Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Recap-2008

Christmas 2008- now officially Christmas past. For Christmas futures, 2008 has taught me a thing or two.

Elf On A Shelf is a shitload of fun. I'm missing our little guy, and will have to think of new ways to bribe my kids to behave.

Shopping for your husband two months in advance does not necessarily guarantee you a smooth Christmas Eve. Witness this scene, that happened in our kitchen, around 1pm on the 24th:

Phone rings.
Me: Hello?
Husband: Hey there. (he sounds funny).
Me: You sound funny. 
Husband: Really? (his voice goes up an octave).
Me: What's up?
H: Ummm... I was wondering if you... maybe... wanted to wait and exchange gifts on Monday.
Me: ???
H: See, I was supposed to do your shopping this afternoon, but I just got called into an emergency case and will be in the OR all afternoon.
Me: ???

Remarkably, he scrubbed out of rearranging someone's innards to blitz through the shopping mall across from the hospital to dredge me up some really cool gifts. Sometimes last minute shopping pays off, but only if you don't let the other person know.

Santa kicked some ass with these ladybug night lights that create constellations on your bedroom ceiling. The requisite vet set and wedding dress made an appearance. Wii Music will distract my kids for oodles of time.

Aside from the birth of Jesus, the biggest Christmas miracle in our house was watching Annie stand next to her pile of presents, unopened. She said she'd rather wait until her sister finished opening hers.

The new Barefoot Contessa cookbook has a recipe for lobster corn chowder that may be the best thing I have ever eaten. Good thing we liked it because my dog pulled the ham off of the dining room table for his own little party. 

The party continued as we trekked to Granny's house for Christmas dinner. What happens when you cram 12 people, 3 labrador retrievers, one cocker spaniel and enough presents to max out a credit card in one room?

Bedlam. Sheer chaos. At one point, it was just a free-for-all of shredded wrapping paper. My 3 year old was seen opening up a gift, looking at the gift box and exclaiming "Ooh! Pretty box!" before moving on to the next gift. After it was done, there was a pile of presents that no one knew who they belonged to. The Christmas spirit was alive and well.

Spur of the moment movie going can lead to difficult questions. Wouldn't you think Marley and Me is a kids movie? I did. And then 20 minutes into the film, I suddenly am trying to distract my children with hand puppets while Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson have sex, talk about smoking pot, have a miscarriage and a dead dog. This went on for MORE THAN TWO HOURS. Oh deceptive marketing, you silly thing.

I hope everyone had a memory-making filled holiday with stolen hams, too many gifts and inappropriate films. And best wishes for a new year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Naughty or Nice?

Annie asked Santa for  her own Moffat's book. The library won't let us renew theirs anymore.She also wants a vet set so she can sedate George and prevent him from eating her shoes. Lucy asked Santa for a wedding dress. (?) This should make for an interesting Christmas morning.

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's The Holiday Season

We are busy. I should say, Busy. Busy. Busy. We just said goodbye to houseguests, cleaned up the dishes from last night's dinner soiree- and are moving on to the next shindig. Today, it's raining, so we're baking. Baking. Baking. Baking. And I will do my best to not eat more than my share by chewing sugarless gum for most of the day. Right, we all know how that's going to go. 

Tonight, we have more friends for dinner. Tomorrow, we go to a family dinner party. Wednesday, we host my family for Christmas Eve. (menu still not selected, but I will not stress). Thursday, we go to my parents' house. Friday, we go to my brother's for a declared game day. Saturday, we hit my mother-in-law's and Sunday, we collapse. 

I have presents to wrap, cookies to bake, children to parent and a menu to plan. I have a dog that has suddenly undergone a personality transformation and in the last week has done more damage than he has in the last six months. He has eaten two couch pillows, my watchband, and numerous toys (someone gave Annie dreaded Bratz dolls for a birthday gift and "luckily", they were the first to go).  Happy Holidays everyone- I hope Santa brings you what you are asking for! (a black lab, perhaps?)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Vanity vs. Baking Insanity

I have a confession to make. I haven't really gotten into the whole holiday baking thing this year. Maybe it's because my favorite cookie exchange was too far away (last year I got schnokered on the egg nog and started telling really, really obnoxious stories about nudists on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy").  Maybe it's because Matt and I have been fending off a vicious cycle of preschool viruses and I'm simply too tired to get into it.  But the most probable reason is that I have no willpower whatsoever over baked goods. They literally call to me at night, when everyone is sleeping and have their nasty, fatty way with me. I have worked really hard to lose a bit of weight this year, and I really, really don't want Santa to bring me a new pair of fat pants. 

