Friday, December 30, 2016

Staycation, all I ever wanted

Firstly, I want to acknowledge that a measly four days off of work feels like some life-changing event, which I think is sadly and pathetically indicative of my situation lately. We watched Storks last night with the kids (SO GOOD, and the tears!) and there's a part where one character keeps asking another, "Why do you want to be the boss?" And I got all stupidly emotional like, "I don't want to be the boss! You're right anthropomorphic bird!" Gah. Two weeks (hopefully, God help us) left until I can go back to the job I only disliked a normal amount. Also, Storks combined with a Facebook quiz (so psychometrically sound) and the realization that I was going to have to do more than wish myself fit has made me seriously consider whether we can fit another kid into the damn car. Oh! And I think we're getting another dog. Because of course we are. I do contentment so f-ing well.

BUT. My staycation has been amazing so far. We hiked. I collected a bazillion flat, round rocks for my story stones. I read an entire book in one day, which is something I'm not sure I've done since Syd was born. I played with my instantpot and didn't blow my house up. C and I had a great talk about our family goals for 2017 (Surprise! It includes not being money idiots anymore! Again!) and we've started planning our spring break road trip. I cleared the family bulletin board and hung my new "Family Organizer" ("Helping you put your family first since 1993!") I came up with a list of "Kindle Rules" for all the kids after we caught *someone* watching inappropriate youtube videos, complete with a "cheat sheet" of what parental guidance level each kid is allowed. We've watched several movies together.  Today we went to three separate animal shelters. We have seriously been under-utilizing that as an outing for our animal loving Averson. She cannot see a dog without asking to pet it and so being able to walk and see so many animals was basically her version of Disneyland. Except for the part where the enormous, mangy dogs lunged and snarled at her. That part was kind of like if It's a Small World was designed by Steven King. She recovered quickly though. We found a dog we all loved, and more importantly who matched our pre-determined name, but she won't be open for adoption until next week. C is going to stake out the place and we're all praying that Atticus doesn't eat her. Stay tuned.  

Tomorrow we are going to a family NYE party and I'm going to bring an app that I actually planned and cooked. Seriously. Shenanigans over here. I'm also researching options for becoming independently wealthy in little or no time and with little to no effort. I think I'm outside the Sugar Baby demographic, but I haven't completely eliminated the possibility.

Christmas on the coast

For the first time since Eli was born, we spent Christmas away from home. I was worried it would be a lot of work (it was) and maybe not so fun. I was so wrong on the second count. We had awesome time.
We drove down after school on Friday. Luckily the kids had pajama day, so they were already in their copies. The drive was long after being up since 4:30, but it wasn't awful awful.
Saturday my dad had arranged for a trolley ride and a lighthouse tour. The storm passed and the weather was beautiful. The lighthouse was AMAZING and now I want to be a light keeper in a 100+ year old lighthouse. I think I could even manage the lack of indoor plumbing in exchange for the cozy rooms and beautiful woodwork. Who do I call?

Christmas was pretty perfect. I released the kids from bed at 6:30. The kid's gifts were a huge hit. The girls both got American Girl dolls (Josefina and Rebecca, if you're curious) and Eli got a scale WWE ring and a slingshot that he still can't believe he got. I got an instantpot (send recipes!). Some sleeper hits included the washi tape in Averson's stocking because she loves sticky stuff, C's Polk High t-shirt, and the MP3 we got Eli. Such a man-child. The girls, the dog, and I accidentally/awesomely took a hike in our slippers and pajamas. We lazed around the rest of the day, day drinking, watching movies, and playing with toys.

We finished off our visit with a fishing trip for the boys and a spa day for the girls. I had the most amazing facial and I left with a new shopping list of products that I "need." (Of course 2017 is also the year we end our financial dumbassery so we'll see how that goes.) The boys came home with a good haul of fish and we cooked them as soon as we got home. They must have been good because the kids ate them without comment. 

I took the week between Christmas and New Years off and we're blissfully staycating. I intentionally disengaged from work and it's been wonderful. I'm not entirely looking forward to going back, which although a bummer has provided some much needed clarity about what I want to do next. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It's beginning to look minimally like Christmas (ironically picture heavy)

For the first time since we had children, we're going to be spending Christmas away from home. That, combined with the shit show that is my job right now, has resulted in some serious phoning in of holiday festivities. Seriously. My house is really quite minimally dressed for the holiday. We did no lights, no tree, no stockings. Basically I pulled a few things from the top of the box, threw in the stuff that never made it to the boxes last year, and called it a day. 
Our "tree"

I put zero effort into our wrapping paper choices either, though I do love the tacos. I feel a little bit like it might be weird? Or maybe a Trump-y FU? 

These are my favorites, so I actually did pull them out on purpose
So in response to my house being totally Bah Humbuged, and of course in typical "I'm so busy!" fashion, I have been cramming in the "Special Holiday Memories!" 

School pancakes and pajamas breakfast. They ran out of coffee, which was as tragic as it sounds. 

Living Nativity. This is always a hit and one of my favorites. 
Before the Christmas kid's show at church. I love that I have almost completely lost control of their wardrobe choices. That explains why Syd wore combat boots with her sequined dress. My FB friend pointed out that they appear to be dressed for three different seasons. #californiakids

Our realtor does a Santa party every year that I obsessively look forward to. It's a free Santa in a bar. There's really no competition. 
Our friends threw a Gingerbread house party for the kids. But she greeted me at the door with this ridiculousness, so there are no pictures. Trust me when I say it was worth it. That's peppermint whipped cream.
 C, Eli and I volunteered at an event where families who couldn't afford to buy Christmas presents were able to come shop for gifts. It was so, so fun and Eli was really excited about it. He's such a generous soul and he really loves stuff like this. He thanked us multiple times for letting him join, and he was actually pretty helpful. It's nice that he's old enough to participate in a meaningful way. I told him we could volunteer at different places all year and he literally jumped for joy. He may not be a turd ALL the time, despite the copious eye rolling he does.  

 All we have left is building our TJ's gingerbread A-Frame, which I'm less than enthusiastic about, and decorating cookies (see above.) I threw a surprise office party today because my staff are a bunch of party poopers typically. I was worried about it being a grumble-fest, but it went really well. I think the key to planning a low pressure work party is to not tell anyone about it, and then bring donuts.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

I'm just going to label all of my posts "Catching Up"

 I'm not even going to bother with excuses. So that next year I don't forget that we celebrated Thanksgiving and did stuff...

My brother and his wife came for Thanksgiving and there were SO MANY DOGS

And so much meat (the two are unrelated.) So much for my plans to be vegetarian...

My typically cautious brood begged to do the "Jumping Spider" at the mall

And Syd spent her allowance on a stuffed Narwhal named Natalie

I introduced my parents to SnapChat filters

We took a hike in the rain that was awesome

And turned a giant rock swastika into a peace sign

Much puddle jumping and adorable-ness