Saturday, December 31, 2011

This Week in Crazytown – New Year's edition (Dec. 25-31, 2011)

Christmas Day
I love Christmas Day, but let's face it, it's a day of complete craziness. This year the hubs and I went to not one, but two family functions on Christmas day. The whole thing is a bit of a blur actually, but what I do remember is that this year, Jacob got it.

When you've got a small child Christmas can be very overwhelming for them, but this year Jacob was old enough that he didn't have this problem. It was a joy to watch him gasp and exclaim over every single present. If I didn't know that he was 100% genuine in his exclamations of, “This is the BEST Christmas EVER!” and “I've ALWAYS wanted one of these!” I would have been looking around for a panel of Oscar judges. His excitement was the cherry on sundae of a fantastic day.
You bought me Hot Wheels and Lego!! Oh my gosh! You love me! You really, really love me!!!

Boxing Day
The day after Christmas in Canada is Boxing Day. I don't totally understand the whole Boxing Day thing. So here's a little definition from the good people at Wikipedia.

Boxing Day is traditionally a day following Christmas when wealthy people in the United Kingdom would give a box containing a gift to their servants. Today, Boxing Day is better known as a bank or public holiday that occurs on December 26, or the first or second weekday after Christmas Day, depending on national or regional laws. It is observed in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and some other Commonwealth nations.
In Canada, Boxing Day takes place on December 26th and is a federal statutory holiday where all full-time workers receive time off with pay.
In Britain,Canada, New Zealand and some states of Australia, Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday, much like the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. It is a time where shops have sales, often with dramatic price reductions. For many merchants, Boxing Day has become the day of the year with the greatest revenue.

Frankly, I don't really like crowds. So I avoid Boxing Day. I mean what's crazier than getting up super early to run to a mall or electronic store, where you'll be packed like sardines for a tv or laptop that will probably be on sale for the rest of the week. CRAZY!
A Toronto, ON mall on Boxing Day. This picture is giving anxiety right now.
The Week in General
Last week was the busiest week of the year for the business I work at. I'm an office manager at a Massage Therapy facility and the end of the year everyone has gift cards from Christmas OR has realized that they've been paying into annual health benefits that provide them with anywhere from $300 to $1500 worth of Massage Therapy per year and they forgot about it, they need to used those benefits, now, Now, NOW!!
The number of calls I take from people trying to figure out how much money they can spend in a weeks time is crazy. I also field tons of calls from people wondering if I can put their kids' names on their receipt so they can use those benefits or if they can prepay for a bunch of appointments and submit that receipt to their benefits provider; no, that's fraud, but thanks for coming out.
So, how many 90 minute massages can I get in the next 4 days? I'm trying to use up my benefits.
This year I took a day off and I'm really glad because...

Jacob was sick.
My kid doesn't just get the sniffles or just get a tummy ache he gets fevers of 103+F or chronic diarrhea and when Jacob gets sick his appetite goes down and I end up caring for a snotty, little Gollum, who doesn't want to take his medicine and wakes up at all hours of the night sick at my side of the bed poking me until I wake up. It's scary.
Look mommy! I'm playing with kitty.
Jacob is doing much better now, but his sickness put the kibosh on our New Year's plans. So it'll be a quiet night of Lego and Wii at the home of CdnMrs, the hubs and kid tonight. Which is cool, we wanted to spend it as a family and now we will.

I hope you have a safe, fantastic and CRAZY New Year's Eve and that 2012 is full of crazy amounts of joy and new things for you and your family.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

This Week in Crazytown! Xmas ed. (Dec.18-24, 2011)

Hey! It's time for This Week in Crazytown and I'm doing a special Christmas edition, because the big day is tomorrow.
Buckle up and enjoy the crazy.

1. I have a thing for Colonel Sanders. You know, the old guy that started Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). On my honeymoon I bought a Colonel Sanders bobble head and he still stands proudly in my kitchen watching over my blunderous attempts to be domestic.
Now, little did I know but the good colonel used to release a Christmas album every year. How cool is that? I would love to get my hands on a Colonel Sanders Christmas album and a record player, and a needle and some speakers and ....

