Friday, January 16, 2009

Hither, thither and nowhere

I’m ready to discuss Christmas and it’s not quite yet July. Yay me!

The month leading up to Christmas was tense. All that budgeting, gift selecting, shopping and wrapping is just too much to add to all the normal stuff I can’t get around to. I had thought since we had budgeted some money for Christmas this year that it would be so much easier – I wouldn’t be trying to pick out WOW gifts for $15. But in fact I still was. My Christmas buying list has 40 names on it – which seems ridiculous but I don’t know how to make it smaller since already it’s only core family members and kids. But somehow we got it done.

The boys were not too hard to deal with. Noah got a karoke machine, an acoustic guitar and a spy scope from Santa. And then “we” got him some books and art supplies. Ray got some Play Doh, a grocery cart and a stuffed Muno from Santa, and we didn’t get him squat. Hell, he gets all Noah’s crap. The family got them all kinds of things – mountains of stuff. Noah’s favorites were his new two wheeler bike, his Indiana Jones hat and whip, a talking monkey, new activity books and some DVDs. And I am happy to report they also got some savings and education money.

Mark and I didn’t exchange gifts this year because I didn’t want to waste money giving each other cheap knick knacks that we either didn’t need or weren’t very exciting. Of course our families are so tremendously generous that it made up for it. Is it telling we got liquor store gift certificates from three different family members? We got some new furniture from Mom so that we can accommodate more sitting in our living room and also some money from others to be used towards a bit of redecorating the space.

My step mother-in-law bought me a pair of Uggs for Christmas. When I opened them I immediately planned on returning them and buying shoes for the entire family with the money. I disliked Uggs for the reason that I believe many like them - when you see them you immediately know they were expensive. I find that flashy, prestige sort of thing fairly abhorrent. But I tried them on and DAMN they were comfy. And then I realized that the whole thing with Uggs is that the lining keeps your feet body temperature no matter how warm or cold it is outside. You wear them without socks and your feet never sweat. And I thought that is damn handy since I hate to wear socks and I have sweaty feet. But I still set them aside for a few weeks. I had to go out of town to return them and with the stomach flu we were experiencing that wasn’t happening. And then Mark made a very valid point. I am always saying that the perfect gift is getting something for someone that they wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves but that they soon find that they love. And these Uggs were the prime example. And so I am wearing them and loving them. They are the only shoe that I can wear and doesn’t put added stress on my sore ankle. I just wish I didn’t constantly worry that other people were thinking “How in the how can she afford $150 boots?”

The part of Christmas this year that was really a joy was the boys excitement. They loved decorating and seeing decorations. They loved seeing all of their family. They loved Christmas Carols. I still don’t have all the decorations away because they adore the Nutcrackers and the musical tree so much that I know they will mourn them. Ray loves Frosty the Snowman so much that he seems to be able to spot even the tiniest one on a row home door from a mile away. Luckily snowmen decorations last the season and he has a few more weeks before there will be no more Frosty sightings.

At 18 months old Ray is speaking SO MUCH. I can’t even think of all the things he can say – of course in his stilted dialect that only we can understand. Some of the standouts are - more, teeth, please, meow (used to refer to the cats but also to speak to them – will say 25 of them in a row like having a conversation with the cat), dog, ball, boot, book, Dora, choo choo, no, uh huh, Frosty, Mommy (I am begging him to use Mama but he is resistant), Daddy, Spy (he calls both of the cats by this name, Parker is pissed), ice cream, cheese, yummy, hat, hot, bag, hi, bye, see, banana and (most important for a second child) MINE. He still loves to play in the water more than anything else. He pulls a kitchen chair up to the sink about three times a day. He loves trains and any kind of animal elicits squeals of glee. He likes to pretend to feed things and love on pets until they run away from over-loving. He is hard to divert when he really wants something but he also knows how to hold his own against his brother. Sometimes I think he even antagonizes Noah. He’s still nursing, mostly at sleep times but will also request additional times by stomping up to me and tapping on my chest with his finger. He has always been a much better sleeper than Noah and even the patches when he has sleep issues from growth spurts and teething are nothing with what we went through with his older brother. He remains overall FUNNY. Even when he’s climbing on everything and getting into things he shouldn’t he does it with a devilish, come-hither smile. He laughs easily and is a constant source of smiles.

Noah remains smart, imaginative, inquisitive, creative and dramatic. He will gladly tell you he is part Super Noah, part spy, part Indiana Jones, part rock star and part Tarzan. He has a lot of questions about what is real and what isn’t - which things he sees on TV are real, people in costumes, puppets or drawn. He is distressed that he doesn’t yet know how to read. We’ve been reading him chapter books before bed but I really need to spend time with him and early reader books so he can get use to sight words and do more phonics. He is advanced but not as advanced as he’d like so I really need to help him out. He loves stories, adventures in particular. After reading James and The Giant Peach we saw the play and then watched the movie. We talked a lot about the differences in the stories and how people tell the same story in different ways. After reading the Tale of Desperaux I took him to see the movie, his second movie theater experience (Wall-E was the first). It made me laugh that he seemed to think we were going to see a play – asking about actors, curtains and spot lights. He’s in a new dance class this season, one that will focus a little bit more on teaching actual moves rather than just being creative with movement. These classes have been really great for him – encouraging him even more to act things out. He really is quite the little performer. He told me the other day that he wanted to be a TV person. And he is a talker. He talks and talks and talks.

Mark is still hard at work at Drexel. He has been having a difficult time getting rid of some chest congestion that has been lingering for the past month. He has coughed so hard that he hurt his chest muscles. But I think he is finally on the mend.

Me? Have I mentioned that I hate winter? That I hurt my foot? My foot is healing though it still hurts, getting worse the longer I am on it. I just got a brace that will hopefully help, though at the moment it seems to make it hurt more. I am anxious for it to get better so I can start working out but I can’t even fathom jumping on it or doing a downward dog with it for at least a few more weeks. And I have to be cautious since reinjury is common when you overextend yourself too early. And I haven’t the determination to start the diet without the exercise so I am just wallowing. Trying to make it through the winter months.

I have been daydreaming about going to Guatemala. A friend told me how affordable ($30 hotel rooms, $300 RT) and lovely it is and next thing you know I was planning on taking the whole family. Mark even bought me a guide book. Problem is the rainy season is May – December and though I tried to tempt him, Mark knows it’s too soon to plan such an exotic vacation, with no money set aside, Sesame Street Spanish, and less than three months. Course I hope to be pregnant by next January so that makes Guatemala again a faroff dream. But for a few days there I was fantasizing about taking the boys swimming in the picturesque volcano-surrounded Lake Atitlan. It’s always easier to get through the winter doldroms when you have something warm and exciting to look forward to. We’ll go to OC NJ with my Mom in July but that seems a million years away. I need a coping mechanism to help me pull through February. Maybe I just need one of them damn lamps.

1 comment:

juliloquy said...

I'm glad you're keeping the Uggs; you deserve them. Maybe you could get a t-shirt printed with "THEY WERE A GIFT!" I have some fake Uggs that I bought for myself when I was pregnant with Shmoo and even though they're scruffy, I still get a lot of use out of them.

Love the updates on the fam. Hang in there!