Saturday, November 16, 2013

Getting Ready (I Need Your Help!)

In an effort to not fall prey to the "It's almost Christmas and I'm not ready and OH MY GOD, what about all the MAGIC my children were supposed to be enjoying?? I FORGOT TO PLAN ALL THE MAGIC!!!!!" syndrome that happened last year (and the year before if I'm being honest), I've started listing and planning and brainstorming.

Of course, Jeremy is against this, as he feels there should be no mention of Christmas until December 1st at the earliest, and I agree. I mourn the loss of Thanksgiving when everyone is putting up their trees November 1st, but this is different. I'm just planning. Plus, I've been pinning Thanksgiving crafts ... although they're pretty much all turkeys, so if you have a Thanksgiving craft that is easy and doesn't involve turkeys, I'd love to hear it.

This year I'm going to do a Christmas countdown calendar with a planned activity for each day. I've got little projects and coloring sheets and whatnot to pepper throughout the month, but I wanted at least one great activity per day. I've started a list, and I was hoping for some feedback from you guys. Here's what I have so far (in no particular order):

1. Get out the Christmas books (I'm thinking of wrapping them up in a big box and letting them open it on December 1st -- cool or meh?)
2. Make snowflake window clings
3. Write a letter to Santa (not a list, just a letter I think)
4. Make ornaments (I'd like to try cinnamon applesauce this year and at least one other)
5. Get tree
6. Decorate tree and house
7. Hang lights with Daddy
8. Make Christmas cookies 
9. Decorate a gingerbread house
10. Have a cocoa taste test (lots of cocoas, vote for favorite)
11. Pick a present to donate to Toys for Tots
12. Have a dinner picnic in the living room while watching a Christmas movie (I think I'd like to do this every Friday night)
13. Go to the Festival of Trees (If you are local, Josephine will be performing with her dance class at 4 PM on Saturday the 7th. It should be ... interesting.)
14. Go to our town's parade
15. Pick out some hats, gloves, and scarfs to donate to the bin at the library
16. Go see Santa
17. "Wrap" presents (we'll see how well that works)
18. Go sledding at the "mountain" (sledding hill in the park)
19. Make a snowman
20. Drive around and look at lights

And all the Christmas Eve activities, naturally. Jeremy would also like to take Josephine ice skating, but I'm afraid she still lacks the coordination. We'll see if we add it to the list.

So, what other great ideas do you have? What can I add to this list? Is there anything you do with your kids or did as a kid that you think is just essential for the holiday season?

Also, while I'm thinking about it, do you have a favorite cookie recipe that I could try in our baking extravaganza? I'm not a big baker, but I'm hoping to make some magic in the kitchen with Josephine this year (while Genevieve steals the vegan butter and gnaws on it, of course. So so gross.).

Please help a girl out! This is our biggest Christmas yet. Josephine started "getting it" last year, so this year is huge. Magic time, people.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Tale of An Ankle; A Tale of Woe

I had this sudden epiphany. It involved moving bookcases from my room to the basement, along with the new toy box, then taking the storage cubes and shelves from the basement to the girls' rooms which would TOTALLY REVOLUTIONIZE the storage in their closets, NAY, their entire ROOMS!

I had this epiphany roughly twenty minutes after I stepped off our stoop funny and twisted my ankle so badly I eventually had to call Jeremy in tears and tell him I couldn't walk and what on earth were we going to do? Horrible memories of bedrest during my pregnancy with Genevieve plagued me and I may have had a slight breakdown.


Yes, I usually do have major epiphanies when I am most useless to carry them out. It's one of my best qualities.


I'm not gonna sugar coat it. My ankles, and my right ankle in particular, are unaware that they are, in fact ankles. WHY YOU NO KNOW HOW ANKLES WORK, ANKLE? I shout, which, oddly enough, never helps.

