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I love how the stockings look hung by the fireplace.

And I love even more that next year, there will be one more.

This Little Baby #2. Coming in July.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Christmas Gah

Mind if I brain dump all over you guys? No? Ok, good. You guys, how is Christmas on Sunday? As in, THIS Sunday? I’m hosting this year which means I need to cook dinner for seven people and if my holiday party was any indication, I’m going to make too much food, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t want to eat baked ham for two weeks. Also, I only just sent out my Christmas cards today! For the record, I ended up designing my own and printing them out as 4×6 photos at CVS. Sure, they’re not your standard fancy card, but it took many, MANY attempts to get one good picture of Owen smiling so by god, I will send that face to 60 people, Christmas in six days or not.

Child Gah

That face, which is turning 18-months old next week. As in, a year and a half. Say what? That face has also recently started to argue with me, which I thought wasn’t supposed to happen until much later when the subject matter would be something like staying out past curfew or, you know, not wanting to eat his vegetables. Instead, he informs me multiple times a day that the toy rhino is not in fact a rhino, but actually a hippo. He conveys this by shaking his head “no” and shouting “IP-PO!” at me until I concede that FINE. I suppose it KIND OF LOOKS LIKE A HIPPO, but it has horns and also? It’s a rhino. I went to college and everything, kiddo. The same goes for a green brontosaurus on a pair of pajamas that is actually an alligator. Duh, Mama.

And because Owen is a rule follower, he must have sneakily been reading up on sleep regressions and heard that there’s one around 18 months. So guess who hit the nail on the head with that again, right on schedule? It hasn’t been awful. Not like four months (omg), or nine months (omiiiiggggoood), but now he’s taken to waking just once in the middle of the night and crying just long enough for me to wake up — and stay awake — for at least an hour. I don’t like 3 a.m. Never have.

Occasionally, he’s not settled himself, and in those cases I am too lazy tired to stand in his room forever, so I’ve been scooping him up and tucking him in next to me in bed. He settles right in and it’s very sweet and reminiscent of his newborn days. After a little bit I bring him back to his crib, but I can’t say I’ve minded the snuggles all that much.

But still, go away, regression. Mama likes her solid sleep.

I’m Old Gah

In two weeks I turn 29. As in, the last year of my 20s. As in, one year away from 30 (which ok, isn’t THAT scary, but I’m still kind of clinging to the “I’m in my 20s!!!!” thing.) Michael’s been there, done that, when it comes to turning 30, so he’s not all that sympathetic about me only turning 29. My birthday is New Year’s Eve and while I feel like I should get a sitter and toast my last 20th year in style, I can’t imagine what we would do and how it would be any better than cupcakes and bubbly drinks at home with my family. Oh god, I really am getting old. Just kidding! I mean…let’s party! On a rooftop! In December! Without a sweater because woo hoo! We are young and crazy!

(Jeez no, it’s cold. Someone go make me a cup of tea.)

I Am Apparently Five Gah

I was grocery shopping yesterday and inexplicably needed chocolate milk. Like, right that very minute. Which is dumb because I never drink chocolate milk and actually, I was going to go to Starbucks for a chai as soon as I was done. But that chocolate milk was right there on the shelf and I WANTED IT. So I bought it.

And drank the whole thing in the car, despite Owen’s pleas from the back to give him whatever was in that bottle. I gave him water instead, because he is the child and I am the adult and I don’t share my chocolate milk.

GAH.

- A few years ago an editor at a well-know women’s magazine contacted me and asked if I would be interested in contributing to an article in their publication. Would I? I was over the moon! How Glamourous! The only caveat was that it wasn’t really guaranteed that my piece would be published. They were reaching out to a few other writers and would pick the piece they liked best.

Turns out the piece they were looking for was a She Said-She Said article on cleavage in the work place. They already had the She who would be writing against it, and were looking for someone to be Pro-cleavage. Only, I’m not pro-cleavage in the work place.

But I tried to be! Because I thought hey, what’s the harm in tweaking my thoughts a little bit if it means getting published. Maybe it will lead to other opportunites.

I didn’t get the job. In the end, while my piece wasn’t bad, it swayed more towards appropriate cleavage in the work place, rather than advocating full boobies on display. Because I just couldn’t bring myself to say that in a national publication. Sure, it’s nothing controversial like politics or religion, or saying I stand for whacking puppies on the head with ice skates, but I still didn’t believe in it. But they weren’t looking for approval of “appropriate” cleavage. They wanted ALL CLEAVAGE ALL THE WAY.

