Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hundred acre house

Carolyn has a very active imagination. In one of her games, she has given everyone in the family a role from Winnie the Pooh.

She, of course, is Pooh bear. Penelope is Piglet. Steve is Tigger. Fife is Eeyore and I , sadly, am Rabbit. I say sadly because she matched our personalities pretty accurately and Rabbit's a real pill. Just yesterday, I asked her what Tigger was doing.

"He's working," she said. "He's bouncing somewhere."

Carolyn plays this game so much, we start to think of ourselves in these terms. A couple of weeks ago, when Pooh bear was rising pre-6, I had a little dream. In my dream, I was shooting off an e-mail.

"Dear Tigger. Pooh's up. I hope he wakes you up but I think it'll probably be me. Love, Rabbit."

Monday, December 25, 2006

Awesome gifts

Thanks, everybody, for the awesome gifts. Carolyn loves her Dora outfit, her cats and Elmo. Penelope loves picking up everything on the living room floor and looking at it closely.

Sandy, that picture frame with the photographs was SO awesome. It was amazingly thoughtful. And just so you know, when I moved here, I apparently only packed one of every sock and have not bought socks since so I've been wearing mismatched socks. I thought matching socks were a luxury I just couldn't afford. So thank you for that.

And while gift cards are impossible to appreciate visually, know that I will have the BEST time organizing all this new stuff with the shelves I'm going to buy!

And to everybody, we miss you and wish you all the merriest of Christmas days. Now, off for some Chinese food.

Stocking stuffers

Here are the girls getting their stocking stuffers. Steve tells me it's bad etiquette to stuff stockings with shaving cream and lip balm, but I told him to take up his beef with Santa.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My virtual holidays

Since our family is enjoying it's first, nontraveling, nonworking Christmas in the history of our lives together (pre-dating even), we know we've been placed on "The List" of at least two grandmothers. In a gesture of goodwill, I will try to create a virtual Christmas that will be placed on my blog throughout the day.

In order to be an active participant, I ask that you comment on a couple of entries. It's just like being here, only without that mid-day trapped feeling.

In the meantime, watch a little video I made a few days ago at the park. It's so fun now that Penelope can do more stuff.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Did I mention...

... I could use a new diaper bag? Hmmm. No? Well, I mentioning it now, as a precursor for what I'm about to do.

You see, my diaper bag, a lovely, very expensive Petunia Pickle Bottom, is at the end of the road. She's been a great bag, it's just she's coming apart. I've put her on extended leave in place of a lovely demin bag, which is coated in a fine layer of Goldfish crackers. It work OK, but there are no compartments for diapers, sippy cups, makeup, cell phone, camera, extra clothes, toys, wallet, keys, notebook, appointment book, WD 40, snacks, etc. You get the point.

So BeBeReviews will put me in a sweepstakes for a very nice diaper bag if I mention their Daily Scoop, which has daily (hence the clever name) site with coupons, free shipping alerts, recalls and all sorts of helpful stuff.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

We wish you a merry...

We celebrated the first annual, "Gardner Christmas Party."

A few years ago, Steve would have been invited to four... count them, four... Christmas parties. Cutbacks, boss changes and a disease I like to call Scroogitis meant we were invited to one dinner (where we couldn't get a babysitter) and that's it. That means no getting gussied up for a bunch of strangers.

Instead, we had our own party.

First, there was wine and beer. Next, Christmas cookies. And finally, a dinner consisting of nothing but appetizers.

It start out great. There was mingling (So Penelope. What's up with you these days? You're walking I see). There was a little drinking, although I have to say Carolyn and Penny have a little problem holding their juice. And then, there was a naked baby running down the hall.

But all parties have their problems. Carolyn, who woke up at 5 and didn't nap, just couldn't hang. At one point, we wondered why she had been in her room for so long. Steve went in to find she had put herself to bed, without dinner, around 5 o'clock.

There's always one. Right. Right. You know what I mean.

All in all, the first Gardner Christmas Party was a success. We got all the departments together. There was laughter and good food. Nobody photocopied their butt.

And we'll all be able to face Monday morning with a good conscience.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

So Sad : ( So Happy : )

I just love these pictures of Penelope.

Ah shucks Pen. Don't be so sad.

That's better!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What have I got to be angry about?

In the grand scheme — Nothing. That is, my family is not plagued by war. I don't have constant fears of disease or hunger. If I really wanted, I could have a pizza with everything at my house in 30 minutes, no questions asked.

But I'm still fuming. I'm mad that the T Mobile lady made me cry when I was canceling my service today. I'm mad that we can't sell our car. I'm mad that, apparently, the paper is holding pay for freelancers until the next pay period, which is after Christmas.

Seriously, how mad am I at that!

