Saturday, November 22, 2008

I can finally sleep, poor vampires can not.

Thanks to everyone that posted words of encouragement during the bloodbath that was getting Sam to sleep through the night. You deserve an update.
I don't want to jinx anything, but so far, so good on the sleeping. Sam went to waking up only once and crying for five minutes or less, and the last two nights, she hasn't woken up at all. I'd do a happy dance if it wasn't cosmically guaranteed to set us back two months. We're playing it cool, but on the inside, I'm enjoying this sleeping thing so much better than not sleeping. Sam enjoys the kisses and clapping she gets every morning. Daniel was able to return from the guest room on Monday night, which was nice, but he picked up the unfortunate habit of hogging the bed even worse than before, so that has resulted in him getting kicked in the shins every night so far. That's his problem though, he needs to respect my space or face my wrath.
All in all, a success. You guys were right, not seeing us was the key. It was unavoidable sometimes, since Sam now gets both arms over the side of the crib and gets stuck so that even if she tries to fall over or collapses her legs, she ends up hanging by her armpits and screaming in panic. When I'm being good mommy, I pity her and tear up along with her--when I'm being annoying mommy I laugh at her as I lay her back down. She looks so funny with her arms draped over the side and half-sleeping, half-yelling.
In other news, I went to see Twilight today, and have discovered the secret key to enjoying the film.
Ridiculously low expectations.
I really thought I would hate it and it would be completely horrible--going in with that attitude, how could it disappoint me without hauling in Gary Bussey? It was much better than I expected. Had I thought the movie would be wicked awesome (like a sister of mine who will remain nameless), I would no doubt be a bitter, pouty, disenchanted person (who still is nameless) today. I mean, bitter, pouty, and disenchanted about this, the other stuff I'm all those things about don't count. My unusually chipper attitude toward the movie is proof that the utter disappointment that was my excitement over Breaking Dawn was not in vain, because I learned from it. You can't regret something that teaches you a lifelong lesson to expect the mininum from authors of chick-lit, it's something that must be learned the hard way. Yeah, the movie wasn't fantastic, and the book is way better, but the movie could have been so much worse. It could have been a movie of Breaking Dawn.

May I just say also, that I am so glad I was sitting next to Rachel (who had also prepped herself for dire failure in the journey of page to screen), instead of a teenage twi-hard in an "Edward is my boyfriend" T-shirt, because every time something insanely cheesy happened and I started to giggle she was giggling to herself too. Plus I could whisper things like "why does Edward get covered in Vaseline in the sunlight?" and get a response like "I just thought he was greasy!" instead of "Shut up and die, in that order, you Edward-hating old hag! You're just bitter because he didn't write you a lullaby!" It is so calming to be able to let out a small snort of laughter to get through the velveeta moments without fear of being beat down by small purses filled with Bonne Bell lipsmackers. All in all, an enjoyable afternoon and an enjoyable movie, if you don't go in expecting Citizen Kane. I'd even see it again. I'm thinking of making Daniel go with me, just to teach him how a real man glitters.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Do They Know it's Christmas?

As part of my Christmas obsession, I am now listening fully to the Christmas stations on the local radio and XM. Three weeks into it, and I already have a proposal for any major recording artist from Europe in the 80's (because you know they all read this). If I promise to commit to do my part to "feed the world" will you talk to the radio stations about toning down the airplay of that song? Please?
It's a good message really, but how many artists signing on that record have since served hard time, should have served hard time, or fallen off the face of the earth entirely? It's depressing, and not just for the downer subject matter. Maybe some of them should have spent more money on feeding the world, and less up their noses (if you catch my drift) so they wouldn't need to keep playing the song 20 years later. I think Bono is the only contributor to that song that seemed to really embrace the meaning and run with it. Because Bono rocks, and even though I'm a republican, I'm down with Bono and his efforts to feed the world. You go, Bono.