The piece ran a few months later and the girl who got the job either fully stands for breasts on display, or she was able to get past her stance and write a fib. Sometimes I wonder if I should have just done that,  but I think in the end, I wouldn’t want my children — maybe my daughter — to Google me one day and see mommy advocating baring it all at work. So I guess in the end, it’s ok.

- That whole story has nothing to do with anything. I just remembered it before I fell asleep last night.

- I just made the shopping list for ingredients for our holiday party this weekend and…there’s a lot of cheese on it. People like cheese, right? I hope they also like things in egg roll wrappers because I do, and I’m making some delicious things in them. Like Southwestern Egg Rolls. And Homemade Crag Rangoon. NOM. Thanks to all your mouthwatering suggestions, I think we have a pretty good looking menu. I’ll post it next week.

- So…Christmas shopping. Anyone finish theirs yet? Yeah, me neither. I’m hoping to head to Target today to get some odds and ends and stocking stuffers, and I’m crossing my fingers that by going on a weekday afternoon I will save myself some of the headache associated with holiday shopping and crowds. I’m feeling really behind this year and need to get a move on.

- So behind, actually, that I haven’t even looked at Christmas cards yet. I tried to get a good picture of Owen when we went to get our tree, but…I didn’t. At this rate, friends can expect our card sometime around the new year. Anyone know of any good deals on cards right now? I’ve done Shutterfly in the past, but wasn’t really looking to spend $50 on cards.

- I’ve been working really hard on the clutter thing. Yesterday I finally tackled the baskets of random clothes and came over from the move and never got dealt with. Today I’m finding a home for the odds and ends on the dining room table and I think after I do a final straighten and vacuum/mop tomorrow, the house will look pretty good for Sunday’s party. I hope. Friends, don’t judge me if you spot a stray pile or two.

- If you follow me on Twitter, you know I asked Michael for a bread machine for Christmas. I said that 20-year old me is laughing at 28-year old me. Twenty-year old me would have returned it and bought shoes instead. But the response from other women was pretty funny. They told me how they’ve asked for practical items as they got older too — a fancy trash can, a steam mop, a flash light — and how happy they were to receive them.

Ah, growing up. Such a weird phenomenon.

What is it about the holidays that makes people so pleasant? (Said with the biggest eye roll imaginable.)

Yesterday we went to get a bagel. O was asleep in the car seat, so Michael ran in while I waited in the car. It was still early and I wasn’t really awake yet, so I was just staring out the window. All of the sudden, there was a woman next to the driver’s side window (I was in the passenger seat). She was waving her arms maniacally, pointing and shouting at me.

“This is HANDICAP parking! You’re IN A HANDICAP PARKING SPACE UGGGGGHHHH!”

It took me a minute to register she was talking to me, and my confused face clearly pissed her off because she kept going. I began to gesture that there was no handicap parking sign, and she lost it, shouting “NO! NO!”, rolling her eyes and making disgusted faces at me. She stormed into the  building and continued to give me dirty looks through the window, probably expecting me to move the car.

Now look, in her defense, it turns out we were in a handicap parking spot. BUT. There was no sign. And the marking on the pavement was almost completely faded away and oh yeah, covered in snow.

So maybe, just MAYBE, this was an honest mistake?

And maybe if she, I don’t know, came up to me and said, “Excuse me, do you know this is a handicap parking spot?” or something to that effect, I would have apologized and moved the car?

Now don’t hate me for this part, but what put the icing on this lovely cake was that she was forced to park a whole 8 inches further from the door (seriously, RIGHT next to my spot) in her brandy-new Audi, then got out and stormed right over to me no problem. I’m not saying she didn’t have a legitimate reason for needing a handicap spot, who am I to say what qualifies as a handicap? But it certainly had nothing to do with her feet or her mouth! Maybe this was the last straw for her. Maybe she was tired of people parking in handicap spots when they shouldn’t be. But I don’t think that excuses her tirade on me.

This reminds me on an incident that happened a few years ago right around the same time of year.

My friend and I were going somewhere one evening, and she parked on the street outside my house. When we began to hear someone laying on their horn for a really long time, I opened the door to investigate. There was a woman behind my friend’s car honking and honking. I figured she thought someone was in my friend’s car, so I made the “go around” motion from my doorway. She rolled down the window and yelled, “Is this your car????”

No, it isn’t, I told her. And then all hell broke loose.

“It’s illegal to park on this street! (It isn’t) There are SIGNS! (That say no parking during SCHOOL HOURS).”

