Tag Archives: Christmas trees

The Christmas Spirit

11 Dec

Whine: Has noone yet figured out how to clone mothers during the Christmas season? I’m not sure how anyone expects us to cram a week’s worth of cleaning/cooking/errands/parenting into each and every day this month. Really, it’s inhumane.

Cheese: I’ve been heavy on the cooking part of my list: double chocolate M&M cookies, caramel corn, chex mix, pesto and sun dried tomato cream cheese, and not so much on the other parts. Unfortunately you can tell this by looking at a) my hips or b) my kitchen floor, neither of which are faring so well this holiday season.

I spent most of my waking hours on Wednesday trapped in my local house of horrors (i.e., WalMart). It started innocently enough with a grocery run. Since I had somehow managed to run out of every necessity simultaneously, plus a few random items like cornstarch and sea salt, I knew it wouldn’t be a quick trip. Then I remembered that I still hadn’t purchased the gifts for my “angels“, which should have been delivered several days ago, so I added a few gifts to my list. Then I tallied up all the supplies I would need for my holiday baking extravaganza, remembered a few Christmas gifts I could grab there and I realized my list had grown from overwhelming to completely unmanageable.

By the time we checked out two hours (and lots of $$$s) later, Lil’ Sis and I had truly found the Christmas Spirit. If by Christmas Spirit you mean me stumbling through the check out, incoherent and dehydrated, and her whining, screeching like an angry little llama and eating the hot dog buns through the bag. Obviously I’m a terrible mother and never feed her.

Then we bundled up and braced ourselves for the trek to the car. (Seriously, down here we act like a day that’s 45 degrees is the dawn of the next ice age.) The wind was doing it’s thing, chapping our cheeks and smearing certain people’s runny noses all over, when I realized I hadn’t zipped my purse. And my receipt, filled with Christmas purchases (which are all the wrong size, I’m sure, and will need to be returned) grabbed a seat on the Windy Express and went flying upward. For a minute it flew so high, I thought it might land on the roof. Instead it caught a jetstream and went flying through six rows of the parking lot. Here I am, a lady with an awkwardly prodtruding belly pushing an angry toddler in a cart that needs a WIDE LOAD sign and flashing light, dejectedly watching it fly away. Crap.

And then something remarkable happened. Some nice man (were those angel wings peeking out from under his jacket?) took of running after that runaway receipt. Sprinting. Jumping. Through six rows of parked cars. And finally, from behind an old Chevy truck I saw him emerge, arms raised in victory. My hero. I didn’t have adequate words to thank him, so I did my best to sputter out my gratitude, then said a little prayer that there would be an extra little Christmas blessing for his family this year.

Crabby Cat and I got a nice lunch (which she didn’t eat, guess that plastic bag/hot dog bun filled her up) then headed to fetch Big Sis from school. Of course, Lil’ Sis took the four minutes it took to get to preschool to fall into a coma-like sleep in the back. Which meant that I would have to rouse her and drag her inside to get Big Sis. Which also meant that she probably would consider those four minutes to be her “afternoon nap.”  I pulled into a parking spot and prepared myself for some serious crabbiness.  Then, out of nowhere, the Mommy parked in the next space (were those angel wings on the hatch of her SUV?) rolled down her window and offered to stay with Lil’ Sis outside while I ran in. Obviously, she’s woken a sleeping toddler before.

I got my sweetie from her class, where her teacher reported that she had had a great day, but that she had played the role of  class plumber all day due to the droopiness of her adorable (and apparently ill-fitting) Gap jeans. I somehow made it home and got both babies into their beds, knowing they would have to wake up prematurely so we could make it to the last-minute dr. appt I had managed to get for Lil’ Sis and her chronic smoker’s cough. Then Kiki, one of our superhero grandmas, called and insisted that she come get Big Sis so I didn’t have to drag her unnecessarily to The Land of Inevitable Infection (i.e., local pediatrician’s office).

It was a good thing, too, since we waited there a really. long. time. We closed down the office. I felt bad because as soon as that receptionist finished checking us out, she grabbed her purse, turned off the lights and made a beeline for the door. But our friendly doctor is always worth the wait. He diagnosed- -double ear infection; prescribed – -antibiotics, ear numbing gel and Nicorette (for the Lil’ smoker);  and chatted- -about internet hysteria and the H1N1 vaccine.  

Again, the Christmas Spirit swelled up inside of me. If, by Christmas Spirit, you mean a constant worry about saving any amount of money by any means necessary. And by any means necessary, I mean a trip back to the local house of horrors along with the rest of SW Fort Worth at 7pm with a sick baby. Because their pharmacy is cheap. So we staggered around inside for another hour waiting for the magical pink medicine and went on a quest through each aisle (twice) for sun-dried tomatoes, which we never found.

As we went through the check-out, someone started falling apart. Lil’ Sis was pretty upset, too.

I guess the late-nighter I’d pulled the night before (I have no self-control when it comes to chatting with friends) and the fact that we weren’t going to get to get into the Christmas Spirit and make magical memories and get our Christmas tree that night, compounded by the fact that I hadn’t eaten any dinner, all brought me to a point teetering on teary exhaustion. And just as Lil’ Sis and her angry scowls and cries were about to push me right over the edge, she stopped fussing. I looked up from the small print on the credit card machine to see four frat boys (were those angel wings poking out from under their loud Christmas t-shirts?), waving their hands and dancing around for her personal amusement. And then she smiled.

