Thursday, December 30, 2010

Short Fat Vacation

The Short Fat Dictator and his minions are on vacation this week. We are working on our tans and drinking fruity things on the patio in between desperate attempts to stop Crinkles from rolling towards the pool and halfhearted efforts at preventing Snoodie from menacing the local alligator population.

The blog returns next Thursday - see you then!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Holiday Card

Yeah, so I live in Los Angeles...

...where it is currently raining INSIDE MY HOUSE.

This means that in between bouts of wrapping, shipping, packing, and cleaning I am now using each free moment to exchange caulking tips with friends and neighbors in an attempt to keep our roof extant.

Which means this week's blog will be brief.

Last year I sent out exactly zero holiday cards. Mostly because I was pregnant and I sort of figured that since I'd be sending birth announcements in just a few months I was justified in taking a pass on the whole enterprise.

But when other people's Christmas cards began arriving in my mailbox...I had a change of heart. As I gazed upon friends' children -- duded up in jaunty caps or smiling sweetly on Santa's lap -- I was filled with regret that I had missed a GOLDEN opportunity to foist the cuteness of my own offspring upon others in a socially acceptable manner.

And so I vowed that this year I, too, would produce a Christmas card --- and it would be PERFECT!
First, I purchased highly whimsical footsie-pajamas complete with highly merry stocking caps. Next, I convinced my brother-in-law (a skilled photographer) to capture my children looking adorable in said outfits. Finally, I meticulously laid out the greatest of these shots on a festive background and placed my order for 100 cards to be delivered post-haste.

The shots I chose were, I thought, perfect. They captured Crinkles' jaunty grin wonderfully. Even the Snood, a reluctant subject at best, looked delightful - his impish grin full of anticipation of the holiday season to come!

The cards arrived a week later, and I grabbed the box from the mailman's outstretched hands, anxious to take in the wonder of each card...

Only to discover upon viewing the blown-up final prints that the impish grin on Snoodie's face was not, in fact, in anticipation of the holiday season to come, but rather in anticpation of the incredibly enormous river of snot that was streaming from his left nostril, milliseconds away from dropping into his eager, open mouth.

Hoping that I might be overreacting, I showed the cards to my sister.

ME: Do you notice anything odd about these?
MY SISTER: You mean the giant and repulsive stream of snot coming out of Snoodie's nose? Uh, yeah, I notice it. I think I'm gonna be sick.

So it is that we find ourselves now mailing out a second set of holiday cards - snot carefully removed via photoshop.

As I told my husband, don't think of it as spending money that we could be putting towards a new roof or, say, towards our children's college educations.

Think of it as doing our part to stimulate the economy --- one holiday fail at a time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


What can I say people? I love Christmas

Ever since I was little, Christmas has been where it's at for me.

My fervor for Christmas was so fervent, in fact, that at some point in early adolescence it began to cause some concern amidst friends and family members that I might be a tad........behind.

While my middle school classmates were busy putting away childish things like Santa in favor of more age appropriate activities like, say, sexual exploration and drug use, I clung stubbornly to the belief that it was the man in the red suit who'd lovingly placed the puff paint sweatshirt I'd had my eye on at the mall safely under the tree.

Sure the handwriting on the TO/FROM card looked familiar - because MOM HAD WRAPPED IT FOR HIM, and so OF COURSE she filled out the card. OKAY!!!!????!!!!????

And while the years have perhaps diminished my belief in Santa, they have done little to dim my passion for all things Christmas!

This presents something of a conundrum as it means that in the month of December I add to my regular job as:
  • Chief Snoodle Wrangler
  • Director of Crinkle Relations
  • Part-Time Writer
  • Head chef
  • 5:30am Soother
  • Main Diaper Changer
  • Central Husband Squeezer
  • Prime Photographer
  • Lead Laundress
  • Head Maid
  • Primary Grocery Purveyor
  • Overseer of Big Boy Bed Escapees
  • Supervisor of Snot Containment
the additional Holiday-themed responsibilities of:
  • Purchasing Agent in Chief
  • Superintendent of Shipping
  • Jolly Music Supervisor
  • Executive Travel Officer
  • Director of Decor (aka Head Festiveness Producer)
  • Co-Ordinator of Christmas Entertainment, General Merriment and assorted Santa-themed Propaganda
  • Creative Director of Christmas Card Production and Delivery
So, as my dad might say, I'm busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest!