It all began in the year 2000 (scene fades into squiggly lines and we reappear in Ann Arbor, Michigan). I was getting ready to go to a party -- tee hee, I mean a small gathering of my study group, mom -- my freshman year, and emboldened by being a freshman hanging out with my much older friend from back home and all his older friends, bragged that I was so strong that I could carry one of the housemates (Ben) from their house to the party next door (Why? Who knows.). I heaved him onto my back and walked across the yard. If only I had known there was a small hole in the yard. Not seeing it up ahead in the dark, I stepped in it and rolled my ankle, the combined weight of my own frame and Ben's crashing me to the ground. 

My friend Tom picked me up and carried me back to his house, where I was set up on the couch with my ankle plopped into the ice on top of the empty keg that had been dragged over from the party I didn't get a chance to attend. Woe. WOE.

In the meantime, one of the neighbors/party hosts came to see how I was and ended up staying the whole night talking with me. Tres romantique, no? Well I thought it was a plot line straight from a bestselling rom com, and then we began dating.

University Health Services said it was a terrible sprain and I should put an Ace bandage on it and try to keep off of it for a few weeks. Have you BEEN to the University of Michigan's campus? That did not happen. My ankle never healed properly and a few years later a podiatrist said I had so much scar tissue and damage there was not much point of surgery to repair it because so many areas would need work that there would be just as much scar tissue when they were done.

And I went on two dates with that guy and after the second one, I walked into my dorm room and my roommate asked, "So?" with raised eyebrows, to which I replied "Meh," and that was it for him.

John. I think his name was John. 


We next found my ankle collapsing for no good reason on my honeymoon. That's right, my g-d HONEYMOON. We had gotten all fancy to go to one of the three restaurants in our all-inclusive resort, and as I walked all poised and pleased and flushed with love for my new husband, I stepped forward and BLAMMO. On the ground. 

This feels familiar, I thought, as I watched in horror as my ankle started to swell before my very eyes. I refused to let the night be ruined, so I hobbled down to the restaurant, biting my knuckles from time to time to avoid screaming, as I was, of course wearing heels. After dinner Jeremy went down to the front desk to see if they had an Ace bandage. They asked "bandage?" over and over, but then nervously asking "ACE bandage?" Apparently there were many hushed conversations in Spanish and a bandaid was procured. When Jeremy switched tactics and asked for medical tape, the same nervous questioning and hushed conversations in Spanish ended with them proudly offering Jeremy a roll of scotch tape. 

About an hour later Jeremy came back with masking tape and I wrapped my ankle in toilet paper then topped it with masking tape. We spent the next nine days with me hobbling around with masking tape on my ankle. It was magical, I tell you. 

At least since we were on vacation in a warm paradise, I was planning in sitting around a lot anyway. I just got a bunch of towels to prop up my foot and sat by the pool or the ocean and read my book and talked and napped. The only issue was the fact that we had lovely people dedicated to bringing us any food or drinks we desired all the time, 24 hours a day, and this necessitated many hobbling trips to the bathroom. 


A few months later we had left the best little hole-in-the-wall place in all of Lansing, The Green Door, which was only a few blocks from our first home. We had walked down on a beautiful spring evening to enjoy some delicious pizza and were about to enjoy a nice walk home (after leaving through the back door -- which is how you know you're a regular, according to Jeremy), when SPLAT. No reason. Walking on a flat surface. Ankle sprained. Jeremy actually had to run home, get the car, and come get me. 

This is when I really started to wonder if my body was turning against me. 

For months after that, I would have forgotten about this flaw in my system when I would be running upstairs and suddenly be brought to my knees as I felt a TEAR in that godforsaken ankle. It hasn't been the same ever since.


This time I was sitting upstairs, listening to Netflix as I tried to get a few work hours in while the girls napped and I heard a gentle scratch scratch scratch. I tried to ignore it, then went to the window to see if a tree branch was scraping the house, then slowly realized the scratching and rustling was coming from my CEILING. A varmit. In my house. Oh, hell no. 

I called Jeremy, who responded with a long sigh and the clicking of his keyboard to look up a pest service. He found a place called Can Catch Varmit Control, which I deemed unacceptable based on the name alone and offered to call my dad to see if he had any ideas.

