Celebrating You, Big J!!!
Happy Birthday, Big J!
Thanks for coming.
Why can’t anything be simple?
Join me over at Dads Round Table to talk and laugh about the joy of trying to get children to make a simple Christmas cards for their teachers.
Here’s a snippet of the giggles you’ll find when you get there:
…Instead of a few minutes invested and a lovely gift-card combo being produced, I have a migraine starting as I try to figure out where my two young scribes are for the third time since they began to make their cards 20 minutes ago.
When I have again herded them back to the card producing zone, it isn’t 30 seconds before I hear a Nerf gun being loaded.
“Put the gun down!” I holler from the kitchen, where dinner is also behind schedule. I wonder if when our neighbors hear me yell that they remember it as standard fare from last year’s teachers’ Christmas card making session.
I hear Son#3 ask Son#1, “Do you know where the fish food is?”…
Click on over to my Christmas Cards Are The Devil post on Dads Round Table to get the entire tale.
As always, the extra click to get there counts as cardio.
Have you become so frustrated with trying to wrangle children that you were tempted to poke yourself in the eye? Have you glued a body part to a table? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.
Happy Christmas Eve!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
It can be stressful and exhausting and depressing.
So, let me help you out.
First, remember to keep the main thing the main thing. Nothing else truly matters.
Second, invite someone who might be lonely to join in your celebration. The invitation, not the scale of the celebration, is what matters. It will work wonders. For both of you. Just do it!
Thirdly, take time to feel the joy and to laugh. I’ve assembled some funnies here to get you started.
PS – Remember, no fair starting to assemble toys until after midnight.
Remember the Joy of the Season!
What’s making you smile this Christmas season? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it. I’ll be eating Christmas cookies while I wait.
Ok, I am officially stressed out by how much I still need to do today.
I admit it.
I’m not in a full on panic or at freak out stage, but the day’s not over yet.
I’m not ready for Christmas. I’m behind in work, too. I haven’t had enough play time with my kids.
Part of me would like to sneak off to a warm beach and take a nap until January 3. But, that part of me is gonna have to suck it up because real life, or some semblance of it, is here with a vengeance.
To help myself relax a bit as I’m out amongst the throngs, hunting for trinkets, prime rib, and Skylanders, I’m reminding myself of all of the good things about being way behind and unorganized this year.
Why I’m Glad I Waited Until The Last Second To Shop This Year:
Quick decisions – It is so much easier to make quick decisions when that is my only option. I know that if I hesitate, some blue-haired lady hopped up on Starbucks and Cinnabon will knock me out of the way and grab all the Care Bears while I’m weighing the pros and cons of Sunshine Bear versus Cares A lot Bear. What I really need is a “Back Off, Lady!” Bear.
None of that annoying shopping around for the best price – You got it in stock? Sold! I’ll take it. It’s kind of like coming to terms with having to pay Amazon for one day shipping. It’s the last minute. I’m beaten. Take all my money.
I’m not lonely – There are plenty of people to talk to everywhere I go. Or, at least to listen to. There seems to be quite a bit of rambling going on. I imagine I’ll be joining the ranks of the monologuing soon, as I continue to debate with myself about whether Son#3 loves mint and hates caramel or hates mint and loves caramel, and whether Daughter#1 should get the coat she needs or the sundress she wants.
Inspiration for future projects – I’m picking up all kinds of ideas for work in the future. Right now I’m envisioning a reality show called “The Most Bitter Man In The World.” We’ll be able to find plenty of contestants by trawling around women’s fitting rooms and talking to guys holding purses, mumbling, and constantly checking their watches.
Reminded about the needy – This time of year, in the rush to provide that magical, goody-filled experience for my kids, it’s easy to forget about those who have real needs. Standing in line at the mall I have only to look around to see that I’m surrounded by truly needy people. So far I’ve counted 23 women and 6 men who truly need bras, innumerable teenage girls who truly need more fabric, and 57 parents who truly need soap to wash their mouths out from Santa this year. And, I haven’t even been to Toys R Us yet.
