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Archive for December, 2010

One of the things that really sucks about the timing of whatever {most likely deadly} disease I’ve contracted is that Bill took this whole week off and we had a ton of fun things planned to do with the kids. Among them a hotel stay at a waterpark, Nickelodeon Universe, an indoor jungle gym and a big group playdate with Keaton’s preschool. I might have sucked it up and tried to do some of these anyway but unfortunately Keaton’s in his own epic battle with lots of green snot and unlike most jerks out there we choose NOT to spread our wealth of germs even if it means giving up the salvation of a few hours out of the house.

I did leave the house for the first time since Christmas last night as it was Bill’s brother Brian’s 30th birthday and I felt I needed to celebrate how OLD he is now with a beer at a Mexican restaurant, and I’m so glad I did. Not because I selflessly wanted to support and celebrate the passing of another year for Brian but because that cold beer felt so freakin good on the nuclear war field formerly known as my throat. You see? It’s all about me.

Anyway I don’t know if it was that beer or guilt over our abandoned vacation plans but after we put the kids to bed and we could still hear them giggling I suggested to Bill that we let them come out and have a slumber party by the Christmas tree. Bill, who is infinitely wiser than his wife when it comes to the trust levels placed in our children, thought maybe I should just be quiet. Obviously there’s no point in building suspense here, we all know I’M not going to be quiet and a few minutes later we were hauling down blankets for our squealing children who, unsurprisingly, thought a slumber party was a great idea. And so it began…

8:21 Explain rules of sleepover. Tuck them and all 847 toys and stuffed objects apparently required to slumber by a tree. Kisses goodnight as Bill and I head into our bedroom to start The Walking Dead.

8:23 Lots of giggling. Remind them it’s still nighttime and that they can look at the lights but they must be quiet.

8:25 Shit. This show is sort of scary. I don’t really like zombies. I mean on a scale of 1-10 0f Unholy Supernatural Creatures, standing alone I’d only place them at like a 4, but if we’re talking zombie apocalypse and there are zombie children? FREAKY.  Rowan bursts in. Thankfully she is not a zombie. “Keaton’s bothering me, I’m just trying to look at the lights and he’s BUGGING ME.” I want to say that unless he is a zombie and bugging you SHUT IT but I think Bill might yell at me for this so I just walk her out, remind them of the sleepover rules and snap a few pictures of them all snuggled in. NOW GO TO BED.

8:27 NO YOU CAN’T HAVE MORE WATER.

8:28 NO BUZZ LIGHTYEAR CAN’T SLEEP WITH YOU.

8:30 Bill calls out, “Do I hear you?!” We don’t get an answer but the stifled giggles lead us to believe that in fact yes, we can hear them.

8:46 Back at the zombie apocalypse Bill is freaking out because zombies score way higher on the Unholy Supernatural Creatures scale for him and confesses, “I don’t know if I can watch this show”. WUSS E. PANTS. Although the pitter-patter of little feet outside our door does eerily compliment the shuffling zombie sound effects on the show.

8:47 Blatant disregard for rules and regulations as giggling and footsteps get louder. And blatant disregard for internal organs as zombies devour them with little to no tact.

8:54 Hear loud crash. Find Keaton in the bathroom with large scratch on his cheek. Keaton says Rowan bit him. I’m beginning to wonder if the zombie apocalypse is closer than we think.

8:55 Bill puts on angry dad face. Scares pants off kids. Says the words “last chance” like 72 times in 3 minutes.

9:01 Giggling starts again. Wow. Clearly we need to instill more fear into our children. Maybe we should invite them in to watch the show with us?

9:35 Last sip of water. Some yelling. Last hugs and kisses. Turn all the lights but the tree off.

10:05 Asleep! Victory!

11:52 Done watching first 3 episodes. Attempt sleep.

