Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Woot WOOOT!!

The party train is about to pull out of grand station.

We are leaving to go to Arizona the day after tomorrow to watch Chelsea tie the knot.

We are NOT bringing our children.

Yes, yes you read me right. The grandparents have assumed the risk (insane of them, I know).

There will be several dear old friends, a handful of social events involving booze and cake and music, and lots and lots of polishing and braiding and powdering/hairspraying/bobby pinning.

Dear Lord... is it possible that I have died and gone to heaven?

There might... or might not... be pictures to follow. But there will not be blogging for the rest of the year, this much is certain.

Stay tuned in 2009, the McDermott family has a LOT of big changes ahead!

Friday, December 26, 2008


It seems to me that as the years go by and my responsibility in life grows, the Christmas season can get to be more and more of... well, a hassle! (THERE! I said it!)

I still love the cookies (always and forever). I love the carolers, and the beginning of the winter frost (although that gets old fast). I love the lights, the excitement brimming just below the surface in every kid on the block, the Christmas plays, and of course the true meaning behind it all.

But the presents. The lists. The songs. The expectations. Even the decorations can get real.real.STRESSFUL!

But this year... was a true gift. There were still lists... but small ones. There were still decorations, but it was worth it. Because it was MY kids who were finally old enough to bubble with excitement all season long.

We made a LOT of cookies. Almost every day. We went to a lot of events. Parades, Christmas pageants, church. We didn't shop a lot. A group of carolers came to our door. We watched The Grinch and Shreck the Halls and Polar Express with the kids and sang a lot of Frosty the Snow Man and Up On the Housetop. And it was heaven.

Christmas Eve Tyson got off work a little early, and I closed half day. We all got dressed up and the kids were adorable. Anabelle got a second hand pair of Patent Leather dress shoes from her Grammie, and wore them around the house in her chones all afternoon saying how fancy she felt "Like YOU, Mama! Were the SAME!" I felt like a puddle of melted Frosty.

They were MORE than cooperative in front of the tree on the way out the door (talk about Christmas Miracles!)

Tyson's Mom made a Christmas Eve feast fit for kings as usual. She always makes family events so special, spending all day in the kitchen so everything comes out just right. She sets the table with her fancy dishes and her Mom's crystal, buys sparkling cider and other special touches for the kids, and never bats an eyelid when they wipe mashed potato fingers all over her lacy tablecloth. This year was no exception, it was great to have everyone home in their place.

Tyson's family opens family gifts Christmas Eve also, so after dinner and church we went back to his parent's again and for the first year both kids were old enough and more than zealous for an opportunity to pass out the gifts with their Dad.

I found the both kids a new pair of Carter's brand jamies at Ross a few months ago for $6 each. Dawson's are a shade of blue that make his bright little baby boy eyes scream to be noticed, and Anabelle's say "I (heart) rainbows"... which is ironic because remember how she just saw her very first rainbow and LOVED it? Of course they were a major hit.

And then... there were the sweets. I'm pretty sure they are still running on a sugar high... 2 days later.

Santa came (of course). Anabelle got her new dolly she requested, and Dawson got his robot arm along with a 'real' camera! That was all Tyson's idea, and actually kind of an afterthought. He found it online for cheap (shocking, I know), but Dawson adores it! Maybe I'll have to blog about all the cute stuff he takes pictures of, there are already over 100 images stored on it and they're all taken from angles about 3 feet off the ground of things that are important to him.

The kids also got a together gift of Vtech motion game system. Its similar to a Wii for kids... only way cheaper. Surprisingly... it was NOT the hit of the day! Go figure! I think it will be something they will grow to appreciate in time as they learn to use it. They are still basking in the glory of new trinkets from the rest of the world. But I am proud of the overall simplicity and self control that both families demonstrated this season.

I hosted Christmas breakfast here... which was actually brunch as it was almost noon before we all got around to making it happen.

After brunch, we took the kids to see Desperaux in the movie theatre. It was our first family movie event, and a smash success (Christmas miracle #2!). I was shocked to find both kids finally at an appropriate age for the outing... and the best part of all... kids under 5 are FREE lalalalalalalaLAAAAAA! so the entire family of 4 saw a matinee for $8. And it was actually a bearable kid's movie!

I plan to take full advantage of this new development, we have almost a whole year before Dawson has to buy a ticket.

We came home for a short regroup after the movie, and then waddled (we were waddling by then!) over to my parent's house (lucky its CLOSE!) for (yup) more.eats. Potato and ham soup, shrimp, cranberry orange muffins... mmmmmm. Just when we thought we couldnt eat another bite... WE COULD!

