Monday, June 16, 2014

Tick, tick, tick...

Thought it was worth trying to squeeze in one post on pregnancy, seeing as how today marks my 40th week of pregnancy with my third child. Every morning I wake up and say to myself, "Could today be the day?" And then every night, once I go about my day and it turns out it wasn't the day, I wonder, "Will tonight be the night?"  There is nothing that makes you feel more like a ticking time bomb than being nine months pregnant, I tell you what. 

I'm still working full time - so I get it from my coworkers when I walk into work. ("She's still here!")
I'm married - so I get it from my husband every morning before he leaves for work. ("Should I go to work today, honey?")
I'm a daughter - so I know my mom and mother-in-law are waiting with baited breath. (If I send any text, everyone think it's the inevitable "I'm in labor" text.)
I'm a mom - to two toddler girls who are so (mostly-delightfully, occasionally-dreadfully) needy, that every physical move I make to try to meet their needs, I'm reminded of this other human child I have incubating inside of me. (Bathing two kids, leaning over the bathtub to try to wash sand out of their hair? Nearly impossible. Making lunches for daycare? I consider that a workout at this stage in the game; reaching for the lunchboxes is a stretch that leaves me breathless; moving quickly to get lunches made before I have to load the kids up in the car in the morning is my cardio that gives me a little brow sweat, if I'm keeping it real...)

Needless to say, it's impossible to forget I'm this ticking time bomb.

To say I've been anxious about this upcoming birth would be the understatement of my year. My last daughter was delivered less than an hour after getting to the hospital. It was... an intense hour. Being that she's not even two years old yet, that hour is still fresh on my mind. And effing with my mind, to tell you the truth. I woke up in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago with some... how shall I put it? Waste management stomach issues. I thought it was perhaps labor. Once I realized it wasn't, I still spent the rest of the night waking up every half-hour, with mild anxiety about what it would feel like when it really WAS labor. That night messed with my mind big time.

Tonight, my husband let me know he preferred my three hour labor over my twenty-four hour labor. "It's like I got to stand there and support you, but then we just fast forwarded to the part where we get to hold the new little baby really quickly." Uhhh yeah. OK. Easy for you to say, buddy. He's a gem, though. He also likened this stage of parenthood (the waiting-for-your-wife-to-go-into-labor part) to Christmas. "It's kind of like I asked for a Nintendo for Christmas, and then I didn't get it. Except it'll be Christmas next week, and I WILL get the Nintendo." I think he should write a book, no? I can't say I blame the guy, though... I've dubbed myself The Mom Who Cried Baby. For the last two weeks (ever since the Waste Management night), I have gone to bed with closing comments such as "Well I have felt really run down, and walking is getting hard, and I'm crampy" only to wake up at my usual 4:30 AM to pee and let Nick know "nope, just peeing" and not to get too excited because he's definitely going to work today. So yes, I understand that he feels like he asked for a Nintendo and didn't get one. I have burst his bubble that Santa isn't real, but that The Stork is and to just be patient because The Stork will deliver his Nintendo soon.

But I've got to keep my eye on the prize. The prize being the amazing privilege of getting to call myself Mom to another amazing child. And worry less about the short term labor stuff. I've got to remember the joy I get from watching my daughter play in a lake for the first time, or see a balloon in the far-off-distance and yell "booooon!", or have one fall and scrape her knee and the other run over and kiss it for her, or to hear my daughter tell Daddy, unprompted and out of nowhere, "I love you to the SKY and back!", or have a conversation with my four year old about babies and how they grow in your belly and "wow that's AMAZING" (and also, "Adopting a baby is so cool, cuz people can share their babies!" - we covered a lot during that talk), or to ask my 1.5 year old how her day was and she replies "Good. Pay ow-sye." These things never get old to me. They're such darlings and delights, I can't wait to meet this other little soul and see how he fits into our little family. Just as I said when Amelia was baking, I can't even imagine having another child, but I know from experience that once we meet him, we'll wonder how we ever really lived without him. I cannot wait.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Note To Self: Write Down More Funny Things My Kids Say (A post from January 2013)

Originally written 1/18/13, saved in my draft for who knows what reason. Claire was 2.75 yrs old. I'm glad I wrote this down, because I certainly wouldn't have remembered this on my own. 

