Mother’s Day debrief

I hope all of you had a very Happy Mother’s Day.  I know I did.  You have already seen a picture of the roses Tom sent me, and heard the story of the children’s shopping expedition.  Now here is how the day went down:

First I got up at 6:15am (of my own free will), made some coffee and settled in to watch the Spanish Grand Prix.  You can expect my full race report tomorrow.  I know you are all dying to read it.

When Princess O got up she brought me a yogurt in the TV room.  Then she sat with me for a while and quizzed me on how Michael Schumacher was doing in the race.

Once the race was over they gave me their presents. And what presents they are.  Here is the C-man’s:

It is a flowerpot.  He told me he thought I could put the mint in it when I plant the kitchen garden.  This is a very sweet and thoughtful gift, and I can’t believe he remembered that I had said you can’t just plant mint in the ground, you have to put it in a pot.  If you do not, you will end up with a whole yard full of mint.

And here is Princess O’s gift:

An acid green laundry basket.  Awesome.  She told me she picked it out so I would have someplace to put all my knitting supplies in the TV room.  Here is a top down view.  Now you can see all my upstairs knitting stuff artfully arranged:

After the presents and bacon and eggs we went to the I-Cubs game.  I saw Ryne Sandberg!  Ryne Sandberg!  But he was far away, and I did not get anything signed, although we saw him standing by the Cubs dugout signing things.  Maybe next time.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone.

A Christmas Catastrophe averted

Well, that could have gone worse.  Much, much worse.  Here is the latest in a long series of tales of Christmas woe.

As you may recall, Tom left for Chicago last Sunday riding shotgun in a cargo van full of stuff for his Chicago apartment and all the Christmas presents, including the presents from Santa.  I pointed out to Tom* what bags and boxes needed to go all the way to Michigan and then foolishly assumed it would happen.

Well, last night at around midnight after watching that traditional Christmas classic Field of Dreams we went downstairs to bring up the presents and they weren’t there.  Do you want to know where they were?  Back in Chicago that’s where.  OMFG.  Sorry, I know I shouldn’t swear on a holiday but this definitely warrants it.

So there we were in Michigan in the middle of an ice storm and all the presents from Santa are still in Chicago.  And we have absolutely no way of getting them.  If we had not been having an ice storm we could have jumped into the car and pulled an all-nighter driving to and from the city, but this was not possible.  Now what?

The first thing on the agenda was a full-bore full-body freak out.  And can you blame me?  There was a lot of crying.  Tom suggested we just give them the presents from us and say they were from Santa.  That would have been fine, if we hadn’t already given them our presents from us on Christmas Eve morning.  Gahhhh!  Tom suggested just explaining things to them in the morning.  But that would never work, they always get up way before us and sneak downstairs to inspect things, and there was no way I could have them come downstairs to a big fat nothing.  After a few more minutes levitating near the ceiling Tom said we could wrap up the Borders gift cards he had bought the children and those could be from Santa.

Okay, fine, let’s do that.  I run (quietly) around the house looking for things like gift boxes and wrapping paper and tape.  After finding all those we do some quick and crazy wrapping that was pathetic even by my standards.  We also wrap up two stacks of 10 one-dollar bills.  Now each child has two presents.  The next hurdle was the stockings.  Oh, what are we going to put in the stockings?  I (quietly) ransacked the kitchen looking for goodies.  Oh look!  I found a package of Hershey bars.  Perfect.  That’s three for each kid.  I also put an apple in the toe of each stocking and threw in a can of Coke to fill things out.  Whew!  Tom wrote a note from Santa explaining that Santa had gotten confused and had left most of the presents in Chicago where they would be waiting for them.

We decided that I would sleep downstairs to intercept the children.  I was a wreck all night.  When my dad got up at 3AM I told him our tale of woe and he volunteered to drive to Chicago – at 3AM – to retrieve the gifties.  I love my dad so much.  So much, in fact, that I couldn’t let him drive around like that in the middle of the night.  So I said no.  We agreed that we would see how things went in the morning and that if the children really had a nervous breakdown about the presents he would go then.

Let me just say I have the best children ever.  They are excited about the prospect of a second round of Santa presents when we get back to the city.  They are excited about their Borders gift cards, and the C-man has been asking to go onto all day.