At the very least, we should wait until a little closer to Christmas to play it. It drives me nuts to hear a song saying "Do they know it's Christmas?" when the answer is "Geez, not yet, crazy Anglos, it's not even December." I'm just waiting for an angry Ethiopian to respond by yelling "Do you know it's not?" Seriously, I'll give a dollar to the first Ethiopian to yell that in my earshot.
Which brings up my stumper of the week...
Thanksgiving is an American holiday, which is no secret, but I hadn't really thought about it much. Since Thanksgiving is the official kick-off of Santa and Christmas, when do other countries consider it "the beginning" of Christmas season? How "do they know it's Christmas?" If you know, leave me a comment, because I'm dying to know what the rest of the world does...

All these little peeves are not really what bothers me about this song. Like I said, I can appreciate the message, and who doesn't need a good dousing of guilt dumped on their Christmas cheer, every hour on the hour? All my angst with this song comes down to one line, really, and it must be sung in a mournful tone and with enough impassioned pity to make one sound like one is constipated (I'm looking at you, George Michael).

"And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime"

No way, really, tell me you're joshing me? No snow at Christmas? Why even have it? The way the song is written, it sounds like they're saying, not only do these poor people not have food, they don't even have snow.
Call me unenlightened, but I really don't see the problem with that. The no-food thing I get, but no-snow? Snow what!
Do you know where else there won't be snow this Christmastime? My house for one. Or Bethlehem, or Nazareth, or Galilee, or any of the other places that figure into the story of Christ and his birth. It's summer in Australia, New Zeland, and the rest of the Southern Hemisphere in December, for crying out loud! For a huge portion of the globe (yes, even the Christian portion of the globe), Christmas celebrations have nothing to do with sleigh rides and snowball fights.
Some of us like it that way. If there were snow in Africa this Christmas, I imagine several of the African people would be thinking what I was thinking my first "white Christmas" visiting my parents, which was "Holy Schiekies! I think I'm gonna die! I'm literally freezing to DEATH!" Luckily, I was wrong on that last point.
The image of a winter wonderland is one that fits the celebrations those living in snowy climates have created for the holiday to accommodate their local weather. It's become the norm for most of the country, and it is great, but in reality it's not an image of a "real" Christmas that others are missing out on and should be pitied for. It's just an image of their Christmas. I have my own images of Christmas. An Arizona Christmas consists of "Yeah, Santa brought me a bike, I'm going around the block!" as opposed to say, a Wisconsin Christmas that consists of "Yeah, Santa brought me a bike! In three months, I'm so going around the block!" We can have luminarias, we do put Christmas lights on cacti, and we never miss out on Grandma's Christmas cookies because the plows haven't come through. We don't get snowed in with a crazy relative. Some Arizonans go on hikes together for Christmas. Not me, but athletic people. Daniel and I have been known to eat Christmas turkey on his Mom's back porch, watching the gorgeous Arizona sunset while the kids swing in the yard and work off their sugar highs actually using their new scooters, bikes, and footballs. "Traditional" Christmas, no, but we love it. While a Currier and Ives Christmas is nice to visit sometimes, we don't miss the snow. You can't miss what you never had and don't need.
So, while there are many reasons to feel compassion for the less fortunate in Africa this Christmas, their lack of snow and cold-weather holiday tradition isn't one of them. I'm sure they have some wicked-cool holiday traditions of their own, too. I'd love to learn about what they are. The fact that a song that claims its entire reason for existence is to promote awareness of "the world outside your window," yet can't recognize that differences in culture aren't for pitying is too much irony for me. Feed the world, yes. Pity them for their lack of snowmen, no.
So I would really appreciate it if I didn't have to hear it every hour, unless they can do a 20-years-later directors cut with a little less condescension.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Universal means "one size fits all"