I need to quickly jot down these two things before I forget.
 
Yesterday after school, Claire was showing me her Cabbage Patch doll Hayley. She said, "Hey Mama, wanna see her tattoo?"  These dolls have the manufacturer's name written on the bums of the dolls... something I remember from 25+ years ago when I had a Cabbage Patch doll.
 
"Sure. What does it say?"
 
She looked at me with a look that said 'You're absurd.'  Then said, "Nothing, Mama. Tattoos don't talk!"
 
******************************************
 
This morning on the short drive to school, Claire initiated a game of I Spy. Not quite the game you can play when one is driving, and when it's dark outside. I told her it was hard for me to see, so she initiated another game. (Side note: I love that she initiates things now. She's so cool!) "Okayyyyy..... how about we play Make An Animal Noise And I Guess It?"   OK, I may not be the most creative mother... but whatever, she still likes this game. I just have to up the ante and think outside the box farm.
 
So I started with Ssssssss and she correctly guessed snake. I then imitated a really snarky and conniving cat. I thought it was super hard, but she guessed right away. She let me know I was throwing her slow pitches, and said "OK, my turn."
 
She started her turn with a "Jump, jump." I guessed kangaroo, then rabbit. Both were met with enthusiastic and encouraging "Nope!"s, because she's awesome that way. After my second wrong guess, she had to reiterate and set me straight. "I said... CHOMP!"  "Alligator!"  "Yup Mama! Great job! You got it! You are so smart."
 
My sweet little girl.
 
Then she followed that up with, "OK, it's gonna be my turn again, I'm gonna say Chomp again and it will be a crocodile. OK?  CHOMP!"
 
 

Friday, July 26, 2013

I Could Get Used to This

A couple of weeks ago, I quit my job. I didn't flat-out-quit, I put in two weeks notice because I accepted an offer with a different company. At first, I was going to work my last day on Friday, and start up my new job on Monday. Being that I am the CFO of the household, I didn't want to see my budget go down due to a week of lost wages. At my husband's urging, though, I took a week off. Today is my last day unemployed; I start on Monday.

Now, I could get used to this. Save for the one day I took the girls to my mom's house for some Mimi/daughter/granddaughter bonding time, I took the girls to daycare every day, as usual. At first, I felt guilty about this. I only allowed that to last all of three minutes, though. You know what? I decided this was going to be my one week to be completely selfish. When else will I get this opportunity? Honestly, I doubt such luck will ever come my way again.

This week, I have:
* gotten a pedicure
* went shopping for new work clothes (severely overdue from my postpartum days)
* worked out during the daytime, at my leisure, enjoying daytime classes at gym
* treated myself to lunch out, table-for-one style
* taken a nap
* bought myself new shoes
* got some new workout clothes, too

Yes, I have ignored the budget completely. Yes, I have taken my kids to daycare while I was running around town, completely able to be spending time with them. Again -- I chose to be selfish this one time. They are fine - more than fine, really - at daycare and love it there, so don't feel bad for them for one second! This morning, the teacher had to bend down and whisper in Claire's ear "blow your Mama a kiss" because I was standing at the door, just waiting for it. She was too busy playing with her friends to bother acknowledging her mom's need for attention. :)

Now I realize this is an entirely unrealistic way to spend my time... sending my kids to daycare while I spend the day doing whatever I want. And truth be told, I think five days of it might be my max. (Okay, ten days would be fine.) I'd eventually get bored and lonely (I'm not a social butterfly, but there is only so much to do by yourself), I'd eventually miss my kids, I'd eventually drain the bank account. But damn. It sure was a nice week off. A great way to recharge and get ready for my new job.

And now I'll leave you with pictures of my daughters, because why not?







 
Last one - LOL - both crying. I had to!

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Quiet Night

It's been slowing down, but I do this about once a month. In the quiet of the night, before I fall asleep, I replay the scene of me and Claire and Murphy (the dog) running to the corner of our walk-out basement, just ten seconds before a tornado passed by us, causing a few hundred thousand dollars damage to our house, completely destroying four houses within eyesight. Meaning, shit was scary and not just "a little windy".
 
