Posts Tagged ‘fun’

This Christmas I Am Spoiling My Kids Rotten

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Hello Internet.

Thank you for all the wonderfully written, thoughtful posts about how kids these days are too focused on things and not on the true meaning of Christmas. It’s so important to remember that giving is far superior to receiving, just as God gave his love to all of us. I also read your advice on how experiences make better gifts than giant hunks of plastic. It’s true! You made some excellent points. Then there were the 4 Things devotees: Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. It rhymes! So adorable and minimalist and a great way to cut down on junk! And finally, there are the hardcore anti-stuff people who object to basically all of it and make their opinions loudly known. Thank you for your input, I appreciate the time you took to explain it.

This year, I am flat out ignoring ALL OF YOU.

wrapping presents

 

 

 

And I’m doing it 100% on purpose. I haven’t accidentally bought too much. I am not pretending to purchase only hand-crafted, heirloom quality, Waldolf-inspired toys. I am not claiming to be a minimalist while buying piles of presents. This is intentional, planned, thoughtful spoiling.

Our December has been full of both experiences and things. This year, we are seeing Santa no less than 5 separate times. We have five sets of matching Christmas pajamas, including two sets for me and one for the dog. Caroline has a special dress for The Nutcracker, a different special dress for our photo session with Santa, and another special dress for Christmas Eve. Oh and one more to wear on Christmas day after taking off her matching Christmas pajamas. We are opening seven advent calendars every morning. There are custom printed Santa bags for each child and fancy gourmet chocolates for their stockings. They are getting everything they asked for and then some. There is a giant Batman robot, thousands of Legos, and a stupid Baby Alive that pees. There are sleds and ride on toys and loud beeping things. ALL FOUR KIDS get their own Fingerling monkey, even the baby, who definitely does not need a Fingerling monkey. When they come down the stairs on Christmas morning, they’re going to freak out and scream their little heads off with joy.

Do you know what won’t be around our tree on Christmas morning? Their father.

I realize things don’t make up for your dad being deployed during Christmas. There is no present in the world I can give them that will stop them from saying “I wish Daddy was here”. My heart breaks a little more every time they say it – which is often. This isn’t their fault. They didn’t ask to be born into a military family. And until this year we’ve been able to shield them quite a bit from true Navy life – no moving, no long separations, no new schools. I grew up with that lifestyle and although I enjoyed it for the most part, not having “a” home or long-term friendships or a sense of being FROM somewhere can be hard sometimes. We’ve been very lucky that we can do this a little differently than most military families. But our luck ran out now that E is very fancy and important; his skills and expertise are needed on actual working submarines, and actual working submarines deploy.

It’s hard. Being the only parent means I am responsible for all the Christmas, for everyone. I don’t mind, really, because I love Christmas. But trying to buy stocking candy when I am never without at least one child is hard. Wrapping gifts at midnight is hard. Trying to decide if it’s time to tell the big kids about Santa is hard. I’m still part of a partnership as far as parenting goes but my partner is unavailable (most of the time he is 100% unavailable, not reachable by any means).

My choice to go completely overboard and ignore what other people are doing is in no way meant to be a reflection on others. This doesn’t just apply to our specific situation regarding Christmas presents or even just the holidays. As I am very fond of telling my children, different families make different choices. Some do small Christmases, some do big Christmases, some go to great lengths to be with as much family as possible, some want to stay home. Some people step away from Facebook and social media to stay focused on family, but I couldn’t imagine doing that when I spend so much time as the only adult in the room. Some find that taking photos helps keep them connected and in the moment (me, 100%), others find that putting away the camera makes them happier. It is a difficult time of year for so many people for so many reasons, finding joy however you want should be allowed. And this year, my joy is in distracting my kids from things that make them sad with things that make them happy.

Come January 2nd when everyone goes back to school, I am going to be cursing all this STUFF that will have taken over my house. There’s nothing more #firstworldproblem than buying too many toys and then being annoyed by too many toys. I’ll remind myself of that as many times as is necessary during the long, cold, dark months between the end of the holidays and the end of deployment. But right now, I am SO EXCITED about Christmas magic and that is just what our family needs.

Things I Am Giving Up And Things I Am Not

Monday, December 4th, 2017

So here’s the thing: I am not a quitter. I have kept up my 365 project for 3 full years now, and I plan to do it again next year. I’ve been trying to catch up on laundry since 2008 and I haven’t given up on that even though I’m pretty sure it’s hopeless. And I made it through 362 weeks (that’s almost 7 years) of iPhone photos. But I don’t think I’m going to catch up. My phone isn’t making it easy to move my photos, the program I use to resize them isn’t recognizing the folders, and the amount of work it takes to get it all together just doesn’t fit in my schedule anymore. I’ve also completely failed to take photos with my phone several days in the past few weeks because if it’s in my hand the baby tries to steal it and if it’s in my purse I’m not taking pictures. No matter how many times I SAY I’m not going to stop, I think it’s time to admit I’m done.

That doesn’t mean I’m letting the blog die. I’m going to go back to more life-documenting with my real camera. I take photos literally every day for my 365 but haven’t been sharing them here. In 2018, the plan is a weekly/bi-weekly post of those pictures, so I have all my projects (years of pregnancy, baby and kid stories, adventures and thoughts +daily life photo documentation) in one place. I’m just working on not letting myself feel like a failure over something as stupid as blog posts, so I feel like making an announcement that I am quitting officially will help.

