My "surprise" for this xmas season......and today. Good thing easy child let the cat out of the bag and warned me, or else I'd have not been a happy camper. Nichole came early to help me get ready for it too. Only one not here was Oliver due to getting his 2 yr molars and teething pain. He stayed home with Daddy to avoid the chaos and make sure he got his nap. In under 2 mins I realized Katie has never baked from scratch, especially cookies. We've baked with them before but easy child has always pre-made the dough part. High time for kids to learn dough doesn't come ready to roll, drop and decorate. Let's just say it was controlled chaos because Katie's boys wanted to hog the whole making process. I had to walk away from Evan several times because I was going to smack him silly. They had to measure out everything.......do the stirring, grease the cookie sheets. It was traditional mincemeat cookies today. Katie's kids wondered why it wasn't sugar cookies cuz they thought they'd get to take them home. Uh, hmm sugar cookies were not even mentioned and no one said anything about taking cookies home. These are for xmas tomorrow. I suppose they did ok. We had some major laughs like with Kayla and Aubrey trying oh so carefully to measure the flour out precisely. Darrin cracking the eggs......but oops some shell dropped into the mixture. Connor filling the measuring cup with shortening......Brandon helping.....Nana helping because shortening tends to stick to the spoon.....that bit was Hilarius and worth letting them try to do the shortening. The look on Alex's face when he tasted a cooled cookie after just telling me he didn't like the ingredients......ect. lol But while they were baking Nichole had to mix the dough for ornaments and get them going before the kids went wild. Of course we couldn't bake those until the cookies were finished. So again chaos started. Nana whips out construction paper, a huge bag of cotton balls, some googly eyes and glue with some crayons. Then we had kids making snowmen and other xmas themed pictures. Not long after I tried to sit on the step stool and instead it folded up landing me on the floor and my left thumb getting squashed in the closed stool until easy child freed it. After some ice.......well, I needed to go to the store. I ask Katie if she had all the veggies she needed for the veggie tray. She says she has celery and carrots. wtf??? I told her weeks ago a whole list of veggies she needed for the tray. (grands like everything) Soooooo, while at the store I also had to pick up all the ingredients Katie had not picked up which was 95 percent of them. I literally wanted to dive over the table at the girl........girl......*cough* "woman" and wrap my hands around her throat. It was the manner in which she said it........so la dee da.....it was her behavior the whole afternoon ( present but unaccounted for, she was obviously stoned) .....it was the fact that I'd assigned her the veggie tray because it was the cheapest thing on the menu and the easiest darn thing to do........and she only picked up carrots and celery!!! I will say it is a lot of other things, many small things that are adding up over time. Including the fact that when the girls arranged this xmas baking session no one said anything about either sugar cookies or taking the cookies home to give to santa. Katie "assumed" wrongly and blabbed to her kids this is what was happening. So I had to argue with Alex and Evan nearly the whole time that no, we weren't doing sugar cookies at all, and that the cookies we were making were the family traditional mincemeat that would be served xmas day.......not going home with them. Katie told the kids they'd "bake" when they got home to pacify them. I watched Kayla roll her eyes in a yeah right. I dug my heels in over the taking cookies home. I'm getting sick and tired of covering Katie's rear end when it comes to the kids and their holidays. So I had to get out of the house fast before it was me pulling a difficult child stunt. It was a very short trip to the store before they closed for the holidays. Nichole kept texting us to hurry, she was having trouble keeping control and her temper. omg My mom called in the midst of the chaos. She wound up talking to every child and adult except me. lol Those talking to her had to go into the living room so they could hear......supervised by Travis to keep them out of trouble and out of gifts, much to the kids disappointment. Even though most of the planned cookies to bake were nixed due to Katie's kids behavior......it ran into supper time. easy child ordered pizza. Alex and Evan could not grasp there was only so much people to feed so many people. I suspect they've not been eating regularly. It is, after all, the end of the month and if they spent any money at all on xmas (this is doubtful as Katie will use every organization she can get away with, always has, to get their xmas for free) well......they're broke. I've dug in my heels and am refusing to cover their rear on this score too. M has lost yet another job, not had it even 6 months. Despite this undercurrent........and the fact that Evan sprayed hair spray all over the bathroom......there was much laughter and a lot of fun. Except for Katie who was off in la la land and could barely manage to say a few sentences here or there. The dogs were literally exhausted from playing with all the kids and all the attention. Maggie was falling asleep on her feet and Rufus had to be crated to give him a break. They slept until morning after everyone left. lol easy child is picking them up today. Ought to be interesting. Kayla and Alex are about to discover that growing up isn't much fun. Kayla got some nice things but the bulk is makeup (to tick off Katie because I think it is a stupid unnecessary battle she's decided to ride the child about) Alex got nice things but not really toys per se, not at 12......and also because he so so obsessive over batman / spiderman he already so much of the stuff we've no frigging clue what to get him. Yes, the boy in his head is about 6 (at best), but still. I'm thinking Katie is hoping we'll pick up their slack. We pretty much didn't. We paid little attention to what she said they wanted (which means what she can't afford to buy) and got what we thought they'd enjoy in our price range. I'll be able to tell from slips ect what went on at home this morning. I know M bragged to sister in law that he bought two of the newest gaming systems and all the current available games.....betting it was on layaway and they lost it........betting any xmas they actually bought with their money was as well. Not my problem. I can't wait to find out how their "baking" went. lol Yup. Not picking up Katie's slack anymore, not even with holidays. Her kids are all old enough now to learn what happens when you can't/refuse to manage money. (with M not working they still have plenty) And they will never truly do without. Know what I mean?? Katie will never learn, but perhaps her kids.....at least Kayla will. Our xmas day won't begin until 4pm as easy child and Nichole have in laws to spend the day with too. Katie's mom has supposedly opted out. I can deal with that......I invited her in person, so if Katie is excluding her she knows where the guilt lies. Maggie and Rufus were thrilled with their stockings that Santa filled just for them. They're currently defluffing the crinkly penguin. LOL I'll let you all know how the rest of the day goes.