One Classy Christmas Letter – A Year in Crappy Pics 2015

One Classy Holiday Letter - Our 2015 in Crappy Pics  www.OneClassyMotha.com

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope you’ve had a wonderful year. While we didn’t take as many trips as we did in 2014, our shared moments and experiences have been just as special.

 

January – On New Year’s Eve, we came across a Basset Hound standing in the center of a snowy PA back road. After exhaustively riding around to look for his owner, we took him home, placed internet ads everywhere, then named him Scout. Unlike our ungrateful dogs, Scout LOVED the kids, and the kids LOVED Scout. And then the owner called to claim “Sparky”…Sparky? Who names a slow moving,  droopy-eyed Basset Hound, Sparky?

Scout

After the alleged owner submitted the required vet records, pictures of him & Sparky together, and a preliminary DNA sample, I reluctantly handed him over asking, “Are you sure he wouldn’t be happier with us? I mean, he did try to run away from you.” But he couldn’t hear me over the wails of our children.

That was Day 1 of 2015.

February – After a 12 year maternity leave, I finally returned to work at my family’s tire & auto business. Because I’m gone from 7:30am-6pm each day, Brian has taken on some of my family responsibilities, like getting Ana on and off the bus everyday and staying home with her when she’s sick. As for Collin, he’s 12, we gave him the garage code and a copy of Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival by Denise Long.

March – We went sledding once, on a hill by our house. After peeling off our wet clothes with burning red hands and mopping up the laundry room floor, we took a vote and agreed it wasn’t worth it. So we bought one of those clear acrylic birdfeeders with suction cups and placed it high up on our sunroom window.

We then spent the rest of March watching two squirrels desperately flinging their bodies at the feeder. We named them Dumb Squirrel (he had zero street smarts) and Smart Squirrel.  Smart Squirrel was clever, quick, and stealthy. He was superior to Dumb Squirrel, and us, in every way- we were annoyed by his greed and put off by his confidence. But Dumb Squirrel…now there was a rodent we could root for. Oh how we loved to watch him! He’d circle under the window, staking out potential launching points, usually all poor choices. Then he’d momentarily give up, looking on the ground, perhaps for fallen seeds or an elevator. We’d cheer him on “You can do it!” “Believe in yourself!” “You got this!” And he did believe in himself until {{smack}} he didn’t. By the end of March, we had removed the bird feeder out of concern for Dumb Squirrel’s safety

Not so coincidentally, this was also the month that Brian’s obsession with bourbon based craft brews really took off.

April – Having just started horseback riding lessons, Ana decided she wanted her birthday party to be held at the stable. So naturally I spent most of April on Pinterest.com planning for this glorious event. It wasn’t until I yelled at Brian for blocking the monitor while I was trying to read user reviews on two competing disposable fork manufacturers, that I realized I was drowning in the details. But in the end, I think we can all agree it was worth it.

Ana cake

We spent Easter with family at Brian’s parent’s house. A wonderful dinner that ended with an impromptu Easter Egg fight. We pelted each other with plastic eggs for over 30 minutes, and proudly ended it before anyone lost an eye.

 

May – Our family decided to try something outdoorsy again. We received a flyer that our neighborhood lake was having a fishing contest in an attempt to thin out the overwhelming Carp population. So I got the kids all excited (Brian remained appropriately pessimistic), called my brother to join us, then went down to Walmart where I bought 4 fishing rods, bait, and an honest-to-god fishing license.

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Despite the association’s “we have too many Carp in our lake” claim, Collin and Brian caught nada, I got my line tied in a tree, and Ana hooked a snapping turtle…twice.

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We repacked our tackle box for the first and last time, and went home. My brother stayed behind to enjoy the peace and quiet. It was a fun time, just one we won’t soon be repeating.

June – This was the end of Kindergarten for Ana, and Collin’s last year of Elementary school. Collin made us so proud by winning The Principal’s Award at school, which represents a well-rounded student, both academically and socially. And Ana made us proud by finally working out a window-seat rotation plan with her bus nemesis, Julianna. Never mind it was the last week of school.

