The Christmas wrap-up

On Christmas Eve, we did our usual pre-Santa tradition: cookies & milk for Santa, carrots & a bowl of water for his reindeer.

Stocking on the fireplace, and treats for Santa & his reindeer

Catie was so happy on Christmas morning. She got everything that was on her list for Santa, and then some.

Catie opening her presents on Christmas.

At one point, she said, “This is the BEST! CHRISTMAS! EVERRRR!!!” Considering that I thought it would be the worst Christmas ever (the first one post-separation), I’ll take that as ridiculously high praise.

Lucy seemed a little confused by it all, but she had fun too.

Catie helped bury Lucy in her mountain of presents.

Plus, you know, there was this. Which made me laugh until I cried.

Lucy's new Foofa hat!

I mean, it’s a Foofa hat. Come ON. That’s just funny.

Hope you all had a nice Christmas too.

Merry Christmas Eve

This has been a pretty difficult Christmas for all the reasons you’d expect. There’s been so much upheaval in our lives, and the holidays are a pretty intense reminder of what’s missing.

But, I have these two. And that’s all that matters.

So Merry Christmas. From our house to yours. Hope your holiday season is as bright as these two girls’ smiles. (And the glare on the photos because I took them with my iPhone. It’s Christmas. I’m not busting out the scanner.)

Catie & Lucy school pictures

Bad Track Record

My mother-in-law is flying in from England today. I know that the stereotype would be to have a difficult and strained relationship with a mother-in-law, but I honestly don’t. She’s funny, she’s an amazing cook, and I find her very easy to be around.

At the same time, though, I do feel a teeny-tiny sense of Impending Doom about her upcoming visit. But it’s not for any of the reasons you’d think. The reason is because every year since Catie was born, we’ve seen her at some point during the month of December, and every year, somebody gets really horribly sick.

To recap:
* 2007 – We all got the flu. And let me tell you, trying to take care of a sick baby when you’re sick yourself? Oh man. That was hideous.

* 2008 – Catie ended up in the hospital with a major asthma/flu episode. Because nothing says “Happy holidays!” like continuous albuterol treatments.

* 2009 – We went to England. Catie was spared, this time it was just me and Dave who got sick. Because of that trip, I have vowed to never go to England during the winter again. (It had more to do with the epic snowstorm than my bronchitis-that-was-almost-pneumonia, but still. Not fun on any counts.)

[Oh, there was also the visit – NOT during the month of December, oddly enough – where my mother-in-law herself wound up in the ER with a concussion after falling in the grocery store and hitting her head. That was fun too.]

And now she’s on her way here for 2010. *dun dun duuuuuunnnnnn*

It’s already starting. Dave got sick with some sort of nasty cold a couple of days ago, and today I woke up with a scratchy throat. Which is great, since you know, pregnancy keeps me from being able to take any of the good drugs. I’m basically limited to my Zyrtec and my neti pot. Fabulous.

Let’s just hope we can avoid any hospital visits this time, yes?

Random Friday thoughts

With headings, Mimi Smartypants-style.


I had a job interview today. The job would actually be pretty good – not super-exciting, but ok; I’m qualified for it, the people seem nice, etc. And the interview went really well, I won’t be surprised if they make me an offer. But I think I’ve talked myself out of it simply for the fact that it’s a full-time office job, and the office is over 30 miles away. That’s a long-ass commute. Especially if it means that Catie would be going to daycare full-time, tacking an extra 45-ish minutes onto the beginning and end of each workday just for the drive? I don’t think I want to do that.

Although, I would get to pass this sign every day, which might make it worth it.
I hear it makes for a really crappy commute *rimshot*
Yes, I actually pulled over to take that picture. Don’t judge me. (Oh, be sure to hover your mouse over that pic so you can see my Flickr caption. I’m kind of ridiculously proud of myself for my juvenile sense of humor.)

Anyway, I figure that any job interview is good practice for the next one, which might actually be for a job that I do want. So, eh. Moving on.


Of the two days that Catie went to daycare this week, one day was great and the other day not-so-great. On the really good day, Nicole (our daycare provider) set Catie and Kiersten (Nicole’s daughter who is Catie’s age) up with some toys in Kiersten’s room, and then Nicole left them alone, but listened to them from the next room. She said that they played really nicely together for a long time. They talked to each other, role-played with their Little People action figures, and had an overall great time. So that’s good.

One of the things that Nicole mentioned last week, which was really bothering me, was that Catie often seems to be on the verge of tears when she’s at daycare. I couldn’t figure out why that would be, since that’s not her normal personality and Catie tells me all the time that she loves going to Miss Nicole’s house.

Then the big “DUH!” hammer smacked me upside the head. Remember how I mentioned recently that Catie goes to bed way too late for a 2 year-old? Well, on normal mornings where she’s just hanging out at home with me, she wakes up between 6:30 and 7 a.m., she has some milk, and then we go back to sleep for at least another hour. But on daycare days, we just get up and go. So, hi there, Big Fat Obvious Answer that I overlooked: she’s tired! Of course she’s tired! DUH! I’m kind of mortified that it took me this long to notice that.

