Thursday, October 27, 2011

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.

Lame segue

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):

(Fret not…the curls came back.)

Reading:  The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Playing:  an old mix CD


  1. 1. Nablopomo.. I want to say yes! Do it! And I will do it too! And it will be great and it's how we "met" and squee anniversary edition of internet blogfriendness (am I freaking you out?) but honestly I'm so tired I might just die typing this sente
    2. skipping this one b/c no opinion on Lotr related stuff
    3. My kids' preschool has a fire station and when the firemen got out of their boxes, none of them had pants. Hat? Yes. Jacket? Yes. Pants? No. This will crack me up forevermore.
    4. Honestly, you can get away with NOTHING for Nico for two more years so I say do it and save your strength for "I wanna BUZZ LIGHTYEAR POKEMON SUPERMAN LIGHTNING MCQUEEN PONY." For my kids, I do lots of books that I source from thrift stores, one big toy and one stocking stuffer each. OK maybe two stocking stuffers. My argument is that I prefer to spend the money on people who will appreciate it, like my mom and dad, in-laws, husband, etc. The kids, still, are entranced by ANYTHING new to them. ANd, like you, are spoiled by their grandparents/family.

    5. For me, I ask for books and music. Lit journal subscriptions. Gift cards to clothing stores / liquor store. I think I might have actually requested a salad spinner from my mother this year, but maybe I"m mis-remembering. Socks are always welcome because I tear the crap out of all my socks, every year.

    6. Yeah he looks 13 now. Yikes.

  2. Pantsless toy firefighters! Haaaa, okay that will never not be funny.

  3. We have sort of a loose system that involves a loose idea of how much money we want to spend, combined with a loose idea of how many gifts we want them to open. So one kid might get less total money spent on him/her if he/she is more interested in inexpensive things that year, but our hope is that it evens out over time.

    Also, littler kids don't know how much things cost but older kids are getting an idea of it (and can understand explanations such as "You only got one gift and your brother got three, but that's because your gift cost more than all three of his put together"), so with older kids we worry more about making the amount-spent even, and with younger kids we worry more about making the number of gifts even.

  4. I've sort of asked for some RAM and I added some books and games to my Amazon wishlist. I'm not very good at Christmas lists either.

  5. 1. I'm so on the fence about nablopomo. I've done it the past two years, but I'm just so...tired now. Which is funny because I normally post 3-5 times a week anyway, but the idea of that schedule this time around is just wiping me out. So I'm still not sure. (I'll probably end up trying, at the last minute, like always).
    2. I saw that Hobbit preview and yelled pretty much the same thing. Come on, the hobbit is actually the MORE popular of the books. Everyone knows how it started. UGH.
    3.What, you don't want prison gymtime as playtime? ;-)
    4. I have no idea how to handle gifts of any kind. I'm finding myself falling into the "accidentally spoiling my kid rotten" realm, because I see stuff I think he'd like and can't help myself. BUT. I also know he has 4 sets of grandparents who will spoil him rotten, so I'm trying to really limit the buying on our end. (It hasn't worked yet).

    5. This year, I finally made myself a list starting about a month ago. It's an email draft, so I have access to it anywhere, and anytime I find myself coveting something (online, on Pinterest, in a store, as I'm looking in my closet bemoaning the absence of X item), I just add it to the draft. I won't get 90% of what's on the list, but at least I feel like I have something to give people this year. (mostly, an ereader, boots, clothes, and some "fun" jewelry.)