The C-man also gets the quote of the day.  When he unwrapped is $10 in one dollar bills he looked at them and said “Ten one dollar bills?  Why couldn’t they be hundreds?”

So a Merry Christmas to you all.  I hope yours is more like Norman Rockwell, and less like National Lampoon.

*perhaps a bit briefly

And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

Dr. Seuss

Christmas wrapping

I have been doing the Christmas wrapping today and I wonder,  what did we all do before the invention of the pop-up tape dispenser?  The world wants to know.

Anyway I have written here before about how my Inner Martha tends to take over when I am wrapping the presents and fill me with thoughts of inadequacy.  Usually this means that I don’t really enjoy wrapping the presents very much.

This year, however, was different.  This year I told my Inner Martha to shut the hell up and leave me alone.  I decided to embrace my lack of gift-wrapping skills.  Since the pressure was off the whole process was a lot more fun.

Of course part of that could have been that I had an actual color scheme this year.  Last year’s color scheme was “I need to use up all this stupid paper I bought like five years ago that I am so sick of it makes me want to cry”.

I bought this really cute blue and white and red snowman paper last year at Target (half price after Christmas).  I loved it when I bought it, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I still love it nearly a year later.  I also found some really cute shiny curly ribbon that looks so great against the paper I can hardly stand it.  Trust me, it’s really really cute.  And the best part is, I might actually use all of it up, and then I can have new paper next year.  Yay.

Tomorrow I will finish the non-Santa wrapping and commence on wrapping for the Fat Man.  I feel like I have to do an especially good job with that this year, but that is story for another day.  Probably tomorrow.

Sixteen years ago today

I got married.  Well, Tom did too.  To me.  So that was convenient.  I wonder who else has dropped out of the pool now.

We generally do not go in for big anniversary celebrations.  A card, some candy or flowers maybe and a nice dinner out.  For the past eight years we have been calling our weekend at the Formula 1 race our anniversary present to each other.  But this year there is no race in the USA or Canada.  And jetting off to one of the European venues was not an option.

Tomorrow we are going to a Tapas restaurant in the big city.  I was shocked, SHOCKED to learn that what passes for a big city around here has not just one but two tapas bars.  Amazing.  They do not take reservations, but since we won’t have The Pesky Children with us and my parents are babysitting, (their rates are very reasonable) that isn’t a problem.

Anyway, back to the anniversary presents.  We don’t normally get each other anything.  But this year I found a small package in the desk with my name on it.  Judging by the size and shape I thought it was a stack of the yummy fancy candy bars I like.  But no, it was not.  It was:

An IPod touch.  AN IPOD TOUCH!  I have the best husband in the world.  I haven’t even set it up yet.  I am just admiring it.  Besides, I need to get a case for it.  I think you can get one made of carbon fibre.  They make racecars out of carbon fibre, so it would be fast.   It’s important for your Ipod to be fast.

Now I need to go shopping for Apps.

Happy Birthday Princess O

Well, today is the day, she is 11 now.  The Princess is officially at tweenager.  Good gravy.

The C-man has a game tonight so we can’t go out to dinner until tomorrow.  But we did go to McDonalds for lunch. And I am making chocolate cupcakes.  I must really like this kid because making cupcakes is a pain in the patootie.

When I asked what she wanted for her birthday this year she said “I don’t know, surprise me”. This was not terribly helpful.  Tom and I got her a digital camera (see random thing #24), but the gift that had the biggest “wow factor” was from my friend A, who gave her a copy of Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer.  That got an “Oh YEAH!” and an “AWESOME”.  Go figure.