And then the kicker.

“SOMEONE COULD F–KING DIE!!!!”

At this point, she was beat red and clearly losing.her.shit. As she threatened to call the cops, Michael attempted to go out and talk to her, but she rolled up her window leaving only the tiniest crack, and shouted obscenities at him. Ok, he said. Call the cops.

We went back inside and watched her through the window. The best part was that as she ranted and raved, she caused even more of a traffic problem, forcing people to go around her!

So what does Crazy do next? She backs into our neighbor’s driveway and turns off her headlights (as if we couldn’t see her?) and waits for the cop to arrive.

(At this point, my friend’s mother — who is a local police dispatcher — calls her up to ask what exactly the problem is. Why is her plate being reported for trouble at my house? It was comical.)

When the cop arrives, Michael goes out to talk to her, and the two are actually laughing. I see Michael point to Crazy hiding in the driveway, and the woman — now caught and seemingly embarrassed to be — turns her car back on and rolls down her window to talk to the cop. When she receives the news that nothing will be done, she peels out in a huff.

And then circles the block five minutes later to see if we’ve moved the car.

We hadn’t.

A clear case of the Christmas Crazies? What IS that?

I don’t need anything for Christmas, other than some jeans that fit right, but if you ask me what I want, they’re kind of big-ticket items this year. Why? I guess because those are the things to dream about. So, if funds were unlimited, I would ask Santa for…

Diamond stud earrings that I would wear every day!

A fancy new HTC Evo (I’m a total phone junkie…good thing we have an unlimited plan!)

Pretty much everything about this bathroom (I really don’t like our bathroom).

New boots.

What’s on your no-budget dream wish list?

It’s time I get moving on our Christmas cards, and for those like me who want a lot of options, but are dragging their feet, Shutterfly is a great place to turn. The card selections are virtually endless, and turn-around time is so quick! Last year I had my cards within two days of placing my order.

The only tricky thing is picking a card!

I like how this Merry Modern Christmas Collage Card has room for lots of different photos in a, well, modern design!

The Starlight Snowflakes card is a simple format to showcase a really cute face (and since O will be the star of our card this year, I think we’ve got that cute face covered!)

And this Joy to You card is a great way to wish all a happy holiday, not just a merry Christmas.

Now I’m off to try and decide which card will represent our family this year. Quite a task! Start the search for your perfect card here!

Disclaimer: I am participating in the Shutterfly Christmas Card Promotion. By writing this post, I will receive 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly.com. And you can too! To participate, click here.

I am so excited for this day. Know why? Because the first day of December means I can officially start Christmas-izing our house. While I admire those who get their tree up the day after Thanksgiving, that would never fly in my house because, here’s the truth: I married a Scrooge.

Ok, ok. He’s not a Scrooge in the sense that he steals canes from the elderly just to knock them down and bah humbugs at children caroling. But he is the type that starts to twitch when radio stations switch to Christmas music in November and the first holiday commercials start appearing on television. And if he had his way, we wouldn’t have a tree till much later in the month.

I, however, am the complete opposite. I have friends who text me the minute the hear the first notes of Christmas music on the radio because they know I love it. We have XM Radio in our cars and they have not one, but TWO all Christmas, all the time stations (“Holiday Traditions” for the old school Bing Crosby-type songs, and “Holly” for the modern covers and newer classics a la Mariah’s All I Want for Christmas is You and *N Sync’s Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. [Stop laughing at me.]) Needless to say, Owen has been getting quite the holiday music education in the car.

I’m having company this weekend so the tree will have to wait until next week, but I am practically giddy about our baby’s first Christmas. Even if the only thing he appreciates this year is how delicious the wrapping paper tastes as he shoves it in his face.

The only thing that bums me out is that our house is so NOT holiday decoration friendly. We don’t have a porch or a fireplace, so my decorations are usually limited to candles in the windows and a wreath on the door. Classic, yes, but oh how I long for a mantle filled with evergreen boughs and classy, yet sparkly accents. Think Martha Stewart meets Real Simple. I’m actually thisclose to hanging a shelf over the television just to create a faux version of my vision. I wonder what my Scrooge would think of that…

Do you decorate for the holidays? Any ideas on how to make my vision come to life?

Wishing you and yours the warmest wishes of the season!

See you next week!

A phone call at 3 a.m. is never a good thing.

T’was three days before Christmas and my mom was struck with the worst headache she ever had experienced. Thinking this was a terrible migrane, she headed to the hospital to get some relief. Drugged up and sent home, she thought that was that.

