Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Favor, A Lesion, Pre-school Programs, and Chicken Feet

As I've mentioned before, our blog on Deseret News is almost always listed on the high end of "most popular blogs" among 40 other blogs, but we rarely get comments. I'm guessing if we focused on more sensational or controversial topics that would change, but our message is what it is, and while people seem to like it, they don't feel inclined to comment. But in one of my posts last week on enjoying the moments with our families I included this plea:

So in the spirit of enjoying more moments with my family, I'd like to cut down on my computer time a bit this month. But in order to do this, I have a favor to ask. Would you email me some of your favorite Christmas moments with your family and how you got there? I would absolutely love to do a post compiling some of our readers' simple philosophies/traditions/systems that help them to enjoy the magical moments of the season with their families. Send your moments and your how-to's to and leave your first name (or username if you prefer) and city.

After a couple of days sitting in the #2 spot every time I've checked, what's in my inbox? Nada. Nunca. Zero. Nanimo nai. So here I am petitioning the silent readers of this blog. Send me something, will you? You've got my personal email now, so if the comments feature isn't working for you (I've heard that from a few people) drop me a little line in my personal inbox. Please? Pretty please? Here's the more direct question at the end of the post to help get you thinking:
QUESTION: (This is what you're going to email me!) How do you create or enjoy magical moments with your family during the holiday season amidst all the craziness? What are your favorite moments?

On a more personal note, Kate and I went to the dermatologist on Friday. She has a weird rash thing on her legs we're taking care of, and I just wanted to round out my obligatory "I've turned 40 so check me out and tell me I'm okay" doctor visits. (And I'm doing it before another deductible kicks in! I bet you never thought about how busy December is for doctors. This week is going to be positively NUTS for Brandon. Among a zillion other surgeries this week, he'll be operating on both a husband and his wife this Tuesday. I told him he'd better make sure both cases go well or kill them both. That's what I would want.)

ANYWAY, in the the process of the dermatologist looking at every mole and freckle on my body, she asked me if I wanted to take care of what I thought was just an age spot on my left cheek. (Developed during my pregnancy with Will. Not terribly noticeable, but it bugs me.) She said it would cost $25 and she could do it right then and there. Well, what would you do? So she blasted it with some nitrogen just like they do at our favorite ice cream place (Sub Zero) and that was that. This entire exchange and the freezing itself happened in like one minute. So fast I had no time to think. Once she was done, she told me it would be "red and puffy" for a few days, then turn BLACK and come off in a sheet shortly after. Why did I do this two weeks before Christmas??? I had an Ugly Sweater Christmas party on Friday night, choir practice and church today, Brandon's work party this Tuesday night, a kajillion other school parties and concerts coming up this week, AND I HAVE A DARK REDDISH BROWN OOZING LESION ON MY FACE! Sa-WEET! (I bought small, clear band-aids for it last night.) 

Other highlights of the derm appointment: Rachael had her pre-school Christmas program at 10:00 in the morning, so the usual afternoon pre-school was cancelled and she had to go to the appointment with us. (This is entirely unrelated, but the most noticeable difference between overly ambitious and energetic first time parents and those of us who gave up the fight three children ago can be observed at pre-school performances. First time parents come dressed to a tee along with their children, the grandparents are in attendance, and everyone has a camera and video camera in hand. Then there's the restivus. I didn't even remember there was a program until about 9:15 when I was still un-showered and in my work out clothes. I quickly showered and threw on some make-up, dressed Rachael in whatever was clean and gave her a Power Bar for breakfast in the car. Somehow we made it on time and I felt very full of myself. I took these two really poor pictures on my iphone: 

BACK TO THE STORY! On the way to the appointment, I got a call from the elementary school telling me that Elizabeth *said* she had thrown up in the bathroom and wanted to come home. When I talked to Elizabeth on the phone, she said her class had a "Christmas Around the World" presentation on Hong Kong (I'll be doing Japan this coming week . . . with a lesion on my face) and whoever was doing it brought in chicken feet and fish eyeballs to share, making her sick to her stomach. (Is that really what they eat in Hong Kong at Christmas time?) I'm seriously questioning the throwing up at this point and am sure she doesn't need to be picked up now that the presentation is over, but when I explained this to her over the phone she actually started to make GAGGING sounds to convince me that she did indeed need to come home. After going back and forth with her and sending her back to class, the office actually called again saying the teacher really did think she was sick and could I come to pick her up. Sigh. While I'm sure the sight of chicken feet and fish eyeballs did make her sick to her stomach, Elizabeth has "faking streaks" and I can spot them from a mile away. (No, there isn't a bully at school or anything like that, sometimes she just wants to come home and play.) 

Long story short, I actually picked this child up with only 15 minutes to spare before the derm appointment (she was most definitely NOT sick) which meant I now had 2 extra children in tow. Not really a big deal since Kate could stay with them in the waiting room during my appointment, but after getting in my gown and settling in with a Newsweek I heard Rachael SCREECHING from down the hall. Apparently she really needed to go to the bathroom and for whatever crazy reason didn't want Kate to take her. Of course, she wanted ME, but I was not about to go wandering around in my less than generous robe, so I called Kate (thank heavens for cell phones, really) and told her to bring her down to me. This day was getting longer by the minute. 

And THAT, is how I ended up with this attractive picture on my cell phone:

THE END. (Please send me your magical Christmas moments. Please? You know who you are. And you too.)