I'm able to watch us with a birds eye view, almost like it's a vignette in a movie scene, like I'm watching myself, and not remembering it from my own perspective.
 
Sometimes this replaying is prompted by hearing normal wind outside, other times it's because I've been dealing with insurance claims that week and thus the situation is in the front of my head, and then sometimes, like last night, it's just out of the blue.
 
I was about ten minutes into it last night, Nick snoozing beside me, oblivious to my worries. (It's better that way.) I heard the creak of Claire's door open, a few pitter-patters across the narrow hallway to our door, and then my door creak open.
 
I braced myself for a crying toddler; either a tantrum, begging and pleading (subconscious... see last post) to go back to bed, or a thirty minute process of putting her back to sleep. This has become the norm in the last month or two; Claire typically wakes up at night about 4 nights a week crying.
 
Instead, last night, in the middle of my tornado rehashing session, Claire creaked open my door quietly. Before she had a chance to say anything, I quietly addressed her. Honestly, I was quite surprised she wasn't crying yet and wondered if I preemptively started talking to her, if I could distract her from crying. "Claire? What is it?"  
 
She said she had a bad dream, which in itself wasn't too surprising. This makes up about 40% of her given reasons for waking up in the middle of the night. But when I asked her what her dream was about, and she quietly answered me, still just talking like a normal kid and not wailing and crying, I was instantly chilled. "I had a bad dream about it's windy." (sic)
 
I sprung out of bed, hoping to not wake Nick, and we went back into her room, and I put her back into bed. Of course I held her first, held her so close. She put her head on my shoulder -- an act that any of you parents out there of toddlers know, is a rarity these days. She let me put her back into bed without a fight, and we just quietly talked about better things to dream about... going to the beach in Pentwater, riding in the wagon with friends, making sandcastles, and playing on the playground.
 
She let me put her to bed without a fight. It was a quiet blip in the night, probably the quietest mid-night wake up we've had in months, but it spoke so loudly to me, my ears (and heart) are still ringing. I am a lucky, lucky woman.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Stuff

That Awkward Moment When...
... you're at work and you see someone you haven't seen in a while, so she politely asks you how your new baby is doing and then you go off on a tangent about details about your kids that nearly no one is interested in except me, and then about 3 minutes in you realize you're babbling and bragging and revealing your neuroses and extrapolating your current experiences into the future and waxing nostalgic and looking for validation (I feel like only parenthood can conjure up all of these things in a 3 minute span?) and then you have to rein it in, quickly, because DON'T BE THAT PERSON. And then you rack your brain to remember what it is she specifically asked you, so you can say, "oh, well, to get back on point, she's sleeping great!" and then walk away.
************
So I'm this moron who is a really slow learner. Like, they say you have to prepare yourself for less sleep once you have kids. Well with Claire (my 2.75 year old) -- I hit the sleeping kid jackpot. She slept for 10 hours straight starting around 2 months old. With the exception of not sleeping in on the weekend, not too much changed when I had my first child.
 
So I braced myself for a horrendous sleeper when Amelia was born. You know, all those haters who say, as if they are wise and sage-like, "Oh, the second one will give you a run for your money." I believed them. Then my sweet angel started sleeping for 10 hour stretches starting around 2 months old. I make nothing if not consistent babies!
 
But the sleep! I had been bracing myself to lose those precious zzz's in the middle of the night. I was just thinking about the wrong end of the REM cycle. The sleep I'm losing is the morning sleep. I have to set my alarm for 5:30 am in order to get to work by 7:30 or 8:00. It honestly never dawned on me that I'd be losing morning sleep. Slow learner, this one. Well, that, and I'm also lazy, and I honestly though I could skate by with nary a noticeable different going from one kid to two. DUH, two kids is about 2.5 times the work of 1 kid.  Not an even 2x the work... you get the added 50% extra due to the necessity of multi-tasking, thus actually losing efficiency.
 
