Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stationery card

We Are Blessed Religious Christmas Card
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Letter to Santa

It is so cute, I want to keep it. Here is Wesley's letter to Santa. I had to write one for Henry so that Santa would know what he wants too. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Why I don't take my kids to see Santa Claus

Every year thousands of parents drag their kids off to the mall or Outdoor World or the local winter festival to see Santa. This is a big deal for parents and kids-parents get the obligatory picture of their kid sitting on Santa's lap and the kids get to give Santa a list of everything they want for Christmas.

The first year I had Wesley he was about 10 months old when Christmas time rolled around. The "Santa" we took him to see was actually DH dressed up for the FRG Christmas party. We only have two copies of pictures of Wesley and I sitting on Santa's lap. A few months later we took him to see the Easter Bunny at the mall and I had to coax and bribe him and finally sit the with the bunny myself to get a shot of him. Then the following Christmas season rolled around.

I took him to an FRG holiday event and they had a great Santa and Mrs. Claus there. I took him over, and I could tell he was unsure. I knew there was no way I was going to get him up there long enough for a photo op, he did ease his way up there to get close enough to grab the lolly pops they were handing out and then he ran away with it. So much for year #2.

I did not even attempt to see Santa with him the third Christmas because he flat out told me he was not going to see Santa.

Year four however (another deployment year) he was SUPER excited to see Santa. This was it! The year I was finally going to get a "real" photo with him and Santa. I took him to (yes, yet again!) the FRG holiday party. We had pizza and Little Debbie Christmas Tree snack cakes. We watched the tree lighting then got in line and waited-I am not kidding you-almost an hour to get into the Hunter Club to see Santa. I am pregnant and tired and don't want to be on my feet anymore. But Wesley is SO excited. He just kept telling me what he was going to tell Santa he wanted, what he was going to do when he got up there, practically pushing ahead of every kid in line ahead of us. Finally, there is only one little girl ahead of us. He tried to push past her to sit on Santa's lap. I have to hold him back. The little girl goes and then FINALLY! it is our turn. I give him a nudge to go up and-he freezes. Won't move an inch. Everyone tried to get him to go up. They offer him candy canes, to hold the jingle bells, they even try to get me to sit on Santa's lap to get him up there. I ask him "Don't you want to tell Santa what you want? How will he know what to bring you?" But no, nothing is going to get my son to budge. Nothing. Not even the candy cane I can see he really wants. Finally, I give in. What is the point, I don't want to terrorize my kid and there is no point is wasting everyone's time any further. so I say ok, let's go. At which point Wesley runs out, grabbing the candy cane on his way. As soon as we get out the door he turns to me, eyes filled with fear and asks "But how will Santa know what to bring me for Christmas?" OMGosh. I reassure him that we can write to Santa and he will know what to bring. And I swear that NEVER EVER EVER take my kids to see Santa again.

That is why I won't be taking my kids to see Santa this year, or any other year for that matter. I know I will get the people asking if I have taken the boys to see Santa this year and I know I will get the "You are an abusive mother" look when I tell them that no, we will not be going. It's ok though. My excuse this year will be that Wesley needs to practice his writing skills so that is why he will be writing a letter instead of going to see the man himself. Besides, I feel like seeing Santa working at 5 billion places during the holiday season kinda ruins the illusion of Santa anyway. (hey, whatever justifies it for me right?). So don't expect any photos my kids sitting on the man in the red suit's lap.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ghosts of Thanksgiving past

I know you are all anxiously awaiting photos of the new home but you will had to wait as it is Thanksgiving and I have to the obligatory "I am thankful for...." post. Except I am not going to do that post (come, on, we all know what I am thankful for-my husband, my sons, my family, my home, my laundry chute, Black Friday sales...).