12:07 IS THAT A ZOMBIE IN THE CORNER? I’M PRETTY SURE THAT’S A ZOMBIE IN THE CORNER.*

*Repeat 12:07 every 4 minutes for next 2 hours. Also, live in fear that one of your children will come in the room to ask for a drink and you will mistake them for a zombie and kick them in the teeth. Then you will have to explain to the ER what happened and they will call social services on you and you will try to tell them that DUDE, I THOUGHT SHE WAS A ZOMBIE, IT WAS AN HONEST MISTAKE but my guess is they’re going to be largely unsympathetic to this line of defense and crap I’m going to lose custody of my kids over this shit aren’t I?

Epilogue~

I eventually fell asleep and was thankfully not devoured by zombies or arrested for battery. The kids slept soundly to 7:51am when Rowan burst in announcing that Keaton had hit her. Despite the bloodshed, both kids claimed to have a blast. It was neat to see them all snuggled up and despite our threats I loved that they were whispering and giggling together. I would however, probably recommend an adult viewing choice with 94% less exposed intestines and 62% less zombies. Just a suggestion though.

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OK, in some sick joke (pun completely intended) smited down from the asshole Christmas gods, I got terribly, horribly ill the evening after Christmas. I’m pretty sure it’s some sort of flu- be it the bird, pig, or motherfucking Pegasus variety- all that matters is that every morning I feel like I’m crawling out of my grave, the only thing convincing me I’m not actually dead is all the PAIN. In my throat, head, stomach, kidneys and left pinkie toenail. IT ALL HURTS.

That said, we were lucky our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were relatively healthy and full of all the family and love and carols and food and gifts that make this one of my favorite times of year. Bill and I exchanged gifts the evening of the 23rd because I’m one of those jerks who guesses her presents and I happen to have a husband who can’t lie for shit. So! I got my new camera lens a day early. I should probably feel bad for being such and asshole but all I really feel like is HAHA I WIN!

OK I spaced out at the wall like 7 times trying to write those above beautifully prose-filled paragraphs where I’m pretty sure my use of the word asshole far over-reaches it’s intended purpose. How bout I just show you some pictures and we talk later when my vocabulary is back to it’s usual caliber. You know! Of a wider range of swear words.

This December is the snowiest on record and that IS saying something since this is Minnesota. Christmas Eve was no exception~ we woke up to a fresh covering, making for a very scenic and really OVERLY white Christmas.

Keaton in Grandpa Rick's Santa hat. Like last year, this year he was much more enthusiastic about the opening of the gifts rather than the content. Unless there were cars inside in which case he would be distracted from the opening process for maybe .08 seconds vs .02.

My boys. How handsome are they? {This isn't a trick question. The only right answer is VERY.}

Christmas at Bill's parents is a nice, comparatively quiet compliment to the craziness that lives on my side on Christmas. These two are the only kids and boy are they spoiled rotten with love and gifts alike.

You should see the way this girls eyes light up when she sees the logo on these boxes.

Keaton got beer for Christmas. He got totally wasted and made an ass out of himself during brunch.

Or maybe it was just a soccer ball and shin guards. I'm not holding out for a super star though, as every time he takes it out he asks me "Hey you wanna shoot some golf ball wiff me?"

Bill got a dinosaur from his brother. Don't ask. Just know that it will probably go on to battle the Wayans brother doll Brian got for him last year. PSA: This is what happens when drunk people go Christmas shopping.

After presents and a delicious brunch we snuggled in, watched the snow fall and played Angry Birds on our phones which has TAKEN OVER our household in a terrible addiction the last week. The worst part is that Rowan is better than me. Stupid frickin angry birds.

After church and a stop-in visit with Bill's extended family we came home, opened our Christmas jammies and put out cookies and milk for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer, of course.

Christmas morning was really nice. Santa brought Keaton a sled, Buzz, Woody and The Evil Dr. Pork Chop while Rowan got Rebecca's bedroom set, Rapunzel and Flynn and more squinkies than you could shake a stick at. Then we headed to Grammy's house!

Here's the crew before the grand present opening ensued. Maddy(15), Jorie(12), Ellie(8), Rowan(5), Keaton(3), Daniel(1.5) and Mia(9mo). Not pictured: Xavier(17) and Arianna(15) who we've missed for 5 Chrismas's now and Giacomo's sons Nick(16) and Joey(5) who joined us later that night.

