Thursday, December 29, 2011

Oh No, Christmas Tree

I've always felt that my house looks great at Christmas time.  The classic charm of white lights and the silver snowflakes that glimmer in the firelight would put even the scroogiest person in the Christmas spirit. 

Until December 26th, that is.

Once our tree has fulfilled its annual Christmas destiny, the various members of my family no longer feel that they should treat it with the same reverence.  The guiltiest party is our cat, who throughout the season honored the tree by munching on it, ingesting its prickly plastic needles, throwing up said needles on the tree skirt and returning to its branches to find solace after his digestive pyrotechnics.  I think it was an homage to the circle of life or something.

Now that Christmas has passed, however, his gentle and symbolic ingestion of the tree is thrown by wayside and he assaults it like Barker manhandles Bloose.  He bats at the glittery balls, chews on the ties that hold ornaments together and even climbs the metal core of the tree out of what I can only assume is grief for the passing of yet another Christmas.

Cael is in mourning, too.  He doesn't try to ascend the tree, but his passive-aggressive attitude toward our tree tells me that there may be some therapy in our future.  But then again, no shrink on Earth is qualified enough to narrow down exactly which traumatizing event in his past led to his future unraveling.

Too many trains?  Not enough vegetables?  Asking strangers about their "nuts" one too many times?

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Until that day, Cael (and Graham too) have been busying themselves slowly and methodically removing ornaments from the tree and stashing them about the house.  I can always find a star or two under the couch after a feline raid, but by the 27th of December I was finding Christmas balls in my shoes and strings of faux pearls coiled up in the cardboard cylinder of a used toilet paper roll.

Please understand that I am all for entertainment in the bathroom, and I have a stash of Better Homes and Gardens magazines to prove it.  But when I reach for several squares of toilet paper and wind up with tinsel in my rear, it may be time to disassemble the tree.  And my underpants.

I thought that yesterday would be the day.  I kicked the cat out of the way, gathered up the hidden ornaments and pulled out the first of several boxes only to discover that the ornaments Cael and Graham removed from the tree had been replaced with other items that they apparently felt were more representative of their feelings about the post-Christmas season.

First I noticed the Koosh ball Graham had received in his stocking.  I knew that he was a little leery of it when he opened it and said it was "suzzy" which I took to mean "fuzzy", but I didn't realize that his disdain for the tiny stocking stuffer was so severe that he had to impale it on the tree like a head on a pike. 

The ball wasn't alone, though.  It joined several of the boys' new gifts in a bizarre chain that circumnavigated the tree.  But rather than loops of paper or people holding hands, Cael and Graham adorned the tree with wooden blocks, Scooby-Doo, books both soft and hard-backed and several tissues that look as though they've been used a time or two.  Or seven.

What a masterpiece.  It really will be hard to remove such a glamorous installment from my living room.

Where will I keep my tiny Thomas underpants now?

Enjoy your holiday weekend!  I will be back on Tuesday with more of our antics.  And since we only covered Christmas this week, there will be a lot to share.  Probably too much.  :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Christmas Miracle

All of us woke up on Christmas Eve, which in and of itself caused us to be grateful.  But beyond our new found appreciation for clean air and functional heat, the youngest members of my family were counting down the moments until the big red man would climb down the chimney.

As we all eyed the clock, I contemplated the greatest benefit of being a parent at holiday time-- the absolute power one can wield at the mere mention of Santa's name.

Don't want to eat your green beans?  Santa might not bring you that movie you wanted.

It's too early to go to bed?  Maybe Santa will decide that you don't need another train.

Think it's funny to whack your brother in the crotch with a glow-in-the-dark sword?  Santa might return the favor.  You never know...

I was especially grateful for this absolute power during our church's Christmas Eve service.  We'd gotten the kids down for their naps a bit late and I was forced to wake them before their bodies were prepared.  Those of you with children know that this scenario is less desirable than pulling out one's own teeth with a bacon flipper, but the power of Santa helped us get through. 

That and a big bag of Fruity Cheerios.

