Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

Just a few Christmas memories I didn't want to forget:
1. Katie and Suzie singing their little hearts out to several of the Christmas carols being constantly played on the radio. The only carol that got a negative reaction was "Feliz Navidad." It utterly confused Suzie. Whenever it would come on she would say, "What's that song, Mommy? I don't like that song."
2. And the best rendition of a Christmas Carol sung by my girls was hands down "Angels We Have Heard on High." We were driving to a Christmas party and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was singing it on the radio. They were at the "Gloooooooooria" part and all three of my girls decided to sing along. The only problem was none of them were on tune with the choir or with each other. It sounded like a chorus of cats. And there was no one else to enjoy this stirring 3 part "harmony" with me. Eric was at home and Finn was listening to his MP3 player, but I REALLY wish I could have recorded it.
3. On December 23rd I was going to run some errands. I was leaving Finn at home so I was going through the list of where I was going... ending with a trip to the post office. When I told him this he said, "Hey can you wait a minute? I need to write my letter to Santa." Now keep in mind Finn is almost 11 years old. But I love that he still believes. I think he keeps it on the DL because I'm pretty sure several of his friends don't. But in my mind I thought this was naive on several levels. Besides the obvious naivety, the fact that he thinks he can send his letter to Santa 2 days before Christmas and he will be able to get it and fill it in time. I mean I don't buy for every kid in the world and even I was done by December 23rd! But I took his letter anyway.
4. I always love going to look at Christmas lights, but the only other one in my family who shares this affinity with me is Katie. Everyone else just humors me. One night I was driving my kids around and after about 15 minutes even Suzie expressed her disgust with an exasperated, "I don't like Christmas lights. Mommy. I want to go home."
5. Another night even Eric was humoring me about looking at Christmas lights and we drove past Wheeler Farm. Eric said, "How about on Monday night we go see the light display they have there? Didn't we do that a few years ago and we went on a hayride and had hot chocolate? That was fun." To this I could only nod my head because I was speechless that he would even bring this up. Because according to my memory, he did not like doing this a few years ago and complained the whole time. It just goes to show that sometimes you just have to do what you think is important and not worry about everyone's reaction. Because the memory may be sweeter than the actual experience.
6. On Christmas Eve we always go to my uncle and aunt's house and we get to watch Santa bring a present to every kid. We are sitting in the dark when he comes and he supposedly doesn't see the 30 or so people in the room as he delivers presents. This may be a contributing factor as to why Finn still believes. But we can't make any noise or else it will scare Santa off. This year "Santa" was quite a thespian. He tip-toed very dramatically and would whip his head around at every little sound. He also either had a head-cold or was going through puberty because when he yelled "Merry Christmas" as he "drove out of sight" his voice cracked a little bit. Even still we loved our JJ Santa because there were presents for all!
7. When we were driving home from our visit with Santa the topic of conversation turned to coal and under what conditions one might receive coal. I was informed by my chidlren that I could very well be in danger of getting coal because I swear and I talk on the phone too much. No respect!
8. Apparently the previous night's conversation about coal must have resonated with Katie because on Christmas morning when she saw that there were presents for her she confided to Eric, "Dad, I got presents. I was so afraid Santa would bring me coal." (The guilty take the truth to be hard.:)
We all had a very Merry Christmas and hope you all did as well!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Truth in 5 year old Promises

I'm sure you've heard of truth in advertising. This is where companies must have proof that their products can do what they claim they can. My sister and I have joked about requiring Truth in Christmas Letter writing, where instead of hearing about vacations taken and glowing achievements of children you would read about how many hours of TV kids really watch and annoying habits of spouses. Well this week Katie taught me about Truth in 5 year old Promises. We were having one of those mornings where both Katie and Suzie where paying more attention to "Curious George" then their mother and complaining about everything from having to wear a coat when it is 20 degrees outside to wearing socks with their boots. I was trying to get out the door and had had it. So I shamelessly pulled out the Santa card and said, "I can't believe you guys are acting this way the week Santa is coming." My guilt-laced arrow must have hit its malleable mark because quite a bit later and out of the blue Katie said to me, "Mom, I might not whine when I have to make my bed today." I replied, dubiously, "You won't?" To which she honestly said, "Well, I probably won't."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Katie's Christmastime Prayer

This prayer is in the same vein as Shel Silverstein's "Prayer of the Selfish Child" which if you are not familiar with goes like this:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
And if I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my toys to break.
So none of the other kids can use 'em...

