Sunday, December 20, 2009

Crowding Out Santa and a Really Long Meme

I successfully turned 45 without a hitch! It was a great day!

I woke up to waffles and these. Yellow roses are my favorite and there were 24 of them! One for every year we've been married (it will be 24 years next month).And then? We all got ready to go visit Santa. All of us. Every single one. Even the teenagers. Because this is my birthday tradition. Everyone has to be nice to me on my birthday and this is how I get the teenagers on Santa's lap ever year. It is awesome. This year we overwhelmed Santa. You can barely see him.
Jasper was very nervous. And he should have been nervous. Because he is a toot with a capital "T" and if I were him I would have been very nervous. But Santa seemed perfectly happy to see him, promised him a bike, and even told him he loved him. Jasper chatted him up but good.

Camille choked again. She always chokes. Santa says, "How are you? What would you like for Christmas?" And then it is just like that scene from A Christmas Story. She says nothing. Just stands there with a ridiculous look on her face. She always resorts to Backup Plan A - which is to mutely hand him her letter.

Jules informed Santa he wanted a game for his Nintendo-thing. Then Santa asked the big kids what they wanted - and the big kids go along because they have a small audience of We're-in-the-Presence-of-Santa-Oh-My-God!!! little people. Santa called Ellie "Princess" and that seemed to piss her off. Nobody calls The Princess "princess". You know what I mean? Because she is The Princess and it has always kind of been a case of all of us just doing what she says so nobody gets hurt. And she takes offense to being called "princess".

There were no misunderstandings between Joel and Santa this year! Last year when Joel said he wanted "high quality pens" Santa replied, "What's that? You want some high quality pants?" and the little people were all stressed out worrying that Joel was going to get pants for Christmas.

Our coffee table in our living room is full of framed Santa pictures going back to the very beginning.....a very tiny and very unhappy baby on Santa's lap. Then a little girl standing in front of Santa (twisting her hair) while in the background, Santa holds a screaming baby boy....(Ellie had refused to get anywhere near Santa....he probably called her a princess or something). Then we have Jules added to the pics, and Camille, and then Jasper. I don't know why this tradition and these pictures make me so happy but they really do!

When we came home Jeff whipped up some of these (spinach enchiladas verdes)...

And served them on my favorite Christmas plates..... And followed it up with an orange / chocolate cake and lots and lots of off-key singing.

I suppose if a person has to turn 45, this is as good a way to do it as any, and better than most.

NOW - Here's for a VERY VERY VERY VERY LONG Christmas meme. I dare you to get to the end of it. I triple dog dare you to put it on your own blog. Also? I am tired and the spacing is erratic and I really don't want to fix it. So humor me. Just scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll. It is like scrolling while drunk or something. Which is not at all like trolling while drunk, which is something college boys do.

The Tree
1. When Do You Put Up the Tree?
The first weekend in December.

2. Real or Fake?
Fake. Jeff loves a faux fir for some bizarre reason. He claims he can't have a real tree because of allergies and then he sneezes his a$$ off while putting up the dusty fake one. Next year? A real tree!! (I say that every year. It feels like saying "Next year in Jerusalem!!")

3. Lights - What Color?
We like the lights. Multi-colored IN ADDITION to the white ones that came on the fake tree.

4. Garland?
No. Gold beads that are a pain in the neck but Ellie gets them all just perfect.

5. Theme or No Theme?
Themes are for wimps. Seriously. We have everything under the sun hanging on our tree, including the odd trash item now and then. Currently we have some packing foam that Jasper put on hooks adorning our tree. And a stick-figure reindeer drawn on lined notebook paper. Because there is no teacher here helping the little rascals make cute ornaments.

6. What Kind of Topper?
Angel. The very top of her head is missing (she took a fall a few years ago) but you can't tell when she's on the tree.

7. What's Your Favorite Ornament?
A red rocking chair my mom gave me when I was pregnant for the first time. I also have a little teapot I love that my friend, Gayle, gave me. And there are some neat-o stick pin ornaments that Ellie made once. Also - the packing foam is growing on me. It looks like a sleigh from a certain angle.

8. What does your tree skirt look like?
It has the Big Red Dude on it. In sequins!

9. Where Do You Put Your Tree?
The living room window and this is just the second year in 17 years that it doesn't look like the Department of Homeland Security put it up. We used to have a really huge wall/gate around it like it was the Mexican border or something. And Jasper still can't leave the dang thing alone. He just wants to touch it touch it touch it touch it......

10. Who Decorates the Tree?
The kids, of course! After they go to bed I often do a little work to redistribute things (or ellie does).