Learning new holiday traditions – Not five minutes ago I heard a man give a clerk a holiday greeting that I hadn’t heard before. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was something like this (note: I’ve substituted the word “holiday” for a shorter word that the man used, as I am not quite ready to welcome that word into my holiday lexicon):
Holiday! You better holiday–ing listen to me you little holiday-er. I have been to 4 holiday-ing stores looking for that holiday-ing toy and when I holiday-ing called here some holiday-er told me that you holiday-ing had plenty of the holiday-ers. Now you go holiday-ing find me one or I’m gonna put my holiday-ing foot up your holiday-ing mistletoe. Holiday! (note: I have substituted “mistletoe” for a slightly different word that described a body part)
I couldn’t help but wish the man a “Merry Christmas!” as I passed by him.
Great training for a Zombie apocalypse – Hanging out with weary, angry aggressive shoppers is a surprisingly realistic approximation for running among the throngs of the un-dead. Trying to keep possession of a giant Skylander all the way to the registers at the front of the store is an excellent way to train for Walking Dead. I’m pumped up.
I feel better now. I hope you do, too.
What’s something ridiculous you’ve come across while preparing this year? How do you keep a good attitude? Who is the grumpiest person and who is the most cheerful in your neck of the woods? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.
As I’m spending extra time celebrating with my family, today’s post is one of my favorites from the past.
Peace He brings
Merry Christmas to you and yours. May you feel the Love of Christmas all through the year.
Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission
I’m way behind with my Christmas prep this year, so I’ve been doing last minute shopping. Judging by the crowds I’ve encountered, so has everyone else.
I’ve picked up a few tips while I’ve been tripping the malls fantastic (or maybe I was tripping fantastically in the mall. Hmmm. Hard to say). You might want to keep these lessons in mind while you’re out picking up that last minute horrible holiday sweater or jar of marshmallow crème.
For example, never assume that just because something is in a store, wearing a price tag that it’s for sale. I foolishly thought that the books in the giant pyramid made up of the latest book by the late Tom Clancy were for sale when I spied it at Costco. But, after she scanned the copy I’d put in my cart, the cashier scowled and interrogated me, “Where did you get this book? It’s not allowed to be sold until next week. Where did you get it? Where?!?!”
I debated with myself about whether to tell her, “I crafted it at home and brought it in just to mess up your day” or “If I go down, I’m taking all of you with me!” But, since her right eye was already twitching, and she seemed the type to have an itchy trigger finger, I went with “A one arm man dropped that into my cart.”
If she got the joke, her stare didn’t reveal it. The way she violently scanned my bananas, though, did seem to reveal her hatred of the yellow fruit. Sad, as banana haters are a lonely bunch (see what I did there?).
Also, keep in mind that things are not always as they appear to be. If, for example, you’re in a discount store, you may encounter an aisle blocking crowd, made up of people who are congregating to watch a knife demonstration (By the way, nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a good, old fashioned knife demonstration) (Is there anyone who actually needs a knife demonstration? Who doesn’t know how to use a knife?). And, you may decide to squeeze between the crowd and the corral of pillows behind it.
I encountered just such a situation (still can’t fathom what was holding these people’s attention as the knife-man sliced up every day, sliceable stuff, i.e. like bread, meat and cheese. “We grasp the cheese firmly, then we slice easily. We grasp the bread firmly, then we slice easily…”). I thought that, as it appeared to be made from 4×4’s, that the pillow corral was quite sturdy, and could easily support the pressure of me leaning against it.
Well, I was wrong.
The entire corral gave way and collapsed around me with a disturbing crash, burying me in pillows and 4×4’s. Fortunately, there was a giant crowd there to witness the collapse, and to capture my embarrassment on their cell phones (it didn’t really happen if no one snaps a pic with their cell phone). The embarrassment that flooded through me as I felt myself rapidly descending into the pillow pit was quickly replaced by shock, when I opened my eyes, looked up, and saw a large man holding an even larger knife leaning over me.
After I tunneled out the back of the avalanche site, I was ready to end my time of retail torment. At the end of our excellent adventure, is a vital lesson to remember.