Once home, we snapped a few photos and confirmed our suspicions that any points Cael and Graham lose for behavior they easily make up in cuteness.  Because all of the food was already earmarked for Christmas Day, we found ourselves eating hot dogs and frozen tater tots in celebration of our Lord's birth.  After dinner, we gathered 'round the fire and opened one gift, always pajamas, a tradition carried over from my husband's childhood.  Joel mulled over his Cardinals t-shirt and pants which I had carelessly purchased with Pujol's name emblazoned on the back although he had already departed the team.

Cael giggled at his guitar shirt and plaid pants while Graham ran full speed around the kitchen and tested out the gripped feet of his red reindeer pajamas.

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When it was my turn, I should have simply put the box down and backed away as soon as I heard Joel say, "I didn't know what to get, but I thought these were AWESOME!"

Photo and link here
Time for a math lesson.  Husband + pajamas + AWESOME (usually) = skimpy lingerie.  But Joel isn't a usual husband.  I unfolded the tissue paper to reveal full-length housewife sized pink bunny footed pajamas.  I love him, but I really hoped it wasn't a sign of what was to come tomorrow.  I really don't need a lamp in the shape of a woman's leg.  We're all stocked up on tackiness.

Once the boys donned their brand new sleepwear, we put out cookies and eggnog for Santa as well as a carrot for Rudolph.  We kissed their wide-eyed faces and tucked them into bed, whispering wild threats and summoning the power of Santa to keep them in their rooms until morning.

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And somehow, while the kids slept, Santa filled our stockings and adorned our tree with shiny, wrapped boxes and bags filled with surprises that ached to be revealed.



"Mommy!  Santa DID come!"

"How do you know, Cael?  You were supposed to come straight into our room." 

"I know because I saw all of the presents!  There are lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of presents and they are all for me!"

"You don't think there are any for the rest of us?"

"There are some tiny ones that Graham can have."

"Wow, you're really generous.  Listen, it's too early to wake up Graham, so climb on in and you can watch a show until it is time to open presents."

"Okay.  But Mommy?  I wanted to see Santa.  I wanted to give him a hug.  I washed my chest so that I could hug him."

I was aware of Santa's preference that children not be awake in his presence, but I didn't know that he was a germaphobe.  If that is the case, he was in for a world of hurt in my house.

But if he thought it was dirty, nothing could have prepared him for the scene that unfolded throughout the morning.  Paper flew and anxious fingers played with new toys smelling of freshly molded plastic.  Joel and I enjoyed our gifts from one another and we were happy to share the experience with Papa again this year as the boys ripped into bags and boxes until only one remained.  This year, the biggest box had a tiny tag that read, "Graham."

Inside was a red Radio Flyer tricycle for our youngest to master on the security of our carpet before spring and the promise of skinned knees and goose eggs.  He bounded over to it and excitedly climbed on for a ride, with his back to the front and his feet backward in the petals.

Cael, who had been for weeks proclaiming to anyone who would listen, "I'm going to get the Polar Express train for Christmas", was so confident in his prediction that his face fell when the big box did not contain his heart's greatest wish.

"I really wanted the Polar Express train."

We reminded him of all of the wonderful gifts he did receive, and while he did a good job of being grateful for what he'd already gotten, it was clear that he was disappointed.  We distracted by assigning him the task of picking up the bits of wrapping paper that littered the living room.  Daddy asked him to check for paper behind the chair and when he did, he came across something that put the coal back in his boiler.

"Daddy!  There's a big box behind the chair!"

We made sure to read the name on the box very carefully.

"To Cael, from Mommy and Daddy."

As soon as he saw the blue sheen from the train box, he immediately began praising Santa for getting the one thing he truly wanted and forgot that dear ol' Dad and Mom had anything to do with it.

After the train was set up and began making its rounds 'round the tree, Cael camped out on the floor to watch the locomotive whiz by his face in a display of pure happiness.

The rest of the family gathered, and after the rest of the gifts had been exchanged, we huddled around the table for a delicious brunch.

Filling our bellies with our family's traditional french toast and new favorites like a delicious egg strata and fruit with white chocolate sauce, we all enjoyed the company of family as we celebrated the most wonderful time of the year.

Except for Cael, who was busy waiting for the train.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's Getting Hot in Here

We got really lucky last week.  I mean, even before the whole big-suit-clad-man-came-down-the-chimney fiasco, we were already getting really lucky.  But before last week, we were especially unlucky.  And cold.

