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guest blog from Wendy Bradford!

We have a post from a guest editor today. We liked Wendy Bradford from the minute we read her blog.

First of all, it was about apple seeds (thank you Wendy) and it was super nice (thank you Wendy). Then we logged onto her site www.mamaonetothree.com to learn more about her and these are the first two things we read.

Top right hand corner
New York City mama of one. Then three. Give me coffee or give me wine.

About Me section
Mama of three; wife to funny person; writer of truthful, painful and absurd things; would-be spin instructor; ardent New Yorker; and your crazy friend. Have you seen my phone?

We decided right away we needed more Wendy in our lives.

Happy Holiday Season Breakdown to You
We celebrated Hanukkah with a small party in our apartment--our neighbors and friends came for non-traditional Hanukkah meal of pizza; we laughed and watched the kids dance and play and put on a concert for us. Our kids got presents from us, from my mother, and from my father and step-mother. The gifts arrived via UPS, right after dinner time, day after day. "Where's our present today?" I heard one of my three year olds ask her older sister when the doorbell didn't ring during Dora.

By Christmas Eve this year, I felt as if I were running on sheer will alone. Autumn had been trying and melancholy, and an unusual sadness blanketed December. Still, our hopes for a magical holiday at home were high. So there we were--just hours before Christmas morning, snapping wheels onto doll strollers, wrapping gifts, assembling a train table, leaving cookies out for Santa. (Then eating cookies for Santa, and replacing cookies for Santa with whatever could be found in the pantry.)
We had returned earlier from my inlaws' house upstate. The kids were reluctant to go to bed, having been showered with fun and noisy gifts by their grandparents. We threatened to call Santa on them.

Holiday music played in the background. My husband made eggnog; I opened the wine. We agreed our son will be so excited he won't know what to do with himself. Can you imagine his face when he sees this train table?
I said that one day we will be returning from visiting our children for the holidays, instead of our parents. And we will think of sitting in this living room making sure the toys for our three-year-old twins and five-year-old daughter are perfectly presented and placed under the tree. It will seem like it was yesterday.
My husband fell asleep on the couch with a train still in his hand. I went to bed around two a.m. Four hours later, our son and oldest daughter were up. I was excited to see their reaction to what Santa had left for them. And I could barely open my eyes. We followed them down the hallway and into the living room where our tree was lit up, surrounded by wrapped presents, three huge pink strollers, and the train table.

We explained they couldn't open gifts until their sister was awake as well. So they went to wake her. And the three of them came back out, soon to be amazed by their bounty. We waited for the unbridled delight to begin--which it did. And then ended almost as quickly.

Where's my stroller? Why isn't that my stroller?

Her stroller is bigger!

I didn't want him to wake me!

Why isn't it shiny?

Did Santa bring me a truck?


By ten o'clock all the toys had been opened, examined, played with, discarded, played with again. The new fancy dress clothes I had placed in their stockings were worn and worn in with crayons and markers. Breakfast was ordered, picked up, half-eaten and left in various corners of the apartment.
At a point soon after, I lost it. I did not grow up with Christmas, and holidays were always low-key in our home. This excess of festivity, the wrapping paper, the plastic packaging everywhere--and the children fighting over these toys we'd worked so hard to thrill them with--got to me.

Why are you acting like animals? I screamed. Just look at this place! This is disgusting! It's just too much!

I grabbed two plastic garbage bags and made my way forcefully around the living room--throwing trash into one bag and old toys to donate into the other. My children stared at me.

I was sent to my room by my husband.

Later on, the apartment was clean, the toys organized into their new homes, and bags full of donations were set to go. We made a special dinner of chicken breaded with Corn Flakes, and watched the last of the holiday shows on the DVR.

The kids made sure their strollers were within arm's reach from where they sat on the sofa. We repeated Elf on a Shelf twice, and waited for tired eyes to begin to close after a long day. Our electric fireplace lit its corner of the room. My daughter, the wisdom of her five years apparent and astonishingly accurate, explained to all of us: We are so lucky that we have so much.

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