I’ve written at least 2000 words about Newtown, but none of them have felt right to share here. I may yet post some thoughts about it, but for now let’s focus on more enjoyable stuff.

So, holiday notes!

Any home with girls in it will have a higher than normal amount of random glitter. Stuck to furniture, in the laundry, and just floating in the air. But this time of year, there seems to be even more. Especially in the washing machine and dryer. I did a load of the girls’ clothes today and, when I emptied the lint catcher, was greeted by a sparkling snowstorm of glitter. I can only blame myself, as I was the one who bought three Christmas shirts at target that had glitter all over them.

We took the girls to Jolly Days at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum after school Tuesday. We knew that would be risky, going straight from school with tired girls. But it also seemed like our best chance to avoid big crowds. We had mixed success. The place was as sparsely attended as we’ve ever seen it, but each girl had a cranky moment or two.

C.’s was especially poorly timed. When we went to see Santa, she wanted nothing to do with him. So while her sisters sat with the Big Man for a picture, C. sat outside with S.. Which is kind of sad, but there was no way we were forcing her up there and inviting a total meltdown.

I laughed when both L. and M. just shrugged when Santa asked them what they wanted. They’ve been talking about what they want constantly for two months and suddenly forget when they can go straight to the source. Hilarious.

After I asked M. why she didn’t tell him anything. She shrugged and said, “I just kind of forgot.”

Two weeks ago we took the girls on a Polar Express ride in French Lick, IN. I was expecting it to be awful, but it was really well done and a lot of fun. “Elves” brought us hot chocolate, they sang and danced, and Santa made an appearance, handing out bells to all the kids.

But there was a bummer moment. We went with our neighbors and I overheard the mother telling S. that their eight-year-old had informed them she wasn’t down with the Santa thing anymore. If you know what I mean. I got kind of sad when I heard that. I knew the clock was ticking on M. still being a kid at christmas. But if her best friend is seeing things differently, I know she can’t be far behind. I was really hoping for one, maybe two more Christmases with full belief from all the girls. I guess now I’ll just have to be happy if we get through the next week without her saying anything.

This week M. asked S. why her Polar Express bell said “Made In China.” S. said even Santa has to outsource to get everything done. I thought that was a fine observation and an even finer response.

This is our fourth year with an Elf on the Shelf. For some reason we always kept him in his box. I think it was originally to keep the youngest girls from grabbing him and moving him around. But over time it became habit.

We finally realized that we didn’t need to keep him in there anymore. Last night I met a friend for drinks. When I got home I took Elfie out of his box, grabbed a crayon and some paper, and wrote the girls a note.

“I finally figured out how to get out of that box! Good luck finding me!”

I left the note and the open box on the kitchen table and stashed him in a stocking.

There was much excitement when the girls discovered the note this morning and began their search for him.

I should have done this a long time ago. It makes moving him around each night so much easier.

I know it used to be normal for folks to get their Christmas trees right before C hristmas, but I’m flabbergasted when I see people driving home with new trees this week. Of course, they probably think people like me who run out the day after Thanksgiving are insane, too.

L. loves the Grinch. She insists on watching either the cartoon or the movie pretty much every day. And she went bonkers the first time she heard the song on the local holiday music station.

Finally, after a couple dicey weeks over which I waited for it to carbonate, my Christmas beer is finally ready. My first two beers were fully carbed after a week in the bottle. I tried opening one of these after a week and it was totally flat. After another week there was some carbonation, but not as much as it should have had. Finally this week it opened with a resounding snap and poured with a good head. And it’s pretty damn tasty.

So, I officially unveil Shitter’s Full Yuletide Ale.

Merry Christmas!