Posted in Lifestyle

Hans. Luke. And My Girl. The Jedi Masters.

Will My Girl use her mind control powers for good or evil?

I’m standing in line at DQ with my cheeks puffed out, pretending I have a jumbo marshmallow in my mouth as I place my order for a small (who am I kidding… large) chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard.

Yes. Standing in line, in public, pretending I have a jumbo marshmallow in my mouth, while talking to an actual human being.

The question I’m sure you’re asking is why? And what?! All good questions.

Did I mention I have a child?

My Girl – the Jedi Master

I wish I knew exactly when it was that I lost control of my house… my public actions… my, well, let’s face it, everything.

I think it started out with small things: My Girl convinced me to jump over the sidewalk cracks when walking into the library. No problem. It’s fun. She talked me into singing ABCs as we browsed the cereal aisle at the grocery store. If no one’s in earshot, why not?

But now, I’m standing in line at DQ with my cheeks puffed out and the people behind me staring questioningly. I can’t even defend myself by saying: “I’m a mom… You get it.” Because with the imaginary jumbo marshmallow impeding my speech, it would come out: “I’w a mwowm… You ged id.”

I don’t think that would help my case.

It’s at that point that I realize: My Girl has some serious Jedi mind trick capabilities.

She has the deepest, most expressive, brown eyes. They are beautiful, but now I’m beginning to think they are hypnotic. I imagine her eyes turn into red, rotating spirals, courtesy of Kaa from The Jungle Book.

Mind Control Kaa
Actually footage of My Girl convincing me to do just about anything.

She gives me the sweet, brown-eyed stare and I find myself cleaning the house wearing puppy dog ears, Mardi Gras beads and rainbow hair extensions.

The Mind Control of ‘Peas’

And her voice… That one I can pinpoint. It contained magical, persuasion powers pretty much the second she started forming words.

She learned how to say “please” when she was 18-months-old on a trip to Florida. It came out “peas” in her baby voice, and was, hands down, the most adorable thing I have ever heard.

That should explain why we came back from Florida with a backpack full of new stuffed animals and increasingly spoiled (and vocal) toddler.

Now at age eight, she remembers the power of “peas”. She’ll say please like a polite girl, but if I’m not giving in, she’s resort to “peas.” Then she’ll add:

“Peas… Remember when I was a baby and I said peas? Remember how cute it was?”

Then the brown eyes come out. I’m not going to admit on paper how many times that turns me into putty.

My own Jedi mind control

I like to think it’s hereditary. I’m sure as a child, I magically talked my parents into all kinds of crazy things.

One thing that sticks out most in my memory is a crazy thing my dad did for me in high school – though this might have been because he’s a great dad, not so much because I have mind control over him.

My dad, no matter how much he worked (and he worked a lot), always made it to my sporting events. All my sporting events. And there were a lot – soccer, basketball, swimming, more soccer, and a brief stint with track and field. My mom was always there too, but with my dad’s work schedule, he gets a little more credit today.

Especially when it came to a swim meet my senior year of high school. It was a Saturday relay meet with tons of much bigger schools, held about two hours away.

My dad drove the two hours to watch me swim. Since this meet was only relay races, I didn’t swim my usual 500 free (yes, I was a long-distance swimmer). For some reason, I swam with my buddies in the 100 free relay.

If you aren’t in the know for high school swim events, the 100 free broken down between four high school swimmers is one length of the pool. Not even one down and back. Just down. I was an ok swimmer, and if memory serves me correctly, I could swim the 25 in less than 15 seconds, in one breath.

That was my only race for the entire meet.

So my dad literally drove four hours round trip to watch me swim for less than 15 seconds. If anyone deserved a medal that day, it wasn’t me.

My Girl’s not the only Jedi Master

When I think of some of the crazy things My Girl has convinced me to do – take a flossing lesson in the middle of a campground parking lot, create (and use in public) a new language where bing is yes, bong is no, and te ta too is I love you – I really question my backbone and sanity. But I’m not alone in this.

