Merry Christmas! Happy Birthday! Happy New Year!

January 4, 2015 at 7:36 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Oh, Musings, how I’ve neglected thee! When James mentioned it had been awhile since I’d updated this thing, I told him I was too busy living life to blog about it.

Liam’s two-week winter break has made it difficult to sit at the computer for very long. I’m counting the days until school starts again (one more to go! He starts Tuesday – why not Monday?!!) On the bright side, I’ve been sleeping in until 9:30 every morning, so at least there’s that.

Here’s what we’ve been up to:

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1. We made Christmas cookies for the family! Liam requested gingerbread cookies, and I found a quasi-easy, less spicy recipe that was more like a ginger-flavored sugar cookie. I say it was quasi-easy because while the recipe was easy to follow and didn’t require a lot of complicated ingredients, we still had to chill the dough, then roll it out in flour, then cut everything out. Liam was absolutely covered with flour. And then when we were done, it yielded all of 16 cookies.

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The cookies were so good, we couldn’t bear to part with them. So, back to the store I went to pick up more flour and butterscotch pudding, and away we went with a double batch this time. I also threw in an extra batch of peanut butter blossoms, a family favorite. Finally, I had enough cookies to send to the whole family, plus some to keep for ourselves. I didn’t finish until 10 PM. A labor of love.

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2. Christmas finally arrived! As is our tradition, Liam opened his ornament on Christmas Eve – this year a talking Harry Potter sorting hat ornament. He loved it. I wisely chose to wrap his presents in as few packages as possible – only wrapping the big boxes and putting all of the smaller presents in a big gift bag. Liam got us up at 6:30, and we got about a five minute snooze before he was pestering us to wake up. In his stocking he found a couple of Twinkies – a treat we’d seen made on a TV show but he had never tried before – and fake dog poop, which had him mystified until I explained what it was. It quickly became his favorite gift. After hearing, “There’s a poop on you!” twenty times, Santa was starting to regret this present. Liam was already pretty poop obsessed – it’s all he talks about these days, and it’s his favorite word to write. He makes up songs about it, usually involving “poopybutt” as a key lyric. Oh, the joys of kindergarten boys.

Then Liam got down to business. He opened his first present…and then all present-opening ceased until he could play with it.

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Moving right along, we made it through everything else – lots of books, games, clothes, and art supplies – until we got to the big shabang: his new Hot Wheels track.

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A pretty good haul this year, and not much assembly required. A win-win!

3. Then my parents arrived for Christmas dinner and to stay through the weekend. I cooked a honey baked ham, green bean casserole, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce in a can. I also made James’ favorite, peanut butter pie, and to keep my sanity, I bought a pecan pie from The Village Inn. So not much actual cooking, really. And it was perfect. Dad brought his famous Reverend Wright rolls, and we had ourselves a feast. Liam ate ham, plain green beans, and a roll. Oh this picky eater!

The next day James watched Liam while we went to see the movie version of Into the Woods. I have fond memories of this musical, both from the PBS performance I saw a billion times in the 90s, and from our high school production of it when I was in ninth grade. I was a lowly set designer, but it was a great show. The movie had its flaws – it’s hard to top Bernadette Peters as the witch, even if you’re Meryl Streep – but I still enjoyed it. Agony was hilarious, as always. But some of the more humorous lines fell short. There’s something about having a live audience that really adds to the performance.

That evening we bundled up and saw the pretty Christmas lights at Botanica. I’d been looking forward to it all winter, but what with Liam’s constant whining and my having come down with a cold, it wasn’t as enjoyable as I’d hoped. We wisely put Liam in the stroller, but then he sat in there like a little dictator, bossing me all around the trail. “Turn this way! THIS way! No! You’re going the wrong way! Turn around! I don’t want to stop HERE!” Yeah. Fun. Maybe next year Liam age six-almost-seven will be slightly less of a pain in the ass.

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4. Then it was Liam’s sixth birthday! The birthday that lasts for a month! He got another game (Sorry, a classic), a remote control truck, a homemade 6 shirt from my mom, a crank piece for his marble track, and the biggest present ever, a giant firehouse! He’d actually asked for a dollhouse, so I searched “dollhouse for boys” on Amazon and this is what came up. It has a kitchen, an exercise room, a TV room, a bathroom, a basketball court, a helicopter, a fire truck, and a pole the guys can slide down. Needless to say, it was a big hit.

Liam asked for a birthday party this year, so after my parents left, I got started planning. We set the date for January 3, and the requested theme was Wild Kratts, a children’s show about wild animals. We spent a whole day gathering jungle-themed decorations and party favors, we planned out a fun craft for the kids to do while I’d be making cotton candies for our eight little guests. I ordered a jungle animal cake from Dillons. Everything was set.