2. I don't understand the appeal of nutcrackers. I understand that they've become synonymous with Christmas thanks to Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Prince ballet, but do people actually eat more nuts at Christmas? And considering most nutcrackers are decorative and completely nonfunctional, what's the point?  To each their own, I guess. If I was going to decorate with nutcrackers I'd have these 3. I totally dig the Viking.  

3. This year Jacob and I discovered the wonder of zombies. For some reason everything was about zombies. I had the weirdest moment in the liquor store when I had to tell my gorgeous son to, "stop shuffling or you'll break something" because he was zombie walking, arms out, mouth agape, mumbling "braiiiins". How many other mothers have these kind of conversations? 
As much as I love zombies I draw the line at adorning my Christmas tree with them. Check out these zombie-rific ornaments.
On the left, Mistle-TOE, get it? Get it? Bawahaha!

4. Our Christmas tree is not one of those pretty Christmas trees you see in department stores or in homes of people with good taste. Our Christmas tree has a toilet on it, Strawberry shortcake, Spider-man and a host of other cartoon or Disney ornaments. I love a creative, whimisical tree and I especially love these crazy Christmas Trees featured here. I think the shopping cart tree is my favourite. 
This is why my grocery store never has carts.

5. The church I'm attending had this great idea for a Christmas party. We broke off into teams and with 20 minutes and tons of delicious candy and gingerbread created a gingerbread nativity. Ours was a disaster, was dubbed "Jesus and the Temple of Doom"  and was so hideous that I won't show pictures. It got me thinking though, there's so many cooler things you can do with gingerbread than just making little men or gumdroppy houses. Here's a link to 20 Sci-Fi gingerbread creations. I'm especially fond of this gingerbread AT-AT and the Lord of the Rings creations. 
Look! Luke's hanging underneath. Use the force Luke! Use the force!

6. Since I didn't do the whole Santa Claus thing when I was a kid I have this weird relationship with the man in red. I'm maybe not a reverent as I need to be to a man who hands outfree  presents, but nonetheless I was tickled pink by these retro ads for cigarettes that used Santa and/or Christmas in general as selling point. For some reason the ones that talk about cigarettes helping to prevent "throat scratch" make me kind of sad.
Here's the creepiest of the ads. Check Santa out, there's no way I'd let my kid sit on that dude's lap. 
Is that a giant cigarette in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

7. As a Christian it irks me when communities try to rename Christmas trees into "holiday trees" or, using policy,  ban employees from saying Merry Christmas, but at the same time I'm equally annoyed by churches that think the best way to handle this silliness is by being antagonistic and confrontational.  This year, for me anyway, I've heard more people say Merry Christmas than anything else. It's about love and joy people, not meanness! Just saying.
I loved these memes I saw posted by people this year. They made me laugh.
For all my Jewish peeps!
For all my peeps who worship Norse gods or... who just like comic books.
8.Saw this picture of a hardcore Santa and thought I'd share.
How does the mohawk fit under the hat? Must be a Christmas mystery.
Well, I think I'm done. I hope that your Christmas is full of only the best kind of crazy.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays !

Day 24 - Jacob's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar

It's the final day of Jacob's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar and he got the most awesome Lego Advent treat EVER!!
How awesome is that? Yoda in a Santa suit with a bag full of toys. 
Thanks for checking in with Jacob and I while he did his Advent Calendar. 
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Engagement

Eleven years ago today I was living in Waterloo, ON, attending the University of Waterloo and working as a seasonal employee at HMV. I had just gotten back together with my boyfriend of 3 years, Jeff, after what we refer to now as “The Dark Ages”. Jeff was picking me up from work, spending the night and then taking me home for Christmas Eve with my parents.

Unbeknownst to me, Jeff had been jewelry shopping that day and had then gone to speak to my parents to ask for their permission to propose to me. My parents had been busy cleaning up a flood in the basement, but took time out to give him permission, telling him that it wouldn't be an easy road but that he had their support and that they were happy for us.  My sisters snooped on the stairs and my mom cried.

