Looking Back before Looking Forward

As another year comes to an end I look back on all that's occurred and look toward what might be in the year ahead.

The holiday season has come to a close and the last of our company has gone-- we'll miss them but look forward to getting back to a normal routine and watching TV in our underwear. We're pretty sure our family appreciates the fact that we wait until they leave. As much as I enjoy Christmas, and really, all the holidays leading up to it, I am happy when we can un-deck the halls and put our home back together. For one thing, the Christmas tree occupies the spot where the little guy's play tent used to reside, so I'm sure he'll be happy to see it again. I am looking forward to all the extra dishes, serving ware, etc. going back into storage after over a month of being out. It took me awhile to figure out his diabolical plan, but the hubby cleverly avoided putting away said dishes after Thanksgiving and managed to leave them out all month long figuring that it would eventually come around to Christmas and why take them out just to bring them back in again. Yeah. Typical male thought process on that one. So now we can put things back in order around here.

It's this time of year that many of us start thinking about "New Year's Resolutions" and we seem to run the gamut from sternly declaring we are going to do certain things [that we never do] to forgetting the whole thing and resolving not to resolve to do anything. I'm thinking there has to be some middle ground in there somewhere. I mean, yes, I would love to lose 20 pounds, totally stick to my eating plan and get buns and thighs of steel in 2009 but at this point I'd probably be happy to not gain any more weight and get my buns and thighs to a little less resemble a hippopotamus. Does that sound realistic? I hope so. I can think of other examples but I'll leave it at that for now. What I'm really getting at here is that some of us (myself included) tend to get carried away with wanting things to be perfect and "great" [readers may recall this year's "motto"; "Life is Great in 2008"] that we lose sight of when things are, well, just "good" overall. So I think that instead of grandiose plans perhaps I need to scale it back a bit. This is something that seems fitting for my pre-selected motto for this coming year--"Everything's Fine in 2009". In other words, try not to worry so much, try not to get down because things aren't spectacular--sometimes "fine" is pretty darn good.

Christmas Un-Wrapped

Our family has been having a great holiday season. Christmas was spent with extended family and we enjoyed getting together with everyone for a traditional holiday dinner.  The boys were very happy with their gifts and I have to say that I think this is first time we don't have a single thing to exchange or return!  The little guy's big gift this year was a kitchen.

Frankly, I think it's nicer than my kitchen. This thing kept him busy for quite some time.
Despite the pre-Christmas accidental showing and our stated intention to return it, Teenager still received the guitar we bought him and was thrilled. Apparently, his best friend also got a guitar for Christmas and now they are talking about "starting a band". We got a chuckle when he told us about this. I think every teenage boy goes through this at some point in their life.  I also couldn't help but think of the band they started recently on Desperate Housewives with the adult males--it truly is a "guy thing". One of the cutest parts of Christmas was when the little guy also received a guitar.
boys & guitars

He wants to join his brother's garage band.

The Classic Kids Christmas Shows

I fondly recall the holidays as a child watching all the great kid's Christmas specials. Those classics are so timeless thankfully they're now on DVD to show our own kids whenever we want to instead of having to wait for them to come on TV like back in the day. Our family has really been enjoying watching all these this season. We recently watched A Charlie Brown Christmas and I couldn’t help but think about so many of the things said and done that would never occur in today’s shows. The hubby and I got a kick out of discussing this. Take Pig Pen for example; besides the obvious issue of his nickname you won’t find kids shows condoning the good natured ribbing of a dirty little boy who walks around with the cloud of dirt following him. (But hey--that was funny stuff!) No longer are kids allowed to dole out psychiatric advice for .5 (but that Lucy was smart!) And we certainly can’t call anyone dumb, stupid, or a "Blockhead" like poor Charlie was often called--let alone make fun of his bald head. Poor Linus and his blanket and thumb sucking—you don't see that anymore. And Lucy socking it to Linus—can’t happen either. Of course there was also Peppermint Patty, TV’s first lesbian character in cartoon form (come on, you know it’s true!)
Another Christmas favorite is The Year Without a Santa Clause in which we see the adorable and unforgettable dance numbers by the Miser Brothers. Heat Miser is my personal favorite and his hair totally reminds me of the hubby when he wakes up in the morning.
heat miser
It just doesn't get any cuter than little baby heat misers with their little straw hats doing the back-up dancing! For those of you who don’t own the video, I’ll leave you with the infamous dance number here.

