Christmas Hiatus and Our First Drawering of Franco

We are super excited that Christmas break is finally upon us.  Derrick has one more final exam and then we're off to North Carolina to perfectly split our time equally between our two families!  You can't let anyone get jealous of anyone else so early in your marriage.  Remember that, ladies.

Part of our time is going to be spent holed up with Bill and Sandy H. off the Blue Ridge Parkway, minus internet, and the rest of our time will be spent eating Derrick's Mamaw's Balls of Fury.  Get your heads out of the gutter.  They're peanut butter-butterscotch balls, they're about 5,000 calories apiece, Christmas is incomplete without them, and you will die unhappy and unfulfilled if you never get to sink your teeth into one of Mamaw's balls.

It should be a really fun drive tomorrow.  12 wrapped gifts, 11 bottles of Leigh Ann's hair products (those points don't just happen, you know), 10 Christmas playlists that we hope Sandy H. won't deem obnoxious (Destiny's Child Christmas tunes, hello!  Classic!), 9 DVDs for when DirecTV gives out in the mountains, 8 extra pounds I've already gained since Thanksgiving, 7 weathermen predicting wintry mixes, and ... 6, 5, 4 of ... something, 3 bottles of Prosecco, 2 cat anxiety pills and 1 super fat and adorable cat who would eat the partridge and the pear tree if given the opportunity.

So... good-byes can be awkward, much like the number 2011.  Which is when we'll be back.  Seriously, 11, what's the deal?


The Christmas Cards

One of my coworkers wondered recently if distributing Christmas cards designed by her four-year-old daughter would be deemed cute or nauseating.  She could not decide if the card recipients would think she was forcing her daughter's art upon them and she would thus be deemed a compliment-fisher.

This may come as a surprise, but I don't usually have an opinion about most things; I tend to see both sides of most issues.  It's not that I don't care - it's probably just that I'm a Libra.  Also, sometimes, yes, I truly don't care.

But not when it comes to Christmas cards!  Of course my coworker should have her child create her cards.  I didn't have to debate for one second about this issue.  Sandy H. used to have the three of us design our family Christmas cards.  She didn't have to wonder if people would think she was fishing for fake compliments because she knew that we were all immensely talented.  Obviously, my children will be truly artistically gifted if they are borne from me, and I won't think twice about forcing a pen in their chubby little hands the millisecond they develop any sort of motor skills and seeing if any Christmassy-looking item appears on the page.

We lost all the samples of our old Christmas cards in Katrina, but the memory of one of the earliest copies stands out in my mind.  Randy, around age 10, drew a gorgeous set of three wise men that looked almost exactly like this:

Brooke, probably around age 5, was assigned the daunting task of drawing the manger scene.  What she drew came out looking like this:

As the resident three-year-old, I was a girl who knew what I wanted.  And I didn't want to do what I didn't want to do.  And what I didn't want to do was draw anything that was not a candy cane.

They tried to stop me.  They tried to tell me the candy cane didn't belong in the nativity scene.  I didn't give a fuck.

I wanted to draw a fucking candy cane and no one was going to stop me.

So the final result looked pretty much like this:


Dog Freaks Out Over Soldier's Return

I found this video yesterday on my Facebook news feed, posted by one of my favorite Facebook connections - a connection better than a camper for whom I was a counselor one summer nine years ago, or a kid I went to pre-school with, or someone who worked in my previous office but who I've never actually met in person

Yes, my wedding D.J. posted this amazing video.  Thanks, D.J. Ken, and thanks, obscure Facebook relationships! 

CiB loves flipping our shizz over the sweet videos of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  We can't get enough of it because we love any excuse to cry at work!

But usually it's the kiddos bringing the tears.  Never before have we seen an animal brought in to this loop of heart-wrenching bittersweetness.  Until now!



Daily Dose: Gay Lip-Synch

If there's one thing we don't do enough of here at CiB, it's post videos of gays lip-synching Mariah Carey Christmas songs.  It's time to remedy that!

This video tickled us to the core.  Highlights include an ice-skating friendship circle, a shopping montage, gingerbread mischief, and rooftop back-up singers using glasses of champagne as microphones.  It's like a window into our family's own Christmas!



Hedge in a Bath

I have always had a soft spot for hedges.  Here is a picture of one in a bath.


Inner Demons

I like to think that if and when the time comes, I'll be a good mom.  Earlier today, Franco allowed me to practice catching vomit before it hits the carpet.  And if today has taught me anything else about potential future motherhood, it's that I'll be taking my real kids to the most expensive best veterinarians pediatricians available.

