Friday, December 13, 2013

Looking California, feeling Minnesota

I don't know if I'm really looking California (when people with a tan say their skin is "glowing," it's a different type of "glowing" than when your skin is so white it could glow-in-the-dark, right?!), but I definitely feel Minnesota in a physical sense ... winter is here, probably for the next four months. *Please-please-please don't let there be snowstorms in April of the coming year! That 2013 spring snow business was just ridiculous, Mother Nature. You should be ashamed of yourself. I'm willing to overlook last year's snowmageddon as a lapse in judgment (we all make mistakes), but if it happens again, you're in BIG trouble.

Bitter cold temps aside, I do love this time of year (mostly). We're gearing up for holiday parties on December 13, 15, 24, 25, and 29! We had our first Christmas party on December 1 with my best friends from high school. We've been celebrating Girls' Christmas since our first Christmas break home from college — 20 years of taco dip and wrapping paper and laughing and hugging and reminiscing and gossiping and rubbing pregnant bellies and holding babies and chasing toddlers and talking to the "big kids"! Instead of exchanging one $20 gift as we've done since we started having a Christmas party back in 1993, we had the kids exchange gifts ... they get more enjoyment out of it than we do, and it worked well since there are four girls and four boys. I forget how much little girls squeal when they're together, and I think my friends without rambunctious boys forget how much little boys wrestle and play rough. This was the first time that Adam told me he was bored, because the girls only wanted to play princess rather than house (he'll play house, but no way will he play a game called princess). He's the oldest boy (there are three 3-year-old boys and Adam, and the 3-year-olds are just a tad too young for him). He was fine once Amy put a movie in, but it did make me wonder if he's going to stop wanting to join my friends and I when we all get together, unless we're at Karla's house — since she has a basketball court in her backyard.

The only thing missing was Tonya.

Ben had his holiday program December 3. He had been singing his songs for weeks, getting excited for his big concert and seeing Santa and I thought he's so different from Adam, there's no way he'll be nervous when he gets up on stage. (It really didn't even cross my mind.) I was wrong. He was the only preschooler to cry when he got on stage (front and center, too!) I thought maybe the tears were temporary, but when I overheard the teacher announce, "I don't know where your mom is" in a kind of loud voice, I figured that was my cue to rescue him. When he saw me, he came to the side of the stage and started climbing down the steps like "Get me outta here!", big crocodile tears in the corners of his eyes. He just looked so sad. No one ever tells you what to say to convince your terrified 3-year-old to get back on stage with his classmates, so I winged it.
"What's wrong?" I gave him a hug. "Why are you sad?"
"Everyone was looking at me," he answered.
Of course they were. You were the only kid crying, and it was kind of adorable and heartbreaking all at once, I thought.
"No, no, they weren't all looking at you. Those families are looking at the kids they came here to see," I protested.
He looked out at the crowd and (thank you God) there wasn't a single person watching our interaction.
He didn't look very convinced, so I told him, "If you get back on that stage, I will buy you a Ninja turtle."
"A red one?" he asked, his little wheels turning.
"Yes, a red one."
I almost fell over when he turned away from me and climbed back onto the stage. Lesson learned: don't ever let anyone tell you that bribes don't work, because they absolutely do. I was so proud when he joined his classmates (he stayed off to the side, closest to me, rather than resuming his spot front and center, but hey! he was up there!), and he sang every one of those songs, hand motions and everything, while I sat on the floor next to the stage, beaming like a crazy fool.
As soon as the preschoolers were done singing, he came down and asked me, "Can we go to Target now?"
We couldn't get his "inja turtle" that night, though, because Santa was making an appearance, so we stuck around and ate cookies and drank punch and then waited in a line so the boys could tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. Go figure that they both chickened out when it was their turn to sit on his lap, so once again I had to sit next to Santa and put the boys on my lap. The only time Adam ever sat on Santa's lap was when he was four months old. I don't think Ben ever has.

Adam looks a little tipsy here, and Santa looks like he has a star coming out of his head. 

This past weekend was my annual college get-together with just the girls at my friend's parents'  lakehouse in Minocqua, Wisconsin. There were nine of us there this year (out of 12 total). Too much drinking, lots of laughing (Cards Against Humanity!), painting each other's nails, celebrating 20 years of friendship and memories. So fun.

We had our company luncheon yesterday at Forepaugh's (fancy!), a fun white elephant gift exchange, and then Adam's holiday party last night. It was a lot of go-go-go for 30 minutes of entertainment, but he did great. I noticed that not a single song had the word "Christmas" in it, which was disappointing, but I guess that's how it is now in public schools. Tonight is my boss Sara's cookie party/dinner for our marketing department. Looking forward to ODing on sugar. 'Tis the season! 

I have more to write but will save it for later. Merry Christmas!