Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Naughty or Nice?

Scott had a conversation with the kids this evening about Santa's upcoming visit. It went something like this:

SCOTT: You know, Santa's supposed to come in a couple of days to bring presents for you guys. Have you been good this year, or naughty? Do you think he'll bring you lots of stuff?

DYLAN: I have been good! Santa will bring me some presents!

SCOTT: What about you, Sadie? Have you been good?

SADIE: No, I naughty. Hee hee.

Well, that about sums up life around here. Merry Christmas, and happy two-year oldness to us!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Great Santa Visit of '08

If you are wondering how it went, I guess it all depends on your perspective. In theory, both kids were beyond thrilled with the concept of sitting on Santa's lap and talking to him. In actual practice, not so much. But we got a picture of both Sadie and Dylan with Santa, which is all that I wanted, even though only one of them was happy about it.

Here is Sadie, excitedly waiting for her turn to get a peek of Santa around the corner.

She was over the moon when she finally caught a glimpse! I see Santa! I see Santa! I seeee hiiiiiim! Scott lifted her up to get a better view over the heads of the other waiting families. She nearly jumped out of his arms screaming with joy Hi Santa, Hiiiiiiii Saaaaaantaa! Hiiiiiiii!! and waving frantically. We were enthusiastically hopeful that the actual sitting on the lap would go well, to say the least.

When it was finally our turn, Scott took these pictures of Dylan sitting with Santa and having a great conversation about what he might bring him for Christmas, while I was trying to pry a petrified and screaming (no longer with joy) Sadie from my body to place her on his lap.

So come on and get it over with, already Sadie!

Final verdict: Dylan thinks Santa is AWESOME! Sadie pretends to, unless she is actually presented with the reality of coming into contact with him. I'll take it for this year... we got at least one kid over the trauma. There's always next year.

Hope Santa brings you everything you could hope for this Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Just for the Smell of It

Don't call me a scrooge, but this year we have *gasp* an artificial tree! And I have never been happier about anything in my whole life! First of all, as of writing this post, it has already been up for an entire week! In the past, when we've had a "real" tree we haven't gotten it until about a week out, because I am always so disappointed at how dried out and decrepit it looks by Christmas morning. I end up being ready to toss it into the alley by late in the afternoon on Christmas day. But not this year! No siree! Our tree will look as good the week after Christmas as it does today, hokey ornaments aside.

I have never been anti-artificial tree. I just had to convince my husband that some traditions aren't worth it. I actually really love the idea of getting a live tree. I love the ritual of getting it... the crisp evening air, bundling up and piling in the car to head to the nearest tree lot, the overwhelming scent of having stepped deep into a pine forest as soon as the car doors open, the tinny sounding speakers spewing Christmas tunes to drown out the noise of the chainsaws in the background as workers ready the chosen trees to go to their prospective homes, wandering through the forested lot to find the perfect tree and staking a claim on it.

But just about as soon as that tree is tied to the top of my car to tote home is about where my love affair with the live tree tradition has always ended. Because as lovely as the whole evening has been, dealing with a live tree just becomes more of a mess than it is worth, at least for me, anyway.

So last year I happened to be out shopping a few days after Christmas and noticed the substantial clearance discounts on trees. We had just dumped our (way past ever having even closely resembled a live) tree in the alley a couple of days earlier and were still vacuuming needles and scrubbing sap off of every imaginable surface of our home. Fate then intervened in the form of perfect timing when I asked Scott if he might consider the possibility of purchasing an artificial tree for next year. He agreed that being able to get a very realistic looking "fake" tree (Why they're called "fake" I don't know... they're still Christmas trees, right?) at about a gazillion percent discount was a way better option than ever going through that mess again. Believe me, if I had waited to propose the idea of a "fake" tree at the beginning of the season this year, he would have long forgotten the horror and put his foot down.

Now, I am not a total scrooge, and as beautiful as my fake and hassle free tree is (did I mention pre-lit? It's pre-lit... no stringing lights!!!!! I just plugged the tree in. Just. Plugged. It. In.), I can understand his melancholy for the going and getting of the live tree. So next week we'll bundle up to head out to a parking lot filled with a pine forest, listen to some tinny music while wandering among the trees to inhale the Christmasyness of it all, and then collect a few discarded branches to bring home and weave a wreath out of. Just for the smell of it. Because even as happy as I am, I have to admit, I do miss the scent.

You've gotta love this tree topper. I know you can't see very well because the shot is a little blurry, but it's the Abominable Snowman from Rudolph, holding a star and reaching to place it on top of the tree.

My absolute favorite vision of Christmastime from childhood is looking at the lit up tree all squinty-eyed until I could just see a blur of tiny lights. My camera sans flash recreates it just as it looks in my memory.

My current favorite vision of Christmas time!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Evolution of Christmas

The Williams Family - Perpetuating the myth magic since 2005

Since we have been prepping the kids for a visit to the guy in red, I am feeling a little nostalgic over past years' Santa pics, so I thought I would share them with you here.

