Some of my favorite moments from the Becker/Povondra visit are chronicled here. I have great memories of John & Jack pushing Sam & Lucy (respectively) in the swings at the playground near our house.
And Lucy. Where does one even start? Here she is after getting into my cosmetics bag. Later I will post a picture of her wearing her new bow that Aunt Kimmy purchased as a happy. Not sure who was happier, me or her.
And then there was the pretzel dipping & sprinkling that went on with Jack Attack & John-John. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I'm proud to say that I didn't yell or swear during any of this.
I have several more days of vacation, but I can honestly say that this has been one of the most special Christmases ever.
Can I just say how wonderful it is to lay in a bed and paint your fingernails and then go out to dinner and then go back and get in the bed and sleep until you want to?
Nevermind the risotto with truffles and pancetta croutons. Nevermind the Italian kale saute, the meat, cheese, & olive plate that was a 100% in-house creation, or the tiramisu that came in a little jar. The best part about our vacation was, hands down, sleep. In a large bed that someone else made. And the shower with four shower heads and a cushy white robe to wrap around yourself afterward.
I'm not at all bitter that Brian turned down the "turn down" service every night, therefore causing me to miss the chocolate mint they leave on the pillow. How, you might ask, do I know there was a chocolate mint to be missed?
Because I marched my booty out to the Turn Down Service Cart and broke a commandment by stealing one of the aforementioned mints -- it was rightfully mine anyway had Brian not turned down the turn down service -- and it was delicious. Like a kit kat mixed with toothpaste.
And in case you ever want to duplicate this vacation, here's what you'll need to do:
Maternals this time. I am an only child, but my children do have maternal second cousins: Will, Kate & Scott are sometimes in Mississippi at the same time as us, and it's always fun. This pic was taken just before Scott dropped Sam and right after Will threatened his mother that if she posted this picture on Facebook then he would get her back by posting & tagging an up-close picture of her butt. And somewhere in there Kate taught John to say, O. M. G.
These days, Sam is pointing to everything and saying, OWL! It used to be KIH KAT! but now he's become much more sophisticated with his labeling. Anything with four legs is KIH KAT and everything else is OWL.
Today I got one of the most interesting student-teacher holiday gifts I've ever received: A copy of The Noble Qur'An in the English Language with the parts about Jesus marked with a post-it note.
That may even beat the 2008 Anatomically Correct Naked Porcelain Asian Baby and Brian's 2009 Tim McGraw Cologne Box Set.
Which reminds me ... I sent in my cash for Ms. Lash's Christmas gift this week. The Room Mom requested that we all give cash, half of which will be given in the form of gift cards to The Teacher Store for classroom use and the other half for plain and simple Lashcash. Very appropriate in my opinion.
Much more appropriate than the request for cash to purchase hand warmers for the teachers who stand outside directing traffic in the drop-off & pick-up lines.
It's not that I have anything against those who direct traffic. I certainly am not holding a grudge about the fact that one of them told me I had my "JOHN BECKER" sign on the wrong sun viser.
It's just that $20 from each of Ms. Lash's students seems like WAY more than it would cost to provide them a full set of Land's End outterwear, much less some stinkin' hand warmers.
And sometimes I just wanna say, "THEY'RE NOT DESTITUTE, YOU KNOW."
Instead I write back with things like, "Thanks so much for organizing this! My check is in the mail!" as if I am a member of their cult, willing to fund all necessary outreach efforts.
But after the Lash Christmas gift request, I did have a little more than usual to say, which may or may not have been received well. One never knows with email.
I have this fear that all the parents will agree to one thing and then do another. For example, we have joint birthday parties every 3rd Friday, and all the kids whose birthdays have occurred during that month have a party. It's a well-known practice at John's school for parents to say that they are only going to bring cupcakes and then show up with cupcakes, chips, sandwiches, cookies, juice boxes, a veggie tray, and goody bags. So, the plan to give a set amount of money seemed really easy and appropriate to me, but I wondered ... will everyone else give the money AND a separate gift?
So I wrote back to the room mom, and it went something like this:
Hi Christy! Thanks so much, as always, for organizing this really important endeavor. I think the half cash, half gift card idea is great and very appropriate; however, I do have one concern. Do you think that other families will donate AND give Ms. lash a gift ... because the amount you have asked for might prevent some families from doing both.
And then I tried to make it funny ... you know, lighten the mood a bit.
One of the reasons I love the idea of giving cash is because my husband is a public school teacher, and boy has he received some doozy presents in the past! My favorite one was the box set of Tim McGraw cologne (regular & travel size). So I guess what I'm saying is that I want to make sure I don't need to write a check AND buy some Faith Hill perfume. ha ha ha! LOL!
