The Night Before The Night Before The Night Before Christmas Nachos (Or How New Traditions Begin)

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Enthusiasm. Don’t you just love it?

One of the best things about being an enthusiastic person is that when you have offspring they often take on this trait.

I know because I have two kids and even though, individually, they’re as unique as little snowflakes, they share my* enthusiasm.

It’s a lot more fun to be enthusiastic when you have other enthusiastic people around you. Wouldn’t you agree?

 

I was in a mall today.

I don’t generally go to malls, ever, actually, but Thing 2 made a special request to go to the mall to buy Christmas gifts for her family, this morning, and well, when a little enthusiastic elf asks for help in elf matters, you just smile and say, “Sure!”, with enthusiasm**.

So, after the grown-ups were caffeinated, we headed out to our local mall to help the Things do a bit of shopping. We went for the divide and conquer approach, whereby the parents each take a Thing and help him or her to find what he or she needs and then meet up to trade Things and do it all over again. It works well for us. It was fun. The mall wasn’t very crowded and the kids were in great I-don’t-care-what-we-do-we’re-not-in-school moods.

We took our time and helped each Thing find the gifts that fit the bill. This was easy for one and difficult for the other. Thing 2 is decisive and goal oriented and was seriously like an elf on a very enthusiastic mission. Thing 1 had a hard time, but mostly because he really wanted to get something special and he wanted to stick to his reasonable budget.

Even though there were no fewer than three fancy schmancy easy-just-buy-whatever-sparkly-diamond-places, he just wouldn’t stray from his logical path. Go figure! Personalities come out in the most interesting ways, sometimes, don’t they?

Anyway, eventually, everyone got what they needed and I was even able to do a bit of secret elfing with Thing 2 and her enthusiasm in tow.

We ended our mall adventure with a teensy stop into the Apple Store (to ogle things we would not buy) and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (just to inhale). We enjoyed the seasonal red shirts the staff were wearing at the Apple Store – though the expendable joke was not lost on us.

Then we all hopped back into the car, which was parked in the same spot*** we always seem to get at this mall, and took ourselves out to a late lunch. We had worked up quite an appetite walking in circles and trying to dodge each other in the mall. It’s a great place to play super-spy, by the way, in case any of you were wondering.

Lunch was delicious. Burgers and fries and root beer****. Hot and fresh and yum! A real treat!

We arrived home just in time for the carb coma to hit, so the kiddos went to their separate corners and Daddy-O and I crashed into a delightful nap. I am a terrible napper, generally speaking, but with fighting the plague and all the running around, I guess I was due for a good one. Oh so dreamy! I guess Daddy-O is the Ross to my Joey, because I seriously can’t ever nap. Thing 2 can even recount stories of my escaping naps when she was teeny. I’m just no good at napping.

I awoke refreshed and with a newfound mission in mind. I simply had to get something into the mail and nothing was going to stop me.

(You should know I have a stockpile of very thoughtful gifts sitting neatly on a chair in my bedroom. I buy these things with every intention to get them sent out to their intended recipients asap, but alas, life happens and there they sit. Am I the only one? Tell me I am not the only one!)

So, I snipped school photos of the Things, wrote out a speedy holiday greeting, located the item and channelled my inner Grammy***** and packaged that baby into a teeny size that really should have been impossible to fit into a standard 8×10 Canada Post parcel envelope, but lo and behold it fit! (Dude at the post office was impressed. I know he was. He just expresses himself differently than I do.) Into the mail it went and we will have a new tradition to add to our already diverse Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, ChrismukkahLa Befana, 12th Night mix because when that parcel arrives it will be a kind of miracle. Plus I know the recipient will laugh and be happy and that’s all that matters really.

When I arrived home, my Things had the TV paused for me (there was a brand new Austin & Ally episode) and were waiting (and waiting and waiting) while I was out making miracles happen and grabbing a few ingredients at the grocery store (Chipits were on sale. W00t!). The plan was to make a simple snacky supper, since we had had a late lunch.

We decided on nachos, but not just any old nachos would do. No sir-ee!

We had to have nachos worthy of a new tradition.

I give you, “The Night Before The Night Before The Night Before Christmas Nachos”.

They were delicious and I can guarantee my little enthusiastic, creature of habit, elf-y, Things will be reminding me next December 22 that we have to make them again.