Christmas 2005 - This was Dylan's first Christmas. We had previously ridden the Polar Express all the way to the North Pole and met Santa in person, so he was all geared up to sit on his lap when we went to get pictures with him. All the parents with crying children who had refused to sit on his lap were jealous when Dylan reached for him and smiled, while willingly posing for a picture. Alas, this ease in visiting with Santa only lasted one year.

Christmas 2006 - Any pleasant memory or amount of enthusiasm previously shown towards the idea of visiting Santa and being left ALONE ON HIS LAP vanished the second it was time to do so. Although it appears as though Dylan was reaching up to sweetly stroke Santa's beard, he was actually pushing against his chest to get away from him. Even though the photographer had yet to get a picture that we liked, Santa just couldn't take it any more. So we were left to chose between shots of our child screaming in apparent agony, or of Santa with his eyes closed. Not crying child won, since it's really all just about him anyway.

Christmas 2007 - Sadie's first Santa experience. As pleasantly surprised as we were at how easy Dylan's first pictures had been, we had no such delusions that Sadie would be in any way, shape, or form willing to be anywhere near Santa, even with her big brother right there. Our plan was to get Dylan settled and happy, then swoop in with Sadie and snap a photo before she knew what had hit her. Obviously, no such luck since we naively assumed that since Dylan was the big kid now, he would have been completely over any previous Santa trepidation. So we settled for least amount of crying from Sadie. And Dylan just looking like he's trying really hard to smile instead of cry.

So we'll see what this year's Santa visit/photo session brings. So far the kids both seem very excited and are discussing daily what they will ask him for for Christmas when they get the chance to see him. A mom can at least HOPE that her children appear overjoyed, and not tortured, to see Santa!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Vigilant Parenting 101

Disclaimer: No children were harmed in the blogging of these incidents. We do not take water safety lightly in this household. We have a security fence around our pool and the kids are NEVER allowed on the pool side without one of us right there with them. They are NEVER unsupervised under any circumstance in which they might have access to the pool. This post is meant to be a lighthearted commentary on one of those every-day occurrences that happen as we fumble our way through parenting. If you think you might be offended by my making light of what could have been a very serious situation, and are tempted to leave a comment about our parental inadequacies, please do not read any further. Otherwise, stick around. Hey, if this could happen to us, with all of the points that we have toward "Parents of the Year," then maybe you're not doing so bad yourself!

This photo is the aftermath of Dylan falling in the pool a couple of weeks ago. Yep, he did. Now before you go thinking that we are really bad parents for letting our kid get close enough to the pool to 1) fall in in the first place and 2) when that water had to be sub 60 degrees, let me relate how the event unfolded. First, I would like to say that I was in the kitchen making dinner when this happened. While I would never say that it happened on Scott's watch so he is totally to blame, he was outside with the kids at the time and, well, it happened on his watch. Just sayin'.

Dylan had thrown the ball over the pool fence and he went with Scott to retrieve it. Scott was with him the whole time, I SWEAR! Not that I actually saw it happen, because I wasn't on kid duty so I can just tell you what was told to me. I know it wouldn't be admissible in court. Anyway, at some point during the ball retrieval mission on the forbidden side of the pool fence, Scott's back was toward Dylan because Sadie was having an absolute conniption fit on the other side of the fence about the fact that she was left alone over there. So Scott was in the process of trying to comfort her, or encourage Dylan to hurry up so that everyone could be on the same side of the fence again and the tantrum would be alleviated, or something that apparently required his back to be toward Dylan. And then he heard the SPLASH. Of course, he was there in an instant and pulled Dylan out in a matter of seconds and everything was okay. (Until I saw them through the kitchen window standing by the edge of the pool, Dylan dripping wet, and figured out what was happening. Sadie was then not the only one throwing a fit and we may have had to call 911 at some point but not about the near-drowning.)

To Dylan's credit (according to sources, anyway) by the time Scott made it to the pool's edge to pull him out, he had turned around to face the side, his head was above water, and his fingers were centimeters from grasping the edge and pulling himself out. And he didn't even cry! If we had been testing his water-coping skills, he would have passed. I told you we aren't doing so bad after all!

To give Scott some credit, I think the incident that did happen on my watch a couple of days later may have been just a little bit worse, were it not so side-splittingly funny. It was bath time, I had the water running in the tub while I was getting Sadie undressed in her room down the hall from the bathroom. (I know, bad Mom, not supervising in the immediate vicinity while the tub is filling up. I kind of had it coming.) I heard Dylan yell "I haaaaave to peeeeeeee!" From the sound of his voice, I could tell that he was running toward the bathroom. Then I heard the splash. And the instantaneous sobbing. As I rounded the corner from Sadie's room, I saw that no, he didn't fall into the slowly filling bathtub. Instead, I saw him standing in front of the toilet, his head and shoulders dripping wet, as he cried, "Mommy, I fell in the potty!"

Yeah, I think we're a little beyond child proofing around here. It's time for some idiot proofing.