Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Few Christmas Traditions

No fancy Residency Christmas Parties to attend this year, boy those pediatricians knew how to party, but we did have a grown up Christmas dinner last night with some of the doctors and staff J works with.  We didn't come together.  J was at work and even though they had another doctor come in to cover the floor they had a baby born at over ten pounds who was having some trouble getting his sugar regulated so J was late.  All the doctors were teasing about how he is always like, "I just have one more thing to get done," and I was like "Guys this has been the last fourteen years of my life.  Let me tell you about how he was late to my endowment session."  It was still great though.  I hired a babysitter so we were without kids and it was just nice to sit and talk to other adults and enjoy eating without having to worry about kids spilling things or spitting out green beans or such.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy kids parties as well but J's boss is a German woman a few years older than us whose partner is a German botanist, they have no kids and their very beautiful, very expensive home on the lake is full of things like 500 year old bibles so it was nice not to have to worry.  We had dinner, then the docs had a quick team meeting while the botanist and the wife of the medical officer, the head guy, washed dishes.  I spent my time listening to the dish washers discuss a son out on a mission and the team meeting.  I learned that my husband's other day guy was actually a national swimmer for Kenya which explains why we all chipped in on a baby swimsuit in December.  I also learned that in Germany the game Sorry (which by the way is the worst game ever, because no one ever likes hearing that condescending sorry) is called Don't Make Me Angry.  I kind of like that better.  Then everyone came back to the tables and we ate desert.  Chocolate covered cheese cake, yes please!

At dinner two of the five other guys at the party shared a name with my husband.  It apparently was very popular in the 70s when their parents gave it to them although my husband's mom claims she knew no one with that name.  Go figure.  We were sitting at the same table they were and there was an awkward moment when one of the wives asked a J to pass the butter and all three reached for it.  

Yesterday was a day full of Christmas things for us.  I also was the room mom for Peach's class Christmas Party.  Did I ever mention how crazy the Halloween one was.  I had split my time between the two classrooms.  I started in Gigi's class.  There were like 12 parent helpers, six stations, two parents at each.  I was helping kids make monster magnets until I had to leave for Peach's classroom.  When I got to Peach's party it was just her teacher and his wife.  The kids were running around screaming and throwing candy everywhere.  I had sent in little things like play-dough, bubbles, and monster magnets.  He had given them to Peach to pass out.  She asked who wanted them and then just handed over the whole unwrapped packaged thing to one or two kids.  When I tried to separate out the bubbles and playdough a few kids threw a fit.   I was seriously so annoyed.  I mean sometimes I think the highly structured parties are a little much but this was just too crazy.  I came home and thought about it for a day.  I've always managed to avoid being the room mom because there has always been someone nicer and more talented who would do it but this I just could not take, so I sent an e-mail to her teacher and offered to take over all of his parties for him and he'd like.

He of course said yes.  So Friday morning I was hauling a huge suit case full of my griddle, a bowl, spatulas, pretty much half my kitchen.  Apparently it is tradition at the school to do a pancake breakfast so that is what we did.  We also made a Christmas ornament and played bingo.  I had a couple parent helpers and for the most part we kept things smooth.  It was nice to not have a million little kids at home any more so that I could help in this way.  I've helped at most of G and E's parties but I always had a little one or two or three in hand so I just couldn't run it.  Now that I'm almost without little ones I finally felt I could give it my full attention.  The kids had a great time.  The teacher was especially grateful and Peach said the kids said it was the best party ever.  I guess you can't ask for more than that.  It made me so grateful to the other moms and dads who have been doing this for years!  I got zero pictures because I was seriously go, go, go the whole time but I know her teacher got some so maybe I will be able to get my hands on those.  Her teacher has been teaching in downtown LA for the last 12 years and this is the first time he has had a parent helper so I hope he was able to enjoy it.  I have a soft spot for teachers, blame it on my elementary school teaching mom.  

Today J is working so we ran some errands alone.  If you don't have to leave your house don't.  Traffic was crawling for 5 miles before we even reached the mall because people all wanted to use one turn lane even though there were two and there were three other places they could turn after that.  But yesterday E asked me if I could take him to the Dollar Store so he could buy something for all his sister and I agreed so we had to go.  The Dollar Store was seriously so crowded.  I mean really I've never seen that many people in there before.  I'm so glad I have all of my Christmas shopping already done and everything wrapped.  There were no carts left at all but we managed to grab four hand baskets and we walked every aisle in that store three or four times.  Each kid carefully considered the options and then on our second and third rounds started slipping items quietly into their baskets.  After they'd gathered a gift for each family member, switching out a few items we went and paid.  When we got home I had each kid come up to my room individually and I helped them cut out wrapping paper so that they could wrap their gifts.  Then I sang here comes (Peach, E, Gigi, or Cheetah) Claus as they took their presents downstairs.  It was so great.  Without exception each one told me that wrapping gifts was the best, their favorite part of Christmas.  They also were so thoughtful as they considered each gift.  Sure now I own a bunch of crazy stuff from the dollar store but it was seriously the perfect place to take them because the items were all a dollar, everything in the store was something they could buy and I didn't have to steer them at all against items that were too expensive or for the cost not worth bringing home.  Plus they were just overtaken with the joy of giving.  It was probably the best $24 I spent all season.  We will definitely be adding it to our annual Christmas traditions!


  1. I loved reading about all these things. So fun! And I'm glad the class party was the best ever!

    Funny about the THREE Js reaching for the butter! :)

  2. Merry Christmas! I hope you've had a great day!

    I saw this article, and it reminded me of a post you wrote awhile back. I am too lazy to look it up, though. I think you were writing about how you were not able to speak well with some of your grandparents because of a language barrier.

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