2018 total (so far): $3184.98


A Note to Alexis

My Dearest Alexis,

I'm sorry; I saw no way out. Just know that I am every bit as embarrassed as you are, and I will do whatever I have to in order to ensure that no photos survive the day. You will be getting an extra present as a reward for being such a good sport.

Again, I'm sorry.

Love ya' kid,


We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

I hope this post finds you in the midst of a fantabulous Christmas or in the midst of recovering from a fantabulous Christmas!

Pam tagged me a while back to list 8 random Christmas things and I saved that sucker for just the right moment. And look! It's Christmas Eve! It doesn't get much better moment-ish than that, now does it? So here goes, 8 random Christmas things. Beware, some are happy Christmas things and others are more of the "dang that sucked" sort. I figure you can't truly enjoy the good ones if you don't remember the ones that provided opportunity for improvement. Or something like that.

1. Growing up, we always spent Christmas Eve at my Aunt Susan's house. Susan was like the glue that held the family together. When she passed away of brain Cancer, it was like my Mom's family fell apart into a million little puzzle pieces. To this day, when I think of Christmas, I think of Susan and how every family needs that wonderful drop of glue.

2. Gift exchanges at Susan's house involved us all sitting around the really gorgeous tree (it was real y'all, and I've never had a real tree myself so I loved that thing). My cousin would hand out the gifts one at a time, announcing who it was to, and who it was from, and then we would all watch the giftee open the package. You best be a good actor if you didn't like what you got because everybody was going to know. I am a kick butt actress, but I can't say the same for my little brother. He was totally busted the year he received a Christmas sweater because every square inch of his face said "YUCK!"

3. My most embarrassing Christmas memory was the year that my Mom brought the presents we had received from the Salvation Army (yup, we were poor enough to get gifts donated to our family) over to Susan's house. She hadn't changed the name tag so when my cousin read off the names, everybody heard exactly where that stupid doll came from. The doll's name was Veronica, she wore a purple dress, and I HATED her, probably because of how she was unveiled (well, that and the fact that I wasn't a doll sort of kid). I don't think Veronica survived to see New Year's, but I don't recall exactly what I did to her.

4. Christmas these days is spent with my husband's family. It could not possibly be any different than Christmas at Susan's. Peoples, that family likes to breed, and that's putting it lightly. There is a new baby in the family every.single.year. At least one. The year that Alexis was born, there were four. I don't know exactly how many people are there every year, but it most certainly exceeds 70. Loud? Yes. Chaotic? Yes. Perfect? Yes. I totally married into the right family.

5. All my Christmas lights, indoor and out, are either red, white, or a combination of both. Since I have the crazy Christmas kingdom going on, I think it helps to have a common thread going through all the trees to help keep it from getting too tacky looking. Alexis' tree is multi-color, but that's because she picked her own lights. She's allowed to have an opinion once in a while, even if it goes against my big picture plan.

6. The Christmas that I was 18 kajillion months pregnant with Alexis, the doctor banned me from travelling. She was convinced that I would go into labor sometime soon and she didn't want me to be six hours away when it happened. I argued endlessly with her because I was certain that the baby was never moving out. Considering we had to serve an eviction notice when I ended up past due about a month after Christmas, I consider myself wiser than the lady with the PhD. That Christmas with just Mr. Husband and I by ourselves at home was wonderful but WEIRD. It was way too quiet.

7. I can't wait until I have enough Alexis-made ornaments to warrant a tree dedicated purely to all her perfect little art projects. I'm going to help her make a handprint ornament this year just so we can get a bit of a head start on the project. I must remember the Toddler hands just as the were when they were used shake a finger at her cousin while telling him, "No, no, no, don't touch Dora."

8. Christmas as a parent is a million times better than Christmas as a kid. I have a video that proves it, but apparantly our camcorder hates Microsoft Vista, so I have to wait to share it until we are back home.

Merry Christmas to all of you!


A Little Tip for Y'all

For the most part, I am in charge of the gift buying around our house. Mr. Husband takes care of a few family members and we consult on some others, but I'm always responsible for all the hard people. You know, the people that we don't know very well but that are pretty important--relatives we almost never see and service providers. The toughest one for me has been Alexis' daycare teachers. They are very important people to us, but there are some whose name I don't even know because our conversations essentially revolve around Alexis (as well they should).

Last year I kind of sucked at figuring out what to do. I ended up giving the three teachers that she spent the most time with a candle each. It seemed sort of crappy since there were other people that worked with her, but I simply didn't have the foresight or budget to come up with something better. This year, however, I struck gold. My brain may be stressed by all things Toddler, but I had an idea that I still am happy with, and I had it in time to execute:

Oh yes, I planted paperwhites for each and every teacher at the center. I found the paperwhite bulbs at a garden center for 55 cents each, stuck them in ceramic containers from the dollar store, and filled them with aquarium gravel. The total cost per gift was under $3.00, which meant it was no problem to make one for every teacher. That saved me from having to pick out who works with her the most, which is pretty much like picking favorites. Plus I didn't have to feel guilty about not recognizing the teacher that worked with her when she was in the one-year old room earlier in the year and the ones that handle drop-off duty every morning.

Of course I did a little extra for our favorite teacher and the others that work in Alexis' assigned room. It seemed like the right thing to do for the people that spend nearly as much time with the Crazy One as we do.

Now I just have to figure out what to do next year. After seeing just how much food the teachers got this year, I think it's safe to say cookies and fruit baskets might not be the best of ideas.