Category Archives: Yule Blog

It’s *not* the most wonderful time of the year…

In defense of the Christmas movie remake

This afternoon while trying to kill some time before dinner, we watched “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”  You know, the one starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch.  This movie gets a lot of flack from people who believe it’s a sacrilege against the original Grinch cartoon.  I don’t think this is entirely fair.

For one thing, you can’t really compare the two.  Yes, they originate from the same storybook, but I think that’s pretty much where the similarities end.  The cartoon is indeed a CLASSIC… required viewing for the young at heart everywhere.  I feel it’s important to get at least once viewing every holiday season.  There’s nothing to beat the animation, the flawless narration of the tale and the spirit invoked by the story.  This version certainly has no equal.

However.

I don’t think loyalty to the classic is any reason to discount entirely the “remake”.  No, the Jim Carrey version fills an all-important “goofy holiday movie” quotient.  In fact, if this version falls flat anywhere at all, it falls flat when it gets too sentimental which doesn’t happen often but when it does it comes off as slightly insincere.  But at the goofy stuff.  It scores a direct hit.  Jim Carrey is fantastic as The Grinch, bringing his own special brand of silly to the story.  In fact, it is with The Grinch where this movie shines and provides us so many laugh out loud moments, we can’t help but quote then year-round.  I submit for your consideration:

That there is possibly my most favorite scene in the movie, though I do have MANY.  Yes, I dare say there is plenty of space in my heart for BOTH versions.  Plus it makes the kids laugh.  That’s Sunday Afternoon Gold, right there.

Now, some remakes are definitely better than others.  I’m thinking “Miracle on 34th Street” in particular here.  I never did care for the saccharine 90’s version with that annoying kid that was showing up in every family movie there for a few years.  The original, in that case, is very hard to beat.  Though I can admire that they tried.

I’m not sure how I’d feel about a remake of “The Christmas Story” or “Christmas Vacation” though.  Those ones may be off limits.

But making cartoons into live-action or computer animated versions?  I suppose I can get behind that.  Think of how cool a re-do of “Frosty the Snowman” done live-action style would be?  Or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer done in computer animation?  Done by the right studio (and not some fly-by-night type of outfit), the end result could be fantastic.  I’d love to see someone try.

What do you think?

Who says it’s too early for Christmas?

Like most bloggers, I can’t bear to leave up a depressing post like that for too long.  But on the other hand, we had a weekend in there and it was, as usual, busy busy go go go and, well, blogging kinda falls behind on the weekend.

But now it’s Monday and that means it’s time to pick at belly button lint, sip coffee, stare at walls and blog.

We’ve started embracing Christmas around here.  And I *know* that Halloween is just newly at our backs and Thanksgiving is still over a week away.  Don’t pester me with details.  We take our Christmas seriously around here.  Our tree is très fake but no less lovely and we always enjoy putting it up as soon as we can manage it.  That, traditionally, is sometime around Veteran’s Day.  So this Veteran’s Day, we broke out the ornaments and got to decorating.

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And yes, I realize it looks pretty much how it looked last year.  Things don’t change much around here.  It’s comfortable that way.  Anyhow, this tree is a source of much enjoyment for everyone in the house.  The little ones where so happy to wake up and see it the next morning (since we had done the decorating while they were in bed the night before).  Kile had predicted that Evie would see the tree and say, “Pretty!” and that’s exactly what she did.  She is fully enamored of the tree.  Liam enjoys it too, but maybe he enjoys turning the lights on and off more than anything else.  Either way, this is a tangible reminder that Christmas is coming soon and everyone is feeling just a little more festive.

We kept up the Christmas hijinks yesterday when we stopped in at the mall.  Mostly because I knew there was a Starbucks in the mall.  I was dragging and had a pounding headache, the sort that you know a good cup of joe would cure.  While going to the MALL didn’t really fill me with joy (if the Target on that end of town had a Starbucks in it like the one out in Sparks does, we’d have gone there instead in a heartbeat), the promise of caffeine propelled me onward. We didn’t even stop in at the Disney Store (usually our first stop when we go) before heading to the coffee.  I was on a mission.

