Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas in Killarney

Christmas in Killarney is probably my favorite Christmas song. I just love it. It makes me happy right down to my toes. As we've been listening to all the Christmas songs on my iPod the last couple of weeks, two have popped up as Brendan's favorites and I'm happy to say my little Irish laddie has his mama's taste in Christmas songs.

He has repeatedly asked me to play Christmas in Killarney. I have two versions, Bing Crosby's and one by the Irish Rovers. The latter is my favorite, although I will alway's have a soft spot for Bing Crosby and his version. As it turns out the Rovers version is proving to be Brendan's favorite as well.

The other song that he likes is Snoopy and the Red Baron, both the Christmas version and the original version.

That was one of my favorites and I had the single when I was around his age. Ah! Record players. Anyway, it makes me happy to share these things with him and have him react the same way I did once upon a time. I guess this is part of what Christmas is all about...sharing our traditions and making new ones.

I feel really blessed to have these two wonderful boys and their sweet daddy to be making traditions with. It's so cool to see the wonder and joy in their little faces each time they experience some new aspect of Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

No One Dies Harder Than John McClain

Except, perhaps, Elmo.

I bought Beckett a small, stuffed Elmo who giggles and talks when you shake him. Today, as I was driving around, I hear Yippee-Ki-Yay! Hahahahaha! from the cargo area. Naturally, all I could think of was the famous John McClain line from Die Hard.

And then, of course, I heard the line in Elmo's voice. And now, I can't stop hearing it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

You're With Stupid Now

As I prepare to write this post, I know that what I'm going to say is going to sound judgmental and elitist and that there will be people who read it and think what an awful person I am. But really, I just have to cuss on the mic tonight. What is wrong with people?

There is a local web site run by one of the local tv stations and the mega-conglomerate-parent company which I think is probably Gannett, but I'm too lazy to check right now. Anyway, it's called, ya know, because we live in the Peach State and all. So, when I first heard the commercials I thought it would be a cool site with lots of local info on activities and discussions about local happenings as they relate to parenting, etc. In other words, I thought I'd find other women like myself or at least relatively like myself.

Now, don't get me wrong. I realize that parenting isn't the exclusive territory of white, married, thirty-something, college educated, suburban-dwelling, neurotic, hetero women like myself. And I'm not saying that to be facetious.

I have been amazed, however, when reading this site to realize that this particular web site and accompanying message boards are primarily dominated by lots and lots of single women who chose to get pregnant and keep their babies and by keep, I don't mean abortion, although I certainly don't judge anyone for that choice. I mean adoption. In fact, I got slammed for suggesting a woman put her baby up for adoption after she expressed concern that she was 6 months pregnant and not feeling any maternal instinct and her biggest concern was that she wouldn't be able to continue partying after she had the baby. I simply suggested that if she wasn't 100% ready to commit herself to her child that both of them would fare better if she put the baby up for adoption. You would have thought I said she should leave the baby down by the river in a burlap sack.

Then, today, I saw this post and I just felt sick to my stomach. How on earth could anyone be thinking this way? When I was 17 all I could think about was which college I was going to and what it was going to be like to be the D.A. in Nashville some day. Kids were the furthest thing from my mind.

It makes me sad that there are kids out there who think like this, but it makes me sadder that even the people who are trying to talk some sense into her do it in such a wussy way. No one has the guts to stand up to kids and tell them to stop screwing around. They act like children have some God-given right to have sex and that if we tell them not to then we're all horrible Bible-thumping fundamentalists.

I'm not a prude. But, I think it is the rare, very rare, teenager who has the sense to have sex in a smart and responsible way. Even if we give them birth control. Can a 17-year old really remember to take her pill every day? Or insert her diaphragm correctly? And if girls are responsible for the birth control, what happens to condoms (which break and boys hate wearing and will try to talk their girlfriends out of) and the risk of STDs?