I ended up taking the whole day off today and basked in the bittersweet memories of unemployment.  Bagels for lunch!  Maury Povich!  Going to the gym ... eh.  Or not.

Although my day has been peppered with bouts of ADD episodes disguised as actual tasks, I did manage to accomplish one thing that's been on my to-do list for several weeks - something only truly mature adults actually do: I set up my retirement account.

I have never had the head or the attention span for business - or numbers ... or budgets - and would really rather be doing anything other than thinking about this sort of thing.  I have a little demon that always appears out of nowhere when I'm trying to concentrate on things that we all know are boring.  Too bad ... the demon is always so reasonable.



I have been feeling lately like I need to be using my free time more wisely – like I need to give back to something or someone, and take part in an organization that really makes a difference in the world in a positive way.  Out with the salami-feasting while watching 16 & Pregnant.  In with the spiritual enrichment!

I have decided that the best way for me to use my spare time in a positive and fulfilling way is to take part in a fantasy celebrity league with a few gossip addicts at work.  At last, thanks to our friends over at Rants.  Raves.  Randomness., I have discovered a fantasy football/basketball/baseball league that is actually none of those lame things and is way better! 

My #1 draft pick will obviously be Britney Spears.  If I can land her, I don’t care if her teammates consist of The Situation and Larry King; I will be happy regardless. 

Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is for Britney and JT to get back together.
And wear this. 


The Tacky Christmas Lights

Last year in our first year of marriage, Derrick and I were ultra-lame (lamer than usual) and didn't even bother to get a Christmas tree.  We blame the fact that Derrick was at the end of his first semester of law school and was hibernating at the library studying for finals and didn't have time to get one.

This year is different!  We were bound and determined to get our very first family Christmas tree!

Weeks ago, we thought ahead and picked up a stand and some lights, even stopping to discuss how many we thought we would need.  "300?"  "Yeah, that should be enough."

Yesterday, we braved the cold, winter Philadelphia streets in search of the perfect tree - nothing could stop us!  Except wine and brunch, but then on we went again in our search!

A whole half-block away we picked up our tree and brought it home.  Derrick carried its heavy, bountiful body up the stairs of our walk-up and hand-sawed its trunk.  After an hour of preparation and balancing, voila!  A perfect tree, ready for decorating!

I swiftly got to work on the lights after bragging to Derrick about how good I was at string-lighting a tree.  But something was amiss.

We had accidentally picked up lights with WHITE CORDS instead of GREEN!!!  Not only that, we barely had enough to cover the top half of the tree!

How could I have been so careless?  Christmas is Derrick's favorite holiday.  He even has a Christmas Excitement Dance that involves him jumping up and down yelling "CHRISTMAS!  CHRISTMAS!  CHRISTMAS!"  Here's how it goes:

So you can imagine his disappointment when he saw our tacky white-cord-lighted, awful Christmas tree.  He was devastated.  I had failed as a wife.

After a few tears, we jumped in the car walked 10 blocks to our car and drove around in search of proper tree lights.  For whatever reason, the first store was completely out of normal-people lights, but they were brimming with giant LED lights, snowflake-shaped lights, Jesus-shaped lights, red, blue, purple, pink, gold lights, and any other unnecessary novelty light you can think of.

I decided we would steal lights off of someone's house before we went home empty-handed.

Thankfully, the second store we went to had industrial-sized coils left, so we went home with 800,000 perfect lights.

Christmas was saved!


No Sleep Till

I have not slept more than four hours a night for the past three nights.  I won't delve into the details of why, because I do not want this blog to become all cats, all the time, but let's just say that it involves Franco's new discovery that having a dance party on my torso at 2 AM equals a late-night feeding.

In all honesty, I actually hate sleeping and wish I didn't need so much of it.  Your life will be over before you know it and you'll have spent 33% of your time on Earth asleep!  I get angry with myself when 10 PM rolls around every night and I can barely keep my eyes open.

I wonder what I could accomplish with that 33% of extra life time, since, sleep or no sleep, I am basically a zombie at work anyway.

I could finally make Mom and Dad proud by utilizing that bartending degree they paid for!

My apartment would be spotless.

I could learn new languages!

I could finally get around to doing what I really want to do.

But let's be realistic here.  I know exactly what I would be doing with my extra time.


Franco Has A Lot Of Eating To Do To Catch Up To This Girl

Would you please check out this amazing fat cat.  She looks like Jabba the Hut.

Giuly the fat cat lives in England.  Don't the crazy medical abnormalities always appear in the U.K.?  Lots of subjects on I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant seem to be in the U.K.  Just sayin'.