I noticed while we were there that Santa had set up shop in his usual spot behind the Starbucks cart.  And he looked kinda lonely.  Every now and then, a family would trickle in and visit with him but there was absolutely no line whatsoever.  I knew I wasn’t strong enough to resist that sort of temptation.  So after we drank our respective drinks (it worked like a charm, by the way, headache was GONE!), we graced Santa with our presence. Evie was… not so sure.  She was certainly happy to see him, pointing and saying “Ho, ho, ho!” (which is what she calls him).  But when in front of him, she hid behind my leg and hid her face behind her hands.  Santa can be kind of intimidating up close and in person.  Liam did not have this problem.  He was a little shy at first, tugging on the hem of his shirt and mumbling his answers.  But once Santa started talking to him about Lightning McQueen, Legos and Batman, Liam warmed right up and they were fast friends.  He happily sat on his lap (we tried Evie on his lap as well but she just cried most piteously so we ended her torment and let Liam enjoy the big guy on his own) and posed for the cutest Santa picture ever.

Liam visits with Santa Claus See that?  That’s a happy boy right there.  Santa gave him a little gift for being such a champ about the whole thing, both kids were given the requisite suckers and we went on our way.   Liam may frustrate every last living cell of my being most times, but I do love how outgoing he can be.  And it was so worth it to see him have that moment, something he’ll probably remember for years.

We browsed around the mall and oohed and aahed at a variety of things.  No purchases were made, however,  We’ve actually already finished most of our Christmas shopping.  I say most because I still need to get some things for Kile and we may pick up a few more things for the kids.  And of course, this doesn’t take into account the things I plan to knit for everyone which OMG DON’T REMIND ME FRANTICFRANTICFRANTIC.

Some people may be sticks in the mud and insist that Christmas doesn’t begin until after Thanksgiving.  To them I say a hearty “BAH HUMBUG” and hum a bar of “Jingle Bells”.  You’re all just lucky we don’t start all this up in the middle of October.  Or, you know, July.

So that was Christmas

Christmas is past and unlike previous years where there has always been a touch of post-Christmas letdown going on, this year I’m just sorta “meh” about it.  But then, “meh” sorta sums up my entire year.  On the whole, I’d say I’m just sorta glad Christmas is over with so we can move on with things.  If I’m disappointed about anything, it’s the notion that we’re that much closer to summer again.  I could go another 9 months without hot weather, thankyouverymuch.

I hope everyone had a dandy Christmas.  I can’t complain too much about ours.  Nothing spectacular, but was peaceful and homey.  We spent Christmas Eve in the usual way.  Kile was home from work and we got the turkey ready (brined, baby!) and that afternoon we went out to eat at PF Changs.  Evie was… special.  It’s getting very hard to eat out with her.  I had to go out with her several times.  But word to the wise: Crispy Honey Shrimp is out of this WORLD.  I want to eat that every day.

Afterward, we went by Walmart.  The intention was to pick up my thyroid med prescription.  Of course, everyone came in and the pharmacy was closed adn I came to the conclusion that if you’re already having a hard time feeling the Christmas Spirit, then going to Walmart is probably the worst thing you could possibly do.  I picked up a last minute gift for Harry (Christmas jammies to open when we got home!) and fled with my sanity barely intact.  UGH.

I had also reserved “District 9″ at the redbox.  The intention was to reserve it at this particular Walmart so I could pick it up while there.  Except, I reserved it for the WRONG WALMART.  I somehow picked the “Northtown” Walmart instead.   Better known as “Getto-Mart”.  We don’t go there.  We just… don’t.  And here it was, Christmas Eve.  And we had to go.  I jumped out of the van and ran inside (it SMELLED in there!) and… no movie.  Just an error message.  GAH.  So we made a call to redbox support and they apologized profusely, refunding us the rental fee and gave us two free rentals to make up for it.  I checked the redbox iPhone app and luckily, “District 9″ was available at a machine on our way home.  So we stopped and picked it up.  We saw “Inglourious Basterds” was also in and picked that up too.  Awesome!

We got home and let the kids open their Christmas jammies, have a little fudge and then it was time for bed.  Yay, Santa’s coming!

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Harry helped us fill stockings, eat Santa cookies and put together Liam’s train table before he headed to bed too.  I was impressed that he was so anxious to get to sleep.  He wanted it to be Christmas as bad as the little ones did.   We set up the rest of the gifts, one big Santa gift apiece.