When we moved into this house almost four years ago, it was late November and we promptly christened our house by calling a heating/cooling specialist to investigate our chilly home.  What we didn't realize was that we found ourselves at the very beginning of a cold weather/turn on furnace/freeze buns off/oh, crap! cycle that we have repeated year as cold weather approached.

So this winter, when one day we noticed that our furnace was having difficulty reaching 64 degrees (and then the next morning, 62 degrees) we called the same heating pro that is now practically family and asked him to swing by and talk some sense into our appliance.  But when he got really lippy with it, he soon discovered that the primary and secondary heat exchangers were both shot, which in layman's terms means that we would be singing several choruses of "Baby It's Cold Inside" until Christmas arrived.

As we waited on parts to arrive from Timbuktu or some other equally inconvenient location, we put our wood burning fireplace to the test and heated our home with it for almost three weeks.  And while our fireplace is pretty sophisticated as fireplaces go, we were tired of the Arctic/Sahara temperature scheme we had in place and followed up frequently to make sure our furnace repair would take place before Christmas.

I know that Cael would love to visit the North Pole, but I'd prefer not to bring it to our home.

Which is why I was incredibly relieved when two gentlemen came by on the evening of the 23rd to put us back in business.  Once the new parts were installed, our smoke alarm went off and the air was thick with revenge while heat poured back into our house.  We had a big dinner with our family, and as everyone left and my family headed off to bed, I started to feel a little "funny".

I was just launching into a baking marathon that I knew would keep me up for a few more hours, so I threw back some ibuprofen and kept on cutting cookies, baking cookies, icing cookies, eating cookies, feeling badly about eating cookies, hiding cookies from myself, pulling cookies out for "just one more", and eventually stashing them on sheets in the oven so that they were out of sight and out of mind. 

I got the kitchen cleaned up and was headed to bed when I noticed a light on in the basement.  As I headed down the stairs to switch it off, I was hit in the face with a very strong gas-like smell.  You know, not the kind emitted from children that have eaten too many peanut butter cups, but the kind that can kill you in your sleep.  You know the one.

As soon as I opened the door to the furnace room, I was sure we had a problem.  The odor was so potent that I couldn't imagine another explanation other than a gas leak, but I woke Joel anyway to get his opinion.  Only half awake, he was certain it was just a continuation of the smoky scene we'd had as the furnace was turned on after its long winter's nap.  I turned off the light and stood at the top of the stairs, thinking of Cael sleeping alone in the basement and just could not let the issue go so easily.  I dragged my sleeping husband down the stairs and to the source of the smell so that he could understand that I would not sleep one wink until someone had come to check our gas line.

And that is how, at a quarter to midnight just two nights before Christmas, a very kind man discovered our serious gas leak.  Cael snoozed safely in our bed while the man's gas detector whizzed like the noon siren in the presence of our leaky lines.  After and hour of securing, double and triple checking, he left and we snuggled Cael in our bed until 4:30am when he wanted to watch Thomas the Train. 

If I hadn't been making cookies that night, or if we hadn't had a fire earlier in the day which kept the upstairs warm and meant that our furnace hadn't kicked on yet and circulated the gas throughout the house, and if we hadn't called the gas company to investigate, our Christmas would have been very different.  Our lives would have been very different.

And for that, we are very lucky.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Caelism of the Day: Christmas Edition

Did you see that?

That, right there?

I didn't see it either.  But if Cael were here, he'd tell you it was Santa.  Even if it wasn't, or if he didn't really see it, you can rest assured that all fingers would be pointing to Old St. Nick.

Even as we ate lunch today in our house without a fire (for the first time in almost three weeks thanks to a broken furnace-- you'll hear more about that next week) Cael was sure he spotted something inside the fireplace.

"Mommy, look at the fireplace!"

"What?  I don't see anything."

"It's Santa's bag!!"

"Remember, honey, Santa doesn't come until Christmas Eve.  And he definitely won't come unless you are asleep."

"No, no!  I'm SURE I saw Santa's bag!"

I tried to assure him that Santa had consulted the calendar before launching a couple of days early, but he could not be dissuaded.  In fact, Cael thought he heard sleigh bells, saw Santa's red hat in the backyard and finally had to check inside the fireplace one last time before heading to bed for his nap.