  1. Comments (or lack of them) really are an interesting phenomenon aren't they? Especially with google analytics/site meters, etc. it is easy to see exactly how many people AREN'T commenting. Would be very interesting to study further...

    Enough about that--
    Onto my assignment.

    Yesterday afternoon I had the perfect idea for what would surely be the beginning of a meaningful tradition. I anticipated it all afternoon. And then guess what? We had a temper tantrum, a good argument between two siblings, a two year old that had not napped and a stubborn seven year old who refused to budge. I was ready to yell and send everybody to bed early, but instead decided to go ahead with what I had planned. Though I know as a fact my husband was somewhat skeptical, and even though it did take three tries (and a raised voice), we stood around the piano and sang a familiar Christmas carol together.
    Just as we ended, a child came running in with a favorite Christmas book to read, and everyone actually listened quietly. As the last word was read, almost magically the stubborn seven year old burst into song and sang a tender off-key version of "Silent Night" to us all.
    Even though one sibling got sent from the room for laughing at her, another was given a stern "you better stop NOW look" and even Mom and Dad were containing our giggles, it turned out to be a moment I could NEVER have planned.
    The key?
    Letting go of our expectations and allowing unplanned events to take their course which will often turn into even fonder memories.

    My two cents worth.
    As usual.

  2. I can't think of any magical moments right now, but can I tell you what my least favorite day of my whole preschool-teaching year was? That *!@* Christmas program! Our day would start at 8am setting up in the auditorium and last another 5+ hours as we did that stupid thing 4 times in a row for different sets of parents. I had to remember which kid went up to the mike at what time and keep the 12 of them behaving while all eyes were on me. I knew that by the end of the day I would be in no less than 15 videos for all posterity to see. Add to that...every year a teacher got hurt (sprained ankle, falling backwards off a riser, the set coming crashing down mid program). Good times...

  3. Here it goes... Several years ago we decided to make Christmas simpler. We plan out the month in November (as much as possible)make a sock advent (they are actually socks that my kids get to use afterwards). In each sock is a piece of candy for each child and a little note of what we are doing that day. One day it is do our card station (one stamps the cards, one puts the labels on the card etc). There are wrapping days, post office days for out of town gifts, parties, and even hot chocolate and a Christmas movie. It makes it so I can fit in what I want to to over the holidays and not feel so pressed for time when the crunch time hits because we have been doing it all month. My kids love it and look forward to finding out what we will be doing each day. :)

  4. Awww, she is so cute. My niece just had her pre school Christmas program. It was nice. It wasn't anything like your day. Sounds like a crazy day. I love your blog and I will be stopping back!!

  5. OK, so I am a little late on this (I've been busy putting in shifts at our local live nativity scene - who says 40 is too old to play baby Jesus?) but let me share with you a recent holiday tradition in my family.

    My wife grew up listening every Christmas to apparently the only Christmas album her parents owned. Was it Bing Crosby? Julie Andrews? Nat King Cole?

    No. It was Roger Whittaker.

    "Who?" you correctly ask? Allow Wikipedia to explain: "Roger Whittaker (born 22 March 1936) is an Anglo-Kenyan singer-songwriter and musician with worldwide record sales of over 55 million. His music can be described as easy listening. He is best known for his baritone singing voice and trademark whistling ability."

    While a trademark whistling ability is certainly something I admire in a singer, his Christmas album is abysmal. (See for yourself:

    Roger's far-too-prominent place on our Christmastime iTunes playlist causes friction between my wife and me each year.

    ME: "These Roger Whittaker songs are horrible. Why are you subjecting the kids to them?"

    HER: "Oh, it's nostalgic. My parents played them when I was a kid. It makes me think of Christmas when I was a girl."

    ME: "Your dad said he accidentally set the tree on fire one Christmas, too, when you were a girl. Should we also do that for the kids?"

    HER: "Shut up and play the music."

    ME: "Yes, dear."

    So my new Christmas tradition? Each year I covertly delete one Roger Whittaker song from the Christmas playlist, and replace it with a Sinatra song. Or Captain & Tennille. Or Ke$ha. Really, anything is better than Roger Whittaker.

  6. All right, all right, all right, here I go! This Christmas has actually been the best yet as far as soaking in the true meaning of Christmas. Last year I found a girls blog (just so you know it's not my genious idea) and she had written out a 24 days of Christmas devotionals. You get a small 3 ft. tree and each night there is a short little lesson and an ornament that goes along with it. All of the lessons center around Jesus Christ. They start with the creation, with a little globe ornament to go with, then on to the prophets of old who testified of his birth, and go all the way to the birth of the Savior. We've missed days here and there. Sometimes we do one or more lessons a night. But it really feels like we focus on what's important. I don't have kids who are counting gifts or making endless requests from Santa now. They are more excited about hanging that new little ornament on the tree each night and I absolutely love it. We seem to end the night on a high note and with family prayer. We've also started reading one new Christmas book each night after our devotional and there is a great calmness before the bedtime craziness begins. That is how we've focused on what's important.

    It also helps that we've decided to nix all of the present buying. Instead we are going to start taking our family vacation during Christmas. That is what Santa will bring. He will fill their stocking and then they will discover what destination they will be heading. This year he is placing Disneyland tickets in there. Eventually, when the kids get older, we will be doing humanitarian trips. The best gift is just spending time with the family, not filling your home with toys that will be forgotten or broken. We want to make memories instead. I think the secret of where they will be going will create excitement and anticipation all year long.

    There you have it!
    We should get together sometime. I miss you!


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