Weight Loss and other Antics

Some of you may recall my post about those the little guy’s performance at my Weight Watcher’s meeting last week. This week, despite my best efforts he attempted to give an encore presentation. It has now been suggested that perhaps I might want to not come back next week . And when I say “suggested” I mean I’ve officially been thrown out of Weight Watcher’s—at least with my little darling anyway. I guess I knew it was only a matter of time before this weekly event with the little guy had to end. The really sad thing is how long I’ve been going and struggling to lose all the weight. I started attending when the little guy was only eight weeks old! During the time I’ve tried to lose all my baby weight I’ve seen other mom’s actually begin a new pregnancy and leave [you can’t attend WW meetings when pregnant], have the baby and come back all during the time I’ve been there. Things went well at first—back when I was nursing and got those extra points that made it so much easier. Now I look at my points allotment and really struggle with how to make it through the day and still feel like I’ve actually eaten. I know it is possible, I have certainly done it before, but staying with it takes a lot of focus and discipline. Since I know I need to find a way to attend I’m currently looking into some less than ideal but still potential options for going to my weekly meetings without the little guy. I also need to be better about staying on track with the program in general. Unfortunately, one of my own stumbling blocks is my “all or not at all” personality style. When I do something I do it all the way and am very exact about it, but if I’m not doing it, I tend to go to the opposite extreme. Basically, if something derails me I go off the program and go off BIG. So, what did I do this last week? Okay, I’ll tell you. Of course I made some not-so-great food choices, ate too large of portions, etc. but I also decided to make a ridiculously delicious Christmas treat. It’s that odd dessert with the saltines that you put a mixture of melted butter and brown sugar over and then chocolate chips melt on top and you have a toffee like thing with a layer of chocolate. It is often referred to as “Christmas Crack” due to its addictive quality. I can see why. Let’s just say that a generous portion was had by all (except the little guy) for the first and second night until I told the hubby to take the remainder to work. Apparently within seconds of hitting the break room it was gone and he got comments like “Hey, why didn’t you bring more?” It was at this point of course that the hubby shared his amusing tale about his wife on Weight Watcher’s who’d being going hog-wild with the stuff. (Side note: I think it’s a tie between which one of us looks forward to the daily life escapades in our household more; me so I can blog about it or hubby so he’s got great material for around the water cooler.) So I’m sure you can all see why the whole weight loss thing didn’t happen this week. In addition to the unfortunate Christmas Crack saga the hubby was hooked on making Egg Nog complete with rum and whipped cream. I don’t know what he was thinking but I had to tell him the one he made me was way too rum-y. “Honey, could you tone it down with the booze—it’s only Wednesday!” The end result is that not only did I not lose but of course I gained and gained pretty significantly. This always irritates me because now I have to “re-lose” what I gained before I can get back to loosing. It’s that old syndrome of losing the same five or ten pounds over and over again. Frankly, it amazes how easy it is to gain weight in just a week if you are not watching it! I can see how easy it is for folks who don’t follow any kind of “plan” to just keep gaining and gaining. The food choices we have today make it that much harder. Finding the healthier, lower calorie options is difficult. Eating out is especially difficult due to not knowing how food is prepared, exactly what’s in it and the portion size. Splitting things is a great way to go but near impossible for me since the food preferences of the hubs and I couldn’t be more opposite. So our meals out have to be our “splurge meals” on the weekend that we’ve saved up for calorie-wise by eating smart during the rest of the week. Which is why I can’t afford to have any more rummed-up Egg Nog or Christmas Crack around the house. Here’s hoping for better results next week.

Holiday Happenings & Family Traditions

This year we finally purchased a wooden Advent calendar to use each year and fill with our own little treats for the boys to count down the days to Christmas.

DSC00906This is where I must give proper credit to my creative and handy hubby who spruced this up. Since we didn’t find one we liked that was “cute enough” we decided to embellish it ourselves. This meant hubby had to find a way to attach tiny little pieces of d├ęcor that were not flat on the back, requiring snipping, sanding, gluing and the removal of some skin off his fingertips.

Chocolate baby

Since the little guy has not had much in the way of sweets before, this is a whole new experience for him. Behold the "first time with chocolate" photo. This was a huge hit.

Each year we look forward to our town’s tradition of Santa riding down our street on his sleigh pulled by the Fire truck. It’s a fun event that’s been going on since Teenager was a little guy himself. We all bundled up and headed out when we heard the sirens signaling Santa’s arrival.

kids waiting 4 santa santa's sleigh

santa's sleigh ii

Having kids at totally different stages in life always proves to be entertaining. This year was significant in that Little Guy is just old enough to get excited to see Santa and Teenager was excited to see all the neighborhood girls. It doesn't hurt either that an adorable baby brother is a "chick magnet".

Two Year old Tantrums + Sensory Processing Disorder = Looney Tunes Character

My recent Weight Watchers meeting didn’t go so well. I seem to be stuck in one of those awful holding patterns where weight is concerned (note the ticker has not moved in quite some time—I know, you are all glued to following my weight loss just as closely as the milestones of your own children.) However my biggest struggle this week was not as much weight as dealing with my darling little one. Let me see how to describe his behavior accurately… I’d say it closely resembled the Tasmanian Devil being let loose in the room.

