Sunday, November 23, 2014

Vision of Sugar Plums . . . yeah right.

I have what some would consider a stressful job.  I work primarily in family law and on most days I am at the whim of the people that entrust me with their families. Family law becomes especially hectic and stressful around the holidays.  I write this say - I KNOW STRESS. (Whether I handle stress well is a conversation for another day). But the stress of my job pales in comparison to the stress of putting up the "Begley Family Christmas Tree." 

This year we decided to put the tree up the weekend before Thanksgiving, or maybe I should say, I made the decision to put up the tree and Michael begrudgingly agreed.  We woke up on Saturday and went about our normal day.  I went on a long run, Michael went to Sonic (or as Sam calls in Sonuck) and Finn spent much of his time struggling to figure out how to play his Batman Lego video game. 

We started putting the tree up around 5:00.  As always I waited until the very last second to check the lights and, of course, half of them weren't working. (At least this year I didn't have to cut the pre-lit strands out of the tree).  So at 6:00 I had to send Michael back out for more lights.  

Sam and Daddy decorating the house. 

 As a mom, I have this grand vision in my head about decorating the tree.  I wanted it to be perfect.  I made cookies, I took a shower, fixed my hair, put on make-up and put on a red sweater all in preparation for my "perfect tree decorating experience."  My children had other plans.  Finn had no interest what-so-ever in decorating the tree.  Instead, he sat on the couch and played video games.    In my head I could see  my children sitting on the floor, waiting with bated breath as I strung the Christmas lights.  Reality is a harsh beast. 

    I can say that even though Sam decided to decorate the tree as his alter ego - Batman, he at least brought the enthusiasm that I expect from anyone that shares my DNA.   

After the lights were on, I let Sam help me get out the glass Christmas balls. He really was precious.  

Within five (5) minutes, Sam's enthusiasm meant our first, OF MANY, causalities.  

After the glass balls were perfectly placed, I got out the "good stuff." These are the Keepsake Ornaments that I have collected over the years.  Finn's ears perked up when he saw the first Mickey ornament.  My heart filled with joy as both of my children sat down next to me and eagerly looked at the Christmas ornaments.  I began to recall that Christmas commercial where the children are pouring over memories of what the ornaments on their tree commemorate.  It was at that moment that I see Sam stick his sweet little hand into the box and pull out an ornament.  I helped him open the box and then set the delicate little ornament in his hand.  He looked at the ornament then looked at me and smiled.  Then with all the excitement he could muster, he closed his hand as hard as his could around my ornament and all I could hear was "crunch."  

Despite my trepidation, I decided to power on.  I told Sam to be more careful and he agreed to do so. 

Our approach was simple enough, take all of the ornaments out of the box, put them in a pile and then put them on the tree. Finn proved to be a great hindrance in this process.  I am very, very careful with the packaging of my ornaments.  I keep all the original boxes and packaging.  I admit, I should've been paying more attention to Finn, but with Sam simulating a very violent fight between my "Harry Potter Quiddich" ornament and my "Polar Peek Patrol" ornament, there just wasn't enough of me to go around.  It was only when I started to hear the distinctive tear of cardboard that I was brought back to reality.  

I look up to see that Finn is literally tearing into my "Legal Beagle" ornament box. (Finn, you can take this up with Nana).   I then look over to see a mound of empty boxes and mismatched plastic molding. 

I had reached my breaking point.  

Not only did I not have one dewy-eyed picture of my children gazing at the tree, nor did I have one picture of myself looking like the "perfect mom" trimming the tree with my well-behaved children and adoring husband looking on, I had several broken ornaments and a sobbing Sam. Sam was sobbing because I demanded that both he and Finn step away from the ornaments and only come back into the vicinity on pain of death. Okay, I didn't say that.  But Sam could clearly feel that very sentiment radiating out of my pores. 

I don't say it enough - but I am thankful for my laid back, flip-flop wearing, greasy headed husband who kindly reminded me to be gentle with our very excited and very rambunctious boys.  After all, wasn't it I that wanted the boys to be excited about putting up the Christmas tree?  As usual, he was right.  I gave the boys a hug and we continued to put ornaments on the tree.  I did get to tell Finn and Sam a little bit about the ornaments - not that they gave two licks, but I was happy.  And wasn't this really about my experience all along?

 Oh, and back to that hypothetical question - "didn't you want the boys to be excited about putting up the tree?"  Well . . . be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. 

The next morning I did manage to get a few of my "picturesque" pictures of Sam and the tree. As we were going into the kitchen for breakfast, Sam looked at me and said, "the tree is bu-ti-ful" then he asked when he could put the star on the top of the tree. I melted for just a moment.  But alas, the moment abruptly ended as we watched Sam grab onto the branches of the tree and spin the entire tree, (light cords plugged in and all) around and around inside the tree base. 