This is pretty much the only photo I have of Christmas at my moms because it was the only time in the 11 hours we spent there that anyone stood remotely still enough for meaningful photos. For a better idea of how Christmas is at the Felland house, I’ll leave you with this rendition of Jingle Bells.

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Remember me? The one who’s supposed to publish word-type thingys on this blog? Things got a little off track during Puke Watch ’10 but I’m pleased to report Rowan was the only one to get it. In our family that is. After a horrific Sunday night (and !TANGEANT! it seemed only to be horrific for Bill and I as Rowan seemed completely non-plussed by throwing up. She’d sit calmly, until just before it was on its way out and then unceremoniously bend her head to the toilet, letting her body do the work. Then she would wipe her mouth, sit back down and make pleasant conversation asking us about the weather or how the goddamn Vikings were doing or some shit, I can’t remember, it was 1am. I remember SOBBING between heaves when I was her age, so completely distraught with what was happening to me. This is another one for the Where The Hell Did This Kid Come From list.}

Where was I? Oh yes, after Sunday night Rowan woke up on Monday happy as a clam and feeling just fine. Obviously I wasn’t going to be sending her to school, as the rule is that your kid needs to be puke-free for 24 hours so we called in and told the school why she wouldn’t be there. A few minutes before school started the teacher sent out a mass e-mail saying that 6 kids were out with the stomach flu so to really be cautious about hand washing and such. 20 minutes later she said “make that 10 kids and yes they are ALL VOMITING”. In class. GROSS and holy shit we need to pay teachers more. At the very least there should be a Dealing with Puke bonus in their contracts. By the end of the day two more kids had joined the ranks and I gathered that two had been out the Friday before making the grand total 14 out of 24 kids felled by this shit. I made the executive decision to not send her back to school at all this week. We were paranoid enough after Sunday’s incident and we didn’t want anymore opportunities for the germs to make their way to us.

Rowan was pretty disappointed because she had to miss an outside-play day, the school sing along, the artist in residence and her class party. I was pretty disappointed because I had a ton of errands to run that couldn’t be done with 2 kids in tow. We worked it out though and it was actually pretty great having her home with me during the day again. We kept things very low-key as we were all waiting for Keaton or I to catch the stomach bug. It’s pretty tricky trying to base your meal plan on whether or not you want to throw that food up later. We had just gone grocery shopping but I didn’t want to ruin any of our regular meals because once I throw something up I can’t eat it for at least 6 months. We ended up eating a lot of McDonald’s because as most of you know, in or out it doesn’t change much.

OK. I’m going to be done talking about puke for now. Promise.

Before THAT nastiness ensued we had made good on many of our advent activities. On the 14th our activity was “Dress up fancy for dinner”. After some initial trouble working out our creative differences over the definition of “fancy” which Rowan took to mean dressing up in a rainbow cape and Keaton’s pirate costume, we all settled in for a fancy grill cheese sandwich meal. What? It’s fancy if you put colored toothpicks in them!

There were ties, and candles and most importantly? Pink milk in fancy glasses.

There was also LOTS of cheersing.

After dinner we slow danced to Christmas music where Rowan and Keaton practiced "fancy dips". Needless to say they ended up toppling over one another and collapsing into fits of giggles.

This is definitely an activity we’ll do again, probably before next advent. The kids loved playing the part of fancy people {for which we are usually decidedly NOT} by holding their pinkies up when taking small dignified bites and talking with British accents {because DUH all fancy people are British} and we ended the night with an after-party of playing Hullabaloo, which they thought was pretty awesome.

Next up?

Ice skating!

Bill and I don’t have skates but we bought a cheap pair for Rowan and borrowed a pair for Keaton and went out with the Mallinger’s. The warming house at the nearby park was officially closed but since the DCFI is a bonafide public officer of No. St. Paul, he has a magic key to the city so we got in. Or maybe he just checked the key out from work. Either way we had a warming house, not that we spent much time there because the kids LOVED skating. I was nervous that both kids would hate the feeling of not being in control of their feet but they had silly grins pasted all over their faces the whole time:

Exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

By the end Rowan got the hang of standing and shuffling along on her own two skates while we held her hands. It was really neat to see her go from Bambi on ice to kind of/sort of skating in just an hour. Keaton maintained his Bambi on ice status the whole time but enjoyed himself nonetheless- especially when the Deps whipped him around in the sled.

