Post-Christmas Letdown

Christmas has come and gone, the relatives have all left, it’s back to being just the three of us (plus the fourth one who’s still baking). In a way, it’s a relief – it’s nice to have things back to the normal routine, yadda yadda – but at the same time, it’s kind of a bummer.

Catie isn’t adapting to this change very well at all. It’s probably common for kids this age, but a few times now, she’s said something about Christmas, and when I remind her that Christmas is over until next year, she bursts into tears. I think having everyone leave was particularly hard on her. She loves having people around, and she hates it when they leave.

Pop-Pop & Catie chilling together

The day my parents left, I found my mom sitting on the floor with a distraught Catie in her lap. She was wailing, “But I don’t want you to leeeeeave! I miss you when you gooooo!” My mom said that absolutely broke her heart.

It was worse when my mom called to say their plane had landed safely, and I repeated to my sister that they’d gotten home. Catie heard this, and said, “Home? They’re here? Let’s go see them!” And she started to run out to the garage. When I explained no, baby, they were back at their home… oh, the tears.

Catie & Mimi

My sister and her boyfriend left yesterday, the last of our Christmas visitors. I knew that Catie wasn’t going to take it well, so when she started to have a meltdown about them leaving, I suggested that she and I go do something fun on our own. Which is how I ended up spending a good chunk of yesterday afternoon at the Jump Zone.

Of course, then we had to follow that up with a trip to Burger King for a kid’s meal. And she still didn’t want to go home after that, so I let her go to the drop-in daycare near our house for a couple of hours so she could keep on playing while I went home to put my feet up and rest for a while.

Happy girl with a mouthful of hamburger

It worked pretty well, she totally wore herself out. She slept over 11 hours last night, which never happens. She even took a nap today too, which is increasingly rare for her.

Post-Christmas Letdown

But then, I guess we all need some downtime to recover after the holidays.

Dreaming of a White Boxing Day

Earlier last week, I saw on the forecast that we might get some snow on Christmas Day. I thought that sounded fun, even though I’m not a huge fan of snow. I mean, it’s lovely if you can sit inside where it’s warm and cozy, and watch the snow falling outside of your window. I just hate driving in it.

Then when Christmas Day rolled around, the news was making it sound like the snow was coming any second, and we’d be under 6 to 10 inches of snow. SNOOOOOWWW!!!! (You know, local news. Very doomsday scenario.) We shrugged it off. It started snowing around 9 p.m. on Christmas night. It wasn’t much, and since it had been raining earlier, we weren’t sure how much would stick.

My dad has never had a white Christmas in his 74 years on this earth, so we told him this was his year. Five minutes before midnight, he went outside to catch a few flakes, just so he could say that he’d touched Christmas snow. Then we went to bed.

We woke up the next day to…. SNOW!! Like, a surprising amount, considering these branches were bare when we went to bed the previous night.

Pretty branches covered in snow

Yeah. That’s a lot of snow.

I expected Catie to freak out and hate it, based on her reaction to our much smaller snow earlier this month, in which she slipped and fell, then cried, “I’m cold and wet and I need new paaaaants!!!” But she surprised me yet again, because she loved it.

Running in the snow

Dave starting a snowman, Catie stomping the snow

She takes after her Daddy after all. They both seem relatively immune to cold temperatures. I don’t get it at all. I couldn’t wait to get back inside in my lovely central heating.

Peeking out around a tree

But there’s some of me in her too, because after a while, she came inside and said, “I’m done. I want to take a shower now.” I totally get what she means.

Catie loving the snow

But it sure was fun while it lasted.

Merry Christmas 2010

Hope you all are having as nice a Christmas as we are.

Pre-Christmas: "Mommy, take my pitcha wif da Christmas tree"
This was taken a few days ago, before my parents arrived and my mom gave Catie a much-overdue haircut.

This is how she looked AFTER the haircut. Minus the grumpy face. Most of the time. Although, honestly? She looks like I feel most days. Complete annoyance with everything.
New haircut! Also, she looks like I feel most of the time.
Well, except I usually don’t drink out of a sippy cup. Or wear hot pink boots and mismatched leopard prints. But I figure she can get away with that at 3. On a 34 year-old pregnant lady, it would look… odd.

