And the winner is . . .
Issa from Issa's Crazy World!
And the winner is . . .
Issa from Issa's Crazy World!
It seems like every few months I swear to anyone who will listen that we are getting rid of cable television once and for all! I go on about the unnecessary expense and the shallow programming, the depressing news, and how we won't miss it once it's gone. I never carry out on those threats. Mostly because I am addicted to The Science Channel, H2 (History channel's second channel), National Geographic and BBC America.
After watching yet another news story about a missing child, I went on another rant again about how we're getting rid of cable! I get terribly depressed hearing about missing child after missing child (especially knowing there are so many more out there that never have the benefit of getting national news coverage for whatever reason that might be.), and also a bit paranoid.
Gaby happened to be home from school today with a horrid case of pink eye; the 7th one in her Kindergarten class to come down with it, and so I shut the horrid, huge, digital beast off, and instead we made forts in the living room, sang made up Christmas carols, and colored several of the ponies in Gaby's "My Little Pony" coloring book, what can only be described as gruesome colors. After her doctor's appointment late this afternoon we found out Gaby has to stay home again tomorrow (oh the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth - from both of us!), I decided that tomorrow will be spent watching festive YouTube videos, making Reindeer Food, baking cookies, and dragging out the Christmas decorations all in the spirit of inviting a more merry vibe into the house rather than a soggy, scary one that always happens after watching the news - or TV in general!
In the spirit of sharing more of the merry and less of the scary, I thought I'd share some of my most recent YouTube favorites. All are safe for work!
The first one is actually a video of a flash mob put together by writer/blogger Loraleee Choate from Loralee's Looney Tunes. It's beautiful and amazing. I love flash mobs and thought this was really wonderful!
The next video is from one of my all-time favorite Christmas films, The Snowman. The song always sends chills down my spine with it's haunting yet beautiful melodies. I love to sit and watch this with Gaby, over and over again.
This video, and Fred himself, never fail to make Gaby giggle harder than anything. I tend to argue a bit with Fred's sentiment that "Christmas is Creepy" but it's a bit of silliness that we've grown pretty fond of nonetheless.
I'll end with a video that has become one of my all-time favorites. It's not holiday related but it's funny as hell, despite having watched it now about eleventy billion times! If you've never seen the hilarious British voice-overs of these animals filmed for various BBC nature shows, then you must watch this!
I hope you enjoy the videos as much as I do!
Take a busy mom with four children who has a blossoming new business making hand-crafted tutus and hair bows who has more orders than she knows what to do with, then toss in some pink eye and vomiting with no chance to run out to the store to pick up anything like paper towels, disinfectant, ginger ale, or trash bags, and for fun make sure she has not a drop of coffee in the house and you have the perfect makings for a domestic disaster of epic proportions.
A little before 1AM this morning I went through all of our excess around here including ginger ale, paper towels, trash bags and disinfectant, wrapped it all up in several extra trash bags and took it all by and dropped it off for the busy mom. I sort of did a doorbell ditch type of thing sans ringing the doorbell. Aforementioned mom happened to be on Facebook, still wide awake on vomit-watch, and I left her a message letting her know to go and check outside her door. Someone has done something similar for me in the past and I wanted to pay it forward. Of course, I'm also sitting here hoping, especially now that Gaby has managed to get pink eye, that she doesn't also get this nasty tummy bug that's floating around. There's nothing more miserable than being sick during the holidays!
How many times have you walked into your child's bedroom and immediately wanted to post a sign like this to his or her bedroom door . . .?
You spend a great deal of time cajoling your child into cleaning his or her bedroom, usually after you nearly maim yourself stepping on a Lego, Polly Pocket, Bakugan, Lincoln Log, or some other assorted plaything that is truly a weapon of mass destruction masquerading as a toy? As the pain from stepping barefoot, on a Lego shoots up through your foot, into your leg, makes your eyes water, and the hairs on your head stand on end, and only after you utter every single expletive known to man as well as some that aren't - under your breath, you tell your child that the bedroom will be cleaned up before bed or every single thing left on the floor, under the bed, tossed into the dirty clothes hamper that isn't actual clothing is going to be shoved into a Hefty bag and they won't ever see those toys until they have kids of their own!