July – Brain, myself, Collin, Ana, and my mother-in-law Pat, packed the car with vodka and board games and set off on a 1,500 mile trip to visit Brian’s side of the family in Chicago and Wisconsin. Seeing aunts, uncles and cousins was definitely the highlight of our summer! While there, we went tubing, paddle boarding, jet-skiing, visited Millennium Park, saw the U2 concert at the United Center, and ate at a really good “I’m surprised a health inspector hasn’t shut this place down” dive restaurant.

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Shout out to “BIG & LITTLE’S” where the tacos are worth the risk!

 

August – Ana participated in several day camps and Collin started tackle football with practices four nights a week. We also finally met our new next-door neighbors when Ana sent their 8 year old daughter home with a ziplock bag full of dead hamster meant for burial. “What’s wrong with that?” she asked, “Her parents probably want to see it.”

Needless to say, they came over pretty quickly to see US.

September – The kids went back to school, Ana in 1st grade and Collin in 6th grade. Our lazy Saturdays were now replaced with travel football games, which I wasn’t crazy about until Brian introduced the idea of checking out local pubs or BYOB restaurants after each game. GO, TEAM, GO!

October –  For Collin’s birthday, we took a bunch of kids downtown to Exodus Escape Rooms. That’s where each rooms has its own specific escape plan that requires puzzle solving, clue finding, and teamwork to find your way out. It’s the newest trend in team-building. When we pulled up, I was dismayed to find that the business occupies the once residential house I partied in during my college days. I looked down at the brochure in my hand “Every room provides the most entertaining experience.” Sounds about right.

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Brian began playing pick-up basketball at the gym twice a week. It’s a bunch of kinda in shape 40 year olds trying to compete with a bunch of really in shape 18 year olds. As a result, his ankles killed him all month.

Also in October, sadly, Mr. Bojangles passed away. He wasn’t the best dog or even the almost best dog. He was a food thief, a chewer of Barbie doll heads, and he’d tear the eyeballs out of a stuffed animal just for looking at him. But his love for his family was unwavering and true. He was quite a character and we miss him dearly.

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November – With Mr. Bojangles’ weak bladder no longer a concern, we replaced our living room carpet and area rug. Then we all laid on the floor and rolled around appreciating both the presence of DuPont Stainmaster chemicals and the absence of urine.

On Black Friday, Brian’s beer obsession hit its peak when he bundled Ana up and they headed off to Liquor World at 7:30 in the morning to be the first in line for the 2015 release of Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout. While I was at work, I received the text “I’m the only one here with a kid. Strange.”        Is it?

Brian was still playing basketball. The pain now extended to his shins.

December –  This month has been a bit of a blur as we try to get ready for the holidays. We saw “Miracle on 34th Street” at the Everett Theatre. Brian’s brother, Kevin, played Sawyer, and he was awesome! The kids loved it! In fact, our Christmas Card picture was taken there. And the Santa in the picture actually played Santa in the play! And speaking of this Christmas card, I think we all know it’s not my most photogenic moment, but everyone else looked so nice I decided to use it. Talk about being selfless around the holidays!

And Brian’s still playing basketball. He just sat down and placed a bag of frozen peas across his kneecaps.

 

As this year is coming to a close , we want to say thank you for being a part of our lives, whether near or far, yesterday or yesteryear, you are always in our hearts. May your 2016 be filled with an abundance of love, laughter, health, and happiness.

Love,

Brian, Kim, Collin, & Ana

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Our 2014 Christmas Letter: a year in crappy pics

Dear Friends & Family,

2014 was a year of accomplishments for our family, beginning on January 1st, when we woke up without headaches, nausea, or pastry induced sugar comas. Honestly, we owned 2014 right then and there.

In January, I finally got around to ordering our 2013 Christmas cards (note: both 2013 & 2014 enclosed- feel free to display the one that best matches your home decor). We also completed the basement wainscoting project and put the finishing touches on Ana’s under-the-stairs playhouse, which she then refused to play in because “I’m not going under the stairs!”