We are only two sleeps away from Christmas and we still have plenty to do, but you know what? We are all being very chill about the whole thing. There really is no need to panic.

What traditions have emerged in your family over the years that seem so logical, but may be completely unique to you?

What’s your go-to dinner when the hour is getting late?

How are your Holidays going?

 

 

 

 

 

*Daddy-O is enthusiastic too, but he can claim them on his own blog!

**See how well that works out?

***Of course when you go the mall only a handful of times all year, selective recall is strong.

****Guess where we had lunch!

*****Grammy is my Mummy. She could pack an elephant in a matchbox and ship it to Istanbul and it would never escape because the sheer amount of tape used would stand up to anything the world might throw at it.

Source: http://ca.eonline.com/news/605724/weird-holiday-traditions-you-thought-were-normal-but-prove-your-family-is-totally-nuts

Mele Kalikimaka!

Tropical Tree

Today might be a three post kind of day because I have so many drafts, that I am starting to get anxious about it.

Anxiety at Christmas? You don’t say!

Hah!

Who doesn’t have a little extra anxiety during the holidays? I don’t think I know a single person, actually.

However, I have vowed to not be that stressed out Mummy. No way. It’s no fun to be told Christmas is nothing but stress. Or worse, to think it. Especially when you have little eyes and ears watching and listening to everything you do and say. It’s simply not true, anyway.

Christmas is a wonderful season of perpetual hope, and if there is one thing I have learned in my years on this planet* it’s that hope floats. It’s always there and you have to hone your hope holding skills throughout your life, because it’s short. Really, really short. Even when it seems long.

Christmas is what you make it. You can make it all about stuff and spending and stress. Sure! Go right ahead. Seriously, fill your boots, but don’t blame your getting caught up in the commercialism on Christmas. Nope. Christmas didn’t make you do that. Santa didn’t point to the most expensive, elaborate, electronics and say, “By the powers of Comet’s Candy Cane, I command you to buy that!”. Not a chance.

Christmas is simple.

Humans make it complicated.

You have to be human, but you don’t have to be pressured into a holiday that stresses you out.

Cool your jets.

Take a breath.

Remember the wonder.

Breathe in the aromas.

Think back to a time when you believed in the magic.

Embrace the simplicity of an old fashioned Christmas, whatever that means to you.

Know that you are not alone.

Everyone is stressin’ a bit.

No one has *everything* done.

Martha Stewart has a team!

We just have each other.

Smile and know that even when people around you seem to have everything under control, there’s always an element of mystery in how the heck things get done.

For instance, we here at Chez Peady have been having the soggiest December I can ever recall and we have also been fighting a wicked cold, so we are very admittedly behind our typical December schedule. All the things that have not yet been done, were put on the back burner while the things that had to be done got done. School concerts, finding the lost trumpet, trumpet practice, finding the right shoes, making sure everyone was where they needed to be on time, getting a bit of shopping done, making sure I talked to my mother as often as possible, getting to a few charity eventseven one in my Jammies – these all took precedent over making sure the ornaments were in the perfect place.

It’s life and it’s messy.

Look!

Christmas Mess

 

Am I freaking out? Nope. Why should I? Why should I waste a single drop of my precious energy freaking out when it will get done, with or without a grown-up tinsel tantrum?

It always has. I have yet to miss a Christmas. *wink*

So, my best advice to you, as Christmas is festively, twinkling up on us, is to take a deep breath and embrace the merriment.

 

Don’t forget to take care of your own needs, too. You matter! We need you to be at your best**, of course.

This morning I went to Zumba – just so you know I really am practicing what I preach – and I almost jumped for joy when I heard this pop up in the middle of class.

Yes, we did a Hula this morning to Mele Kalikimaka***. It was so fun! Could my Zumba instructor be any cooler?

 

So, tell me, what stage of preparedness are you in for the upcoming Holidays?

Are you about ready to be Dasher and flee the scene?

Are you happily a Prancer ready to take on the task and dance your way through your cookie exchange?

Are you feeling Grinch-like and wondering what the heck is the big deal anyway?

Has your inner Ebenezer reared his Scrooge-y grumpiness?

What is your best advice for having a yule that’s cool?

Leave a comment and share your best tips for avoiding tinsel tantrums.