Jeff came up to Waterloo early, made some arrangements while I was working and took me back to my apartment so I could get ready for dinner out. While I was getting ready I asked where we were going. A girl's got to know how to dress, right? Jeff muttered ,“Lacosta in Kitchener”.

Now, Jeff and I had passed Lacosta, which closed in 2004, many times on our travels between K-W and Brantford and I had always said that this restaurant would be the perfect restaurant to propose in. So, I laughed and asked him if he was going to propose at dinner. After nearly swallowing his tongue, he assured me it was just a birthday dinner. I thought nothing of it, shrugged it off and put on a red, low-cut top.

When we arrived at Lacosta, the restaurant was empty except for one table of twelve celebrating Christmas. We were seated next to a beautiful picture window, a street light was just outside and large flakes of snow were steadily falling. A homeless man walked by and stared at my boobs.

Jeff wouldn't eat. I was annoyed, because he, at this point in his life, didn't like to try new food, but I forced him to get a salad and I got some wonderful kind of sandwich that I can't remember. We drank Lacosta's signature sangria.

When it came time to order dessert, Jeff excused himself to go to the bathroom. Except, here's where things started to get weird, I saw him through the window leaving the restaurant! Was this a dine and dash that he hadn't had the foresight to clue me in on? Had he changed his mind and we weren't going to get back together? What the heck was going on?!?

Jeff reentered the restaurant with his guitar. The music from the restaurant's speakers faded, the house lights turned up and he began to play. He was nervous. Jeff is never nervous when he plays. Someone from the table of twelve told him to "sing loud".

I was embarrassed. Jeff was great and bold at creative declarations of his feelings, I'm not.
This is what he played.
You're beautiful/You're all that I needNo one else makes me happy/ Today is the day/You're all that I needWith each kiss you complete me. 
And I am happy to see you hereAnd I am so afraid I need youI need you.* 

About halfway through the song I realized this was NOT a birthday song. I started crying. Mascara went everywhere.

When Jeff was through he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I cried some more and said yes. Jeff placed a ring on my finger. Well, kind of, it was a bit small.

Everyone in the restaurant, the other diners, the staff and management, cheered. We were handed champagne and the men at the other table grumbled that now they'd be held to a “higher standard”.

That was 11 years ago. We'll be married 10 years in March. To this day, every time we see large flakes of snow we call each other and let the other know that there's “engagement snow” wherever we are.

Best. Christmas gift. Ever.

*I can't figure out how to include the actual song file. It's quite beautiful and includes this great little guitar solo-thing. We played it at our wedding when we signed the registry.

Day 23 - Jacob's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar

Helloooo! It's time for the second last Advent calendar surprise of 2011. Woo Hoo!!
Here's what Jacob got today.

It's a Lego Christmas tree. I mean, how cute is that. This has absolutely nothing to do with Star Wars, but who cares? It's adorable.

Also adorable, but also mildly creepy, is this 1983 Christmas card from Lucasfilm.

Hope everybody has a great day!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas with my Family

Nothing compares to Christmas with my husband and son, but Christmas with my family, my parents, sisters, their husbands and my nephew and nieces is another magical time. A time of happiness and wonder, a time of togetherness and love, and a time of eating till we're stuffed and then all falling asleep.

We all usually have a fantastic time, except last year, I gave everyone the flu....sharing is caring!

In my family are my parents who are still together after 30 years (YAY!!), my two younger (but not by much) sisters, the three husbands and our kids; Jacob (6), Sophie (2), Aiden (1) and Daelyn (6 months). Even though my sisters and I will all admit to being overly critical and uber-sensitive, we usually make it through the day in one piece and have fun doing it.

Here's how Christmas usually plays out at my family's.
  • We show up.
  • We unload gifts and all us sisters and husbands wave at each other awkwardly because we're weird about hugging.
  • We hug our parents and the kids get hugs and kisses. (See, weird.)
  • Dad cooks and bosses mom around the kitchen. She likes it and calls him "chef" all day (Barf!)
  • We watch a movie. Something Anime like My Neighbour Totoro or Spirited Away or one of dad's awful Errol Flynn-type movies. The best year was the year we watched Napoleon Dynamite and dad laughed so hard I thought he was going to stroke out and my mom kept telling us all day that her "lips hurt real bad".