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February plunged us into a very cold and a very dark Polar Vortex. I entered a winter depression, marked by an obsession with Florida real estate and an excessive consumption of simple carbs. Meanwhile, Collin stayed in the basement playing Xbox, Brian frequented any and all restaurants advertising pork belly, and Ana played with her toys…but not the ones in the playhouse.

March saw the birth of my Spicy Jalapeno Margarita! When we weren’t going to Oasis Family Fun Center or watching Brian eat pork belly, I was at home using the freshest ingredients to create the perfect drink to welcome Spring. Nailed it!

In April, Brian won a work incentive trip for two to Mexico! So we hopped a plane to Punta Mita where we soaked up the sun, drank margaritas, and ate fish tacos and nachos until the elastic in our bathing suits threatened to rip. Ahhh! It was a much needed and super relaxing trip…except for the part where we accidentally walked onto a private beach and were chased by security guards protecting the Mexican Secretary of State who was responsible for the recent capture of “El Chapo”, the kingpin of the Mexican Drug Cartel. But in our defense, the “No Entrar” sign was really tiny.

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It became apparent in May, that our 12 year old dog, Mr. Bojangles, had become almost completely deaf. I was sad at first, but now that the doorbell no longer elicits a Cujo response from him, I find that my fight-or-flight response towards guests is dissipating.

We checked two things off our bucket list in June– we took our first cruise to Bermuda! It was awesome! Bermuda was stunning, the Norwegian Breakaway was gorgeous, and miraculously no one went overboard.

bermuda

In July, I once again hosted another week of Camp Cheapo. 12 neighborhood kids, 25 cans of shaving cream, 2 slip-n-slides, 15 Frisbees, lots of bad choices, and very little supervision. It was another cheapo success!

camp cheapo 2014

Collin started tackle football in August, which totally freaked me out. However, when I saw how substantial the protective gear was, I relaxed a bit. Then I saw the 6 days per week practice schedule and tensed back up.

In September, Collin started 5th grade with his favorite teacher, and Ana excitedly entered Kindergarten! Although she loved school, the first couple weeks were rough for Ana. She was tired in the mornings and had zero interest in getting dressed, brushing her hair, putting on her shoes, etc. No surprise, this led to her missing the bus quite a bit. I tried rewards, threats, bribes, pleads, and just as I was about to home school her, I came up with an idea – completely dressing her the night before. And it worked! Just today, I successfully rolled her from bed to bus stop!

Also in September, Ana and I completed our first and last 5K together!

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Technically, she only completed one mile because I carried her the other two. Later that afternoon, while icing my arms, I received the race stats via email letting me know that I placed last in my age group. And because I was carrying her in front of me, Ana beat my time.

October was Collin’s birthday month and a trip to Disney World with Brian’s family! It’s our favorite time of year in Disney –  Halloween and Epcot’s Wine & Food Festival! Talk about gluttony!

disney

The Polar Vortex returned in November, sending us back into hibernation mode. So while everyone else was updating their Facebook status with “Our family just completed another 5K today. Woohoo!”, we were busy running our own race- to Costco, the bakery, the liquor store, and back – all before Mr. Bojangles could pee on the floor. And Ana made some interesting new fashion choices. She now wears her knee socks over her pants and has adopted the motto “The more contrast, the better.”

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Things going on this month (December)

Brian – One word, CUPCAKES. He will not rest until he’s found the world’s most perfect cupcake. I believe he’s even created a mission statement to that effect.

Collin – Says he would like either a desktop computer for Christmas or a pack of gum. Hopefully Santa will bring him better negotiating skills.

Ana – LOVES her Elf on the Shelf and she’s grateful he didn’t arrive on the scene until after she hit that boy on the bus.

Mr. Bojangles – Deaf, incontinent, but will still sell his soul for a cookie.

Buddy – Our 3-legged adopted dog, thinks the sun rises and sets on me, and merely tolerates everyone else.

Roxy – The cat continues to mark her territory under our pool table. She may have a larger territory this Spring.

