I’m NOT Freaking Out…Yet

I’m NOT Freaking Out…Yet

by Gina Valley

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.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Christmas Holiday Shopping Stress Planning Last MinutePart 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.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Christmas Holiday Shopping Stress Planning Last MinuteI’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.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Christmas Holiday Shopping Stress Planning Last MinuteLearning 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.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

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.

A Hunting We Will Go

A Hunting We Will Go

by Gina Valley

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.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Christmas Crafting Holiday Mess Location Draperies Throwback Day Brain Futz Silk Table Cloth Pinecone Markers Basketball Soccer Island Of Misfit Toys Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Shark Snake Duckie  Star Justin BieberOriginally 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.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Christmas Crafting Holiday Mess Location Draperies Throwback Day Brain Futz Silk Table Cloth Pinecone Markers Basketball Soccer Island Of Misfit Toys Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Shark Snake Duckie Star Justin Bieber

The Professor didn’t even roll his eyes.

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.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Christmas Crafting Holiday Mess Location Draperies Throwback Day Brain Futz Silk Table Cloth Pinecone Markers Basketball Soccer Island Of Misfit Toys Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Shark Snake Duckie Star Justin Bieber

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.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Christmas Crafting Holiday Mess Location Draperies Throwback Day Brain Futz Silk Table Cloth Pinecone Markers Basketball Soccer Island Of Misfit Toys Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Shark Snake Duckie Star Justin BieberSon#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.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Christmas Crafting Holiday Mess Location Draperies Throwback Day Brain Futz Silk Table Cloth Pinecone Markers Basketball Soccer Island Of Misfit Toys Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Shark Snake Duckie Star Justin BieberFor 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.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Christmas Crafting Holiday Mess Location Draperies Throwback Day Brain Futz Silk Table Cloth Pinecone Markers Basketball Soccer Island Of Misfit Toys Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Shark Snake Duckie Star Justin BieberThe 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.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

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 Can’t Think ‘Cause My Brain Is Pine Scented

I Can’t Think ‘Cause My Brain Is Pine Scented

by Gina Valley

I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but there is a special something in the air that makes me feel…

what’s the word…

INSANE!

I completely lose my mind and forget even the most basic knowledge, which I thought had been deeply ingrained in my soul.  I’m not talking about the everyday stuff, like my consistent inability to keep track of what day of the week it is.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Christmas Crafting Holiday Mess Location Draperies Throwback Day Brain Futz Silk Table Cloth Pinecone Markers

I’m talking major stuff like thinking I will ever iron that acetate shirt I bought so I can wear it to holiday parties all season instead of for just the one on the day I brought it home from the store, or that recipes from Pinterest turn out anything like the picture and really are quick and easy.

But, by far, my biggest brain futz seems to be with crafting.

For some reason, which I assume has something to do with a lack of oxygen reaching me, due to the proliferation of candles, cookies baking, and pine tree fumes, I believe that crafting something will not only be a fun, relaxing way to make holiday gifts and decorations, but also a great way to bond with my kids and to save some money.

HA!

Our first craft project this season, the complete step by step details of which will be forth coming in a future post, resulted in a silk table cloth “decorated” with blood and sap, a teen storming off ’cause he “never gets to do anything!”, and a near-stitches-worthy, tetanus-shot-needing gash.  Sigh.

It’s the most beautiful time of the year.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Christmas Crafting Holiday Mess Location Draperies Throwback Day Brain Futz Silk Table Cloth Pinecone MarkersWhile I was soaking the table cloth I got to thinking about how crafting had impacted (and by impacted I, of course, mean destroyed) other areas of our home.  My post Location, Location, Location: Planning For Your Disaster Area came to mind. I figured that would make an apropos Throwback Day post for this week.

So, here’s a peek at my Location, Location, Location: Planning For Your Disaster Area post:

…….It seems that if you leave the cap off a marker and lean it against a drapery, as my children are apt to do, the drapery fabric will suck the ink right out of the marker, creating a lovely splotch of color on the taupe colored drapes, which resembles either blood, barf, or poop, depending on the color of the marker.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Christmas Crafting Holiday Mess Location Draperies Throwback Day Brain Futz Silk Table Cloth Pinecone MarkersThis splotch takes on a life of its own and continues to climb and spread up the drape, mixing and mingling with other splotches and grubby finger prints as it encounters them, creating ever more intricate splotches.

It was fascinating!  I know this because as The Professor and I returned home after a dinner out last week and stood in our driveway, staring at the drapes, The Professor said, sounding way too pleased, “Looks just like something from my lab. It’s fascinating.  Really.  Quite fascinating.”  And, he was serious.   He was wrong, but quite serious!

Our tastes in décor are slightly different.  I tend to shy away from having our home look like a science experiment.  But, that’s just me…..

Meet me at Location, Location, Location: Planning For Your Disaster Area for the rest of the giggles.  You bring the chocolate.  I’ll bring the laughs.

As always, the extra click to get there counts as cardio.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Do you have any crafting war stories?  Are you crafty or are those hot glue gun scars I see on your fingers?  Has anybody ever made something for you that you couldn’t identify?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it!