11. What's Under the Tree?
Gifts! And the older the kids get, the smaller the gifts get. No more gigantic plastic play sets, etc....more and more it is CD's, DVD's, video games....little things. Much neater, I must say.

12. Do You Put Candy Canes On Your Tree?
Those of you who know Jasper are laughing. Let's can I say this? Candy is to Jasper what Crack is to a Junkie. He cannot handle it. So any candy canes that made it onto the tree would be gone in under a second - he'd eat the plastic and all. We don't bother.

About the Food:
1. What's Your Favorite Christmas Cookie?
I like snickerdoodles and those peanut butter cookies with the chocolate kiss on top. Those are my faves!!

2. Do You Bake Cookies and Give Them Away?
Sometimes. I try to. If Karen can do it then anyone can (she has almost twice as many kids as me and puts me to shame).

3. Any Special Foods You Have Only at Christmas?
Fudge is a Christmas treat we make on Rudolph night.

4. What Do You Eat Christmas Eve?
Are you seriously asking me this? Have I not pledged my loyalty and faithfulness to Tejas enough on this blog? On Christmas Eve we enjoy TexMex tamales like other real Texans GOSH! Half of them are bean/cheese for the vegetarians. We also have guacamole, bean chili, chili con queso, and Spanish rice.

5. What Do You Eat Christmas Day?
Official Texas laws give us a little more leeway on this one. It varies. This year my dad is bringing a brisket that was given to him as a gift. Since our family is multi-cultural-ethnic-religious yada yada yada.....we'll have sides of latkas and noodle kugel and some delicious acorn squash.

6. Do You Like Eggnog?
I make my Daddy Jim's special tradition. It is delicious. But we tend to do this on New Year's Eve.

7. Do You Like Candy Canes?
Not a fan. There is no chocolate on a candy cane.

About The Decorations:
1. Where Do You Hang Your Stockings?
We have the most awesome stockings. Whenever I announced a pregnancy, my Aunt Flo set to work making a stocking. Each child has their own beautifully adorned stocking - the needlework is fantastic and we've sewn the children's baby rings above their names. Aunt Flo died on Jasper's 2nd birthday so he doesn't really remember her. It is lovely to hear him say, "Here is my stocking Great Aunt Flo made!!" They hang on the knobs of an antique buffet in our den.

2. Do You Put Lights on Your House?
Yes...just one string of colored lights.

3. Got Any Outside Lawn Decorations?
We gave up. It is too windy on this hill - nothing will stay put.

4. Do You Put Up a Nativity?
Didn't the ACLU outlaw those? God - I'm just teasing. Don't anyone get started or I'll be forced to tell you Happy Holidays as an insult. Because I am CERTAIN that is what people mean when they say Happy Holidays. Unlike the people who say, "Merry Christmas and I'm not afraid to say it!!" with uber angry and challenging expressions on their faces....

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. We used to have a lovely glass one and, as you can imagine, it looked quite ragged after awhile (missing hands on the wise men, etc). We had a clay one we bought in Puerto Vallarta when I was pregnant with Ellie only we couldn't put it up because it made me nauseous to look at it (I was nauseous when we bought it and what can I say? I'm sensitive that way.) We had a couple of others that were missing various important people.....This year we don't have one up. We're not AGAINST them, mind you.....I'm a Jesus fan for sure.

5. Do You Hang Mistletoe Over Your Door?
Jeff already can't keep his hands off of me. He couldn't handle any botanical incentives :). Seriously, we used to. But now with Schnitzel being mostly senile - I'm afraid she'd eat it. Plenty of it growing in the trees outside, though!

6. Got a Wreath on Your Front Door?

No, come to think of it! Where the heck is it? I know we have one...

7. How Long Does it Take You to Decorate?
We never stop. As long as there is packing foam to be found....

About the Movies/Shows:

1. Favorite Christmas TV Show?
My new favorite is The Polar Express. I love it love it love it. But we like to kick it old school with Rudolph and Frosty, too. And the Grinch!! I guess that is my all-time fave.

2. A Wonderful Life / Miracle on 34th Street / A Christmas Carol
It isn't Christmas for Ellie without Its a Wonderful Life. She had friends over last week and I served them cookies, kettle corn, and hot cocoa. For me? It is Scrooge all the way! For my 6th Birthday my family took me to see the scared the crap out of me and made me cry. Therefore it became my Favorite. Because I am weird that way.

3. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Christmas Vacation DUH. Also? A Christmas Story. And see above. Elf is funny, too.