Case in point: must do these things, all at once.  Breastfeed 3 month old. Wake up 2 year old. Clean butts of both. Clean clothes for both. Wrangle toddler and plead with her to do what you ask of her. (* See below. Oh lordy.) One time, no joke, I was in the middle of feeding Amelia when Claire started demanding something. So I got up, Amelia still getting her milk on, walked into Claire's room, crawled to the other side of her queen bed to find her security blanket object (a tiny bear the size of a quarter...... weirdo), felt and heard the warm numero dos from the wee little one still attached to me, suckling away. Got up from the bed, to the baby's room, laid her on the changing table. SHE WAS STILL DRINKING. Like, you probably have no idea how insane that situation is unless you've lived it. Maybe I'm giving myself too much credit, but it's like I'm a non-stop butler/concierge/cook/maid/servant sometimes. But then I drop them off at daycare and I immediately wish I was a stay at home mom and OK suddenly this post got a little weepy so next topic.
 
 
*************
 
* The pleading. I swear, sometimes it feels like nearly every interaction with Claire is a barter, or my subconscious underlying tone is just begging her to do whatever needs to be done without throwing a tantrum. It's exhausting, but I still love the shit out of that kid, cuz two minutes after said tantrum, she'll say "I love you Mommy... you're the bestest Mommy in the world."
She doesn't come up with this shit on her own. I don't mean to brag. She gets it from Nick. When he picks up the girls from daycare, he gives Claire a line to say to me, so when they get in the door (or if I get home after them), she busts in and says:
"Mama! You're the bees knees!"
"Mama! You're the bestest Mommy in the world."
"Mama! Did it hurt, falling from the sky? Cuz you an angel."
And of course, she botches it. That last one will turn into "Mommy, are you a hurt angel?" and she'll look to Nick, knowing she blew it and that she needed some backup. I love it. I love her. She's just in that toddler tantrum-y phase and I have to remember the bees knees and angel jokes to gloss over the tantrums.
 
 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I Need Help From The Internet

Dear Internet, I need help.

Question 1.)
How/where do you keep your addresses for people? I think an address book would be futile for me, I would probably use the pages for grocery lists or scrap paper while on the phone with the insurance company or use it to wipe a boogie from my 2 year old's index finger in a pinch.

Here is my current method for addresses: first, I have an email from my MIL from 2008 in which she emailed me addresses for my husband's extended family. So I typically do a Gmail search for any of those peeps to find that email from 2008.

I do the same for some of my extended family. I have a similar email from myself (and to myself) with some other addresses on it.

Next, I search for individual emails from people, if I know I've emailed them with the typical "hey, what's your address?" question.

Lastly, whitepages dot com. Which is soooo lame. And also tempting to click over to the paid link that suggests "hey, want to know EVERYTHING about so-and-so? including their deepest darkest secrets, such as what they watch on tv and where they spend their money?"

I need a better method. Not coincidentally, I write this post on a 10 minutes hiatus of writing Christmas cards.  In other news, look at how dapper we look in black! This was taken back in September, when my sweet baby Amelia was 7 days old. Photo is by Tanya Dunn and I'll share some of those precious newborn nakey bum ones in a later post. Sigh. So sweet. End tangent!



Question 2.)
Do you think it's better to have an idea to do something nice for someone and then not follow through with it, or not to have the idea at all?  If the end result is this: don't do anything for a person. Wow, poorly worded. Let's try it again.

Example 1:
{Me, thinking in my head:}  I wonder what Suzy Q is up to? I bet she would love it if I sent her a mug with some fancy hot cocoa and some even fancier homemade marshmallows with a sweet little note in it from the girls.   {Fast forward three weeks.}    {I never send the gift I so Pinterestly-imagined in my head.}

Example 2:
{I don't think about sending Suzy Q a gift at all.}

Which is better? Example 1 is sooooooooooooooooooo me. Like, I have these ideas of nice things to do for people (okay, like this actually only happens about once per quarter), but then I find I rarely do them. Then I berate myself for never following through with anything, and I wonder if it's just nicer to NOT think of it in the first place. Because in Example 1, I think of a nice thing, but I'm too selfish with my own time and my own laziness and my lack of motivation to actually do it. Obviously this isn't selfishness on the surface, but it's underlying and therefore makes me kind of a bad person. 

