I want to do a little Christmas Eve post, and then (gasp) take tomorrow off from all things bloggy. So I will wish you all a very merry Christmas (if you rock that sort of holiday) and catch you on the other side, once we open all our loot.
• We have a lot of loot. Every year my mom says something like, "Now, you know, the economy...and I'm retired...and bills...smaller Christmas,...and blah, blah, blah...," and every year I look at what she sends and think, Lady, do you know the meaning of the word downsizing? But, hey, that's cool, because if she and Sam's mom got Mikko way too much stuff, it will just be incentive for us to bundle some of his old toys off to the consignment shop, the better to sock away credit for when we need to buy him some clothes once more, if ever.
• My child has been in the same size clothing (4T, if you have hand-me-downs to offer) for the past year and a half at least. We used to have to roll up the pants cuffs and pray the elastic around his diapered waist would hold. Now the pants legs hang all the way down, and we had an incident where we picked him up from preschool to find that the resourceful teacher had masking taped an improvised belt for him to keep him from accidentally dropping trou. Far from the disposable clothing of his newborn days, where we were lucky if he wore an outfit once before he outgrew it, we are now facing the dilemma usually known only to adults: clothes wearing out before they're outgrown. Bizarre.
• Thinking of Mary and the baby in swaddling clothes, I was reminiscing how Mikko always hated being swaddled as a baby. It was the only S from The Happiest Baby on the Block that we couldn't practice. Even when he was born, the nurses wrapped him in double layers of heated blankets, and we called him a baby burrito, but within minutes he would thrash his way out, and then the nurses would yell at us the next time they came in for not keeping him cozy. As if being on my chest wasn't cozy, silly nurses! And as if anyone wants to argue with a very strong, very angry 12-pound baby!
And then, the other day, Mikko pulls over his little fleece blanket and indicates that he wants it to go over his feet, and his hands, and I ask if he wants to be a burrito, and this catches his fancy. "'rrito!" he agrees. So I practice my slick swaddling moves, and he is encased and happy, and I settle him on my lap to nurse, for once not having one of his stray little paws reaching up to slyly tweak the other nipple.
Of course, the blanket is too small to swaddle him properly. This was so even when he was a newborn! Even the special swaddling-size blanket we got as a hospital gift was too small, and when I tried to swaddle him with it at three months old, I had to crisscross him with ribbon like a gift to get it to stay closed. So, the other day, he brings me a sheet. A king-size sheet. Let me tell you, my friends, he was swaddled but good, and he loved it, just a couple years late.
• Two Christmas Eves ago, I was musing on the fact that even a holy baby would have been a noisy baby. This year, given that we have a two-year-old, I've been thinking of the flight from Bethlehem to Egypt (don't read any further in that link than those verses if you like babies, by the way). I am travel-averse when it comes to hoofing it with toddlers. I can't imagine being a refugee fleeing for my life...with a two-year-old. My thoughts are with any families right now who are just trying to make it somewhere safe.
• If you didn't see Mama Knows Breast's "Twas the Breastfeeder's Nighttime" poem from the holiday Carnival of Breastfeeding, you really should.
• Download 25 free Christmas songs at Amazon right now. It's only 24 today, but it will be 25 tomorrow. See how that works? If you haven't downloaded mp3s from Amazon before, you have to download a little software program first to handle them, but it's super easy from then on out. For me on a Mac, it automatically ports them into iTunes.
I have found some excellent new Christmas albums this year, which I will share with you. Yes, I will be using some Amazon Associates links, because, hey, why not, and also — Amazon and Blogger just came out with this cool new integrated widget that makes things so easy now to search and link. So easy.
All right, from my friend Rachel, I recommend Tidings, by Allison Crowe, only because it is spectacularly awesome. You can listen to the whole thing at that link to Allison's website. And you will. Multiple times. Because it is so incredibly astonishingly magnificent. Turn it up. Enjoy.
Over the Rhine is a group I've loved for years for being thoughtful and soulful and haunting and lovely. Try either of these Christmas albums: Snow Angels or The Darkest Night of the Year.
Mindy Smith is one of those singers where I've heard a couple songs that I loved but I never really went beyond to seek out anything else. When I was creating a Pandora holiday station, they filtered in some of her Christmas songs from My Holiday. I gave them all a thumbs-up.
Shawn Colvin's Holiday Songs And Lullabies is a nice quirky collection I came across when I was looking for children's music after my beloved niece was born (seven and a half years ago — really?!). I still have these songs in rotation, year-round, and I do indeed use them as lullabies to sing Mikko to sleep. (Ah, if only it were that easy!)
Sophie (@Soapsuds), a Twitter buddy, pointed me toward Emmylou Harris's Light of the Stable. I might have to cough up the dough (now, why are those two words pronounced so differently?) to buy this myself, because, as is the case with almost all the above albums, the library does not currently carry them. Le sigh and le cuts de budget. (P.S. You might not be able to tell, but I don't speak French.)
And, from @Whozat, of The Adventures of Shrike and Whozat fame, I pass on some free Christmas albums on Amazon: Sampler Claus and X5 Free Classical Sampler — Classical Christmas.
There are so many more, but I will leave you with those and ask for your recommendations in the comments. I'm always on the lookout for new Christmas music, so lay it on me! I don't care if it's months after Christmas. I will tuck it away for the next year. And don't think I listen only to the style represented here, which is mostly kind of folk-mellow. I can handle variety.
• If you haven't checked out my Wordless Wednesday collection of cute and funny holiday babies, enjoy. Notice that the mother of the second baby linked to me on Motherhood Moment because she's (rightly) proud of her adorable new bundle, and here I am linking back again. How's that for synergy3?
• That was fun. Let's do it again. Arwyn at Raising My Boychick just wrote about relief that her period keeps on a-coming every month and her similar ambivalence toward whether or not to reproduce again, or when. And a couple days ago I checked Fertility Friend (which I still use as a tracking device, even though I'm suppressing my fertile side) and found: Mine is due Christmas Day! As I commented on Raising My Boychick, it will be a festive red indeed.
• Via The World Is Too Much With Us — "Holy Crap":
• I want to thank all my guest bloggers this year. If you have time during the holiday festivites (while you're hiding from relatives in the bedroom, perhaps? Does anyone else do this? Just me?), feel free to browse through the guest posts, now conveniently located within a category tag, and comment on their posts for Hobo Mama or click over to their sites to browse and interact. More guest posts are still to come in the new year, and feel free at anytime to offer your services or to ask me to volunteer. I think this is fun!
Happy, happy Christmas to all my dear readers and your sweet families! I plan to open the mountain of presents; make my mom's famous hot dip and eat half the pan immediately; enjoy Mikko's murmurs of glee at so very much loot, which I believe he will comprehend for the first time this year; stay in my jammies for a long, long while (as is the case every day, let it be noted); and play a heck of a lot of Sims 2. Because it's good to have plans. May you all have a similarly restful, meaningful, magical day tomorrow.
I wonder, by contrast, if this painter
had ever seen a human baby or
this painter a woman's breast (via God Spam).