Tag Archives: holidays

Here we go again….

Ahh, the holidays…. The most wonderful time of the year.

In yet another telltale example of how I am slowly succumbing to the ways of the suburbs, I found myself longing to bust out the Christmas decor prior to Thanksgiving this year (although still not the day after Halloween, like the boldest in my hood , because Jr needs some recovery time in between giant Inflatable Frankensteins and seizure-inducing jingle-bell-rock lighting displays, yo?)

I also broke down and caved to The Mr’s requests to get a larger tree for The Casa. Even I had to admit that our medium height, thinner profile tree that worked perfectly in the tiny corner of The Treehouse looked a bit sad in our cavernous vaulted-ceiling living room.

So, a week-and-a-half before hosting my first actual traditional Thanksgiving, The Mr. dragged all of the bins of decorations up out of storage, along with the new tree (purchased at 90% off sometime around Valentine’s Day, TYVM,) and I set out to deck the halls.  That tree?  That tree was my Everest.  It is tall, it is heavy, and its directions ?  Non existent.  Also – my cute little condo tree was pre-lit, but not this bad boy – OH NO – this is 100% Keri-illuminated. (Props to my dad who did that every year on the family tree….  and how did my husband disappear SO fast when I mentioned that the lights might be a dude job?  Christmas magic or just a fast car?)

Getting the star on top? Short girl, big ass tree – this shit pretty much actually happened to me:


Except not even that cool, because I tipped off a stepladder, flopped forward clinging to the tree (still determined to just get the dang star on,) and took it down, becoming hopelessly tangled  in a heap of faux-branches and precariously strung twinkle lights that took a good 10 minutes to extract myself from, at about 11:30 at night.  No one woke up, and I considered just sleeping there until The Mr came downstairs to assist.  But that is NOT the kind of “holiday family story” I want my 3 yr old telling at school.  (He already told his entire class that he was “VERY thankful for Bacon” during their Thanksgiving discussion.)

So, the ginormous tree eventually got the star up on top, and Jr assisted in the decorating of it it by doing all the things that I remember used to piss my mom off when we did them:  hanging 20 ornaments in a 10 inch square section of tree,  hanging ornaments on the afore-mentioned lighting cords instead of the branches (maybe DON’T stab that metal wire hook INTO the cord there, sparky,)  grabbing uber-delicate old ornaments with his “Hulk-smash” preschooler grasp, attempting to eat the ancient foodstuffs from the old-school DIY ornaments of my youth, and on and on until I was frazzled as heck and he was squealing with 3-year-old Christmas glee.  (Cute and understandable, but an untamable force of nature, to be sure.)

The pull of super-sizing the decor hasn’t been contained to the inside of our abode either – Where once I swore I would always be strictly a “tasteful wreath on the door ONLY” kind of gal, I have been sticking silver bows and greenery everywhere on the front of our house.  There are even two spiral, clear light trees staked into our lawn.  (FYI – setting those things up is like stretching a really big spring well beyond where you should be – I let go too soon on the first one and it shot like a rocket half way across the street.  You’ve been warned.)

If we get all True Confessions about it , I would actually like to see a single strand of clear/white lights tracing our roof line.  But I don’t see The Mr heeding the call of his inner Clark Griswold, and Keri draws the line at anything involving a ladder.

Maybe.  But all the neighbors’ lights look so pretty….

Another holiday season in the subdivision is off and running – we also survived another round of the holiday party last night.  This year The Mr made an appearance, I secured seating to eat right away and parked him in it,  and all that ended up coming home in my purse was a goody bag from santa.

Let it never be said that Keri doesn’t learn from experience.  (And next year – The Mr is putting that damn star up on the tree.)

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Meanwhile, back at the clubhouse.

