Friday, December 19, 2008

Word to Your Mother

Bird and Deal say so many things that astound me, for better or for worse. I am floored by their train of thought and rationale. Their little personalities are amplified by the things they say. Take for instance the other day:

Me, kissing Deal good night: "You are so sweet. You are going to be an amazing man one day."

Deal: "You mean when I am a daddy?"

Me: "Yes, you will be an awesome daddy."

Deal: "Will I still live with you when I am a daddy?"

Me, chuckling: "No, you will live in your own house."

Deal: "Then I'll be your neighbor, Mommy."

And the next day, when Bird, Deal, and I were making and decorating cookies (also known as trashing my kitchen with flour and sprinkles and frosting):

It goes without saying that baking with a 5 and 3 year old is messy business (gross understatement of the year, emphasis on gross). And if you know me, you know that I abhor a mess. I braced myself for an evening of slinging flour and sprinkling colored sugar. I practically bought out the cookie decorating aisle at Target: green and red sugar, red, green, and white frosting, red and green sprinkles, silver dragees, and coated candy confetti in all the shapes of Christmas. I went to town rolling the dough, and the boys cut various holiday shapes. The counters, walls, and floor, not the mention all of us, were a veritable mess. It looked like Willy Wonka's store room exploded in my kitchen. And you know what? I didn't even freak out. For the first time in my life I went with the flow.

When we were done, Bird was gobbling up all the spilled sugars and sprinkles and such. He'd poke his sticky little finger into a pile of sugared confetti on the counter, pop it in his mouth, and replay. I must have been watching his precision scavenging for a good five minutes.

Bird, looking up at me with pure earnestness in his eyes (not the Eddie Haskell type of earnestness): "Technically Mommy, I am helping you clean up."

Proof once again, that is is indeed possible to render me speechless.
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

5:00 Fridays

Santa's famed list might delineate people by naughty or nice, but I'm willing to bet we're all a bit of both. Clearly, some sway more one way than the other. I'll leave it up to you to decide where the family at Chez Dirt & Noise fall.

Naughty But Nice
1/2 shot amaretto
1/2 shot peach schnapps
1 shot amarula cream
1 ounce cream

I believe Morningside Mom has tasted amarula cream straight from the plains of Africa. I'm taking her word that the stuff makes for a good cocktail. You see, we were separated at birth so I'm confident our taste buds play by the same rules. Never mind that she's blond and younger than I am. The time/space continuum has yet to be fully explored.

Now shake up all that goodness into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with chocolate shavings. Mmmm...

So you see, too many of these things will make you so nice that you do something naughty.
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Clutter

I love Christmas. I love getting out the boxes of decorations from the attic. I love the story behind all our ornaments. I love the food. I love the excitement and anticipation in my boys' every move. I love the spirit, the fellowship, the merriment. But I hate the clutter.

Bows. Bags. Wrapping paper rolls unwinding all over the place. Tape, but never where and when I need it. Shipping boxes. Damn styrofoam peanuts (shame on companies that still use that stuff!). Greeting cards and those excruciating update letters. Pine needles. Baskets of fruit. Gingerbread houses. Elves on shelves. Bounty of cookies. Homemade paper plate crafts and pine cone ornaments. Candles. Bells. Invitations. Sticky egg nog cups. Advent calendar and the accompanying tiny ornaments. Vases of candy canes. Nutcrackers.

It's all driving me nuts.

I didn't inherit the decorating gene so my futile attempts at wrangling the wired ribbon, bows, greenery, and floral picks look like my son's kindergarten class threw a Whoville all nighter in my living room. I can't get anything to swag. The unsightly cords are plainly in sight. The bows are askew. The greenery droops. The garland sags. The lights flicker. The wreath slips every time I open the door. And falls when I close it. The shatter proof ornaments break. The berries are poisonous. The poinsettias turn brown. The tree teeters (and actually fell over last year). The embroidered stockings keep turning backwards. The train under the tree broke. Even the music skips.

Every year I practically study the pages of Southern Living and try to reinvent my dining table and mantle into a holiday bounty of decorations. I try so very hard. Every year I fail. I'm a pretty smart cookie. I can follow directions. I buy the stuff, trapsing through the aisles at my local garden shop and AC Moore. But I can't set a holiday table scape for the life of me. I sure wish Sandra Dee were my best friend.

So all the clutter is giving me a headache. What's more, it's making me feel incompetent. I love Christmas decorations. In other people's homes.

Cross posted at Deep South Moms.

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