Oh, The Places You’ll Go…like, Crazy.

I have to admit right off the bat that I am NOT the best at working on projects ahead of time. Always has been the case. Even dinners are usually last minute wonders. Or cans of soup….

This morning, yes, THIS morning, my middle minion and I put together his costume for  Literary Character Day. He choose Peeta Mellark from the Hunger Games. First of all, I was mildly surprised that he has taken to the book – or reading anything that does not include sport stats. Secondly, I was mildly shocked that he decided to dress as a character. This kid doesn’t participate in any spirit day dress ups EVER; not even interested in pajama day; a day you would think all kids take advantage of. Not that wearing sweats Every. Single. Day. is really much of a difference…

Back to the Hunger Games. Today is The Big Day. Today is the day I still hadn’t made Peeta’s spear. Every day this week has been filled with work and sports and school and scouts and laundry and feeding two-legged and four-legged creatures. So the minion and I had 2 hours to get this character ready and make our weapon.

I like to think of myself as crafty and fairly handy. I also know to think of myself as unorganized and forgetful. I knew what I wanted to do, but spent about 43.5 minutes of our precious time trying to locate my tools of the crafty. I found some scraps of black foam core (yes!) to make the shank. But could not find my Xacto knife or my spray adhesive. I had JUST used those things last week…how could I have misplaced them so soon? And why the heck could I not remember where I had put them? I have a craft section dumping ground in my basement…but my go-to’s had gone-to somewhere I had no idea.

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Time to go to  Plan B – cut foam core out with scissors? Tears the paper. Kitchen knife? Duh, my knives are so dull, they can’t even cut a tomato…who am I kidding.  Still don’t have any idea for the handle of our killing stick. I seriously considered cutting off the handle of our broom (it’s not like I really ever clean our floors, let’s be honest).

Clock keeps ticking – and coffee is kicking in. I am now at Defcon 3 – barking orders to any kid or dog that is in eyesight or earshot. “Hold this”.  “Stop looking at the TV!” “Where’s my phone? Who’s texting? No, don’t read it if it’s from your dad.” “Is that our dog barking? Well, let him in!” “Where are all the Sharpies? How could we be missing ALL OF THEM?”

We are now at Plan C-D. Crazed and Desperate. The moment that the big guns are pulled out.

The Stapler and The Tape.

Elmer’s Glue is great for moms who are organized, well groomed and sing while they help with make their kid’s school projects. The Stapler is for us last-minute moms. I take the chopped up foam core spear and cover it in black cardstock and staple the shit out of the blade so much that if our school had metal detectors it probably would get confiscated. Gold metallic marker covers up the staples. No string could be found to attach the blade to the stick – metal pipe from a clothes rack – so I used The Tape to put it all together. Stripes drawn around the tape didn’t make it look half bad. Could even pass for an Organized Mom craft project!!

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The minion is at the bus stop now. Dressed in his black (Under Armour) shirt, army green cargo pants (purchased after basketball practice at 9:45pm last night), an old army surplus ammo bag as a knapsack and a (plastic) knife tucked into his shoe. I am at the kitchen table with my cold (3rd) cup of coffee, barely touched. My kitchen is a mess. The basement looks like the craft section of a Hobby Lobby exploded. I did get a little crazy, but we did it. I am exhausted, yet triumphant. I am proud that my minion stepped up and volunteered to portray a character for school. And now I need to go put my crazy back on its shelf. Maybe when I put it away I will find my spray adhesive…

And I hope they let him in the school with his weapons….
Here is the knife he first selected to bring in. I said no.
You’re welcome, 
Ms. Literacy Teacher.

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“Off With Their Heads!”

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As I sat at the kitchen table about to hand address our Christmas cards, a few thoughts crossed my mind…

I feel like the left hand of God (I am left handed).

Each year, I alone decide which friend, family or foe (haha, not really) get a card from us. I look at the names listed on a little page in my Day Runner (old school style, baby!) and after a few years, some families just don’t get that little X next to their name. I figure that if they do not have the time to find matching outfits, hire a photographer, edit the best pics that describe their happy, perfect, smiling family, select a card design, order prints, compile all addresses, buy stamps, write a quick yet charming blurb on each card’s back, hand address each envelope in festive silver ink, seal envelopes and paste a holiday themed stamp in the upper right hand corner, and take directly to the post office to mail – well, maybe you hate Christmas, America, kittens and, therefore, do not deserve a Christmas card from our holiday-happy family.

Ah, I am just kidding. I do love sending out our cards. I do love finding photos from the year (praise GOD for Facebook!). I do love same day pickup from Walgreens. The cards, while not perfectly staged and perfectly designed on matte card stock, they are us. Happy, candid moments we were lucky enough to capture in a brief, golden moment.

But there were a few that I decided, after years of not receiving a card from them, that maybe, just maybe, they didn’t care about Christmas cards. And that is ok. If they don’t send them, then I won’t send them either. I don’t think they will even notice. Saves a little time and a little money on my side. Off the list. Done.

I feel a little sad.

As I go thru that list, some of those changes aren’t just because a family or two aren’t “into” Christmas cards. Some of the changes mean someone is no longer in our lives. We have been lucky to have great grandmas, great aunts and uncles and more, to send cards to – yet now, one great grandma’s name no longer gets an X – and it is sad to know she isn’t with us anymore. But those family members – near and far – are why I still do the photo cards. They love to see the kids’ pics and I love to see our year in one happy little 4” x 8” card. Makes everything in 2016 seem a-ok.

I then I feel a little panicked. Make it stop! Make it stop!

How quickly the year goes by. The kids look a little older (so do I. Ugh.). Their interests change. Vacations, awards, sports, highs and lows (oh boy, did we get some lows this year!) all captured simply by whipping out a phone and pressing a button. A whole year stored in that phone and on Facebook (still figuring out Instagram, sorry). So many memories…And after you think past the Christmas lists, the shopping, the decorating, the To Dos…this time of year allows for a little of bit of melancholy – those ghosts of Christmas past – those moments that you know – deep down – are over before you know it. A little sadness, a little panic, and a whole lot of gratefulness. And hope. The feeling of expectation – the excitement of Christmas morning, of a new year beginning. Another year to keep the iphone handy – ready for new memories.

So snap away!  Snap away! Post away all! And maybe send me a Christmas card next year. I’d enjoy that.

And Merry Christmas, you filthy animal!!

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