TazWhen we arrived, it was clear keeping him in his stroller was not going to work. For one thing, he spotted the other kids playing with some really cute little house sets and thankfully he was invited to join in and play with them. And by “invited” I mean I begged the other mommy to let my child join hers to play. This actually lasted for about 15 minutes which was remarkable for the little guy because his sensory issues usually keep him from focusing and playing with a toy as other kids his age do. I was really hoping that allowing him the freedom to get out of the stroller and play would keep him happy and occupied because Weight Watchers was going over the new changes to the program in this meeting and I really needed to pay attention. I should have known better. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the little guy approach the door and then open it and walk outside. I ran across the room and grabbed him as he was [thankfully] just standing there and not attempting to go anywhere. After bringing him in and telling him that he cannot go outside and needs to stay inside he proceeded to run amok wreaking sheer havoc. In the course of a very few minutes he attempted to level a display of cook books, weigh himself, try to get into any number of purses placed enticingly at his level, grab part of a snack out of a other child’s hand, weigh himself again this time taking the desktop display portion of the scale down by yanking on the cord and grab a handful of paper towels making a trail with them. I might add I was following him around trying to circumvent these activities, keep him quiet and out of trouble as best I could. It became increasingly clear that things were going downhill fast. I wish I had photos for you but I felt it might be considered bad form to whip out my camera and photograph my shrieking, squalling child while a roomful of people were trying to learn how to calculate their food choices. I tried to get his weighted vest on him thinking he might need more sensory input, but that proved impossible –I would have more luck putting doll clothes on a pig covered in baby oil. He started getting really upset and quite vocal about it the more I tried to contain him so I knew I had to make a break for it which would unfortunately involve getting back to the stroller and trying to wrestle him in. This is the part where every mom out there who’s ever experienced this can attest to the fact that it is the most frustrating, aggravating moment where you just want to scream. This part was so bad in fact, that they stopped the meeting—for me—so I could pack up my darling little angel and get the heck out because at this point no one could hear anything the leader was saying. I don’t even know how I got that kid in his stroller, he is very strong and when he has a tantrum it takes all the strength I’ve got, both physical and emotional to somehow deal with it. Amid much screaming we managed to get out of there and into the car. When we got home he went straight to bed. And then Daddy got a call at work. Yeah, one of those calls. Any husband and daddy out there knows the one I’m talking about—the one where your wife calls you and you can barely understand her while the words “your kid” are intermingled with some unfortunate language and shrieking. It’s the call where you wish you just been in the bathroom when it came in-- but no, you just had to be at your desk and answer it. And now you’re screwed.

When things calmed down the hubby reminded me that although times like this are tough, and this age makes it even tougher things could be very different. There could have been no Baby and would I really want things that way? No. The answer is no. Yes, I sometimes wonder how I deal with all of this—the baby later in life, the little guy who has special challenges and everything else that goes along with it. But yes, it is all worth it and I know I need to remind myself of that during times like these.

So, while I still need to learn what I missed in the meeting and get back on board with the rest of my weight loss I know that the missed meeting is only a temporary setback. Along with the pizza I ate last night.

The kid’s really are paying attention

The other night after dinner when baby was down for the night the hubby and teenager and I were all sitting on the sofa watching TV. Then during the middle of some show I made a request that is apparently fairly routine. I asked if the hubby would go to the kitchen to get us a little treat for dessert while I paused the TV. Teenager all of a sudden pipes up and says; “Oh no, do we have to do this again?” We ask him what the heck he’s talking about and he launches into this little monologue:

“Well, whenever you guys do this it always means a huge break right in the middle of the show. You ask Dad to get something, he doesn’t know what it is, you try to explain it, and you guys have a little argument about who should go get it. Then Dad finally lumbers out to the kitchen, looks for it, can’t find it, and you explain it again while you guys argue again about where it is and why he should be able to find it. He finally finds it and then lumbers back to living room and sits down when we finally get to start the show again.”

By this time, the hubby and I were laughing so hard we were in tears. There’s nothing like your kid doing a full-on skit of your behavior! Not since Tina Fey’s “Sarah Palin” has there been a more hilariously accurate spoof. We had no idea we had this little “routine” going, not to mention how much of a comedy routine it had become for the whole family.

A Sense of Humor: A Mommy's Most Important Asset

The following pictorial and narrative is provided to you courtesy of SAHM: Surviving Assorted Home Mayhem, and effectively illustrates the first rule of surviving the mayhem: Don't get mad - get your camera. These photos were also included in an e-mail to Daddy at work as part of a little feature I like to call "What Your Kid Did". Notice possession of said child reverts to the male parental unit in cases such as this.

Not only is this yogurt covered toddler proudly displaying his work, as soon as I grabbed the camera, and I kid you not, he said; "Cheese".

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

This weekend was our annual trip up to the mountains to the Christmas tree farms. We enjoyed a nice drive there, complete with our festive holiday Starbuck’s beverages and Christmas music on the car stereo. Although we’d intended to bring the baby jogger stroller we did manage to make do with the regular stroller in the car. Baby enjoyed walking part of the time and we all trekked through the woods looking at various Christmas trees. Hubby took full advantage of the beauty around us by getting some great photos. Like we do every year, we talked about how most of the trees seem to get cut when they reach around 8 feet not leaving any taller ones for families like us who need a taller tree. Like we do every year we also discussed that the trees that grow here are just not as nice as those in other areas such as Noble Fir which seems to be our favorite. Then, like we do every year, we ended the day by stopping by our local home improvement warehouse to purchase our Christmas tree. It’s tradition.