Blaze – The hamster Collin just HAD to have still does nothing but sleep all day. Why did anyone think a nocturnal animal would make a decent pet for a kid that goes to bed at 9 pm?

Me – It’s taking everything I have to get our Christmas cards out more than 48 hours before Christmas. Nailing it!

 

As this year is coming to a close, we want to say thank you for a being a part of our lives, whether near or far, yesterday or yesteryear, you are always in our hearts. May your 2015 be filled with an abundance of love, laughter, health, and happiness.

 

Love,

Brian, Kim, Collin, & Ana

 

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Looking for an awesome stocking stuffer, a gift for your bunko hostess, or yourself? Check this out this hilarious book that sets the ridiculousness of suburban life to haiku!

Suburban Haiku: Poetic Dispatches from Behind the Picket Fence  by Peyton Price

The Weekend in Crappy Pics – Holiday Edition

I hope your family’s having a wonderful holiday break, and that you’re not hiding under a pile of dirty laundry somewhere because you figure that’s the last place your children would look.

undercova

*Learn to make your own UnderCova Motha Laundry Blanket here.

I realize I haven’t posted in over 2 weeks (I feel pretty crappy about that. Did you miss me? I missed you.) but I swear I have a good reason…

BOOM!

playhouse

It’s a playhouse under the basement stairs! No, it’s not entirely finished yet, but my goal was to have it habitable by Christmas Eve and I did it!

*Life Tip- Keep your goals low and you’ll never fail.

Just before presenting every little girl’s dream to Ana, I carefully applied sunblock to my face, neck, and arms, anticipating that I’d soon be basking in the bright light radiating from within her joyous heart.

After the sunblock soaked in, I lured her down into the basement with the promise of a Christmas present. She seemed really excited for about 3 minutes and then went back upstairs

It’s now 5 days after Christmas and I swear I’ve spent more time flossing my teeth than she has in that god forsaken playhouse.

“Go down in the basement by myself? No way, that’s too scary.” 

She’ll probably use it when she’s 16…to hide her drugs and other things I’ll be too naive to believe she’s doing.

Anywhoo, let’s catch up. Here are some highlights from the past two weeks:

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Yes, I was pulled over by the police…in my neighborhood.  Here’s what happened: as I was turning onto our street, a policeman was turning out and I saw him look at my windshield. Knowing that my inspection sticker was expired, I batted my eyelashes, smiled, and vigorously waved.  I was the middle-age equivalent of  a 20 year old wearing a low cut shirt to distract the bouncer from taking a closer look at her fake ID. We’ve all done it.

Unfortunately, he turned around and threw his lights on. Shit. But I’d be damned if I was going down in front of a nosy neighbor’s house. Determined to make it to my own driveway, I put on my hazard lights and kept driving..and driving…and driving. He probably wondered where I was taking him.

When he approached my car, I smeared on some lip gloss and gave the performance of my life:

Script excerpt from “Housewives of the Suburban Slammer”:

With a look of vulnerability and confusion, Kimberly bites her lower lip and says in a husky voice ,”Expired, you say? But how? Why? Oh my goodness, thank you for telling me officer.” 

It must have been Oscar worthy because he let me off with a warning.  Not impressed? Did I mention they were 6 months expired?

On Christmas Eve, we had my family and Brian’s family over for drinks, appetizers, and to exchange gifts. We even exchanged gifts with Mr.Bojangles. We gave him this bone…

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…and in exchange, he shit on our rug. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM…IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PARTY. Ho Ho Ho.

Christmas morning was absolutely perfect! Well, our video camera damaged our dvd so that’s how we’ve decided to remember it.

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Once Brian figured out the camera problem, he proposed we re-wrap everything and do it all over. Umm, no- there’s no way I was reopening this…

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It’s a wine cork.

And this weekend, we took the kids to see “Frozen”. Initially, Ana didn’t want to go but Brian promised her Sno-Caps.

wcp64She’ll do anything for chocolate. Remind me to sign her up for an intense Stranger Danger course.