  • We open presents with one person being the gift giver, because we didn't do the whole Santa Claus thing when we were kids, and one person being the garbage collector. This devolves into complete chaos. I blame the kids.
  • I beg for birthday gifts.

  • My husband falls asleep.

  • We wait for hours for food, not allowed to eat anything because dad thinks it will spoil our appetite.

    • We steal food from the kitchen and giggle hysterically. This probably a byproduct of starvation
    • Dad tries to get us to listen to German Christmas Carols.

    • We watch more stupid movies and pray that the kids will go to sleep
    • Mom brings out sugary treats for the kids. 0_o. 
    • The sisters and I eat said sugary treats and joke about how our maiden name means "likes to eat" in German.
    • Dad and 2 of 3 husbands play guitar. My dad's into the Beach Boys right now and is also learning the tab for Alice Cooper's Schools out for Summer. Nothing says Christmas like Alice Cooper!

    • We eat enough food to feed a small nation and all yell over each other over the table, laughing and giggling and inevitably throwing food and making off colour jokes, that eventually lead to my parents making off colour jokes which leads to deafening silence and indigestion.

    • My husband falls asleep.
    • We clean up and joke about which sister is the laziest of the lazy bones.

    Clearly, the one drying is the lazy bones.

    • We play board games. The Balderdash game of Christmas 2001-ish was particularly awesome as it eventually led to a full scale paper ball fight, complete with ducking and rolling.

  • We eat dessert because clearly we're not full enough. 

    • We go home fed up, exhausted and happy. (We still don't hug though)

    Day 21 & 22 - Jacob's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar

    Oh we're getting down to the wire.
    Here's what Jacob got yesterday and today.
    It's more ships! Soon Jacob will have enough ships to rule the galaxy!!! Muahahaha!!
    What? Oh. Um...Apparently not. I'm getting a pretty vicious stink eye right now.
    All thoughts of intergalactic rule aside, Jacob is pretty stoked about the ships though. :D

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    My Christmas/Birthday Wishlist

    Just in case you read yesterday's blog post and you're feeling sorry for poor little me and the fact that my birthday's on Christmas I thought I might make some gift suggestions.  You can always feel free to send cash, but  just in case you're one of those people who likes to shop, here's what i'm hoping for this year.

    I LOVE BOOKS! You can always buy me books. If they happen to have a vampire or paranormal element of some kind and maybe a wicked strong, snarky female character that will probably make them better.

    This gold plate necklace lets people know I'm married even when I've gained too much weight for my wedding rings to fit. 

    I've never been able to pull off a fancy Christmas tree. My Christmas tree wants to rock!

    What's better than a house that smells like maple syrup? I don't know. I just don't know

    Hey you GUYS!! C'mon you know you want to drink something, anything out of a glass with Chunk on it.

    Who doesn't want to look like they're part of a plundering hoard? No one. If the vikings aren't your thing you can try the Spartan, lumberjack, barbarian or even stubble-guy option. Be cool while you stay warm.

    I would totally cook more if I had one of these! Absolutely!

    Well, I'm sure I could find more, but that's all for now. Email me I'll give you my address and if you ship express this stuff might still get to me.
    Hope you receive all the gifts you're hoping for this Christmas.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    On Being a Christmas Baby

    In 5 days it will be my 32nd birthday. I am a Christmas baby.
    I can almost guarantee that upon reading that I'm a Christmas baby you did one of two things. If you're like most people you thought, "Oh, that sucks." If you're like a very small group of people you thought, "Wow. That's awesome!"  If you were part of the second group you'd be correct. 

