laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

My 12 Days of Christmas


The other night as I was counting down the hours until our house filled with guests, my hubbyman was out running around doing some Christmas shopping with his brother. (I should note that he did take Littlest with him and was doing so because we were trying to surprise the kids with the arrival of their cousin. Seeing their uncle seemed like  it might give away that surprise, so hubby went out and about while I stayed home and finished preparations.) While I was running around  like a chicken  with my head cut off, I found myself singing my own version of “The 12 Days of Christmas.”  And I’ve continuously had it in my head since, so I thought I would share. I hope you enjoy them, or at least can find the humor in it.

On the first day of Christmas my true love left with me…

a great big pile of laundry

On the second day of Christmas my true love left with me…

two dirty toilets

and a great big pile of  laundry

On the third day of Christmas  my true love  left with me…

three cranky kids

two dirty toilets

and a great big pile  of laundry

On the  fourth day of Christmas my true love left with me…

four poopy diapers

three cranky kids

two dirty toilets

and a great big pile of  laundry

On the fifth day of Christmas  my true love left with me…

five huge meltdowns

four poopy diapers

three cranky kids

two dirty toilets

and  a great big pile of laundry

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love left with me…

six hands a’clinging

five huge meltdowns

four poopy diapers

three cranky kids

two dirty toilets

and a great big pile of laundry

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love left with me…

seven movies skipping

six hands a’clinging

five huge meltdowns

four poopy diapers

three cranky kids

two  dirty toilets

and a great big pile of laundry

On the eight day of Christmas my true love left with me…

eight dishes breaking

seven movies skipping

six hands a’clinging

five huge meltdowns

four poopy diapers

three cranky kids

two dirty toilets

and a great big pile of laundry

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love  left with me…

Nine dozen cookies baking

eight dishes breaking

seven movies skipping

six hands a’clinging

five huge meltdowns

four poopy diapers

three cranky kids

two dirty toilets

and a great big pile of laundry

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love left with me…

ten guests a’eating

nine dozen cookies baking

eight dishes breaking

seven movies skipping

six hands a’clinging

five huge meltdowns

four poopy diapers

three cranky kids

two dirty toilets

and a great big pile of laundry

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love left with me…

eleven words a’cussing

ten guest a’eating

nine dozen cookies baking

eight dishes breaking

seven movies skipping

six hands a’clinging

five huge meltdowns

four poopy diapers

three cranky kids

two dirty toilets

and a great big pile of laundry

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love left with me…

twelve bouts of screaming

eleven words a’cussing

ten guest a’eating

nine dozen cookies baking

eight dishes breaking

seven movies skipping

six hands a’clinging

five huge meltowns

four poopy diapers

three cranky kids

two dirty toilets

and a great big pile of laundry

Go ahead and have this playing while you read through it again so you can really get the feel! And enjoy!

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Christmas Magic


Despite yesterday’s post about Santa, (and the fact that I’ve admittedly been a little grinchy about Christmas-time growing up) being a wife and mom, with a home of my own, has changed things. And for those of you who are on the fence about Santa and what to say to your kids, know this: Christmas is a magical time with or without Santa. We never said one way or another about Santa, until directly asked. And then we shared, and also shared the story of the “original story,” and talked about families who don’t have all the things that they are so accustomed to. Which prompted them to show great signs of heart. After talking with my Miss E about it, I gave her a dollar and said she could use it to buy gum or something (she looooves gum), but on the way in she asked about the man ringing the bell next to the red bucket. I told her what it was and what the money went for. And that’s right, my three year old decided she’d rather help out a family in need than get some gum. And Big E has helped pick out a toy for a boy who would possibly not get any others. They frequently go through their toys and leave me with a pile they say they don’t love anymore, to give to kids who are in need of some toys to love. (Granted if I don’t get them out of the house quickly enough, eventually they’ll be rediscovered and magically back in love with…but c’mon, they’re under 5!) As I was saying, there is magic in the season, even without Santa bringing it. There’s magic in their faces watching the snow, watching them decorate their own tree (it’s just their size!), hearing the oooohs and aaaahs (And “Mooom, look! They’re just so bootifull“) over houses and trees lit up with lights. Hearing them recount to each other all the special traditions and meanings of Christmas. Listening to them reenact the Christmas story with the nativity set. Baking cookies, making fun crafts… there’s magic in all of that. Even without Santa.

