Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's My Party.

Matt and I had our first Christmas Sweater Party 6 years ago, the year he moved into the house. Before we even married. I would like to add, that the idea was inspired by a red, flannel, plaid business jacket and skirt combo I had stumbled upon in a thrift store one Saturday. It was an idea from my own head...that soon exploded and now these type of parties are commonplace, and expected. Anyhow, the turn out that first year was better than I could have imagined. Many of my friends from high school, even grade school and Blazers swimming were able to make it. It turned into a great reunion type opportunity. My mom and sisters helped me prepare quite a spread of food. I got to decorate my first house for Christmas and show off my new adult lifestyle. I swore then, no matter where I am in life, the Christmas Sweater Party WILL happen.
Now, 6 years later, in my intern year (therefore notoriously the hardest and busiest year) of residency, 7 months pregnant, with 2 children, and only one day off for Christmas, we still managed to pull off a great party. I will admit, the spread of food was more of a potluck. I relied heavily on my husband, mom, sisters, friends, in laws and cleaning lady for help. But my family has come to expect that they will be helping me with this event. It was fairly tame this year, but don't worry the kitchen floor was sticky by the end of the night (I feel this is proof of a party well done). The photobooth, which is now standard was up and running. Lots of out-of-towners made it, though a couple were missing (Sean and Maureen missed for the first time ever).

I just cannot believe I have never specifically dedicated an article to this event. It's my party. I have lofty goals for this event. Some day, I hope to have it catered. I hope to send out a real invite instead of just a "Facebook Event". I hope the same people continue to attend, year, after, year, after year. And that new friends get added. I hope to always be able to fit into that red, flannel suit (provided I am not a few weeks post partum or a few months pregnant as I have been for 3 of the years...) Every year, I fill a big red album with photos from the previous year, I wonder how many people will make it into this album, and how many albums will I have collected 20, 30 years from now? It's a neat thing to have a party. And I am honored that I have attendees.

So, mark your calanders from Christmas Eve Eve 2012. Cause, the 7th Annual O'Laughlin Christmas Sweater Party is on!

The Day.

I thought I loved Christmas as a kid, well, I know I loved Christmas as a kid. But Christmas as a mom, nothing can compare. Giving really, truly, honestly is, so much better than receiving.

Brock came down the stairs ready, and rearin' to go! Finally, he is old enough to understand the concept of Santa and Christmas. In fact, he even seems to know it has something to do with baby Jesus (but it needs some fine tuning, as he often suggests that baby Jesus is in his tummy, and refers to him as a she.) He wanted to open ALL the presents. And nearly did.

I am smiling just looking through these pictures. Christmas is such a merry time. I love seeing all of my family, big and small. I love the joy the gifts bring, and I don't believe it is purely joy because of the material items. It is joy because you know you have so many people who love and support you. You know that you survived an entire year, and were able to keep a roof over your head, food for your mouth, and had enough left over to buy some not so vital things (and not feel guilty about it).
We then continued on to Mimi and Papa's for more gift exchanging. A wonderful brunch. And naps for everyone, except psychotically energetic mom (me) and Brock. Curtis did beat everyone and slept for a solid 3.5 hours.
And we ended at Magra's. Where we did what everyone does on Christmas. The women prepared dinner, in the kitchen. While the men...
...hunted? Or, shot each other in the butt with the beebee gun meant for 6 year old Xander.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Eve.

As is painfully obvious, Curtis joins the millions of toddlers who have an aversion to Santa. Finally, someone the little guy doesn't like. I just don't get why the big, jolly, bearded man in a red suit freaks out the kids? Brock doesn't want anything to do with him either - typically. Then he watched Curtis get to open a few gifts on Santa's lap (oh, did I forget to mention, Curtis decided after a few seconds he didn't mind him afterall) and suddenly, the greedy, gift-loving 3 year old came out and won over the fear.

The funniest part about the whole thing? Santa was their Uncle Johnny! Haha. Not one of the kiddos picked up on his identity. Kids. So easily fooled.

We then moved on to my father's side of the family. Since the boys don't see Pops on Christmas day, we do our gift exchange on the Eve. This year, I passed on the little black babies playing with the seal and soccerball on to my father. He has not been included in this little tradition until this year...

...so, probably 6 years ago, maybe more. There was this queer little dollar store type shop in the Ward Parkway mall. I stopped in to see what I could see, and found this entire isle of ridiculous, cheap, plaster figurines. I mean, non of them made sense. Who wants an POS depiction of 2 little kids playing with a seal and a soccerball. And the race of the kids makes is all the more senseless (as most people purchase objects to match their own skin color.) So, of course I bought it for my sister, Leah, and we have all been passing it around ever since. Dad's turn! Though, I think he is the first one who has received it and actually intends on displaying it on the mantel. Perhaps, its' found its' forver home. How sweet.