All right, all right, McCain lost. I can deal with that, it's not like I was in love with the guy, I'm just way more okay with a moderate republican than I am with a borderline socialist, so I'm a little perturbed. I'm not partisan enough that I can't appreciate the magnitude of electing the first African-American President and be grateful our country has come this far. I may wish it had come far enough to elect an African-American with something more substantial than oozing charisma to recommend him for the most important job in the world, but politics has always been a student council election on steroids, so I'm not surprised at the outcome. As my Grandpa used to say "If wishes were fishes, we'd all have a fry."
Yeah, I don't really get it either, but it seemed to fit--it has the word wishes in it.
In fact, I could have moved on with my life without saying much about the election at all if I hadn't found an obnoxious letter to the new President in my Parenting magazine for November. When I first read it, the election hadn't happened yet, so I wasn't too worried, but now that we have someone in office who might actual pitch the nauseatingly short-sighted, bleeding-heart but impossible-to-fund agenda in there, I've got to say something.
The letter claimed to be a parents' wishlist for the new president. It was mostly the usual "world the children" stuff that any self-respecting Miss America hopeful can recite in three languages, but one point really jumped out at me. It said to hurry up and get a Universal Health care plan in place. It would save all the uninsured children! Hurry up, Mr. President, save the children! Don't you care about the children!?
Excuse me, but I'm a parent, and the last thing I want is Universal Health care. I agree that something needs to be done to make health care more affordable for families, and that someone does need to help uninsured children. I'm not sure how to handle the logistics of it to keep people from riding the dole, but I do know it isn't the kids' fault if the parents don't have insurance, for whatever reason. I know the kids are the ones suffering, just like the kids are the ones suffering when parents choose to sit at home catching up on soaps and collecting welfare rather than working, or bring home a new "daddy" every three months, or when parents do any of the bonehead things they sometimes do. I do care about the children. It's because I care that I am opposed to Universal Health care.
I know to most people who don't know a lot about it, and the many "spread the wealthers" out there, it sounds like this: "Universal Health care means health care for everyone, hallelujah! We are all saved, and my skin will clear up like magic, and my puppy will come home, and my Dad will finally give me the approval I crave." It, like our new President-elect, will fix all our problems. Here's the trick. You're missing two vital words. The same. Universal Health care really means the same health care for everyone. Still sound good to you? Yeah, it probably does, equality and all of that. Equality isn't what I mean, however, and I will illustrate it for you from experience.
My mother emigrated from Canada when she was 19 years old, and half of her family still lives there. First things first, quit your giggling, it is possible to "emigrate" from Canada, and that's the proper word, it just sounds dumb because they're right next door. Second, you didn't know this about me because being half-Canadian isn't something I like to brag about, but now you've all solved the mystery of how someone who lived in the Valley of the Sun since she was a year old can have a skin tone middling between corpse and fish belly. Let's all drop it and move on.
My grandparents still live in Canada, where they have been plagued by health problems for the past decade or so. Because of this, I could probably write a thesis on why Universal Health care is the pits, but I will just stick to one example to prove my point.
About 10 years ago, my grandmother fell and broke her humerus. For those of you not addicted to medical dramas, that's the bone between the elbow and shoulder. It's a big bone and there aren't any other bones around to steady it. Nannie got to ride in an ambulance down to the happy Canadian hospital to get it fixed. The doctors decided to stick her arm in a sling. Now, I may not have followed through on that whole medical school thing, but I know a couple of things here: 1) When a 60-something-year-old woman breaks her arm just falling down (as opposed to riding the half-pipe on her skateboard like a 16-year-old two beds over), it's possible, nay, likely, that her bone density isn't exactly what it used to be, 2) this hypothesis can be proved by the place in her medical records where it states explicitly that she has osteoporosis (in other words, her bones are brittle and prone to breakage). I also know that sticking said osteroporotic arm in a sling probably isn't going to do jack squat to heal on its own. But that's what the Canadian doctors did. They gave an elderly woman with bone disease the same exact treatment they would give to the 16-year-old daredevil. The same treatment they'd probably give a wiggly 4-year-old whose bones would regrow and crooked on top of it without a cast. Then they set a follow-up appointment for a month later.
Thirty days go by and Nannie goes back in to the doctor only to get an X-ray and be told that her arm is exactly as broken as the day she fell. Fancy that! "Exactly as broken" you're saying the weak bone with regeneration issues that wasn't even steadied well in the first place didn't step up to the plate, kick that nasty density problem, and fix itself?! How rude?! I'll bet the 16-year-old was in better shape, because his bones know when to be a team player. Nannie had to go in and have a huge surgery with I don't know how many pins put in her arm.
Yes, she would have needed the surgery anyway, but she certainly didn't need to be in pain every time she bumped her poorly-set arm for a month prior.
So, why did they treat her the same way as a patient with an entirely different medical history? Universal health care, baby, the same health care for everybody. Translation: Doctors have no reason whatsoever to make individual patients happy or healthy. They don't get paid on performance, only quantity. They get paid lousy rates by the government no matter how wonderful they are at their job, which means they have no incentive to be wonderful. They are overbooked, which is why it takes them a month to get around to seeing the poor elderly woman with the busted limb again, or it takes them two weeks after the results come back to call and tell you that you have cancer (but that's another story for another day). Don't tell me it's free or "you get what you pay for" either, because after over 40+ years of paying downright exorbitant taxes, they certainly aren't getting it for free, nor are they getting what they paid for.
So, with all due respect to the pageant queens at Parenting, I'm a parent too, and I will fight tooth and nail to make sure that we don't end up with Universal Health Care. Find another way. Find a better way. Because I want Sam's doctors, and my doctors, and Daniel's doctors, and your doctors, to give a flying fig about what they're doing, and to treat the patient as differently as they need to be treated in order to be cured. I want their paygrade to hinge on doing their job properly, and I want them know that I will sue them if they slap my brittle-boned grandparent in a sling and leave her there for a month. Because I want my family to get good medical care, not just any medical care.
"One size fits all" has no place in the Hippocratic oath.
And that's one thing that I'm sure you probably feel the same about too.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Love is a Battlefield