My dad said to run out and make sure there wasn't a squirrel at the vent trying to get in because I could shoo him away. I slipped on a pair of flats, ran out the door, calling for my dog to join me, and ... stepped wrong, twisted my ankle with a horrifying POP and knew I was in trouble.


It's ridiculous, is what it is. Thirteen years of the ligaments and tendons that help me STAND and WALK not working correctly. It's better than say, my heart deciding it doesn't want to work anymore, but still.

And that, my friends, might be the longest story any idiot has ever written about her ankle.

A tale of woe. A tale of woe indeed. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Like a Rockstar (in Sweatpants)

I was already doing pretty well today -- the usual tidying, laundry, getting hours in on my part-time job, procuring and serving roughly six meals before 12:30 PM (don't even get me started -- they literally NEVER stop eating), and general mothering, but for some reason I walked into the kitchen and thought You know, I should finally put away all the pump, bottle, and puree supplies since Genevieve hasn't used any of them in months ... and if I do that, I can move my coffee and tea supplies to the cupboard above the coffeemaker! Oh happy day! And I'll have a HUGE cupboard to fill and can shift and organize everything and have happier cupboards! HUZZAH!

Two hours later I had cleaned SEVEN of my biggest problem cupboards. Completely revolutionized my freaking kitchen. I even had room for this:

Sure, it might look like a total waste of space to some of you, but my biggest problem in my kitchen are those damn measuring cups. My (genius) mother taught me to have multiple sets so you don't have to stop and wash in the middle of a frenzied cooking or baking session, and I always seem to need at least half of them at the same time, but I never had a PLACE for them. They were always falling out of cupboards or jamming drawers so I couldn't pull them open. NO MORE. I have a feeling I'll be pulling that door open often today so I can smile at it.

On top of that, I also tried on a shirt that hasn't fit in YEARS, and ... drumroll ... it fits! This is a pre-weight-gain-BEFORE-Josephine shirt! 

Granted, I'm wearing it with my comfy "house pants" that have little holes and a few bleach splashes here and there (but are the best pants on the planet), but I'm wearing a shirt I only fit into before I gained weight from the sadness of trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant the first time. What's better than huzzah? HOT DAMN.

That's when I said it to myself: I feel like a rockstar ... and it immediately hit me. ...huh. A rockstar who isn't wearing pants that are suitable for the outside world, whose hair is a wreck, and who wants nothing more than a nap. I feel like a rockstar because I have a cupboard dedicated to measuring cups. MEASURING CUPS.

Times have changed. Times. Have. Changed.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Tale of Halloween

Josie: Mama and Daddy, do you like booze?

Me: What? Do we like ... what?

Josie: Booze. Do you like booze?

Me: I ... we ... well ...

Jeremy: We ... umm ... what?

Josie: Do. You. Like. BOOOOZE?

Jeremy and I: ....

Josie: I'm gonna give you some booze.

Jeremy and I: *panicked eyes*

Josie: BOOOO! BOOOOO! BOOOOOOOOOOOO! Did you like my boos?

Jeremy and I: OH! BOOS!

Josie: ... ? ...


I hope your Halloween was delightful and filled with either boos or booze or both, depending on your preferences.

We had some (a lot) of trouble getting pictures of the girls both standing still AND smiling wearing any of their many costumes at the Halloween parties the three days leading up to Halloween and the big trick-or-treating event, but they had a blast.

Party 1: Josephine as a dinosaur
Party 1 was a Josephine-only party

Party 2: Genevieve as Minnie

Party 2: Josephine as a Lions cheerleader

Party 3: Genevieve as a monster

Party 3: Josephine as Doc McStuffins

Trick-or-treating: Genevieve as a monster and Josephine as an ice cream cone

Thank goodness for an extensive dress-up collection so Josephine could have four different looks, which was very important to her.

Now I need a nap. And maybe some booze.
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