Let’s take B. Swift for example. It’s no secret that B. Swift is the super mom I aspire to be. But also, she be crazy. (Did you read about how she bought her kiddos baby ducks to keep them occupied during quarantine? ICYMI)

So, she’s crazy, Super Mom, and way nicer than I am. All those result in her kiddos talking her into all kinds of crazy shit.

The other day, Cindy Lou convinced B. Swift to pick up trash on the side of the road. That may not sound like Cindy Lou’s best use of her Jedi mind tricks, but in B. Swift’s own words: “You know I’m no the trash on the road cleaning type.”

Apparently, Cindy Lou is. I blame her Girl Scout training. I’m more like B. Swift who spent the twelve minutes of roadside cleaning ready to puke.

Other victims of My Girl’s mind control

But, My Girl’s Jedi mind control often has entertaining results, and not always (though mostly) at my expense.

That’s how she got my father-in-law, Grandpop, to dress up as a prince and dance to “Someday My Prince Will Come” almost every Sunday when he would visit.

That’s how she got The Husband to sit and braid Rapunzel’s hair one time and play Barbie dress up. And she’s gotten all three of us recently to play American Girl dolls.) I have to say, if I had the hypnotic eyes like My Girl, I would get The Husband to play American Girl dolls every night because he’s damn good at it. His dolls have sass, a British accent and killer fashion sense.)

Mind Control Princess Unicorn
When My Girl turns on the hypnotic eyes and says “jump”, I say: “As a princess unicorn or not?”

But the most impressive was when she convinced my parents to play hide and seek.

A few things to understand: My mom will get down and play with My Girl like a champ — card games, books, princesses, safari animals, dress up. She’s a favorite of My Girl’s playmates.

My dad, though a champion sporting event spectator, is not much of a make-believer. Tickle monster, yes. Card shark during a game of Chutes and Ladders, definitely. Companion when My Girl is drawing murals on their drive-way with sidewalk chalk, always.

Hide and Seeker, though, I didn’t think so.

When mind control results in an inappropriate bathroom experience

But one winter night, to avoid a bad case of cabin fever, all five of us (My Girl, The Husband, me and my parents) started a house-wide game of hide and seek. Actually, six of us. The weiner dog (literally, our mini dachshund) joined us as well. He’s an excellent seeker, terrible hider.

My dad (nicknamed Papa Pickle once by My Girl, because he’s a “tickle pickle”) committed to the game wholeheartedly. I can say that with all certainty, because My Girl and I discovered him hiding under our guest bed. Kind of. His head and torso were hidden underneath the bed, but his legs were sticking out into the middle of the room. As I keeled over laughing, he said:

“I knew I couldn’t fit but I had to hide my yellow shirt!!”

(He was wearing a neon yellow, safety shirt.)

Later during the game, My Girl convinced The Husband to show off his contortionist skills. Actually, I believe no Jedi mind tricks were needed. The Husband is a master hider – inside cabinets, behind furniture, in tiny closets. I think that’s because he’s ridiculously skinny. It’s disgusting because I only have about a 20 pound leeway before I risk weighing more than him.

That night, he disappeared like Copperfield.

Quick side note on the relationship that The Husband and my dad have. It started out rocky. Really rocky. The first time The Husband met my dad was on the golf course. We had just started dating and, apparently, The Husband was just starting to learn golf too. He hit a bad shot, panicked and didn’t do the common curtesy of yelling ‘Fore!’.

The ball landed next to a man, who neither flinched when it almost hit him on the head nor moved as The Husband came up sheepishly to retrieve his ball. He already didn’t want to face the man he almost knocked unconscious, and his best friend didn’t help matters when he pointed out that the near victim was my father.

Luckily, my dad didn’t realize the jackass that nearly took him out on a golf course was The Husband until many years later, after he gave our nuptials his blessing.

Now back to the game. The Husband had been hiding for awhile. We checked the house over twice, but couldn’t find him. Finally, we all gave up. He finally revealed his hding spot: inside the dryer in the laundry room/half bathroom. Impressed, I ask him: “How long were you in there?”