And lastly, my favorite part of the night. When Santa visits our very own home. And leaves gifts for our very own little boys. I was too tired to wait up for him to finish assembling the wagon, but Santa kindly took a photograph of the finished product for me. It brings such satisfaction, knowing you can provide well for your kids, and that they will be so happy and glowing in the morning.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The camera adds 10lbs. Right?

I guess it's because I continue to feel surprisingly well for the current gestational age of my newest child, that whenever I see my update photo I am blown away by how huge I look! I mean, I am 30 weeks and appear to be days from delivery. Lately, strangers don't even hesitate to comment on my pregnant state. And often, they are slightly taken aback when I say I am not due until the end of February. A cashier at the hospital cafeteria was so confident with her pregnancy guesstamation skills, that she saw me and excitedly exclaimed, "A Christmas baby!? How sweet." My reply? "Let's hope not. Baby's not due until February 23rd."

And EVERYONE, with the exception of maybe 4 people, is sure Baby O #3 is a girl. I mean, it's bad. I have gotten to the point where I almost refer to the kid as a she. I imagine I am talking to a girl when I have conversations with my constantly twitching belly. And on that topic. Pretty sure she is trying to escape. Right now. Through the wrong outlet, my ribs. Also, this kid is rarely, if ever, in the correct, head down position. Number 3 spends most of its days lying on his/her back. Completely transverse, pummeling my stomach and ribs with its incredibly powerful legs. Which brings me to another concern. The only way a 30 weeker could possibly be this strong is if it weighs 5 lbs. Already. And if it weighs 5 lbs now, and it gains a hald a pound a week from here on out. And I make it to term. You do the math. Ok, I'll do the math. 10 lbs! I am terrified I am currently creating a 10 pounder. A 10 pound girl? That would just be plain weird. Therefore, EVERYONE, with the exception of maybe 4 people, is wrong. I think. Or not.

Anyway. If I could sleep on just 2 pillows. And keep my legs from becoming so restless. I could go so far as to say I don't mind pregnancy this go 'round. I am not even waddling yet, at all. (Though I am kind of taking this as a bad sign. This means babies head is not buried in my pelvis, as it should be. He/she/it has a few weeks to get it's act straight, but it's making me nervous.)

I am just getting really excited. The more I can discern body parts, the more it sinks in that a little person will be arriving soon. 30 weeks is just fun. It's the beginning of the end. The home stretch. I can't wait for February!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker

Due to my psychotic competitiveness, I thought it would be impossible for me to not care about my child's interests. I thought I was just kidding myself when my answer to the all to often-ly asked question, "Will your kids swim?" was "I don't know, and I kind of don't care". It seems when you are pregnant, you fantasize about all the things your offspring could and will become as a kid, teen, adult. You hope they are genius level intelligent. An amazing athlete. A unique artist. An inspiring musician. In a word, brilliant. Then I had my first child. Suddenly, I didn't care about these fantastical ideas. Suddenly, I just hope for average. I hope that my child will play nice with others. I hope he will obey rules, do his homework, and enjoy himself. I hope other kids like him. I really just hope for normal; will be able to take care of and provide for himself and maybe a family someday, normal. Yes, anything beyond that will be fantastic. I would be thrilled if I had an Olympic or professional level athlete. I would be over-joyed and proud of a Harvard valedictorian who cured cancer. But I can honestly say, my competitive nature is held at bay when it comes to my children.

I can see what unique personalities the 2 of them have. I can see that most likely, Brock and Curtis will not have a problem in school (intelligence wise.) I can guess that Brock will not lack in the passion or motivation department either. And I can guess Curtis will not lack in the ability to make friends. But I can't be sure. And I don't want to pressure them one way or another. I have taken a backseat, and will let them decide on their interests. And when they do decide to give something a try, I will give them the opportunity to go for it.

So, when Brock regularly asks for me to put these goggles on for him. I don't fantasize about how he is going to be a swimmer. I just laugh, enjoy the moment, and marvel at the little creation in front of me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree...