And last. My dear, sweet husband. We agreed to stuff each other's stockings but not buy each other gifts otherwise this year. But he still managed to show such thoughtfulness in the surprisingly appropriate items he selected, including the same exact color nail polish I chose for my Mom (without knowing it!), an assortment of my favorite peppermint lotions and scrubs from CoBigelow and this gorgeous necklace that I saw months back (like... summertime!) in the Hands gallery (Figs and Ginger) and fell head over heels in love with.

I'm never taking it off.

What a lovely day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Cheer

So, living in California it seems like kind of an unnecessary splurge to buy a "winter coat," but I've been 'needing' one for awhile now. Like, a nice-ish one, for wearing out... you know, to all the fabulous events I am always attending out on the town, haha. See what I mean about over indulgent? I have a nice black wool jacket from GAP I got a couple Christmas's ago. Its HUGE on me now. I feel like I'm wearing a parachute when I go out in it, and its hard to maneuver in and its obviously unflattering.

I was eyeing this gorgeous long wool pea coat at Target in cobalt blue at the after Christmas sales... you know, when you're supposed to be shopping for other people... and I tried it on and loved it, but couldn't bring myself to spend the $60 on it (I know... $60 is a steal for a nice jacket... but still it was somewhat impulsive).

And then, Carly had a small Christmas get together last weekend, and it was a dressy event. I had a cute new dress in mind to wear, and I even planned to shave my legs and wear my spanx. The new outfit involved cocktail length, satin, and sleeveless. iiiii know, brrrrrrr!, right? So I decided the morning of the event that I needed NEEDED to take the plunge and buy a jacket.

I checked Styles 4 Less for the obvious reasons... Styles... 4 Less, right? But alas, their jackets were casual, and still in the $40 range. Also, "made in China" was practically stitched on the outside of the jacket. Not worth it.

So I flew up to Target to make my big purchase only to find (predictably) they were sold out of my size or anything close to it in the lovely cobalt color and (duh) no longer even remotely on sale. But they DID have a size up from the one I tried on in burgundy. I slipped it off the rack, and found it only a smidgen over sized which slightly perturbed me (but not as much as if it actually FIT in the bigger size), but I decided I could no longer live without a jacket. The stocker lady said they would NOT be getting another shipment of coats in, they were already stocking bathing suits, and there were none in the back or in the fitting rooms. So after a moments consideration, I decided I could settle.

(This is NOT the jacket, I couldn't find it on Google Image, but its similar. Mine's hotter.)

I still felt guilty.

I got home and walked in the door, started to get ready... and seconds later my Mom pulled in the driveway.

She walked right in the front door, like a woman on a mission... and handed me $50. Just because! Like she knew I needed it. She had unexpectedly come into the extra cash, and decided to share. I could have cried. It was like it was meant to be, all my guilt instantly vanished.

My new jacket is freaking HOT, I still kind of wish it was cobalt, but in all honesty the burgundy probably goes with more of my vast wardrobe anyways (haha).

Anyways, thanks for the Christmas cheer, Mom.

And for always keeping me warm.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Its been ffrrreeeezzzing cold and sometimes rainy here all week. We've been shut in doors for days on end now. I'm not sure if its because the kids are slowly but surely getting older and more manageable or if its still just so early in the cold season I have a morsel of optimism left in me but it hasn't really been all that bad (yet).

Here's how we've been keeping busy:

1. Baking Cookies,

And 2., licking the spoon of course...

3. Hunting rainbows (the look on Anabelle's face as her bright blue eyes spotted their very first rainbow was a priceless moment):

4. Doing puzzles:

And 5., playing dress up (on ourselves and other things as well!):

And of course, last but not least, 6., we've been spending a LOT of time in the magical land of Play dough (and by 'magical,' I mean DEAR LORD!, there MUST be a magnet in the fundamental compounds of the stuff that, in one single motion both attracts the bottom of a child's shoe and leads them directly to a scarce clean spot in living room carpet).

Not pictured... can I just say... our poor, poor cat has gotten a LOT of 'attention' by all the cabin fevered little ones the last few days. I almost feel sorry for her (the wicked little beast that claws our screen to shreds as we attempt to sleep between getting up for our actual children night after night...wants in and out of the house so many times during the day I am considering hiring a personal assistant so I can get anything done... has been knows to intentionally trip you when your hands are full if you are ignoring her need for fresh water, the distilled kind, NOT the tap, OH!... and then manages to get pregnant, and successfully abandon and ultimately murder her own offspring out of spite and jealousy! No comment there, ahem).

