? And more importantly do you have suggestions for colors, ninja or monster themed rooms? Please share!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Santa is a lie!

Okay, I didn't say it quite like that... but I did sit down my little Grinch to have a talk.

This morning we followed some suggestions from my blog followers. First up, we googled St. Nick, and since the Internet is always true, we used it as our resource to get the "real" story.

Turns out I had apparently never read the real story, have you? A wealthy man became a church leader and helped the poor, needy etc... and gave them money or whatever they needed a really long time ago. When he passed away he became a saint and stories flew around about his good deeds and how he was helping people even from the grave. One story involved bags of gold being thrown through a window and landing in stockings or shoes hanging by a fire (which is the origin of our tradition today) so that a poor man would have a dowry for his daughter and she wouldn't have to become a slave. The stories grew and spread and eventually some Italians stole St. Nick's remains from Turkey and now they are resting in Italy under a beautiful monument that is visited by a lot of people each year. St. Nick has a day, Dec. 6th and celebrations are held in his honor in Europe every year.

Well, that's what I got from the story anyways. It might have been wise to read a few other accounts regarding this subject but I was pressed for time. My son now thinks that Santa is a ghost since St. Nick died.

Then we discussed that St. Nick was the real Santa. When he died people liked his attitude of giving so much that they continued the tradition and started to say it was from Santa to make it more fun etc... So that's why we get presents from Santa and why some people believe in Santa.

Now for the important part. We discussed that when someone believes something different than us that it's okay. We don't need to prove them wrong and telling them that they're wrong will probably just hurt their feelings. At this point my son was bawling his eyes out.

I asked why he was crying.

He said, "Because I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't believe in Santa and if I tell kids they'll beat me up."

Hmmm, not where I thought the conversation would go.

I explained that a lot of people don't believe in Santa and that no one should be beating him up for his beliefs.

He calmed down from the crying but then got very indignant, "I can't just not tell people that they're wrong! I have to say what I believe in!"

I didn't know what to say to that. He's right, we do need to say what we believe in (still not sure this applies in the Santa Claus context but i don't want to wreck it for all the other items its important).

I gave him a huge hug and we talked about ways that we could nicely share our beliefs. He agreed to quit preaching at his brothers and promised to be a little kinder to lost souls that still believe in Santa. We finished up discussing how it all really comes from God since he is the one who blesses us with the money and the desire to give and share. There may have also been some "yo momma was so poor..." stories thrown in too.

I'm really not sure what we accomplished.

It all got very confusing and I ended up comparing Santa to Jesus at one point just like my sister.

All I know now is that I probably have a future missionary on my hands. I hope I can teach him the kinder gentler way to do this but I have fear that he'll prefer the shouting forceful method. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Thank you all for your input, I got a lot of good ideas from you and felt comforted by those that do and those that don't believe in Santa.

For the record my younger two still firmly believe in all the magic of Christmas and its pretty adorable. I put approximately zero effort into maintaining the magic (I wrap one present from Santa, no cookies, no visits, no stories, just a present) so it's all their little hearts and minds that make it happen. They also believe in the tooth fairy and I put no effort into that either (as in I often forget to make sure she visits and then lie to cover up the mishap!).

Now, how do I manage to give the ukulele to my son for Christmas? Now that Santa's a sham I cant do that. It cant come from me or it's unfair to the other two and we're back to the spoiling thing. I think my remaining options are to sign it from Jesus (is that blasphemous?) or have it anonymously appear on our doorstep. Anyone got any better ideas?

It's the most wonderful time of the year

And I am off my rocker bat crazy.

It's true.

This past week I've been all bummed out about my oldest sons grinchiness. He feels the need to rain on his brothers parade constantly about Santa and elves and Christmas magic etc... He gets all snarky and tells them how it's all parents playing tricks etc... The biggest bummer about it is that he is clearly trying to make them feel bad and ruin my day.

Here's where my crazy kicks in.

