The most wonderful time of the year.

Family 2016 a.jpg

This year we were all about traditional… except a little askew – because us.

Have I mentioned I’m a holiday  card junkie?

Not only do I consider it my personal duty to pepper the globe with Season’s Greetings from our little family, but every December I practically skip to the freaking mailbox every day to see what treasures are buried in between grocery circulars and gift catalogs.

I can’t get enough warm winter wishes – I am always jonesing for the next jingle-gram to come fa-la-la-ing down the lane in the postal carrier’s bin.

I don’t care what variety it is – I love them all.  Any incarnation of the family photo card is always a favorite of Keri’s – the punny theme pic (we did the “have your selfie a Merry Little Christmas” version last year when I just couldn’t even with the professional photo shoot for the season,) the collage of kiddos in various adorable hi-jinx surrounding a sweet shot of mom and dad smooching,  the traditional single full card family pic with one simple greeting scripted along the bottom….    I am a total sucker for seeing your sweet family’s faces and I “ooo” and “ahh” over them all season long.   BUT WAIT – there is also the stunning traditional folded card, complete with beautiful imagery and heartwarming holiday sentiments nestled in a foil-lined envelope.    Ooooo – or the family news letter!!   A winter window you can peer though into the year’s ups and downs for those you love. (I know some loathe these, but I ADORE them!!  It’s like a coffee date catch up stuffed in an envelope and shared right to your door. )   If it includes a crayoned in drawing of a holiday scene from your offspring – that shit is going to be on my office builtin board until it disintegrates. (Seriously – the cutest menorah  a 7 year old ever drew has a spot of honor on my wall right next to a Christmas tree my nephew crafted when he was 4 that will never be usurped.  Kid art gets you instantly into the Keri hall of holiday fame.)

This year I am rigging up a ribbon/clothespin display situation on the coat closet door since our new and shiny fridge is an off-limits zone for magnetized decorating.  It is going to be EPIC –twice the space to fill.  No card crowded behind another.

YAAASSSS  Holiday Card Kween.

If you are thinking of shrinking folks off of your card list this year I say NAY NAY – this season send more love than ever – don’t subtract, ADD.

And if you find yourself with an extra, there is always a girl in Colorado looking for her next fix.

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Halloween Hangover

Jr BEGGED The Mr to blow up the Minion “just one more time” after Halloween. This happened. Look dude, when vampire Minion passes out off his pumpkin on the front lawn, Halloween is over, m’kay?

It’s snowing.  Along the Colorado front range tonight, it is FINALLY snowing.

Thank goodness – maybe it will serve to usher out what I have started referring to as our “Halloween Hangover.”

This year, in this house, Halloween just won’t freaking die.

Jr has been busting out costumes (or random parts of costumes) from the stash in his dress-up corner, and emerging from the basement play area to “trick or treat” though out the house.  He sets up stuffed friends with craft pom-poms at various locations and proceeds through the house collecting the pom-poms in his PB Kids personalized jack-o-lantern bag, and then comes back to the TV room for “the Halloween party.”

This party involves playing the Peanuts theme song and dancing. Over and over.

And over.

Don’t get me wrong – I totally believe in the Great Pumpkin, and I am strangely proud of how long a 5 year old can ration a candy supply (1 piece in his lunch, 2 pieces after school,) but let’s move Spookley off the top of the toy bin and start shining the play stove to cook up some Turkey, eh?

OR – if we MUST – then at least relent to letting mom pack up the colorful leaves and decorative gourds in favor of mistletoe and tinsel and stockings hung by the chimney with care, shall we?

We have had years of being fairly frightened of Halloween. Last year I had to carry him out of the garage kicking and screaming to get the trick-or-treat train movin’ around our ‘hood.  This year suddenly he is determined to see it last for.ev.errrrrrrrr.

The ridiculously warm weather has been no small contributing factor, I think.  I mean, it still LOOKS like Halloween outside – all leaves crunching under his little feet and clear blue sky against not-quite-yet-bare trees.  I get it, I really do.

But I am not here for it anymore, people.

The minute we got him home from school, I dressed him up like Ralph’s little brother in A Christmas Story and shot him out the back door to frolic in the 1/2 inch or so that had accumulated thus far.  Because we are moving on, yo.

MOVING. ON.

So snow on, snow storm…. blow the Halloween Hangover from these halls, pronto.

 

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Still not QUITE there. Just sayin’.

I like to think (and I am not even ashamed to admit,) that I have acclimated to my less-than-urban surroundings fairly well at this point.

I can navigate the stores at the comically large local outdoor shopping area with my eyes closed.

During school drop off and pick up,  I show extreme patience for my fellow parents who are, um let’s just say “parallel-parking-impaired.”

We frolic in the wide open spaces – on the trails, in the fields and foothills of our surrounding area.

After all – I was raised here, right?

So we have to have an agreement, my fair and reasonable readers… I will tell you a secret that no one but me (and possibly a King Soopers security guard who I HOPE hadn’t had enough coffee to actually be paying attention to the cameras,) knows:

See this trash can?  It is what we call a “bear proof can” here at the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. (In my town it is probably more “coyote and raccoon proof” but we don’t get specific.)  They do NOT exist in the city, I can tell ya that.

For SEVERAL minutes this morning, it was a Keri-proof can.   Could NOT for the life of me figure out how to trip the mechanism in the stupid handle.  Even tried the one on the other side of the door because I thought the first one had to be broken.  No Keri – the user was broken.

After the first minute or so it became a battle of will – there was NO WAY I wasn’t opening that effing can.  And I did.  Then it slammed shut and almost ate my hand.