Like I said, almost.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dear Santa:

I have tried very, very hard to be a good mom this year.

I almost never send my kids to bed early without good cause.

Usually most of the shouting that occurs throughout the course of a day is in my own head, I do everything I can not to let it out through the mouth.

It would appear that (so far!) neither of my children know any 'naughty list' vocabulary words (although I would ask that you not quiz them).

And even when the children do commit behavioral discrepancies subjected to the North Pole court of justice, I almost never laugh out loud and usually even insist on an apology to the offended party.

I'll get to the point.

I want a nap. A looooong , luscious, uninterrupted nap, ALONE, in clean and crisp sheets washed by someone other than me. New sheets wouldn't hurt, but I won't be picky. The nap is the important part.

I want a day off and a wad of cash with no list of family necessities involving clothing that will be stained or outgrown with a week for small creatures besides myself, or cleaning products meant to polish the throne of toddlers who are still developing their 'aiming' abilities (we'll just keep blaming the kids and let dad off the hook for the time being. See how 'good' I am, Santa?).

I want a vacation. A real one. It doesn't have to involve a passport. Just a getaway car. No portable DVD players or goldfish crackers allowed.

And lastly, I want you to use your damn Christmas magic to scare cold and flu season (and all other infectious and non infectious illnesses) as far away from Atascadero, Ca as it can possibly go, never to be seen or heard from again. If it can not be all together obliterated, I'd take a voucher that could last until next Christmas when I can ask for it again assuming my continued good behavior thru 2009.

I'm really depending on you, Santa. Good kids are, after all, only as good as their parents, no? And I know I have good kids. So I'm thanking you in advance for your co-operation in these matters. I wouldn't want you to accidentally eat a poisonous cookie in our neighborhood on your big night, big guy (wink, wink!).



P.S. I have taken the liberty of attaching our kid's wish lists also in the photos below. The impostor in the Santa trailer downtown insisted on keeping the darling little letters, but we know how you don't really need a hard copy anyways... and after all, a picture is worth a thousand words. So just bring us the loot, and make it snappy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Attitude Problem

Friday night we attended our town's winter festival in the Sunken Gardens. We've been to a few family functions recently and come to the shockingly liberating realization that suddenly (gasp of glee, strike up choir of angels!), we don't need to bring a stroller!

Even so (make no mistake!) we have our hands full of toddler madness. Both of us still has at least one sticky hand in ours at all times, there are several random head counts and inventories, and there is still plenty of added cargo of emergency supply to tote along.

So obviously the outing in and of itself was a chore to say the least. It was a fun chore... but with two small and wildly independent children with the joy of Christmas radiating out of every or face of their tiny bodies, it takes a lot of strategy to successfully navigate a family of 4 thru a mass mob of 'the rest of society' (teenagers, old people, love birds with OUT children, and the other fanatic and frazzled parents of little ones putting out fires of their own) without getting separated and avoiding meltdowns at every bend and turn.

e braved a long line in the freezing cold to sled down a melted and filthy heap of frost that was at one time meant to be snow. The kids didn't care, they were actually decently behaved in line and had a blast for all of 4 seconds down the 'slope.' They each decided to go alone at the last minute... and Anabelle had a look of terror and regret on her horrified little face from the moment the man said "GO!" Ha ha. Poor lil thing.

I suppose in light of that, I shouldn't have been surprised the next thing she needed to do was "GOOO POTTY NOOOOWWWWW!" Of course, she waited to mention that little detail until we had moved on to the bounce house with the longest line in the park, and then split up so I could hold both kids and our place in line while Tyson went to buy tickets.

Thank heaven for Grammie, who took my spot in line with Dawson so I could have the glamorous privilege of high tailing it to the closest pitch black and freezing cold out house with my newly potty trained and highly curious daughter. Ew.

When we found the sacred place located at the other end of the universe, of COURSE there was a line. Anabelle did a lively little potty jig, and I silently prayed someone would see my predicament and graciously offer 'cuts.'

No such luck.

I had explain to her at least three times that we were waiting our turn because the other people had to go potty before we could go in. She was getting antsier by the second (believe me, so was I... the suspense of waiting for an impending accident in a crowd of the entire town isn't exactly my idea of a star parenting moment).

It was ALMOST our turn when the girl ahead of us, who was about my age with no child in her arms or anywhere in sight turned around to glare at me.


I didn't get it.

I had half a mind to glare right back when I found myself saying "is something wrong?" as politely as could be. (Well what do you know... motherhood hasn't sucked all the soul and self control out of me after all!)