Would it be better to just not have those ideas at all?

Question 3.)
What are you making for dinner?  I need ideas, and Pinterest is too overwhelming, even though I finally caved and joined.  Here's what my fridge looks like... yeah... I know. How do I feed my family with that stuff? It's all basically non-edibles, right?  This is the un-Pinteresty fridge imaginable. Clearly you can tell I'm getting a Pinterest complex, am I right? Oh well. Throw me a recipe or two my way, one that's your best go-to recipe that is fast, delicious, fresh, easy, doesn't use spices or pastes or vegetables that I've never heard of, and that my two year old will eat. What's that? You have three recipes that meet that criteria?! Well, send them all my way! (Haha. No. Mac and cheese from a box doesn't count.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Back to Work

Yesterday I went back to work. I decided to go back part-time for the remainder of my maternity leave, to avoid going back full time cold turkey. Knowing myself pretty well, I knew it would be stressful for me to go back full time with two kids. It's mostly due to logistics (how will I get them to daycare, both of them, plus myself ready for work by 8:00?!), but also due to "now I know what it's like to stay at home with your kids and I find it nice" stress.

So, if you're wondering how the first day back went... here's what my car looked like:

It took me, no joke, like an hour to prepare the car. I did most of it the night before, and threw in the lunches/refrigerated stuff the morning of. It stressed me out so much, the logistics, that I didn't want to just wing it the first morning back.  How I am going to do this every morning, I haven't a clue. Yesterday was my day home, so I work tomorrow, and I'm already fretting at 8:37 pm the night before about the logistics of the following morning. I am sure that with time, I'll get into a rhythm. But if I'm being honest, timeliness is my worst un-habit. Or, I should say, I am constantly late. And having two chitlins (SP?) only aids in my bad habit.

(Speaking of bad habits... I recently discovered Pocky. I can eat a pack like it's my job. In fact... I just polished off a pack. Ugh. But also: YUM.)

So another facet of my foray back to work: my outfit yesterday was horrendous. I had on the following colors, ALL IN ONE OUTFIT: brown, white, navy, gray, black, green.  I didn't even realize that I looked like a hot mess until I got to work. At least my clothes fit. Had they been ill-fitting, I probably would have gone home on my lunch hour to change, no joke. Since my vanity doesn't allow me to photograph myself looking bad (it's policy), I conjured up this facsimile in Microsoft Paint instead. It's close enough.  Actually, I think this outfit looks better than the real deal. So there's that.



Well I better skedaddle. My lunch-making, pumping, car-packing, outfit-picking-outing, get-the-house-clean-for-the-housecleaner* duties await.

* Yes, I have to clean the house in order for the housecleaner to come. I never understood that either until I actually hired a housecleaner. Also: best money I spend all month. I'd cancel cable TV before getting rid of the housecleaner.

Rounding off this post with a couple of unrelated pictures.
My sweet little angelface Claire. Can you not get enough of this face, SERIOUSLY? This is her "school picture". I continue to pick out the most random outfits for her to wear on picture day. Oh well, one day I will get my act together! :)

Me and my babe child Amelia - 9 weeks old. Her default look is "unimpressed", or sometimes "grumpy". See above. She gets it from her mama.

 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thinking Like A Two Year Old

