So here it is Tuesday, and I haven’t even told you about our weekend, because my TO DO list is actually longer than my house. It’s because CHRISTMAS! IT’S COMING! and I am unprepared, due to my lack of supreme organizational skills.
However, MOST of the shopping is now complete, and the rum cakes are in the oven, as we speak, so I am beginning to see that the light at the end of the tunnel might actually be daylight now, instead of the headlamp of an on-coming train.
On Friday morning, the boy had his big Christmas program at school, and OH MY WORD! Best! Program! Ever! And I’m not just saying that because it was planned out by the boy’s music teacher, Stephanie V., who happens to be a dear friend of mine. But really? Stephanie V. pretty much conducted a stellar performance, and guess what?
She had the kids sing TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS SONGS! There were a few upbeat, jazzy little numbers thrown in there, about Santa Claus and presents and mistletoe and good behavior, but the bulk of the boy’s Christmas program was spent singing things like “The Little Drummer Boy,” which made me weep.
I am not even embarrassed to tell you that. I could not keep from crying when the boy’s class sang “The Little Drummer Boy” at all. I think it’s that whole concept of “I have no gift to bring,” because really?
We have no gifts to bring the King of kings, and hearing little 4th grade voices declare this yanks my heartstrings in forty kinds of directions.
The boy even had a speaking part during the program, and, the night before, he told me, “Mom, I feel a little bit nervous about being at the microphone in front of all of those people.” He shouldn’t have. He pulled it off beautifully, and he remembered all of his lines perfectly. His mama might have been enormously proud of him, too.
And then the boy’s buddy, Enzo, had a solo during the Christmas program, and the only words you need to know are these two: SHOW! STEALER! Enzo had to rock it out with a bunch of jumbled, nonsense words that went on and on and on forever, until the audience was in stitches from hard laughter. We applauded uproariously for the kid when he was done, and we laughed as Enzo’s mama whispered, “That’s my boy! And he insisted on wearing his old tie from his First Communion, which is way too short, but goodness! Isn’t that kid handsome?!”
Yes. Yes, he’s handsome.
He just doesn’t compare to the boy in the navy plaid shirt and jeans.
After school on Friday, Cody had a little cookie decorating party at her house, because Cody is not afraid to turn a flock of youngsters loose in her dining room with sprinkles and frosting and little M&Ms. (I have hives just THINKING about all the sprinkles that landed on the floor, but Cody kept saying, “The dog, people! We have a dog! And the dog will eat the sprinkles! And the sprinkles on the floor will go away forever and ever!” This is probably how Cody achieved her relaxed state. Our snobbish cats would have turned their noses up at the sprinkles and left me alone with the vacuum cleaner.)
The kids had the very best time slathering their naked sugar cookies with heaps of green and red frosting, and then dolling them up with every candy accessory Mr. Wonka would have been able to offer.
Even Dave cast his banker clothes aside and dove into the dirty business of decorating cookies with children.
(I kind of suspect, though, that Dave actually ate more of the sprinkles and M&Ms than he helped put onto the cookies.)
And some of the little people at the cookie decorating party were actually more interested in petting the sprinkle-eating dog and wandering around the house than they were in actually adorning the cookies with the sugary accessories.
Of course, the day wouldn’t have been complete without a snapshot of the big girls at the party, so I had them all scrunch onto Cody’s sofa for a Kodak moment.
It should be noted that nine snapshots were taken, because everyone kept blinking. And squinting. And staring off into space. And then this little gem emerged. Number nine. Of nine.
After a while, the sugar high that everyone was functioning on began to wear off, so a pot of chili was thrown onto the stove, because we all needed some protein.
Missi was the Pot Stirrer, and we laughed over that title. Laughed until our sides hurt, in fact, but that was just par for the course on Friday night, on account of we laughed a lot.
And we ate a lot.
And no one’s wine glass was ever empty, unless she had it tilted up high and was busy draining it.
Eventually, after the chili was eaten, Friday night ended. We all said our good-byes. We all hugged. We all promised to do it again soon. We all thanked Cody for offering her dining room floor to catch all the sprinkles, so that our children could have the EXPERIENCE of decorating cookies, while we did not have to have the experience of vacuuming sprinkles.
The dog, I might add, did her job well, and I suspect that she had a minor sugar buzz going on, too.
Just like every child at the party.