This is definitely a tradition we'd like to keep up.

On Sunday we made a gingerbread house that wasn’t nearly as fun {or phallic} as last years. Part of the problem was that I put Bill in charge and he just doesn’t do well with messy stuff. He is one of the most easy going guys I know but he cannot handle messy play with the kids- he gets ridiculously uptight, like OMFG messy fingers touching things I’M IN HELL GET ME OUT I’M MELTING ETC ETC. I really like to give him shit about this because usually I’m the uptight one which he doesn’t see the irony in at all and just gives me lots of dirty looks.

Obligatory photo before I let them eat anything. You can see how interested they are in smiling for the camera when a house made of CANDY is under their noses. {And Rowan doesn't have a bloody nose or lip. It's just unfortunately misplaced red frosting.}

Too bad I’m going to have to burn this sucker to the ground after The Ick, as I now only see it as a House of Disease and Maleficence, harboring flu-ridden germs of EWINESS.

Last up? My brother’s girlfriend gave us a free pass to a holiday light display in St Paul. I had originally planned this for tonight but we decided to do it Sunday night instead. We had to wait about 20 minutes to go through but the kids really, really liked it.

It started out with typical enough holiday images of Santa, candy canes and elves.

But things got curiouser and curiouser when we drove through a number of displays of aliens which um, maybe go with the peace theme of the holidays? I'm not sure. To be honest the aliens sort of confused me.

As did the giant pirate ship but since pirates are pretty bad ass I just went with it.

But these...um... Christmas sharks? Totally confused me. Merry Christmas, I EATCHOO. Needless to say Bill and I giggled a lot over various forms of festive dismemberment.

Tonight is our last big activity- we’re taking a night-time winter walk around the neighborhood and then we’re pretty much done with our calender. We skipped over a few craft related activities as the kids both did a lot of them in school and the time constraints posed by Kindergarten, dance, homework and overall life kind of got in the way. We did make cards for grandmas and grandpa which I’ll probably do again next year but the snowflake and paper chain crafts were kind of duds. One thing we didn’t get to do that I really was looking forward to was have a slumber party by the Christmas tree. The night we set aside for this the kids were already so tired and cranky we skipped it. Bill is off until the 3rd so I’m hoping to maybe still do this one after Christmas to see how it goes.

Overall we really loved doing these. Next year I’ll definitely do the envelope version so I can swap activities if it doesn’t work that day. Since neither of my kids can read yet, it wasn’t a big deal but I have a feeling Rowan will be a stickler next year when she reads the activities herself. The best part is that we started a few new really great traditions that I am excited to make part of our holiday vernacular every year. This season has so many responsibilities. Having set fun things to do with the kids was a huge stress reliever and not just because I had planned them out before hand but because we grown-ups had fun doing them too. It’s nice to be reminded of the magic that’s out there this time of year.

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So. Much. Puke.

Especially when it makes its grand exit between 11pm and 2:30am.

How does all that even fit in a 33 pound child? I haven’t googled it yet but I’m pretty sure it defies the laws of God and science.

I had planned to write about our advent activities but am too busy disinfecting everything from doorknobs to sheets to, well, everything but my children’s eyeballs. And probably those too once I figure out how to do so without causing blindness. Until then stay tuned for Pukin’ II: Electric Boogaloo when Keaton inevitably starts in.

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I sort of  broke my blog yesterday for a little while there, but my patient husband was able to restore most of what I seemed to have wiped out when I attempted to do a few updates. Lesson learned? Christy’s not allowed to touch any buttons on her blog except for the one that says Publish. How bout we just pretend that didn’t happen, m’kay? EXCELLENT.