The checkout lines were daunting. I announced loudly how surprised I was to see, in the very back of the store, a display of iPod Touches marked down to $59.95. The crowd disappeared quicker than homemade fudge on Christmas Eve.
Worked like a charm.
Except that my husband and teenagers got swept away with the crowd.
On the other hand, the ride home was quite peaceful.
What lessons have you learned as you face the battlefield of store aisles this holiday season? Have you caused any avalanches? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.
End of the week.
Start of the weekend.
Pull up a chair, and grab the beverage and snack of your choice.
Time to get your giggle on.
Smiles From Around The World Wide Web
Have you fanned me up on Facebook? If not, here’s your chance! Click on over and hit “like” so you don’t miss a giggle (be sure to hover and select “Show in News Feed” while you’re at it, so Facebook will show you the giggles).
Be sure to visit the Gina Valley Facebook page and to “like” me up.
All the rest of my pins for the week are here on my Latest Great Pins Board.
If you’re trying to put off making dinner, you can check out all of my boards on Pinterest.
My recent humor posts include
Friday Funnies – dtvt (a weeks worth of funnies),
Top 10 Signs It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (undeniable proof Christmas is coming),
A Hunting We Will Go…Gina’s Favorites (joys and insanity of family time),
Tuesday Tickles – dsvt (a week’s worth of funny quips),
Hanging Out With The Boys (making cookies & craziness).
I hope they gave you some giggles, too.
What made you smile this week? Did you have a good week? Any big plans this weekend? Have you scheduled time to relax? I’m looking forward to hearing about it! Shoot me a comment with all the details!
Today I’m hanging out with all the cool peeps over at Dads Round Table.
Join me at Dads Round Table to read my The Spirit Of Giving Just Stabbed Me With A Fork post. It’s my sweet, tender tale of holiday togetherness, and, of course, by “sweet, tender tale of holiday togetherness” I mean the recounting of an attempt at Martha Stewart meets Donna Reed on my part, which left me with an eye twitch, a throbbing headache, and a diminished will to live.
Here’s a peek:
I don’t know what I was thinking.
Call it temporary insanity or an over-inhalation of holiday spirit, but I thought it would be fun to not only make cookies for our neighbors, but to make the cookies with my littles.
Clearly, I was out of my mind…
…When the 11 year old ate his entire ¼ of the batch of dough while I was looking for the rolling pin, I reminded myself that we didn’t have to give cookies to all of the neighbors, and I used visions of sugarplums to push fears of salmonella from the raw eggs in the dough out of my mind. I held on to my festive hopes. After all, we have a low medical insurance co-pay…
As always, the extra click to get there counts as cardio.
What’s your favorite holiday bonding disaster? Did you try it again the next year? Shoot me a comment (and be sure to read The Spirit Of Giving Just Stabbed Me With A Fork). I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.
We have a tradition in our family of buying each family member two new ornaments each year.
My idea with it was that when my kids are grown and on their own I will keep one from each year and give them one from each year to put on their first Christmas tree. Now, I don’t know how I will part with any of them, so we’ll see how that plays out.
Originally this tradition was to make 2 new ornaments each year. But, it didn’t take long for us to realize that unless Martha Stewart herself showed up to do the work, and maybe not even then, the chance of us coming up with save-worthy, home generated ornaments was slim to none.
So, instead, we go ornament hunting. Some people schedule an outing to go cut down their Christmas tree. I stage a surprise reverse ambush on my family sometime after Halloween and before Christmas Day each year to bag us some baubles for the tree. Twice we’ve done it on Christmas Eve. After the midnight service (Don’t you go knocking those always-open stores. We, the over-scheduled, organizationally-impaired, need them).
The ornaments don’t have to be ornaments. It can be anything that’s small and light enough to hang on the tree, and that represents something about that person that year. If I can hook some gold ribbon or a piece of wire on to make it tree-hangable, we’ll call it an ornament.
