Kara is a military wife and mom to two little handfuls: Crew and Caia. Here is installment number 3 of her column on my Blog "Real in Red Heels." Click here to read her past posts. Stay tuned for updates from a real chic woman who become a mom and now, has no idea where her red heels are!
I may sound like a scrooge, but I assure you I’m not. I LOVE Christmas more and it is my favorite time of year.
…Until a week after Thanksgiving when my mailbox is flooded with Christmas cards and letters from my friends and family. Please don’t take this the wrong way and please don’t delete us from your list. Everyone looks SO cute and their little (or lengthy) letters make them sound SO perfect. At times, I read them and smile, then lay them down on the counter and feel guilty. In a silly way, they make me feel like a bad mom. I feel like a bad mom, because I haven’t written a letter to brag on how amazing my kids are, but I have posted 200 Facebook statuses documenting their comical antics throughout the year. I feel like a bad mom, because despite being a (sort of) photographer, I have very few family pictures of ALL of us that I love… let alone, love enough to print in mass quantity and expect people to look at on the fridge for a year. I feel bad, because I just lied. I don’t hang anything on my fridge, because I am a little bit OCD and it bugs me to look at clutter. If I don’t hang photos of my own children on the fridge, I probably won’t hang photos of yours (even though I love your kids!) My kids don’t sit still and they do not smile on cue so our family shots look more like circus shots or mug shots. They get dirty faster than my highest shutter speed can snap a picture and that is 1/4,000th of a second!! I feel like a bad mom, because I would rather poke my eyes out than stay up late at night printing, signing, stuffing, stamping and addressing envelopes. I feel like a bad mom, because I don’t even have most of your addresses! Seven years ago, I collected them all for wedding invitations and made a Google spreadsheet of important addresses. Do you know how many times twenty-something’s and military friends move in seven years? I haven’t even tried to keep up and I feel bad for the friends and family that try to keep up with us. Truthfully, we have had so many addresses that I freak out when I get gas and have to type in my zip code to use my credit card. My card has actually been declined at the pump, because I had attempted too many zip codes and it appeared to be a fraudulent transaction. I feel like a bad mom, because I am too cheap to spend $100 on cards and postage. We spend it on care packages for troops, kids in need and airfare to visit people in person during the holidays. It’s a nice tradition and all, but I just can’t buy into it, figuratively or literally.
If you mail out photocards and letters, please don’t take this as judgment. It isn’t at all! It may be jealousy for your organization, dedication and adorableness. The closest I’ve ever come was a digital slideshow and I sent out a link to “Go Green and Stay Out Of The Red.” Traditionalists may think that is tacky, but we got a positive response. Whatever works, right?
I’ve written an electronic letter this year. It is from the perspective of my 8 month old daughter and it isn’t exactly a brag letter. It is very real and sarcastic. I hope you find it to be refreshing. I hope that someday, about a decade from now, I will read it in her baby book and grin. I will think of this tumultuous time and tell myself that I wasn’t a bad mom after all, but an exhausted mom trying her hardest to prioritize.
Without further ado, here is our family Christmas letter that you’ll never get in the mail…
2013 was a pretty big year for me. I was born so that was a pretty fantastic moment for mankind and the world. It was a fast and easy delivery for my mom and I won her favor from the beginning. I even slept well for the first four months… just long enough for my parents to tell everyone that they had an angel baby. Syke. It was a really good joke, but I played them. Four months ago, I decided to stop sleeping through the night and stopped acting like a sweet, mellow child. I’ve developed into a sassy, slobbering, smiley girl that acts more like a puppy. My favorite hobbies include blowing raspberries at people, growling at strangers, roughhousing and wrestling with my brother, escaping from everything, getting wrestled into fresh diapers and clothes, eating crumbs and treasures off of the floor, (actually just eating anything), swimming, and playing with Crew’s toy cars and airplanes. After all, SOMEONE had to teach that boy how to share! I respond particularly well to the statement “you’re beautiful!” and say “Da-Da” when I hear the garage door open meaning my dad is home from work. I refuse to say “Mama” and it’s making her crazy. She blabs on and on with a monologue about how she does everything for me and I can show my appreciation by uttering two simple syllables, but I’m holding out on her. My plan is that I won’t say mama until my second birthday. Bahaha. Guess what else? I have ninja coordination and rock climbing skills. I was playing with my brother yesterday in the living and when my mom walked into the kitchen, I snuck away, climbed all the way upstairs silently and stealthily and played in my brother’s room. I did all of that in two minutes while she heated up a pre-made meal. I regularly play in the dishwasher and trash can and take the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure literally.” She says I’m going to give her gray hair and a heart attack. I’m bald so hair, gray or otherwise, sounds good to me. I’m in the 4th percentile for height and 50th for weight so basically, I’m a compact version of awesome.
Can we talk about my brother? Woah. He is intense and really loud. I think his volume control is defective. He NEVER. STOPS. TALKING. Like, EVER. He likes science and asks mommy hard questions about the food chain, the weather, marine life and meteorology. He asks questions like “Are dinosaurs fake or real?” when he is being tucked in at night. He has a lot of helpful tricks and tips for dragging bedtime out. I am learning his ways. We should get gold stars for stalling. Crew is completely obsessed with airplanes. He carries them everywhere. He has about 20 model planes and he even bathes and sleeps with them. I steal them sometimes and polish them up with slobber. He doesn’t like it, but he washes them and sends them to the maintenance shop (AKA every kitchen cabinet). Everything is turned into an aircraft carrier, runway or control tower. I know I’m only 8 months old, but I am already SICK of hearing about airplanes. I have heard about landing gear, wing flaps and vertical stabilizers a million times. He talked to some WW2 vets at the Boeing Air Museum this year and they showed him missile hatches. Crew steals AA batteries now and drops them from his airplanes as missiles. My parents are concerned about that on many levels.
Crew likes to cook, sing and take electronics apart too. He loves me a lot and we make each other laugh. We are going to be lifelong friends… even though he is a big can of crazy!
My dad is wrapped around my little (egh.. chubby) finger. I give him a big, gummy grin and kick my legs around like a wild woman when I see him come home from work. It is the best part of his day.
Seriously, can someone get the number for Clinton and Stacy on What Not To Wear? My mom needs a makeover. She has bags under her eyes, her hair is usually in a bun and she usually wears hoodies and UGG-ly boots. It can be so humiliating to be seen with her in public. She tries hard, but she gets worn out getting up all night with me, carving watermelons into sea turtle snacks, taking us on trips and teaching Crew his letters. After a lot of coaxing, she got Crew to practice writing some letters this week. He wrote “Ho” all on his own and now he writes Ho on every blank piece of paper he can find. It is hilarious. Maybe he is trying to tell me mom that she looks like a Ho-Bo?! I hope he doesn’t mean anything else by it!?
Anyway, it’s late and I’m off to bed. I am going to wait until the house gets quiet and my mom gets settled in bed and starts to doze off and then I’ll cry. It’s hilarious. It is like an April Fool’s joke every time she lays down. It’s a trick I read on the Internet to guarantee that I am the last child, the only girl and the baby of the family. It’s working out well!
Merry Christmas from my crib to yours!