So, we've decided to let Sam cry it out in the middle of the night, in the hopes that I might get a full night's sleep ever again in this lifetime. How can she go down for naps and bed no problem but come completely unglued in the middle of the night?! I just don't get it. I also didn't realize that "crying it out" referred to me. This kid is so stubborn, poor Daddy has been relegated to the guest room for the duration of the war. The parent who doesn't get up between 4:30 and 5am (read: Me) gets to listen to the screaming and go lay her back down every 10-15 minutes. Sam puts in between 45 minutes and an hour and a half of screaming each time she wakes up. So, I don't have my husband with me to share the frustration, I get to listen to heartwrenching sobs for hours on end in the middle of the night, and because she isn't getting good rest at night, I get a crabby little princess for a child the entire day following.
Why did I start doing this? Oh yeah, so I won't still be getting up in the night when she's 12. Remind me of that when I'm committed to the loony bin, which doesn't sound so bad if they let you sleep for 8 hours solid.
Even so, I'm pretty sure I'm losing the battle. She's going to get me to cave any time now, and she totally knows it. I'm afraid I'm going to start crying right along with her. Last night, Sam learned how to pull herself to standing in her crib, and that's even worse, because she stands there screaming, and can't figure out how to lay back down without me going in there and laying her down, which reminds her that she wants me to pick her up, which renews her screaming gusto....
Vicious, vicious, cycle.
In addition, I've learned that "I'm doing this because I love you" sounds even lamer spoken by me now than it did coming at me as a kid. It may be true, but still sounds dumb, especially over Sam's whimpers.
I've got to stay strong! I just have to!
They say whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, so I guess I'll get a good night's sleep eventually either way, right?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