The mind of a two year old is an amazing thing. Sometimes I forget my daughter is just two years old. She's so smart, yet she's only two. She can reason, bargain, use logic, yet these are some of the things that remind me she is only two...
This morning, she woke up screaming, running out of her room, shrieking that Eli had stolen her shoe. I had to hug her and console her and rub her back and assure her that her jelly shoes are in fact still in her shoe bucket, and that it was just a dream and that Eli didn't really steal her shoes and then run them over with his lawnmower. She was nearly inconsolable over that.
This morning, she also shrieked when she saw my newly inflated exercise ball sitting in my room. As in, she ran away screaming from it. I had an exercise ball that I purchased in anticipation of her birth, and used it for a few hours while I was laboring at home with her. The exercise ball remained in our house over the course of the next two years, until the tornado blew it away (literally). She was always terrified of that thing, and I never really knew why, or explored why.
So when I bought a new one in anticipation of Baby Sister's birth (any day now, OMG, another post) and blew it up last night to see if it could get things going (spoiler: it didn't), she shrieked when she was it this morning and again, I was stumped. This time, however, I tried to figure out why. I have come to realize that trying to empathize with other people's fear, even if you don't fear the thing yourself, goes a long way. Mostly I've learned that as someone with fears herself (as in... other people doing the empathizing with ME), so I thought I'd give it a whirl with Claire.
At first I thought she was afraid to sit on it and bounce on it... I vaguely recollected that she had tried rolling around on it and had fallen off with the last exercise ball. So I held her hands as she sat on it and bounced. That wasn't really the issue, though. She didn't seem to mind that part. So I went about my morning, and was drying my hair when she ran into the bathroom, shrieking. "I pushed the ball down the hall and it bumped into the wall......" Big blue eyes staring back at me, huge, full of fear. If I was feeling lazy, this is where I'd typically say (in my head) "uhhh OKAY" and answer her with a "Uh-huh Honey... okay..."
But this morning I set down the hair dryer and went to investigate with her. She barely wanted to peek her head around the corner, lest she see the scary exercise ball. "See? It's down there, on the wall..." she said. "It's gonna get me."
I started to put two and two together. She had rolled the ball (or kicked it?) down the long hallway, and it bumped into the wall and probably bounced around off the walls, perhaps rolling back towards her. I took the ball and showed her that if you kick the ball into the wall, it bounces back and rolls back toward you. A mini physics lesson, if you will.
I tried showing it to her a couple of times, lightly pushing it into the wall and explaining "See? It's bouncing back now and rolling toward me. But it's just a ball, it's not alive, it's not coming to get me, it's just rolling." And it clicked. All along she thought the ball was coming to get her. Yes, she's crazy smart, and can school me in many different ways, but sometimes I'm reminded that she's only two and she doesn't know everything. And it's a pretty neat feeling to see her learning before your own two eyes.
[Note: this was written a couple months ago, but was sitting as a draft, never published. I'm posting it for posterity's sake.]

Attention to Details: Version Two-Year-Old

Claire wants the most bizarre details when I tell her a story. I understand the want for details; I'm always asking Nick for mundane details when he gets off the phone with someone, or he gets back from an engagement that interests me, or just a regular old work day. It's probably why I also love to read other peoples (strangers) blogs.

Last night I was making up a story for her. I am... not good at making up stories. Here's how this story went:

"Once there were two little girls, Claire and Amelia. They were sisters." She didn't like this.

"I don't want a story about me and Amelia!"

"Okay, two little girls, Margo and Betsy. They wanted to go outside and play, so they asked their Mama if they could."

"What color is the Mama's hair? And her hands?"

After answering the questions and fumbling around some more to add to the admittedly boring story, I mentioned the girls were riding their bike. Claire let me get about two seconds into that foray of the story before stopping me. "What color are their helmets?"

I love her curiosity and attention to details. It just cracks me up. What must be going on in that sweet, smart little head of hers?

Another funny example was this morning when I presented her with a new yogurt. I typically buy a huge container of plain yogurt and sweeten it myself with some jam. In a pinch, or when I'm feeling lazy, I buy the kind that's merchandised for the kiddos. She was instantly enthralled with this new yogurt. I think she especially loves things that are her size.

I opened the fridge to decide what to give her for breakfast, and she instantly spotted the small containers. "What's that orange container?"  (Yes, she called it a container. Her vocabulary is so awesome. End brag.)

"That's some yogurt, would you like it?"

"Yes, please. What color is the top?"

"The top is pink." It was pink with white polka dots. I showed her the top, but only said it was pink.

"Oh. (Long Pause. Serious face. She was thinking.) And what flavor is in the orange container with pink top with white polka dots?"