 

 

*No, I have never lived on another planet. Though there was that time last winter when it felt like we lived on Hoth.

**But we even like you when you are at your worst.

***Mele Kalikimaka**** has been a month-long mind-worm. Go ahead and ask my chicas! Ukuleles at Christmastime? Oh YES!

****Then there’s this, which I saw on Saturday, but wasn’t blogged out until today, hence the edit! COME ON!! This is hulu-arious! (Day #8) Zucchini is the sweetest doggie!

It’s The Very Best Time Of The Year

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I told a friend this morning that I needed to get my “Jingle Bell Juice” flowing.

We have been fighting a wicked awful cold here at Chez Peady and 3/4 of us were affected. (1/4 of us has super immunity and I await the NASA scientists every cold & flu season, because this kid never gets sick! Seriously! How does he do it?!)

Anyway, not the best time of the year to catch a bug, is it?

I mean, we all have a lot going on and we all want to feel cheerful and energetic. It’s the time for dashing through the snow and sleigh bells, not trudging through the tissues or popping plugged up ears.

We are on the mend now and energy is slowly returning which is great because there is still so much to do. I feel like I am a bit behind on the Elf-ing schedule, but I really do try to adhere to Dr. Seuss’ Grinch’s timeless realization from “The Grinch who Stole Christmas”.

The school concerts are this week and that always makes me feel like Christmastime is here. Thing 2 is very excited this year because she (a tall kiddo) gets to stand in the front during her class’ performance. She was so excited when she learned this a few weeks ago she wrote this* as soon as she got home from school.

 

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Isn’t that sweet? How much** do I love the little white board in our office?

Thing 1 is pretty tense about his concert. It isn’t helping that his trumpet is MIA for the night. It was left on the bus. Yup. Not even kidding.

I am just going to have faith and believe that everything will work out. What else can I do, really?

It’s the season of perpetual hope, right?

 

Speaking of hope, my Things are really hoping for a white Christmas. We have no snow – at all – in Bedford. We have had lots of rain this month and we have yet another, rain-filled, nor’easter headed our way. It’s difficult to get all “Ho ho ho!” and “Deck the Halls!” when there is no sign of snow.

Unless of course you have a dear friend who sends a childhood memory out into the Twitterverse for you.

Do you remember this gem?

Thanks, Kyooty! That made my day.

 

So, what are you finding challenging this month? Are you all set for the holidays?

Is it easy breezy decorate all the trees-y or are you untangling tense tinsel at every tick of the clock?

 

*Have we talked about how every family should have a white board or chalk board accessible to everyone for writing special news, notes, or asking questions? No? There’s a forthcoming blog. Promise!

**SO MUCH!

But Who’s Ted?

 Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet to see who they really are.

— Will Ferrell

Here is something that I watched (and thoroughly enjoyed) with Daddy-O today.

Let me know what you think!

 

Did you agree? Did you laugh? Please tell me you laughed!

 

Are you happy?

Are you married?

Are you happily married?

What do you think makes a marriage last?

 

 

They Love Me Anyway

For as long as I have been making school lunches, I have been leaving little notes in the Things’ lunch boxes.

Long before they were the avid readers they are now, I would print simple messages of love and encouragement on sticky notes. I am a believer in environmental print*. Kids are smart. They don’t need all the rules memorized before they put theory into practice. A little heart shaped slip of paper speaks volumes. A speedily scrawled smiley face on a paper napkin can make a kid’s day – especially a day that is in dire need of levity. You remember those days, right? We all have them.

Sometimes it’s a silly doodle. Sometimes it’s a riddle. Sometimes it’s a hint about a special after school activity.

Other times it’s a reminder, cleverly disguised in witty prose.

 

Here are today’s notes.

 

Thing 1's lunch box note.

 

Thing 2's lunch box note.

 

 

And they love me anyway.

 

Do you write notes?

Do you leave notes in your children’s (or partner’s) lunch boxes?

Are you a poet (and totally know it!)?

Are you a writer or a printer?

When is the last time you wrote a letter or a note on actual paper for someone else to read?

Do you value the skill of cursive writing?

Or are you all g2g lol and ttyl 24/7?

