Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Long, long post to make up for missing two weeks

Yep. It's been weeks. Important weeks, at that. Days when i actually had stuff to say, rather than just, "So. It was a day." It's the Christmas season! We're doing fun things!

But it's the Christmas season! When the kids aren't surrounding me (and even sometimes when they are), i'm busy making presents until late into the night, and then all i want to do is fall into bed and sleep. So i'll try to do better! But....

So. To recap:
On November 19th, the final movie for the Hunger Games came out, and it was the Ladies Night movie, which meant that we had a huge group of people who all came with us to go have fun and watch Mockingjay. Beth, who is amazing, put together little gift bags for everyone, along with Keren, who totally made stuff for it too. Cookies and a bookmark and a necklace and a little painting, all wrapped up in a silver parachute. Fun!

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Thanksgiving was at my aunt and uncle's house this year, which was either very fortuitous or just very well-planned-out on my mom's part, because she was still very unable to host a ton of people at her house, what with still recovering from her knee surgery. There was delicious food, and i always like my family, extended and immediate, so it was a really good day. After dinner we had the traditional Thanksgiving craft, which is almost always some kind of  Christmas decoration. This year we made fancy snowflakes and cute paint-chip Christmas trees.

Thanksgiving evening, our family (Juanito, the kids, and i) played a game of Catchphrase. Sort of. Initially it was just the kids and me, and i set teams with Zane on my team, assuming that, as the youngest, he'd be the obvious weak link. And then i just ... didn't get out the board to keep score, and since it's been a while since we played that game, the kids didn't notice. So we just played with the timer, and when the timer ran out we'd pause, and then either just start going again or pass the turn and start with the next person, whatever the person holding the thingy felt like doing. It was completely not competitive, which meant that eventually Juanito wandered over and joined in.

The thing is...Zane was amazing. He was better than some adults i've played with. I mean, Houston and Katrina were good too, but Zane is just really good at it. It's a good thing we weren't keeping score, because it totally would have looked like i was stacking the deck in my favor, choosing him for my team.

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The day after Thanksgiving, we always go get a tree. Usually we go with my parents, but my mom isn't quite up to stomping through rough terrain to haul a tree out yet, so this year we were on our own.  We picked out a super-cute tree. The kids actually made the decision. They wanted this one because it was "all bright green and happy-looking!" And it is! It's also the pokiest tree in the history of trees. Everyone was hanging ornaments, going, "Ow. Ow. Ow." Poor Juanito, who's always in charge of putting the lights on, got his hands all poked up even through his work gloves.

While Juanito was struggling with the lights, the kids and i decorated the rest of the house. It's always so much fun to see the house all pretty and Christmasy, and i on-purpose don't even think about the fact that, in a month, it's not nearly as much fun to put away. Because, if nothing else, it's a fun way to clean and possibly put different nick-knacks out! Yay!

We have so many traditions in our family, and a lot of them were entirely accidental on my part, but they started when the kids were little, and the kids just want to do them every single year. And that's totally fine! Except that it's things like putting the star on the top of the tree or ringing in Christmas with a special bell ornament, and they want to take turns and be fair...except nobody ever remembers FOR SURE from year to year who did each thing last year. So last year, the kids were smart and wrote down the schedule for the next three years and put it into the box with the ornaments. They are brilliant.

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Katrina bought herself a knitting loom. I don't know what it's actually called, but it's a circle with little pegs, and you loop the yarn around the pegs, and it magically makes a knit hat. (Years and years ago, my grandpa got into knitting the same way and made everyone the best scarves in the world. I still have mine, and it's still used regularly by me or my kids, because it's insanely warm.) Katrina bought it on Saturday night, and then spent all day Sunday teaching herself to use it and then knitting and knitting, and by Sunday night, she had an adorable hat which she has not taken off since. That was four days ago.

Meanwhile, Houston decided that he wanted to learn how to crochet, so i sat down and taught him using a big hook and thick yarn, because that way things go faster. He worked at it for a while and got incredibly frustrated, so i switched him to regular yarn and a normal hook, and he immediately threw himself into it whole-heartedly and has been crocheting every spare moment since. He is nearly finished with his first scarf, and i'm pretty sure that three minutes after he finishes that one, he'll start on a new one.

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Emma has been in our family for about a year now - almost exactly - and she's just a really good dog. We still put her in her crate at night and if we're gone for longer than half an hour, but i leave her out when i drive the kids to school in the mornings. Usually i come home and she's curled up on the couch, completely happy.

Today i came home and she met me at the front door, which i initially thought was a nice change. Turns out, she had a party while i was gone. She somehow pulled my basket of yarn balls to the floor and then proceeded to play with them like a cat. Approximately 10 balls of yarn, all completely tangled together. Good yarn, too, that i didn't want to just throw away. So i spent the first two and a half hours of my morning untangling and re-winding balls of yarn. SIGH.

Guess who's going to be going in her crate when i bring the kids to school from now on....

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Possibly my favorite moment of today: Katrina, Houston, and i were in the car. Katrina was explaining what she wants for Christmas. 
Katrina: "I want glitter, because i really like to use it for projects." (She talked about the glitter for a while.)
Me: "Wait. Do you want glitter? Or glitter glue?"
Katrina: "Oh! Glitter glue. I really like pink glitter! It's so pretty!"
Me: "Pink glitter? Or pink glitter glue?"
Her: "Glitter glue. I mean glitter glue when i say glitter."
Me: "It's kind of an important distinction, though. They're totally different things, if you're asking for them for Christmas...."
Houston: "Yeah! Like, if i wanted a flower pot, but i just said, 'I want a pot,' then that's not the same thing at all!" 
Katrina: "And then on Christmas, people would be all like, 'Here's your pot!'"

I managed to not laugh until later, when i was recounting the conversation for Juanito.

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So it's Advent season, and we always have a several different Advent calendars going. This year we've got one that has jokes, one that has activities, and one that has the Christmas story, one verse at a time, for everyone to memorize. Also one that has candy.

Yesterday's activity was to start doing Secret Santa. We went to the dollar store and each got the same number of presents, and then came home and wrapped them with printed-up name tags so that the giver could be properly secret. It's day 2, and i'm pretty sure i already know who everyone has. Because i'm obnoxious.

Today's activity was looking up funny Christmas videos on Youtube. Easy, fast, and able get finished between Katrina's Heart and Soul practice and Juanito and Houston's needing to leave for Zumba. 

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