Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ready for Christmas

I used to get SO excited for Christmas, even as a grown up. But the last few years, not so much. The year Cam was born I was ready to shoot my mother. Maggie's first Christmas I was going through the motions. This year - there is a small chance I went overboard. And I don't care. But of course, it's one of the few Christmases that I could have NOT gone overboard because honestly, the kids have no clue. But we are haivng fun and that's all that matters!

I finally, finally finished re-knitting all those mittens that the dogs ate. The tree is up. Almost all the wrapping is done. I got a few small things for Aaron for his stocking and our family present to each other is a Kinect (already up and AWESOME!). My mom is coming up Friday, and hopefully it all goes nice and smoothly.

I have a bunch of funny little stories, but need to get back to finishing up a few handmade presents instead.

Friday, December 17, 2010

End of the week!

This has been a crazy week. I got invited to go out to the movies on Wednesday night - who ever goes to the movies on a weeknight?! I do! And then yesterday was my companies holiday party -and it was pretty fun.

Thanks for all the support on the church thing. I have to say, I emailed the minister, and I haven't heard back. So. I don't know what to make of it - I've emailed him before to no response, so maybe he is just bad at emailing. I don't feel bad about the whole thing - but I do still feel weird. Ah well. And of course, I can't go to church on Sunday (meeting up with some friends in the morning) so the longer it goes, the weirder I'm going to feel. Sigh.

One thing I want to let everyone know about - is if you are in my part of the world, there is a Scholastic Warehouse sale going on in Clinton, MA. I went on the suggestion of a woman from daycare, and I had no idea! It was awesome! Loads of kids books for super cheap - and even little stocking stuffers. I went on the website and printed out a coupon and fast cart check out thing (you just pick a school name and say you are a parent volunteer - no one checks). Cameron loves books - so I got loads of neat things for both Christmas and then throughout the year. And some books that are just for Maggie too (Cam tends to grab anything and yell MINE. So hoping a few can stay in Maggie's room). The sale goes until Dec 22nd - and is totally worth it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Failed attempts at Christmas Cheer

Well. One successful and one failed.

This weekend, we went to a nearby town and cut down our own Christmas tree for $20. If you can believe it, I've never cut down my own tree! Someone left their land, which included an old Christmas tree farm, to this town's conservation commission. They sell the trees that you cut for $20... but they aren't 'perfect' Christmas trees (which I kind of like better) and the trees are actually about 20 feet tall - but you just cut the tops off. It was a blast! And here is the tree!

The tree was a success. Of course, while putting it up, Cameron was helping pull the ornaments out the box, and broke a snowglobe. What a freaking mess.

The fail of the weekend was trying to take the kids to a Carol Service at church. I was excited to go, as I haven't been in church for a while and was looking forward to catching up with a few people, and also just listening to carols. I love carols. We got there before it started, but the place was PACKED and we ended up in the balcony. I brought plenty of food and things to keep the kids busy - but of course they made some noise. Cam was loving watching the singers - but I had to hold him on my shoulders... and Maggie. Well, Maggie was screeching that she was excited too - but her screeching sounds like crying. So - after about 30 minutes, I decide to leave. In the meantime, a woman comes up, and touches me on the shoulder to tell me that the service is being recorded, and there is childcare available.

What!?!? First off. No one told me either thing. I would have totally put Maggie in childcare - because Cameron is the one that loves the music. And honestly - if I had known it was being recorded - I probably wouldn't have even tried to come - as every time a song finishes, Cameron claps and yells YEAH! So, I'm trying to get myself out of the pew, with two (now very upset because one doesn't want to leave and one wants Mommy) children (oh yeah, forgot to mention that Aaron got called into work so I was on my own) and this woman is now blocking my way on the stairs, continuing to tell me how I'm ruining the recording. THANKS. I was rather rude to her, which I do not regret in the least. Another woman helped carry Maggie down the stairs.

I get outside, in the pouring rain, get the kids in the car, and start to leave, to find out some asshole has blocking the exit. So I need to back out and pray I don't hit anyone. I started crying. I felt awful that I maybe ruined a recording, I felt bad for missing out on the carols myself...and I was just tired from Maggie taking a rather minimal nap. I got home, got everyone settled and in bed. I actually went and looked on the emails that were sent about the service, and no where did it mention that there was childcare or that it was being recorded. Aaron called to check up, and I started crying.Sobbing actually. I told him what happened, and he was PISSED. He was like - it's not a recording studio! They can't get mad at you for that! But I still was upset.

Anyway - we've recovered from all that. The tree is up and the house looks like Christmas and I'm slowly getting into the Christmas spirit.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Muffins, with LOADS of veggies

So. I have all these friends who sneak veggies into their children's food. I was against this at first. Surely, I could get my child to eat veggies! That isn't that big a deal!? But, I also don't want to turn dinner time into a power struggle. Pretty much every time I offer some sort of veggie (with the BIG range of things he will try consisting of potatoes, cucumbers, green beans and carrots) he yells NO MAMA! And takes them off the plate. And Maggie will stick them in her mouth, and then pull them out the minute she figures out it isn't fruit.