I guess you really can find the Christmas Spirit at WalMart. If, by Christmas Spirit, you mean people imitating the originator of the Christmas Spirit and showing spontaneous and sacrificial love and generosity to someone pitiful and generally undeserving. 

Merry Christmas season, friends, I hope you find some Christmas Spirit this month, even if you have to brave WalMart to do it.

P.S. This just happened. While I was blogging in the other room.  Apparently it was a group project. I especially like that Lil’ Sis’ unzipped jammies make her look like a late-70s Elvis in his jumpsuit.  See what I go through for you guys??

There are no words for this. . .

You’ll Shoot Yer’ Eye Out

7 Dec

Whine: Two words–blogging drought. (Don’t worry, it’s not for lack of material.)

Cheese: Homemade Cheddar Jack Queso. Mmmmmmmmmm.


When you were a kid, did you have a Magic Memory Filter? You know, the thing that makes you remember sitting rosy-cozy with your family by the fire while Dad reads the Christmas story or decorating festive sugar-cookies with Grandma in a hazy, yellow glow.  If you look back at your childhood memories and get the same feeling as you do when you watch the end of It’s a Wonderful Life, you know you had a Magic Memory Filter, because in reality, it was probably a little more like A Christmas Story**. You know, dogs eating the Christmas turkey, receiving really random, inappropriate gifts from distant relatives, and people getting their tongues stuck to frozen flagpoles.

I have a few of those rosy-cozy memories myself, I have to admit. But now that I am the Mommy (i.e., the one responsible for orchestrating said rosy-cozy memories) I realize that all of my memories that come with a rosy glow must have passed through The Filter, because I’ve discovered that any event involving children looks less idyllic and peaceful and more chaotic and tornadic. Norman Rockwell? My kids? More like Norma Wreckwells.


Childhood Memory: One of my favorite Christmas memories/traditions was going to get a real, live Christmas tree. My dear, sweet saint of a single mother obliged me every single year, even though it was almost the death of her. I remember hiking through pristine snow and getting to choose my very own tree. We then cut it down and brought it home to decorate, the scent of fresh pine emanating through our cozy apartment.

What Really Happened: We bring the tree home and it won’t fit in the stand. Undeterred, my mom bundles me back up (it was winter in Michigan) and throws me in the car, drags me to the store and bought a new stand. We get home and try again. The tree still won’t fit. Mom’s starting to get just a tad frustrated now. Somehow she comes up with a saw. I don’t remember where it came from, but I’m sure it involved either going to another store or calling up a friend. While she’s sawing off the offending branches, I’m in the bathroom and the toilet is not working. Mom comes in to investigate, removes the lid from the tank, drops it and it splits in half. My mom says a few things that if I’d been smart I’d have saved for leverage at a later date. Finally, after much ado, we fix the toilet (mostly), stuff  what is surely by now “that darned tree” into the stand and decorate it, and collapse into bed.


Fast forward twenty-some years and now I’m the Mommy (aka the Memory Maker) and I’ve got a plan.

Intended Memory: In my minds eye, we all go out to a farm and choose the perfect tree. It’s chilly, but I’ve got hot chocolate in a thermos in the truck. As Mr. Dad loads the tree in the truck, we listen to Christmas carols and sing together. We drive home then decorate, reflecting on the Reason for Christmas.

What Really Happened: We load into the truck and head to the local mega-hardware store. We choose a tree from the pile (and it is a looker, I must say), but the checkout line is long and its cold out there, so the kids and I head inside to find warmth. Big Sis finds a display of enchanting (and by enchanting I mean debilitatingly intrustive) singing snowglobes. She entertains herself by pressing the button on each snowglobe one at a time so they are singing in perfect disharmony and every time one goes off she has to restart it and between the six snowglobes she’s pretty much pusing buttons every 3 seconds and the “music” of each individual snowglobe is trying to wedge its way into my memory bank so that I’m singing six different carols at once and can’t get any of them out of my head. And then when it’s time to leave and make that special memory of getting a Christmas tree she’s screaming and hyperventilating because she really desperately needed at least one of those delightful snowglobes. She screams all the way home, even though I keep turning the volume of the Christmas songs higher and higher. And when we finally get home and stop crying (her, not me), I make the hot chocolate, but it gets cold because there’s a hungry baby, two time-outs and a potty emergency.


But I realize now that I’ve got biology on my side, because we did manage to get ourselves into our snuggly footie pajamas (I’ve got a pair, too) just in time for Mr. Dad to plug in the lights and sip some hot chocolate. And the moment he lit up those twinkly lights on that gorgeous tree, Big Sis’ eyes did the same and the Magic Memory Filter kicked into action.



I just spoke with my mother regarding the aforementioned Christmas tree debacle. She alerted me to the fact that I left out the most imporant part of the story. After she finally managed to saw off some of the bottom of the tree to make it fit, she realized too late that the tree possessed a double trunk. So once she cut it, our gorgeous, hand-picked Christmas tree split in two. I didn’t remember that part, but now all I can say is HAHAHAHAHHAHA! (Sorry, Mom.) So apparently we stuffed both halves of our once-glorious tree into the stand, propped it up against the wall and called it a day. Just further proof that The Filter exists.


**If you haven’t seen A Christmas Story, it’s about a young boy, Ralphie, who really wants a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. The classic line from the movie is when Ralphie finally gets the gumption to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas and Santa shoves him off his lap and says “You’ll shoot yer’ eye out, kid.”