Near Death Shopping Experience

Near Death Shopping Experience

by Gina Valley

So, I’m in line at the discount store.

You know, the one you don’t have to comb your hair to go to?  The one that, judging by several of the women who paraded by, is also bra optional.

As is typical, 4 of the 206 registers were open.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley WalMart Toys Art Supplies Check Out Line Cash Register Picture Books Condoms Tortilla Bowl Pillow Pet SnoozeI naively thought I was lucky in landing only 4 back from the register.  After all, how long could this possibly take?  Famous last words!

After having moved exactly NOT AT ALL!!! after literally 20 minutes I realized those might be my last words.  I looked at The Professor and said, “I think we will die here.”

“When you see the light try to fall into the cart, so I don’t have to drag your body through the line,” he answered, practical to the end.

I was not the only one performing last rights.  There were multitudes fading fast in every lane.  Tempers were shorter than the lines were long.  Holiday cynicism was at a peak.

But, as I stood there corralled by the Not-Available-IN-Stores merchandise and a rack of Pillow Pets Jr., staring at the distant cashier as she moved at nearly the speed of slow motion, something caught my eye.  It was a glimmer of hope. A spark of life.

I suddenly felt the will to live re-entering my body.

I could feel it swelling up within me until I was sure I would burst.  I had to tell someone.  I looked at The Professor.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley WalMart Toys Art Supplies Check Out Line Cash Register Picture Books Condoms Tortilla Bowl Pillow Pet SnoozeHe was standing next to me, leaning against the Pillow Pets and the Not-Available-In-Stores Tortilla Bowl Shapers.  He seemed to be deep in thought studying the empty gum cases.

I hated to  disturb him, but I had to tell someone, and everyone else in our line, aside from being perfect strangers, seem to be either angry, comatose, or both.  I decided to go ahead and wake The Professor up.

I jabbed his arm.  Repeatedly.  He finally woke up muttering, “Whoa, debit.  No! Credit.”

“Honey,” I whispered excitedly.

He leaned back against the magazines and said, “Five more minutes,” and then flopped his hand on my head, apparently looking for the snooze button.

“Wake up.  Wake up!” I implored as I shook him.

As he regained lucidity and checked his watch, he asked, “Is it our turn?”

I laughed.  That man is so funny. Like it could be our turn.  We’d only been in line for 25 minutes at that point.  We hadn’t even moved.  “No, but look.  Look at his cart,” I said, while pointing at the cart the guy in front of us was pushing.

“Yeah?  So?  It’s full. Wake me up when we move forward more than 24 inches,” he mumbled as he rearranged his Tortilla Bowl Shaper pile pillow.

“But, look at it,” I implored.  “Look what he’s buying.”

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley WalMart Toys Art Supplies Check Out Line Cash Register Picture Books Condoms Tortilla Bowl Pillow Pet SnoozeThe Professor opened both eyes and looked intently toward the cart in question. Then, he looked quizzically at giddy, fidgety me.

I’m sure he was a bit unnerved by my smile, which was undoubtedly wrapped all of the way around my head at that point. Probably, memories of past cart content alerts from me, like the time I spotted the creepy man buying only marshmallows, Spaghetti O’s, and 15 boxes of condoms, weighed heavily on his mind.  He thinks I shouldn’t look in other people’s carts.  I’ve told him that I have to because it’s material for my job (like right now!). He said that I couldn’t quote what he said after that.

Our cart was full of exciting discount store staples like socks, deodorant, Lean Cuisines, sweatpants, and paper plates. I might have tossed one of those Tortilla Bowl Shapers in there, too.

The guy in front of me had a cart full of colored pencils, a pile of arts and craft sets, 4 big boxes of crayons, 3 Easy Bake Ovens, 2 dolls, a stack of picture books, 2 Little Tykes trucks, a tub of Legos, and a bunch of glittery hair ties.  There was festive paper and bows on the rack underneath.

We were shopping for daily life & hygiene essentials.  He was not.

I quietly said to The Professor, “He’s Christmas shopping for kids.”  I think I squealed a little, because he gave me that look.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley WalMart Toys Art Supplies Check Out Line Cash Register Picture Books Condoms Tortilla Bowl Pillow Pet Snooze

I don’t know why, but for some reason just knowing that he was there to do something nice for children made me happy.  It made me pep right up.

The Professor looked at the cart again.  At first he had his “I will humor my crazy wife.  Again.” look on his face, but I noticed a smile rapidly taking over.  “He is, isn’t he?” The Professor said to me.  “Definitely has a cart full of kids’ gifts.”

It’s obviously not unusual to see someone Christmas shopping the first week of December, but there is something special about seeing a cart solely devoted to children’s gifts.  I’m not sure why it’s so special.

Maybe because it’s rare to see a cart filled only with toys.  Maybe because we all love the thrill of being a child at Christmas. Maybe because a little kid started this whole Christmas thing.  I don’t know.  But I do know that I wasn’t the only one who soaked up some joy and holiday energy just looking at that buggy full of kids’ stuff.

