Friday, December 27, 2013

The Holiday Humble-Brag

We're wrapping up 2013.  It's a time for reflection before starting fresh with a whole new year.  In that spirit are the holiday letters our friends and families send in their Christmas cards.  I love these things.  Whether they're funny, serious, sarcastic or conceited, they are my favorite of all weird holiday traditions.  Though, I've never actually written my own for our family. 

The reason for this is twofold.  The first, I struggle enough with the idea of sending Christmas cards.  All I have to do there is sign my name, and I can't pull it together to do even that.  Number 2, my family is awesome.  Every year my holiday letter would be the size of the Encyclopedia Britannica.  No joke.  I'm not good at editing.  Those reasons (excuses) aside, I want to give the holiday letter a try this year.  But bearing in mind my editorial shortcomings, I thought it best to write our letter in Top 10 form.

Without further ado, I give you...

My Holiday Humble-Brag Countdown!

10. Medical Emergencies  Our children have required an inordinate amount of medical attention this year.  My husband and I could probably have retired in Tahiti with the amount of money we've spent on copays.  (Not really.  But we could probably have vacationed in San Diego for a long weekend or something.)  We've had a brain scan, 3 MRIs, countless X-rays, 5 months worth of doctors visits for the spider bite from hell, a surgery, and 2 broken arms.  2013 has been a somewhat painful experience, both physical and financial.

The latest visit to our orthopedist.  If I was the type to send Christmas cards, I would send one to her.

9.  Fairy Godmother  Over the summer, I became godmother to my beautiful niece, Evelyn.  Only I've insisted that I be referred to strictly as Fairy Godmother.  Because I feel the title suits me.

8.  The Bookworm  Our daughter has taken it upon herself to read every book ever published before she exits the third grade.  She knocked out the Wimpy Kid and Dork Diary books over the summer.  Captain Underpants is so last year.  So she's moved on to stories more suitable to her discerning tastes.  She's read Little Women, White Fang, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Tom Sawyer, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Frankenstein, (the dreaded) Moby Dick, and she just finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone last night.  All this since school began in August.  We've got the makings of a certified nerd on our hands over here.  It's fantastic. 

7.  Outdoor Science School  5th grade provided my son and me with some seriously amazing opportunities.  We survived the wilderness, daily hikes, snow, questionable culinary offerings, and 3 minute showers at Outdoor Science School.  The boy survived life without constant parent intervention, and I survived life in a cabin with ten 11-year-old girls.  We survived.  And it was a wonderful experience. 
Final Day in Big Bear.  Happy to show off our certificates and to head home to take out and hot showers!

6.  Movie Trailers  My husband has had a busy year at work.  I don't think he loves it too much when I brag about how amazing he is.  (And frankly, I don't want it going to his head.)  But, this is a holiday letter, so brag I must.  The guy is responsible for all of your children forcing you to see Monsters University three times in the theater.  He's the reason your daughter wants that Elsa dress.  He's also why you walk around singing the Demi Levato cover of Let It Go even when your kids aren't home.  (That's not just me, right?)  You're welcome. 

5.  New Car  I got a shiny new Volkswagen Beetle in September.  All I had to do to get it was slam my old car into a minivan.  The daughter and I were ok after the crash, but my beloved Cabrio lost her life while valiantly protecting us.
Cabrio 2002-2013.  RIP

4.  New Cat  Princess Cuddlecakes was adopted in July.  We adopted her as a pet for our daughter, however my husband has claimed her for his own.  (Kittens are man's best friend.)  Not surprisingly though, I am the primary cat feeder, brusher, and litter box cleaner.  So it goes... At least she's cute.

3.  5th Grade Promotion/First Day of 6th Grade  The boy passed 5th grade with flying colors.  Perfect marks, perfect test scores, and the Presidential Academic Excellence Award.  He started 6th grade in honors classes, and is breezing through them.  He finished his first semester of middle school on the honor roll.  (I'll admit, this brag wasn't very humble.)

2.  Mommy's Big Mouth  2013 saw the birth of this blog.  Neglected though it might be, I love it.  And, it's far cheaper than therapy.

1.  The Addition  In May, construction was completed on the addition to our home.  We moved in on Mother's Day and are now happily living in 3 bedrooms.  I have my very own office space adorned with vintage toys, coaching plaques, and pictures of my kids being weirdos.  Most importantly, WE HAVE 2 BATHROOMS!  I cannot possibly overstate the importance of a second bathroom.  We lived with one bathroom for 9 years.  And though no murders actually occurred, they were trying times.  Two bathrooms might actually be the key to a happy family life.  Two bathrooms...and kids who clean up after themselves.

I think I did an excellent job summing up the year we had.  It definitely had moments that left me pulling my hair out, but overall it was a great one.  And as 2013 comes to a close, I'm secure in the belief that the best is yet to come.  Bring it on 2014.  Bring it on.

Monday, December 23, 2013

My return to the blog, and an elf named Cupcake

I made some promises to people that I would start blogging again over winter break. So here I am. It's not that I ever intended to stop writing, it's mostly that I've been busy. I haven't had the time. Not a spare second. 

No, I'm not one of those moms who busies herself with over-scheduled kid activities. When I say I haven't had the time, I mean I'm either working, spending time with my family, or watching Sons of Anarchy. I've been busy.

'Busy' is a relative term.

But now, the glorious days of winter break are upon us. No work, and Sons of Anarchy season 6 just wrapped up, so I've got some free time. 

Coincidentally, I'm making my great blog return on my absolute favorite day of the year. Today is even better than my birthday. December 23. The last day I have to worry about our elf on the shelf till December 2014. 

If you don't currently have an elf residing in your home, you don't know my struggle.

Our elf, Cupcake has caused me many sleepless nights this month. Mostly because I don't plan ahead. It's my own fault. I have no idea what to do with the guy, then I wake up at 4am in a panic. 

I've pulled it off successfully every time. Even if it's just under the wire. But, the stress it causes me is ridiculous. It's actual anxiety. Over a silly stuffed elf doll. There have to be more important things I should be worrying about. 

I've gift wrapped dressers, TPed bedrooms, covered myself in face paint, and decorated the tree with underwear. I've baked muffins, made messes, recreated movie scenes, and I've painted toenails while people were sleeping. 

I'm tired. And I'm almost out of ideas. 

However, as much as I hate the Cupcake stress, I'll keep doing it every year I'm able until my kids tell me to stop. And this is why: they love the silly stuffed elf doll. (At least my daughter does. My son just likes seeing his sister so excited. He's happy to help me on elf duty when I let him.) All the sleepless nights in December are worth it for just one of my daughter's giggles. It's a fair trade. 

I've made it through this elf season with little sleep and lots of coffee; a little Christmas spirit and lots of google searches for "fun elf on the shelf ideas"(non of which were particularly helpful). But, I made it. 

If this was your first season with the elf, you survived. I'm proud of you. And also, I'm sorry. You likely didn't know what you were getting yourself in to. If you're a seasoned elf veteran, you know what to do now:

Plan your last move, and pour some champagne. That sucker's going back in his box tomorrow!

Merry Christmas!