Wrapping Paper Confessions

Recently my 10 and 9 yr old boys were invited to a birthday party for one of their friends. I took the boys shopping so they could pick out a present to take. They had a lot of fun picking something out but when we got home I realized that I had forgotten to buy a gift bag. I went and looked through my small collection of gift bags but only found pink girly bags. Those were not going to work. And then, I found a little bit of wrapping paper. Perfect! I’ll wrap the gift!

Ok. Pause button.

I need to explain a little bit about our family and gift wrapping. We have 12 people in our family. That means 12 birthdays. If life was fair and consistent that would mean that we have one birthday a month. But no, life doesn’t work that way. We have 5 birthdays in the months of March and April, 4 birthdays between Aug 22 and Oct 2, and then one per month for Nov, Dec, and Jan. That’s a lot of presents in concentrated periods of time. I do not like wrapping presents. Gift bags are my friends. But, I do not like spending money on gift bags. Basically, when it comes to wrapping presents, I’m a cheapskate. I just can’t justify in my mind the expense and time of wrapping that many presents. Now at Christmas I break my rule and I sit down for several hours on Christmas Eve and wrap presents for 11 people. We don’t go overboard with gifts but even if everyone just has 4 gifts, that is still 44 presents. Can you see my dilemma?  

I discovered over time, that really the whole point of gift wrapping is simply to make the present a surprise. Right? So, the present doesn’t have to be wrapped up in shiny paper or put in a pretty bag with handles, it just needs to be hidden!  I have found that bath towels do the job really well. Just lay that present in the middle of the towel, wrap it up, and Voila! a hidden present! No tape or scissors needed! If the gift is really big, say a bicycle, a blanket works just as well.

The funny thing is that my kids think this is normal. You know how little kids love to give gifts. Well, every time it’s a birthday all my little ones go and grab their favorite stuffed animals/toys and they wrap them up in towels and bring them down to give to the Birthday Girl/Boy. My husband Andy and I are trying to picture how this will play out in the future lives of our children. They’ll be married and the first birthday will come around and they’ll present their spouse with a bundled up towel. I’m thinking in order to save some future marriages, we’re going to have to sit down with them and have a “talk” before they head out into the world. The Gift Wrapping Talk. Honey, there is something I need to tell you before you leave home…

So, back to my boys taking a present to a birthday party. I found wrapping paper and even managed to find some tape. The present I was going to wrap was in a box. Very simple. Nice cube shape. Alright, one more revelation…the other reason I wrap our presents in towels is because I’m really bad at wrapping presents. Really bad. I’ve watched tutorials on youtube, watched friends of mine, watched my husband…None of that has helped. I just can’t get the silly paper to lay straight and not crumple up. So, here I am, trying to wrap this present. I should have  let the 9 and 10 year old tackle the job as they probably would have done it better. As it was, I finally ended up cramming all the excess crumpled paper underneath that little triangle fold that you always pull up and I put tape on and it looked ok. Well, it looked like a small child had wrapped it, but that is the benefit of having children. I handed the present to my boys and let them take it to the party and everyone there assumed that the boys must have wrapped it. I was just proud of myself that it was wrapped in paper instead of a towel.


To Write a Blog or Not to Write a Blog

I have decided to start a blog. Whether this is a good thing or not, time will have to tell. I have always said, quite determinedly, that I would never write a blog. The only blogs that I am familiar with are the kind that dispense daily wisdom, encouragement, and good advice. I don’t feel qualified to do any of those things on a regular basis. Sure, every once in a while I might have something profound to say, maybe I can speak a word of encouragement, but I know I couldn’t do it repeatedly. I also don’t have a lot of advice to give out. (Ok, I have a ton of advice for my children that they are subject to every day, like, brush your teeth, don’t wear old faded t-shirts to church, don’t eat bread with mold on it. But, that’s just part of being a mom.) My life is a bit chaotic and I am still trying to get it together. When I have achieved the perfect weight, can keep my house clean every day, and have attained a certain level of awesomeness, maybe I’ll start dispensing advice.

I certainly don’t feel like I can give out parenting advice either. Having 10 children has taught me that really, I have no idea what I’m doing, and I’m just winging it every day. God and I have a daily agreement that he’ll give me grace for today and I’ll try to listen to his advice instead of going ballistic when my kids do stuff like pour cooking oil all over the kitchen floor. Yeah, there are some shortcuts we’ve figured out that work for our kids, but I’ve been around enough families to realize that my shortcuts don’t necessarily apply to everyone else. And so, all of this is why  I have said that I will never write a blog.

Well, then I had it pointed out to me that a blog can be about anything. I don’t have to instruct, lift up, or be positive. Yay! Maybe there is a place in the blogosphere for me after all. I do have a bit of a crazy life, and I enjoy writing about it, and it’s fun to share my stories with other people. So, if you are interested in reading about the crazy adventures of a mom of 10, then you are at the right place. Welcome to Life With Esther.