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The train table was beyond cool.  Looks like a regular table?  Inside is…

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We knew Liam would LOVE it.  And lest you think Evie got left out:

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Every Princess needs a castle, yes?  And for Harry:

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God help our ears.  We settled in to watch “District 9″ and it was a really, really good movie!  And I found it was PERFECT for Christmas this year.  I needed some violence.  Forgive the small spoiler, but if you need to see multiple people and things blow up like water balloons?  WATCH THIS MOVIE.  It fulfills that quotient quite nicely.

Morning came rather early, as Christmas mornings often do.  I was woken up by the realization that there was one more dog in our bed than is there usually.  I turned over and saw two heads poking in the door, one of them giggling.  The boys were up!  We grabbed Evie out of her crib and headed down to take in the bounty.  As predicted, Liam was floored by his table.  He just stood and stared at it for a few minutes.  Evie took a few minutes to fully wake up.   Christmas can be very overwhelming.

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The kids had an obscene amount of gifts to open. Evie had no interest in the actual opening of gifts.  We had to do most of that for her, but she did quite enjoy the end results.   I got some nice gifts, including a watch from Disney World  and some awesome slipper socks.

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But by far my coolest gift was a sweatshirt Kile hunted down for me at Disney World.  While we were there, I wanted this sweatshirt SO bad.  But it was rather pricey and I just couldn’t bring myself to spend a majority of my souvenir budget on one thing for myself.  I left it behind but even after got home, I kept thinking about it and wishing I had gotten it.  It was so cool!  I looked online and it was nowhere to be found.  No Disney Store, no eBay, nothing.  Well apparently, Kile found out about this secret “personal shopper” service that Disney provides.  You let them know what thing you’re looking for, what store you had seen it at, and they’ll go find it for you.  So he used that service and hunted down my sweatshirt.  Imagine my surprise when I opened it on Christmas morning!  Very cool!

Of course, now that I look, they have it online.  Still, that doesn’t diminish the heroic efforts Kile went to to track it down.  Awesome.

All in all… a good Christmas.  Kile has this week off so we’re gonna take it easy, recover from the holidays, do some shopping and just enjoy the season.  Sounds good to me, how about you?

Fa la l- oh, who cares??

So… er…  Hi.

I’m still here, I SWEAR.  But I don’t know if you’ve noticed or anything.  But it’s like CHRISTMAS EVE tomorrow.  And I’m a knitter.  And as such I am burning the midnight oil (literally!) trying to get out a few last presents for the family.  And, sadly, amidst much knitting there isn’t much time for blogging.

Besides, all you would hear me say is, “FLU! ACK!  KNITKNITKNIT!  MY BACK! ACK! KNITKNITKNIT!”  That’s pretty much all that’s happened since I last posted anyhow.

So yeah.  It was the flu.  As evidenced by the crazy ass fever I was sporting (probably WHILE I was writing that last post which does actually explain quite a bit, don’t you think?).  Luckily, I bore the worst of it in the hood here.  Kile and Harry both were sick but neither were in the throes quite as deep as I was.  So… there’s that?  But I totally lost a whole day of knitting and that SUCKED.

KNITKNITKNIT!

And then the whole back thing.  I did something funky to it yesterday, popped something out of alignment behind my right shoulder blade or something.  Hurts like heck.  I had four ibuprofen earlier which sorta helped dull the PAINPAINPAIN, which is improvement because the 4 ibuprofen I took yesterday did nada.  I seriously woke up this morning feeling like one big old muscle cramp.

I can still barely turn my head to the right but whatever.  I don’t need to be able to do that to knit.

KNITKNITKNIT!

Luckily, I’m mostly done with gifts.  I wasn’t able to get everything done that I hoped, but perhaps that will remain as a lesson to me to START EARLIER.  And not to let ones customs list get so out of control next time.  *cough*  I only have left the rest of Evie’s longies (I’m on the second cuff ruffle… woot!) and a hat for Harry.  Oh and a hat for my father in law, but that doesn’t need to be done until like Saturday or thereabouts.  So a bit ol’ WHEW there.  I will finish!  I must!  And no, I don’t get a day off, because soon as I have a chance, I have to get back into customs.

It’s a good thing I like to stay busy with this, huh?