I feel the need to deal with it. I mentally prepare a grinch resistant campaign that will win him over to the holly jolly side. Then I realize it will never work because it requires way too much effort on my part and i get tired just thinking about it. I debate talking to him like an adult and explaining that people believe different things and we shouldn't ruin it for them. This idea seems lame and obvious so I immediately scratch that. Plus my sister tried and ended up comparing believing in Santa to believing in Jesus and things got confusing for him.

Then I devise a plan to make him believe in Santa. I think about wrapping coal and writing him a letter explaining that kids who don't believe don't get presents. then I think how sad he'll be when he doesn't get his ukulele. Then I devise a plan where I write the mean letter but then put in a side note about how Santa loves everyone so he can have a present anyway. Then I'm back to square one because I've taught nothing.

Now comes the moment where I debate making him just grow up, after all he's 7 already, and taking away Christmas due to his snarky attitude.

As you can tell I am in the middle of a monstrous mental debate.

This is serious.

Then comes the moment where I ask why I have my kids believe in Santa anyways. I know he's not real, why would I want my kids to believe a lie? I come to the realization that I want to buy my kids more presents without them knowing that they are from me (so they won't seem spoiled) so I embrace Santa. This is probably not a good reason. Also they are probably still spoiled I'm just being shady about it.

As I am facing my Christmas conundrum several things occur, my five year old spews wisdom, they discuss Jesus on glee and my friend writes a very thoughtful blog.

My five year old has come home every day this week shouting in disbelief that kids don't know the real meaning of Christmas. He's upset that kids think its about Santa and presents. He tells me it's baby Jesus birthday. He tells me this everyday all week long.

Next I watched the glee Christmas show. In typical glee fashion I liked the music and didn't love the script. Except that they read the Christmas story from the bible and this silly group of teenagers said it was the best Christmas ever when they give their money to salvation army and ring the bell to help out.

Finally my friend wrote a blog about how she want her kids to focus on Jesus and not Santa at this time of the year. It was very heartfelt and thoughtful.

Thank you god, I got your message. Not very subtle ate you?

Not sure if I'm going to drop the whole "Santa is fake" bomb on my little believers but I am going to have a grown up talk with my grinch.

More importantly I am going to focus on explaining a little more about Christmas to them, we are going back to church and we are going to spend our holiday break enjoying family time and doing things for others. Thank you 5 yr old wisdom, blogging wisdom and glee wisdom.

If for some reason this plan doesn't work I will buy some coal and have it wrapped as a backup.

Wish me luck and pray for my sanity.

Did I really consider punishing my child for not believing a lie that I told him? (granted he did have a bad attitude)

Finally, how about you? What do your kids believe in? How do you make it all work during the holidays?

Most imortantly - Do you have an "elf on the shelf"? I'm pretty sure those things were created by the devil to personally attack me. Why did I ever think I could remember to move it everyday?!?!? Instead i just have to make up more lies to cover my forgetfulness. How is it that I am managing to sin more at this time of the year then the rest of the year combined? I REALLY need to get back to church!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A holiday horror story

So I kind of dropped off the face of blogger world.

Sorry about that.

I have reasons, but their boring and petty, so let's just stick with the apology.

Darn it.

I was going to write this hilarious version of the catastrophe that was our thanksgiving but I'm all full of happy flowery emotions from the great evening I just spent with my twins. Stupid happy thoughts.

Does that ever happen to you?

Does your writing change based on your emotions? Because for the life of me I cannot be edgy or funny or candid right now, it all comes out like a sad verbose dickens tale.

So.....scrap that plan. Heres our thanksgiving story with just the highlights, be warned, it's not pretty.

We started the day by scrapping all tradition and loading our entire kitchen into our car so that we could attempt thanksgiving on our own. Everyone was cranky.

My parents separation, my grandmothers death and the general animosity that had crept into my side of the family over the past year or so weighed very heavy on me. It made me behave crappy. Plus it's super awkward to talk about my husbands dead dad. It's also super awkward to not talk about him. So I just kept muffing up everything that came out of my mouth.

