Monday, December 19, 2011

Plans vs. Reality

We don't call this blog "The ADVENTURES of Team Johnston" for nothing.  Our annual Christmas letter isn't exaggerating when it says, "Never a Dull Moment in 2011."  We seriously live in the fast lane... and sometimes it drives me CRAZY!  Especially when the PLAN and the REALITY are nothing alike.

Let me tell you how I THOUGHT our weekend would go:

  • Friday Evening - Family night at home (we cancelled 2 other events and decided to just hang at home and relax).
  • Saturday - morning nail appointment, Moduline Kids Christmas Party at noon and adult party to follow in the evening.
  • Sunday - Church kids Christmas concert in the am and wine and cheese with friends later that evening. 

Sounds like a busy, but awesome pre-Christmas weekend doesn't it?  

Here is how it ACTUALLY went... (better pour yourself a stiff drink before you read this).

  • Thursday - hubby goes out and visits a buddy that works at Visions... he comes home with a giant tv... and a bunch of other cords with acronyms I don't understand.. but he tells me that for the low price of $1500 I can now watch YouTube videos on my big tv..... SOLD!!  Say no more.
  • Friday - crazy day at work.. I'm starting to feel sick (and let me tell you that I DO NOT have time to get sick).  Our "family night" at home quickly turned into a nightmareish gong show.  We loaded up 5 kids (our 4 and a neighbourhood stray) to take the big ones to a youth sleepover.  The little kids are whining... and crying... and yelling... the &$%^%&^% van door isn't working (again).  Side note: I should have listened to Rose when we bought the "fully loaded" used van... she was right... it was just more stuff that could would break.  Everyone is in... about to leave... yelly McYellerson (4 year old) starts SCREAMING.  I'm not calm about it at all.  I get out... whip open the door and send my lovely 4 year old to step time-out and tell him (with scary talking through teeth voice) that when he is ready to be quiet in the van he can come back.  In the process, the van door REALLY broke.  When I whipped it open, the regular resistance function wasn't there and it flew back and a cable came loose.. and now it's REALLY broken.  GRRRRRR.  
  • Friday evening: littles in bed, bigs at youth sleepover, mommy is going to have some productive time.  Daddy pours me a paralyzer and I get to work.  I was finalizing the Christmas greetings (mailing, emailing, addressing envelopes, etc) into the wee hours of the night.  At 2:30am I head to bed.  Phew... what a day.  
  • Friday - 3am... "mommy, mommy, mommy.... my bed has puking in it."  GREAT!  I'm exhausted.  I JUST went to sleep.  And now I'm on vomit patrol.  It was so bad that we actually threw the sheets into the garbage.  Wasn't going to clean that...eeew.  Hubby and I get J all cleaned up, make a floor bed (which he peed in later) and get a puke bucket.  Thankfully Walmart is open 24 hours now... so I decided to head there for some children's gravol.  It's 4am.. I'm at Walmart... and the gravol is in lock-up... you know, because a lot of moms like to take 40 tablets and get high on a friday night.  GRRRRR.. Oh well, I got some Christmas shopping done.... at 4am.  
  • Saturday - Chris sleeps in a misses his run.  I'm soo tired... After nail appt I head to work to print something off.  Should take 5 minutes (at most).  After 40 minutes I still can't get it to work.  $$*%*^^ computers.  After the kids party I go BACK to work to try again... another 30 minutes of my life wasted.  AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!  Finally, I gave up and went to Staples and paid top dollar for something that should have been cheap and easy.
  • Sunday am- I go to church alone.  J was puking again.  Right before I left, L took the puke bucket that was beside J's bed and dumped it onto J's bed... nice.  So now we have stripped and remade the bed about 7039 times this weekend alone.  
  • Other things that we threw into the mix.. you know.. in our spare time
    • Uncle Mike (Bless his heart) spent most of Sunday here getting the new TV mounted on the wall.  He also fixed Chris' truck stereo.  And brought doughnuts to sugar up the kids.
    • We moved L into the car bed and set up the twin bed in J's room.  BIG BOYS now!
    • Did 600 loads of laundry.
    • Finished Christmas letters, shopping and wrapping (mostly).
    • Called Shaw Cable 4 times to figure out this new HD cable box.
    • Cleaned out the toybox
  • Now Chris and I are both sick.  I missed work today.  It will be a miracle if Chris makes it to work in the morning.  I don't have a choice.  CRAZY week at work and no time to be sick any longer.  Off to bed I go.

My buddy Forrest Gump once said (with southern drawl), "Life is like a box of chocolates... you never know what you're gonna get."  And that has become my motto.  I'm an A-Type planner and organizational freak... and I'm CONSTANTLY being thrown curve balls.... and I don't deal well with curve balls.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Santa Claus is Coming to Town... Again... and Again... and Again!

Back in the OLDEN days... when I was a little kid... sitting on Santa's knee.... Santa was MAGICAL... REALLY SPECIAL... and SUPER POWERFUL!

I remember waiting to go and see Santa at the old K-Mart Mall.  It was a big event.  It was the ONE time that we would get to see Santa in a year.  We didn't go back 6 times in the month of December.  Santa didn't ride a helicopter to the mall.  He didn't have a welcome back breakfast.  Line ups were long.  And you crammed as many kids into the Mall Santa photo as possible (to save money of course... those paper frames are expensive).  And Santa surely didn't arrive at every event where a child may possibly be during the Christmas season.

