Christmas gifts are always a headache. Always. I am not so obsessive as my buddy Andrea over at The Creative Junkie, but I try hard to get everyone at least one present I think they will really like.
With my kids, it's usually easy - electronics. Now they are fully stocked. Alesia has an iPod touch [thanks eBay, I never pay full retail....] and Michael has a PSP. He wants a Wii. Not happening. Not this year anyway.I had to be creative this year, but I think they'll like their "big" presents. [I won't put down what they're getting, in case they read this post. They don't normally read my blog, but better to be safe than sorry...]
More than gifts, I like Christmas baking. My cake enterprise is going well, but I am not overwhelmed by cake orders. I have 6 cakes to make between now and January 1, and that's enough. For Michael's friend Colton, we are going to make a chocolate pound cake. Michael doesn't know it yet but HE is going to make it, with me supervising. I do not have to worry about cleanup on that one because Michael can lick cake batter off a bowl in two seconds flat, and he can clean up beaters pretty well, too.Licking the spoon is a tradition in our family.
Years ago we had a basset hound who loved to lick cake batter out of the mixing bowl. When she heard the mixer she would go flying into the kitchen and bark excitedly. Of course, that was after Bruce and I were grown and gone because if we were there, even as grownups, we were all over the cake bowl and beaters.
I know, you're thinking, RAW EGGS! OMG, they are SO dangerous. Maybe so. I've eaten a ton of raw eggs in my life, though [in batter]. I like to walk on the wild side.
If you're not a cake person but you like to read about food and recipes, and/or you just like to cook, check out a blog I am really enjoying called The South in My Mouth. Her recipes tend more toward the savory than the sweet. Just the photo on the home page makes me drool.
But that's not the point of this post, no.I digressed. Story of my life.
No, in case you're not fully done with your shopping, I am simply reminding y'all that I have written two books, Adopting Alesia: My Crusade for My Russian Daughter, which is about Alesia's adoption journey, and Jack's New Family, a children's book written from the perspecitve of an 8 year old Russian boy adopted by a single American mom. You can order them from Amazon, or if you'd like an autographed copy, shoot me an email and I will sell you one directly [email@example.com]. [Be sure and put the title of the book in the subject line because I delete emails from people I don't know.]
If you've already got both books, or they don't appeal to you, my work has appeared in several other books. Call Me Okaasan, Adventures in Multicultural Mothering is a wonderful book, compiled by Suzanne Kamata, an American who is married to a Japanese man and lives in Japan. I have an essay in there. You'll have to order that one from Amazon, I'm afraid. It's not so much about adoption as it is about mothering children in foreign countries and trying to give them some of your own culture. It's a great read.
My friend Teresa Kelleher compiled a terrific book called Snowflakes: A Flurry of Adoption Stories- By, For and About Children and Teens, and I have contributions in there, too. Michael wrote an essay right after he came here [with a lot of help] about his early life in Kazakhstan, and that's in there, too. It's tough to read, because his experiences as a small child were so terrible, but it's important to share that information. So many children adopted as older kids share the kinds of terrible early childhoods my kids had, and only by hearing the stories and understanding how trauma affects a child's brain can parents really even begin to compassionately and effectively parent those children. You'll have to order that one, too.
I leave you with some photos from Christmas past, just for fun.
This is me and my brother in about 1965. They had to bribe Bruce to sit on Santa's lap.
Below is Christmas 2007, Mike's first one here. Bruce thought Mike needed all the gun accessories, but no, not any real guns or live ammo. In the south we wait until boys are 13 or so, usually, before we start the serious weapons training. I think it's because most of us descend from warring Scottish clansmen...
Below is Christmas 2009. We haven't done our Christmas photo yet this year. We need to do it after Mike gets his braces off, if I can get him to put down the popcorn...