Have I mentioned that I love my children.  Because, I do.  I sure do love those boys.  

A Few Extra Pictures

Just a few extra pictures from the Thanksgiving Program.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

HCA Thanksgiving Program

On Tuesday we all went to the Gallatin Campus for the Thanksgiving Program.  I have heard a lot about this program; the kids practice every day which means that Sam gets in trouble every day because he doesn't like to stand still and practice.  Given the poor reports that were coming home on a daily basis - I didn't hold out much hope for this program.

We arrived at the church around 5:30 and took the boys downstairs to get into their costumes.  Finn was a pilgrim.

Sam was an Indian.

At 6:00 the school unveiled the 2014 Thanksgiving Program.  It opened to mixed reviews.  There were a few "face hiders" and there was also a big tearful breakdown. Finn, on the other hand was magnificent.  I definitely see a future in the theater for this kid.  He was so confident.  He said his lines clearly and with the appropriate expression.  He enunciated, stood up straight and even helped cue some of the other actors for their turns. 

Sam sat with his tribe and didn't say a word.  He was very well behaved - but didn't bother to say his lines.  I take that back - he did manage to say the very last word of the program. 

After the program we went into the Fellowship Hall for cookies and pie.  We sat with Jack's parents who told us that both Jack and Finn "got on yellow."  (The boys come home every day with either a green, yellow or red star on their chart).  Finn ALWAYS gets a green star.  Sam usually gets a yellow star, but it is not uncommon for Sam to get a red one.  Finn relishes the opportunity to tell me about Sam's "star" every afternoon which makes it even more ironic that  Finn neglected to tell me about his very first "yellow" star.  Jack's parents told us that Finn and Jack were wrestling and did not stop.  
While on the subject of stars.  Sam got his first green star on Monday.  After school we went over to Gran's house to try on some of her suits.  As a treat she gave the boys some juice.  Unfortunately she only had enough for one glass.  She gave the juice to Sam because he got a "green star."  Finn thought for  a second and very sweetly said, "but Gran, I always get a green star."  In that moment I felt a little bad about how I don't show Finn enough how proud I am of his consistently GREAT behavior at school.  This, of course, all happened before the "wrestling" incident on Tuesday.  

Rain Boots

Sunday was kind of a nasty day.  It was cold and rainy and really overcast.  We headed out for church at 4:00 to help sort and load the truck for the Thanksgiving meals. We thought that we were going to be loading the UHaul outside so we dressed super warm and wore our rain boots.

When we got home I started peeling off layers.  Finn and Sam then started putting my discarded items on. Then for some reason they started hugging.

 Sam in my room boots.

Well, the Rocky trend is continuing.  For the boys, the draw of the movie is a tie between the music and the punching.  They have punched everything in sight for four days. They both really like Rocky IV.  Tonight Finn told me that he wanted to go as Ivan Drago for Halloween next year. They also require a play-by-play when we listen to the soundtrack in the car. Every ten seconds Finn said, "what's happening now?" 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Tiger

On Thursday morning the new Warcraft expansion came out. All of the men in my house were PUMPED!

About a week ago, "Eye of the Tiger" came on in my car.  After one listen through they asked over and over again, "can we listen to "tiger"?  They call it "tiger."  I did not allow myself to get too excited as both of my kids love music.

Fast forward one week.

On Friday of this week, we went to the Main Campus for the Chili Cook-Off.  The preschoolers were invited to say the Pledge of Allegiance before the Green and Gold game. On the way to the school the boys asked to listen to "Tiger."  As the team was warming up they played a variety of music over the loud speaker.  Right before the kids were set to start "pledging" (meaning they were lined up and ready to go) "Eye of the Tiger" came on over the loud speaker.  From across the gym you could see the exact moment both Finn and Sam started to realize that their "song" was playing. Finn, Sam and Finn' s good friend Jack all started to dance.  We then saw Finn turn around to Ms. Cindy.  Michael and I think that Finn was telling Ms. Cindy that he loves this song.

When we got home, I decided to press my luck and turn on the opening scene to ROCKY IV.  The scene shows Rocky's fight with Clubber Lang set to the "Eye of the Tiger." The boys were instantly hooked.  Let me just say - I HAVE WAITED FIVE YEARS FOR THIS MOMENT."  I basked in it as much as Michael would let me.   We watched the opening scene no less than five times. They loved the boxing gloves hitting together.  Every time we watched Sam said, "Do you see the flag mom?"  Next we watched the training scene (Heart's of Fire) and Rocky's fight with the Russian.  The boys didn't move a muscle the entire time.  When one scene ended they begged for another. On Saturday we got up and did it all over again, except this time, we added in a little ROCKY III.  Finn was interested in seeing a scene where Rocky lost.  They also loved the fight with Hulk Hogan - big shock.  I haven't watched this much Rocky since I was Finn's age. It has been a day for this mama.