Since we can’t do ANYTHING half-ass, even chosing to live in the suburbs, we don’t just live in any subdivision.  We live in a sprawling behemoth of a mega subdivision, made up of lots (and I mean LOTS,) of smaller sections (sub-subdivisions?)  I have no clue what the correct term is, it’s foreign terminolgy to me, and I aim to actively attempt to keep it that way.  I’m convinced The Mr’s Texan upbringing kicked in when we were house hunting and he went with the “bigger is better” mentality when chosing a subdivision. That and the whole thing weaves around a golf course, and his country club upbringing makes him seek out golf courses like I seek a good brunch joint.

So a couple of times a year we get invites not only for events involving our little pocket neighborhood – we are in the smallest of the little sub-subdivisions, just an outer loop and an inner loop around a little “pocket park” as I was informed they are called, (see, you can’t UNlearn these words, people. ::cringe::)    On top of those events, there are also events for the entire ginormous sprawl of mega subdivision.  The two big ones being a 4th of July parade situation that we have avoided for 2 summers running now; and the annual holiday party at the golf course clubhouse.

This year I decided to suck it up and request 3 tickets (yep, it’s ticketed to keep out the riff raff, I guess,) to the latter.  The clubhouse is located midway between The Casa and my parents’ house, and it was a “NeNe Day” for Jr, so I decided I would request the early wave (oh yeah, they have to run the sucker in waves, like starting a race or touring an exhibit or something,) and we could just drop by and he would sit on Santa’s lap for a picture and we could call it a success.

Lol.   Lolololololololol.

Of course a wardrobe crisis took place, since I have no damn clue how to dress for ANYTHING out here, and am fully aware that I am “that one who wears an awful lot of black” to  other moms in the ‘hood.

Also,  it was cold as sin here last week.  I mean COLD.  As in – Keri cried a little during last weekend’s date night when getting into The Mr’s jeep after dinner, due to the dreaded FJS (Frozen Jeans Syndrome,  and don’t pretend you don’t know what it is.  It is hell.)   That kind of cold presents its own wardrobe issues, as you have to be warm in transport, and still able to deal with all the layers you might have to hang on to the entire time you revel. (But I digress. Horribly. As usual. )

Off we went, Jr in his tiny button-up shirt, and me in my casual-but-dressy tunic and completely impractical kicky booties (buried under giant coats, of course.)
The Mr chickened out completely. (Check mark in the “owes me one BIG TIME column, BTW.)

Inside the tastefully decorated clubhouse I pulled Jr off to the side, dislodged him from his winter layers, and stuffed them into my giant purse (hooray for the giant purse.)  I piled my coat on top of his and wedged the straps over my shoulder.

We got greeted and name-tagged and continued in the flow of people through the hall and into the great room.  The scene was one of complete and utter sensory overload – twinkly lights, holiday music, yummy smells rising from the containers of food as it was warmed by the sterno pots beneath the pan on the buffet.  But most of all the movement and noise and joy and bustle of kids.

Lots and lots of kids.

“SANTA!!!!”  Jr had spotted the man of the hour tucked into a corner by a ginormous Christmas tree. I surveyed the surroundings – families were shrugging off piles of coats and digging in to plates of food from the buffet at tables spread throughout the space, the line for Santa was only 2 deep.  I knew the second they all finished their meals, they would queue up for some lap time, so I maneuvered Jr into the line as fast as his 2.5 year old legs would go.  We chatted with the neighbors around us, and watched each child smiling and talking with Santa.   Secretly I was a little concerned that, much like riding the plastic horse at the supermarket or sitting in the airplane/firetruck/car thingy at the children’s haircut place, this was an experience he would be SUPER excited about in theory but totally freaked out by IRL.

However, after a moment of hesitation when his turn came, Jr climbed up on Santa’s lap, and informed him that he would like “presents” and that he was “2 years old” while I snapped pictures as fast as I could in the hope that one of the bajillion shots would be “the one.” (This is the true secret to kid photography – quantity. Take 50 pictures of every event, 3 will probably be keepers.)

