Holiday routine, scheduling the joy

Two days’ worth of evidence suggests that 2013 is not the year I have been rendered magically on time nor is it the year in which laundry does itself.  Outrageously, it also appears that I still have to pack the kids’ lunches every morning.

WTF, 2013?  If I wanted everything to stay exactly the same, I could have stayed in 2012. Poor showing thus far, my friend.  We all had such high hopes.

I won’t bother to lie to you and tell you how I resolve to do it all differently this year.  I kind of like the way I do it. Also, I spent the better part of today reading Game of Thrones and eating salt crystals, so, you know, 2013 and I deserve each other.

Do you have a set way you do the holidays?  (Spoiler: I do. I know, me? Be rigid and difficult about scheduling? NEVER.)  I really noticed it while browsing our holiday pictures this year.  I can line them up, day for day, against holidays past.  It starts with the tree-trimming Santa hat pictures, which were excellent this year if I do say so myself and you can’t even see that I’m still wearing my pajamas.

Then I ignore Christmas and pretend for a few days that I’m actually a Jew and I know how to do Hanukkah.

All lies because I’m lost without guidance from major chain stores.  What do I do next, oh gods of secular religious holiday trappings marketing? Ah, of course.  Mall Santa.

This picture is mildly illegal and represents a huge Mall Santa foul as I had already been advised by Skippy the friendly elf SEVERAL TIMES that they prefer that we not take our own pictures, but rather buy their over-priced version.  As I pointed out, very kindly, to the teenager dressed as an elf, I understood the preference, it’s just that preference does not a crime make.  I prefer if mall elves don’t talk to me, but that doesn’t mean they can’t talk to me.  This is when Matt pointed out that I have already pissed off Mall Easter Bunny and if I continue to piss off Mall Beings, I’m going to be permanently banned from the mall.

What gives with you, dude? Why’re you putting a tree in the living room?

I don’t know, for fun.  Why do you splatter the ceiling with blood?

Fine.  Put a lighted toilet in the living room. What do I care.

Where was I?  Christmas Eve.  The kids get pajamas.  This year I completely spaced and then found last minute thermal underwear at Costco. They were their favorite pajamas EVER. Of course.  Ninja pee holes. For stealth peeing.

Obligatory, two-a.m., we’re finally finished wrapping; holy shit thank god tree picture.

Pretty. Until you notice the two bands of tree-darkness on the pre-lit, FAKE Christmas tree, which is all I can ever notice every time I look at it arrrrrggggghhhh.  Still, pretty. Embrace the dark bands.

This one is entitled “okay, alright, yes! we can go down!”  Alternatively, “did he come, did he, i can’t wait, i can’t stand it?”

Santa brings one big present in our house and it’s usually in the basement.  They get to look at the bounty under the tree, but  not touch.  We make them play with whatever Santa brings until after breakfast.  What? You don’t torture your kids on Christmas?  Patience is a virtue.  Besides, the family that plays with Santa’s foosball table together, stays together.

We do eventually, after egg casserole and coffee, let them open presents.

And then the real hell — fun, I mean fun – begins.

The joy just oozes from this picture of me, doesn’t it?  I am SO excited to be putting together a plastic dinosaur matchbox car track without a child in sight.

And then there are only stockings to go. The fun is almost over for another year.  But, there was the small consolation of stockings as big as they are.

Bedtime!  I’m kidding. I let them stay up until almost 7:45.  I’m so flexible, you guys, look at me bend.

33 Responses to Holiday routine, scheduling the joy
  1. pamela
    January 3, 2013 | 5:41 am

    dude. i had to go to time out for two hours during the middle of festivities because of the pervasive sensory overload. it was not good at all.

  2. Robin from Israel
    January 3, 2013 | 6:01 am

    You crack me up. Love the commentary. Loved all the booze on the table right in the middle of all the presents, too, and though very good thoughts about your Christmas morning, until I realized they were candle-holders LOL.

  3. Wendy
    January 3, 2013 | 6:42 am

    I was charmed this year, my first as a mom, to realize that we could make up whatever we wanted. I realized this about four days before Christmas when a) we hadn’t been to see Santa yet, b) we’d made a grand total of one batch of cookies, c) I had neither bought new or found in storage my aebelskever pan, necessary for Christmas morning breakfast, and d) there were 2 presents under the tree and about five hundred more hidden in our locked closet. I just…stopped worrying about it. What do my kids know about how Christmas in our house is supposed to go? Christmas Eve our daughter got suddenly teary at the realization we hadn’t visited Santa, but I reassured her that hey! I saw you guys telling Lithuanian Santa what you wanted at the Christmas program, when they gathered all the kids for a photo op. (It was actually kind of hilarious, if you’re into post-institutionalized child humor, with my two kids grabbing fiercely at his red jacket and shouting, “And a helicopter! And a kitchen for my dolls!” while the other kids all lined up neatly to pose.) Plus, we wrote those letters, right? And he sent you letters back, right? (Courtesy of the niece I used to write Santa letters to, so THERE’S family tradition for you.) So, Santa definitely knows what you want.
    As for b, c, and d, there were and still are plenty of good and special treats around, and it was actually very cool for the kids to come down Christmas morning and see a huge pile of presents where none had been before. So maybe that’s our tradition now. Who knows? I figure next year they’ll let me know what they perceived as written in stone, and we’ll be able to add or subtract things as needed. By year three, I expect it will all be canon to them, so we’ll stick with that.
    Hella long comment; sorry! Fun question though!

