Thursday, November 30, 2017

My Fancy Christmas Anxiety

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Oh how Christmas makes me crazy. Like so crazy that I actually apologize to C for being a crazy person (which means super duper extra crazy.) As we all know, money gives me totally irrational anxiety (see Operation Don't Be Idiots). So I combat that, in crazy fashion, by overspending. I know this, I'm working on it, insight is the key to change, blah blah blah. BUT. I also LOVE Christmas. I love all the things, and I really love buying gifts and spoiling my kids. So you can see how this can become a dangerous spiral. I buy things, then I freak out about the money I'm spending, so then I illogically buy more things, and so on and so on. And THEN, I get even more crazy pants because I look around at my over-cluttered house, have a panic attack, and buy more shit. It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Every year I tell myself that I'm going to be planful about my gift giving. I've tried homemade Christmas (LOVED it but it took a ton of time and less nosy children), one big gift Christmas (don't bother, not worth it), all out Christmas (still paying that one off) and Don't Be Stupid Christmas (no fun and didn't work.) This year I glommed onto the Facebook/mommy blog idea floating around about the four gifts. Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. Now as I write this I am realizing that I already fucked up because I shopped as if it were four categories, not four gifts. So I'm starting from behind. SMH. But I am trying to limit the kids' gifts to those four categories.

So I've already established that this isn't really helping keep the number of gifts down since I bought multiple "something to wear's" for example. BUT, what it is doing is keeping me from buying all the things. Each category for each of the kids is pretty specific. So Eli's getting a new phone. That means that I'm not also buying him all the WWE stuff he's asking for. So maybe it's still a win? If nothing else its helping AND it's made it abundantly clear that my kids don't really need anything since that's been the hardest category to fill. So first world problems...

The other thing that's helping is that I've completely abandoned any intention of fairness. In the past I've tried to match dollar amounts across kids in an effort to internally assure fairness. This year I'm acknowledging that they have no concept of what a dollar's worth and they aren't counting each other's presents, so they won't care if I spend $50 on one and $150 on the other if both get a really cool gift that they love. This is keeping me from scrambling for all the filler stuff to make everyone even. I feel pretty strongly that my kids need to know that the world isn't "fair" and that they shouldn't expect everything to be even all the time so this fits in nicely. It's also freed me up to think about what each one would really want (in all four categories) versus what they would want in a certain price range. So Averson might get two awesome $3 animal books and Syd might get a really great $25 hardback. In previous years I would have felt the need to get Avery six more books, even if I didn't think she'd love them. Please refer back to the crazy mentioned above...

So so far it's working. I have the girls almost completely done and I'm finishing up on Eli. I need to buy them their Santa gifts though and I can't really decide which direction to go there. I'm thinking one more of the "want" gifts? In our house, Santa does stockings and one or two not-the-awesomest gifts (because I'm selfish and want credit for the good stuff.) I'm not ridiculously out of money, I'm excited about what each kid is getting, and it's not even December and I'm half done with my shopping. Then I can focus on my house angst and stressing out over New Year's Resolutions like a normal person!

I'm curious how you all handle the Christmas crazy? Do you have a strategy for your shopping? Does Santa bring the good stuff? Also, I still need to fill stockings and shop for the adults so if you have any ideas, toss them my way!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thanksgiving Recap

After an epically long and drawn out dog sitter drama, we finally found someone to look after the hellbeasts and were able to head out to the coast to spend Thanksgiving with my folks. My little brother and his wife came up from SoCal and my sister and her girls came from Colorado, so it was a big deal that we were all there together. In a three bedroom townhouse, there was A LOT of closeness.

Coast Thanksgiving does not suck

The holiday totally screwed up my Weightwatchers routine, so I snuck out on Wednesday morning to weigh in. Totally coincidence that I weighed in BEFORE Thanksgiving. Totally...
Standing in your socks in public makes you a legit WWer. Also, I'm down 11 freaking pounds and until right this second didn't realize the irony of wearing taco socks to my weigh in.

Gratuitous plate picture

After the turkey coma, we sent the kids downstairs so the adults could play Cards Against Humanity. Obviously tequila shots were a pre-requisite. 

For the record, I think everyone wins when your husband tells your stepmother she has penis breath and your sister-in-law throws down "Daddy Issues" on your turn. Also, more tequila. 

My dad surprised us on Black Friday with ziplining! Eli was having none of it, Averson was a wobbler and not worth the gamble for the price, and C stayed home to babysit (and because he's broken) so Syd and I were left to brave six ziplines over vineyards and a cattle ranch. 