But Cam also used to hate baked goods - which is where a bunch of the recipes add in the veggies (muffins, french toast, pancakes). Now, we have turned a corner! Monday, I made banana muffins. Cameron was sitting and eating breakfast, pointing at the Tupperware that the cupcakes were in from his party. "Dis! I want dis!"

I had replaced the cupcakes with banana muffins... and he grabbed one and was walking around eating it saying mmmmmm. So, last night I embarked upon a recipe that a friend gave me, and it was a hit this morning. Maggie too! I did add a banana, as my kids seem to eat anything with squished bananas in it.

Oh, and today I snuck pureed carrots into Cameron's mac and cheese. Wonder if he'll notice. Heh heh.

A’s Favorite Fruit and Veggie Muffins
Mix this in a bowl:
½ cup wheat germ
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white/all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons nutmeg, freshly grated if you have it
1 Tb cinnamon
1 tsp cloves (I used ground cloves, I assume this is what she meant)
1 tsp salt
Mix this in a big bowl:
5 whole eggs
1 ½ cups plain whole milk or lowfat yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
8 ounces grated raw carrots (I’ve also used frozen and that works too)
8 ounces grated cauliflower (frozen cauliflower: heat up then grate in a food processor)
8 ounces grated broccoli (frozen broccoli: heat up then grate in a food processor)
Optional: 1 mashed ripe banana or pear or other leftover fruit
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet.
Pour in muffin tins; sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, if desired.
Bake at 375 for 15 – 20 mins.
Makes 2 – 3 dozen; store in freezer.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Again, with the cards.

Last year, I told you about Paper Culture. Besides the fact that they have an absolutely wonderful product (funky, modern designs, very heavy card stock and rounded corners) - they also have a very sweet, kind and understanding staff. I had ordered the birth announcements for the twins while I was still at the hospital - I was so excited about the cute design I had picked - and we all know what occurred soon after that. So - they dutifully sent me a proof to approve, and I had to tell them what happened and cancel my order. They were SO wonderful about the whole thing (including a personal note from the CEO) that I swore I would order every invitation and holiday card from them. Always.

And I have. And even gotten more than a few friends to do the same.

So Monday, when I was obsessing on getting my holiday card figured out, I finally took the time to sit down and enter in all my outlook contacts into their website because they also have a great mail and message service . I was leery of using this at first, because I feel that hand written notes and addressing is 'more proper'... but honestly, the time and energy it takes to do that is something I don't have right now. And they even use real stamps - not the cheesy mail meter type stamps. That is what sold me. And, you can type in personal notes that they print on the back for each person. The way they do it is cool - you do a standard message for all - like Merry Christmas! Love Us! But then you can go in and change the one for your mom or best friend or whatever to be more personal.

So - I happily sat down and spent a good 2 hours inputing all this info, excited that I'd have the addresses in the system for future card/invite sending. I finished around midnight on Monday. Tuesday, I woke up and realized that I forgot to send cards to my brothers. Whoops. That is the disadvantage of the mail and message - you don't get extra cards in case you 'forget' unless you have them sent to your house for $8.99 shipping fee and I opted out of that. I called Paper Culture, and they told me it was no problem, just cancel the current order and add the 3 addresses in and reorder. I did that and then waited. Patiently. HA! Not!

Wednesday I thought I would just go check on the status of my order, and it wasn't in my account. The old canceled order for 47 cards was there, but not the new one. I did get the confirmation email, but I couldn't see the order. I called and it was, in fact, lost somewhere in cyberspace. The guy who was helping me was mortified. I even tried to re-enter everything AGAIN, and it was lost again. So - they sent me a spreadsheet to fill out and are making sure that my cards go out by early next week. But I have to say, that the whole gang at Paper Culture was so nice and so understanding with the crazy lady that had all these problems! Maybe someone else would have gotten pissed, but I'm already a customer for life with these people, and the fact that they were so good about addressing my problem, calling me back right away, and taking interest in giving me great customer service (the first person who was helping me stepped away from his desk - briefed the other guy on the phone what was going on so when I called, I didn't need to retell the whole story).

Great company. Awesome product. Highly recommend them!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Lets discuss everything I've done in the past 2 weeks.