I just wish that someone could tell these idiotic little girls the truth without all the baby-mamas out there rushing to beat them up. It's just devastatingly sad to me when I look around and see the dolts that are going to be running this country some day and putting an even greater strain on the system with all their unplanned, unwanted children.

And I feel worse for those kids who are just going to propagate the same failings when it's their turn. Or maybe not. Maybe our country will get on an upswing where all kids realize their potential and don't do stupid things to ruin their lives. We can hope.

El Manana

Driving home from a little Christmas shopping on Sunday, I was listening to a program on NPR. I tend not to think a lot about listening to news shows in front of my kids. I grew up watching the news. Walter Cronkite and John Chancellor were my first heroes. I knew more about world politics and current events when I was four than most adults do now. As a result, I've always been a news junkie and that has only lessened since I've had children and don't enjoy the luxury of watching news programs obsessively, reading several newspapers and magazines each day, and talking politics and/or current events with everyone I know. Since I don't often get to watch the news at home, I listen in the car whenever I can.

Anyway, I'm driving along with Brendan in the backseat, listening to All Things Considered and they're talking about Ingrid Betancourt, a hostage held by Marxist geurillas in Colombia since 2002. The first thing Brendan hears is guerillas, only to him it's gorillas. Now, it is important to note at this point that Brendan mispronounces gorilla so that it comes out as badrilla.Badrillas!, he exclaims. Badrillas kidnap humans! AAAAAHHHHHHH!

I control my laughter so I can actually hear the rest of the story and we continue on. A little way into the story, the reporter says that in a letter to her mother, Bettancourt said that the only people in the camp where she is being held beside herself are the male guerillas. The next thing I hear is What?! The mail man is a badrilla! I knew it!

I laughed so hard I a had to pull over for a second. I was just imagining a gorilla putting on a human mail carrier costume and stealthily sneaking around delivering mail, ripping open certain packages.

In other cuteness, Brendan told his dad the other day that all smart kids wear glasses which oddly coincides with his affection for Simon the Chipmunk and Brainy Smurf, although, he told me today that Smurfette is actually his favorite.

Beckett, too, is doing his best to be the cutest baby ever. He's walking and actually trying to run in order to keep up with big brother. He has five teeth now and loves to bite me wherever he can. Shoulder. Thigh. A couple of nights ago while I was kneeling on the floor looking for some shoes under the bed, he came up behind me and bit me on the bottom. Of course, when I jump and say No biting! he bursts into tears. He's also gotten very clingy and is in the separation anxiety phase. But he's just so cute. My goodness. He said bye-bye for the first time yesterday and is trying to say his own name, I think, and our Cooper's name, too, it sounds like.

It's all so sweet and I'm glad. Especially since I'm a little under the weather. It makes it all easier when they're being cute.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Good Times Bad Times

It seems like the last few days have been a right strange mixture of the good and bad.

First, on Friday evening we went to a Christmas/Hannukah party at our friends' Scott and Lauren's. It was a family party and we brought both our boys. There were a ton of kids and we all had a good time. Sadly, though, right before we left we got a call from our friend Chris telling us that his dog Sam had died. Chris and his wife Laura and their two girls are our closest friends in the neighborhood. The first ones we got to know, with two girls – one just older and one just younger than Brendan. They're really wonderful people that I have grown to care for deeply and Sam was our dog Cooper's best friend. Cooper and Sam had known each other for six years and like our other kids, were very close in age. Back when we each only had one child and for a while after Laura had two, we would take the two dogs for walks together almost every day.