Sheepishly he looks at my dad and says:

“Long enough for your dad to come in and use the bathroom… I thought about coming out and stopping him, but then realized it was too late.”


Finally, my dad laughs and says, “Good choice.”

Using Mind Control for good or evil

When, in the name of research, I asked my mom if I ever convinced her to do crazy things with my powers of persuasion, I realized the problem that I was soon going to be facing with My Girl’s Jedi powers.

Without any pause, my mom texted me a list of the things I convinced her to do in my later years. I mean, no pause whatsoever, y’all. It’s like she had been waiting to get this off her chest for ages.

All I could think when reading it was: Lord, help me when My Girl gets older.

In high school, my mom did allow me to get away with a lot of stupid stuff. Her examples were “camping” at a local state park for a weekend (we all know what “camping” with five other high school seniors involves), staying up all night to watch scary movies, going to parties where there was underage drinking.

There was no sneaking out to do these things because there was no need. My mom just let me do it. The really bad part was there was a spiral effect. My mom had the reputation among my friends for being the strictest. So the rule with many parents was if I could go, their teenager could go.

Dumb. Very dumb.

Does that mean when My Girl uses her sweet Imperius Curse on me, I’ll say yes to a drunken campground party where a girlfriend gets so pissed drunk that My Girl has to give her a fully-clothed cold shower?

Enter a cold sweat and a terrible premonition of the trouble My Girl is going to get into in the future – all with my consent.

Then My Mom ended the conversation with a cryptic:

“Your time is coming for that, too.”

I imagine she sent me that text and then deviously rubbed her hands together with an evil laugh. Bwahahaha!

So now the question I have is: Will My Girl use her Jedi mind control powers for good or evil?

Mind Control family
My Girl can convince even the straight-laced Husband to act goofy once and awhile.
Posted in Lifestyle, Mommyhood

I forgot about toddlers

Some women swoon over babies. I was never that person.

And honestly, even as a mother, I could have taken or left the newborn stage.

I think a big part of that was conditioning myself. When The Husband and I started the adoption process, we were planning on adopting from Ukraine. Most likely, we would adopt an 18-month to three-year-old little boy. So maybe it was self-preservation that I decided the newborn stage wasn’t for me. I know it was self-preservation that made me decide that pregnancy wasn’t for me.

But when life does as it does and completely changes, The Husband and I ended up with a four-hour-old baby girl. Enter My Girl. God knew what he was doing even though we definitely didn’t.

While I would never in a million years give up the newborn time with My Girl (and I regret woefully the four hours that she was alive and I wasn’t with her), when The Husband and I batted around adopting a second time, I was pretty adamant that I was ok with skipping the newborn stage.

Newborns are not for me

Little swaddled babies who coo and poop that black tar are not what give me phantom ovary pains. (Phantom pain since the ovaries are non existent. Check out the painfully honest post about my hysterectomy that made it possible for me to have a baby.)

Quick side note: Since My Girl was in the NICU for a few days, The Husband and I never had to change a gross tar diaper, but I still have nightmares about it. Let me explain…

When Edith (check out Cast of Characters to keep up with the family members) was born – pre My Girl years – I was in the hospital with The Sister. Her husband was in Iraq (thank you for your service!) and My Mom (I guess Our Mom) is a little queasy at the sight of blood, or needles, or pain, or stretching cervixes. Plus, I was never going to experience a newborn baby or delivery, so I was excited about my delivery-room role.

Anyways, fast forward to The Sister and I bringing Edith home from the hospital. The Sister immediately leaves to pick up Meg from daycare and I’m home with two-day old Edith, who was already a troublemaker (which I say with complete affection). Edith, knowing that a novice I am, saved her tar-like diaper for the second The Sister walked out the door.

Let’s just say no one prepared me.

The Sister received this phone call from me:

“First, everyone is ok. Second, what the hell is wrong with your baby?!??!”

Every baby wipe. Every changing table pad. Two outfits. Those were the casualties in my fight against meconium. I honestly can’t say who won.