This is the message I received in reply:
Dear Kimberly, I can assure you that no one is going to donate cash AND purchase Faith Hill perfume. Thanks for sending your check! Christy
So today I went Christmas shopping in the hopes of spotting something just perfect for Ms. Lash. I was really looking for a monogrammed hula hoop, but considering the cost of that added to the donation I've already made, I opted for hand lotion. And all the while I was driving around town, my defroster was working perfectly.
Which is a great change from last week.
You see, over the weekend, my defroster died. The mechanic informed us that a shredded Chick-fil-A napkin had virtually destroyed the defrost fanblower.
Which costs $135 to replace.
Which is why Ms. Lash will not get her monogrammed hula hoop this year.
Two days ago I had been in the house for an entire day with the children and suddenly realized that evacuation was necessary. I went to Walgreens because I love Walgreens. They have one of those Shiatsu massager chairs in the pharmacy waiting area. But as I was walking in, I noticed a bumper sticker, and y'all know how I am about bumper stickers. This one just said "Ole Miss," and there was a blonde woman and her pre-teenish daughter exiting the minivan.
I went in, sat in the massage chair for awhile, picked out some sunglasses and hair dye, you know, the usual stuff. And then I went to check out and got behind the Ole Miss mother/daughter duo. They had an entire buggy full of toys and soft drinks and all manner of other unnecessary crap and at least one coupon to match every item.
Up to that point in my life (two days ago), I had no idea that Ole Miss people bothered to clip coupons. I mean, c'mon. These are people who tailgate in a place called The Grove. They unpack their wine and cheese and display it on tables with flower arrangements whose colors denote the two rival teams. Picture maroon & white crysanthemums vs. red & blue carnations in a white basket with a large golden egg extending from its abdomen.
Anyway, back to Walgreens ... so, I notice that they are buying this really cute stuffed animal thingy that has wreaked such havoc on the cash register that a manager has become involved. The blonde woman is talking to her daughter about how if it weren't such a great deal, she'd just leave. They are both wearing floral-print mini-dresses and knee-high boots. Probably on their way to a game.
Intrigued, I ask about the item in question.
"It's a Webkinz pet," she replies. "It's a fabulous deal."
"What's a Webkinz pet?" I ask.
"Webkinz are pets that have online lives that kids can participate in. They have to feed them and provide all their necessities," she tells me.
"Oh! That sounds fun, but does the child have to be able to read to participate in this online world of pet care?" I ask. "Do they need lots of parental assistance?"
I can't commit to anything else at this time in my life.
"No," she says, "my five-year-old LOVES his!"
I am all over this. John-John has been wanting a pet, so this is purr-fect.
Except the only thing left was a brown shaggy dog.
The reason I know is because I left the checkout line to go get it.
So I bring home this dog thinking that this is going to be a pick-him-up gift for after Chris leaves. In fact, I hid it in the car so that I could give it to him AFTER Chris's visit. But of course he found it while he was in there searching for his missing remote control tarantula.
He totally freaked out and instantly named it Russell.
We immediately sat down and logged in and set up a username and password, and we did a video tutorial of the website. I was really hoping that this was not something that needed my constant attention because I already have something like that called Sam W. B.
And of course to my horror, everything requires reading and I should've known that blonde Ole Miss girl was lying through her bleached-white teeth.
So I sat there for a solid hour trying to figure out what he could do that would not require my assistance. (Sam W. B. was napping at the time.) Finally finally we figured out together how to feed the pet and walk the pet, play games, and buy/sell necessary items (like a queen-size, pirate-theme bed). It's a very in-depth website and even includes an employment office where you can get a job to earn money to pay for your pet's food ... you can also earn money by playing games, but once you earn enough math or language or science points, you can get a job in whatever field you're excelling in. John's on his way to being an account, btw.
But all the kid wants to do is play checkers.
Which is interesting since he is named after Pappaw.
He played checkers for an hour this morning while Brian lesson planned and I dealt with Ear-Infection Baby.
And then came the quote that made my $5 well spent:
"Mom! You have GOT to come see this! Russell just beat the pants off a monkey in checkers!"
Well Sam's party didn't turn out exactly like we planned. Grandaddy ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. We did a little party in room 203 of Southern Hills Medical Center, but we couldn't light the candle because of the oxygen. Also, I had forgotten the all-important "Birthday Boy" bib and my video camera wasn't working.
So tonight we staged a fake party for Sam (just after I went and picked up a new camera). Here is a video of him devouring his cupcake.