Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Decade

New Years Eve, in general, sucks. The pressure to make it something meaningful and lots of fun, while somehow marking the passage of time, raises expectations that are never met. I do best with a small group of friends and a large amount of alcohol. Last year's baby bump prevented the latter, and for that I had the most dull New Years of ever. This year I am recovering from the Great Christmas Plague, and I fear it won't be much better. Plus I have a baby. So the wild partying? Kind of out. Not that, if I actually had some wild friends around here, I wouldn't shove him on my parents (sorry Jack!) and go out, but seeing as I don't....yeah. Lets just say the day is here and plans are still up in the air.

While this decade was pretty amazing for me, 2009 was a pretty crap year to be honest. I know that's a horrible thing to say about the year in which my beautiful son was born, but it's the truth. It was the unhappiest year I've had in a long, long time, a year in which I seemed to sit by and watch as my youth, my freedom, and any beauty I might have had drifted--no, galloped--away. In their place is something infinitely more precious and irreplaceable, that I know. But there is an adjustment to be made, and make it I will in the coming year.

Here's hoping that 2010 kicks 2009's ass.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Families share everything

A violent stomach virus has made its way through the 40 or so people who were in attendance at the two-day Townley Christmas Extravaganza. We were dropping like flies by Sunday night, when 15 cousins went out to a pub relatively healthy and 6 of them were fighting for the toilet by night's end. I am feeling much, much better today, but I still can't even think about food. Ugh.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas to all

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. Pictures of our insane Christmas are forthcoming, but for now I'll leave you with this gem from my childhood. If you're wondering which one is me, I'm the little girl that looks like a little boy.

Merry, merry, merry.

Friday, December 18, 2009

People are here; people are coming

This is going to be a BIG Christmas. Have I mentioned that? All our Christmases are BIG. But this one will be exceptionally BIG. Not only are David's parents here to add to the festivities, but the entire Townley Clan (that being my mother's family) are gathering to celebrate this year. This is not so unusual--we spend every Christmas together, but there is always someone who can't make it. And this year nary a face will be missing, and four new faces will be added to the bunch. That's right, four new great-grandchildren were added to the family fold this year, all within a space of four months.

Therefore, around the Christmas table this year will be, in order of venerability:

My grandparents, who recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary (I know!)

Their five children and their spouses, all present except my dear Uncle Ken, who passed away of cancer in 2006.

Their thirteen grandchildren, nine of whom are bringing spouses or partners.

Their seven great-grandchildren, one five years old, one three, one 18 months, and the rest under a year.

David's lovely parents.

I believe that's around 4oish people? So like I said, Christmas will be BIG.

After we celebrate our small family Christmas (my parents, my sisters-and-spouses, our children, and the Napuks--more on the myriad traditions regarding this later), we will all caravan out to my grandparents' house on Christmas Day. For a few hours there will be appetizers, my grandma's mulled cider with Soco, and much drinking and visiting. Then there will be the opening of presents, an elaborate process that begins with everyone drawing a name the year before and culminating in the Great-Under-$30-Gift-Exchange on Christmas Day.

After that there will be the feast, with "adults" in the dining room and "kids" (most of whom are now over thirty, but whatever) at a large folding table in the living room (Thank God we finally convinced my grandmother we were all too large for the traditional foldaway plastic picnic tables last year). The "kids" table is by now much, much larger and louder than the "adults" table. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

After the feast, there are stories and toasts and other insanities, followed by dessert, followed by a gradual thinning of the crowd as some of us make our way home, and the rest head to one of the four bedrooms upstairs. We used to have a tradition of going to a movie on the evening of Christmas, but seeing as we now take up the entire theater, and we are so happy to be in each others' company, this year we will most likely stay in. And recover.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two seconds then I'm out...

...but first a post. I have a few fleeting moments before Jack eats lunch, another round of laundry finishes in the dryer, and my dad arrives to help me string Christmas lights. After that there's a last minute cleaning frenzy, and then David's parents arrive for three weeks. I am attempting to not be Easily Overwhelmed, and am even feeling a bit zen. But just a bit.

Oops! Took too long to write this. Baby's crying for his food.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Childcare and such

So I found someone to watch Jack. It was fate, I tell you. The other day I finally realized that I had to do something, had to find just two or three hours a day, a few times a week, in order to preserve my fraying sanity. So I typed "childcare Cleveland" into google and sat back to await my salvation. I have typed those words in many, many times and come up with all sorts of daycares, all too expensive or too scary sounding (I watch you're kids for you. CHEAP!) . But this time a craigslist ad, posted only two days before, popped up. Lilly, a stay-at-home mom of an eleven-month-old boy, looking to supplement her income by taking a few other children into her home. Two blocks away from my home. For $8 an hour. An early childhood education major who wasn't ready to formally go back to work. (And Jewish!) I called her. We met. She's perfect.

So yesterday was the big day. I took Jack over, planning on running errands for two hours. We'd spent about an hour or so there the day before, and he was laughing and playing with her, smiling when I left. So I ran to get some Christmas shopping done, only to have her call me an hour later. Apparently Jack had started crying right after I left, and hadn't stopped. She had tried everything, but he was inconsolable. She worried he had an upset tummy. But, lo and behold, as soon as I walked in the door, he was fine.

I honestly thought it was too early for separation anxiety. And I've left him before, but always with family members he knows really well. I should have had a bit more respect for him I suppose, as a developing personality and an intelligent baby. He's just so mellow, so happy to be passed from stranger to stranger (so long as he can see me I now realize) that it never occurred to me there would be a problem. Although I must admit it is a thrill to know just how important I am to him, considering he doesn't show much preference for me above other people normally. But still. I stayed for an hour, letting Lilly hold him, and then snuck out again for a half hour, and he was asleep when I got back. Today we'll take it slow again. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I did my best... add a little Hanukkah spirit. It's been very tough finding time to post these days. Jack is in a new phase, whereby he wants me to hold him every single second. Not for security or affection, mind, but simply because he isn't crawling yet and I am to be his transport as he moves from place to place, preferably every ten minutes. If I'm lucky. I understand that all babies are like this, but are all mothers like me? The ten hours a day I spend alone with him go so slowly it's maddening. And I know, I know, that one day I will long for these sweet, simple days, to have all the time in the world to look at him and kiss him and squeeze him. But knowing that doesn't make it any easier for me. He is the world, and the moon and the stars and all that, but he can be pretty fucking boring sometimes. Meaning he requires 99% of my attention, but only about 1% of my concentration, so that I am insanely busy and mind-crushingly bored for a lot of hours during the day. I am in awe of the stay-at-homes who love it and do it well. Meanwhile I'm looking for some part time childcare. Because it's time.

For your enjoyment, thanks to Brooke, I have discovered what may be the best movie coming out in 2010. Check it out:

Sunday, December 06, 2009

I'm no web design expert.

Basically I cobble together what little knowledge I have to make my site sort of pretty. But I have been unable to find a Hanukkah blog background. There are Christmas ones galore, and considering my secret (okay, not so secret) love for all things Christmas that's not a problem, and forsooth this blog shall be Christmasy with apologies to my fellow chosen people, but Hanukkah comes before Christmas and I'd like to give it a little bloggy love as well. So, anyone know where I can find me a Jewy festival of lights blog background?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


It's quiet around here again. I had a loud, crazy, fun weekend that ended just as quickly as it began. I would be bereft if I didn't know that in three short weeks everyone is coming back. It made Thanksgiving that much more wonderful. So did this: