Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wiiiiiiiiii !!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Wild and Woolley Pre-Christmas Events

While doing some last-minute panic shopping today with my sister, Jocelyn, she advised me that I should do more updating blogs about family. So here's a bit of what's been going on during the last week or so....

FEELING AGED: When the word "retro" conjures up actual toys from your childhood, you know the years are passing swiftly. We unpacked a package from my mom this week and found a little surprise - this is a toy that we played with when I was little.

When you pull out the little bottom drawer, Santa still dances and music still plays. It's yellowed with age. I should start telling the kids it's from when Grammy was little.

RELIVING FUN MICRO-TRADITIONS: I wonder what memories my kids will have when they're older and have to come up with their own yearly standbys. When I was little, Santa always managed to find a little Whitman's Sampler to put in my stocking (I seriously sound like a grandma).

Santa still puts them in the stockings at our house. While they ain't no See's candy, there's something awesome about getting a whole box of chocolates all to yourself. Grammy supplied some of these little boxes in her package this week. Thanks for the retro candy!

GINGERBREAD HOUSE DECORATING: At our house we decorate gingerbread houses so that my kids can eat the candy off them like a cloud of devouring locusts almost before the frosting hardens into pristine cement.

Just before the feeding frenzy - half the candy was eaten before the decorating began

Next year I think I'm just going to get the kit, unload the candy into three individual bowls, hand my kids their forks, and let them have at it. The gingerbread itself can be dumped in the garbage, unused. There's nothing like a gnawed-on gingerbread house to spruce up a Christmas centerpiece and announce, in case there was any doubt, that kids live here.

ATTENDING CHRISTMAS CONCERTS: Spencer put on a Christmas concert with the other first graders at his school this week. There were tons of cute songs performed by the most enthusiastic singing group I've ever seen at an elementary school.

Miraculously loud, but mercifully not much shouting. Very well done. Good job, teachers.

MORE HILARITY FROM JAKE: I thought Jake was going to sleep, light had been turned off, goodnights said. Then I noticed something going on at the end of the hall and lo and behold it was some serious reading. The hardhat was a smooth move and got him one book before the lights were turned off again since I couldn't immediately squash such a unique approach to being naughty. I'm surprised his eyeballs worked at all with that searchlight aimed at his face.

CHRISTMAS WALK OF SHAME: I came home from tonight's shopping trip with Jocie to find two amazing and lavish gifts from neighbors - no pics of the gifts since it's late and I'm lazy (but you can see us here assembling our own giveaways). Package number one was a cute lidded glass container (large) filled to the rim with Hershey's kisses and decorated beautifully, an inspiring Christmas book, and a box of Bertie Bott's Beans (because my thoughtful friend remembers my kids' sheer joy at braving those nasty little things). Package number two falls in the category of home decor and has found its place right by my front door, assuring all visitors that, indeed, the Christmas spirit is found within. It's a wooden Santa, professionally painted, with a little rust bow around its neck, and a dangling sign that says "Flakes Live Here," all poised on top of a hand-painted yardstick to measure how deep the snow is. You wanna know what these kind people got from me a couple days ago? A small bag of homemade caramels (turned out okay) and fudge that was on the dry side. Is there anything I can do to fix this situation? I will hang my head in shame at church tomorrow, but luckily they're both so nice they'll tell me it was the best fudge they've ever had. Uhhgg.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Guest Has Arrived

This is my holiday guest. He is not wanted or welcome, yet he drops in anyway. Try as I might, I can't get him to leave. I pay attention to him here and there, but he is jealous and when I do not pay enough attention he grows out of control. He is occupying a whole chair and is now threatening to engulf any other available seats, couches, or otherwise bare spaces. Soon, no one will be able to visit. He's like the embarassing relative you try to keep from friends. I try to hide him but he's grown too large and is getting bigger by the day. He isn't cute or cuddly, but his newest additions are warm and fluffy and the kids think he's fun to hide in, like a new toy--this is not good. Luckily he's very clean and smells good, just not tidy or willing to tend to himself. He's extremely needy.

Please make him go away. If he can visit your house, let me know. He'll be right over.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Please Pass the Butter

Who likes to eat straight butter? I will say that the addition of butter makes most things divine and is the secret ingredient for many professional kitchens, but gorging on butter a la carte does not gourmet dining make.

However, don't expect babies to agree with you. At least mine, and she's not alone. I've had to hide butter from three of my four, if for nothing else so I don't have to gag while watching their veins clog before my very eyes as they happily lick their greasy little fingers.

I can promise you that I've never had a thing for straight butter. Do you have a butter eater in your house? Have you ever known one? It qualfies for its own kid lable: Butter Eater. As in: Oh, she's a Butter Eater.

This is not something to be proud of and usually causes others to flinch inwardly as they try to suppress their own gag reflex and tingles of disgust go up and down spine.

Note the glistening butter shine -- and the happy face
(Ava, being the youngest, does the most entertaining things. It's a phenomenon I've mentioned in a previous post. As a result, she has an inordinate amount of posts starring her. I apologize to my other kids. I love you too.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Indulgences and Ava


I'm in trouble.

My mommy has offered me the chance to buy indulgences in the pattern offered to European peasants by the medieval clergy - this is the practice of buying forgiveness for sins. Sometimes, and this was the final straw for the church because it ticked Luther off, you could even purchase salvation for yourself and dead kin. Well, at least they didn't try to make it sound like something it wasn't. Pretty straightforward.

I need an indulgence real bad.

Here I am, making my purchase

While mommy was busy mopping the floor, trying to get the house clean for book club tonight, I thought it would be fun to help her by making the couch look pretty. I used a dramatic color palette of black and pink--I thought it would be striking for the holidays. Mommy thinks it would be a good entry in the Ugliest Holiday Decoration contest, solicited by Celia.

Now, when I toddle by my masterpiece I instinctively utter the words, "No, no." My mommy has taught me this phrase while helping me focus my attention on my pretty drawing. She would like this to be one of a kind.

I'm pretty cute, so an indulgence shouldn't be too hard to come by. Right, Mommy?

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Date with Mr. Rubik

Matt generally works on Friday nights and gets home sometime after 8 p.m. (Yes, we look forward to the day that this isn't so.) So, between that and getting a call from him that he had a flat tire and it's snowing like mad outside, I settled down with the kids' Rubik's cube. I've never solved it, not even close. Never even had an inkling as to how the whole thing worked either. How do those super solvers do it? I've tried spinning the little cubes around really fast just like them but mine don't organize themselves into obedient one-colored sides like theirs do. Then I try to stifle just feeling pissed and frustrated before I toss it and move on to something more congratulatory.

Not tonight.

I was feeling rather dedicated, plus I had decided to cheat, something that wasn't an option in my childhood Rubik's days. After a little Googling, someone by the name of Peter had provided me with a splended set of instructions for solving this colorful little beast. The solution is based on the strategy of solving by layers; there are three. Here's the kicker, I got to use algorithms to do it! I've never come close to knowing what an algorithm is or using one for anything in my life, and here was my chance to feel undeniably super-smart. This is as far as I got:

Two layers solved....

What's an algorithm good for if it can't take you by the hand and walk you through solving that third layer, darn it? Just so you know, I am eluded by only two of those nasty little cubes.

Oh, so close!!!

I'm an almost-Rubik's-solver. This will have to be good enough as my dedication has worn off, and the magic dust left over from my algorithm intoxication has dissipated. I'm off to find a chess club.