Does any of the above scenario sound familiar? It's an all-too-common occurrence around here, and frankly one that I've grown really tired of! It happened last night as I went in to tuck Gaby in for the night. I stepped on one of her creepy unusual looking baby dolls, and as my ankle literally rolled off the head and I howled in pain, I yelled those oft heard words, "You will clean up this room before school tomorrow morning or I'm taking all of this away and I'm writing a letter to Santa Claus, and I'm writing another one to the Birthday Faerie (Gaby's birthday is the day after Christmas no less!), and I'm then going to write another one to the Tooth Faerie (her two top teeth are on the cusp of falling out!), and I'm going to tell them all just to skip out house!"
"OK mommy, OK. I'll clean it up just as soon as I'm up. I promise." It's the standard response I get when having nearly hobbled myself on a toy in Gaby's bedroom. Because she tends to run slower than molasses going uphill in January, in Alaska, she left for school this morning with her bedroom looking like a bombed Toys R Us.
If we're in there with her, encouraging her to put the toys where they belong it usually gets done. Every so often she even takes the initiative and does it herself. "Every so often" being once in a blue moon. I tend to get a little antsy when my house isn't tidy and to be honest, it bugs the dough outta me that Gaby can let her room get to the point where it's a hazard to walk in their barefoot! I swear, kids must be immune to the pain caused by stepping on one of their little toys. I've never heard her once get mad at a toy, or have tears well up in her eyes because she's damn near impaled herself on one of Tinker Bell's wings.
So, after I blew off some steam walking around the block twice, came home and had a nice breakfast of Irish steel cut oats with apples and raisins, I got down to brass tacks and decided that I would "gift" Gaby with a spotless bedroom. I was going to rearrange her furniture and run out and try and find some curtains in the colors she wanted but that didn't happen. Some of her furniture is incredibly heavy and requires two grown men (who've been bribed with many beers and burgers!), to move. I decided to wait on the curtains and take her with me so that she could pick them out.
By the time she got home from school I was really glad I'd decided to tidy up her room. As she stepped off the bus her poor little face was the picture of complete wretchedness. We got home and she flopped on the floor in the living room, looked up at me with tears filling her big, brown, beautiful eyes and told me that a little boy at school had told her that only blue eyes were pretty and that brown eyes were boring and looked like poop!
After a long snuggle in her rocking chair, several books, followed by a few tears, she finally noticed her bedroom. Gaby wrapped her arms around my neck and told me I was the best mom in the whole entire world! That hug and those sweet words made the few hours I spent in there, getting everything the way it should be, all worth it. None of her hugs are ever ordinary but there was a gift for me tucked inside that warm embrace . . .the gift of gratefulness from one so small.
Gaby still had a few tears and it was then that her best buddy took over the job of comforting her. There's just something soothing about all that fluff and fur. She cuddled herself down next to Geronimo, and as he purred she fell asleep wrapped in contentment and warmth.
. . . HELL!
I don't believe I am going to do this, but here is a picture I took just a few minutes ago so that you might grasp the full awfulness of what I've done to my hair. Well, let me rephrase that, what I paid to have done to my hair.
I single-handed brought back the bad perm from the 80's!
For those who frighten easily, are prone to seizures, or who think they might be overcome with hysterical laughter to the point of peeing themselves, look away now!
Not only have you been presented with the visage of the artist formerly known as my hair, but aside from eye make-up, I've not got anything else on. For once you can truly see how uneven my skin tone is. I should have put some spackle in those deep Grand Canyonesque lines on my forehead, and maybe a little powder. I keep trying to talk Gareth into letting me try Botox, but every time I do, he refuses, saying that I don't need it! Ha! Maybe this photo will convince him otherwise!
I went and had about and inch taken off of the length and about 1 1/2 inches taken off of all the layers today in an attempt to negate the Kentucky Fried ends. It feels a lot better but sadly it doesn't look a lot better.