So while I long to tell you the tale of my attempt to produce the PERFECT CHRISTMAS CARD this year (*spoiler alert!* it turns out somewhat less than perfect)... shall have to wait until next week. Because for now CHRISTMAS IS CALLING! As First Officer of Cookie Creation.............I've got GingerbreadMen to ice!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...Right?

It's that time when we find ourselves decking the halls, dressing our spawn in whimsical footsies, and turning all known rules of child rearing upside-down by firmly insisting to our toddler,

"Go sit on the lap of that strange man offering you candy immediately!"


This year, with the Snood just over two, I figured he was old enough that I might begin to share some of my own beloved childhood holiday traditions with him.

Starting with the advent calendar!

I LOVED the advent calendar when I was little. Mostly because of its magical ability to combine all the excitement of the Christmas countdown with the simple awesomeness that is - daily chocolate.
(actual advent calendar)

I'll tell you right up front that we have this totally kickin' advent calendar that my sister-in-law gave us a few years back. It has twenty-four the little cubbies around the outside which each hold a piece of candy and a figure from the manger scene.

Each day leading up to Christmas you open one of the cubbies and remove a figure and place it in the center to join the Nativity all while enjoying a chocolatey treat.

I figured that as Christmas rituals went, this one would be right up Snoodie's alley, and so I journeyed to the playroom to invite him to play along!

Here's how it went:

MOMMY: Snoodie, come over here and let's do the advent calendar together. It's really fun!

SNOODIE: Rait! Rait! Rait!!!!!!

(Translation: Please wait, mother. I do not wish to participate in your proposed activity as I am far too busy attempting to place my infant brother in this toy box despite his protests.)

MOMMY: Come on now, leave Crinkles alone and come experience the fabulous merriment that is the advent calendar!


Mommy forcibly drags prone toddler toward manger scene by one arm while attempting to rebuff said toddler's wildly kicking feet.

MOMMY: It's going to be awesome! You are going to love it! Ouch!

SNOODIE: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

MOMMY: Please stop kicking Mommy! There's candy inside!

All of toddler's motion and sound immediately cease. His eyes focus like a laser beam on the advent calendar.


MOMMY: That's right! This is the advent calendar. It tells the story of Jesus' birth. You see, Mary was ready to have her baby, and she and Joseph....

SNOODIE: Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!

MOMMY: Yes, there is going to be candy, but what I was telling you was that there was no room at the inn for poor Mary, and so Joseph took her to the stable and.....


MOMMY: OK, well, I will tell you that story some other time.


MOMMY: Let's open up the first cubby and see what's inside!


MOMMY: Oh, it is a beautiful angel!


Snoodie grabs the angel and attempts to ingest it.

MOMMY: No! Snoodie! Don't eat the angel! Oh God, did you swallow it?!

Mommy digs around Snoodie's mouth in search of the angel and is bitten repeatedly by the chewing Snood.

MOMMY: Ouch!

Mommy extracts the angel.


MOMMY: OK, Snoodie, fine!

Hands Snood the candy from cubbie #1, which he devours without removing the wrapper, leaving mom to dig said wrapper from his maw with already bleeding fingers.

The wrapper retrieved, Snoodie flees to chew his candy in peace as mom places the now bite-mark-marred angel upon the nativity scene while attempting to stem the bleeding from various fingertips.

So that's one beloved holiday tradition imparted!

Next up, decorating the Christmas tree. I'm thinking I'll let Dad supervise.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

If It's November, It Must Be Plague

I am having my traditional Thanksgiving week bout of pestilence.

Too weak to venture from my sickbed to create new Snood and Crinkles themed content, I instead offer you the following account of last year's plague.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there is a sick bed of doom with my name all over it.

From November, 2009:

Now that the Christmas insanity is beginning to wind down, I've finally found the time to sit down in front of my laptop and tell you all a little tale I like to call: "What I Did on My Thanksgiving Vacation".