  4. Alison
    January 3, 2013 | 7:19 am

    “Holy shit thank god tree picture” had me spewing tea out of my mouth.

    Why is it that the small child folk NEVERT there to help when adults put their fiddly toys together?

    Happy New Year!

  5. Amelia
    January 3, 2013 | 7:44 am

    I love your schedule posts. They make me all swoony. That’s how you celebrate right.

  6. Becky
    January 3, 2013 | 1:15 pm

    We have the pottery barn stockings, as well. Big mistake. I had no idea just how big they are and how much crap it takes to fill the stupid things.

    • Anymommy
      January 3, 2013 | 4:32 pm

      Yes! OMG, you feel my pain! Those things are the bane of my existence. They swallow stocking stuffers. Nothing fills them. I ordered big porcelain piggy banks this year in an attempt to take up space. And then they were too heavy to hang from nails. Ridiculous!! (But so cute.)

  7. Jenng
    January 3, 2013 | 2:04 pm

    I didn’t even notice the dark on the tree until you pointed it out! Haha! :) And I love all the photos – my favorite…Saige’s face as ya’ll are coming down the stairs! Love it! :)

  8. Candice@NotesFromABroad
    January 3, 2013 | 2:49 pm

    I was the complete opposite of you in every possible way .. except we are both female :)
    I was too young to have children .. that is my excuse.
    I mean really, when you are 22 and have 2 children, Christmas can only be .. messy .
    Happy but there is nothing neat about it.
    Happy New Year !

  9. Liz @ PeaceLoveGuac
    January 3, 2013 | 2:51 pm

    Loved this! Also, I think you are on to something with pissing off Mall Beings. Part of me would LOVE to be banned from the mall.

  10. Louise
    January 3, 2013 | 3:29 pm

    WE ABSOLUTELY torture them with the pre and post breakfast gift opening. I want it draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaged out as long as possible. There was a lot of butt-busting that went into the day, after all. Happy Holidays to you and your adorable crew. xo

  11. Korinthia Klein
    January 3, 2013 | 3:53 pm

    This is, like, not wildly relevant, but I just wanted to say that I love your fireplace and your rug in that picture where you are toiling over your plastic project of pieces.

    (And the smiles in the tree-trimming-santa-hat photo are adorable.)

  12. lucy
    January 3, 2013 | 4:02 pm

    Very Cool, lucky kids!
    Like Korinthia I have to comment on the fireplace…love it. My husband and I are currently looking for a I guess you would call it fireplace door/insert. Can you tell me what yours is called. thanks from your new follower!

    • Anymommy
      January 3, 2013 | 4:38 pm

      Hey Lucy, welcome! It’s actually an entire wood-burning stove insert. It’s like a square oven that fits into the fireplace and then they run a lining up the 100 year old chimney because they burn so hot and retrofit the fake black lining around the outside of the fireplace opening. The actual stove doors are quite small if you look closely. It’s wonderful, it puts out so much heat. We love it, but they are expensive little devils. It has seriously reduced our heating bill!

  13. Issa
    January 3, 2013 | 4:30 pm

    The car tracks are pure torture. I still need to put together the wall one. CAR TRACKS ON THE WALL! Lord help us all.

    I’m still laughing at the pee hole comment.

  14. Bitchin' Amy
    January 3, 2013 | 5:52 pm

    Look at you bend! Isn’t it amazing how all that want and need from every corner of a home can take so much magic out of Christmas? This was my first year to spend it at someone else’s home and actually just let everything ride… “NOT MY PROBLEM,” I’d think with a smirk if something went awry, “Not. My. Problem.” And it was one of the best Christmas’s ever. :)

    p.s. Your comment to the dog made me laugh the hardest.

  15. Deb
    January 3, 2013 | 7:12 pm

    a) Your kids are adorbs

    b)THERE IS A HORSE ON YOUR SOFA.

    • Anymommy
      January 7, 2013 | 3:29 am

      I say the same thing every single day. Why oh why is there a horse living in my house.

  16. Lady Jennie
    January 3, 2013 | 7:28 pm

    I laughed my entire way through this post. Absolutely precious!

    PS what is that blood splattering ceiling thing? What did I miss?

  17. Heather
    January 3, 2013 | 8:02 pm

    I hear you on the scheduling. Although ours is more of a bendable schedule. We do the Santa picture, but there is not set weekend we must do it. Here Bass Pro Shops allows you to take as many of your own pictures that you want and they give you one for free too. The only catch, the line is usually over an hour. Luckily, they give you a pass to return at a certain time so you can spend your 60 – 90 minutes browsing and probably buying something you didn’t know you needed in their store.

