I've been a bad blogger! I'm trying to get things ready for Christmas, finish up outstanding projects promised by Christmas, and set up my game plan for 2010 - which starts Christmas Day. I've decided to see if I can concentrate hard on Helium for three months and find out if I can basically support myself. I rather think I can.
Christmas this year will be just us, I suppose. My extended family has other plans (S&BIL are going to South Padre, for one). We bought a little live Norway Pine and set it up over at X's, and he and the kids decorated it. All the gifts are at his apartment as well, awaiting wrapping.
He and I will have to have a wrapping extravaganza one night, and then Christmas morning I'll get up early and drive the kids over there to open their gifts. I managed to work my ass off and was lucky enough to be handed some good opportunities in November, so Christmas will be pretty sweet for my three munchkins... the loot includes:
A Wii for everyone - I said it has to live at X's house so D won't get into it
A Nintendo DS for C - this will come in handy when he is here and V is at her dad's
A charm bracelet for V - a NICE charm bracelet with enamel charms (and a serious price tag)
BB guns for V and C - they have to live at X's also; that way he is in charge of target practice
Stuffed horse for V - since I can't get her a live one, this will have to do
Early present: live kitten for C (I snagged it from the neighbors' - they have 30 and won't notice)
13 board games, bought off Amazon for ridiculously low prices and shipped free (cool!)
3 puzzles (they LOVE puzzles)
Assorted other stuff I can't remember
And, for baby D on his first big Christmas:
A kit of big Legos
A police car
A fire truck
A train with a track
A helicopter (can you tell the kid is crazy about 'Things that GO?'
A set of metal pans for his cook station
A magnetic set of letters that plug into a base that says the name of each letter out loud
A big doodle pad (the kind you write on and then it erases with a slider bar)
An Etchasketch (OMG it was too funny. Story below)
Color Wonder set (best invention ever - markers only work on special paper)
Huge homemade framed magnetic chalkboard X and I made from bare wood and special paint
Other stuff I can't remember... I got V the 7th Harry Potter book and C the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid early so they could read them over Christmas break. I bought myself Divine Misdemeanors (The latest Laurell K Hamilton book from the Merry Gentry series).
I also picked up some nice gifts online for four of my dearest Helium friends I have known for nearly 2 years now; figuring out what to get them was a challenge, but I think I did OK. (Not really used to having friends...)
Oh! The story about the Etchasketch. We were all at Hobby Lobby getting supplies for V's last school project of the year - she had to build a log cabin to conclude the Little House on the Prairie segment, and at the checkout D was getting restless. One of the big kids handed him this little miniature Etchasketch (you know, the red frame with the two knobs you can draw pictures with by twiddling the knobs... then you shake it upside down to erase it?) - anyway, Duncan was fascinated.
Time to leave; I stuck it back on the shelf. X herded kids to car while I paid and when I got to car D was in hysterics. All the way home. After we got home. When I put him to bed. When he woke up at 3 am. He wailed and wailed and did his little hands like he was turning knobs. It was the most pitiful thing you ever saw.
So last night I went back to Hobby Lobby - the big kids were at X's, but I still had D with me. I got some weird looks from other customers and was watched closely by staff as I sidled around to the rack, snagged one of the Etchasketches behind my back with one hand, danced my way up to the checkout and turned my back on cashier, proffering the toy surereptitiously while glancing back with an apologetic grin over my shoulder.
She just laughed. "I am getting that you don't want him to see this?" she said, whisking it under the counter, zapping it with the handheld scanner and wrapping it in two bags.
I set D on the floor and pinned him to the checkout counter with a knee while I stuffed the package in my purse and swiped my debit card. "You got that right," I said, scooping the wriggling toddler back onto my hip and heading out the door.
I hope the little squirt likes it as much as he thinks he will! I thought he was too little for it, but I guess he can twiddle and shake it... I couldn't believe how adamant he was and how long he stayed upset over it!
Back to work for me... Here's hoping every one else's Christmas preparations are going smoothly!
Oh... the kitten's name is Merrybell. :)