Just moments ago, as I sat down to write this post, which was slated to be a Christmas send-off to all of you, I could hear him on his monitor as he begged Santa to return.

"Is that you, Santa?  I'm sleeping, yes I'm sleeping!  Come back-- don't forget me!"

I'm pretty sure Cael won't be forgotten Sunday morning, and we won't forget all of you either!  I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas filled with family, friends, food and laughter.  And trains.

May there always be trains. 

(I am taking a few days off to celebrate with our family, but I will be back on Wednesday to let you know if Santa found his way back to Iowa this Christmas.  Of course, if Cael or Graham have some real gems to share, I might post an "ism" or two...  Merry Christmas!)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Have Yourself a Tacky Little Christmas

The Christmas countdown is on, and the excitement in the air is tangible.  In only three days, Cael and Graham will rip into brightly wrapped gifts and run through the house, tailed by long stretches of curling ribbon wound almost as tight as their enthusiasm.

To curb that enthusiasm, we've spent countless hours on Christmas craft projects and works of art that now adorn our home in a "Griswold Family Christmas" level of gaudiness.

I've always loved decorating for the seasons, and while I am working with limited resources, I think I've managed to keep the house and tree tasteful and festive at the same time.  Even in college, I managed to fit a six foot tall artificial tree in a dorm room that could not have been wider than 36 inches.  Each night, my roommate, the tree and I "sardined" ourselves into our cell room and slept to the glow of the Christmas lights.

Fast forward ten years and I find myself in a somewhat similar situation.  Although our home is much bigger than my freshman dorm room, I still find my picture-perfect Christmas tarnished by tacky eyesores.  Then it was empty Mt. Dew cans and an overabundance of faux zebra-print.  Now it comes in the form of the childhood Christmas craft.

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 It didn't start off so bad.  We decided to make some paper snowflakes to hang in the window, a tradition started last year and one I could easily control and was therefore willing to repeat.  I would make the required paper folds and hand the triangle to one of the boys.  Rather than letting them saw away at it with safety scissors, I handed them a crayon to draw shapes that I would later cut out to reveal their unique snowflake.  It was a safe and easy way to get them involved and they loved seeing the finished project of their creativity.

 And to be honest, I had fun too.  So I made a few snowflakes myself, and we hung them in the window.  But later that day when my nephews came over, we pulled out the paper and launched into a blizzard of paper cutting that left me with a stack of snowflakes that are now stacked haphazardly around the kitchen and appear in drawers and closets without explanation.

After a few days passed, however, the craft high had worn off faster than a stiff drink after a long day.  So we busted out the gingerbread train kit I'd found at the "Stuff Destined for Cael" store, on the shelf right next to the fart machines and baseball paraphernalia, and assembled it with cousin Keaton one night in a hurricane of royal icing and mismatched colored candies.

I'm still trying to "de-stickify" my dining room table.  And my hair.

Last week, after an unusually long stretch of craft-free days, I decided to attempt an idea I'd first seen on Pinterest (stay away, STAY AWAY) in which the kids paint on a paper with a Christmas tree taped to later reveal an image under the crusted remains of fingerpaint and chicken nugget breading.

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I have to admit that this particular activity was really quite successful, save for the disagreement among the kids of what image should be taped on the paper.

"Okay, boys.  Use these paints to cover your paper, and then later we will pull off the paint and there will be a white tree."

"NO!  I want a train!" 

Go figure.

"I don't think I can tape a train."

"Can you tape Jesus?"

"No, he's been through enough."

"Mama!  Dezus!"  Graham added.

But when all was said and done, the trees we painted were original and festive, and my kids were good and dirty, just like they love to be.

Which brings us to Wednesday night, and the epitome of tacky.  All day the boys had been begging for a craft project, and upon looking in my project bag I wasn't immediately able to conceive of a legitimate use of the remaining items.  Onto the counter I threw some pipe cleaners, ribbon, felt, glue sticks, stickers and colorful puff balls and stared at them intently, hoping that some sort of Christmas miracle would force a Martha Stewart-grade project to manifest.  After several minutes of gazing catatonically at the random items, I decided that I could fake a felt tree ornament that, while obnoxious, would be enjoyable for the kids.

Joel and I were forced to do the majority of work.  I was responsible for gluing on the colorful puffs, and Joel was responsible for belly-laughing whenever I told Graham to "put his balls on the tree".   

