Wednesday, December 15, 2010

'Tis the Season or Merry Stinkin' Christmas

'Tis the season . . .

I sent Christmas cards to all of our friends and family.

I sent out $100.00 worth of Christmas cards and postage to all of our friends and family.

I sent out Christmas cards to all of our friends and family that included a grammatical error.

I discovered the stinkin' grammar error after all of the cards were mailed.

I sent out $100.00 worth of Christmas cards and postage to all of our friends and family that included a grammatical error, and . . . (wait for it) . . . I used to be an English teacher.


'Tis the season.

So,  all of you out there that may have received a Christmas greeting from my family, I offer you this prayer of comfort . . .


Forgive us our grammatical errors (on any and all holiday greetings), as we forgive those grammatical errors committed against us (during this holiday season and beyond).


Because, after all, isn't it the thought that counts, correct grammar or not?

I think so!

Monday, December 13, 2010

How to Write a "Real" Christmas letter or The Anti-Christmas letter 2010 edition

Dear Friends and Family,

2010 has been a year of blessings (and insanity) for our crazy clan.  With a 3 year old, a 6 year old, and a 9 year old, our life is never boring.

Ummmm, let's see . . . the highlights . . .

Ellerie, our enchanting 3 year old, is a study in contrasts.  When her eyes twinkle, you know that her devilish self is about to emerge, but when she flashes her disarming smile,  she knows that she can do no wrong.  She is still our budding artist. Lately, her favorite medium is chalk and . . . permanent markers.  Considering that her favorite canvas is herself, we are thinking that performance art is in her future. And, when Ellerie was recently caught autographing her basement wall masterpiece, she remarked, "Crap and dammit!"  Clearly as a performance artist she will be able to employ both her artistic creativity as well as her newly found language skills.  We are so proud.

Ethan, a budding kindergartner, is still as literal as ever.  In fact, he discovered that he had a new girlfriend on the bus this year when the girl told him,  "You are my boyfriend.  I am your girlfriend."  Ethan's comment?  "Well, she is a girl and she is my friend . . . so I guess she IS my girlfriend. "  Genius, no?  He is also very observant.  He has pointed out that my skin is getting wrinkly and that my husband's hair is getting grayer and grayer.  The boy also noticed the fact that not all moms yell, like his own. He has such keen observation skills!  These skills are probably what enabled him to be such a fantastic water boy at Paul's football games this year.  I mean, knowing exactly when a football player can use a drink of water is clearly a tough job, but he excelled at it.  We are so proud of our little Adam Sandler wannabe.

Abbie continues to be the resident fashionista of our household.  Not only does she provide unsolicited advice about our clothing choices daily with a well-meaning "You're not wearing THAT, are you?", she also has been known to provide grooming advice to the family members.  She seems to be a Stacy London and a Carmindy all rolled into one.  She will readily tell each of us when we can use some moisturizer for our dry skin, and she lets me know when it's time for me to get my eyebrows (or moustache) waxed. (A quality that I am so very thankful for, let me tell you!)  Clearly, she should have her own TV show entitled, How to Makeover Your Mom and Dad

Paul has had a busy year with coaching and teaching and remodeling our home. Throughout his labors, the kids have learned such valuable lessons. Things like how to spend 3 1/2 hours to make one mitred crown moulding cut are such invaluable lessons.  Their vocabulary is so much more colorful with some of the new four letter words that they now know. Paul deserves all of the credit for that!

I, of course, have been my usual crazy self , but this year I (again) particularly focused on my health. For instance, I have single-handedly done my part to eradicate malnourishment by consuming vast quantities of Krispy Kremes and Dove Chocolates and ice cream for dinner. It is the least that I could do. I have also embraced my yelling self and the fact that I drive a van that has been mommed.  These facts have been delightfully freeing, I tell you.  Dee-light-full!   I have also worked diligently on my mental health. Writing blog posts about my everyday life (and how mornings suck . . .) has brought me to the conclusion that my life IS insane . . . but . . . so is everyone else's life.  This gives me  joy, and a warped sense of peace.

So, all in all, it has been a memorable and fun-filled year for our family!

Merry Christmas!


Annie and family


To my IRL friends and family that do bless us every year with an actual, honest-to-goodness, Christmas letter, I mean you no offense. My anti-letter is just poking a bit of fun, because I have never been able to see myself writing one of those my kid is on the honor roll kind of letters. I guess I am just a bit too warped, or my family is. Whatever. Forgive me! And, Merry Christmas! - Annie

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What To Say When Your Kid Asks, "Is SANTA real?"

 When Abs said yesterday, "Mom, I need to know the truth,"  I thought that she was talking about the truth about what I really put in my meatloaf (vegetables!  HA!) , or some other little white lie that I tell to get through the day.

She was not.

Instead, Ab wanted to know the answer to THE holiday question of all questions.  The BIG ONE.  Virginia's question.

You know the one.

"Mom,  I need to know the truth about Santa," Ab said with a stern face.

I stopped wiping up the counter, looked up to meet her eyes, and then answered, "Are you sure you can handle the truth?  Are you ready?"  I was clearly channeling Jack Nickelson in A Few Good Men.

She held my gaze and replied, " I'm ready mom."

And the moment was here, before I knew it,  and I WAS NOT READY TO ANSWER.

So,  I took a deep breath, threw the dishrag in the sink, and pulled up a stool next to Ab, and this is what I said:

Ab,  you know that there was an actual man, St. Nicholas.  He was a good man that made and gave toys to children in his village to celebrate Jesus' birthday.  He placed the toys and treats in the children's stockings that they had hung by the fire to dry. By giving children gifts to celebrate Jesus' birth, St. Nick brought great joy to many families.

But, St.  Nick was just a man, like you or like me, and  eventually, he died.

The people in the town wanted to continue to feel that joy that St. Nick had brought to the village.  So, they continued in his tradition.  They gave gifts and placed them in stockings, just like he had done.  St. Nick's spirit was alive in those people as they continued to feel the joy in giving to celebrate Jesus being born.

So,  yes,  Ab, Santa or St. Nick was just a man.  

But,  is he still alive?  

My answer is yes, my girl.

Santa is ALIVE.  He is alive in each and every one of us when we honor Jesus' birth by giving to each other.  He is ALIVE when we gather as a family to decorate the tree.  He is ALIVE when we sing Christmas carols. He is alive when our family treks across the frozen tundra to chop down a Christmas tree.  

He is ALIVE when we think of others rather than ourselves.

SANTA is alive.

And, now that you know the secret, Santa is alive in you too.  

Abbie had been quiet the whole time, and when I paused,  I scanned her face to check her reaction.

"Well, what do you think baby?"  I finally asked.

A slow smile inched across her face, and she replied in a half-whisper, "Cool."

I laughed and grabbed both of her hands in mine,

"Yep.  It is pretty cool," I agreed.

We sat there holding hands for a moment, and then she broke our silence first and said,  "Can I help with the presents?"

"Sure.  You are part Santa now, so, yes, absolutely."

She smiled.  "And the elf on the shelf?  What about him?" she questioned.

"The job is yours if you want it, " I answered simply.  Then I teased, " . . .Santa."

Her hands flew up to her face and her eyes sparkled.  "I do!   I do!"

And off she went, to plan and to be Santa.

It is just one more reason that I can't wait for Christmas this year.

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