Kile has tomorrow off and doesn’t go back to work until after New Years which is going to be wonderful. I’m looking forward to a few days of family fun and chaos, actually.  I’m not 100% sure what our plans are for tomorrow yet, but I think they might involve eating Chinese food.  Which is fine by me!  And perhaps driving around and looking at Christmas lights.  That’ll be nice.  Oh and brining a turkey.  But that’s more Kile than me.

If I don’t talk to you before the Big Day, I just wanna say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone out there (there are still some of you left, aren’t there?).  I hope everyone has a great holiday together and that you get everything on your wish lists.

Ho ho ho!

Holiday Hangover

Whew. Christmas is over. Now it is time to begin the business of getting life back to normal. Clear the last of the wrapping and boxes and packages off the floor, start taking down the decorations, move the baby back into her room and crib, get both kids back on their regular nap schedules.

Topping my list of post-holiday to-do is to learn just what to do with the sewing machine Kile gave me. Seriously, the thing sorta intimidates me. But once I get the hang of it, it’s going to be AWESOME.

So how are the rest of you all coping, now that the holidays are past? Do you all need some Advil and a glass of wine as much as I do?

Yule Thoughts

I am EXHAUSTED, ya’ll.  We went to bed after midnight last night, the wind kept me up quite a bit and general Christmas excitement woke me up early.  I figure I maybe got four hours.  AM TIRED.  But things are far too exciting and noisy and confused and chaotic right now to take any sort of a nap.  Plus, Evie is all kinds of needy today.  So as soon as I close my eyes, she’s sure to need me.

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Did you all get what you wanted?  While I knew I wouldn’t be able to get everything on my list, I’m very happy with what I did get.  I got a sewing machine and a bunch of doo-dads and what-nots to go with it.  Everyone here did very well, actually.  Kile is thrilled with the cookware, cutlery and cologne that I got him.  The kids are beyond ecstatic (Harry went apeshit over Rockband, Liam is obsessed with the play kitchen and Evie has a surprising level of fondness for her Cabbage Patch baby doll).  The living room?  Is a nightmare.

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WTF??  The sun is out??  GO AWAY SUN.  You’re not wanted here.  Go on!  Get!

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Have I mentioned I’m sooooo tired.  Because I am.  SOOOOOO tired.

And the soul felt it’s worth

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I hope everyone is having a top-notch holiday.  After having a serious bout of the “bah, humbugs” yesterday, I’ve finally come around to this whole “Christmas thing” and am officially “feeling it”.  For the moment.  I’ll keep you posted.

And so this is Christmas.  It was a rough night, what with The Wind That Wouldn’t Get the Hint and LEAVE TOWN ALREADY.  Plus, you know, good, old-fashioned Christmas anticipation.  Between the two, I got little uninterupted sleep.  And I was up shortly after 5am.  Evie woke up about an hour later.  And a half hour after she woke up, we heard the boys giggling in their room so it was finally Time.  We descended the stairs and the children were greeted with:

Santa Wuz Here Recession?  What recession?

And what about me?  Did I get what I wanted the most for Christmas this year?  Did I get what I had been (not-so) patiently waiting for?  Here is what I saw out the door this morning:

White Christmas Woo hoo!  SNOW!  About friggin’ time!

I hope you all got what you most wanted this fine, wintery morning.  Merry Christmas to you all, from my house to yours.  As my little gift to you, here are some snaps from the last day or so.  No new camera to take pictures on, but I suppose the other one will do for now.  Besides, I know there’s a MacBook in my future.  (Come on, tax return!!)

Pretty Dress

Pretty Dress

Christmas Jammies

Light blur

Lights

Christmas Lights

White Christmas

White Christmas

First Christmas

Christmas morning

Carnage

Glad Tidings

I must be getting old.  I’ve noticed that lately whenever things start getting busy that my mind turns into a piece of swiss cheese.  I can’t keep a single thought in my head for more than five minutes at a time and balls are getting dropped all over the place.  I find myself flitting from one activity to the next to the next and NOTHING is getting done and I’m falling further and further behind.  Come on, Marilyn.  FOCUS.  

Ahem.  That aside… 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Kile is out at WALMART.  No, not groceries (we did that last night and I am still recovering from the LINES).  Not presents either.  No, he’s getting a new tire for his van.  So, you know, we can go to church this evening.  OY.  Nothing like the last minute, eh?  He went with his dad and the two boys so I’m at home with my mother in law and Evie and Evie is napping so… woo hoo!  

