The month of holiday craze, shopping, parties, lots of bad-for-ya (but delicious) food & drinks followed by a full-force-6-week-kick-my-butt-and-the-rest-of-my-bod program my trainer proposed during my 1st session of the year. Little did I know at about that (the kicking-my-butt part) at the beginning of December – I was blissfully unaware.
Speaking of “bliss”…its definition: getting carded at Trader Joe’s for buying a bottle of wine. Now, THAT is bliss, given that I was born in the year that ABBA’s Dancing Queen hit the top 10 on the Billboard charts.
Once again, I fell into the “Holiday Craze” trap and managed (despite my best intentions) to have to go out and shop for last-minute Christmas gifts. This year, EVERYTHING will be purchased online. As much as I love the mall, I want to avoid it at all cost come Christmas 2012.
Personally, my two best Christmas gifts were given to me a few weeks early: my awesomely amazing and rocking Hubster gave me a new laptop. Going into my office to sit down to check my email is impossible, given that the boys possess some sort of "Mommy-at-the computer-in-the-office-radar", causing them to come and find me before I can sit down. In other words, a laptop solves many a practical issue around this house. In addition, I now have a device that is solely MINE. No sharing, no children, no alphabet movies allowed. Just Mommy stuff. I tell the kids that their movies don’t work on my laptop – I wonder how long that’ll fly with them…
That same night, Ryder fell asleep in my arms. He was restless, so I took him out of his crib and plopped down with my big lil’ buddy in the oh-so-comfortable glider. Within 30 seconds he was out. Could not remember the last time that that happened. It was heaven. I could have sat there the entire night.
David was out of town the first weekend of the month. It was the weekend of soccer practice followed by the celebration of “Sinterklaas” – a Dutch kids’ Holiday. My friend Stacey came along as I really wasn’t up for taking both kids by myself: large crowds, 2 toddlers going in opposite directions, both on sugar highs and impatient to get their presents – not my idea of fun. Kai was old enough to get it and seemed to enjoy it. “Seemed” as I unfortunately did not have the chance to really be with him as most of my time was consumed keeping Ryder from hurting himself in the midst of his tantrums. I was “that” mom; the one with the thrashing toddler, who screams bloody murder. Large masses of people, not being able to run free, not understanding why he is there and why he’s being stopped from running away: tantrum-fueling material. By far the worst tantrums I have ever had to see him go through.
So, here’s December in SoCal: I was absolutely ECSTATIC when we were graced with a couple of days of rain. Hallelujah! The rest of the month: warm enough to drive around in a tank top with the car windows rolled down …, or to play outside … and eat mud.
Something ain’t right with these temps.
We had a new house guest join us in preparation for Christmas: an elf. The boys named him “Tommy”. Tommy the Elf sits of a Shelf and was a wonderful phenomenon that fascinated the boys immensely. In the morning they would explore the house (most of the time holding Mommy’s hand), searching for Tommy who had chosen a new spot after returning from his nightly visit to the North Pole.
Tommy the Elf doesn’t talk, but he does listen and passes on any wishes to Santa. He’s quite the cool dude, that Tommy.
The days leading up to the big Holiday were filled with Holiday fun. David and I had a chance to once again go on our “Annual Christmas Date” as we attended the Christmas party at our friends’ Jackie & Greg.
This is the Christmas Party of Christmas Parties. Jackie’s eye for detail is amazing – with decorations in every nook and cranny of the house. I didn’t use their facilities, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she had Christmas toilet paper hanging in the bathroom.
David and I were not the only ones to have a party as Kai had his first Christmas performance at school. With big eyes, not sure what to make of all this and uncertain of his role in this performance, he stood in the midst of a gaggle of toddlers, singing and performing Christmas songs in front of a church full of parents (and screaming siblings - NO, not Ryder. I had been smart enough to hire a babysitter).
Then there was the cookie & fudge making that Kai and I did. Great fun. Dough needed to be made (and taste tested), cookies needed to be cut, re-cut and cut again. They needed to be baked and yet again go through rigorous quality control to ensure perfect results. Then they needed to be decorated:
Once cookies & fudge are ready, they ought to be wrapped
and then delivered to friends, family, teachers & coaches. Personally dropping them off with the neighbors was incredibly exciting for Kai. He was one proud little boy, spreading Christmas cheer the Kai-way.