Here’s some of our magic that’s very easily duplicated…

This was really easy and the kids thought it was really fun. I found a book of Christmas stencils among my decorations, but you could easily hand draw some simple, Christmas-themed things (tree, bell, star, santa outline, stocking outline- they’re all pretty basic) and then had the kids color them in. Next they’ll get cut out and used as gift tags for grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. You could do this on green or red paper and make it even more festive! I didn’t think about that until after!

I got the idea for these from pinterest, which lead me to this lovely blog. Mine is a little different, but definitely the same premise. I just filled 8 clear bulbs with some white glitter, stuck an index finger from each of them into some glue and them put it on the bulb. Then we covered the finger prints in glitter! After they dried I used a permanent marker and made little black hats for their heads and three black dots for buttons on the belly. I also added a red scarf with a red permanent marker. These were so easy and turned out really cute.

And these gems were really just because. I’d gotten some ornament shaped…I don’t even know what to call the material, kind of like a thin foam, maybe? Anyone know what I’m talking about? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?  Whatever, they’re cute and they were on sale. I figured these could either be gift tags, or I could glue pics of the coordinating kids on the back and make them into ornaments (probably payback to our parents for all the child-made ornaments my grandparents had to have!) This was another glitter and glue project. Dip the whole hand in, put it on the “paper” and shake the glitter! Easy-peasy. Oh, I did Littlest E’s feet instead of hands because on anyone under 2 years old, this is the easiest way to go without doing it in their sleep. (When the kids were babies I’d use a finger paint and sign footprints on all their cards- to daddy, grandparents, uncles, etc.) I don’t even care that these are blatantly “chintzy,” I like ’em!

I saw a few posts about 25 days of crafting, where you do a new and different craft with your kids each day. I am not going to be doing that. I’d be digging myself out of the glitter by day 4. But I liked the idea, and we are doing lots of crafts. Today will be chocolate-covered strawberries, made to look like Christmas lights. They are gonna be cute!! (And delicious) Unfortunately, MissE has been unable to help herself, and she’s already eaten half the strawberries I bought for this, so we’ll just have enough for a post dinner snack. I’m really excited about them anyways (I always get excited about food!) and look forward to posting pictures of our work after!

I have no idea what's on his face... but he looks happy at least!

This is not craft related, or maybe it is… I can’t remember what he’d gotten into! I just like it! And since he wasn’t really a part of the pictures or post, there you go. And here is his contribution into today’s laughter:

Our dog is a huuuge baby. (Have you ever heard of a lab who gets tired of playing fetch after maybe 5 throws? And he’s only a year!) When I’m diligent about it, he gets better, but normally, anytime he hears a noise, he sits at the window, with his head stuck behind the curtain. Barking and/or growling at all the little old ladies that go a-walkin’ through our neighborhood. (Obviously, they are the most threatening of the passerbys.) Today was no exception. Lady walks by, puppy begins to growl. I turn around, tell him to Stop that! And then shoo him to go lay down. A moment later, I hear more growling. I find myself rolling my eyes as I head back to the window, only to find that the growling I heard was coming out of my sweet, littlest boy! The dog, of course, quickly sidled up next to him. And there they stood, growling in unison at the sweet neighbor-lady (that they both know). *Sigh*Headshake*Eyeroll*

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Santa: The Good, The Bad, and The Creepy


Santa-lovers beware, this post is not for you. My husband hates Santa. Simply put, he creeps him out. I’ve tried to reason with the man, but for some reason my arguments never seem as valid once they become audible. None the less, these are a few of the statements we’ve each spouted to prove our own thoughts’ validity.