...this is the first year getting a Christmas tree just felt like yet another thing on the "to-do list". Working lots of long hours, with very few days off has make the Holidays feel rushed. Unplanned. And almost inconvenient. Gone are the school days where you get the entire week or so off for Christmas! Teachers really made the right career choice as far as vacation goes.
But, the weather was perfect! Yay! The puppy got worn out running through the trees. Double Yay!! Curtis was all smiles, despite being clueless. And Brock wanted "all the trees" and nothing to do with the camera. Therefore, the day was a good one.
And we found our perfect tree! Which Brock really, really wanted to cut down himself (as he pretty much always wants to do everything himself.) And got quite frustrated when he couldn't (which is also a fairly regular thing.) And Curtis just enjoyed spectating (as usual). And taking off his mittens (man, his hands turned red.)
And, I think, despite the limited hours I have off this month, I am going to have a very Merry Christmas. I just value, treasure, and love every little minute with my, little, cute, snuggley family.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pregnancy myths.

Just like I don't believe in "nesting", I do not believe in "cravings". For the entire first trimester, even if you don't have the full on 24/7 nausea, or vomiting, I am guessing everyone has a touch of a loss of appetite. Therefore, when nothing sounds good, you sit and file through every possible food that you would ever be willing to eat until you stumble upon something that sounds reasonable. And once you find that one, or two items, it's the only thing you CAN eat. It's not that you craved it. It's the only thing that works. Therefore, it seems to the outsider that you are having a so-called "craving" because you insist on eating these one, or two random dishes, and nothing else.

Perhaps you are relieved from this predicament during the 2nd trimester. At which point, you are so excited you can finally eat again, that you begin wanting all the things you couldn't eat before. Slightly appearing as though you crave them.

Then the 3rd trimester rolls around. Now baby is shoving up on your stomach. The indigestion and reflux is in full swing, and again, nothing sounds good. Perhaps your appetite is gone again. Repeat cycle from trimester one.

Therefore, just because I insisted on going to Village Inn last night, for the first time in at least 5, if not 6 years, because I felt like breakfast food for dinner, and perhaps a slice of French Silk pie, does not mean I was "craving" it. It simply means, that's the only thing that sounded edible at that moment.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Real World

I knew heading back to work after a week off was going to be difficult. I knew working such long hours through the holiday season was going to be difficult. But just because you know something is going to be a certain way, doesn't make it any easier to handle.

Today, a Saturday, after coming home from work this afternoon, I am greeted by my overly excited 3 year-old who ran up to me, gave me a hug and told me he missed me. I then heard my little baby crawling toward me making happy sounds with each step forward who I picked up and am immediately offered an open mouth ready for a kiss. I then found my freshly shaven, thank the lord, husband and am fondly received with a non-prickly kiss.

I am also greeted by a kitchen full of dishes, with a cob web above the sink that has been there for a week, driving me crazy. And a basket full of clean, unfolded childrens' clothes as well as an over-stuffed hamper full of unclean childrens' clothes. I am greeted by an insanely dirty kitty litter box that I don't feel comfortable changing myself due to my "condition", and a husband who would rather murder the cat by his own hand than simply empty and refill that toxic container. I am greeted by a house devoid of Christmas decor and no tree either.

I am greeted by a basement I don't even want to step foot into because the puppy somehow managed to break loose of her kennel for an entire work day and pissed all over the dogbed, chewed up at least 4 plastic balls plus a few other toys, pissed on 3 couch pillows and one couch cushion, destroyed and tore up her own kennel bedding, and the place just smells.

I am greeted by my oldest child, who still refuses to use the toilet to do #2 in any kind of regularity therefore forcing me to bend my fat, pregnant ass over to try and wipe the crusted poo off his behind, until I agitatedly give up and just tell him to get in the bath. I am then greeted by my youngest child who insists he needs a bath as well. I then take out said oldest when he is done, and by the time I dry him off and get him dressed, I am greeted by the younger holding a piece of his own poo in his hand. I am now greeted with the task of draining the tub, picking up the poop, re-washing the child and sterilizing the tub as well as any toy that was in the water with the contaminant.

I am now greeted by 3rd trimester exhaustion, along with a multitude of other pregnancy aches and ailments that I am tired of listing, mentioning or, really, even thinking about, which prohibits me from completing a single task on my to-do list for the day. I am then forced to begin nagging my husband to do more around the house, for which I am greeted by an intense feeling of guilt. Guilt that is intensified by the impatience I now have with my children with whom I only get limited time these days. A guilt which is then further intensified when Brock, out of the blue, says to me, "I am sorry for being a bad boy today, mom." Let the water works begin.

And now, it is nighttime. The littles are in bed. I am ready for bed, but sick of 10pm bedtimes being my Saturday night. As happy as I am. As much as I love life and all that is has to offer. Sometimes a good attitude is not possible. And now, I am greeted by self-pity. Gross.

All of this on a Saturday I had dreamt of spending with my family, obtaining a Christmas tree, listening to Christmas music, decorating my house, and drinking warm apple cider in a warm home.

Who is supermom, now?