She thinks she's all grown up

This morning, I noticed Sam has a second tooth. I was just adjusting emotionally to the one that popped up 5 days ago, so we're both a little cranky today. She's annoyed at the razor sharp weapon knifing through her gum tissue, and I'm mourning for my lost little baby days. Sam's officially a mobile, newly weaponized, whirlwind. As much as I love her fun little personality, sometimes, I miss being able to lay her on the floor in the family room and go do the dishes without finding her next to me chewing the hem of my jeans or chasing crickets one short minute later. Sigh.
To help Sam feel better, I gave her a little teething ring from the fridge. It's a plastic snail and his "shell" is the cool, soft, teething part. Sam promptly stuck the hard plastic head in her mouth and started to gum that, as she always has since the day we bought it, despite a hundred demontrations of the proper place to chew. Upon finding it not that helpful, she grunted in frustration, and chucked it across the floor, only to change her mind and crawl to get it back. Again, the hard head goes in her mouth and fails to soothe, so Sam repeats her frustrated little dance. Bite, chuck, retrieve, repeat. She's still doing it ten feet away from where I sit.
It appears to me that the snail is the only one with a hard head around here.
As I raise one eyebrow and think, "Geez kid, you've got all the tools to make yourself feel better in your own hand, if you would just work them right," another thought enters my head.
I wonder how many times Heavenly Father has thought that about me. How many times have I been in possession of all the tools I needed to help myself and decided to chuck them across the room because I didn't know how to utilize them? How many times has He just rolled his eyes and let out an internal exasperated sigh as he patiently showed me yet again how to use something he's reminded me about a million times?
It's something to consider.
So now, instead of thinking my baby is being silly, I think "look at that kid, she's just like a grown-up! Can't follow directions to save her life!" Just like her Mommy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

'Til I die (or am minorly inconvenienced) I will not remove mine integrity from me