And it comes down to this: a few blogs ago I said I love "It's a Charlie Brown Christmas" because I love Peanuts. But it's more than that.

I am Charlie Brown.

"I just don't understand Christmas, I guess," Charlie laments. "I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed."

Hear, hear Chuck.

"Charlie Brown, you're the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem. Maybe Lucy's right. Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Browniest."

Sunday, December 10, 2006


The fam and I went to this Christmas thing last night and Carolyn got her picture taken with Santa Claus. There was a really long line and about 10 minutes into waiting, Santa got up, moseyed downstairs and walked outside. Another mom and I were speculating on Santa's whereabouts (he was hot, he needed a smoke) when Steve and Penelope came up to us.

"Where do you think Santa went?" I asked.

I heard this: "We went to shake the dew off the North Pole." After my new friend stopped speaking to me, I told Steve that joke was not only not funny, it was pretty creepy.

Steve swears he said, "He went to shake the dew off at the North Pole." Oh. That's much better.

My friend slowly started making conversation again, until, near the end of the line, I caught Steve's eye and made a overt gesture (Steve said) that would have been inappropriate at a Paris Hilton party truck stop. I swear I was pointing up, you know, toward the North Pole.

Anyhow, the picture of Carolyn and Santa (a Polaroid, so I can't post it here) was really terrific. We left as friendless as we came. Maybe more so.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Happy freakin' holidays

Every year around this time I start remembering this one simple fact: I don't care much for Christmas.

Everybody is distracted. The weather is crappy. You feel as if you should be buying more even though you really don't need to buy anything but, everyday, the newspaper is full of ads promising huge discounts if you arrive at 7 a.m. and you think, "Maybe I should stock up," or even less Christmasy, "I could really use a wet-dry vac," even though you haven't bought for all your cousins yet but it's so much easier to buy for yourself.

It's all very stressful.

But there are three parts of the holiday I really enjoy — Christmas music, "It's a Charlie Brown Christmas," and Christmas cards. The music I love because, especially for religious tunes, the lyrics are so beautiful. Charlie Brown because I just love Charlie Brown and all things Peanuts. And Christmas cards because I love that we have a chance every year to write all the people we care about.

But the thing is, most people today don't do Christmas cards properly. If you're going to waste all that paper sending cards, write something nice. Sure, it's great to see what your kids look like, but doesn't that seem a little narcissistic (not at all like blogging) to send a bunch of pictures of your family direct from Wal-Mart, the holiday greeting pre-printed.

Just e-mail them. It's the same thing only it saves me from choosing whether to stick little Dick and Jane in a dusty box or toss them. Really, there are no winners.

And don't give me the "I'm so busy" line. Banks, not families, send preprinted cards. Spend, like, one hour less at Kohl's each week and tell your friends you miss them.

And FYI, I've received three cards so far. Steve's aunt Judy, my aunt Chris and my mother-in-law. Each of them followed proper holiday card etiquette.

Thank you.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mommy, mommy, mama, mama, mom, mom, ma...

And so it's happened.

Carolyn (shown below),

Has become a mommy's girl.

This morning, during a crying fit from Carolyn who refused to let Steve help her unzip a boot or read a story or talk to her, she got sent to her room. Steve went to get her and Carolyn screamed, "I want mommy."

"What about daddy?" Steve asked.

"You can have Penelope," Carolyn told him.

Whew. At least that part of a divorce is settled.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Guilt! It's my superpower

Nothing feels as empty as winter stay-at-home mothering. Especially for the carless.

As Steve was leaving for work, I was telling him about how I feel like a big-old lazy bones. I should be taking the kids out, exposing them to humans, buying stuff, seeing Santa and other suburban-esque tasks. Instead, I'm homebound today because of frigid temps and impassable sidewalks.

"I'm a failure."

I didn't exactly say that, but it was the general tone. Anyhow, Steve pointed out I just lost two weeks of house guests, hosted Thanksgiving, wrote two stories for my freelance gig, lived through a major winter storm (other than house guests) and kept everyone in cookies and cakes. And today, he also pointed out, I would be doing laundry, baking, cleaning the bathroom and playing with the girls.

When he put it that way, I felt better for a minute. But then I put on Elmo and thought, "Nope. Still a failure. Might as well blog about it."

And I did!

Hectic holidays

The Gardner family just finished two weeks worth of grandparent visits. Whew (said dramatically, wiping symbolic sweat from forehead)! It was really nice to have Carolyn and Penelope spend time with the grandparents, but now back to business.

Last night: Christmas tree. Today: Sock puppets. It's a sweatshop around here.

Penny had her 1 year appointment last week. She is nearly 26 pounds and 32 inches, both at 100 percent for her age. Her head circumference is over 100 percent. My doctor said her son also had a huge head and an ego to match.