When did things change so much?

Why have we allowed all of the extra hype (that was supposed to make things more magical) to take the magic out of Santa?

Now Santa is a click away.  He'll send you personalized videos complete with your name and picture.  He sends emails, has his own website and probably a naughty or nice app for iPhone.  Oh, and lets not forget the "report card" that Santa hands out at the mall... as a 20-times-daily reminder.  Santa has even dispatched millions of elves to millions of shelves just to make things more real and magical.

But has it?

Not from what I'm seeing.

My kids saw Santa at the mall.  We could go again if we wanted to. They also have a full time elf reporter that is constantly playing tricks on them.  Santa sent personalized videos and replied to Christmas Letters (by the way:  I am sooooo thankful to Canada Post and the millions of elves that make the santa pen pal program so very special).  They will see Santa 2 more times this weekend alone at various functions.  Santa was in the play we saw last weekend.  Santa was also at the preschool Christmas concert last night.

Seriously, JJ has seen Santa so many times that he has this, "Oh, hey, you again?" attitude.  "Yup, still want the same thing. Nope, behaviour hasn't changed."

And the kids at school KNOW that the Elf on the Shelf is watching their every move.. and reporting back to the North Pole daily (we know because there are stamps, stickers, etc from SANTA everyday).... but do you think that motivates them to work harder?

I guess TOO MUCH of a good thing can really be a problem.

I want the olden days back.  :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

"Blunt" Christmas

Every year (since 2005ish) our family (we all know that actually means MELANIE) writes and distributes a Christmas greeting for family and friends.  That's right... the people that already know how the heck things are going.

I always LOVE getting Christmas greetings from others.... I especially enjoy the ones that have a letter and pictures, loads of pictures.

But isn't it funny to think that it's always flowery, happy stuff?  Imagine getting a letter like this:

"We barely skidded through 2011.  The kids fight all the time.  Every cheque we write bounces.  Work is terrible.  Our neighbour is a jerk.  You'd think that our kids would be excelling in school due to the fabulous genes they have working for them... but, actually, they are flunking every class... even home ec.  Did I mention that our dog died?  We hated that dog.  Hope you're having a great Christmas.  Next time you're in town please stop by.  We'll be here... high on Ativan... drinking martinis..... and parenting from the couch.... just trying to cope with our crap-o-la life."

I'd love to get a little more reality in the yearly update.  But it seems that everyone that takes the time to write a Christmas letter has one major goal:  to convince you that they might just have it a little more together than you.  :)  Ok... I don't really mean that.  But I'm intrigued with what people choose to share. And what they deliberately leave out.

Why do we leave the "real" out?  Is it because we want to stay positive.  Is it because we're in denial?  Or maybe we just want to focus on the good stuff.... because that's what's worth bragging about remembering.

When you think about it... facebook is the place for daily venting, complaining and rage.  Leave the happy stuff for the Family Christmas Newsletter.  :)

Ours is coming to an inbox near you.... soon.... ish.....

I leave you with some HILARIOUS images from go there if you want a good laugh.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Counting My Blessings

I have a wonderful group of friends.  We don't see each other too often... we don't have a lot in common... but we have a lot.  

2 years ago I met this lovely group of girls in the picture above.  When we met we had one major thing in common... due dates.  None of us knew that the group would evolve into what it has.  In the beginning, I never imagined ever getting our babies together.  We met for workouts and DQ ice cream every week (yes, in that order).  When the first batch of babes were born (5 of them in the SAME weekend) we decided to get together.  

This is our first "playdate."  If we look tired it's because we were (and most still are). Most of the moms still hadn't had their babies (or even started mat leave). 

(April 2010)

Soon we were having regular playdates.  The babies slept in their carseats... we shared coffee and timbits and stories of motherhood.  In no time, we were so dedicated to our time together that we started messing with nap schedules to make it work.  We alternated homes and most of us were (and still are) running late.  

Then there were more of us... and before we knew it.... it was backyard BBQ time.  The daddies finally met.... it was AWESOME!!

(July 2010)

We made sure to book parties for Christmas and Halloween each year... the photo ops were too precious to pass up.

 Halloween 2010

 Halloween 2011

Christmas 2010

Christmas 2011

We had our Christmas party today.  I had a smile on my face the whole time.  I am in awe of those mommies and all that we have shared over the years.  We have really formed a true friendship.  It's nice.

I guess I'm trying to make a point.  I usually am.

I just think that everyone needs a group of friends (or even one special friend) to share life with.  And I feel bad just posting about the mommy group... because there are many other friends and many other mommies that have helped me along.  I am just so thankful for ALL them.... for their friendship.... and for the way they make me feel welcome and comfortable to just be myself.  Thanks to the modern advances of Facebook and "What's App," we find ourselves staying in touch much more than we should most days.  It's not uncommon for me to get to my iPhone and see that I have 137 missed messages from the "Mamalicious" group.  I think our husbands wonder what we could possibly talk about for hours a day... but it's all stuff.... it's significant to us.

I doubt our paths would have crossed if it weren't for Fitmom and DQ in the early days.  But I know it's not a coincidence... nothing ever is.  And who knows, we might end up being Kindergarten moms together.  And maybe we'll line up our 16 year olds and their cars in a parking lot for a photo one day.  And if we're REALLY lucky, we can pull out these pictures to share at their weddings.  I'm excited to see where it will go.

Love you mommies.  Thanks for everything.