Sam was a great dog. Just a force of nature, really. And Cooper loved him. He had what Scott and I dubbed the Sam Whine. Whenever Chris and Laura would walk Sam, if Cooper saw them, he would whine this high-pitched, excited whine. He didn't make it for any other dog. Not even his other neighborhood buddy, Champ. Anytime, he made that sound, we knew Sam was somewhere close by. And if we didn't see him walking down the street with his family, we knew it meant he was at our front door or in the yard. You see, anytime Sam would escape by sneaking through the gate of his family's backyard, he'd make a beeline for our house. And it worked in reverse, too. Cooper, upon escaping though a gate left open by little boys, heads straight for Sam's house. Fortunately, we're only four houses apart. But I can't number the times phone calls have been exchanged that went something like this:

Me: Hey, Laura. Have you seen Cooper?
Laura: Yeah. He's in our backyard playing with Sam. I was just getting ready to call you. He came up and stood on the porch, scratching at the door until I let him in.
Me: Awwww. Well, thanks for taking him in. I'll be up there in a few minutes to get him.
Laura: Oh, no problem. They're having fun. Just come whenever. No rush.

My favorite memory of Sam is actually from the very first time he came to our house unannounced. Cooper was whining and standing at the front door, stomping his big German shepherd feet, and going nuts. So, Scott opened the door and before you could say how do you do, Sam threw his 140-lb. self through the door and barreled through our house like a fur-covered tornado. He ran through every room in the house, scared the cat, drank all of Cooper's water and ate all his food, and just ran all over the house, sniffing everything, with Cooper following close behind. It was one of the funniest and most surprising things I've ever witnessed.

In other sad news, my best friend Courtney's grandmother passed away Sunday night. She had suffered a massive stroke on December 6, so her death was inevitable and ultimately a comfort for it means there will be no drawn out suffering. Courtney got to have a warm and loving goodbye with her Gran in a moment of lucidity and although she'll miss her, I think Courtney has a real sense of comfort and closure and knows that her Gran is now with her grandpa and the friends who went before her, so she's okay with it all. And that's actually a good place to be.

And back in happy news, Scott's set at the Krazy About Kats benefit went well and he was well-received. Pete,the comic who was on before Scott, suggested he play at one of the venues where he's a regular and got my contact information so we could follow up.

I guess that's about it. I actually have some hilarious Brendanisms to share and Beckett has added a few words to his repetoire, but I'll save all that for another post. Right now, Brendan wants to help me wrap his cousins' Christmas presents and keeps asking me what kind of Chia pet I want for Christmas. I think the answer I'm supposed to give is Scooby-Doo.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mistletoe and Holly

Yesterday was the least stressful, busy day I have had in ages. Scott had a show last night and yesterday afternoon I took both boys Christmas shopping with me. I knocked out gifts for three of our six nieces and nephews. The thing is, for two of them, I bought books. I love giving and receiving books as gifts, but I'm not sure that when our nieces and nephews get them that they're not disappointed. Still, I am very excited about the books that I got for our 10-year old niece, Lauren, and her 8-year old brother, Corey. For her, I bought The Daring Book for Girls and for him,The Dangerous Book for Boys. They seem like such cool books with a lot of fun things for kids to do and learn. I hope they'll like them.

I was really surprised, though, that when I went shopping, it wasn't the madhouse I expected. Other than Brendan getting his finger mashed in the elevator door (he's fine, thankfully!), shopping was a lovely experience. Now, this week, I have to go this week to buy for our boys and our other three nieces and nephews. And Scott. And a couple of friends. I had bought a couple of things for Brendan's teacher and her aide, but then the room mom suggested that each family in the class contribute whatever amount we were comfortable with to buying Visa gift cards for them. We ended up with over $200, meaning that each teacher will get a gift card that she can spend anywhere, valued at over $100. I thought that was really cool. Most of the parents in the class would probably spend close to or more than $10 per teacher anyway. With 20 kids in the class, each family only had to contribute $10 to cover both teachers. Cool. I had bought some little gift sets when they were on sale this summer and was going to bake each of them my special Christmas cake that I do each year. (I'll try to post the recipe later. It is delicious!) As it turns out, one of the teachers is allergic to everything so those weren't going to be very good gifts anyway.

Hopefully, this week will go smoothly and I can get the rest of the shopping and wrapping and baking done. I can't believe it's all going by so fast!