Although it didn’t result in any major happenings for our household I feel I should in some way document this past weekend as that one time the sky opened up and dumped all the snow of EVER onto us. On Friday Bill half surprised me with a special date night in. Half surprised because he planned it all out but panicked that I would make other plans so he ended up telling me the night before. Still though. Big E for Effort. And another Big E for EAT because that is what we did with our night. Bacon wrapped steaks, Internet. That’s all I have to say.

The kids got to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s for an overnight, which YAY but when we got up on Saturday morning and realized we’d have to go pick them up in this? Big BOO. It was ridiculous. Not only was there a huge amount of snow already but it was still going strong and the wind was awful- this was a full blown blizzard. The driveway across the street had a snow drift 3/4 of the way to the top of their garage door. Now. We own one measly aluminum shovel because we are assholes that pay other people to do our dirty work by way of association fees. So we called Bill’s parents and let them know we were going to try and hold out for the plows to come through, which they were fine with.

So we waited. And waited. And then we waited some more. Now normally I’d say we couldn’t have planned this out more perfectly. My husband and I were trapped alone in our warm, cozy house while the kids were trapped in someone else’s warm, cozy house. We didn’t have to endure any whining or stir-craziness or fighting. Only it felt really pretty empty without them here and I had planned some fun Christmas activities for this weekend that I didn’t want to do without the kids. Plus we drank all the booze the night before so what were we really going to do together…talk about our marriage? Solve the economic crisis? PLEASE. You need alcohol to do both of those things. So instead we got sucked into The Pacific which is about as light-hearted as..well…a gory wartime drama can be. Suffice it to say I will be having dreams of people’s limbs spontaneously exploding off for the next seven years.

Around 3:30pm and still no plow, Bill decided to just suck it up and shovel our driveway because he didn’t want to have to pick the kids up in the dark and his parents had a Christmas party to attend that night. So he shoveled enough space to get my car out and was on his way after I instructed him to please not die, I’ve grown sort of fond of him and his aliveness. Then I told him to call me when he made it to his parents house, who live less than 10 minutes away. When I got the call rather quickly I was surprised, thinking he was stuck in a snowbank. He assured me that no, he was there and getting ready to head home. When I commented that the roads must be better than I thought they’d be he said no, they were horseshit but things go faster when you’re not able to stop for any of the stop signs. I don’t know how he intended to make me feel with this statement but Internet? It did not make me feel better.

The second call came not too much later and this time he was stuck. WHERE? I asked nervously. Look out the window, was his response. Sure enough, there was our car buried in a snow drift within 50 feet of our driveway. I came out and pulled the kids out of the car while Bill cleared out around the tires but we soon realized that there was just too much snow so the poor guy ended up shoveling the majority of our street to create a path for our 4X4-less Jeep. {Common question: Do they even make Jeep’s without 4 wheel drive? Answer: Yes. Yes they do. Question 2: Who buys a freaking Jeep that doesn’t have 4 wheel drive? Answer 2: We do, Internet. We do. Now please commence with the shaking of your collective heads.}

Anyway we were lucky it happened so close to home and all in all it only took about a half hour to get the stupid thing back in the garage. Rowan was in heaven outside, completely oblivious to the snow in her boots and the windburn on her cheeks. ALL OF THE TIME Sometimes I just don’t understand this kid who freaks out if the bath temperature is not juuuust right but will submerge her entire face in a snowbank, only coming up for air when absolutely necessary.

The rest of the weekend we spent fulfilling our advent activities calender by baking and decorating cookies, making paper snowflakes, visiting Santa at his mall lair and watching White Christmas. Unfortunately the plows didn’t come until Sunday afternoon and then it was just to make a path in the road not do the driveways, so Rowan had to miss her Sunday school program which I was pretty bummed about. One of the best parts of being a parent is to sit back and watch your kids being all cute on a stage so I’m feeling a little robbed but happy we made it through the blizzard safe and healthy and warm, which in the end, we’re profusely thankful for.

Now for photographic evidence:

Poor little tree.

Snow is much prettier when viewing it from a nice warm kitchen.

Rowan was very serious about the application of the sprinkles. Keaton was very serious about eating the majority of the red-hots.