We make a good team.

What I forgot, however, is that any ornament made by or given to a child MUST go on the tree in a most obvious location, regardless of how tacky or out of place it may be.  So here, three days before Christmas, my tree stands ready for the holiday-- adorned with lights, colorful ornaments to put us in the spirit, and two felt trees as bright as Rudolph's nose.  

Bring it on, Santa.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Caelism of the Day

Dear God, 

"Thank you for a great day.  Thank you for having that red jelly on my toast at breakfast and thank you for going to preschool and thank you for wearing my new shoes --not the brown ones, Mommy, the black and red ones, those are my favorite-- and thank you for a present for the teachers and thank you for ringing the bell and saying "Merry Christmas!" and thank you for seeing two trains and that big white dog, even though the train was short and we missed the engine at the front.  Why did you miss that, Mommy?  And thank you for having soup for lunch with those big crackers, and thank you for watching Curious George before my nap but I didn't want to take nap-- I don't need a nap!  And thank you for playing with Ethan and Keaton and hiding in Graham's room-- Mommy, why didn't you tell me that you had big wood blocks in there?  Thank you for going into town and having that chicken for supper with the apples and the chocolate yummy thing that Daddy shared with me, and thank you for going to Home Depot and looking at tools and thank you for seeing Santa-- he wasn't the real Santa, but he had a big hair on his face like Santa and thank you for the candy cane Santa gave me.  Where IS that candy cane?  Did Oscar eat it?  He's not supposed to eat people food, but why you give him chicken sometimes, Mommy?  Thank you for getting groceries at Walmart and holding those chocolate chips in the cart and thank you for coming home and playing with the cardboard train and thank you for brushing my teeth with the purple sparkle toothpaste and thank you for finding Bloose so I could sleep with him and thank you for reading the Elmo potty book-- I guess Elmo isn't a big boy like me because I use the potty and he doesn't so he must just be a baby like Graham-- and thank you for saying my prayers. 

"Is that everything, Mommy?"

"Please keep us safe, healthy, give us good dreams and a good day tomorrow.  Amen."

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"I really love the Polar Express." 


Monday, December 19, 2011

Times, They Are A-Changing

Alone with my boys last night, we decided to pop some popcorn and snuggle together on the couch while we watched a movie.  Digging through my growing children's movie arsenal to locate one we hadn't yet seen, I came up for air with only one option:  Pinocchio.  I slipped the movie out of the case and engaged in a brief battle with the DVD player (is it AV1?  Is it AV2?)  before the menu screen hummed "When You Wish Upon a Star", immediately transporting me back to 1987 and the yellow shag carpeting on the floor of the house in which I grew up.

But there were some differences.  In 1987, we didn't have a DVD player.  I was also not the person adjusting the tracking to find a clear spot between horizontal bars of static.  And lastly, there was no popcorn in my ear.  Or in my butt crack.

Did that bring you back to the present?  It did me.  As I was busy trying to bring a Disney classic to life, my kids were busy eating a lot of popcorn and strategically hiding a great deal more.  Once they'd sufficiently ground enough of it into the microsuede couch, they moved on to the carpet and eventually to me; greasy fingers cramming tasteless kernels in my ears, hair and down the back of my pants.

After a quick hose-down, the movie was on and I wagered another battle with my kids to either pay attention or find another activity and let me turn off the television.  But as soon as Pinocchio skipped off away from the school to become an actor in the circus, the boys were locked in.

I was relieved to have a minute to fold some clean laundry and pick up the house, easy tasks that I can do relatively quickly between fits and giggles.  But while I was balling socks, my boys were staring wide-eyed at child abductors and snarling whales. 


Another thing that has changed since 1987 is that children's programming has become much more tame and politically correct, a fact that I learned as I tried, unsuccessfully, to explain why Pinocchio was green in the face as he took a long drag on a cigar.

"What is that wood boy eating?"

"It's just something yucky that is not for kids." 

"Is it poop?"

"No, it's not poop.  It's called a 'cigar'." 

"Are you sure it isn't poop?  It looks like poop."

"It's not poop."

"He turned green!  Yuck.  Will I turn green if I eat poop?"

"Cael, it's not-- Oh, whatever.  Yes, you will turn green if you eat poop."

