Eggshell carcasses and other culinary casualties dressed as menacing presents harassed me in my nightmares all last week as I charged my way to Christmas. I almost made a stop long enough to board the Good Ship Seasick, but I pulled myself together in a stellar display of “crazy holiday mom” who attempts to impress innocent bystanders with DIY fits and feats of epic proportions. Here’s how it all went down:
- Saturday, December 16th: Whirlwind trip to Victoria, B. C. to look at festive lights and ride the 9D Adventures at the Bay Centre Mall. Yep. I got nauseas. I almost asked them to stop the ride. This ride, by the way, goes nowhere. It’s a simulation of a roller coaster. I was literally sitting in a gently swaying chair and I couldn’t handle it.
2. Sunday, December 17th: Laundry. Massive amounts of laundry.
Me: There are only three of us! How could we have worn 40 pairs of underpants in 24 hours?
Nate: We did a lot of walking in Victoria.
Me: Yes. Walking. That explains everything.
- Monday, December 18th: Hair appointment, orthodontist appointment for Alex, and a quick run to swim team practice for Alex. More laundry.
- Tuesday, December 19th: Clean the house and run Alex to swim practice. Oh, I have to grocery shop too. Then, I find out that the ONLY gift Alex actually asked for “might” come in on Saturday. Maybe. I throw a tantrum—on the inside. I can’t actually throw a public tantrum. It’s unbecoming of a swim team mom.
- Wednesday, December 20th: More swim practice for Alex and then caroling in the neighborhood. A neighborhood mom organized caroling and Nate, Alex, and I went. We should have brought a warning sign: NOT PROFESSIONAL VOICES. REAL PEOPLE SINGING OUTSIDE. We were welcomed anyway, though some neighbors, for whom English is not the first language, were not sure what to do with us. One of them gave us a $10 bill. We honestly tried to give it back, but this neighbor wasn’t having it. Maybe he thought giving money would stop the sound. As far as he knew, this is what happened: 1) we were making wretched noises, 2) he gave us some money, and 3) we left. It worked! This same process applies to cats, by the way—except they want food, instead of money.
- Thursday, December 21st: Alex invites a friend over to bake cookies. I have to thoroughly prep the house, leave out all of the cooking utensils, and some very, very specific instructions. I also can’t leave the house. Those are the rules. I stay in my office upstairs and “pretend” to work so that I don’t take over the cookie baking. (I sooooo want to take over.) Alex and his friend do just fine. The house smells heavenly. I’m glad I didn’t take over.
- Friday, December 22nd: I must bake a coffee cake for a swim team practice unity/bonding brunch event on Saturday. EVERYONE MUST contribute. No mom is allowed to be a rebel. There’s no time to mess around, so I pull a recipe from the Internet. It’s a cinnamon/sour cream coffee cake that looks kind of weird when I first pull it out of the oven, so I stick it under the broiler for a little bit to brown the sugar on top. Then, I smell a burning smell, so I take it out just in time. Click here for the recipe. Then, when you finish, if the cake looks “weird” in any way, follow the steps above regarding broiling just until a faint burning smell wafts into your nostrils.
8. Saturday, December 23rd:
7 a.m. Grocery Shopping from Hell.
9 a.m. Make an extra dish for the brunch: a breakfast casserole recipe a la Betty Crocker Cookbook: 5 eggs beaten with a dash of salt and pepper + 1 cup of milk. Layer a casserole dish with 3 cups of frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, chopped onion, green bell pepper, 8 slices of crisp crumbled bacon, and at least a cup and a half of shredded cheddar cheese. Pour the egg mixture over and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Then, I throw it and the coffee cake at Nate with these instructions:
Me: Okay, here’s the coffee cake and the egg dish. Don’t tell anyone I made it.
Me: These are new recipes. I’ve not tried them before. If they taste bad I don’t want anyone to know I made them.
Nate: But they’ll see me placing these dishes on the table.
Me: Tell them someone else made them and then just leave—run—get out fast.
11 a.m.: Everything came out fine, but it’s confirmed: The ONE gift Alex actually wants for Christmas is not coming. A major mom meltdown ensues, but not in front of the swim team.
12 p.m. There are no cookies left in the house. Oh, the horror!!! I must make more:
A) Snow balls from my mother’s recipe book from Mexico where she studied Spanish: 1 cup of butter, ½ cup of powdered sugar—cream the two together. Add a teaspoon of vanilla, 2 ¼ cups of sifted flour, and a dash of salt. Combine everything and place in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for an hour or so. Form the mixture into balls and bake at 400 for 14 minutes. Roll them in powdered sugar.
B) Half a batch of rum balls from Nate’s mom’s cookbooks: ¾ box of vanilla wafers, crushed;1 cup of chopped pecans, 1 cup of raisins—but I didn’t have any, so I used chocolate chips; 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder; ½ cup of powdered sugar; 3 oz of rum; ¼-1/3 cup of corn syrup. Mix everything together and form into balls. Roll them in powdered sugar and powdered coffee.
C) Festive holiday chip cookies from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, but I add 1 tsp of vanilla and leave out the walnuts.
3 p.m. I can finally rest my feet for a few hours before dinner.
7 p.m. Natalie McMaster and her children are fiddling and dancing on TV. Oh, how I wish to dance like that! Scottish step dancing—that’s definitely on my bucket list—and I must do it at the Red Shoe Pub. I get up and dance. I actually believe I’m good. I believe I am awesome.
8 p.m. My feet take quite a pounding from the Scottish step dancing attempts. Nate rubs my feet for me. I’m a lucky lady.
9. Sunday, December 24th:
–Start laundry and a lasagna recipe from the Internet. It actually works! Don’t boil the noodles!
–Wrap some presents—minus the one Alex was expecting. I’m still sore about that one, so I let the wrapping paper know it in no uncertain terms. Here’s what the wrapping paper heard me say:
Everyone can just go $$####@@!!!!
–Try some Scottish step dancing again. Yep. I still think I’m awesome. Yep. My feet still hurt.
–Poke around in my closet for something to wear to Christmas Eve Mass, where I’ll sit, and sit, and sit— and dream about the lasagna and beer waiting for me at home.
—10 p.m.—go to bed with visions of sugarplums—and laundry, lasagna, and swim team brunch items—Scottish step dancing in my head.
Epilogue: A rare Seattle snow fell and we woke up to a white Christmas. Alex didn’t even miss the present he requested and we made it out to see the ocean. All is well. And quiet. Finally. (Except for SeaTac the cat. He’s pretty loud–and the first one up on Christmas morning.) I wish you and yours a festive and Merry Christmas/holiday season–and a very, very Happy New Year!!!!