Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tis the Season

I wonder why the boys seem to be out-of-sorts.

There is a large, sparkling and blinking tree in the living room. Over every portal in the house is a garland of sparkly, glittery objects. The kitchen is trimmed with lights that have 15 different settings for how fast they blink. The familiar knick-knacks are all packed away and the surfaces crowded with unfamiliar objects in bright colors and glittery highlights. Furniture has been re-arranged. The usual TV shows have been replaced by Charlie Brown, the Grinch, and variations on a story about a greedy old guy who seems absolutely clueless about other people and life in general, until a dark spooky figure scares the crap out of him. Life seems to be moving from party to activity to party. The kitchen is also set up to be an ornament factory and bakery, and the house is filled with the smell of cinnamon, ginger, and clove, until I spray it to add the smell of orange, pine, and balsam.

Can you say "stimulation overload"?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Preparing for the holidays

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lost Shoes

We missed the bus this morning.

If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is to not be able to find a pair of scissors. I am so bad at losing scissors, I buy them regularly. I was at an estate sales once and bought ten pairs. When I grandfather died, one of the things I claimed was a pair of scissors. I just bought two new pairs last week.

I have no idea where any of them are.

I have unfortunately passed this talent for losing important things to my son. This morning we needed to find Joey's shoes, like every morning. This had become such a problem over the summer that we designated a spot next to our front stairs for shoes. I have a bench in the front hall, the kind with three cubbies with baskets for holding... well, toys for us. Shoes go next to it. Of course, its been moved a little so I can fit the tree table and stand (the hall opens nicely into the living room). So I head over the the bench to grab Joey's shoes... and no shoes.

Under the couch? No shoes.

Under the kitchen table? The trampoline? The dining room table? No shoes.

Bathroom, bedroom, upstairs hall? No shoes.

Joey only really has one pair of shoes. I buy him good ones form Stride Rite. The good thing is he knows his shoes, and we don't have to worry about wanting one pair or another. The bad thing is if we lose them, they have to be found.

Joey's visual scanning and other skills he needs to find objects in a jumble are not good. I-Spy books frustrate him. He quickly figured out that his shoes were missing... and that I was quickly growing frantic trying to find them. This just made it worse, of course, and we were soon in full-meltdown (level 2). Asking Joey to please find his shoes only escalates the problem; if I can't find them, why should he?

So we tried some questions. Where did you take your shoes off? Where did you put them? When we came in from bike-riding, where did you go? I got nothing but more screaming and random pointing.

And then the bus horn beeped.

With no shoes, I had to send the bus on, which sent us to level 3.

It was another ten minutes before I found the shoes. Where were they?

Jammed behind the bench. Remember I said I moved the bench? He had put his shoes where they would be if I hadn't. Only the bench was now in the way...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Buying in bulk

I wrapped the gifts for Joey's and Andy's educational teams. We had seventeen to wrap for Joey, and four for Andy. How do we do it?

We buy in bulk. When we see a good deal on something, we buy them. Lots of them. I had gotten used to the concept when I was young, and Perrygo Christmas drew near. My dad has a sister and two brothers, and each have multiple children. To get through, we hit all sorts of sales and outlets to get the best deal for our dollars. My mom is a pro at seeking the best deals.

This year's deals were through Williamsburg. We got real Lenox dishes to fit our budget. We ordered 25 of them. I think the folks at the shop were a little freaked out. We also stocked up on some other items on sale for future presents- after all, the boys are going to be in school for a while. The storage problem is solved by keeping everything at my mom's office. I thought about keeping a blog of where the deals are, but then you'd all buy everything out and I'd not get these awesome gifts for my people. ;)

A few years back, Ross Simons was the most awesome site to get gifts in bulk. When Overstock first opened, it was also uber-awesome. Both of these sites are now too big for their britches, kind of like "outlet malls" which are now just retail strip malls, not "outlets." When I was very little, we would drive to Reading , Pennsylvania to go to the real factory outlets, like Carter's- but I wonder if they are still there, or have the factories all gone to China?

One of the tricks is to find websites of companies you like, and look for the online outlet. Decide how much to spend per person. Then stick to that. If they don't have stuff in budget, look for another good site. Most catalogue companies have websites now. Saves you gas an frustration of shopping, too.

Now I need to turn my attention to wrapping for the family. Woo-hoo!