The guy behind us pointed it out to his wife.  The kid in the basket behind them craned his neck to see.  His mom smiled when she caught sight of it.  Pretty soon people in the lines on either side of ours began to notice.  People stood straighter, straining to see.  Scowls melted. Smiles appeared.  All across what had been a bastion of human misery joy spread.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley WalMart Toys Art Supplies Check Out Line Cash Register Picture Books Condoms Tortilla Bowl Pillow Pet Snooze

It was just for a few minutes.  We’d all be on our way soon. Hopefully.

But, there was something exciting, renewing about seeing how a basket of toys melts the hearts of a bunch of tired people who haven’t been kids for a long time.

I don’t know if it was the Christmas Spirit or not.  But, somehow I’m sure the original Christmas Kid was smiling, too.

Laugh Out Loud,

-gina

What springs to your mind when you see a bunch of toys?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it!

Don’t You DARE Put That In Our Yard!

Don’t You DARE Put That In Our Yard!

by Gina Valley

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Holiday Christmas Lights Decorations Turkey Electrical Problems Woodland Creatures Party Fog Twinkling Steady Spacing With Thanksgiving under our belt, we’ve passed through the official time for the “Fresh VS Frozen Turkey” debate, and are now poised to begin arguing about Christmas lighting options.

Christmas lights are truly a defining force in our culture.  You give me a light decorating opportunity and I can give you a complete psychological run down of all involved.

My teenage Call of Duty fan son argues that we should put a tank in the yard, made of lights, because that’s what Jesus would do.

My teenage daughters argue that the lights are embarrassing.

My young children want more.  More characters.  More lights.  More colors.  More everything.  The crasser the better in their eyes.

My son’s boss wants precise, measured spacing between the rows of lights they hang in bushes and trees. My son points out that the first tiny gust of wind through the trees will “adjust” the spacing. Point to my son.  His boss argues that he signs the pay checks. Match to his boss.  His boss is afraid to climb the ladder, so it’s still anyone’s game.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Holiday Christmas Lights Decorations Turkey Electrical Problems Woodland Creatures Party Fog Twinkling Steady SpacingThe Professor likes the lights to flash.  But, not all the lights.  Most of the lights flash, with an occasional random strand left steadily glowing.

My dad is the opposite. The lights at his house are all steadfastly glowing, save for a couple of random strands, which appear to be having some sort of electrical problem amongst their glowing neighbors.

I say make a decision and go all in, one way or the other.

One of our neighbors has a strictly elegant and classy display every year.  It centers around a beautiful, life-sized Nativity display.  I have to admit that it puts our inflatable Nativity to shame. On the other hand ours never seems to move and watch me as I jog by in the evening.

There is the unending debate about putting icicle lights versus straight lights around your roofline.  People were less opinionated about the Civil War than this issue. Nothing quite embodies the Spirit of Christmas like 2 grown men rolling around on the lawn, trying not to spill their beers, while one hollers at the other, “They don’t look like icicles. They just look stupid!”

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Holiday Christmas Lights Decorations Turkey Electrical Problems Woodland Creatures Party Fog Twinkling Steady SpacingA guy down our street is into strobe lights for the holiday season. Woodland creatures gathered in his yard look like they are at some sort of forest night club. The flashing has triggered seizures in one raccoon and two squirrels. I hate to think what’s going to happen when it triggers them in a skunk. This guy is single. I’m not saying it’s because of his lighting choices. I’m just providing you with the information to form your own opinion.

Most of my pack argues in favor of multi-colored lights.  I argue for white lights because they’re simple and elegant, and they won’t look as stupid 2 months after Christmas when they’re still up, because we can pass them off as party decorations.

My friend Jeanie’s parents no longer argue about whether the Christmas lights need to come down 2 months or even 10 months after Christmas.  They have reached an armistice on that one.  No, they argue about whether to plug them in every night.

That’s right, this past May, when their Christmas lights (and their giant wreath on the second story, too, but that’s really material for a different column) were still in place, her mom finally stopped asking her dad to take them down, and instead requested that he stop plugging them in every night.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Holiday Christmas Lights Decorations Turkey Electrical Problems Woodland Creatures Party Fog Twinkling Steady SpacingNow, I would normally be appalled by the nightly highlighting of the long past-their-purpose decorations, but I’m thinking maybe lighting those puppies up in May is the right way to go.

The way I see it, although other people may have left their Christmas lights up, no one is lighting them in May.  So, the twinkling colorful bulbs could serve the public in many ways. They could guide weary travelers through the fog (there could be fog in May), or provide a location bench mark for iPhone users when our iMaps poops out (“Turn left when you see the Christmas lights.  Yes. Christmas lights.”).

I need to ask Jeanie if they are twinkling or steady glowing lights.

I’d be willing to bet that the Wise Men argued about which kind of incense to bring to the first Christmas.

I guess we’re just keeping that spirit alive.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What decorations generate “discussion” in your neck of the woods?  Which ones do you love?  Which ones do you hope a freak wind will blast through and blow away?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

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