This was my husbands first major holiday since his dad passed and his mom was on the mainland so he was having all sorts of a hard time with all that that brings. He was a little sensitive that day. I was a little insensitive. It was not a good match.

Outo friends came to swim and hang out before going to another thanksgiving dinner. they were a bright spot in a bleak day. We will be thankful to them til the end of our days. We were not easy people to be around.

With me in my funk and my husband in his sorrow we inevitably ended up fighting. He thought I was being mean, I thought something but I forget now what it was. We eventually apologized and commiserated over the lousiness of it all.

We had to go to the store...3 times.

Stores on holidays suck. Stores on holidays 3 times is borderline unbearable and should be wielded as a weapon against your worst enemy.

But whatever, I was fine with it.

I hate thanksgiving food. I eat the yams and the stuffing and that's about it. I was excited that I had the opportunity to make the foods I like.

Except my sister had planned on making the yams too. Not joking, I almost cried when I found out, that's how off my rocker I was that day. I mean yam tears, really?!?

Turns out I am a poor kitchen communicator.

The result of this was my husband fried the turkey (it cooked super fast and almost burned but then turned out perfect because he's cool like that). I made the stuffing and got preoccupied and made the worlds worst boxed stuffing ever. It was inedible and would have been better if my 5 yr old had made it. As everything was almost ready my sister realized she had forgotten to make potatoes. My husband and I voted no potatoes but she vetoed and we had our late thanksgiving dinner an hour and a half later so that we could have potatoes.

The yams tasted like apples and had no marshmallows. I almost cried yam tears again. All I had for dinner was a roll.

We were all so tired and cranky by the time the meal was done that no one even wanted pie. What is thanksgiving without pie? It's a sham, that's what it is.

Did I mention the turkey? And did I mention that I dislike turkey, my sister and her fiancé are vegetarians and our 3 sons are not big meat eaters? Yeah, so mostly my husband just ate an 18 pound turkey. He's still eating an 18 pound turkey. He will never finish the 18 pound turkey.

Why did we cook an 18 pound turkey?

Because despite our most fervent hopes and wishes no one invited Us to join their thanksgiving so we had to fend for ourselves.

We thought maybe we could invite a bunch of people, do it potluck style, and make everyone's day easier etc... Except none of the like 30 or so people that we invited came. So we had 18 pounds of turkey just for my husband. And apple flavored yams.

At the end of the night I was supposed to head to the black Friday sales which started at the unholy hour of 10pm. By 8pm I was worked into a manic frenzy wondering if I would be able to get there in time. I was treading lightly because my husband and I had already done battle over giblets, petty accusations, insensitivity towards dead people and who knows what else throughout the day so instead of just making my family leave I decided to send hints.

First I put all the food away. Then I started loudly announcing that our kids needed to go to bed (did I mention my youngest was banished from the table due to crying and screaming and spent dinner by himself falling asleep in an armchair?) and packing our car.

Our entire kitchen needed to be packed and brought home so I began 16 thousand trips to my car. I got a little extra frazzled as the trips continued and I felt that my hints were not being acknowledged. At one point I made loud noises and gestures as I grabbed something and instead of making my point, I broke the iPad.

The just fixed broken glass that costs $200 to fix iPad. Then I cried silently, apologized profusely and felt more guilt then I have probably ever felt before. I searched in vain for a hole to crawl in.

Then we went home.

So, that was thanksgiving, it was not a roaring success but there were bits of accomplishment in there. Swimming with friends, sharing memories with my sister and my husbands perfect turkey were highlights. Also, we survived. That was huge!

Everything else was blech. I get why no one came, and it turned out to be a blessing. Can you imagine if all that had happened in front of a bunch of other people?!?!?!?

Note for next year: forcefully invite ourselves somewhere else or skip thanksgiving all together. We are not cut out for this holiday stuff. I should have known, the year we tried to host Christmas everyone wound up in the emergency room.

Well, universe, it takes me awhile but I get your point, I am not cut out for this.

Pity party complete. Now please share your own holiday horror story and make me feel better. Pretty please?