Besides letting my iPhoneography slip, I’ve actually been holding things together pretty well. Mostly.There was a day last week where I got off the phone from discussing one of the many adult problems I am currently juggling and I briefly considering just canceling everything. Like, just not doing any of it. Not taking the babies to their doctor’s appointment, not calling the plumber, not doing the dishes, not moving the laundry to the dryer, not taking Caroline to ballet, not putting Lincoln on the bus to school, not making dinner, not taking a picture, not changing the dog’s foot bandage, not taking out the trash…nothing. LIFE IS CANCELED.

Unfortunately, that’s not how this works. None of those things go away and dealing with the consequences of not doing them is going to be more annoying than just doing them. Plus my four small humans don’t let me get away with skipping meals or bedtimes or activities they want to go to. It’s good, really. If I didn’t have all these kids I might let myself slip slowly – instead of just wearing my slippers to the bus stop, I might not leave the house at all. Instead of having a fun day baking with the kids and then eating a handful of mints, I might sit on the couch and eat a pint of ice cream every night. Instead of spending maybe probably definitely too much on presents to make this Christmas extra magical, I might let the sadness of missing E this month overwhelm me.

Speaking of E, I finally had a chance to talk to my husband over Thanksgiving. It was such a relief. Even if we don’t get him back for a lot longer, being able to update him on everything that’s been going on and let him know that we’re OK.

And we are. Ok, I mean. Operation Keep Them Busy has been a raging success. December is officially here and we have plans almost every single day. We kicked off the month with the train to the North Pole followed by a day of holiday fun in Mystic. We haven’t been to the aquarium in a couple months and Finnegan was REALLY into it. We’ll be headed back soon so he can run around squealing at the fishes.

Oh and we saw Elsa. Caroline and Linc were in heaven.

My Week(362) in iPhone Photos

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

We had a storm Sunday night. I ended up sleeping on the couch because it was so windy and loud on the top floor where my bedroom is. Then the cable and internet were out. Then the basement flooded. On the other hand, we didn’t lose power here at the house, but because it was out in other towns our super crazy busy afternoon ended up being a pretty relaxed afternoon. I’m still so tired I almost fell asleep in the McDonald’s drive thru.

Sunday:

My little pirate tried her first macaron

The face is part of the costume, he liked the cookie

Why does Linc look like he’s 10?

Monday:

Literally the only photo on my camera roll from this day

Tuesday:

Playing trucks while we wait for the bus

Package protector

I bought 4 of these in August when I heard they might be popular. I guess they’re not THAT popular.

Wednesday:

Hello gorgeous

He’s getting so LONG

Things that went through the washing machine this week

Thursday:

HUGS

Friday:

Caroline’s teacher suggested she might want a retake. Caroline couldn’t figure out why, she LOVES her picture. So we’re keeping it.

 

Fell asleep face down in the cookies.

Saturday:

Fancy fall hair

My little monkies on their favorite boat

He demanded I take this photo

I have this horrible cough that will not go away. I think it’s allergies causing post-nasal drip that’s clogging up my lungs, but whatever it is it’s ruining my week. I have these coughing fits that sound like I’m an old-fashioned lady dying of consumption. It causes a pounding headache and keeps me from sleeping. MOST of the time I’m totally fine and don’t feel sick at all, but then I get hit with an episode. Too bad I can’t take the nighttime cough meds during the day, That stuff is amazing.

My Week(358) in iPhone Photos

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

After a whoooole bunch of stress with our afternoon bus schedule, we’ve finally worked everything out and we’re just plain busy instead of super stressful busy. It’s good. We’re better at holding things together when we don’t have too much time to sit on the couch.

Sunday:

I love this umbrella

Living his best life

It’s important to practice before Halloween

Tuesday:

Everyone is at school or asleep and I am RELAXING

The cat is obsessed with our heated floors

Wednesday:

Enormous baby measured as enormous at his check up

Thursday:

We got the last one of these stupid things

This outfit makes me happy

It makes Finn happy too

Friday:

Cookie time

I hope this are the memories they have of their childhoods

Saturday:

Very fancy facepaint

Pizza is his favorite

That’s her “I GOT A NEW BOW” face

I bought Wonder Woman yesterday, so we can watch it at home and in the car and alllll the time, because I would much rather memorize Wonder Woman than all the episodes of Paw Patrol on this stupid pirate adventure DVD. Once you can name all the dogs on Paw Patrol you lose part of your soul forever.

My Week(357) in iPhone Photos

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

I can barely remember this week. I can barely remember yesterday. I can barely remember my own name.

Sunday:

Everyone loves our new washer

Matching dinners

I bought a mop.

Monday:

Rocks we found at the park!

Back to school night hot dogs

He looks so smug

Tuesday:

Checking out the white rhinos

Kangaroos know how to relax

Never holds still

Wednesday:

BACK TO SCHOOL THANK GOD

Checking out his new playground

Cupcake destroyer

Thursday:

I cleaned downstairs. I cleaned upstairs. I came downstairs to this.

Not excited about school.

Everyone home again and back to chaos

Friday:

Slowly moving marbles

Cream cheese face

Still learning how to selfie

Saturday:

Rock hunting

Caroline was convinced she could climb this tree

The Niantic turtle

Today, my little baby Finnegan learned how to climb up onto the couch. He still does not know how to climb OFF the couch safely, so my stress level is pretty high. Keeping him from cracking his head open is not my favorite way to spend our afternoons, but then again the ER waiting room would definitely be worse.

I got rid of the old sink from before our bathroom reno today. It feels like a huge accomplishment because it’s been just taking up space in the nursery for months now. Hopefully I can keep taking tiny productive steps until the house is truly clean and organized.

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