The upside to all of this is that it's hair, and being hair, it will grow back. Being my hair it will grow fairly quickly. But I'm sorta stuck waiting and that's a bad thing because I highlight it to camouflage all the grey, and at this point I'm not putting any more chemicals on my hair. I've been told by three different stylists that it will be alright to highlight/foil again in about a month but I'm hesitant to trust anyone right now after ending up with the Miami Vice of bad perms.
In the interim I'm investing in hats. Lots of hats. Possibly wigs too. Why? Because otherwise, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be mistaken for Phil Spector on an almost daily basis!
Alternately, I suppose I could always be mistaken for one of their groupies . . .
Today Gaby and I created Christmas cards to send to names we're picking from the phone book. Yep, total strangers. We popped them into the post box and they're winging their way to hopefully brighten up the day of whoever happens to find them in their mail box. This was so much fun and Gaby had so much fun, even if she is extremely curious about what the recipients are going to say when they open them. We did not include a return address!
There is always someone out there who has it worse. That's been my mantra all day long. In the grand scheme of things, an eczema flare of epic proportions that seemingly showed up out of nowhere isn't really on anyone's radar as a great tragedy. It's just a serious annoyance right now. I think it was brought on by the fact that Gaby's first cheerleading competition is tomorrow and I'm a huge ball of nerves for her. I'm sitting somewhere between excited and terrified. And before you comment on how much of a pansie sport cheerleading is, you need to see just how tough these kids are. Granted, we are always going to push academics, because that's where her true passion seems to lie right now (this kid loves to learn. She'll read anything. She wants to know everything!); as long as she loves cheerleading, tap and ballet, we're going to continue to let her take them. Cheerleading on the all-star level is seriously competitive and there's so much that goes into getting ready. I worry that I won't have everything as together as I need to by 5;45a.m. when we leave tomorrow morning.
Kids in competitive cheerleading work extremely hard to not only perfect their routines, but they also have to be talented gymnasts, possess coordination and athletic grace. It's definitely not a sport for pansies. You don't just wake up one morning knowing how to do a successful basket toss or an around-the-world-toss-up-to-third tier. These kids spend hours and hours perfecting every part of their routines.
I'm grateful that this flare is confined to my right hand this time around and not both hands. But between wanting to take a flame thrower to my hand while drinking an entire bottle of Benadryl just to get the itching to stop, it's left me feeling a little raw and a bit seriously grouchy! I don't know if my mood and the re-emergence of heavy-duty topical steroids played a part in it, but I decided to bring back hairstyles of the 80's and went and got myself a perm. Granted it's a really loose spiral perm, it's a perm nonetheless. What the hell was I thinking? It doesn't look awful but it sure as hell smells heinous. And I can't wash my hair for three days. THREE.DAYS. I don't know what made me decide I wanted a perm. I have a lot of natural wave but perhaps it was a bit of jealousy over Gaby's head full of beautiful golden ringlets that made me decide to do it. Whatever it was, the nasty smell of the processing chemicals is making me even grumpier.
Despite my chemically curly hair, my gross itchy hand, and my all-day impression of The Grinch, I did manage to find something to do for someone else. A couple of things actually.
I double-tipped the girl that does my hair. I usually tip pretty generously because I know they don't make a decent hourly wage as it is. I felt she really deserved it though, especially after listening to me gag to the point of almost vomiting when she took the plastic cap off of my head once the perm was done processing.
While I was out running errands I grabbed a couple of things for Gaby's Christmas stocking. On my way out of one of the shopping centers I took what I bought Gaby and dropped it in a Toys for Tots collection box. Gaby has a lot. Others don't.
What sorts of things are you doing to make someone else's holiday season a bit brighter and a little more cheerful.
One more thing. . . . Tracey D., I hope you know how much you brightened my day. Thank you for your generosity. I will definitely put the iPod to good use!
Audrey, a wife and mother to four; lives in upstate New York, and is a writer, and photographer, former on-air talent for Clear Channel Broadcasting and voice-over artist. She writes from the heart about life in a British-American family and the often times hilarious and sometimes poignant and heartbreaking story behind their lives.