So, we’re working on bedtime. I’m trying to bump her bedtime back about 10-15 minutes earlier every night. Last night she was in bed at 10:00, tonight I’ll aim for 9:45. I know you 8:00 bedtimers are still appalled that my child is up that late, but whatever. That’s the first time she’s been in bed that early since we left Washington. (Hey, maybe that’s the problem! She’s still on Pacific time! Even though we haven’t lived there in over a year. Hmm.)


Catie has gone Christmas crazy. She’s absolutely berserk for the cartoons, the decorations, everything. And it’s only going to get worse because the child is essentially having FOUR Christmases this year. No exaggeration.
* 1st Christmas – Next week, when my family is here for Thanksgiving. Since we’ll be in the UK next month, they want to do our big celebration and gift exchange now. Which is fine with me, really.
* 2nd and 3rd Christmas – With Dave’s dad and mom, respectively. I guess this is when divorce pays off, the grandkids get two sets of presents from two sets of grandparents. Score!
* 4th Christmas – When we get home from the UK, because you know, Santa understands vacation plans, and he knows that suitcase space is limited. He doesn’t want to deliver Catie’s new toy kitchen to England and make Mommy & Daddy haul it through customs. So Santa will reschedule delivery for, I don’t know, maybe New Year’s Eve. It depends on how jet lagged we are tired he is after making all those Christmas Eve deliveries.

So, yeah, she is WILD for Christmas. It doesn’t help that Christmas decorations are currently everywhere, so she sees Christmas stuff every time we leave the house. She loves it. Everything is about “Santa and reindeer, and look, it’s a snowman, Mommy! A SNOOOWMAAAN!!!” It’s awesome to see her get so excited about it, because it reminds me of how magical Christmas was when I was little, but it’s also completely exhausting.

My Little Elf

She’s an awfully cute little elf, though.

timesharing the holidays

When I was little, I thought that my grandparents lived really far away. In reality, of course, that wasn’t the case at all. I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. My dad’s parents lived in Meridian, MS, about 80 miles away. My mom’s parents were in New Orleans, which is about 200 miles from Jackson. Both sets of grandparents were a road trip away.

In hindsight, we saw them relatively frequently. Holidays were generally split. We spent Christmas with my dad’s parents – which I guess is fair, since my dad is an only child and we were his parents’ only grandchildren; my mom, on the other hand, is one of seven, so there were plenty of grandkids around during the holidays for her folks. A couple of days after Christmas, we’d go to New Orleans and usually stay there through New Year’s.

Flash-forward, and now I’m an adult with a child of my own. And Catie’s grandparents genuinely are far away. My parents are still in Mississippi, which is a good 800 miles from here. And Dave’s parents are in England. Both sets of grandparents require airplanes to visit, not short little road trips.

We’re lucky that Mags (Dave’s mom) has been able to come over for a few visits. But Catie has a granddad (Dave’s dad) who she’s never met. Heck, I haven’t even met my own father-in-law either, and Dave and I have been together for over five years. He & his wife haven’t ever come to the US, and Dave and I have never gone over there – which was first because of problems with Dave’s visa, and later because we had a new baby, and then we just couldn’t afford it with the move. There was always a reason that stopped us from going.

Now, though, Dave has a green card so he can freely leave and re-enter the country (hooray for that!), and we aren’t quite as broke as we were a year ago. So, we’re going to England for Christmas. Actually, we’re going for more than that – we’re flying out on December 11th, and we won’t be coming back until December 28th. Seventeen days. Hopefully that will be enough time to see all of Dave’s family, make a touring visit of his friends who’ve spread out all over the country, and also do some sightseeing, since I’ve never been to England before. How sad is that? I’m 33 years old, and this will be the first stamp on my passport (because they don’t stamp it when you go to Canada).

Obviously, we’re all really excited. It’s going to be weird for me because I’ve only spent one Christmas away from my family in my entire life, but I’m also really looking forward to this trip because I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

I emailed Dave’s parents yesterday to let them know we’re coming, send them copies of our flight itineraries, etc. Dave’s mom of course is thrilled; she and her partner, Roger, will be coming over for a visit in a couple of weeks, but she’s like any other grandma in wanting to get as much Grandbaby Time as possible, so she’s very happy. And Dave’s stepmom emailed me back to say that when she told Keith (Dave’s dad) that we’re coming, he got choked up and teary. He’s beyond happy that he’ll finally get to meet his only grandchild. Of course, hearing that he teared up made me all misty, because that’s just so damn sweet – and, well, also because I’m a big wuss.

And honestly, I’m feeling a little bit guilty that we haven’t made more of a concentrated effort to go there sooner. There probably was a time when we could have gone to England, and we didn’t. I guess neither Dave nor I truly realized how important it is to them. I think that in the future we’ll have to work harder at that.