Thus, my phantom ovary pains start, not from those innocent little poop machines, but from the rough and tumble toddlers.

That’s my age. They are this perfect mix between completely reliant on momma, but have a bit of a mind of their own – emphasis on “a bit” — just enough to be cute and curious.

Yes, it’s fun to snuggle a newborn, but they have no choice. When a toddler dips her head into your collar bone, fitting like a perfect puzzle piece, she does it because she loves you and feels secure right there. How are your ovaries not aching right now?

Other things I love about toddlers:

  • Their utter lack in the correct usage of pronouns. Monica and I agree it will be a sad day when Little LuLu starts using “I” instead of “me” for all references to herself.
  • The full baby toothed smile. All their tiny teeth are in and are beautiful. And those little toddlers are so proud of the result of painful teething. Who doesn’t melt when they see a toothy toddler grin?
  • Toddlers love everything! I remember last Christmas when my three-year-old niece opened her Christmas presents. Every time she exclaimed: “I’ve wanted this my whole life!” Her whole life! All three years of it!
  • Their limited vocabulary. My Girl, for a long time, thought all bad guys were called “Roberts,” which, to this day, I’ve done nothing to correct, and all crayons were called “yellows.” Along with not knowing the correct terms, toddlers don’t say it correctly either. My Girl would say “yewoows.” Little LuLu called candy canes “candy cans” all the Christmas season.
How can you not love that toothy toddler grin?? My Girl at age two.

If you want to truly torture your ovaries, check out this list from Romper on why toddler years are magical! I absolutely love it!

There’s a reason they call it the terrible twos

But just like newborn-crazy people forget about the meconium and sleepless nights and teething and worrying about whether you should lay Baby on her stomach or side or back or head to prevent SIDS, I often delude myself into remembering only the good times with toddlers.

A little time with the toddlers in my life usually brings me right back to reality.

The Pains of Potty Training

For example, The Sister’s youngest, Boo (named after Boo from Monsters Inc because she’s adorable with those doe eyes, but somehow is able to command all the monsters – aka her three older siblings – around her), stayed with us for a lovely weekend. Even after all her shenanigans, my ovaries still hurt for this brown-eyed beauty. But she put me in my place when taking her to the potty at a local restaurant.

This three and-a-half year old did her business – Number 1, in case you were wondering. I handed her the toilet paper, which she promptly handed back.

Me: “I have to do that?”

Boo: “Well, it’s not my job.”

Well. It’s. Not. My. Job.

Sassy, Beautiful Boo. You can see why she rules the house, right?

I think it’s easy to see from this interaction as to how this girl rules her family from her place on the bottom rung.

The overall straddling of potty training and diapers is one of those often forgotten downsides of toddlerhood. Diapers suck, but there’s a convenience with them. Long road trips aren’t this gamble as to ‘will they or won’t they make it.’ Spoiler alert: it’s usually won’t they. Completely potty trained is obviously best. But toddlers spend a significant time in between.

On the same weekend when Boo taught me what my job was, The Sister also had to hassle George (age 5, named after George of the Jungle as he runs around barefoot like a wild man half the time) about potty time.

The Sister: “Did you wash your hands?”

George: “I didn’t even flush.”

Fast forward to me checking the toilets on a regular basis for rest of the weekend. So, yeah, I’m thankful that My Girl is past that stage.

The Bad Side of Biting

After the memory of potty training terrors, B. Swift reminded me of another toddler phase that is better to forget: biting.

She went through a phase where she nicknamed her youngest Baby Vampire. Apparently, he didn’t know Twilight was so 2010, so he would walk up to other children (usually his siblings, so maybe they had it coming…) and bite them on the back, or whatever he could sink his little teeth into. B. Swift, super mom as she is, was at a loss as how to punish. Because that’s the other thing with toddlers – how do you punish them? They pull out one misplaced pronoun and I’m putty in their hands.