The kids start their vacation tomorrow, and today- we purchased some (gasp!) colored sprinkles and supplies for fudge. Here's to hoping I can hold out like the good Orange County housewife that I am. Now if Santa would only bring me that boob job and botox.... (I'm kidding! I'm kidding!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Spirit

It snowed near my parents' house today. It feels like the rain here will turn to ice any minute. We have the fire going, the tree lit, and a quiet, cozy house. I've got my husband on his way home, leftovers for dinner and a new Top Chef. Life is good.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Festivus!

Today was a challenging day. In my own self centered delusions, I am aware of humanity suffering. I know these times are tough. Jobs are shaky, or non-existent. Christmas is definitely being pared down. But today? Today was the kind of day that made me want to poke my eye ball out with an ice pick. Some nuggets of fun will remain private- but the little things? The little things that made my day worse than Kanye West's singing on this week's Saturday Night Live? Of course I'll share.

One kid didn't sleep. (I know, I know). We started off the morning with a torrential downpour- which, if you live in Southern California, you would think the world is coming to an end. We are so used to our temperate, beautiful days, that all hell breaks loose when it finally rains.  I had to host Lucy's holiday party at school, and it was my job to bring 24 jelly doughnuts that HAD to come from Krispy Kreme (don't ask). This meant I had to drive 15 minutes in the opposite direction, worsening an already annoying commute that makes my head want to explode on a good day. 

I had no gas. A certain someone, who shall remain nameless, but he likes to eat french dips- drove my car yesterday and left me with no gas. So, after wasting 20 minutes trying to convince my toolbox of a puppy that he wouldn't melt in the rain, rallying 2 kids into their raincoats and getting them in the car for a doughnut trek, I got to hit the local gas station and fill'er up with rain dropping into the small of my back.  

The party was good. Fun. Lucy said it was "interesting" to have me there. (Is that toddler code for "Mom? Please don't come to school anymore"?). I was in charge of the cookie decorating table, and after the kids left most of their cookies and moved on to the next activity, I started to throw the cookies away. A few moms ambushed me and started freaking out that I had thrown their stuff out. I started to tell them the story of the lovely stomach bug we had a few weeks ago, and how one little girl was bragging about how she threw up last night but surprise! Her mommy still sent her to school! and how I had witnessed kids smearing their boogers on other cookies, and coming back to the table after using the potty (conveniently stationed only 3 feet from the cookie table) and how one kid sneezed on four cookies at once. I think I lost them when I started doing my Linda Blair impersonation. Whatever. I hope they enjoyed their "treat." 

The day progressed into a series of bickerish conversations, that by bed time, had my entire family wishing they could put the other family members up for sale. Defeated. Irritable. Definitely cranky. Let's just hope I don't throw up too.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest

We've been watching a lot of Christmas dvds, and unfortunately, spending a lot of time at the doctor. These two worlds came together this morning when Annie and Lucy asked if we could play hospital.

Obliging their whimsy, I laid down on Annie's bed and pretended to be sick. Annie came bustling in the room and said in her best Nurse Ratchet voice, "I am Nurse Frosty. Looks like you have a fever. Let me get the doctor on the phone and see what we can do, but you will be here for ten days."

In comes Lucy, wearing her favorite pink sparkly footie pajamas. "This is Doctor Rudolph," Annie continues. "He is going to check you out." 

Lucy starts hopping on one foot. "Are you dancing?" I asked.

"No. I'm doing this. (her hopping gets more vigorous). "This is what doctors do."

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I once went to a parenting lecture where the reading specialist (we somehow got off topic) encouraged all of the parents in the room to NEVER talk about your sleeping routines. She said it's nobody's business, and you will just receive huge amounts of guilt for how your family sleeps, and it's really nobody's concern.

I'm going to break that rule. Our bed time routine has deteriorated into a ridiculous carnival of musical beds that is about to drive me insane. We used to be so structured, so militant, but that's all gone. Gone. Gone. 