  • He watches them while they’re sleeping! I’ve always wanted a way to watch them when they sleep and actually get some sleep myself- now I have that! Now I’ll have someone awake and watching, in case some old creep would try and break in. (hey, wait a minute…)
  • He knows when they’re awake- I’m pretty sure neighboring countries know when our children have awoken. So really, the North Pole isn’t that much of a stretch.
  • You can get your children to behave by spouting a simple, harmless lie. Behaving children? Check. Tricking them? Check! Lying to them? Double check! All the parently attributes I’d hoped to pass down to my young, impressionable children.
  • Bringing your most precious gifts (your children) to sit on the lap of a strange old man with a beard, who may or may not smell like a liquor cabinet is not weird at all. It’s flat out creepy.
  • Santa (and his consumerism) helps the economy! Your kid whispers what they want most in this world to a “santa.” Leaving you to buy every toy it could’ve possibly been, just so you can keep the faith alive.
  • I’ve always wanted my children to find good role models in life, you know someone that will teach them useful tools for their life. Santa does that. If you want your kid to have the best teacher for B&E’s- he’s your guy. Same goes for if you’d like your children to reach expert-level in the Peeping Tom world.  (Seriously, all the facebook status updates in the world are not enough, he actually has to see you.)
  •  I googled Santa and came up with TONS of websites dedicated to pictures of creepy Santas. And they were definitely creepy. I think I could smell rum on a couple of them.
  • There’s a Santa and Mrs. Clause speedo run all over the country every year. I think we can safely add Mrs. Clause to the do not watch list.
  • He turns sweet, wild reindeer into prancing, flying slaves who perform his manual labor.
  • When asked if he’d like to meet Santa, this was Big E’s response: He’s not real. Me: So you don’t want to meet him? Big E: It would be kinda creepy to meet someone who’s not real. (He’s got a point.)

Case adjourned.

If Santa would just hook up with social media things could be different. We’d be way less freaked out by someone who just twitters your tweets and pokes your posts… eh, maybe not.

photo credit: ilovecoffeeyesido

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Signs My Children Are Evil Geniuses


Ok, maybe they’re not evil…. and maybe they’re not geniuses (I’m saying that for the sole reason that there are parents out there whose children are not geniuses, and if that’s you, I want you to keep reading with a clear mind, instead of one muddled with thoughts of how your children are under-achievers.. Obviously, mine actually are geniuses.)

Sign #1. As I typed of them truly being geniuses, my youngest stripped off his diaper, only to immediately pee on the floor. And then cry about being wet. My children love to make a liar out of me, or maybe just a fool. Either way they win; I lose.

Sign #2. The men on my husband’s side all need to be fed before they get hungry or disaster ensues. So if one of my boys says they’re hungry, for the love of all things peaceful, feed them and feed them quick! My oldest always seems to get hungry just as I’m in the middle of doing something tedious/time consuming/I have to get done which means that I’ll make him something fast like a PB&J (this kid would live on it if he had the choice) instead of cooking an entire meal.

Sign #3. They keep me guessing. MissE will whine and whine and whine. Just when I think I’m, going to lose it with her, and the constant questions, requests, and flat out whining, she’ll respond with, I was asking if I could have this orange to share with Big E, because we’re hungry and it’s healthy for us so we’ll grow big and strong. They do all these childish things and then spout out some grown up paraphernalia. Yesterday, MissE’s complaint was that Littlest E just didn’t appreciate her. Yes, those were her words.

Sign #4. I’m guessing most people with a dog probably also have this problem, but I’m adding it in as collective evidence. Something they don’t want to eat but have been told they have to?  It inevitably gets spilled on the floor where the dog lay in wait, before I could even think about the possibility of making them eat it anyways. (I’m not specifically saying I would, just saying it’s gone before I could even process that thought!)

Sign #. This may be the most telling sign of all. My children are good helpers. Big E wakes up and lets the dog out, often all on his own. Miss E is my “fetcher” (as she woman looks for objects where as my boys “man look”- which either means that it truly is genetic, or Big E is a bigger evil genius than I realized), and even Littlest E loves to help put away toys. They love to help so much that they often argue over who gets to do what. If I ask someone to let the dog back in and one keeps playing, while the other goes running… the one left behind falls into hysterics as they obviously wanted to be the one to do it. And heaven forbid I ask one of them specifically to do something for me, the other is always hurt that I didn’t ask them to do it. Which means that sometimes I weigh the time spent calming them down vs. time spent doing the job itself. And I admit there are times when I just do things myself because that’s easier than dealing with the but-I-wanted-to-do-it fall out. Which just may be exactly what they wanted….

She *looks* so unsuspecting, doesn't she?

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Football For Life!