But B. Swift attempted biting him back. If someone in her family learned a lesson, it was her oldest. When Baby Vampire took his fangs to Cindy Lou, she turned around and nearly bit a chunk out of his arm. At least one of the kids was catching on…

That leads to the next problem.

Tattling Toddlers

Toddlers tell everything they know.

Take for example, B. Swift’s middle child. Seeing the biting going on between Baby Vampire and Cindy Lou, he told his babysitter that his daddy bit him. This was completely untrue, but to be fair, people in his house were winding up with teeth marks left and right. Luckily, babysitter is also B. Swift’s sister, so no authorities were involved.

But toddlers will tell any babysitter, grandparent, random stranger at the Kroger’s checkout line every dirty little secret of the household. True or not true. Complete or incomplete. In context or out.

My Girl went through a period during the toddler years of telling her daycare teachers that “Daddy beat me last night.”

It wasn’t what you think. Or what they thought, as I had to explain to them.

In an effort to get My Girl to eat (there’s another toddler downfall – getting them to consume anything beside dino-shaped chicken nuggets and orange foods, i.e. Cheetos, baby carrots, macaroni and cheese and goldfish crackers), we started “racing” her at the dinner table. Whoever finished their plate first would win. When The Husband was first, My Girl would say with utter disappointment: “You beat me!”

Thus, that translated at daycare into “Daddy beat me last night.”

Lack of Listening

Wait… That’s not just toddlers.

I also forgot about the necessary In Public Toddler Mom Voice. My Girl is old enough that (for the most part, I REPEAT, for the most part) a dirty look that could make a rose bush wither usually gets her somewhat back in line. Or a menacing whisper: “Do you want to go to the restroom? Because there are no witnesses in the restroom.” can get her calmed down enough that we can continue with our public outing. But toddlers don’t have the wherewithal or memory of times when things didn’t go their way to be persuaded by the look or whisper.

I was reminded of this with a recent zoo trip with Monica and our families. As we were trying to herd the children out of the zoo gift shop (a feat for parents of all shapes and sizes), Monica turned on the In Public Toddler Mom Voice:

“Get. Out. The. Door. Now.”

It was so effective that a 50-ish aged couple looked wide-eyed at her and started toward the door. She had to apologize and clarify to whom she was talking.

The strangers moved, but Little LuLu was unaffected.

(And to be fair, the mom voice was also meant for Jane and My Girl, who responded marginally better than Little LuLu.)

With all that being said, I’m still a sucker for that cuddle time with Little LuLu or Boo, but my 8YO isn’t so bad either, even with her correctly placed pronouns and missing front teeth.

Posted in Lifestyle, Mommyhood

Christmas traditions end up with a sugar-hyped child, booby trapping her room and buying laundry detergent

Who doesn’t love a wonderful, family holiday tradition?

I often think that family traditions are one of those areas that has earned me the title of World’s Okayest Mom. I’m not great with them. I love the idea of family traditions and memories that My Girl will tell her children about for years. But in reality, it’s really not me. More often than not, we forget to carve pumpkins for Halloween; we usually decorate Easter eggs the day before because I completely forgot to do it earlier and need to buy egg dye; and there’s no special birthday morning tradition except possibly waking My Girl up late and then nagging her to move faster. Wait… that’s our tradition every morning.

But Christmas. Christmas is magical and special and …

I try to be better at Christmas traditions, I guess is the point. “Try” is the key word.

The Tree

I have fond memories of Christmas when I was a child: mainly cutting down the Christmas tree with my dad. Think the opening scene of Christmas Vacation, with a little less drama. Definitely no family caroling. No station wagon. Very little road rage. Ok, so nothing like Christmas Vacation but fun and memorable nonetheless.

The plan has always been to carry on that tradition with My Girl. But reality is she’s never even been to a Christmas tree farm.

First, it was just The Husband and I, pre-My Girl. So we put up a fake tree. More specifically, we stole a fake tree from my father-in-law, who may still be wondering where he stored that tree. (Shhhhh… Don’t tell him.)