After the movie, we wiped our tears and went to a nearby brewery/restaurant for dinner, where I enjoyed a flight of their seasonal  microbrews – GASP! Yes, I cheated on my beloved wine. Shhh

We were sitting at one of those stupid high top tables (honestly, who seats kids at a high top in the bar area?), when I noticed Ana rocking and shaking her legs.

Me: Ana, do you have to go potty?

Ana: No

Me: Well, I have to go reeaaalllyy bad. Want to come with me?

Ana: Ok, I’ll try.

When we returned from the bathroom (where Ana peed like a racehorse), we scaled our mountain high seats and I noticed mine was wobbly.

Brian: How’d it go?

Me: Fine. My stool’s loose.

Brian: What the hell?!

Me: I know, right? Oh my god, Brian, how embarrassing would it be if it just dropped from under me…in front of everyone? Hahahaha!

Brian, with a horrified expression: Stop it! Just stop it! Do you even hear yourself?

And that’s when I realized we were talking about two different things.

So tell me, how have you been? How were your holidays? (hint: I’m specifically looking for stories of humiliation- those are my favorite)

8 Christmas Gifts under $20 for the Classy Motha on Your List!

Before we begin, you do realize that this list is full of questionable gift ideas, right? Most of you would be disappointed if it wasn’t, but I’m sure there are a few unfortunate souls who have wandered over here from Facebook expecting to see hand knit scarves, organic body lotion, or some shit like that. To those people I say “Welcome!” and “Let’s break you in with an adorable set of Tampon Flasks.”

1. Tampon Flasks – Amazon.com – $9.99

Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow…

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How cool is that! This is right up my alley…just don’t put it right up your alley, if you know what I mean. *creepy wink*

 

2. 33 Ounce Margarita Glass – Baronbob.com $16.95

This gift says “Friend, you deserve to get drunk without ever getting off your lazy ass for a refill.”

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3. Bathroom Guest Book – knockknockstuff.com – $15.00

Do you know a “Hostess with the Mostess”? If so, this is the perfect gift!

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Remember, nothing says “Urine-portant to me” like a bathroom guest book!

 

4. Beaver Baby – OneClassyMotha.com – $19.99

For the friend with young children, help her out of an awkward situation by giving her a Beaver Baby!

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And it’s customizable! You’ll just need to know your bff’s pubic hair color…or take an educated guess.

Place your order before Dec 24th and receive a FREE SANTA HAT for your Beaver Baby!

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Now that’s a stocking stuffer!

*This also makes a great gift for your office Pollyanna.

5. Pregnant Woman Keychain – Baronbob.com – $4.99

Speaking of “The Miracle of Life”, how about this keychain for all of your knocked up girlfriends!

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And the best part…the uterus actually pops out, giving birth to a little bundle of ‘Made in China’ plastic!

6. Wine Glass Plate Clipsvat19.com – $7.50 (set of 6)

I like to keep one in my purse, one in my glove box, and one in my fancy coat pocket. You never know when you’re going to stumble across a par-tay!

You’re welcome.

plate-clips

7. Lazy Readersfunslurp.com – $14.95

Why put all that effort into sitting up? In fact, don’t even use your arms- I say suspend the book from the ceiling with industrial strength cables…or buy an audio book.

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8. Pat the ZombieBarnesandnoble.com – $8.93 (on sale)

Have a friend who’s on her 4th kid and absolutely SICK of reading children’s books? Well, here’s a refreshing option!

patthezombie

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Jane can gut the zombie. Now you gut the zombie…

I realize these gifts aren’t for everyone, but that’s too damn bad, it’s what my friends are getting for Christmas. Besides, I’m secretly hoping they’ll re-gift them back to me next year.

If you have a fabulously freaky gift suggestion, PLEASE share it in the comments below. After all, ’tis the season to not be a selfish bitch. The rest of the year is fine.

P.S. If you’re looking for a classier gift, you might want to check out my sponsor GiftsForYou.com. They have a bazillion personalized gifts, like this awesome wine glass:

wine

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