Mission accomplished, right?  Except that by this time the yummy smells from the buffet were calling to both of us, and Jr was all “Cicken figgers now?”  Sure, what the hell, chicken fingers now, kiddo.  I steered him through the controlled chaos to the buffet and balanced a plate on my arm while using one eye to select some snacks and the other to watch him as he watched groups of older kids making merry in various ways around the room.   Plate full, I turned my attention to the seating situation. It had filled up completely.  The santa first plan had backfired!  Crap.

“Cickin figger mommy?”  The delightful smell of the plump, warm chicken pieces on our plate was weakening Jr’s toddler sense of reason.  We had to get some food into his tiny face pronto.  I found an out of the way corner and we plopped down on the floor in the glow of a group of battery-powered “candles,” and shared some chicken finger. (BTW – the. BEST. chicken finger. EVAH.  I don’t know what the hell they coated that chicken in, but damn it was tasty.)  Midway through his second finger, Jr caught sight of the cookie decorating station and chucked his chicken in my direction.

“CHRISTMASSSS COOOKEHHHHHH!!!!”  He was on his feet and heading toward the table.  In my haste I grabbed up my coat (spread out to sit on,) put it on, folded the paper plate up around the chicken, and not seeing any other place to put it, stuffed the package in the pocket of my puffy coat. (oh Keri.)

Off we went to the cookie decorating table, where Jr created a masterpiece “for daddy” and then one for himself, which he piled HIGH with green frosting.  I let him go nuts. What the hell, he is having fun, let him sugar it up this once.  I crafted a to-go container for “daddy’s cookie” out of more paper plates, pushed Jr’s coat aside in my purse, and secured the cookie package in the depths of the bag.

By then the seating had started to open up, and there was NO WAY that pile of green frosting was going to be protected by my paper plate constructions, so I asked ” want to eat your cookie here, Smoosh?”  Duh – toddler must. eat. cookie. ASAP.  Good deal.   On our way to a table I grabbed a glass of wine from the bar (Merry Christmas, momma Keri,) and we sat near the tree where Santa was still listening to wishlists of the subdivision kiddos, looking out the window over the golf course with its trees sparkling in white lights.  I watched Jr carefully flip his cookie over in his two little toddler hands, and slowly eat it all up – frosting side down.  (Smart kid.)

He got frosting on his nose.  We giggled.  We watched Santa and looked at the tree and sung “Jingle Bells” softly to each other while the chaos around us faded into a kind of background-y holiday hum.

He was happy, I was happy.  Eventually we piled on our layers and headed back out into the cold night.  It didn’t feel quite so cold as we crunched through the snowy parking lot to the M.U.V.

I survived the mega subdivision holiday gathering.

We came, we saw (Santa) and I came home with a really happy kid.   Not to mention a pocketful of chicken and a Christmas cookie in my purse.

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Holiday week recap, Google search ed.

What did the Thanksgiving holiday break look like for us, you ask? (Whatever, I’m going to pretend you did no matter what, so just go with it.)

I could get all long-winded, as is my usual tendency except no, wait, I can’t be cause the toddler timebomb has been sleeping without incident for about 90 minutes, meaning a coughing fit or diaper situation is due any moment, so….

Because we KNOW how heavily I rely on Google (If it didn’t result in a Google search, it didn’t really happen to me,) I give you a brief synopsis of my/our holiday “break”, as demonstrated by the topics of my Google search history:


3:45 pm-“Williams and Graham food menu” (planning happy hour snacking)

9:00 pm- “toddler vomiting”, “dehydration prevention in vomiting toddler” (returned from happy hour to find The Mr. cleaning up round 1 of a um, situation with Jr.)

10:20 pm- “preventing spread of gastritis in family members”, “probiotics for gastritis”


1:45 am – “dry heaving in children”

2:00 am – “2013 Holiday TV specials” (deliriously pissing away moments when Jr was finally sleeping and I should have been too, obviously.)

6:20 am- “ dehydration in toddlers,” “homemade pedilyte”

Noon-  “what to feed toddler who has been throwing up?”