Now, I tuck both girls in around 8ish. We read them a story, turn on the requisite Winnie the Pooh music, some Christmas night lights bought at Costco, and wait for the party to begin. Usually about halfway through TopChef/The Office/30Rock/The Real Housewives the party begins. The girls get up, they dance, they share books. They have a party. I morph into a Polish washwoman that has run out of Oxyclean and scream like a banshee. Last night, they fell asleep around 9:30. It is not unusual to find Lucy passed out on her floor, one leg over her threshhold, as if she's ready to party if you just give her a nudge.

This doesn't set a good stage for the rest of the night. Around 1am, Annie somehow makes it in our room. She climbs in between us, and it wouldn't be that big of a deal if she didn't turn into a UFC champion and kick the sh*& out of us all night long. Around 4am, Lucy wakes up, realizes she's in her own bed and not passed out on her floor, and starts screaming her head off. 

Last night, I finally hit the wall. I sat both kids down, told them that Mommy and Daddy were here for them if they needed us, but if a twelve hundred pound monster wasn't about to chomp their heads off, they better stay in their own beds. They nodded their heads furiously. To their credit, there was no party last night. No book sharing, no dancing. They each stayed in their own rooms, but one or the other would yell out every few minutes. This lasted for TWO hours. 

After a few hours, Annie tried to make the crawl into the UFC fighting ring. I quickly walked her back to her room, and laid down next to her. After fifteen minutes, I tried to make it out of there quietly. She freaked. She cried. She woke up her sister. But she stayed in her room. She's tired today, but I'm hoping tonight will go better.  It's a sad state of affairs when the dog gets the best night's sleep. And he's locked in a crate. Hmmmmmm..............

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Black Mood +Black Lab= Disaster

Today, I am in a bad mood. The kind of bad mood that settles over women in the midst of their 30's. The kind of mood that fills you with unnecessary anger, and makes you seethe on the inside for no good reason. The kind of anger that makes women slap cops for simply trying to give you a speeding ticket (Zsa Zsa, you crazy woman). The kind of anger I really thought was created for comedic purposes- not really thinking PMS was legitimate, or real.

I realize now that it is. After George was locked in Lucy's room by mistake, and figured out how to open her closet door and help himself to an all you can eat buffet of newly purchased shoes, I found a good outlet for my anger. And he's not coming inside anytime soon.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Go Big or Go Home

I've almost recovered from the Thanksgiving food extravaganza. I can put on weight by just walking by a bakery, much less being surrounded by home baked apple pies and sweet potatoes swimming in butter. I've battened down the hatches, and tried to be good, so I'm almost back to where I was pre-turkey day. 

And then my husband tells me he is taking me to Los Angeles to eat this for dinner tomorrow. Since we are probably the world's biggest Top Chef nerds on the planet, we'll have to stuff our faces full for fear of embarrassing ourselves. 

Please forgive me when I come home with my pants unbuttoned. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Way To His Heart...

Hubby was feeling down today. No particular reason, just a slew of unrelated things that added together, made up for a pretty crummy day. The solution? French dips for dinner. Matt lurves french dips. I found the crustiest rolls. Sweated some onions in gobs of butter and kosher salt. Boiled up some au jus (doctored with a splash of red wine). Toasted the rolls with muenster cheese, piled on the roast beef, slather it with onions, and then covered the top in spicy, marinated peppers. Served it with additional au jus on the side.

He smiled after the first bite. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Today, I went dream shopping for a new couch. I collected fabric samples, talked to sales people, sat, sat and sat. Then, I came home, and my 3 year old peed on our family room couch. I think I'll hold off for a while longer. 

Bleak House

One of my favorite novels is Charles Dickens' Bleak House. (sorry, can't figure out how to underline that on my mac- but look Ma! I did get use out of that English degree!). I loved the paper chase of the English judiciary system- and thought all of my friends that wanted to be lawyers were nuts for diving into that stinkpile of contracts, attention to detail and haggling over nitpicky stuff. 

Well, my brief stint in PR makes me feel like I'm going to internet law school. The main gig I've been working on got completely scrapped because of some personnel changes. I kind of got an inkling that was going to happen when said person wouldn't return any of my emails, voicemails or smoke signals. 

Now, we're starting again- with new direction. That's all well and good as long as I remember that I'm still getting paid- no matter how many times I do the same thing over, and over, and over again.