On Saturday, Enzo came over to spend the night with the boy, and Hubs (bless him!) bought the boys a brick of dry ice to play with. Surely, a block of dry ice is every boy’s DREAM TOY. The boy and Enzo donned leather work gloves to prevent severe frostbite, and they smashed the brick of ice with a hammer, until they had small chunks of it.
And then they played with it for FOUR! SOLID! HOURS!
Hubs announced, “That’s the best $6 I’ve ever spent on a toy.” Indeed, he was right. The boy and Enzo pretended that they were at Hogwarts, in their Potions Class, and they mixed and stirred and slopped, until they had smoke and steam everywhere. They howled with laughter; they shrieked with joy. Hubs even got online and came up with some scientific experiments for them to do. They froze a spoon with the dry ice, until it vibrated and hummed and made their eyeballs go wide with wonderment.
Do I recommended a six-dollar brick of dry ice as a toy for ten-year-old boys?
The boy and Enzo put dry ice in buckets of cold water. They put it into glasses of hot water. They put it outside in the snow. They added food coloring. They stirred it, they mixed it, and they laughed as it bubbled and gurgled and smoked.
Late Saturday night, Enzo told me, “This was the best night ever! My mom has never let me have a brick of dry ice to play with!”
Hubs. He’s brilliant at toy purchases.
While the boy and Enzo were smack in the middle of all the dry ice experiments, I managed to sneak in a shower and got dolled up a little bit, so that I could meet some of my girlfriends at a swanky little restaurant downtown for Regan’s birthday.
Yes, for Regs’ birthday.
Which was in November.
Between Regan’s daughter getting sick and landing in the hospital for a couple of days, and Regs throwing up so much because of her bun in the oven and needing to hit the ER one evening for IV fluids, and Amy’s enormous head cold, and my lingering chest cold, we could never manage to get us all together to throw confetti and usher Regan into another year in style. So, on Saturday night, with no one in the hospital and everyone quite healthy, we all piled into the car and went out to eat.
And listen, people! It was so! much! fun! We laughed until our sides hurt. Repeatedly. We discussed everything from pregnancies, to Christmas shopping, to the best model of vacuum cleaner to buy, to explaining the Holy Trinity to young children.
And then I ordered the fish tacos, which FOREVER CHANGED MY LIFE!
People! It may have been one of the very grandest meals I’ve ever eaten. The other girls turned their noses up when I placed my order, and I hesitated a minute. If no one else thought they’d be a glorious dinner, should I give them a try? I am not a fan of change, and I am not good at ordering exotic dishes, but Bob the Waiter assured me that the FISH TACOS! THEY ARE AN ENORMOUS HIT!
And he did not lie.
And Sister and Amy ended up eating half of my first taco, and they both drooled and declared that my meal was, hands down, the best one on the table.
And then Regan said, “I can’t eat fish while I’m pregnant. I think I might throw up just looking at your tacos!”
I will return to this swanky little restaurant again. And I will most definitely order the fish tacos.
I managed to take one decent snapshot with my camera phone on Saturday night, which turned out okay. Then, the boy’s second grade teacher was sitting at a table smack behind us, and she offered to take a photograph with my phone of all four of us girls, but OH MY WORD! The blurry! It made me dizzy! So I won’t even post it here, because it’ll make you feel carsick. And then I’ll just say that my smart phone? Oh, people! I love it! But I am not crazy-mad-in-love with the built-in camera, because it doesn’t like to take crisp snapshots.
After dinner on Saturday night, with my side aching from all the laughing that we’d done, I came home to more dry ice experiments, which were still going strong.
And I came home to two boys who decided that anything before midnight just wasn’t going to work as a bedtime.
On Sunday, we went to church, and heard a great sermon on how the wise men came prepared to WORSHIP baby Jesus.
And then Hubs and the boy and I hauled ourselves off to Bigger Town, USA, so that we could finish up our Christmas shopping. We stayed in a motel, which was, unexpectedly, right next to some train tracks.
I felt like I was in the movie, My Cousin, Vinny.
And have y’all ever hauled a ten-year-old boy around with you while you’re doing some serious Christmas power shopping?
This is how our day panned out: “I’m starving! Why are we going to THIS store? When are we going to eat? I’m freezing! How long are we going to be in this store? When will we eat lunch? I’m starving! I’m really cold! I need to go to the bathroom. I don’t want to go in another store. How long are we going to be in Bigger Town? When are we going home? I’m starving!”
All. Day. Long.
And now we’re home, people, and the weekend is long over, because it’s Tuesday.
And I am hoping that tomorrow I will be able to score my final two gifts that I need to get and get the rum cakes baked!