Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas comes early

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Kelley household. In a lot of ways Christmas has come early this year with Wes learning new words every day and Mimi and Pa (Brian's parents) coming for an early Christmas visit. The kids (and us!) were all very excited and were spoiled with rides in the big rental van complete with dvd player, diners out, and lots of quality time to hang out.

I think Wes would have been content to spend the entire visit in the van watching Cars on a constant loop and using the automatic door opener button feature. We could have easily just tossed in some french fries and cheerios twice a day and he would have been happy as a clam.

Because of the extra help I got to run and shower without accompaniment. Despite concerns, it turns out I don't actually need a spotter at all times. I mean don't get me wrong, I tend to do awful and slightly dangerous things when left alone, like watch documentaries about Korean death camps and ugly cry into my arm while eating bulk bags of popcorn, but still I think I can handle some solo time.

So we have been busy bees picking out and cutting down our tree, baking and decorating cookies, wrapping presents, and discussing the protocol for Advent calendar chocolate consumption. Jack was pretty adamant that it was just fine to open the 24th door and eat the contents. It was an OCD sufferers worst nightmare. Don't worry I flipped the living room lights on and off exactly 24 times in the hopes that his transgression would be forgiven.  It still bothers me when I look at it.

Last Friday we went to get our Christmas tree at our favorite local Christmas tree farm. Because we went on a Friday we avoided the crowds and still got to enjoy the experience. You pretty much can't go wrong with a fire pit, marshmallows the size of your head, gifts from Santa, tractor rides, and a surprise gator ride!

Always a highlight of the Christmas tree farm-marshmallows
as big as your head and an outdoor fire pit! 
Getting our Christmas tree! Kids baled free! :) 

A a line of Kelley men carrying the tree through the farm

The boys were lucky enough to get to ride the "Gator"
 and go over bumps. They loved it! 

An awful picture of our decorated tree 

The kids wanted a tree this year so we set up a mini one in their room. They insist on keeping it lit while they sleep so their room has started to resemble the Vegas strip.

We are short two days away from winter break which means no more rushing in the morning, no more twice weekly speech therapy, and lots of quality time to drive each other equally bananas. My children excel in the driving me bananas department but here's hoping that some new toys and a break from routine serve as a novelty and we can coast on that until the new year. 

Merry Christmas Y'all!

They will always remain my greatest blessings and gifts! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I don't want Chinese band aids for Christmas.

Its that time of year where the Christmas lights are out in full force, glowing tinsel snowmen bedeck the aisles of every store, and Christmas carols are blasted from convenience to grocery store.

The Christmas creep is in full effect. I suspect that by the time my children are grown Christmas trees will be put up in August and black Friday will be before Thanksgiving.

We came home two days before Thanksgiving to find a bag full of gifts from our thoughtful landlord. The kids were so excited. They delightedly ripped into the first one only to discover it contained a six pack of Chinese band aids. Jack's face fell and his brow furrowed. "I don't want these French band aids for Christmas." I laughed for exactly 11 minutes and collapsed on the kitchen floor because it was just all too much. Christmas presents before Thanksgiving! Band aids for Christmas! It was all so perfect.

After I wiped away my laugh tears we had a nice chat about being thankful for what people give us. They remained skeptical.  Despite their looming skepticism they remained and remain true fans of all that the holiday season has to offer.

It doesn't matter what store we are in we have to carefully inspect and view every single Christmas decoration. Every. Single. One.

This can make routine trips to Target epic in length. Sometimes we are there so long I feel like it would be reasonable and kind if Target set up watering stations like they do at marathons. Shopping has become an endurance sport.

Never mind that my children insist on picking the biggest carts. The kind where there is a normal grocery cart bolted onto a separate cart that has children's seats.  Seats that my children sit in for 3 minutes and then bail out of scattering in different directions.

I don't have a license to drive the behemoth cart and always end up taking out a display of some sort. The aisles and displays are not made for Cadillac sized carts with a turning radius of a barge. I like to imagine I'm burning extra calories pushing it.

Evidently not riding in the cart and viewing every Christmas ornament and decoration ever invented since the beginning of time burns calories too because at this point in our trip the children need snacks. Clearly they need to refuel. Its been exactly 15 minutes since their last snack.

If I'm smart I have packed Wes's backpack before leaving the house. I leave the house in much the same way I would if I were going on a long distance hike. Multiple snacks, enough water for a camel, blankets, flash light, band aids-Chinese of course, a change of clothes, GPS locating beacon. You know the bare essentials.

 Truth be told its all good because its free entertainment. Thanks Target I owe ya. On second thought since I can never leave your store and spend less than $50 I think you owe me. Hmmm well I guess I did plow my cart into that entire display of Christmas outfits for dogs so lets call it even.

 P.S if you are in the market for doggy sweaters and formal wear Target can hook you up.

Because Jack has announced that Christmas is a short twenty pounds away, we have begun preparations by making our Christmas lists, deciding what cookies to bake, and talking about plans for the Christmas tree.

But what does one get a child who likes to watch videos of people playing Angry birds on you tube in Russian? How does one even begin to determine what he would find interesting? Poorly lit black market Russian cartoons? We know he doesn't want band aids so I'm stumped. Worse than that I am Russian stumped.

And what about Wes who has limited speech? Never fear! They have both completed a Christmas list with the help of our neighborhood toy store that offered a promotion last weekend where if you filled out a wish list in their store you would receive a $5 gift card.

I had visions of the children taking their time in the store, looking at all the fun toys, and writing large lists with wild abandon. They had other plans. Jack asked for Angry Birds seasons......I should probably add that we already have Angry Birds seasons........and its not available for obvious reasons at the local toy store.

After explaining this to Jack, he earnestly searched the store in search of something he really wanted. He ended up choosing a small white rabbit puppet. Ohhhhhhh kay! I mean lets not go nuts or anything! He then announced he was done. Finito. Needed nothing more.

 Don't we try and instill this exact thing in our children? Don't we strive to make sure they understand the reason for the season? Don't we go to great lengths to make sure our children understand the holiday spirit has less to do with receiving than giving? Then why did it feel like a let down?

Wes followed suit and picked out two small hot wheels type cars and then proceeded to be quite upset that we weren't leaving the store with them that moment. I explained we were putting them on his list for Santa. Wes then repeatedly tried to place the cars on top of the actual list, concrete little fellow that he is.

So this morning when I came downstairs I wasn't surprised when I saw the boys watching a clip of Despicable Me 2 in Russian, and I wasn't surprised when Jack then asked me how to say "hilarious" in Russian, instead I had a light bulb moment. Along with the impossibly modest white rabbit puppet I will hope that Santa has the smarts to include a Russian to English dictionary .

Watching someone in Russia play Angry Birds. Playing the game is so last year. 

The kids are content little beings which in the end makes me feel so content and I can't wait to celebrate the joy of the entire season with them instead of just the one day. The light of the season comes not only from feeling the love but seeing that twinkle in their eyes and watching as it makes everything brighter. 

They are so excited for their felt advent calendar, for sugar cookies and our cinnamon roll baking marathon. They love seeing the lights on large Christmas trees, decorating our own house, watching me wrap presents, getting big boxes in the mail, drinking hot cocoa, and snuggling on the couch while we watch Elf four hundred Russian.