I am going to tell you about Thanksgiving in our home. Since we don't live close to our families we don't get to spend every holiday with them. This has caused us to come up with our own traditions for Thanksgiving (and all the other holidays). When we realized we were going to have our first Thanksgiving alone in Savannah we were SO excited. No traveling to 8 different homes to make everyone happy. No having to pretend we liked eating green bean casserole. Heck, as far as we are concerned we will never expose our children to the horror that is green bean casserole. Or dried out turkey. Because unlike other people in our family we choose to brine it and cook it for only 2-3 hours instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to let it dry out in the oven all day. We could have sweet potatoes, but not with mini marshmallows melted on top giving it a nice chemically topping.  In short, we were finally adults and could do whatever we wanted for Thanksgiving dinner and IT WAS GREAT.

Of course we had to get used to each other's traditions, such as mine for watching the Macy's Parade in the morning (I have got to see Santa roll in on his sleigh or my holiday season just does not start) and C's for watching football all evening long. But eventually we learned to compromise (after a couple years of us switching back and forth between the two as we walked through the living room).

We usually have friends and/or family over if we can. There was the year that my brothers came to visit me (during our first deployment) and we had a great dinner together with a friend of mine whose family was not used to the American tradition of "thanksgiving dinner". That was the year I dropped a pot lid on my foot and broke my toe, but also the year that I got to enjoy downtown Savannah decorated for Christmas which we documented via the disposable camera that we bought because I left my camera at home. Good times! Another year we had single soldiers with no where to go over for a home cooked meal. Two years ago we had my mom and stepdad and some friends of our over (one whom was a vegetarian and we forgot about that little fact until most of the food was cooked and we could no longer substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock. Luckily she drank enough to not question if her sickness was from the vino or the food!).  Yeah, we are awesome hosts.

If C is home and has the chance he always signs up to serve food to the soldiers and their families at the DFAC. Why I have not learned my lesson and just had dinner there with him instead of cooking, I do not know. Maybe at our next post.

We have had a couple Thanksgivings over friend's houses, one year (Wesley's first Thanksgiving) because we were getting ready to move into our house we had just built and there was no way we were going to be able to cook dinner and this past year (Henry's first Thanksgiving) because well, kinda the same thing although we didn't end up moving and C had just come home from a deployment and heck, when good friends invite you over take a gift basket and go (or maybe I am just lazy on years I have a kid...hmmm...must have more kids to research this...)! I love the military friends and family we have made over the years and the good times we have had with them (I guess you could say I am thankful for them). I picked up a fantastic recipe for Ulgy Dip at my friend Ali's house on Wesley's first Thanksgiving and I have great memories of playing games at Sabrina and Dustin's house on Henry's first Thanksgiving.

Next year we will probably be in Maryland to see my sister-in law, her husband and our two nephews that we have never met. I can't wait for the cousins to play together for the first time, I hope we all make it there.

It's the end of our 8th married Thanksgiving. Dinner was fabulous, we are all sleepy and the dishes are still in the sink (which wouldn't be an issue but my mother in law is coming tomorrow and well, the house needs to be cleaned up before she arrives). Maybe for Christmas this year I will finally get that house elf I have been asking for. You can tell Santa if you see him that I have been REALLY REALLY good this year. ;)

Friday, November 4, 2011

My diapers cost what?!

So, here we are, T-2 days until the movers come. With two kids and a husband home there seems almost no point to cleaning up/making sure everything is in its place until the movers get here. We have started to pack up some stuff (like my Pottery Barn mercury glass-I insist on keeping the boxes and repackaging them when we move, I just feel better about it) and I have been taking down shower curtains and washing all the rugs and adding more and more items to our list of stuff that is coming with us. We went to Lowes today to get new blinds because Henry has destroyed 3 of them here and they will charge up $20 each to replace them. Ridiculous I know, when they cost about $5 each. Talk about mark up! I don't even want to think what they are going to end up charging us for the paint on the walls because it is flat paint and there is chalk, banana, and scratch marks from the end of a paintbrush Henry used on the walls. Also, I am attempting to get cat pee out of one spot in the carpet where they seem to keep going. I will let you know if it works, so far it seems to be working.