I will be putting up a more meaningful post at some time, either later today or tomorrow.  But right now I seem unable to keep a thought in my head for long enough to make anything make any sense.  (Please tell me I’m not the only scattered one today!)

Right now, while I’m waiting for snow that I’m still not sure will ever come (hello, it’s SUNNY outside right now!), I’m hoping that all of you are having a lovely holiday.  Stay safe, drink some booze for me and enjoy your families and friends.  Open a present or two and think of me.

Christmas Double Eve

Wow, is it really Christmas tomorrow?  Like, for seriously?

Good thing I’m ready.  I mean, I’m REALLY ready.  And, bless it, I am actually starting to “feel it”.  Just a little.  The barest dusting of snow we got in the wee hours last night helped.  As does getting the vast majority of the cleaning up done in time for my in laws to arrive later today.

Kile hitched a ride into work with a co-worker today so he’ll either hitch a ride back or talk his parents into picking him up when they get to town.  Hopefully, by the time today is through, he’ll have a new tire for his van so all this goofiness will be done and over with.  Or mostly.  At least until the tan van is registered sometime next week.  I miss my tan van.  These kids had better be grateful for all the awesomeness we are bestowing on them for the holidays because the sacrifices we had to make are nothing short of torturous.

The floors are clean, the bathrooms are spotless, the kitchen counters are SPARKLING, damnit.  There are clean sheets on the guest bed and the stairs have been vacuumed.  All of Evie’s clothes have either been bagged up (too small) or put away.  Hot Wheels still litter the living room floor but you gotta give me a break here.  Besides, they’re keeping Liam entertained.

So I find myself actually anticipating the holiday tomorrow.  Going to church, looking at Christmas lights, eating cookies and fudge and letting the kids open their pajama presents.  Playing up the wonder and excitement of it all.   Liam is really starting to “get” it and I can’t wait to see what he thinks come Christmas morning.

In case some of you aren’t around the internets tomorrow or the day after, MERRY CHRISTMAS.  You know I’ll be here though.  I always am, aren’t I?  (Though I can’t promise quality… but when has that stopped me before?)

Four Years of Blogging

It has been four years since I started this blog.  In internet terms, that seems like an awful long time.  I remember that day rather well, actually.  I had been reading a few blogs and after receiving some some encouragement from a good friend, I decided to try the whole blog thing myself.  I was in the darkest of dark places, that December.  It was 9 months after we lost Jackson and I certainly wasn’t in the mood to be celebrating anything.

(And I need to warn anyone who goes back to look at those first posts:  I was in a BAD PLACE.  The worst place I’ve ever been in in my entire life, as well as the worst place I’ve ever been in since starting this blog.  I was bitter.  I was unhappy.  And it was 100% my deal.  Nothing can be blamed on Elko, my lovely in-laws or even Christmas in general.)

We had discussed before making the trip to Elko for Christmas whether or not we should just stay home and not subject people to our cheerless selves.  I still wonder if we made the right choice.  Kile contended (and still does) that we would have been just as unhappy at home as we would have been there so we may as well make the best of it.  I think that it would have been better to protect the masses from my foul self and shut myself away.  But oh well.  Bygones and all that.  And yes, having the newly minted blog really helped me process my bitterness.  After all, once I was able to spew my bitterness onto the electronic page, I was better able to expose myself to the innocent people around me.

This year is also rough, but in comparison, it is light years easier.  Kile had a good point yesterday when we were talking about this.  Our problems this year are finanicial.  Our problems in 2004 were emotional.  This year, everything could be solved with more money.  Yeah, we might not be feeling too spirited but that’s mostly because the money thing is giving us evil amounts of stress.  Take away the money issue and we’d feel a lot better.

In 2004, there wasn’t anything that was going to make us feel any better.  All the money in the world couldn’t have brought Jackson back to us.

In comparison, this year we have everything we ever could have wanted in 2004.  I can’t forget that.

Anyhow, this is supposed to be a post about how I’ve been blogging for four years.  I hope I am still blogging four years from now.  Even if no one is reading anymore, I want to still be putting my words out there.  For anyone that doubts the importance of blogging, I have only this to say:  It has saved my life.

So thank you, blog.  I owe you one.