Thursday, December 30, 2010

(not so) sweet dreams

For some people, the thought of speaking or performing in front of a crowd might be something of a nightmare.  This is not so much a problem for me, provided I am prepared for the event.

When I am fretting about something, the anxiety I feel plays out in my dreams in one of two scenarios:
  1. I'm about to give a piano recital for which I have not practiced, or 
  2. Mass is about to begin, and I'm on the bench frantically turning the pages of the hymnal accompaniment book looking for the opening tune.
If it's the former scenario, I am usually my current age, but I am right back at the bench of the shiny black nine foot Steinway concert grand piano known as "The Hamburg" (since that's the Steinway factory from which it hails) in the concert hall of my alma mater.  My college piano professor and merry band of music major cohorts are all there, along with the people present in my life now.

If it's the latter, the church setting varies. 

Over the coarse of my catnaps through the night, punctuated by the nursing sessions and tucking back into their beds of two certain young squires, I dreamed last night that I was about to "wing" another recital.  It wasn't going to be pretty.

What's to blame for this anxiety?

A routine dentist appointment scheduled first thing in the morning.  I was (obviously) nervous I wasn't going to get up in time for it given my sleep deficit.  Not that I'm not usually up at that time, but I'm hardly ever out the door at that time.

Happily, though (and thankfully), I made it in time *and* got a cavity-free bill of health.  That calls for a homemade chocolate milkshake, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

not this year

Christmastime is here, and with it much merriment with family (and coffee filters).  Getting to the celebration was a challenge, as in the final days of Advent we were all fighting The Sniffles whilst trying to "get things done." 

Decking the halls for Christmas is one of my favorite things to do, but not with the full array.  Not this year. 

Many of the (breakable) Christmas decorations I wanted to put up at the end of Advent are still in the box  (which means less to put away later!).  Our Christmas tree went up on the Third Sunday of Advent, and I marveled to myself how it has evolved since the first year I had a Christmas tree of my own -- one waist-high number in my first apartment, trimmed in a monochromatic white and silver scheme, my massive Persian cat shedding on the velvet tree skirt underneath.  That tree has been replaced by one trimmed with ornaments that tell the story of our family life thus far (but only about three-fourths of the way up its nine-foot stature, with breakables at my eye level or higher for obvious reasons).  I like this one better.

There have several family gatherings over the course of this past week.  It's always wonderful to see everyone -- so much so that we have a difficult time extracting ourselves from the festivities in time to make it home for a reasonable bedtime.  After so much fun commotion, it's difficult for little ones to wind down, which makes us question why we even went out after contending with the late night and the resulting fussiness in the morning. Even while trying to stick to our routine, the inevitable deviation catches up with us eventually.  Someday, we'll be better able to partake of the later evening festivities, but not this year.

Awash in the many expressions of delight from our four bambini at the wonders of the Christmas celebration, we draw them close and are reminded once again of this brief but intense season of our family life.  Together with our extended family, our celebration of Christ's birth continues.   We might not be out and about as much as other folks, but that's alright.  Grateful for the gift of this time together, God willing, we will never forget this Christmas.  Not this year.

Friday, December 10, 2010

opposite day

In the eerie quiet of a house with three simultaneously-sleeping children while the elder lad is at school, I have an opportunity of unknown length to ruminate on the events that transpired yesterday, which included a trip to Target, a fun outing with a family we are getting to know from the elder lad's school, and a gathering of moms from the Kindergarten class (hence the napping children today, for which I am most grateful).

The trouble is, amidst the many highs and lows of the day, what stands out is what's missing:

Coffee filters. We have none.

At this point in the narrative, my dear friend Simply's jaw likely drops in horror as she's reading.  Today her eldest lad turns 16, and while I hate the thought of marring this day with such a disturbing notion as a house without coffee filters, I know she'll laugh knowing I typed "draw jops" first and thought it looked normal the first eight or 10 times I read through what I'd written.  Sorry to put a damper on your Mama Day, Simply. Love you and your lad!

In spite of reminding myself not to forget the filters as I unloaded the bambini into the cold shopping cart and trucked inside as fast as I could *and* having taken a picture of the exact ones we needed to fit our drip coffee maker, I neglected to write the item on my shopping list, and here is where it all goes downhill.

By the time the 22-month-old lass had fallen asleep sitting up in the seat of the shopping cart (first child of mine to ever do such a thing outside of my sling or the "baby bucket" car seat) and I had had some near misses with the shopping cart and the heels of my three year old lad who insisted on walking "with" me *and* I had nabbed some slacks that I thought I could wear to the moms' gathering that evening (wrong), the coffee filters had fallen out of that primacy of place that is the single driving thought propelling me through Target (well, that and "must get this finished *as soon as possible*").

This doesn't mean, however, that we got nothing. Quite the contrary. We got a gift for the birthday party the elder lad is invited to tomorrow that the younger lad would love to go to as well but for which the whole siblings-invited issue is rather murky; a Lego truck Christmas gift that will be a surprise to only one lad (as the other discovered it after he escaped from the cart); the afore-mentioned ill-fitting slacks; sundry dairy items (including a ridiculous amount of yogurt); some molasses for another batch of our most recent cookie success -- chocolate ginger with chocolate chips (among other things) -- for our new friends; and the list goes on...

except for coffee filters
(and contact lens solution, which *was* on the list but overlooked somehow)

So while I may feel like bellowing this deeply-rued fact, I am instead going to employ a tactic I ought to use more often with my bambini: I'm going to whisper.