The other think I did today was buy disposable diapers. This might not seem like a big deal to anyone else but if you know me, you know we do cloth around here pretty much 24/7. I hate the thought of spending money on something I am throwing away (and yes I feel that way about other disposable items too, I have tried to cut down or stop using as much as possible or find a reusable substitute). Plus, with the reports you see on how bad the chemicals in them are and you add to that the fact that most of them don't biodegrade for 500 years well, you can see why we chose to go with cloth and why it would be a big deal for me to buy a pac of dispoable diapers. However, my husband has talked me into buying a box of them for the move so that I don't have to worry about finding a place/time to wash my diapers while we are moving and it can be one less thing to worry about while we are packing, driving, being nomads for a few days then unpacking in a new house. I understand the logic so I went ahead and bough a box of Pampers because I had two coupons for them from Sunday's inserts. It was still a big chunk of change for those diapers ($26 for 102 diapers-that is 25 cents a diaper-I am currently MAKING 25 cents off each diaper I use now, yes I am making money off my diapers, they have long since paid for their initial investment) and I was slightly sick to my stomach thinking I had just spend almost $30 on diapers that I was going to throw away. That I should have just sucked it up and found a way to deal with the laundry (and who knows? Maybe I will still do that and end up returning the diapers in the end anyway). I don't know how people pay for diapers all the time, I really don't. I can understand why some moms would leave their child in a diaper for longer than necessary to "get their money's worth" out of them. There are quite a few people in America who have to choose diapers over food, and if food wins out they wash out the diapers and reuse them. And I won't be one of those people who will say "oh they should use cloth, it would save them money!" because I realize that those people also don't always have a way to wash those diapers (if you can't afford food, water, electricity and soap could be hard to come by too). I wish there was a better solution. I wish diaper companies would make a better product, a safer product for the environment and that they could be affordable for everyone. I know that is asking a lot, especially from companies whose bottom line is to make more money for themselves. They know diapers are a need and they take advantage of that. It is very sad to me. I am just thankful that we have the ability to use cloth and save that money, and not put so much more waste in the landfills. Maybe by the time my kids have kids there will be a better solution out there. I hope so.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oh my gosh we are moving....

I realize this should not come as a shock to me today. We have known since August where we would be going, we have found a home up there and put down a deposit, the movers have come and done the pre-moving assessment, we have our lists of stuff to do, what to pack, our timeline for moving up there.....

But. We have been so busy. End of summer. My brother's wedding. Wesley starting Kindergarten. Christopher finishing school. Going up to Maryland to visit with family "one last time" (ha). Shopping for winter gear that we don't own because we spent the last 5 years in the south. Getting ready for Halloween and doing all the fall stuff that goes with it (pumpkin patch, hay rides, carving those pumpkins into Death Stars, making caramel apples, sewing and wearing Halloween get the picture.

I knew November was coming, I even switched the calendar over last night. But still I was shocked this morning to realize that today is November 1st, the movers come in less (!) that a week and in two weeks time we will be in Niagara Falls checking out our new home. We are now in that phase of moving where you are not worrying about when and how everything will get done but you are just DOING it. Because it needs to be done and you no longer have time to think about it.

I don't know how much blogging I will get done over the next 2 weeks, but I did get the blogger app for my ihusband so you never know, you might get updates on our escapades while we are on the road (lucky you!).

I still can't believe we are on our way to the Great White North, that soon we will be enjoying snow (please don't let it snow while we are trying to move in-PLEASE!), and setting up house in our new home up there (so excited about that!). I will be sad to leave Virginia in a way, while I hate our apartment where we live now-I am not the kind of person who enjoys apartment living, I can see that now-I will miss Wesley's school and I will hate taking him away from his friends here. I will miss being only 3 hours from my family and all the stuff there is to do around here. But I am looking forward to our next great adventure.