2:00 pm – “Days of Our Lives holiday schedule” (yep, don’t leave me hanging, Brady.)

6:30 pm – “duration of gastritis in toddlers,” “how long is gastritis contagious?”


3:20 am – “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade 2013” (again, sleep when sick child sleeps, Keri. WTF?)

10:00 am – Google maps search of my Aunt’s address since we ALWAYS make a wrong turn getting to it

11:30 am – “gentle foods to eat with an upset stomach”

3:50 pm –  NEW Google maps search of my Aunt’s address while in The Mr’s car, since we missed the turn AGAIN


9:30 am – “Steuben’s”  (needed opening time.  Mama needed some city time and some Fried Chicken while Jr soaked in some grandma love from NeNe.)

12:40 pm – “GottaRubIt BBQ” (checking menus for Food Truck Dinner.  Roll Klassy with Keri at the craft brewery.)


8:15 am – “Louisville Colorado Small Business Saturday”  (thought maybe a little shopping)

10:00 am  – “treating diarrhea in toddlers” (that’s a big NO on the shopping)

11:20 am – “Ohio State Michigan 2013” (So I Married a Buckeye.  Needed to follow score to gauge The Mr’s moods)

8:45 pm – “home remedies for coughing in toddlers”

11:20 pm – “ABC Familys 25 days of Christmas” (seriously…  SLEEP NOW KERI)


1:10 am – “dry cough in toddlers,” “dehydration in toddlers” (I am a re-googler.  Why remember when you can regoogle?)


That is where we are now.  We have run the gammit from barfing to pooing to hacky cough, all of which have Jr and Keri sleeping badly.

BUT – we did finally manage to make it to my Aunt’s, have some turkey and some family time, and make it home with no issues.  We put up the tree and watched a lot of pre-school holiday TV episodes, and it looks like Jr is going to be well enough to head back to school tomorrow, (as long as the night goes ok.)

Maybe his mom can take a break from Googling his whole wide world.

At least until planning for the Christmas trip to Texas starts.

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chis… WTF!?

Thanksgiving is next week.
In keeping with my fairly predictable tendency toward unpopular opinions, I am of the mind that a Christmas Tree or some festive winter garland on the mantle makes Turkey day that much more festive. What the heck, deck those halls, people.

HOWEVER, a trend I find semi-alarming is taking hold around the subdivision: uber-early outdoor holiday illumination.

All around the streets and along the greens of the golf course and beside the pocket parks, lights are tracing the roof-lines and bedazzling the shrubbery of our sprawling neighborhood. The moment the jack o’ lanterns and (creepy-but-not-for-the-reason-they-meant) fakey tombstones disappeared, up on the housetop went the (plastic) reindeer paws. Like November 1st.

Like whoa.

I’ve discerned that the reasons for the sharp uptick in horrifically early decorating are most likely twofold:

1. The onslaught of flyers left on doors and sent in the mail advertising earlybird discounts on pro lighting hangers (is that what you call them?) if you have your installation errected -heh heh- prior to Thanksgiving.
These people like their lights, they just don’t like to hang them. Or pay full price.

2. The property management company’s decision to start sticking garland and holly-like plastic-y stuff up on every sign and lamp post they can chase down beginning at like 11:59 pm on Oct 31st.
I know you manage a lot of territory, but COME ON. It’s a slippery G.D. slope, folks!!! The masses are watching, and falling prematurely in line.

I actually kind of get all of that.
I would make Clark Griswold look like a savvy veteran if I tried to decorate the outside of The Casa, AND I totally get the whole “when in Rome, decorate when the Romans do” thing, AND I do love a bargin.

Really. I get it.

But here’s the thing, people:
Just because the lights are up does not mean you have to turn them on.
‘Tis not quite the season to be Fa la la-ing in the festive light of your glowing assortment of inflatables.

Why, neighbors?

As Hermie tells Rudolph when hiding from the Bumble – Douse the light!


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