I do not have the time to do this

But I must. This Christmas clock is a ticking time bomb and I am like a keg of dynamite ready to go at any second.

Lucky for me my sister Laura is here for a few weeks spending her Christmas with us. Now I am thankful–oh so very thankful–that us Mormons do not practice polygamy. Those days are super duper long gone and nothing could make me happier.

But I’ve got to tell you, having an extra set of Sister hands around this place is like working with four arms. I really wish she didn’t have kids and a home to go back to because I’d like to keep her locked up in the guest room forever. She is the world’s greatest company. If you’re looking to have someone over for an extended visit pick Laura. She does dishes and folds clothes and is really good at not judging when you yell at the kids.

The pinch, friends, the pinch is pinching. Please tell me I’m not the only one who is up to my gilly-gopper in almost finished Christmas projects.

We decided at the beginning of the month to do the 12 days of Christmas with homemade Nativity figures for our neighbors directly across the street. I’ve made plenty of rice snowmen and decided it would be fairly simple to use the sock technique for nativity figures.

I found an old unused stable in my decorations and bought socks at the dollar store. A bag of rice, and voila! Easy peasy.

I have four days left and there is no baby Jesus, manger, angel or…whatever we’re taking the last day. Unfortunately we started a day early and I think our last day is going to have to consist of us Mexican caroling with a loaf of bread.

But as much hassle as this project is it is also the most hilarious thing I’ve ever done with my kids. My house is a literal fish bowl. The main level (level 3) has floor to ceiling windows that look out over the street. When you drive up at night we are always lit up like a candle and you can see my kids running around in their underwear. We are also very not sound-proof. All the Germans in the village walk past our house to get to the walking trails, and they all stare as they go.

So when I send my kids out to the neighbor’s directly across the street to drop, ring and run with their daily Christmas offering, I usually sit down with a warm drink in the dining room and watch the show.

They think they’re so sneaky.

They creep across the street until the neighbor’s motion sensor light illuminates them. That’s usually when Cloe, the neighbor’s dog, goes crazy barking. They crawl up the stairs on hands and knees and set down their chubby offering, then ring the bell and run like a snotty nose on a cold winter’s eve.

That’s when I usually see the neighbor come to the door and wait. And wait and wait and wait.

Once they’ve circled the house and returned to the opposite side of the porch to perch and wait (instead of coming back across the road), he finally opens the door and with shock and awe, retrieves the daily cast member. We look at each other through the window and smile while my little kids cover their mouths and try not to breath and accidentally give themselves away.

The door closes and they laugh and skip their way home.

I am really ready to get this show on the road, my list is long and detailed and I’m starting to get snappy and sassy with all these last minute finishes. But I have to admit that no matter what my mood is, watching this parody play out every night has been my favorite thing of the season. I hate, I absolutely hate, that we won’t be here in this wonderful old house next year. I hope Las Vegas will have its own kind of magic.



  1. You are awesome Annie. It is fun seeing what kind of mommy you have grown up to be. Love the stories about your kids. Still feel totally gypped (sp?) that you are going to Vegas next and not coming home like you should! Have a Merry Christmas. Give loves to Laura for me. Tell Jason and your darlings that the Schneiders are thinking of them and love and miss.

  2. You have sweet neighbors! Side note: I’ve been following you in the Standard Examiner for a few years. And now I follow you on your blog. I love your stories about your kids and motherhood. It helps me to feel real/normal. It sounds like you are an amazing mother and wife!

    • annie valentine says:

      Friend, I just like to make it sound that way, we are unfortunately normal and I drive my husband crazy half the time. Isn’t he lucky.