I prefer to take 1 or 2 of my children out to hunt at a time, partly to be able to give them more attention, and partly because I’m less likely to feel the need to strangle one of them that way. But, the OCD in me revs up after Thanksgiving if these kind of details aren’t nailed down. So, when I realized on the way home from church on Sunday that I had my whole pack AND The Professor captive…I mean … present in the van, I made an impromptu visit to the giant red store.
My teens were thrilled. I could tell because, although they groaned, no one said, “Do we have to go?”
I could tell my littles were thrilled, too, because they stopped hitting each other long enough to discuss what kind of weaponry they were going to look for to hang on the tree.
I could hear sleigh bells.
Son#4, always a tad impulsive, immediately picked out a roll of duct tape as the first of his two of ornaments. I told him that I’d prefer he get something a bit more Christmasy or personal. He reminded me that you can make anything out of duct tape. Touché.
Son#1, always an efficient shopper, quickly found wood cravings of a fish and a snake to represent his favorite pets, his formerly 1 ½ inch long, but now 2 FOOT long catfish (seriously, who keeps a fish alive long enough to get that big?) and the ball python my sister sent home with him after our last visit (wait until she sees what I got her kids).
He then began to busy himself looking at fishing gear. He loves to fish. The irony of that is not lost on my fish-whisperer son.
Son#2 an avid, basketball, soccer, and La Crosse player, stuck his hand into the bin of small sports balls, and pulled out 2 balls shaped like monster heads. He asked if I could hook something on them to hang them on the tree. I said that I could, but wondered whether the sports balls might be more representative of him. He said that the monsters were perfect because he liked to make faces at people to bug them. At least he’s honest.
So far a snake, a fish, two monsters, and a roll of duct tape. It’s like we were half way to Bethlehem.
Daughter#1 showed me an ornament she thought I should get that looked like a little black high heel shoe. I got it, but I know she is going to borrow it, and I won’t be able to find it when I need it to go with the cute little black dress ornament I’m hoping to get. I’ll end up using a flip flop ornament to go with my dress ornament, and feel like a fool.
She decided on a camera ornament and a red shoe ornament similar to the one she picked out for me. Both are perfect for her, as she loves to both take and be in photos, and to both take and be in my shoes.
Daughter#2 picked out, as always, an ornament with a “G” on it because it’s her initial, and something purple. This time it was a glass ball with purple dots on it. Seeing the “G” ornament in the basket, The Professor asked who it belonged to. Son#4 pointed out, less than patiently, that Gemma is the only one who’s name starts with “G.”
The Professor asked Son#4, “What about your mom?”
To which Son#4, clearly using his “poor, confused dad needs explaining to again” voice answered, “Dad, mom starts with an ‘m.’”
The “Duh!” was implied.
Daughter#3 always gets an ornament with her middle name, Noel, on it. The second ornament is anyone’s guess. Her tastes vary widely. This year she decided, despite the very verbal protests of her brothers, to bring Justin Bieber home for the holidays. His smiling face is grinning on a shiny, glitter-decorated ball. I fear for his safety, and have made threats that I am hoping will guarantee his survival.
Son#3 made it his mission to locate every ornament in the ornament department which was missing a part AND to show each and every one of them to me. I was tempted to go get a glue gun to fix them up. It reminded me of the Island of Misfit Toys in the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie.
Somehow, in between broken ornament interventions, arm wrestling with his younger brother, and admiring the bicycle display (this is the first year in ages we got out of there without knocking the entire line of bicycles over) he found time to pick out a rubber duckie and a carved wooden shark to serve as his ornaments for the year. I have no idea why.
Son#4 brought me a beautiful, 3-dimensional 12- pointed star ornament and said, “Mom, isn’t this perfect?” It really was. It was sparkly and jewel toned. It would look lovely on the tree. But, before I could express my gratefulness at his having taken the request to find something fitting to celebrate Christmas seriously, he continued. “Doesn’t it look just like one of those big things they used to put on the end of a stick to whack people on the head with?
The Professor spent the duration of the trip digging through a bin of identical penguin ornaments, “looking for one that is left handed.” I’m not sure how you can tell. But, we’ve been married a long time, and I’ve learned that sometimes it’s better not to ask.