We cooked a ton of food. We went to Christmas Eve church service. We put food for Santa’s reindeer on the front lawn.

Putting out food for Santa's reindeer
(The reindeer also had to have a plate of baby carrots and a big bowl of water inside the house. In case they were still hungry. Of course.)

And today we opened presents.

Catie checking out her stocking on Christmas morning

Opening presents

Catie got the main present that she’s been asking Santa Claus for, ever since she saw it in a store a couple of months ago. “A white horsey in a purse.” She could not be happier.

"It's a white horsey in a purse!!!!"

As for the rest of us? Christmas is the day that we all stay in our jammies all day, and everybody gets at least one nap. That pretty much makes it the greatest holiday ever in my book.

The Santa Train We Nearly Missed

Last month, my cousin Cat told me about the Santa Train at the NC Museum of Life and Science. She thought it’d be a fun activity for us to take our kids to, and since we love the museum [fun fact: because I mentioned them, they linked to that 2nd post on their home page for like WEEKS. Which would be fine, except, uh, notice the title of the post if you happen to click the link. Mortifying!], we thought that sounded great.

Cat set it up, we had tickets for this past Friday the 17th at 6:20. Awesome. Sure, the tickets were a little pricey, but hey, we’re making IMPORTANT HOLIDAY MEMORIES for our kids, so it’s totally worth it, right?

Things that went wrong:
* Both Cat and her baby Austin came down with some sort of fever/virus on Friday. That left just Tony and Elizabeth for the museum outing. Ok then! It’s a bummer that they’ll miss it, but we can deal!
* Since Dave was working from home on Friday, I asked him to pick up Catie from daycare and meet me at the office (since our office is in Durham, so it’s closer to the museum). Easy, right?
* The security keypad at the daycare center broke, and all the kids and teachers were in the back of the center, so Dave and a bunch of other parents were banging on the door for a good 15 minutes before anyone heard them and let them in. Small delay, no biggie!
* Dave misinterpreted what I said, and thought that we were supposed to meet up with my cousin at 6:20, not that our train is leaving at 6:20. Umm…
* Turns out the Life and Science Museum is on the other side of Durham from my office, so it took us close to 30 minutes to drive there. Crap.

I started telling Catie in the car that it looked like we might miss our train, but we’d figure out something else fun to do! Right? No big deal! Catie seemed ok, but since she’d been talking about the Santa Train for days, I had a feeling this was not going to end well.

We got there and explained at the gate that we missed our train (by like, 10 minutes – we were LATE). The lady gave us our tickets and said that even though the Santa Train was sold out, it was possible that they might be able to squeeze us onto a later train, so we should go try.

We got to the train station just as Tony and Elizabeth were de-boarding the 6:20 train. We told Catie we’d try to get on the next train at 6:40. Tony and Elizabeth went off in search of hot cocoa and the arts & crafts table.

The 6:40 train was full. So was the 7:00 train. And for the record, the look on a child’s face when they’re holding a train ticket in their tiny mittened hand and they’re told that sorry, the train is full and they can’t go? Might be the most heart-breaking thing I’ve ever seen.

Catie started to cry. I said to Dave, “God, we suck. You know we’re gonna have to buy a T-O-Y to get out of this one.” He agreed.

To calm Catie down, I told her that we were going to leave the museum and go to Target (I needed groceries anyway, so two birds…), and that we’d get her a toy. And hey, that’s way more fun than a silly ol’ train, right? She calmed down when I said the magic word “toy,” and she seemed ok with it.

We had checked out the other stuff at the Santa Train – they had face painting (which Catie refused to try), an arts & crafts table (Catie refused that one too), and a station where you could make “reindeer food” out of oatmeal and sprinkles (that was a big hit with her) – then we decided to head out.

I noticed it was almost 7:20, so I suggested that we try one last train before we left. SUCCESS! They managed to squeeze us onto the train at the very last minute. Hooray!