I've worked to ensure academic integrity for a long time now. As an academic counselor at UoP for a few years, it was my job to talk to students about plagiarism, make sure they understood exactly what it meant to have academic integrity, encourage them to do their work honestly, and report them to academic affairs if they were dishonest. Before I did that, I worked in the testing office at UofA, where among my many duties, I had to catch cheaters. And I caught a few. I was never so surprised as when we found 30 pages of notes being used by a girl wearing next to no clothing. Where in the world was she keeping them? Part of me wanted to wear gloves when we confiscated them, just in case it was somewhere gross.
After years of working my tail off in school to earn my own grades in addition to all my work experience, you could safely say that academic integrity is one of my pet causes. I despise cheating. Loathe it. I've seen every trick in the book--some of which border on beyond desperate like actually making yourself throw up to get to your stash of notes in the bathroom, and some of which are painfully uncreative--writing on your arm, really? I've heard every excuse in the known world. "If I fail, my dad won't pay for my Beamer." Oh, yeah, buddy, I'm crying with you on that one, I'll feel bad for you on my whole walk home. "I'll lose my athletic scholarship." Tough beans, and maybe a little more studying on the bus next time. "I was holding these for a friend." Uh huh. During your test, while she waited outside? I'm sure she'll appreciate the gesture. "My daughter had to write my essay because my internet was down." Excuse me? Are those two things even related?
Call me a Nazi, but I have no sympathy whatsoever. As a student, I didn't work for four years to get the same exact diploma as someone who switched places with their twin so they could pass their Biology final (I wish I was joking about that). As a representative for the university, I'm not going to allow a few bad apples to cheapen degrees from our institution for everyone else. Period. I'm hardcore and passionate about this.
The point of all this is that, never, not once in my entire life, did I encounter a cheater who didn't think they were the exception to the rule. Not one person who didn't think their reason was good enough to justify what they had done. Not one.
I bring it up at all because people who know me obviously need to know how I feel about this. Because lately, I've had more and more people mention or even brag to me that they do their spouse's homework. i.e. "John's final essay turned out great, if I do say so myself, I wrote it after all." It would be rude of me to launch into them then and there, so I'm posting my opinion on the blog without mentioning anyone specifically so they can read it and know unequivocally how I feel about this practice before they mouth off to me and get a stunned look and truncated conversation in return. Please, read how I feel before you say something that makes me lose a huge chunk of respect for you.
This is wrong. Wrong. Positively, absolutely wrong. Are we crystal clear about my stance?
I am even more upset by the fact that most (okay, all) of these people are LDS. We are supposed to be "honest in all our dealings," people. Do you think school doesn't qualify? What happened to "Til I die, I will not remove mine integrity from me." Hey, for you younger crowd, "I believe in being honest, I believe in being true." These are not just sayings, they are a way of life. Consistent integrity is the only way to build a good name in this world, and I might add, the next.
I know that nobody is perfect and makes mistakes, but why in the world are we bragging about said mistakes? Simply put, because none of the people I talk to seem to think it is a mistake. Most of the people that have mentioned it to me feel fully justified to cheat like this because they are supporting their spouse and allowing him to support their family. Excuse me, but I just heard "my dad won't pay for my beamer." Sorry, it's all lies and cheating to me, no matter how you couch it.
Don't get me wrong. I understand the temptation. I have never been so frustrated in my life as trying to tutor Daniel in Mendelian genetics for his Bio 101 class last month. I had a degree in this stuff, I could have done the assignments in 30 minutes instead of beating my head against the wall and answering endless "whys?" from my husband. Man, that guy is thorough. Drive me crazy! But I tutored him instead of writing it for him, because it was the right thing to do. And if I felt like I was starting to feed him answers word for word, I would walk away and he would continue by himself. Because it was right. And, no, it doesn't make me an unsupportive wife to expect ultimate integrity from the man I've pledged eternity to. He expects the same from me, and would be disappointed if I expected anything less. He wouldn't allow me to do homework for him , even if I would, and only requested I teach him. It's unbelievably hard to sit watching TV, bored, while my husband dragged home from a long day at the office and sat down to a long night of hitting the books. Especially when it's a topic that interests me and I know I could help with. Daniel got his reward on Saturday, however, when he walked in his graduation ceremony with a completely clear conscience knowing without a doubt that he earned that degree. The blood, sweat, and tears were all his, and he can hold his head high knowing that. Way to go, Baby! It was worth it, every last late night, to know he didn't lie to anyone, least of all himself.
Putting a name on a paper other than the author themselves is just that. A big fat lie.
The most common justifications I hear for this are that 1)it's not a class that matters, just a gen-ed or something, and 2) he/she really needs to get into medical/dental/law school, so he needs good grades.
To address this first one, I have to say this: There is no such thing as a class that doesn't matter. Because every last course, even if you will never use the material, is required for a reason. Maybe the reason is only to test your patience and integrity, but ultimately, that is the most important test of all, more important than course material If you're cheating, you're failing that test. Every class is an opportunity to be honest with yourself and prove that you have what it takes to be a good student and earn your degree. Take it for what it is. This is coming from a non-Spanish speaker who had to take Mexican folk music and learn songs phonetically, so don't even tell me I don't know what I'm talking about.
At the risk of sounding completely heartless about the next point, if you can't pass your basic classes of your undergrad singlehandedly, I don't want you as my doctor/dentist/lawyer anyway. To put it more bluntly, if you have to cheat to get into the program you want, you are unqualified for the program. If you can't do the work yourself, you DO NOT have what it takes, and I will not put my life or my child's life in your hands. I really shiver at the thought of going to a doctor who says "hmm, your child is congested, but my husband did that chapter, so let me call him and get back to you." Uh, can you say lawsuit?
It's not just the "important" jobs that need integrity. I don't want my mechanic, phlebotomist, pizza delivery guy, or cashier for that matter, to not have met the requirements for their job before doing it. For those of you going on to advanced degrees, hello, the undergraduate degree work is a job requirement. Do it. Yourself.
It's just a good rule of thumb that if a behavior can get you expelled, it's probably not the right course of action. Let's all remember that for future reference. Let's remember that we are asked to be honest in our dealings, not honest in our dealings unless we really really feel like we have a good reason not to be.
That's just one Nazi's opinion, though, take your chances with dishonesty if you wish. Just keep quiet about it around me, because now you know I hate cheating.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Crazy Takes a Holiday