The next day I called her and she sounded…off. She wasn’t quite answering my questions coherently and told me she was still in a lot of pain. When I talked to my sister that evening, she told me my mom was heading back to the hospital. I asked her to call me — no matter what time — if there was something I needed to know.

Christmas Eve, 3 a.m. My phone rings. Already knowing that something was not right, I sat straight up in bed and gasped, “Oh no!”, startling Michael in the process.

My sister, crying into the phone, choked out the words. Meningitis.

Here’s a tip for you. Do not Google “meningitis” at 3 a.m. It will result in hysterics that last for a few hours.

By 7 a.m. I was drained, puffy-eyed and scared. You see, Christmas Eve has a tendency to be unkind to my family. It was on that very day that my mom was diagnosed with cancer many years ago. You can imagine the worst case scenarios that were running through my head.

As we drove to New York, we learned that it takes up to 72 hours to determine if it’s the viral meningitis — the easily treated one, or the bacterial meningitis. The kind that, um, kills people. Yeah.

Until they knew, my mom would be kept in isolation, visitors having to wear masks and gowns. Luckily my mom was in good spirits and they made the most of it.

isolation-12-24-081

Still, my mom was in the hospital. When we arrived to see her the first time, the nurse told us she had gone in for an MRI. When she said the words “brain scan”, I almost lost it again in the hospital.

Later, finally able to see her, we were relieved to learn that she had viral meningitis, could go home in a few days and was not contagious. PHEW. But, she still wouldn’t make it home for Christmas. Not for gifts, not for the big family dinner with all of our relatives. That, she said, would be left to me and my sister. She refused to allow us to put Christmas day on hold. She wanted us to keep moving forward. Of course Christmas could never be Christmas without my mom.

Christmas morning, we packed up all of our gifts and stockings and marched through the hospital with bags and arms full. We took over that hospital room like it was our own living room and had a wonderful Christmas morning.

Who says you can’t laugh through the scary times?

christmas-2008-016

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Afterwards we prepared Christmas dinner for 11 (a minor bump in the road left us with a completely frozen ham, so Chinese food plus all the traditional sides was our Christmas dinner!) and received the best gift we could have ever asked for when my mom was discharged from the hospital and home with us on Christmas evening, just in time for dessert. She received a round of applause when she walked in the room.

I am a first class overreactor, worrier and emotional roller coaster. I have to admit when I first received the phone call I was sure the cancer was back. I was sure my heart was going to break. I was terrified — absolutely terrified — of losing my mom. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have her home, mostly mended, and around for many, many more years.

Let’s hope next Christmas Eve is a quiet one!

Dear random web searchers who have found themselves landing on These Little Moments,

I am so glad I can help you with “colored wedding shoes” and “beautiful weddings”. I am honored you trust my judgement in “big hair” and “ugly white shoes”. (Good for you, girlfriend. White shoes are tricky.) I am blown away that some of you are still searching and using the “Molly Curl” and that “pumpkin cookies” are something I can help you out with.

I’m surprised so many of you like the “perfect grilled cheese” and while I don’t have a fancy recipe for you, I can tell you that putting the butter on the bread instead of melting in the pan makes all the difference.

“Awesome blog writer” really flattered me and for the few of you who often search “Molly and Clink” I’ll tell you that I miss her face and a visit is in the works for January.

My “perfect engagement story” really is something I love to tell, but I wouldn’t mind hearing about yours either. Send me the link! “Randomness” is something I’m quite good at spewing and I do love me a “yummy martini”.

However.

For the person (or persons) who search “thongs” daily, I have to tell you, I really can’t help you. I did my own search to try and see where you’re landing and it takes you here, to a post where I make fun of really bad wedding junk. Me thinks that’s not the info you were looking for. I’m sorry I can’t be more of a help. Maybe if you broadened your search to say, “comfortable thongs” or “thongs are annoying” or something that will bring you to a place that can actually help you.

Unless you want to know about “thong sandals”, I’m not your girl.

I’ll be signing off for a few days as I get things ready to head home to New York for a very merry Christmas. I know I’ve been slacking on the daily posts lately and I apologize. Getting on the computer every morning — especially when I can just read my email on my phone — is hard! But I miss you and I miss reading you so my Christmas gift to myself is to get back in the blog swing of things and catch up on your lives. Sound good?

May your holidays be merry and bright and filled with wonderful things. Maybe even “Christmas thongs”.

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