The girl hesitated for a second, and then her angry glare melted as she realized I was completely oblivious to whatever was bothering her.

She then managed to apologetically mutter... "um... she kicked me," pointing straight at the darling little potty princess now hiding behind me and clinging for dear life.

She quickly added "I'm sure it was an accident..."

Oooooo, no. No, no, no, no, NO, make no mistake, this was NO accident. I could spot the tarnish on her polished halo from a mile away. Little angel Anabelle had, in fact, KICKED the lady ahead of us in the shins simply because she was mad that she got to go first!


I spent the rest of the time in line apologizing, strangling an apology out of my daughter, and then apologizing a little bit more.

I seriously can't believe she thought to do such a thing!

Well, OK, maybe I can believe it. But I probably wouldn't have actually managed to sum up the courage until I was at LEAST six or seven to do such a thing myself... OOpsey!, did I really just type that out loud? So much for all that still having a soul nonsense...

Friday, December 12, 2008


First of all, let me just start by confessing... yes, yes I DID feed my children Christmas cookies with candy cane sticks for breakfast. And I'm NOT sorry, it was priceless to see the look of bewilderment flood their sleepy little faces when I offered them a sacred choice of one of the delicacies on the heaping plate of comfort and joy that Kari dropped off last night. They thought I had officially lost my mind! I could see their little minds working groggily... waiting for me to say "just kidding, no sugar for YOU, give it back please!" Hilarious.

And second... I had to post this because Dawson managed to give himself a NASTY shiner on Wednesday afternoon after skipping carelessly thru the kitchen and smack into the corner of the table. I heard the sickening CRACK!, and in the moment of silence before the blood curdling scream I had only hoped my eyes were playing tricks on me and he hadn't actually hit straight in the eyes socket as I thought.

But it was no trick. He had managed to fall perfectly aligned to introduce the edge of the table with the bone of his eyebrow. I thought for a moment there would be stitches, but the blood proved to be mostly from a superficial scrape thru the bush of his eyebrow. Thank heaven... now lets just pray the hair will grow back in that spot~!

He was a trooper, of course. And by now, he is predictably quite proud of his battle wound. I, on the other hand, seriously considered keeping him home from school yesterday so they would not call CPS. Oi.

In other news, here is ANOTHER kind of shiny. Our little star Anabelle got a chance earlier this week to spend a day alone with her beloved Grammie. She could NOT have been more excited (or more adorable) in getting ready. She reminded Dawson that it was "only her!" at least a half dozen times, and just about hit the ceiling when she realized she got to pack up her Dora backpack and take a cup of cocoa in the car with Daddy when he left for work to drop her off. She was over the moon.

What a big girl. And LONG LIVE QUEEN GRAMMIE!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oh, How the Years Go By

Dawson Matthew McDermott, on his Grammie's couch with his snowmen friends.

December 2004 (one month old):

December 2008 (4 years and 1 month old):

My oh my. Time flies when you're having fun.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I know,I know... its been awhile.

We've been busy ENJOYING the holiday season this year (imagine that)!

For Thanksgiving, we had a lovely dinner at my Aunt and Uncle's house in Visalia. They always host a big family hoo-la, and its been years since we made it for the event. The kids had a great time, and were fantastic little travelers. And me without my camera. Nice one.

We got our tree the day after Thanksgiving, and were the second customer of the season at the live Christmas tree lot down the street. Dawson got to fulfil his lumberjack fantasy, and Anabelle was the most ambitious little helper elf you ever saw... ha.

Heh. I don't know WHAT is up with her death glare, or where in the world she gets it (*blushes*), but MAN, that girl has got a POUT! Santa is watching, we tell her. I don't think she cares. Hmph. She did cheer up a bit and actually had a good time...

Kyle came with us, to help, and to take a family picture of us that I will send out in our Christmas card. Send me your address if you want one!

We spent most of the rest of the long weekend decking the halls.

We had so much fun in our group effort, listened to some Christmas music, and even managed to avoid a nasty toddler fight by putting the star on top of the tree twice. Ha.

And to top a Merry long weekend off, Tyson actually got the Christmas lights put up... without jeopardizing our marriage... and then requested that we all bundle up and go for a brisk evening stroll to make a hit list of admire all the neighbors who one-upped our light display.
In other McDermott holiday news, I have YET to shop and really honestly don't plan to much at all this year. We are baking, staying up late and eating cookies, attending several local parades and community events, and enjoying the finer things in life this year that don't involve gift receipts.

And we couldn't be happier about it.