Here's Katie's extended version:
"Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank thee for our family. Please bless us to love each other. Please bless us to be nice to each other. Please bless grandpa and grandma on a mission. Please bless that I will like Finn's present. Please bless that Annie will like my present. Please bless that Suzie will like Annie's present. Please bless that Finn will like Suzie's present. Please bless that Suzie will like Annie's second present. Please bless that Mom will like Finn's present. Please bless that Dad will like Finn's present. Please bless that Mom will like Annie's present. Please bless that Dad will like Annie's present. Please bless that I will like all my presents. In the name of... Oh wait- Please bless that we will be watched over and b-tected (protected). Please bless that we won't have any scary nightmares.

Last week our school had a "Santa Shop" they could buy presents from for their friends and families. So we discussed who was giving to who in our family this week multiple times. In case you didn't catch it from her altruistic prayer:
Finn is giving to Katie
Annie is giving to Suzie
Katie is giving to Annie
Suzie is giving to Finn.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall... I am my mother after all.

Just the fact that I titled this post that proves my point. My mother has a saying, song or ditty for every occassion, including the title of this post. For example, when we were young and would whine, "I'm thirsty", she would respond back without missing a beat, "Nice to meet you thirsty. I'm Friday. Why don't you come over Saturday and we can have a Sunday." Or if we were trying to find a space to sit on the couch she would sing, "Move over and make room for Kari. She doesn't take very much space..." And don't get me started on the vast repertoire of songs she had for all holidays. We heard endless songs about Peter Cottontail, witches flying through the air, what turkeys did the night before thanksgiving, snowflakes named Suzy and the like. Often my siblings and I catch ourselves doing the same thing. Even my brothers will bust out little sayings. However theirs usually have to do with passing gas- things like "the smellers the feller" or "Whoever did the first rhyme did the mischief." (That one is more of an inside joke.)

But it is funny the ideas we have about our parents when we are little. They seem to be larger than life and were the best at everything. I loved to color when I was little and my mom would color with me. I was always amazed at how well she colored. She would do fancy things like stay in the lines and add shading. In fact I think she still colors better than me. Not that we have had any coloring contests lately, but she does have a psychological edge on me being my mother and all. And my Dad owned a standard four-door sedan when we wear young, but we all thought it was a sports car because it had a stick-shift. And my Dad never corrected us. He would feed into our illusion even more by telling us that the car would sprout wings and fly if it went over 60 mph. So when we would reach 55 mph we would encourage him to go faster so we could reach 60. He would push the gas down until 59 mph and then come up with some excuse as to why it couldn't go up to 60 mph. I can imagine my dad was proud of his tall-tale telling abilites although I'm not sure he should be. I also believed my older sister when she told me that Santa travels by limo with his reindeers sticking out of the sunroof when I expressed my concern about not having any snow because we lived in Florida. Apparently I was a naive child.
Anyway to say my mother is creative and artsy is an understatement. Even my childhood friend, Lisa, who I still keep in contact with-can remember the personalized smiley face chore charts we had or the Robbins nest banner we had in our family room or the pillow cases with each of our hand-drawn faces on them-all of which she made. During Christmas she hung stockings she made that had a child on them that looked like each of us. My older sister and I have continued this tradition. Although we have only made them under the careful tutelage of our mother. She would design them, tell us what to do and we would do it. So using mostly my mothers creative abilites I have made the following 3 stockings:

Finn the fisherman

Christmas Annie holding a gingergread cookie

Katie the ballerina
And that is as far as I got with my mother's help. Suzie's first Christmas I didn't make her one because I subscribe to the theory that they won't remember they didn't have a Christmas stocking when they are young so I have a few more years to come up with another one. (This fact alone says so much about my mothering style.) Then Suzie's 2nd Christmas my mom was one her mission so that was reason enough for me not to make it. But this Christmas is Suzie's 3rd one and I'm pretty sure she will notice if she doesn't have one. But here's the rub- my mom is still out of the country. So what is a creative-dependent daughter to do? She bucks up and realizes she has enough know-how do to it herself. So with some inspiration from my sister, Michelle- she gave me the idea- this is what I made for Susie's stocking.
Drum roll please.....
An adorable- if I do say so myself- cheerleader with rosy cheeks and heart lips just like mom use to make. Please note the small details- like the shoelaces, bobby socks with a pom-pom, the multi-colored skirt, the "C" for either Christmas or Christensen and the pom-poms in her ponytail.
All I have to say for myself is "Who is up for coloring contest now?!?"