Until…

The damn weather. Freezing rain, sleet and snow. This is Liam’s first actual birthday party with friends, and I’m realizing now how difficult this is going to be to pull off every December/January. I had to contact all the guests, postpone the cake, and reschedule for the following weekend. Then Saturday came…and no ice, no snow. For the love of Pete!

Thankfully most of the guests are still able to attend on the new date, though Evie and Milo will be missing out. We’re planning a trip to KC over MLK weekend, so we’re going to recreate some of the festivities with his cousins then. Hence the month-long birthday celebration. Now I just have to keep Liam from catching a cold or flu before Saturday. Sigh. I think next year we’ll move this to May and have a one year/seven year birthday for both kids.

5. Our new fridge is on the way! Back before Thanksgiving we had a repairman out to fix the noise our freezer was making. It was supposedly an easy fix – just replace a part in the fan – but the guy somehow managed to break it so badly that Lowes had to buy us a new fridge. Thankfully the fridge still keeps food cold, but all of the controls don’t work, and we can’t get ice out of the dispenser. A hassle, to be sure, but livable. Of course, they weren’t just going to give us a new fridge – we had to go through weeks of submitting paperwork and waiting on an official decision from the Lowes legal department. But, finally, our gift card arrived a few days after Christmas and we could get our new fridge! I wasn’t satisfied with our original fridge – the stainless steel is a pain in the ass to clean, and the ice dispenser shoots ice all over the floor – so I did a ton of research and found something that solved both of those issues. I rushed over to Lowes…just to discover I’d have to order that particular model and it would take 37 days to arrive. Well, we’ve lived with it this long, what’s another month, right? I got a call today saying it had already shipped, so I’m hopeful they can deliver long before the February 3 delivery date. Fingers crossed!

IMG_34266. We had our 20 week checkup. Liam came along and got to hear the baby’s heartbeat. I expected him to have a lot of questions for the doctor, but instead he saw fit to steal the doctor’s rolling stool and talk non-stop about his dog, Lucy. Oh well. Doctor says everything from the last sonogram was normal, except that my placenta was positioned kind of low, so we’re going to do another sono at around 30 weeks. Just in time for spring break, so Liam can come along then, too! This baby girl twists and turns and kicks all over the place, but the doctor said not to expect anyone else to be able to feel it for another four weeks. We’re still deliberating on names, and it may come down to the wire if we can’t agree. I spent a day rearranging our guest room closet and taking all of the baby hand-me-downs out of Liam’s room while my tummy is still small enough to manage such tasks. Ah, if only I could stay this size! I’m staying on track weight-wise (despite all the sweets I’m eating! And better than I did for my first pregnancy. Thanks, pilates!), but I still feel bigger than I was at this stage last time. Here, you be the judge:

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7. Happy new year! This is the first year we let Liam stay up late. I told him all about the count down to midnight and the ball dropping at Times Square in New York, and he wanted to see it for himself. But the poor guy only made it to 10:30, and James and I conked out around 11:30, waking up to hear fireworks going off outside and to smooch before passing out for the night. Liam came up to our room at 6 AM asking, “Is it midnight yet? Did I miss it?” Poor lil’ guy was pretty disappointed, so I brought up the countdown on YouTube and we watched it with breakfast.

8. Liam had his 6 year check up. He grew 1.5 inches and weighed one pound more. Which puts him in the 2nd percentile for weight and the .15 percentile for height. But at least he’s growing, which is good news. We’re still working on constipation issues, and the doctor suggested we load him up on Mirilax over the summer and get this resolved while he’s out of school. I guess this problem will become chronic until we roll up our sleeves and really tackle it with lots of fiber, laxatives, and bathroom breaks. Between a new baby’s arrival and pretty much re-potty training Liam, I think I’ll call it my Summer of Poo. Joy.  

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8. The wind chill was –1 today, but Liam insisted on playing in the paltry amount of snow we got. A small consolation for his postponed birthday party. And afterward, hot chocolate with marshmallows. Yummy! And messy.

9. Finally, we come to the reason I’m even able to write this long-ass blog post today. We’ve started a family tradition of sorts: The winter break family TV binge – for me it was four seasons of The Walking Dead, for James it was four seasons of The Tudors, and for Liam it was the entire first season of The Pink Panther. Liam and I have to tussle over the Netflix connection, but it’s worth waiting until he goes to bed for me to enjoy my show just so I can hear him crack up every five seconds at the Pink Panther. He’s taken to giving me pretend bombs to blow me up. “Oh, moooom! Here’s a bomb!” Perhaps this will surpass, “There’s a poop on you!” That would be nice.  

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