    Growing up, at least for me, it was pretty awesome being a Christmas baby. My parents were super cool about it. On Christmas Day we did all the Christmas-y things; presents, church, tree; and turkey. Once that turkey was gobbled though it was all about me. Mom would bring out a cake, ice cream and birthday presents wrapped, when she could, in birthday wrapping paper. My parents did the exact same thing for me that they did for sisters on their birthdays, there just happened to be a decorated tree in the room for mine.

    There are some downfalls of course, like the fact that when I was born people wanted my mom to name me something Christmas-y. Names like Mary (Merry Christmas), Carol (Christmas Carol) and Noelle were thrown around. Luckily, my mom is made of awesome and named me the name I've got now for a much nobler reason. I didn't have parties on my actual birthday, but I did have the around my birthday, Istill get Christmas cards with a hastily scrawled "and Happy Birthday too!" on them and usually by the time  June rolls around I'm desperate for presents, but nobody forgets my birthday. 

    Overall, being a Christmas baby is cool. As a child I thought it was wicked cool that Jesus and I shared a birthday and people do try to make you feel extra special when you're a Christmas baby because they want to make sure you're not missing out due to all the hullabaloo and craziness surrounding Christmas.

     As a kid being a Christmas baby made me feel more special and as an adult it helps me to remember that Christmas isn't all about presents it's about unexpected joy, family and love.

    Being a Christmas baby is pretty freaking awesome. :) 

    Day 20 Jacob's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar

    Day 20 and we've got 5 more days until Christmas and this...
    I think it's an X-Wing fighter. I don't know though it's so tiny it's hard to tell.

    Whoa! Hold the fort! Jacob tells me it's an H-wing fighter and that it can "go upside-down or not upside-down."
    I asked him if he liked it and he said it was good, but he raised his eyebrows all like, "It's good but it's freaking tiny! I feel ripped off by Lego" and I can't say that I blame him. So here's a classic Lucasfilm Christmas card circa 1978.

    Happy Tuesday everybody!

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Day 17 - 19 Jacob's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar

    Wow! The closer to Christmas it gets the harder it is to post these, but here they are...

    On the 17th Jacob got a weapon caddy which is one of those cheapo gifts the Lego people give you when they can't think of what else to put in the day's box.

    On the 18th Jacob got this sweet yellow and grey ship thingy. I can't recall it from any movie, but as I've mentioned before I've repressed the memories I have from the first 3 films (I, II and III). 

    Today, we got this cool Lego guy that I think is Darth Vader all suited up to face Luke in his X-Wing fighter.

    Overall a good haul.

    Later skaters! 

    Sunday, December 18, 2011

    This Week in Crazytown! (December 11-17, 2011)

    This whole week was Crazytown, in fact, there's a distinct possibility that I'm the mayor incumbent of Crazytown.
    So, here we go....

    1. I finished my Christmas shopping!! The hubs and I braved a couple of stores to see that everyone was properly gifted. Then he made me wrap the gifts.
    Truth be told I am the worst gift wrapper. I've gotten better over the years, but if I have to wrap anything that isn't in a perfectly square box it usually looks something like this.

    I'm not kidding. One year the Hubs actually re-wrapped (which incidentally is a hard word to say) all of the gifts I'd wrapped.

    2. This...
    I love Star Wars and I love The Sound of Music so this picture of the classic "Hills are Alive" moment made me laugh my butt off. I've been trying to make up a Star Wars version of "Do a Deer", but haven't been able to figure anything out yet. I'm open to suggestions though.

    3. This is good crazy and I wish I was in a position to join in this fantastic trend that's popping up in the US.
    Apparently, complete strangers are going into K-marts, Walmarts and presumably other marts and paying off the layaway debts of complete strangers, particularly people who have toys on layaway. These good Samaritans are plunking down anywhere from $50 to $250 dollars to simply bless someone else over the Christmas season. This story is great, it'll give you the warm fuzzies, but most of all I hope it gives you an idea of how to help someone.  Read all about it here.

    4. I love cookies and I love superheros. If you're like me you'll love these.

    How cute are those? Thor and Wolverine are my favourites. Yum!!

    That's all the crazy I've got for this week.
    Check you next week when I do a special Christmas in Crazytown.