Then, when My Girl was born, she was too little for us to bother with a tradition she wouldn’t remember anyways. Then, as children tend to do, she got older, but I had new carpeting in the living room. When I was little, the mess made by a real Christmas tree was of little consequence to My Mom. We didn’t exactly have wall to wall carpeting. It was just a piece of carpet that fit our rooms-ish. I actually didn’t know carpeting was supposed to fit from baseboard to baseboard until about age 15. But now that I know… I didn’t want the leaking, sappy tree on my new carpet.

Cut to My Girl being age 8. For the last two years, I have told The Husband we’re going to cut down a tree, throw some lights on it and set it up on the front porch. (Pat myself on the back fro such a wonderful compromise between clean house and fun family tradition.) But I repeat: My Girl hasn’t even been to a Christmas tree farm and I am the epitome of #themomfail.

The Results of My Attempted Traditions

But we aren’t without traditions. It’s just that our family traditions never quite end up the way I envisioned, or the way they are portrayed on Pinterest. Looking at the few traditions I have tried to keep alive over the years, I see they have resulted in some strange and unforeseen results.

The Movies

Sharing our favorite Christmas movies with My Girl has been a staple to the holiday season over the last few years. I’m concerned what it says about our family that a part of our traditions (and probably the one My Girl will most likely remember) is watching TV. The English major in me may have just died a little bit. But there it is.

As a child, watching White Christmas with my great grandmother is one of the clearest memories I have of the holidays. I believe we watched the wonderful classic on my grandma’s Beta machine, in between reruns of The Lawrence Welk Show. To this day, I must watch White Christmas at least once a year, preferably while wrapping Christmas presents and drinking spiked hot cider. This year, I made Monica sit through it with me. I don’t think she enjoyed it. The Husband calls the movie “an acquired taste.”

Sharing The Christmas Story and Elf with her last year were special, and My Girl – not at all surprising if you have met her – is now a big Will Ferrell fan. She thinks Buddy the Elf is not only her long-lost best friend and a genius, but also 100% real. We will deal with the backlash of finding out the truth later.

This year, The Husband and I were very excited to share the Home Alone series with her – the pizza delivery boy prank, the after shave, the flying paint cans. Very excited. Until we got about halfway through the movie and I remembered who we were showing this to… My Girl laughed a little too hard at the booby trap scenes. Ok, a lot too hard. Do I need to be on the lookout for a tar and feather set up?

Funny Mom Blog Christmas Traditions Movies
Thanks to my poor parenting, My Girl’s new favorite movie stars a kid who gets a kick out of torturing two adults. Hmmmm… giving her ideas?

In hindsight, that probably wasn’t our best parenting move. We already know from our time watching Wonder that My Girl is easily swayed by movie characters (see here, if you missed it). So, I wasn’t really surprised when a week later (and also a viewing of Home Alone 2 and Home Alone 3 later), My Girl sweetly asked if we had extra Christmas ornaments she could place under her window. I nervously told her we did not. She said no problem, she would use Legos.

At that point, I was impressed by her ingenuity and a little concerned for my own safety. Then she hit me with this zinger:

“Don’t worry, Momma. I’m not using any fire.”

I hadn’t worried about that specifically. But now I do.

In the end, her room was booby trapped Home Alone style: Legos in the doorway, a bag of feathers ready to be thrown in the robber’s eyes (since she couldn’t find anything sticky) and a bag of toys she was trying to rig to fall open on the robber’s head.

No fire.

It wasn’t just us sharing this classic movie with our children. Chandler and Monica were across the street doing the same thing. Jane and Little LuLu also became Home Alone fans, though it affected them differently.

Recently, while making gingerbread houses with the girls (another fun tradition we have), The Husband started stealing candy bits from their building reserves. Finally, Little LuLu yelled at him:

“You sneaky little punk!”

We decided that must have been Home Alone inspired. And also hysterical.

The Gift Giving

Probably my favorite Christmas tradition is taking My Girl shopping to pick out her own presents. My parents did this for me as a child. We took a family trip to the dollar store and I could pick out gifts for my friends, grandparents, cousins, whomever. I usually insisted on paying with my own money. The Husband and I fork out the dollar per gift for My Girl. Generous, I know.