What I did on my Thanksgiving vacation was --- I contracted the plague.

I realize that I have previously claimed in these pages to have contracted the plague, but to use one of my husband's favorite expressions....I WAS WRONG! That was not the plague. That was a mildly terrible head cold.

What happened to us the week of Thanksgiving....THAT was the plague.

It all started on a Friday, the morning before we were due to fly to Texas for the holiday. David got up to collect the Snood from his crib and the next thing I heard was the always terrifying exclamation, "Uh-oh." I sprang from bed and headed for Snood's room, secure in my knowledge that nothing good could be afoot. I arrived just in time to see David extracting el Snoodo from his barf-covered crib, which he had thrown up all over some time in the night.

It was deeply grotesque.

BUT! We managed to de-pukify Snoodie in the bathtub and he seemed no worse for wear. He ate a huge breakfast and didn't have any fever, so David left for work and I got busy packing for our trip.

Things were still looking good as I put Snoods to bed that night, and I thought we might be in the clear......until David arrived home from work looking decidedly green and announced he "wasn't feeling so good." I banished him to the couch in a sad attempt at quarantining the virus and settled down to get some sleep...

...only to be awakened at 10:30pm by a sudden and overwhelming need to projectile vomit out any and all food I'd ingested since 1983.

I won't go into too many details about the next several hours. Instead I'll simply quote my father, who describes the experience saying, "The thing about the stomach flu is you're afraid you're going to die until you become afraid that you are not going to die." Yeah, it was kind of like that. At some point during the night David was awakened by my sounds of distress and opened the door to the bathroom...

...he took one look at me and uttered a horrified, "" before retreating to the relative safety of the couch.

By 6:30a.m. I'd given up on any hope that the sweet relief of death might take me away and I peeled myself up from the bathroom floor. I told David that we could still make our flight, if he would take full charge of the Snood. In response, he began vomiting in my general direction.


Realizing we could neither travel nor remain upright for long enough to care for our own offspring, we begged Snoodie's babysitter to take him for a few hours. She agreed, simultaneously proving the existence of a loving God and allowing us to head back to bed for the remainder of the morning.

I now interrupt this blog entry with a little segment I'll call HELPFUL HINT TO THE AIRLINES: If you make it your policy that people must fly the same day that their ticket is issued OR face a quadrupling of the price of their ticket, you practically force families with sky-high viral loads to board your planes. And that's annoying. Thank you.

Nine hours after I first woke David up, we limped like so many deranged zombies onto our flight.

Luckily, the flight was uneventful and three hours later we poured ourselves out of our seats and into the loving arms of my husband's family.

And the horror came to an end.


Have you ever read the above book about 10 people who arrive at a mysterious island, only to be picked off one-by-one by an unseen killer? Our Thanksgiving was kind of like that.

After some debate about whether or not we should cancel our trip altogether, David and I put our collective imaginary medical degrees together and surmised that since Snoodie was already showing symptoms that probably meant he was no longer contagious. Yeah, that was not so much accurate.

One by one the members of my husband's family fell. My mother-in-law was the first to go, throwing up the whole way home from a visit to Dallas. David's dad succumbed next, spending all of Thanksgiving day curled up in bed, his occasional moans our only assurance that he was still alive as the rest of us feasted. My brother-in-law then spent that night with his own gastro-pyrotechnics. My sister-in-law came home the next night, excited to announce her engagement. She barely had time to flash the ring to the assembled family before heading off at a full sprint for the nearest toilet.

Then the calls began to come in:

"You know, just after we came over to see you guys poor Melissa got terribly ill....."

"Uncle Bob was barfing for two days after you stopped by with the baby....."

By the end of our time in Texas we calculated that the Snood has claimed upwards of twelve victims. Not bad for a guy still in diapers. We apologized profusely as we packed up our belongings for the trip home...

...the only one of us who seemed immune to the shame was patient zero himself, the Snood. As he looked over his assembled victims, waving weak goodbyes from their sick beds, I could almost swear I saw a glint in his eyes.....