  • Had Thanksgiving at my house when I wasn't planning on it
  • Hosted my MIL for 6 days
  • Had a party for Maggie to which easily 75 people were in my house
  • Thank you notes for Maggie's gifts were in the mail by Tuesday.
  • Uploaded and ordered prints of pictures for the past few months.
  • Made a special birthday shirt for Cam
  • Drove to NH for a picture with Santa (came out super cute by the way)
  • Was somehow surprised that the anniversary of my daughter's death threw me for a loop
  • Had a party for Cam for which Aaron made a super complicated 3D train cake and 9 two year olds attended, plus all the parents. I even got little chubby cars as party favors.
  • Sorted through pictures that I ordered and sent out to friends and family that would love them, and also put them in our album (and no. I don't scrapbook.)
  • Had the dogs consume a the mitten advent calender that I lovingly and excitedly made for my kids.
  • Spent an hour re-making the number tags, restuffing and rehanging the mittens for the advent calender. I have 5 that have to be reknit to make it to Christmas Eve - but I'm still to angry about it to start knitting.
  • Went to a cookie swap
  • Ordered holiday cards (which I have them send out, so necessitated entering 50 names and addresses and also a personal note on the back of each.)

A neighbor, who has received 2 thank you notes and also cute baby pictures from me in the past week texted me and said she wanted to hire me to organize her life because she doesn't know how I do it.

Honestly, I don't either! All of the things I do, I do because my mother did them growing up. Except for the pictures with Santa. But my mother, who was a single mother, did a Christmas letter every year, sent thank you notes within days of a present being received, cooked all meals from scratch and had a perfectly clean house. I've talked about this before, but I KNOW I can't handle it like she did. But I find myself trying to all the time. People often tell me that I don't have to send thank you notes, or holiday cards or that 2 years old won't miss party favors. But NOT doing it will nag at me more than if I just get it done.

Sigh. I was so excited to have the cards ordered... thinking that I have everything under control... and then realized that I don't have any Christmas decorations up inside the house yet.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Wow. I'm more than a little burned out today! It's been two weeks of gogogogogogogo! And now I need to stop!

I had kind of told myself that this weekend would be no big deal. The anniversary of Nora's death wouldn't mean anymore than every other day, when I also miss her. A lot. But I was totally wrong. I couldn't sleep Friday night at all. Saturday, we went to see Santa at Nini Bambini (a bit of a failure - can't wait to see those pictures! Then - we went to see a cousin perform in a figure skating competition. For whatever reason, from then on, I was on the edge of tears all day. But we made it through just fine.

Sunday, we woke up (well, or exited the bed, in my case) to Cameron opening his presents - a bike, a stuffed lion, and TWO new trucks! He was so excited. But Aaron and I were already burned out - the cakes needed to be decorated still, and I needed to get balloons. And the kitchen was a mess. My mom arrived with her present (a helmet for the bike, which he hated of course). So I left and apparently mom was all over Aaron, driving him NUTS, and trying to get Cam to put the helmut on. Of course, Aaron was super crabby due to lack of sleep and work issues, and that fun continued all day.

The party itself was an awesome blast. Awesome. If anyone is in the area, I would totally recommend the Acton Discovery Museum for a party. They are super helpful, have a GREAT room you can use, and it wasn't crazy expensive. What a treat to not have to worry about hoards of people in your house like we did for Maggie's party.

But then, we got home, and that awesome advent calender. With the mittens? That I knit by hand? That took me HOURS of free time I don't really have? We left the door open to the dining room, the dogs got in there, destroyed all the mittens and ate the chocolate. I saw it and I swore. And I was crying and Aaron was telling me 'that's what I get for leaving the door open' and my mother is telling me not to swear in front of the children and 'that's what dogs do when they want to get back at you'. I was LIVID. Yes, yes. I know that it's not the dogs fault, I should have made sure the door was closed... but I was just SO happy about those mittens and how cute it looked and how much fun Cam was having with it, and to see it destroyed all across the living room! It's not like they just shook out the chocolate! They destroyed each and every mitten too! Even the time I took to carefully stuff all the mittens with one krackle bar each (and other stuff for the rest of us) because those are Cam's favorites.... I was crushed. The good news is that I knit extra, because for a while I thought I would make a mitten for each kid, so the reknitting won't be all that bad. Like 8 hours instead of 24. But seriously.

Now I need to get to work and work on this stupid spreadsheet that should take weeks but my boss told me about Weds night, and it was due on Friday. Sigh. If I ever needed a mental health day, today is the day. But work beckons.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Cam-Man!

The party was quite a success! Many stories to tell, but here are some pictures to tide you all over...

Suzanne is Cameron's godmother - and she was the hit of the party! She was having a blast running around with the gang. Although, after 30 minutes, she was kind of ready for a nap, lol.

Cam was obsessed with the water table this visit, and the shirt? That's right. I made it.

Do you notice the dragon is lighting 2 candles on the cupcake? Yep, it's that cute.

Here is Cam blowing a BIG bubble with Suzanne!

And Maggie - also having a blast!
And finally, blowing out the candles with Daddy on his super special choochoo cake!

And now I shall go to sleep.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Smitten Mitten's

I'm ridiculously happy to have hung this up today.

Yeah, yeah, two more mittens to knit still, but whatever. I'm guessing Cam will have the same reaction to the chocolate inside as Dibits did.