Monday, December 24, 2012

It's Christmas Eve!!

**A disclaimer: this will be a photo dump :) I will attempt to put them in coherent order with the following (long) text, but I cannot promise anything. I can promise to try to blog more frequently (sorry, grandparents), but that promise will be empty. We're just too busy when school is in session. I'll make a good faith attempt at it though, I swear. So, without further ado, I bring you...a few more weeks of stuff...

Collin had his Christmas program at school last week. It was awesome, as always, if not a little...well, odd. Let's start with the awesome, shall we? First of all, Collin was in it, and you can't beat that, can you? Second of all, he was wearing reindeer antlers and a sweater vest. I know that the days on which we get to witness this sort of adorable wardrobe display are woefully limited, so I was in bliss. And finally, because Collin goes to a big-ish school, they have a real auditorium, which meant that every parent there got a, wait for it, seat! And, not just a seat, but a seat from which they could see their child. It was amazing. As much as miss his old California school, I do not miss the standing-room-only holiday performances (that you could only attend if you go there hours in advance of start time). We got to this performance ten minutes early and were in the third row. The third row! Huzzah!

Anyway, on to the weird. Even though Collin goes to a private school, it is Pre-K (age 3) through 12th grade. That would be a ridiculous holiday program, no? So, this was just the lower school (PK3-5th grade). The Middle School does a choral concert and the Upper School does a play.

The music teacher began the show by saying, "Today will be a little strange," and she wasn't kidding. The show consisted of five, yes FIVE, numbers by the fifth graders because they are, as the music teacher said, "the top of the heap." This would not have been so bad if each number didn't consist of multiple songs. The first number was a chime demonstration of FIVE songs, three of which she had arranged herself (the other two she followed the tradition Suzuki arrangement, so they were recognizable). It lasted approximately 25 minutes. Oy. Their second number was something called "Tinikling" which was some sort of traditional dancing/hoping over sticks. But, she had the entire fifth grade class up there, participating in an uncoreographed number, so it was really just a gaggle of awkward, almost pubescent children, wiggling until it was their turn to jump, or pretend to jump, because they were too awkward to do it with legs that were too long to wrangle into doing their bidding. Finally, they had their singing number, for which they sang two carols that no one had ever heard of, in the round, making them even further unrecognizable as songs. It was quite the spectacle.

Between numbers, she was in charge of ushering the other classes on and off stage, and providing them with their props, etc. She was quite entertaining to watch, perhaps more so than the show. She'd snatch the boxes of props from the regular teachers when they were 90% done handing them out, and finish it in what was evidently "her way," which to us lay people, looked exactly the same. She'd flit about, "checking things," that looked like nothing, but held up the start of each number by endless minutes, turning an hour long program into quite an epic-lengthed show.

For the first half of the show or so, I thought it was just Bryon and I that noticed this music teacher gone mad with power and control, but as we looked around, it was quite clear that everyone thought it odd, and even the director of the school was looking at her like she was insane, and looking at the kids on stage with mixed feelings, as if she were proud of them for working so hard to perform, but discouraged that they were being showcased like this. It was a look that is quite difficult to describe. But, when the director of the school is caught, repeatedly checking her phone, it might be a sign that your show has lost its luster, and is running too long, as this woman is not one to find the children boring.

It was quite the eye-opener as to why Collin says music is his least favorite extra class. He goes to music, art, foreign language, library, computer and p.e. Obviously, he loves p.e., but he adores Spanish and art, and on some days, his favorite is whichever he went to that day. However, it's never music, because as he says, "she makes me sing."

Collin performed quite well, however. And, he didn't make a big goof of himself, that is, until he realized that he could knock his antlers onto his face like sunglasses. Then, it was all over.

He got pretty excited by that idea, and what you don't see, is that when he returned to his seat, he was so wound up, that he bit his own coat off his seat and threw it around like a dog with a bone. It was quite ridiculous. By chance, our seats were in the row directly across the aisle from the Kindergarten row, so we had to watch helplessly as our child acted like a rabid dog, and then be disciplined by his teacher.

So, enough about the program, and onto the more pressing news: it's Christmas Eve!! I can't be more excited about this. I used to love Christmas when I was little, but having Collin has made me love it more than I ever did as a child, I'm sure of it. There is no day of the year that is more fun for me than Christmas; I get to see him light up with  pure joy and energy (not that he has a shortage of energy any other day). This morning he knocked on our door, dark and early, and said, "I can't go back to sleep," in an adorable and meek little voice. Me neither kiddo, me neither! I'd been"up" for hours. So, I sprang out of bed and ran to his room with him, shouting, "IT'S CHRISTMAS EVE!!!" and we got up and played.

