It's almost Halloween!
So let's talk about Christmas! And some other stuff.
Cold November pain
Is anyone signing up for NaBloPoMo this year? I've done it every year since it was invented so I sort of feel like I have to do it, but for the first time ever I'm really not sure I can pull it off. It wasn't that bad the year I was pregnant and was surprisingly easy last year, but this year…I dunno, man.
And then I rolled my eyes.
I was on YouTube last night to watch the trailer for the badass-looking upcoming SyFy miniseries Neverland and clicked through afterward to watch two allegedly "official" trailers for The Hobbit. The first was more of a teaser than a trailer, since more than half of the footage used came from the existing Lord of the Rings films. The second had more original content, but started with a narrator intoning, "Everyone knows the legend, but no one knows how it all began." Except, yeah, we do, because it was a book first. And I will grant that many fans of the LOTR movies didn't read the books and that many who did read the trilogy didn't read The Hobbit, but still. Hold the hyperbole there, Mr. Movie Announcer.
I tore out a couple of things from the Toys R Us holiday ad mini-catalog thing as possible Christmas gifts for Nico and then looked them up online to see if they'd be appropriate for his age, worth the money, etc. One that I was really tempted by was this Imaginarium brand firehouse / police station playset:
Then I read the description, which includes the following: "This exciting new Imaginarium Police Station & Firehouse Play Set combines a Police Station and a Firehouse all in one! Ring the working fire alarm bell, slide a fireman down the firehouse pole & watch as prison inmates work out in the jail gym." Wait…what? So, cross that one off the list.
Speaking of Christmas and gifts, how do those of you with young kids handle the whole thing? Do you set a monetary limit and then buy whatever you can get for that amount, or do you set a limit on how many items each kid receives, or some combination of both strategies? Do you have some kind of traditional plan for gifts? I saw a forum post at some point where a woman said that for Christmas every year, her kids get something they need, something to wear, and something to read…so each kid gets a nice but utilitarian item, a new pair of pajamas, and a new book. I liked that idea, but also kind of like the idea of our kid(s) getting one big item for Christmas each year that we wouldn't normally shell out to buy (plus some small items in a Christmas stocking). I'm definitely going to do a new book under the tree "from Santa" each year and already can tell the hard part will be narrowing it down to one book (okay, or two).
Thus far this year, we've set a budgeted amount of money for gifts for Nico (which we'll probably exceed a bit, but that's how Christmas budgets go) which is not extravagant but which I can definitely stretch pretty far using my bargain-shopping wiles. There's not really anything coming to mind to get Nico as his one big gift, and I have a pretty long list of smallish to medium things that I suspect he'd love. Because of this I'm having some debate with myself over how many items equals too many items for Nico at not-quite two. On the one hand, he might be too little to know the difference or remember later how much stuff he got, so maybe it doesn't matter if we go a bit overboard with the number of gifts. On the other, I consider it one of my sworn parenting duties to not spoil the child utterly rotten. Oh, and since MB and I are generally the ones who have to pick up the toys, that also weighs into the decision.
Our issue is complicated by the fact that Nico's birthday is three weeks after Christmas, and he'll almost certainly be receiving a half-dozen new toys from family and close friends at that time. Last year we got him his play kitchen and the Little People Noah's Ark set for Christmas, and other than some books under the tree from Santa and his stocking, that's all we bought. I don't recall buying him anything for his birthday, though I might be mistaken. Advise me, wise internet types…what is your plan, or what do you think mine should be?
While we're on the subject
What are you putting on your Christmas list this year? I have the worst time making Christmas lists for myself, I swear. I can never think of anything I want other than boring, lame stuff like new bras and new trainers and casserole dishes. (Seriously, last year I asked for a casserole dish with a carrier and a rolling pin.) I think my list so far this year is a new pair of small plain silver hoop earrings and a book light. I'm so dull I bore myself!
Obligatory baby picture
After posting those photos of Nico with his crazy hair I finally caved and let MB give him another haircut last Sunday. I was a bit angsty but it turned out really cute (even if he does look way too big now):
Reading: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Playing: an old mix CD