SO CUTE! Also, SO NERVOUS. But she's my Ride or Die and she knew it was true when I told her nothing was worse than chickening out in public.
 We rode the first (and highest) line tandem and it was seriously the best thing ever. As nervous as she was, within seconds she was grinning and saying, "I'm so so glad we did this! This is AWESOME!!!" That's my girl :) 
Part of the zipline was this 200 foot high suspension bridge and it was really fucking scary. And narrow. And bouncy. Those are totally nervous smiles. 

As soon as she was allowed to go alone she was off like a light. Seriously, I barely got there in time to get her picture. 

I can't wait to go again! C is not convinced that it's the best thing ever though, so I may need a stand in for the night time experience. Who could say no to watching the sunset as you fly over a vineyard?

And because we're masochists, we finished out the day at a huge Christmas festival. Highlights included hot chocolate with Fireball whiskey and Syd asking to take C and my's picture. Lowlights include my kids fighting like dingos and the annoyed look someone in my family has in every single picture. Fun fact related to my Christmas card drama? A review of the last YEAR of candid-ish family pictures reveals that annoyed is the new RBF. Which probably explains why I have four total pictures to choose from and there's elephants fornicating in the background of at least one.

In what may be the best decision I've ever made, we drove home on Saturday instead of Sunday. We missed nearly all the traffic and still had a whole day to recoup before we rejoined reality. Both dogs were still alive and my friend even left poetry! Syd then critiqued it. Halarious! 

 And now CHRISTMAS!!! I'm trying a new "Don't go broke and don't be an idiot" strategy in hopes of managing my crazy over the holiday. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Serious crisis

i just hit publish on the shit show that’s been the last two weeks and thought with relief, “Thanksgiving’s next week!” ((I’m guesting, not cooking, which qualifies it for a “yay!”) And then it hit me. Next week is Thanksgiving and I have NO plan for cards. None. I’m minimally interested in trying to get pictures taken since my awesome photographer moved away last year and I just can’t with finding someone else who understands when I say “please don’t make me look fat.” I have no cutesy ideas and most of our family pics this year have been even too ridiculous for cards. So far I’ve come up with a Brady Bunch format or Groucho Marx glasses. Seriously. That’s the best I got.

If you need me I’ll be over here muttering Christmas carols and frantically pinteresting...

At least there wasn't nuclear war?

So a couple weekends ago we went to Family Camp with Eli's Boy Scout troop and it was way more fun than I had anticipated. Averson is a natural. We went on a hike and she found a deer leg. Rather than be traumatized, she BEGGED to take it home so she could research it. We compromised with poking it with sticks. I totally under-packed for poor Syd so she spent the weekend wearing my leftovers. The boys cooked all of our food and it was WAY better than you'd expect if all of your meals were cooked outdoors and by eleven year olds. I had a great time hanging out by the fire with the moms and even found a couple kindred, sarcastic spirits. We laughed about the fact that all of us were drinking out of the spigots after seeing the sign that pretty specifically recommended it against it. All of us agreed that we'd take our chances if it meant we might get to spend a couple days on the couch watching television, being taken care of, and maybe even lose a couple pounds before the holiday. Foreshadowing...

C woke up that night complaining about a backache, that by the next day had turned into a completely debilitating issue.  I woke up to a message from the dog sitter telling us that she'd been bitten breaking up a fight when she fed the dogs together (exactly what we asked her NOT to do, but I digress). This is where all hell started to break loose. 

C spent a week on bedrest after an exhausting trip to the ER on Monday evening that resulted in a diagnosis if "Idontknow," a prescription for Motrin, and instructions to stay off his feet. I took the week off from work to do kid/house/nurse duty. The dogs were placed on house arrest and the dog sitter cancelled for Thanksgiving. Do you know how hard it is to find a dog sitter for a holiday on short notice?
Thursday, Averson came down with another bout of zombie face. I had to cancel class since C couldn't watch her and I couldn't take her to my friend's house as we'd planned. Two potential dog sitters bailed on me. Saturday things started to look up. Monday I went back to work, followed it up with parent teacher conferences and Eli's Court of Honor, and a delicious taco dinner. 

So of course Monday night Syd woke my up by puking off the side of her bunk bed. C kept all three kids home on Tuesday since they're doing minimum days anyway and he couldn't leave the sickos home to take him. Thank goodness, because by noon I had an e-mail that simply said, "Eli's puking. This is not good." 

Because we all know how this works, I dropped a c note at Target stocking up on Lysol wipes, Sprite, and food we could throw at the kids when we inevitably fell. And then I came  home to well rested, non-vomiting children. C was shuffling around near-mobile. It was MAGICAL.

I keep humble bragging about how I held down the fort while everyone was out of sorts, but OMG am I happy to have people back. C is still shuffling, but way less (and I'm pretty sure he's not dying.) All of my children seem healthy, including zombie face. A friend offered out of the blue to watch the dogs.