I am a girl who very much likes football. Really. My whole little family could be a walking Viking commercial. (In looking for pictures to post, I found I had more pictures of us in Viking gear than I thought and had a hard time choosing!) I like football, in general,so much I will (willingly) watch games that are not featuring “my team.” Now before the rest of my contemporaries throw me under the bus for “betraying  my kind,” know that it is a great bonding time with my hubbyman, one that the kids have gotten in on. Seriously, Big E would sit and watch a whole game with his daddy when he was too little to be watching tv! And they love “our” team so much that they have a hard time accepting that a) there are any other teams, b) anyone would cheer for any other team, and c) that their beloved Vikings could not win a game. (All Viking fans have this problem, I’m sure. Please, withhold your laughter. It’s bad enough to be a fan. Don’t kick us while we’re down.) I came across this video via the f’book this morning and laughed watching it…and I assure you, you will too. And if you’re not laughing, you are probably commiserating.

This is just too hilarious, sad, and true…and anyone that knows my children, knows how easily this could have been a video of one of them (I know I already said this, but it bears repeating!)! In fact, when I showed them this video, they responded in 3 ways:

Watching a game with daddy. Really.

Big E: The Vikings show? Is it time for the Viking show now?

Me: No, that was a couple days ago.

Big E: Did you forget to tell me what time it was?

Me: No, you watched a little bit of it, but you were watching a movie in the playroom instead.

Big E: I don’t think you told me the Viking show was on. Daddy would have wanted me to watch the Viking show with him. He likes me to see them win and do the touchdown.

Me: I know he does. But the Vikings didn’t win this time.

Big E: (getting very upset) Yes, they did.

Me: I wish they had, trust me, but they didn’t win this time.

Big E: I am never going to trust you because I did want them to win and I didn’t want to watch a movie instead of the Viking show.

MissE in Viking apparel via Grama

Miss E: Why is that little girl crying?

Me: Because she wanted the Vikings to win.

Miss E: Did they not do many touchdowns?

Me: No, they did not do many touchdowns.

Miss E: (begins to cry) but I only like it when the Vikings win.

Me: I know, me too.

Miss E: (Throws herself on the couch, while crying) You should never say the Vikings didn’t win. They only win.

Daddy and "the big 2"- before they were big

Littlest E: (pointing at computer screen) Baby

Me: She’s bigger than you. You are the baby.

Littlest E: (pointing at computer screen) Baby! (pointing at himself) Big boy!

Me: This argument is going to go as well as the Vikings loss…

Littlest at a Viking's game!

Even my littlest man thinks it's shocking how bad the Vikes are this year!

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How We Survive


So as I was doing the dishes, I thought I was overhearing a rather sweet moment passing between Littlest E and MissE. I poked my head into the living room to catch them in a hug, smiled at their sweetness, and went back to the dishes. Only to catch the last few words of what MissE was actually saying.

That’s right you little boy, I’m never going to let you go. You’re not going to get passed me and get my dolly.

That’s right that sweet moment I’d just witnessed was really a hostage situation. She was afraid he was going to get her doll (probably with good reason, they do tend to want whatever toy is prized.) and she was going to do anything she could to make sure that didn’t happen. Apparently including keeping him clamped in her grip.  Finally Littlest started to fuss and complain about the hostage situation and so I poked my head back in. saying, “Miss E, you know if you’d let go of your brother you’d have a free hand to actually play with your dolly.” To which she scrunched up her pretty little face, heaved a huge sigh, and spouted off with, Ahh! This is never going to work! I tried to stifle my laughter and asked her, What isn’t going to work? I want to play with Littlest. Well, it looks like he wants to play with you too. But he keeps touching my toys. You want him to play with you without touching the toys? Yeah. I just want him to watch me play with my toys. That’s how he can play with me. 

With his ever-perfecting comedic timing, Littlest walks back in with his sister’s trash can, takes one look at her, shakes his head, and sticks the basket on his head (it goes to his belly) and walks out.  *Sigh* I know how he feels. So if you happen to see me walking around with a trash can or basket on my head, don’t worry about it, it’s a means of survival around here.