4. Have you ever seen the Nutcracker Suite Ballet live?
Yes. And thank God my sister takes Camille every year because... I enjoyed it once. Pretty much right up until intermission. I have a short attention span....

5. Ever Been to the Radio City Music Hall Show?
That was a mean question. No.

6. Ever Gone to the Movies on Christmas Day?

No. We like to hang out stuffing ourselves and watching the kids play while nursing dull headaches.....the results of pulling an all-nighter and topping it off with a shot of Patron.

Other Christmas Things:

1. Favorite Christmas Books?
I love to read the original A Christmas Carol by Dickens. We're reading it now at tea time every day. We're on the Ghost of Christmas Future. I also love The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. And Olive, the Other Reindeer! And If You Take a Mouse to the Movies....Our coffee table is COVERED with Christmas books. We read some every day!

2. Do You Stuff Your Stockings With Any Types of Food?
Our kids are foodies and Santa puts weird stuff in their stockings. I hear that this year he's bringing them some tiny gouda rounds....and of course...candy. Putting candy in Jasper's stocking is how Santa punishes me. I don't hang one so he's got no place to leave my lump of coal, you see.

3. Do You Go to Church on Christmas or Christmas Eve?
I used to love Midnight Mass. I would still love it, I'm sure. But we're secularists (currently) - so no, we don't go.

4. Have You Ever Gone Caroling?
Of course!

5. Favorite Christmas Carol?
O Holy Night - always makes me cry.

6. Do You Believe in Santa?
With all my heart. But I'm totally fine if you don't. I won't make you believe in Santa or tell you Christmas is less your holiday than mine if you don't.

7. Do You Leave Santa Cookies?
You bet! And sometimes a shot of Patron. And the reindeer get carrots.

8. What About Rudolph?
An apple for Rudolph.

9. What Was Your Best Christmas Gift?
I've received so many throughout the years! But one that stands out as particularly special was a turquoise Barbie Carousel Kitchen!!

10. Worst Gift?
I honestly can't think of one. For Mother's Day I once received a carefully wrapped cow's tooth but that's another story for another holiday.

11. Do You Go To a "Work" Christmas Party?
Jeff offices out of our home. His company is located in Pennsylvania - quite a hop from here. So, no. But occasionally we get invited to customers' parties.

12. Do You Hate Going?

13. Do You Send Christmas Cards?
Usually, but not this year. I've decided not to be a slave to my traditions. This year I've done only what I've had time for and it has been a most enjoyable season so far.

14. Do You Make a List?
For what I want??? No. I don't even want anything. Jeff and I struggle to provide for 5 kids - watching them get what they want is a wonderful gift for us both. Our gift to each other is always a weekend away for our anniversary (right after Christmas). But of course I make lists for what I'd like to give to others....I wouldn't be able to keep up with it, otherwise!

15. Do You Check it Twice and Thrice?
Constantly. I can't ever remember what I've bought for who.
16. When do You Start Shopping?
When the money's there....I can't start too early because the little'uns change their minds so much!

17. Do You Shop on Black Friday?
Nothing sounds less enjoyable than Black Friday.

18. Are You Ready for Christmas?
How can you not be? Like the Grinch comes anyway! Personally, I don't ever want to feel like I have to "work" to get ready for a holiday. I have experienced that sensation a few times and it isn't pretty. This year - I'm letting go of some perfectionism, some traditions I thought we "had" to keep, and a few extracurricular activities that really just served to keep me from doing things I'd rather be doing. So - YES - this year I am ready. Every last gift isn't bought, much less wrapped. Things haven't yet been mailed that need to be mailed. I haven't done as much baking as I probably should have in order to show my appreciation for all of the wonderful people in our little family / learning community. But I'm sure that when Christmas morning rolls around, I will discover that "It came just the same!" So yes! I'm ready! I'm alive, I'm kicking, and I shall be merry even if it kills me.

Signing Off as Sardine Mama on an Uncharacteristically Silent Night


  1. Happy birthday!!! Sounds like a fantastic day. I have one of those crying on Santa's lap photos and I love it!
    I cracked up when I saw that your mall was the South Park Mall. Do they a guy in a Kenny costume hand out the candy canes?

  2. What a post!
    Best wishes for your now past birthday!
    Glad it was a good one.

  3. I somehow missed this post until now, but Happy belated birthday, belated Merry Christmas and an on-time Happy New Year. I enjoyed reading all your favorites and your family traditions. I LOVE all the kids with Santa. I always ran and hid from him, so I don't think there's one of me with him, but I think it's awesome that you have all the pictures lined up! :)