Okay, back to the Chili Cook Off.  Here is a picture of the boys lined up getting ready to say the pledge.  Finn's friend Jack is in between the boys.  Finn and Sam both did a great job.  They stood still, said the Pledge and then sang "My Country Tis of Thee" on the top of their lungs.

After saying the Pledge, we went out to Brixx Pizza with Jack and his mom and dad.  They were a lot of fun to hang out with. It was pretty crowded so we sat at a high top table.  Sam was a little unsteady sitting up on the high seat.  Thankfully, he didn't fall out. Finn and Jack sat down at the end of the table and ignored the rest of us all evening.

On Saturday I took Finn to Ana's birthday party.  It was a "Frozen" themed party so Finn played "Pin the Nose on Olaf" and "Do you Wanna Build a Snowman."  In this game, Finn was wrapped up in toilet paper and then dressed as a snowman (scarf, hat, etc).  He looked so cute.

Oh, and I ran nine miles today. Dad, Em and Lauren have challenged me to fun the Music City Half Marathon.  For the past few weeks I have been "testing the water" so to speak.   I got back to the house a little before noon.  It is now 9:07 and I am still really, really nauseated.

Ribs, Ribs, Ribs

On Thursday Nana and Papa came up to the house to celebrate my birthday.  The boys were excited all day.  Finn was glad that Nana was coming, but was beside himself when he learned that Papa was coming too.  They got to the house around 5:00 bearing gifts and MEAT.  Papa had made his famous ribs - three racks to be exact. 

When they got here mom and I set the table with my winter china and Papa played with the boys. 

My cake. It is probably the prettiest "Kake Lady" cake I have ever seen.  I told mom that it reminded me of a china pattern. 

Next we had dinner.  As I have already mentioned, Papa made ribs, and nana made fried okra, twice backed potatoes, green beans, and rolls.  They also brought some pulled pork barbecue for the boys. Everything was so good!  We pulled the Ninja turtles table into the kitchen and the boys ate next to us. 

After supper I opened my gifts.  Well, I guess I should say the boys tore into my gifts like wild animals as I sat and watched.  For my birthday mom is helping me paint my den, she and Papa also gave me money for a new rug ( I am in desperate need for a new one. The boys emptied a bottle of  "fake tanning lotion" on it.  And just in case you were wondering - that stuff don't come up). Nana and Papa also got me a Sonic gift card, running socks and two tubs of my favorite lip stick.  

We tried to get a few pictures, but the boys made it very difficult. 

At one point during the night, Sam did something to Nana that required an apology.  I don't remember what he did - but Sam is rough as a cob so it could have been anything.  Anyway, Sam apologized to Nana.  He then followed his apology up by saying, "I forgive you." 

Before bed the boys sat with Nana and ready several books.  

It was a really fun night.  Thank you Nana and Papa. 

And as the lights dimmed on my 34th, I read my birthday card from Aunt Laura.  Quite possibly my favorite card of all time. It goes like this . . . 

"You probably gets lots of cards on your birthday.  But what about after?  When the balloons have withered and the cake has crumbled?  Who is thinking of you then?  Who's looking out for your when the spotlight's off?  I am, that's who. Me. 

open the card . . . 

I'm not late. I'm sensitive. 

Thank you Laura, Johnny and Megan. I love you guys too. 

Turning 34

On Tuesday I turned 34.  To celebrate Michael took me for dinner at Stony River and then we went to see Interstellar - which was awesome.  The boys stayed with Gran.  Since I was born on Veteran's Day Michael and I didn't have to go to work.  We slept in and then lounged around the house the entire day.  I did have to do some work to prepare for a hearing on Wednesday, but otherwise it was a really relaxing day.

Around 3:30 Michael went to get the boys from school.  They came home with an ice cream cake from Maggie Moos and and balloon.  The boys were so excited to give me the cake. Finn came running in the house saying "we have a surprise for you..."  Sam then came barricading through the door yelling, "MOM, WE GOT A CAKE FOR YOU!"  Finn was pretty mad at Sam for ruining his surprise.

Gran came over that night with chicken and vegetables and new pots and pans.  I was so excited to get new cooking ware.   Chelsea and Sharon came over as well.  We had a really great night.

Thanksgiving 2017

 The Begley crew arrived at Nana and Papa's house on Wednesday night around supper time.  We unpacked and set the boys up in their new ...