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Wheelin’ And Dealin’


So I’m trying to make a deal with Littlest E about wearing his diapers, and if he’s not wearing them, where he should be going potty. Right now it seems like we’re at floor 12 – potty 4. He really is young for potty training, but he hates diapers. He takes them off as soon as a droplet of anything hits the diaper, if he leaves it on long enough for any droplets to hit. He frequently can be found stripping off his diaper and then taking aim at the floor. Thankfully it’s just the pee version that hits the floor. The other form of potty is saved for the actual potty. Which is awesome! I should mention, he is 15 months old, so the fact that he uses and wants to use, and requests to use, the potty at all is pretty freakin’ amazing/exciting. So how exactly do you make a deal with a 15 month old? I’m not sure. If you have any ideas, feel free to send them my way!  I’m thinking I’ll test out duct tape and super tight pants. Skinny jeans would be hard to peel off (especially over cloth diapers!), right?? Maybe I could make pants with the duct tape? Lets see him shimmy outta that!

As soon as I’d typed these words in, I turned around to see Littlest Man sans diaper and hunched over….

Me: Ah!! *Littlest E*!!

MissE: Mom, he doesn’t like diapers. But don’t let him go potty on the floor. That’s gross.

Me: I know.

MissE: Then don’t let him do that.

Me: I didn’t let him do that. 

MissE: Then why didn’t you put him on the potty?

Me: I thought he was wearing a diaper, and he’s still kinda little to understand when to use the potty. And Ididn’t think he could get his diaper off while it was under his pants.

MissE: You were wrong.

Me: Obviously. Let’s get his diaper with the snaps, and go find some duct tape.

In other news, we may be getting some snow tonight and tomorrow… any chance anyone knows a good deal I can make to have two summers in a row, instead?

Happy Monday folks! May your day be filled with clean clothes, fresh food, and dry floors.

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Funny Bunny, Silly Goose (Or Dragon)


Did everyone have a terrific Halloween? I enjoyed our weekend soooo much!! Friday we spent it with good friends!!  (I’m pretty sure the kids thoroughly worse them out as the big 2 had him being their personal horsey all evening and Littlest E has declared her his favorite person!) We are so blessed to have friends that are so much like family to us and our children. Saturday I don’t know why, but I just woke up kind of cranky. (Probably the limited number of hours I actually slept!) It didn’t help that Littlest E refused to nap until a most inconvenient time. But it worked out fine in the end, hubbyman sent me out without baby, and i got to enjoy some errand running and margaritas with some very lovely ladies. I was in a good mood again by the time I returned home! (Sometimes I just need a brief reprieve!) Followed by an evening of a bonfire, roasting marshmallows and hotdogs with one of my favorite cousins! Ok, so actually, I watched from the window and he and Erik did this with the “big kids.” I did so, because Littlest E is not afraid of fire. In fact, he looooves it. And it is impossible to keep him up on the bench or in your arms because he’s kind of a strongwilled boy. I quickly became tired of fighting him and just went inside. I was a little cranky about this fact, but he and I really had a nice, quiet time. And I played Mario while he yelled “It’s a go!” Sunday Funday was a lot of fun. Miss E, Littlest E, and I went out to run some errands and pick up some last minute candy while Hubbyman and Big E designed and carved pumpkins.

hubbyman's pumpkin (Big E gave detail suggestions- like the scar)

What he looked like all lit up!

Monday was an action packed day! I had high hopes of accomplishing more than was humanly possible. It didn’t go so well. But by noon I did have dinner made (well, cooking in the crockpot) and the kids and I made Black Velvet Cupcakes (the same as red velvet, just without the food coloring). We had one brief moment of panic as I found the sweatshirt part of Big E’s costume was missing…. after tearing apart lots of rooms, closets, and tearing through our vehicle in a frantic search, I remembered I’d put it in my room so he wouldn’t play with it/misplace it before Halloween. Thankfully, crisis averted and the rest of the evening went off without a hitch! They even had family and friends come to see them all dressed up.  Here are some highlights that made walking in the chill of the evening worthwhile:

Littlest E waving at everyone who’d come to the door and shouting bumble, bumble, bumble! Bee!

It had little wings in the back. He was not thrilled with it. He did however appreciate when he found out the arms had gloves attached.