And oh, it was so cool. We’ve taken this train around the museum plenty of times in the past, but always in the daytime, and never at Christmas. The conductor told the kids we were taking the train to the North Pole, and then we stopped in the middle of the woods, right in front of a little cottage where Santa happened to be waiting to greet all the kids. He came by to ask each kid what they wanted. Catie was scared of Santa and buried her face, but later she panicked when she figured out that the kids were supposed to tell Santa what they want for Christmas. I told her not to worry, because I had already texted Santa, so he knew what she wanted.

Then a guy in an elf costume came by to pass out candy canes. Catie was a little scared of him too, but he told each kid that Rudolph had disappeared into the woods somewhere, so could they please look for him and tell him to go home if they saw him. The Rudolph story got Catie to look up from my shoulder, and she nodded very solemnly when he asked her if she could help look for Rudolph.

The train set off again, and the conductor told the kids to look out in the woods for Rudolph’s red nose. A couple of minutes later, sure enough, there was a red light floating around in the woods. All the kids screamed for Rudolph to go home, and the light started floating back in the direction of Santa Claus’s cottage. Honestly, I have no idea how they rigged that. I guess the light is on a wire or something, but every single kid on that train was convinced that it really was Rudolph out in those dark woods.

It was one of those amazing moments where you realize how magical Christmas is for little kids. And it was awesome. I almost cried.

Christmas card outtake
(I didn’t take a single picture while we were at the Santa Train because apparently the cold froze my brain. So just pretend that this is an appropriate way to end this entry. Snow bunny, indeed.)

The Great Bloggy Holiday Card Exchange

I love this idea of Meghan’s.

I sent out our Christmas cards about a week ago. I’m thinking that the people who got them via snail mail have already received them, so there’s no spoiler by sharing my Christmas card here, right?

So, happy holidays to all of my bloggy loves. I hope this Christmas/holiday season is fabulous and magical for all of you.

Throwing rocks in the lake

Happy holidays!

P.S. For the record? This card required about 100 photos from two separate photo shoots. Three year-olds are not known for being cooperative subjects. Or at least mine isn’t. But I really love the way they turned out in the end.

Monday morning ramblings

Since the Plague wasn’t going away quickly enough, my doctor gave me a prescription for prednisone to help with the coughing fits. And it’s working, I feel SO much better. But the other part? Prednisone makes me HYPER. Like, oh hey why don’t I go run five errands and then come home, knowing full well that everything is finished, but still feel like I need to go-go-GO doooo soooomething! Hey, there’s 20 minutes until dinner’s ready, maybe I should put the crib together? You know, just so I don’t have to think about it for the next 6 months until this baby is due?

So, yeah. Fun with medical science over at our house, clearly. I’ve gone insane.

Other stuff: My mother-in-law has been here for over a week and I’ve taken a shameful amount of photos. Meaning, um, zero. I’m blaming it on my bronchitis, I just seem to keep forgetting to take pictures when Catie is all snuggled up on her Grandma.

But, on Saturday, we went to see “Toy Story 3 on Ice,” and my mother-in-law remembered her camera for that, so we actually got a few cute pictures there.

Dave & Catie, wearing her alien hat

Family pic!

(Of course, none of the pictures have my mother-in-law actually in them. Which would’ve been nice. But oh well. She was there, I promise!)

Toy Story 3 on Ice

And I have to say, we have been to a lot of kid-oriented concerts and shows – Thomas the Tank Engine Live, Sesame Street Live, Nick Junior Live, and of course, the Wiggles – and I must say, the Disney on Ice franchise put the rest to shame. That show was amazing. Those ice skaters were absolutely phenomenal. I’d highly recommend it to anyone with age-appropriate kids.

Other random stuff:
* We now have two Christmas trees, which feels a little bit pretentious, but I have to say that I kind of love it. I put our (fake) tree up in the living room, which faces the street, because it’s our pretty formal room and it’s the most logical place to have a Christmas tree. But Dave pointed out that we never actually hang out in that room, so he wanted to get another tree (a real one, not another fake one) to put in the family room. It didn’t take much to convince me – he just had to say that he’d be responsible for handling it and I was sold. It’s a very pretty tree, I really like having both of them.