I wouldn’t be the “Super Mommy” if we didn’t whip up a Holiday cupcake this month. So, Kai and I baked cupcakes.
Ate them. Shared them. Handed them out. I don’t remember what we did with them, but they were enjoyed.
And then…there are – what started out two years ago as “tickle lights” - “tinkle lights”. Tickle Lights have become Tinkle Lights, but no matter the name they are still excitement ensuing. Fascinated by it all and sometimes too excited to breathe in between exclaiming “Look Mommy, tinkle lights! More tinkle lights! And more, and more tinkle lights!!!”, Kai goes nuts around this time of year. But wait until you get to “the house in Tarzana”… At the bottom of the street where are friends live is a house that, at Christmas time, does not have a square foot in the front yard or on the roof, that is not decorated. Kai’s reaction (in awe): “That’s Crazy-mas!” Crazy-mas. I love it. We’re keeping that one.
Of course we met Santa this year. Once again, not a big success.
At least we had a chance to ride the train to the North Pole.
And Kai got to make his very first purchase: Popcorn.
Despite all the excitement and the busy-ness of the month, Ryder took the month to relax and calm down a bit. A week after the massive tantrum blow out, things eased down a bit. Maybe it was something he needed to get out of his system, I don’t know. If it was, I can see how you wouldn’t want to keep that sort of frustration in, but really, it was extreme.
In the midst of it all, Buster decided to break his nail at the nailbed. It had to all be removed, causing him to sport the lamp shade for a few days.
Keeping a stubborn and a too-smart-for-his-own-good dog from getting to his paw is difficult [strike trough] nearly impossible. Lamp shade or not, the dog manages to find a way to get to it. Nevertheless it healed, but still giving us a big scare (not knowing if it was “just” the nail, or a tumor) until the bandages came off 5 days after the procedure.
And then the day we counted down to (several times a day) had arrived. Well, first there was Christmas Eve. Santa’s bag with presents exploded right above our house. The result:
At the sound of Kai’s door opening at 7am, both David and I jumped out of bed to catch his reaction. Had it not been Christmas morning, we would have tried to bribe him with all that we possibly could to let us sleep for another 30 minutes. But Christmas morning it was – and it was wonderful:
Shortly thereafter, Ryder awoke:
The morning was spent opening gifts, having breakfast, opening more gifts and eating and drinking some more. Then there were gifts, and some more gifts. We could have EASILY saved some more of the gifts for their birthdays (yes, we actually did save some). Once the children were in a state of overwhelm, yet playing with Thomas and his possy – the obvious winners – David and I enjoyed having the day off without feeling guilty. What a delight! In the afternoon the four of us watched the Polar Express, while enjoying some yummy bites and snacks.
Christmas dinner was our non-American style. No turkey, no hams. I am still digesting all that, plus the stuffing and gravy from Thanksgiving. No, Christmas dinner at our house consists of a beautiful Filet Mignon in a Cognac Cream Sauce. On the side: Green Beans topped with Caramelized Onions and Roasted Almond Slivers. This obviously goes hand in hand with a beautiful bottle of red. For dessert: Home Made Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée and finally a decadent double Chocolate Martini as digestive. (If only I knew what awaited me on that 2nd day of 2012.)
And so, Christmas 2011 came to an end.
On to New Year’s Eve we went.
As per tradition, I spent the 30th baking Oliebollen: beignets with raisins, topped with powdered sugar – a Dutch tradition for New Year’s. Of course, I wouldn’t be “me” if I didn’t add some cupcakes to the evening. So, cupcakes were created:
Before our first neighbors arrived, David decided to rescue a cat from the tree across the street. It apparently had been stuck there for 3 days and it was screaming for help. Up he went (David), 25 feet up the tree, in the dark, to rescue a cat. Though terrified, the cat allowed him to pick it up and take it down. I swear that cat wasn’t half as terrified as I was, but that’s a different story. The poor thing was dehydrated and starving. We gave it food, water and left it to calm down and hopefully find its way home.
The evening consisted of waves of neighbors and friends coming over. Catching up with neighbors who had been out of town for a while, to meeting new people. The evening was filled with (surprise…) good food, delicious drinks and laughter.
Happy New Year!!
2011 had come to an end. 2012 had started. Here’s to a wonderfully happy, adventurous, healthy and fun New Year!