If cookie making in our house had its own rap song it would be titled: Motherf*cking sprinkles, y'all.

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I’m really behind on filling you in on our advent activities so here’s a quick re-cap of how we’re forcefully mandating Christmas up in here.

3rd: We snuggled together and ate popcorn while watching the Polar Express. The kids love this movie. I find it really freaking creepy and I think Rowan is starting to as well because she spent the whole movie talking about how you should never ever get out of your bed at night and go outside with no shoes or coat and get on a train with strangers. Also riding on the top of a train is very dangerous and throwing hot chocolate around is just asking for trouble. I think the magic of it won out in the end though because she asked me for a magic jingle bell for Christmas.

4th: Celebrate a special Christmas-time birthday! Done and DONE.

Presents!

Pupcakes!

Artificial flavors!!!1!!!

5th: Make ornaments for Grandpa Garry’s tree:

Rule #1: You can never use too much glitter glue. Rule #2: If mama catches you eating the glitter glue she will take it away after warning of the dangers of sparkly poop.

6th: Make a snow angel for Grandpa Garry: Internet? It was mothereffing cold on the 6th, which is the anniversary of my dad’s death. Every year we gather as many of us that can make it and head to the cemetery to put up his Christmas tree. Since I didn’t want the kids getting frostbite (especially the one that refuses to wear anything but leggings, even in 10 degree weather *coughROWANcough*) we all held hands and sang Yellow Submarine to him instead. I think he would have liked that better anyway.

7th: Write letters to Santa. Bill helped Keaton with his but Rowan wanted to do hers all on her own:

"Dear Santa, How are you? How are the reindeer, Rudolph and the Elves?"

"I have been kind of good. Here is my wish list. 1. Rebecca's clothes and bed. 2. Rapunzel. 3. Books. "

Rowan may have been sugarcoating it a little when she said “kind of good”. She had a really great November but as any parent knows, December tends to bring the crazy out in your kids. I can tell she’s trying but to help remind her that she needs to be reflecting the true Christmas spirit of kindness and giving instead of the spirit of greed and assholiness we’ve recruited help.

Have you guys all heard of the Elf on the Shelf? I had only a passing recollection of it when Keaton got it for his birthday. Nothing says Happy Birthday like an Elf sent to spy on you to make sure you are being good… OR ELSE. I was a little hesitant to try it out but Bill and I are big into passing the buck when it comes to enforcing rules in parenting. Call us lazy or liars or whatever. Potato, pototo I say. The idea is that the elf watches the children from a new spot every day and at night he flies back to Santa to give him the behavior report. Then he comes back and takes up a new spot, which the kids have to find the next morning. So if they behave badly we casually mention that the elf is, you know, WATCHING THEM and hopefully they will shape up.

Only Internet? It’s NOT working. We thought maybe the idea was too fantastical for them but these are kids that still fervently believe in unicorns and faeries and rainbows you can climb on so a stealthy, tattling elf doesn’t really seem too far a stretch. Then we figured it was because they had no fear of the elf. And why should they? He is a bright, friendly looking fellow that oozes Christmas cheer. How could he be anything but Friend? Bill came to the conclusion that we needed to turn him Foe, and fast. So he quickly taped a frown and angry eyebrows on him and VOILA!

Angry Elf is angry...

and silently judging you...

From on high in his stocking lair.

8th: Watched Frosty the Snowman. We needed this quiet one after the more involved activities. I loved this movie from my childhood so it’s a ton of fun watching the kids enjoy it. Although Rowan again parroted the no “getting onto trains with strangers rule” which seems to be a recurrent theme among Christmas movies, see also: White Christmas.

9th. We ended up staying late at a play date and didn’t have time for our planned activity of making snowflakes to decorate the windows. I wanted to do something and since Rowan is studying Hanukkah in school this week I thought I’d stray a bit and accompany her studies with this little gem:

You guys, I’m paying for it now because it won’t come out of Keaton’s head. He has been singing HAY-OH SPIN DAT DREIDEL non-stop. Someone please send help.

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