In honor of her special day, here are 25 random things about Her Royal Highness:

  1. Her favorite food is bacon
  2. She was born 4 weeks early
  3. She loves horses
  4. She also loves all other animals
  5. Once she broke her arm falling of a horse (how else?)
  6. She has a raging sweet tooth and would ask for dessert after breakfast if she thought she had a chance of getting it.
  7. She plays softball and is learning how to pitch
  8. In the fall she starts Middle School.  Yikes!
  9. She’s a big Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus fan
  10. She loves to swim
  11. She hates pasta –  says it’s boring. 
  12. Doesn’t really like pizza much either, unless her grandpa or her BFF’s mom kakes it.  Mine?  Not so much
  13. She went to her first major league baseball game when she was 6 weeks old
  14. She has been to Australia and Italy
  15. Her favorite place in Italy was Venice.  She cried all the way to the train station when we left
  16. She has freckles
  17. She has curly hair and she still likes it.  I expect that to change at any minute
  18. Her favorite Formula 1 team is Ferrari
  19. I think the Cubs and the Red Sox are her favorite baseball teams but I’m not sure
  20. She loves to read
  21. Her favorite books right now are the Twilight series and the Warriors series
  22. She likes to draw cats
  23. For her birthday party she asked her friends to bring a donation to the local animal shelter instead of a birthday present.
  24. When she grows up she wants to be a nature photographer
  25. She always cries on the last day of school

Mother’s day debrief

As promised, here are photos of the Mother’s Day gifties.  Sorry it took me so long to do this.  There was not a single AA battery in the house and my camera was out of juice.


First of all, check out this penguin Princess O made for me.


Yep that’s right.  She made it.  All by herself.  She didn’t have a pattern or anything.  She was just winging it.  I am amazed.  I knew something was going on because every time I would come upstairs she would quickly shut her door, and she doesn’t usually do that (yet).  But I was just gobsmacked.  I bow down before her in awe and in terror of what she might come up with next.

The C-man gave me yummy yummy chocolate bars.



Finally, I will show you my gifty from Tom, but before I do that I want to tell you about the gift-receiving ritual in our family.

First you pick up the present and say’ “I think it’s a cat”.  Then you open it.  When I opened this one I said’ “Oh, it’s a dog!”


When unwrapping the package you must say at some point “I think I need a scissors”

If after you unwrap the package you see these words:


Your next line is  “fra-jeeel-ay, it must be Italian!”

Then you finally get to the big reveal


Yes, that is not one but two Barack Obama coffee mugs.  Awesome.

Happy Valentine’s Day

We don’t generally do much for Valentine’s Day.  It has just never been a big deal for us.  I always laugh at the jewelry store ads on TV, wondering if anybody actually gets stuff like that.  This seems to be pretty much a Hallmark Holiday. Nothing more than an excuse for people to go out and stimulate the economy a little bit.  Valentine’s Day is another one of those holidays, like New Year’s Eve, that is fraught with peril.  It can be difficult to live up to the hype. 

But, I do always get Tom a little something.   This year it was a card and some York Peppermint Patties and some Barack Obama trading cards.  Seriously.  We found them at Target with the baseball cards.

Tom got me a heart-shaped box of chocolates.  The Princess picked it out.  It’s fuzzy.

I do tend to go a little overboard with the kids though.  This year The “Valentine Fairy” left them Madagascar 2, and she also left the Princess a Littlest Pet Shop thing, and The C-Man a special anniversary pack of Yu-Gi-Oh cards.  He was pleased.  They also got Hershey’s kisses. 

They know I’m the Valentine Fairy.  They also know I’m the Halloween Fairy (yes, I always get them a little something for Halloween too.  I am spoiling them rotten).  However, they still haven’t clued in on the whole Santa Claus/Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny thing.  I find that odd.

Dear Santa

The C-man has 88 things on his Christmas list.  And counting. Here is a small sample:

  • 1.  Iron Man DVD
  • 6.  Ben Ten Alien Creation Chamber
  • 14.  Wii
  • 19.  Apple Itouch (Tom has one)
  • 25.  Zero Gravity mini car
  • 45.  PSP
  • 53.  Flag football set
  • 59.  Parachute guy
  • 77.  Rock em Sock em Robots
  • 82.  Boxing gloves
  • 88.  Kung Fu Panda Pandamonium double pack

So as you can see he is asking for quite a variety of things.  I think his theory is just ask for everything.  We have suggested to him that he might find it easier to list the things he doesn’t want.

Meanwhile, the Princess also has a list, and it has less then half that many items.  But of course the thing she wants most is:

A horse

Every year she asks for a horse, every year she gets shafted.  You would think she’s have figured this out by now.

I have no idea if they still believe in Santa or not.  It’s not really something you can ask them.