I don't know what it was about this exchange, but my heart was just beaming with motherly love for this funny, strange, curious, lovely little kiddo. She's just so uniquely herself, and I love her little questions about the most random of details. She really pays attention to things and let me tell you... you can't get ANYTHING past her.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Christmas is fast approaching!  I am one of the types of people that gets excited to see Christmas trees going up in stores on November 1st (or earlier), rather than the type of person who gets irate and cranky-pants over the whole situation. And each year, I proclaim this year to be the year it's not about presents, and more about presence -- spending time with each other, enjoying the company of family and friends, and the abundance of food and camaraderie.

While that's a nice sentiment and all, it never really pans out to skip the gift-giving altogether. Let's face it: Christmas is about commerce. There is some satisfaction in giving (and receiving!) so I should give up on that notion of no-gifts-Christmas and just accept it for what it's worth! (Lots and lots of money, that's what it's worth.)

So, in anticipation of Christmas shopping for loved ones, I am trying to reflect on gifts of past Christmases to try to determine the anatomy of a great gift. Here are my top three gifts I have received in recent years.

Ugg Slippers
I simply asked for slippers, and my sister surprised me when she gifted me with Ugg brand slippers. This was several years ago - maybe four or five? - and we're still going strong, me and my Uggs. Some people have their comfy jeans, worn in just right? I, uh, I have my slippers.

Neti Pot
Yes, it's true. I got a Neti Pot for Christmas one year. In fact, this was a gift I half-jokingly asked for from my boyfriend (now husband). This was the first Christmas that we were a couple. Not including one of our first dates which happened to be my extended family's Christmas party that my parents were hosting at their house. True story. No, that's not fast/forward/awkward to ask a guy you've hardly gone out with twice to come to your family Christmas party, not at all... I digress... (Hey, we're married with two kids now, so, it all worked out just fine, thank you...)

So I asked my boyfriend for a Neti Pot because I have issues with my sinuses. Perhaps some young twenty-somethings exchange sexier gifts, it's entirely possible. ("No, Lindsay, it's entirely certain!" you're thinking.) But think of how many sinus infections I have staved off with that thing! It's the gift that keeps on giving! Still use that thing to this very day. It may be one of my favorite bathroom accessories I use.

Immersion Blender
My MIL gifted me with this kitchen gadget last year. Also known as a 'stick blender', for those none-the-wiser. See, I love to make soups. (Gee, do I sound like an old bitty or what?) Lots of times, soups call for blending in a blender in batches. I am nothing if not a horribly messy cook, using no less than 50% MORE cooking/baking/kitchen tools/gadgets/utensils than necessary. And I am not one of these people who CLEANS UP AS SHE GOES, much to the dismay of my neat-freak husband. Using a blender to blend soups takes up about 3 or 4 more items that require washing (often by hand). An immersion blender only takes the 1 item (the blender itself), so this is a WIN as I loathe washing dishes.

So what is it that makes these gifts so awesome?  For the slippers, it was a case of QUALITY. Don't skimp on gifts. Let's say you decide to spend $75 on someone. Rather than get three $25 gifts, buy one $75 gift, with the caveat that it's a high-quality item, not an inexpensive item you get for a steal. For example, $75 slippers (high-quality item, as slippers don't typically cost that much) vs. diamond necklace (precious jewelry shouldn't be that cheap, it must be poor quality).

For the Neti Pot, it was a case of getting someone something they WANT, even if you can't appreciate it. I asked for this sort of as a joke, but deep down I really wanted it. (Yes, I know these are, like, $12.99 and I could have purchased one for myself at any point in time...) Nick was like "WTF" but he got it for me anyway. And for the record, HE still uses it to this day, as well.

And lastly, the blender was one of those PRACTICAL gifts that, while not necessarily a luxury item, is something I use and love dearly on a regular basis, as it makes my life easier, and who doesn't love that? I mean? Priceless.

So... it's easy to come up with a list of items that fit the bill for yourself. But finding items like these for other people, that's where it's a challenge. Better put on my thinking cap, and get the credit cards out!

'TIS THE SEASON!

I know it's early but you're lying if you say you haven't thought about something you want Santa to bring you. Indulge me, and tell me what it is you want. : )