(Also? The tree in the family room can’t be seen from our stairs, which makes it the more logical place for Santa to drop off his loot, to avoid little early-risers who might try to sneak a peek.)

* I haven’t cooked dinner since my mother-in-law arrived. It’s been heaven.

* Catie has decided that the Elf on the Shelf book is pretty much her favorite bedtime story ever, but she’s largely indifferent to the elf himself. I’m just rolling with it – if she’s fine with it, I’m fine with it.

* I’m finally healthy enough to go back to work! And I’m so excited about it! God, I’m a dork.

* The title of this post is a lie because I’m actually typing it on Sunday night. Thank you, WordPress scheduling feature.

Elves on Shelves and other stuff

I don’t really want to write about how I’m siiiiick and I don’t feeeel good, but yeah, that’s basically what’s going on here. I went to the doctor on Wednesday and got some (pregnancy-safe) antibiotics, so I’m starting to feel a little better. Hooray for that.

I honestly would’ve gone to the office today, except I still have these frequent coughing fits (thank you, bronchitis!), and that just seems sort of rude when you sit in an open cubicle environment, no? I mean, the guy who trims his fingernails in his cubicle makes me want to claw my eyeballs out of my face, so I imagine that this whole lung-hacking noise that I make every few minutes would be, uh, somewhat distracting for my co-workers, to put it mildly. Anyway, I have a remote desktop connection to my office PC, so I’m still getting all of my work done, even though I’m not physically there. It’s fine.

So! Onto other stuff:
1.) Tomorrow we’re taking Catie to see “Toy Story 3 on Ice.” None of us have ever been to an ice show, so that should be exciting. I’m curious to see if the ice show makes me weep like the movie does. (And remembering how Catie tends to get anxious in crowded theaters, just like her dad, I bought nosebleed seats way in the back. Which is actually kind of lucky, since it’ll also ensure that I’ll be far enough away that I won’t distract any ice skaters with my hacking cough.)

2.) In the spirit of good-behavior motivation, my sister bought us The Elf on The Shelf. I know it’s really popular and a lot of parents say that their kids love it (and I appreciate the gift – THANK YOU, TRACY!), but… does anyone else find it creepy? The whole “there’s a dead-eyed elf doll watching everything you do & reporting it back to Santa while you’re asleep” thing? And then he’s in a different location every day? I admit that I have issues with dolls (that most recent episode of “Hoarders” where the woman had collected over 5,000 porcelain dolls? I’m going to have nightmares about that house for the rest of my life). And I tend to think elves are a little creepy too. So combine the two and make an elf doll? That’s basically a potential horror movie to me.

Catie likes the book a lot, but she seems a little bit scared of the elf himself. I’m going to see how it goes the next couple of days, but if she continues to be nervous about the elf, I think Santa Claus is going to be short-staffed and have to call some of the elves back to the North Pole to help make toys, and our elf is going to go away. Christmas is supposed to be all about fun and magic, not anxiety-provoking or scary.

And for the record, when I described it to my mom, she had the same “NO NO NO THAT IS CREEPY AS HELL” reaction that I did. So maybe there’s a genetic link there with the elf doll thing.

3.) It’s been really nice having my mother-in-law here this week, especially while I’ve been sick. Catie goes to climb in bed with Grandma first thing in the morning, rather than coming to see me or Dave, so it’s nice to have a little reprieve. Plus, my MIL has been making dinner every night, so that’s been fabulous, just to have one less thing to worry about.

4.) It’s freaking cold here this week, way colder than a typical North Carolina December (although, to be fair, it’s only our third winter in this state, and we spent most of last December in England). It kinda makes me wish I were in Las Vegas with some of my favorite people right now, but alas. Pregnant ladies with tight Christmas budgets don’t get weekends in Vegas. Oh well. Maybe next time.