Miss E is probably our shiest child. (Until you get to know her, at that point we have no quiet children.) The first few houses were our neighbors, that she knows, and when it would come time to say “Thank you!” for the candy she’s just been given, she’d look at them and say (to them), I’m too shy to say thank you! and then run away… thankfully they know her and just laughed and by the time we got to houses where she didn’t actually know them she’d loosened up… by the 4th house (that was answered by a woman in an 80s outit, complete with hair) she chimed in with her brother to shout Trick or treat! And then when the lady answered the door she (very loudly) exclaimed, You have weird hair! So much for being shy…

Share Bear the CareBear

And when asked what she was, Big E  exclaimed, She’s a carebear! Don’t you see her belly badge?!  The lady at the door commented on Big E’s cool tail. At which point My sweet little girl turned around, bent over, stuck her butt in the air, wiggled it around and said, Yeah and I have a little tail! (this was all at the same house, the lady laughed a lot during our brief interaction.) We’ve watched Gnomeo and Juliet a few times this last month and so when Big E saw his Papa had put on a hat that stood up of his head, he was so excited! He told his Papa, I didn’t know you were going to be a Gnome for Halloween!

Dragon Boy (With his black velvet cupcake!)

And then these are just two more of my favorite photos of the night, and they seemed too good not to share!

Hubbyman and the boys

my little trick or treators!

What was your favorite part of Halloween? Mine was listening to all the funny things they said! Do you do store-bought or homemade costumes? Littlest E’s is storebought (MissE worse it 2 years ago!), but Big E and Miss E’s were made with love! And lots of man hours (literally- hubbyman made them! I knew what I wanted them to look like, and he has the patience and perfectionism to get them there!)

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The Earth Is Round


So this weekend hubbyman and I had a bit of a heart-to-heart. I’d been feeling one way, he’d been feeling another, and neither of us had been very communicative. It came on suddenly and really was a fairly short conversation. Was it our first discussion of this kind? Hardly. Will it be our last? I’d be shocked.  We each just needed to feel heard. It reminds me of the way the kids ask a million questions, all in a row. Some things they really do want answers for, but others, I’m fairly certain, are asked just because they want to know that it’s ok, or safe, to ask any questions they may have. And sometimes I feel that way too. I talk and talk, but really I just want to know, and feel, that my words are worth listening to. Am I alone in this?

My mom sent me an e-mail (that my grandma had sent to her) the other day and after our talk, I shared it with my husband, and we both had a good laugh:

While creating women, God promised men that submissive and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the world.

And then He made the earth round.

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The Skinless People


So I woke up today tired…I know, it’s shocking, right?! Ok, so it’s not shocking. But, I did wake up in a good mood and am finding delight in lots of things this morning. Like the fact that I remembered to buy more good coffee, so I don’ t have to gulp down hubbyman’s super dark roast. Or the smiles I get when the kids discover that I restocked our oatmeal supply, along with our supply of bananas! Littlest E was not as impressed with his own food and therefore got his breakfast from sneaking spoonfuls (and occasionally fist fulls) of his siblings’ food. Thankfully, his siblings didn’t seem to mind. They just sat there, the three of them, in a row, blissfully eating their breakfast. Or wearing it, depending on your point of view.

Because I’m finding delight in things, I thought I’d share a few things that maybe you would find some delight in too.

Last weekend, I was driving home from my parents, with all the kiddos in tow. It’s about an hourish drive. Which is just long enough to get lots of good stories in. It started with them asking me to tell them the story about when I used to have “a work” to go to… and then they started talking. MissE is crying (yet again) because she doesn’t want to leave Earth, and she doesn’t want to die. And Big E is excitedly talking about how he wants to go to Heaven. He just wants to go and see God’s face. (At which point his sister informs him that he doesn’t have to die to do that, he could just open up and try and see his heart.) He just kind of looks at her sister, and then asks, If I open me up, will I die and go to heaven? I ask him why he wants to go heaven right now, and this conversation followed:

I really just want to see God. And to see all the people who don’t have skin anymore and are just bones. 

Um, what?

You know, when you die all your skin melts off and you’re just bones.

(Insert Miss E crying and saying:) I want to keep my skin! Can we tell God to just make Earth be the Heaven and let us keep our skin, and give the already died people back their skin? 

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