We have no coffee filters.

This explains a lot.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

special day every day

The younger lad had his "Special Day" on one of the family Advent calendars yesterday.   There were tasty chocolate ginger cookies to devour, a cousin visiting from Chicago to play with, and a new bouncy ball to cause trouble.  We went to school Mass and got a wave from the elder lad.  'Twas a full day.

This morning we went to check and see whose "day" it now is.  After we had announced who we'll be keeping in our thoughts and prayers today, the lad said "but please still pray for me."

We assured him we do every day.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


My cousin is visiting from Chicago as she interviews for her internship and residency years following graduation from medical school this coming spring.  The bambini took to her instantly, chattering and showing her around, and telling her random things.  Her love for children is evident in the way she converses and plays with them.  She's a young lady of many talents, great intelligence, much warmth and great compassion.  What a delight to have such pleasant company. 

Monday, December 06, 2010

(not so) secret santa

me, conducting an impromptu poll: "What do you think Daddy might like for Christmas?"

lass: "green!"
younger lad: "a green ax!"
elder lad: "a green remote-controlled hot rod!"

We may or may not have looked for these things as we shopped for the children whose gifts we signed up to procure from our parish's Angel Tree as part of our St. Nicholas Day festivities.

This alms-giving aspect of the feast day is equally as important as (if not more so than) the treats our bambini found by their shoes on the hearth this morning (fresh crayons, clementines, and small squares of chocolate wrapped in gold paper).  That's why I chose to go through with the shopping after school (i.e. approaching Happy Hour) and in spite of the chill in the air.  

We are humbled by the tremendous blessings God continues to lavish upon us.  It is our honor and duty to share these with those less fortunate than ourselves, and to teach our bambini to tend to the needs of others  that go unmet.  It involves learning we don't always get what we want when we want it, but God always provides for our needs.

Case in point: a green remote-controlled hot rod...

Sunday, December 05, 2010

on the list

Fresh off the surprise of the covert Christmas light maneuver, the elder lad eyed me suspiciously as I jotted something down on a piece of paper above his eye line.

"What are you writing?" he wanted to know.
"Something on my shopping list."

"A card for Grannie's Christmas gift."

"What else is on the list?"
I read it to him, then ask if he has something to add.

"Yes."  he said soberly.
"What?" I asked.

"Keys for [my brother] and me." (the ones that are painted in the school colors of our alma mater and said school's arch rival they spotted on a trip to the hardware store with their daddy yesterday for extension cords.  Presently they fancy themselves janitors with big wads of keys.)

"Oh.  Those go on the Lowe's list.  You'll have to talk to Daddy about that.  He keeps that list."
Skunked again...

Saturday, December 04, 2010

drumroll, please

There were no shooting icicles or sleeves stapled to gutters, but still I couldn't help but think of Clark Griswold in the 1989 movie Christmas Vacation as my beloved (whose motto for such endeavors is "safety first") scaled a gargantuan ladder to hang Christmas lights on the exterior of our house today.  The elder lad has long been lobbying for lights, but this is the first year for us to hang them outdoors.

It was meant to be a surprise for the bambini, but when the elder lad spotted his father on the ladder out the front door, the lad knew something was up.  "Did you guys plan this?" he wanted to know.  When I answered in the affirmative, the look on his face read "whoa.  I wonder what else they talk about when I'm not around?"  If you only knew...

However disappointed the younger lad may have been to miss out on the ladder scaling fun (as climbing really is his favorite pastime), he and his brother were happy to help flip the switch when the moment was right.  They and their "sissies" were delighted to see the little lights twinkling, and no nuclear generators were necessary to supply electricity to the surrounding houses because of our festive but not ablaze light display (as in the movie I called to mind). 

It was a fitting if freezing activity to usher in the second week of Advent, building upon the preparations and decorations we began rolling out last weekend.   As we prepare to welcome Jesus, the Light of the World, I will always remember the expressions of glee emanating from the bambini as they took in the beautiful light.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

drive like mom

My dad drove me to school most of the time.  It was a special time for the two of us, triggered in my memory by hearing renditions of "Zippity Doo Dah" and other such ditties.  He and I have logged a lot of miles together, not just to and from school, but back and forth to Chicago lots and lots of times over the years. 

Sometimes we needed to make haste in the direction of our destination (which was usually not too far from our starting point, my hometown being small-ish and all).  At such times I am reported to have suggested he "drive like Mom."  That meant... with purpose (or something like that).  Nothing illegal or aggressive.  Just determined. 

My mom, you see, is a self-proclaimed gearhead and likes to get where she's going.  It's part of her charm.  We love her for it.

That's how I drove this morning when my beloved had to catch an early flight for a business meeting, which meant I needed to get our elder lad to kindergarten.  Four bambini plus Mama tripping over each other to get out the door at sunrise for the forty minute commute equals some fantastic feats of daring and silliness (such as Mama donning a sweater with a pretty butterfly -- a noticeable departure from my usual solid-color selections -- and declaring with great fanfare that it is "Fresh Contact Day" for Mama!!!), but we did it.  We made it to school on time. 
Related Posts with Thumbnails