I guess I still have a ways to go out here if I can’t throw away my pile of fast food shame trash without getting in 5 minute fight with an overly complicated trashcan.

Just sayin’.

 

*PS – I know it’s been a bit quiet around here lately.  Just getting Jr over the “beginning of big kid school ” hump.  Stay tuned.

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They are all my child.

This weekend I was watching my son running a neighborhood playground through its paces with a buddy from his T-ball team, when my phone started buzzing with news updates.

There had been an accident involving a bus filled with athletes from the high-school in our neighborhood.

Reading the details beginning to come in regarding the crash, I fought (and lost) a battle with my tears as I thought about those teenage passengers returning from a weekend trip.

Because once you become a mom- once you have a child – they are ALL your child.

Every baby that  you see precariously practicing their walking skills on a blanket in the park who makes you gasp and unconsciously reach out your hands when they fall forward, no matter how far away you are, is your child.

Every name on every tag on every giving tree at Christmas time – with wish lists ranging from the grandiose to the basic, is your child.

Every neighbor kid with a skinned knee, every story of a food reaction in the school cafeteria, every little one you see struggling to keep up with the others at soccer practice… they are all your child.

And so also, the picture of the boy sitting quietly in the middle of the aftermath of an explosion halfway around the world, caked in dirt and blood, is your child.  The Amber Alert that wakes you at 3 a.m. providing details of a kidnapping, is your child.  The bus full of high school athletes that crashes on the way back to the school after a game, is full of your children.

The hungry, the abused, the hurt, the abandoned -are all your child.

You think what you would think if it was your child…. You pray the child isn’t scared, isn’t alone, isn’t in pain….

Knows that they are loved.

Because your heart IS that mother’s heart.  We are connected by the most primal instinct – to nurture and protect our children.

And so we cry.  And we pray.  And we hug our own children a little tighter.

But also – we act.

We reach out, we plan and we fund-raise and and we search and we work and we raise our voices to anyone who will listen for the little people who make up our worlds, both very near, and very far away as well.

Because they are all our children.

_____________________________________________

The following sites are accepting donations for those affected by the bus accident in my community:

The driver of the bus was tragically killed.  She was a mom, a wife, and a grandmother. You can support her family here

Three coaches were seriously injured in the crash. You can support them and their families here. Two of the coaches have been released from the hospital.

Coach Kroupa remains hospitalized with severe injuries. You can support him and his family here. (This gofundme was funded to 150%! Thank you!)

A Legacy High Senior has a general gofundme page for those affected. The school administration will have oversight of the funds. You can support the page here

 **If you are in Broomfield or in the surrounding communities, an online auction organized by the Broomfield Area Moms FB group is taking place with all proceeds benefiting those affected. More information is available here.**

 

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One of the crowd.

Well, we are in week 2 of Jr’s kindergarten adventure and we have all managed to get where we need to be with all of the crap we need to have, including pants (no small victory,) in a timely fashion every day.

So I guess we are all going to survive the switch, (but reading of any heartfelt ruminations is still on hold until further notice, TYVM.)

I did come to a semi-jarring realization yesterday, not about Jr, but about my own role in this whole daily drop off scenario.

Years ago I made a vow — through gritted teeth with narrowed, shade-throwing eyes — to the baseball-capped, yoga-pants clad, latte-toting super-star suburban mommas piloting their perfectly organized MUVs in and out of the preschool parking lot – and to myself.

I wasn’t going out like that.  See, I proclaimed it in my very first post.   “Walk among them, don’t become them.”  (Thank you Suburgatory, for the best line ever.)

Look, we can pretty much agree that I lost my “cynical Keri” street cred a ways back now… probably around the time I started skipping through the local café giving everybody the winky finger guns and trying to hug an entire town.

winky jesus

Winky Jesus loves you, and so do I, Hometown.

But what I saw yesterday, when I glanced at my reflection in a window of the school while standing on the kindy playground, made me gasp audibly:

Note look of horrified realization.

Oh.

My.

Damn.

That is legit the ACTUAL textbook image of what I had described as being “them”  just a few years ago.  AND I QUOTE, “… yoga pants and performance fleece and pony-tails sticking out of baseball caps; with perfectly lined eyes…”

(Well, I suck at eye make up so that part is NEVER going to be me, but  still… I mean, come on.)

Whoa.

WHHHOOOAAAAAA.

Holy athleisure wear, Batman.  I was the creature I feared all along.

Even more fascinating – I totally get it now. Momming of school-aged kiddos is intense, yo.  Jr’s start time is a full hour earlier than I used to drop him off at his previous daycare/school.  Two minutes late? Too bad. Your kid is tardy, thanks a lot, Mrs NOT Mother of the Year.   That early ass roll-out time means that I have kissed my pre-dawn TV workouts buh-bye; we are already in full-on morning prep mode at that time of day now.  AND GUESS WHAT – if I put on the clothes when I get up, then I actually get a workout in right after I bid Jr adieu in the kindy yard and low-speed it out of the school zone. If I am wearing something else?  Nope, I end up putting off the putting-on of workout wear, and it just never happens.

ANDPLUSALSO – there are ample pockets for my stuff, it is toasty if the morning is cool, and if I notice a smudge of WTF on Jr’s face right as we get a foot on the playground, I don’t have to worry about jacking up work wear using my sleeve as a face wipe. (Yup, I said it.)

It’s like wearing a suit of mom armor.  I can’t hide it – I am converted, and I hadn’t even noticed the change.

The truth can hurt, Keri.

But it can also set you free.

:::raising giant Starbucks cup :::

Here’s to being “one of them.”

one of us

 

 

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