Collin's had a busy week at home, and at school prior to today, of course. He's made gingerbread houses (both there and at home).

At school, even though his class only has eleven students, I was reminded yet again, why I don't teach kindergarten. Oy, the noise, the mess, the chaos. It was so much fun! But, as I left, it occurred to me that it was only 10 am. His teachers had to deal with those kids, those insanely wound up kids, for the rest of the day! They don't get paid enough. Whatever they are being paid, it isn't enough.

He was equally enthralled with the home-constructed house. At home, he wasn't limited to three pieces of candy (well, not until after he'd eaten almost all the candy anyway). 

We took our Christmas tree picture yesterday. It was a bit of a bummer, but happy, nonetheless. We thought we might replace the tradition of taking it in front of the Disneyland tree with going to the National Mall and taking it in front of the White House Tree, but it is so freaking cold, that we decided against it. In truth, pure laziness won out yesterday.

We have been enjoying just bumming around in our sweats and pajamas, and doing next to nothing most days of this vacation. When the idea of actually getting dressed, driving the metro, and then walking in the freezing cold was presented, it seemed like an awfully big commitment. So, we opted to attempt a photo in front of our own tree, and try to include the animals. This turned out to be a feat in and of itself.

Homer would concede to sitting on the couch, but would not, under any circumstances, be persuaded to look in our direction, so long as the dog was involved. Daphne would not, under any amount of coaxing, be persuaded to sit or lay down in front of us, near the tree. She would, however, lay on the couch, with much prompting and with many treats, an absurdity in itself, as she sleeps there all the time. I think she was so interested in why she couldn't be prancing about, that she didn't want to be there just then. Getting her to lay there was half the battle, getting her to look at the camera, or even toward it, and be remotely still was yet another battle. While she is enormous, it is easy for most people to forget, she is still very, very much a puppy.

Case in point: Daphne, acting very much like a ridiculous puppy. 

Try getting a puppy to sit still when they aren't sleeping. I tried putting a Santa hat on her. Forget about that. That was crazy talk. Oh, and for those inquiring minds, my puppy weighs over 102 pounds now (she weighed 102 at the vet last week, and she gains every day--literally, every day, at this age).

She's so heavy now, that when she sits in the car, she sets off the seatbelt alarm, and initiates the airbag sensor, as she is heavy enough to indicate an "adult" passenger is sitting in the front seat.

Our beast: refusing to ride in the back seat (insisting on being ALL the way in the front), and being foiled by what she perceives as a huge jump from the floor to the bed.

Alas, these are the best two shots we have. Somehow, we lost Collin's Jack sweatshirt. It was devastating to discover this yesterday. We tore the house apart looking for it. All I can think of is that we left it in California, the last time we were there.

I haven't seen it in a while, but we haven't needed it, or worn it in a while either. So, he wore my t-shirt. Time to replace it, I guess! It was starting to fit him anyway! It's still crazy to think of how big it was the first year that he wore it. What a silly tradition, right? But that's what traditions are all about, your family, and your silliness. It's definitely our silliness.

Overall, we've been doing the normal stuff: putting up decorations, and the like. This was the day I took the GRE (patooey) for the second time, and that we put up our tree and decorations.

Collin learned that he can climb trees, quite effectively.

And, he saw Santa Claus. He told him a joke, and Santa gave him a hat, which he wore all day, including through the movie, Rise of the Guardians, that we saw that afternoon.

Oh, and he met Belle. It wasn't at Disneyland (boo), but we went to a play. A real play! I was nervous, because it was his first one, but he did great. I was a little afraid that he would be bored because it was Beauty and the Beast, not exactly a "boy" play. He was so enthralled that I don't think you could have dragged him out of there. He's in love with Belle, of course, and thinks she's the most beautiful girl in the world (after me, obviously).

He looks a little bit like a stud here, no? 

Today, we are making some felt snowmen, and some Star Wars and Christmas cookies for Santa. And, we are finally cleaning some bathrooms that are in desperate need of a wipe down. That's our big day. Oh, and we are staring at the clock and waiting for bedtime, so we can put out presents and get very, very excited!

Well, some of us remain confused by life. Mainly, Daphne, who wants to know what that beeping is that comes from the camera.

It seems to happen every time I put it in front of me to take a picture. Strangely enough, there's either a blur of gray in most pictures lately, or this confused dog staring at the lens, waiting for a beep. Silly girl.  She's getting a stocking tonight too. Santa Paws will be visiting her and Homer and bringing lots of treats. What a fun day!