Why not leave me a note in the comments! *wink*

 

 

*Don’t believe me about the environmental print? Try this experiment with a teeny kiddo** who is not yet reading in the traditional sense: Show them a favourite item (National Brand cookies or the cover of a familiar book, for example.) with writing or a logo on it and see if they recognize it. They will. That’s *reading* when you are not yet a reader in the traditional sense. Kids are awesome!

 

**Umm… not just any kiddo, to be clear. Make sure the kiddo is yours or you might totally freak the kid and his/her parent/guardian out!

***The Things don’t call me “Ma”, but I called my Ma, “Ma”, when I was little. Also, we are still working our way through the entire “Little House on the Prairie” series and well, it’s just fun to sign some notes that way!

 

Me and My Little Brain.*

Always Thinkin'.

Sometimes my brain makes me sad.

I have eluded to this before. It’s just a part of my life.

Someday I’ll delve deep, invite Oprah and her purple sofa over for tea, have a nice chit-chat and get to the root of it all.

But!

Sometimes my brain makes me ridiculously happy and that is what I am talking about today on I Don’t Blog in Alex’s blog series called #BlogSmallJoys.

I would love it if you popped over there to read my post and stuck around long enough to answer the burning question, “What’s that sound?”.

 

I’ll be back here tomorrow with a new post.

You know I will because tomorrow is day 13 of NaBloPoMo and I haven’t missed a day** yet!

Apparently, I love a challenge!

Who knew?

 

 

 

*Have you read the J.D. Fitzgerald series called “The Great Brain”? This title was one of my favourite books in the series when I was a little kid.

**Including today, because this totally counts!

Source: http://crooksandliars.com/files/primary_image/14/02/hat.jpg

Cover me!

This has been a busy, fun, very musical week.

It all started on Monday when Kim at Co-Pilot Mom made a shocking and entirely awesome string of confessions and then it just got better and more musical from there.

On Friday my friend Rebecca (“Bitsy” to her best tweeps) at A Little Bit of Momsense updated her “Current Song Obsession” and it made my day.

I thought it would be fun for me to follow suit and share a few of the songs that I just can’t stop playing.

 

I seem to be all about the covers lately.

The first one is a cover of “When Doves Cry” by Prince. I know. I know. Risky territory. And yet somehow this works.

Here is The Be Good Tanyas with their version.

 

I’ve written before about my love of Walk Off The Earth and everyone knows about their Gotye cover, but have you heard this?

They are amazing musicians! The video is just too cute! They have a great YouTube channel and I think everyone should check it out.

 

Here’s another song that we seem to always enjoy, no matter who is performing it.

Pentatonix! Who knew?!

 

On Saturday I had grand plans to attend a Christmas Craft Show, but it just was not in the cards.

You know what was in the cards? More music!

Thing 1 plays trumpet in his school band. His trumpet is in desperate need of a cleaning and we needed a new cleaning kit. So, with the clock ticking*, I rounded up my little family and we hit the road and high-tailed it to our local music store for a kit and, as luck would have it, a trumpet stand. (Musical instruments in cases are not happy, played musical instruments. As my big brother would say, “Are you a trumpet player or a trumpet owner?” Note the difference.**) With the stand he will be able to see his trumpet more often and hopefully play it more often, too.

After our musical victory with all things trumpet, we felt we deserved a little treat, so we went to a 50’s diner and had dinner.***

Do you know what any 50s diner worth its salt has? A Jukebox!

Do you know what any mother worth her salt always has when she goes to a 50s diner? Quarters!

Do you know what this all leads to? More music!

 

After dinner we came home to play a board game, but since I had a NaBloPoMo post to write I asked for a bit of time first. The Things kindly obliged and I came to my desktop to write, but something was missing. I needed some music.****

So, I fired up Songza and found not one, but two new favourite channels – “Disney’s Best Sing-Alongs” and “Singin’ in the Rain”.

 

So, would you agree that it was a very musical week?

Are you a fan of music? Do you sing?

What kind of music is your favourite?

What is *your* current music obsession?

 

 

 

 

*The music store closes at 5 on Saturdays and is closed on Sundays. Time was of the essence! We arrived at 4:54. Whew!

**Note the difference!

***Because *sings* Dinner in the diner.. nothing could be finer.. than to have your ham and eggs in Carolina!

****I may have a problem. Who’s to say? It’s a mystery, really!