"That's silly, Mommy.  It's not poop.  It's a sing-gar." 

I stand corrected.

With the boys flanking me on the sofa, we finished the movie and they both sat lifelessly in their seats as I turned off the set.  It was at this point I knew they were either catatonic from too much popcorn, green from eating poop or terrified from the dramatic near-death whale scene.  My instincts told me it was the latter, but experience told me that my kids don't shy away from poop.  It was simply too soon to tell.

I kissed Graham's sweet face and put him to bed before returning downstairs to find Cael in the exact same spot I'd left him.

"It's bedtime."


That was way too easy.  Something was definitely up.

We brushed teeth, read a story and said our prayers.  Cael seemed to be getting back to his normal self, so I turned out the lights and headed upstairs to put away the laundry I'd folded earlier as my children were being scarred via cartoon.

Once the house was back in order, I ran a bath and hopped in to retrieve the popcorn hulls from the various crevices where my kids had wedged them. 


I didn't hear that in the eighties.

"Oh, you scared me.  What is it?"

I really like to avoid being completely naked in front of the kids, because Cael is getting older and has a mouth like a sailor and the discretion to match.  But exposed in the tub with my four-year old staring at point-blank range, there wasn't much I could do to preserve my modesty. 

"My room is scary."

"Oh, I love your room.  It's not scary at all.  Do you want me to turn your lamp on?"

"I don't like that whale."

I didn't want to dredge up more memories of the scene, so I decided that my best course of action was to play dumb.

"Hmm.  I don't know what you're talking about.  There's no reason to worry." 

"Yes, Mommy.  You know!  That really big whale!  The one in the water.  The really big one sitting in the water."

He looked at me, clearly wanting me to erase the memory, but after a second his eyes surveyed the room and my aquatic positioning and his brain made a connection I wish it hadn't. 

"Mommy!  YOU are a whale!" 

Maybe 1987 wasn't so bad...

The Joy of Giving

Tomorrow marks Cael's last day of preschool before Christmas break, and he is anxious as ever.

"Mommy, will I ever go back to school ever, ever again?"

"Yes, Cael.  We just have some time off together.  It will be fun!  But you'll have to make sure to say thank you to your teachers before you leave."

"And Merry Christmas?"

"Yep, you can say that, too."

"And Happy Birthday!!"

"No, not happy birthday.  Unless it's actually someone's birthday."

"Okay.  I will tell them that."


Instead of Cael's rough-around-the-edges Christmas well-wishes, I decided to make a little something for his teachers.  I know that they already receive an abundance of poor-tasting homemade treats, but I'm fairly confident that none of their other holiday gifts will possess the same unique combination of love, appreciation and heartfelt sarcasm.  Just like Cael.

As a candy/dessert maker (have I ever mentioned that?) I was confident I could make something tasty and seasonal, but I wanted a bright, festive way of presenting it.

Enter Pinterest.  Or don't, if you ever plan to eat or sleep again.

As soon as I came across this clever "tin-can-treat" idea for teacher gifts, (view it here) I knew it was just right.  I bought two of the largest tab-top cans of pineapple I could find so that the cans wouldn't smell like artichokes or bakes beans, and got to work cooking.

After much laziness debate, I finally settled on gourmet peppermint bark and english toffee for the tins.  Neither is my specialty, but both travel well and appeal to a large range of people, so I felt that they would be a good choice.

Oh, and I already had the ingredients, which counts for a lot.  The workers at Walmart know me by name, people.

I made all of the candy and broke it apart and prepared to assemble the tin can treats when a crazy thing happened.

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I fell asleep.

You ever fall asleep?  Well, it happened to me.  And because of that, while much needed, the cans and paper and homemade goodies sat unmanned in my kitchen, waiting for a bright, sunny day such as today for me to test my multitasking skills.

Pray for me.

While you read this, I am wrapping treats, decorating cans and labels as the kids play with the train set and I break up toddler tiffs and wipe greasy bottoms.  I'm washing my hands a lot, too.

If I can stay awake, I'll show you the finished product.  I hope they turn out nicely, or at least good enough to counterbalance my son's holiday spirit. 

"Mrs. Teachers, it's NOT your birthday.  Merry Christmas!" 

Maybe I should put some rum in this candy...