    As for the Christmas tree, I didn’t notice till you pointed it out, so no worries. :-)

  18. Heather
    January 3, 2013 | 8:06 pm

    I hear you on the scheduling. Although ours is more of a bendable schedule. We do the Santa picture, but there is not set weekend we must do it. Here Bass Pro Shops allows you to take as many of your own pictures that you want and they give you one for free too. The only catch, the line is usually over an hour. Luckily, they give you a pass to return at a certain time so you can spend your 60 – 90 minutes browsing and probably buying something you didn’t know you needed in their store.

    Their stockings are huge, so that should make up for making them wait till after breakfast for presents.

    As for the Christmas tree, I didn’t notice till you pointed it out, so no worries. :-)

  19. MommyTime
    January 3, 2013 | 8:54 pm

    We totally have routines, though ours are backwards from yours. We do stocking first. It’s the only thing you’re allowed to dig into before the grandparents arrive for present opening. Then we do presents. Breakfast happens around 11am when the sister bearing homemade cinnamon rolls makes an appearance. They can only be eaten with scrambled eggs, bacon, and coffee. LOTS of coffee. Then there is more present opening. One year, it took us until 3PM to open the presents–not because there were that many but because every single one had to be lovingly played with before we could open the next. And four-year-olds cannot be rushed. Then someone deals with all the fiddly plastic bands that hold the toys in their boxes while someone else gets the turkey started in the oven.

    I love routines. Especially when we call them TRADITIONS. ;)

    Merry and Happy everything, my friend!

  20. Alexicographer
    January 3, 2013 | 10:48 pm

    I love the pictures.

    Apparently I am from Mars, because we pretty much do not have Christmas routines. OK, OK, some: there is a turkey or duck or ham dinner consumed on Christmas eve or Christmas day or both, at someone’s house, not necessarily ours; stockings appear and are opened first, gifts from Santa appear under a tree and are not wrapped! What is this wrapping of which you speak? And I say “a” rather than “the” tree because it might be in our home or, if we are travelling and staying in the camper, in the home of grandparents near the campground (Santa brings stockings, but not gifts, to camping trailers, you see), or if we are visiting overseas family (so, no camping trailer), the tree at their home. And thank-you notes get written. But that’s about it for traditions in our home. Flexibility, we are it. But, in that spirit, whatever works for you :) !

  21. Lisa K
    January 4, 2013 | 5:35 am

    Yeah, no kidding, 2013. Get on it with the laundry doing itself already!!

    Very cute pictures :) Your tree is great. I would never have noticed that dark spot.

    The “Mall Santa” picture cracked me up. I so tried to do the same thing one year, except I tried to be all sneaky and hang back like I wasn’t really with them while my husband went up and put my kiddo (then 1 yr old) on Santa’s lap, and then stealthily take a picture. (Apparently I am intimidated by Mall Beings). Except he screamed “MOMMY” and reached for me and blew my cover and no stealthy pictures were taken and then I bought their expensive one and was grumpy about it. This year, my husband’s company Christmas party had a santa and I got to take my own pictures without being judged by elves. So, way to stand up to those bossy Mall Elves. You have my support.
    -Lisa

  22. Roshni
    January 4, 2013 | 6:03 am

    You gave Hampton Noodle his own lighted toilet in the living room!! You’re awesome!! :P

  23. Elaine
    January 4, 2013 | 9:25 pm

    I just love that first photo! And the one of the kids coming down the stairs with you. Perfect!

    Happy New Year, my friend!

  24. Stephanie Precourt
    January 5, 2013 | 11:42 am

    Oh my goodness with the ninja pee holes. We scrapped all traditions and kind of did everything on the fly and on our own. It was actually pretty cool!

    Steph

  25. Cyndy
    January 6, 2013 | 5:21 am

    You are SO flexible. I shall call you Gumby!
    I tortured the girls a little this year; one of their ‘big’ gifts, a ring, was hidden in the toe of their stockings, which I made them open last. They had asked for the rings so they were wondering where the hell they were after all the gifts were opened. HA! Yay for Christmas torture!!

  26. the mama bird diaries
    January 7, 2013 | 2:38 am

    Do you wake up every morning and say, “How did I end up with such a GIGANTIC dog?!” But so cute.

    • Anymommy
      January 7, 2013 | 5:58 am

      I wake up every morning and curse the day I agreed to pay good money for that GIGANTIC dog. He is cute though.

  27. Galit Breen
    January 8, 2013 | 4:34 am

    I LOVE how you do holidays! LOVE!

    Don’t change a thing!

    {Hee! I tend to be this way, too! Can you believe it?!}

    {Also BlogHer! Your badge is up! Eek!}

  28. Tank Tops
    January 28, 2013 | 3:30 pm

    Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger,
    and I was curious about your situation; we have created some nice procedures and we
    are looking to swap solutions with others, why not shoot me an email if interested.

  29. Katherine
    April 8, 2013 | 11:04 am

    Those photos are amazing! I can see the fun in the face on everyone in the photos. I start to love your blog.

    Katherine
    Mothers Day 2013

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