For myself, I got the cute black high heel ornament, and the only nativity ornament in the whole store. I don’t mean the only design, mind you, but the only ornament. I was happy that Daughter#2 found it, but a little sad at its being such a rare find.
I also picked out several different penguin ornaments for The Professor. I got extra because I couldn’t tell if they were left handed. I put a small tree on the table in our foyer to be home to his penguin ornament collection each year. Always fun to add to his flock.
I got an extra “Noel” ornament for Daughter#3 in case her Bieber bauble suffers a premature demise.
It was a very successful trip. No stitches were needed. No fist fights and only one shoving, kicking incident. We left with not only the same number of children as we arrived with, but with, in fact, the very same children. And, we only had to visit 4 different departments, not counting the Christmas area, before everyone found at least two ornament-worthy items.
The ornaments are now in a heap in the middle of our dining room table, awaiting their owner and year labels. I should have bought a new Sharpie marker to use while we were at the store. After that they will receive their hanging clips and be cleared for tree placement.
I’m wishing we’d gotten a tree while we were out.
Or, at least some duct tape.
That way we could have made our own.
After all, you can make anything out of duct tape.
Do you have any traditions this time of year? What about when you were a kid? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it. And, you’re already here anyway. You might as well go for it.
I love to share giggles.
Here’s some of the tweets that made me laugh in the last week.
Mom, I farted on you. I’m just gonna translate that to “mom, I love you. You are the best mom EVAH.”
— YKIHAYHT (@YKIHAYHT) December 4, 2013
My son’s superpower is to turn 1 cracker into 10 lbs of crumbs
— Hunter Steele (@FatherWithTwins) August 9, 2013
If the school is closed again tomorrow, I’ll drop my kids off anyway and enjoy the quiet while they figure out how to get home.
— Stella G. Maddox (@StellaGMaddox) December 11, 2013
Apparently, DON’T PUT THAT IN YOUR MOUTH is merely taken as a suggestion in this house.
— Jeni Decker (@Jeni_Decker) December 15, 2013
8yo: How long have you & dad been married? Me: 12 years. 8yo: So you got married & then 4 years later… you had SEX & you got me?!
— Kathy Cooperman (@Kathy_Cooperman) December 5, 2013
We celebrate the season in our own individual ways. Apparently my way is to Superglue my thumb to a piece of Fiestaware. #holidaytraditions
— Anna Lefler (@AnnaLefler) December 16, 2013
Never commit to anything until the last minute. -the first rule of Might Club
— Ham on Wry (@HeyZeus666) December 16, 2013
Bought my kids an alarm clock that lights up when it’s okay for them to get out of bed. I set it for Tuesday.
— Andy H. (@AndyAsAdjective) December 14, 2013
After watching 3 Home Alone movies my son asked if he could drop some heavy stuff on bad guys.
— James (@JamesHudyma) December 13, 2013
6yo: Who wants to join my Lego club? Me:… 6yo: Anyone? Me:… 6yo: No one? Me: Ok, I will. 6yo: Sorry. You’re too old.
— Amy Flory (@FunnyIsFamily) December 13, 2013
10 just asked me to watch the sun set with her. On minecraft. Not in RL or anything.
— Claire M (@XclairemckX) December 16, 2013
My 5 year old asked how an email goes from one computer to another so I started off with “electronic waves” & ended with “super-cool magic”.
— Brian Hope (@Brianhopecomedy) December 9, 2013
Be sure to follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss a laugh!
(stuff I can hardly believe I said out loud to my pack this week):
Start acting like you’re having fun putting ornaments on the tree.
Wear something light so the dog hair doesn’t show.
I put them on the paper plate. That’s kinda home-made.
(stuff I can hardly believe one of my pack said to me this week):
You could just give me my presents now, then you don’t have to wrap them.
Will you be mad if I need cupcakes in an hour?
Can we have food for dinner?
What makes you smile? Where do you turn when you need a giggle? Do you have a favorite tweeter? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.
Don’t miss a giggle. Be sure to “Like” up my Facebook page, and to share it with a friend.