We usually spend 45 minutes in Dollar Tree letting her roam up and down the aisles with a list of people she wants to buy for: grandparents, a few buddies from school, the Chandler/Monica family, some favored neighbors.

Gifts this year included a frame for a picture My Girl has been drawing/coloring for a grandparent (said grandparent hasn’t received the gift yet, so I’m keeping it vague to retain suspense); Frozen 2 something or other for the huge fan that is Little Lulu; a vase with fake flowers for Mrs. Irwin; things like that.

My Girl is a master gift-picker-outer. Very practical and very thoughtful. Some of her best gifts include:

  • Laundry detergent for Great Grandma. Ultimately, The Husband and I talked her out of this, but in our earlier married and broke years, I wouldn’t have said no to laundry detergent as a gift. Maybe not the brand bought at the dollar store though…
  • A doggy chew toy for Baby-est Cousin last year. To her credit, it looked like something a baby could also chew on. Wisely, though, I think his mother declined to let Baby-est Cousin chew on it.
  • Fake mustaches for Papa Troublemaker. As his name would imply, My Girl has a wonderful time picking out joke gifts for him. (It’s reciprocal; once he put chili-flavored seaweed in her Easter basket.) This year, without giving away the surprise, I’ll just say it’s poo related. Last year, she bought these terribly cheap and fake mustaches. The entire family had a blast putting them on and taking pictures.
Funny Mom Blog Christmas Traditions Gift Giving
Christmas Tradition! Picking out great gifts for the fam.

While it’s so much fun to see what she picks out for everyone, the sentimental side of me just loves sharing the season of giving with her. And it warms my heart that picking out cheap and probably soon to be thrown-away or forgotten gifts is also one of her favorite family traditions.

The Lights Display

One of our last traditions that we’ve been capable of carrying throughout the years is looking at Christmas lights. That’s always been a favorite of mine, though not so much The Husband’s. In fact, he proposed to me a few days before Christmas (ions ago). The set up to get me out on that memorable date was that we were going to drive around the town and look at Christmas lights. We didn’t. He surprised me with a beautiful diamond ring instead. As thrilled as I was, I later did ask him with a little disappointment in my voice: “So are we not going to see Christmas lights?”

We were not.

But as My Girl also loves the pretty lights, The Husband makes a point to take her. There’s a small town about an hour from our house that puts on a spectacular light display. If a town of 300 people can have a claim to fame, this is theirs. (If you’re in my neck of the woods, you should check it out.)

So we usually pile into the car, often taking a few other family members, and drive the hour to see the Christmas decorations. We’ll stop halfway to get hot chocolate. We’ll listen to Christmas songs. We’ll enjoy our family time.

It’s a great tradition, but again, I often wonder what we’re thinking. While My Girl loves the lights, she’s not so great with the riding in the car (motion sickness often) or with the sitting still or with the waiting quietly. So, really, all of it.

On top of that, we jack her up on sugar and chocolate in the form of McDonald’s hot cocoa.

The trip usually ends with The Husband gripping the steering wheel tightly and passing every car driving less then 65 miles per hour in a rush to get home, me trying to ignore a headache from the lights and the sounds of My Girl, and My Girl nursing a sugar coma in the backseat.

Ah, family traditions.

This year, we revised the tradition a bit. We saw the Christmas lights at our local zoo, where My Girl (and Jane and Little LuLu) were still expected to sit in the car for a nice ride, but were then allowed to run around a darkened zoo. Still hyped up on hot chocolate and marshmallows.

At least they were able to run some of the sugar off, but this time, we had the added risk of losing her in the zoo, possibly to the American buffalo which she was taunting.

But these are the things of lasting memories, right?

Funny Mom Blog Christmas Traditions Lights Display
This year’s Christmas tradition – lights and hot chocolate… hot chocolate that was too hot, so we had to McGyver it by cooling with snow.