Christmas, to be exact.
I grew up in a house where Christmas was truly the focus of our year. My mom would decorate every inch of our house on the day after Thanksgiving, including covering our 80-ft wooden banister with no less than eight (yes, eight!) layers of garland, lights, berries, and bows. We would take down nearly every framed picture in the house and replace it with a Christmas themed one. Basically our 4-day Thanksgiving weekend was one day of eating and parades, three of slave-labor as my mom's army of tinsel-bearing elves. I swear, I have a scar from shoving the super-scratchy garland in and out of the wooden spindles hundreds of times. I remember a visitor once saying "wow, it looks like Better Homes and Gardens threw up in here."
I think she meant it as a compliment. As picked on as I felt when other kids were shopping that weekend, our house was always beautiful at Christmas, and I loved it.
My mom started sneaking the occasional Christmas movie around July, and getting her Christmas music fixes regularly come October, as long as Dad wasn't home to mock her. November 1st was the magic day after which she could listen to Christmas music in the open, with my dad promising (but usually failing) to shut up about it and keep the teasing to a minimum.
As a result, I love Christmas. I really do, and not just because Christmas Eve is my birthday--I love how the excitement in our home becomes more and more tangible as December marches on. I loved acting out the nativity with my cousins when I was little and fighting over which sheet was more appropriate for a shepherd to wear versus Mary, and digging around for something shiny so the Wise Men could have a touch of bling. I loved how we eventually ended up with so many advent calendars going that it added 10 minutes to our morning routine to open the all. I love the movie A Christmas Story and can watch it again no matter how many times I've seen it that year. I loved the stress of whittling down our wishes to the two gifts we were allowed to request, only to find that on occasion, one of the desperately wanted but cut items would show up on Christmas morning anyway. I love the fact that Santa managed to find sealing wax for me the one year I got insanely into the olden days and decided I had to have it (all this in pre-internet time). I love how my parents always took time to teach us the true meaning of Christmas, and after all the debacle of the day--birthday presents, opening Christmas Jammies, leaving out cookies and "Santa drink" (my brother's name for eggnog), at the end of the night, Christmas Eve and Christmas day are all about the story of Christ's birth. I loved hearing my dad speak on Sunday as bishop, always talking about the importance and joy of the first Christmas.
In short, I'm no grinch, and I probably could rival any one of Santa's most ardent helpers.
But I try not to be loony about it. I try to give Thanksgiving its due, and no matter how excited I get, I try to remain normal as much as possible.
My husband has no such compulsion to appear normal. Since we will be gone for Christmas this year, visiting my parents in their own little Christmas boutique, Daniel decided we won't get to enjoy the full season of our Christmas decorations and that will never do.
So he decided to decorate early. Way too early. Last weekend, he unceremoniously yanked down the pumpkins and spiderwebs and put up snowmen, trees, and reindeer. Our garbage is full until the truck comes, so our whithering pumpkins are still on the porch while sleigh bells can be heard inside. Everything is up except the tree and outside lights.
We are psycho.
I just shrugged and went along with it because no one ever comes over anyway, and I love Christmas too. If I had visiting friends, I would have taken him on, but these days it's mostly cell phone calls and email. I went along with it until he hauled out the outdoor wreath.
I'm fine with us being crazy, but I see no need to broadcast it to the neighbors. We duked it out for a little while, but ultimately, he can reach the wreath holder and I can't, so I lost that one.
We are now the only house in the neighborhood with a Christmas wreath. I'm so embarrassed.
Not only that, but after 20+ years of my brother, sister, and me competing for the coveted title of "favorite child" (and don't you tell me there isn't one, because we know there has to be and don't want to hear we've wasted the effort), my husband has single-handedly stolen the top spot in my mom's heart. He is the new Christmas-nut, and I challenge anyone to take the title away from him. As embarrassed as I am, its adorable to see him talking to Sam about her first Christmas and showing her all our carefully collected decorations.
So, whatever, we're crazy. But we're just crazy enough to be fun, and that's okay with me after all. Nothing says Christmas like a 92-degree day in early November.
Happy Holidays.