Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Break!

It was a busy, short week leading up to Christmas break. Eion had a big presentation due at school. They were having a "wax museum" where the kids researched a historical figure, dressed as that person, and presented to the class. Eion chose Steve Jobs and by all accounts, did a great job. When I went to the museum today, several other parents told me their kids came home talking about E's performance. Though it may just be that he used an ipad.

They also had a sing along, on which I bailed, and a class party, on which I did not bail.

Wednesday was tacky Christmas sweater day at middle school. The only problem the girls had was choosing the fine specimen from my collection to wear to school!

They also had their first play practice a which we found out they are in group one, who starts rehearsal when school starts up again in January.

If I don't get back to you in the next week, have a Merry Christmas and we'll catch up soon!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

End of an Era

Not sure why but I am feeling very retrospective in posts this fall. Maybe it is that we seem to be on this threshold - almost done with Halloween, done with Santa. It occurred to me today that this will be the first year without Santa pictures. The kids have probably been done for a few years, but since we would always go to the Club Santa brunch, I was able to muscle in a few extra pictures. Since we quit the Club, I don't even have that option. And I know there is literally no way in heaven or earth that I could successfully organize a mall Santa visit. No way.

It is funny, looking back on the pictures with fat man, I'm not sure why I felt it was so very important. Honestly, most of these really didn't turn out well. But there was blood, sweat, tears, and sometimes bribery involved, making it a darn shame to waste them.

So we'll say au revoir to the Santa years with a look back at misadventures of the past…

2001 Morrigan and her friend, Grace. We tried so hard to wake Grace up, leaving me to ask, all these years later, what in the Sam Hill were we thinking. Let sleeping babies sleep!

2002 - Morrigan and Grace again. Santa looks unamused with the lapfull he has.

2003 - I had learned a bit. I didn't even try to wake up Maggie.

2004 - Morrigan in one of my favorite Christmas dresses ever.

2004 - And Maggie is having none of it.

2005 - Maggie was apparently having none of it yet again. But as life was teaching me humility that year, I didn't even attempt to get her picture!


2006 - This was Eion's mood, which explains the next picture, sans E.


2007 - No Eion again. I see a trend forming...


2008 - As close as we got.

2009 - Only took four years to get them all together.




2011 - It is all starting to go bad here. You can see the lack of enthusiasm.

2012 - Eion is all in.

2012 - His sisters, however, were only willing to stand near Santa, and even then, 
with much coersion involved.

2013 - Eion was the only one left who card enough about the goody bag to still pose. 
No incentive big enough for the girls.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

An A+ For Customer Service

So I've used Le Creuset pans for about forever. My Mom bought a bunch of them when we lived in Paris and they became a family favorite. When I got married, I registered for them. Fast forward 19+ years, and some of these pans are a little worse for wear. Don't get me wrong, they were used, a lot. They served us well.

But one of our favorites, a large dutch oven, was losing its enamel coating. We were balking at replacing it, mostly due to the fact that it was going to be $325. In the process of searching for a new pot, Tim came across the "lifetime guarantee" for Le Creuset. We called the company and they confirmed that if we mailed it to them, we would either get a replacement pan, at no charge, or if we were determined to have voided the warranty, a 75% off coupon. We figured it was a no lose situation.

It cost $25 in shipping. We honestly didn't feel confident we would get either option. Surely they had some way to weasel out if it. Simply too good to be true.

Imagine our surprise when a band spanking new dutch oven arrived yesterday.

They have earned a customer and cheerleader for life. Now if you'll excuse me, I have other 20 year old pans which could use replacing.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Card Season

With so much communication going electronic, mail, eleven months a year, is pretty boring. But then comes December and Christmas cards. I love getting them everyday and seeing beautiful pictures of in town friends and how much the out of town kids have grown.

But keeping all the cards year after year is cumbersome and even if I put them in albums, I don't know how often I would view them. So I scan them all in and put them in a folder in my pictures folder. The screen saver on my computer is a randomization of all my pictures, which means that different cards from over the years will pop up all the time.

I may be a digital hoarder, but I'll never be buried under a pile of old mail!

One of my favorite cards! From 2007.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Little Mermaid Cast Revealed

Yesterday was the day, the day the cast list was coming out at middle school. As we ate breakfast, the kids pondered the roles they might have. Maggie was starry eyed and optimistic - maybe she'd be Ariel, but was really going to be happy with anything. Morrigan was much less positive, sure she would be the oceanic version of Townsperson #13. Having no idea what would be, my standard, and true, line was that they would have fun with anything and we were proud of them whether they were leads or Starfish #6.

They both had Spanish presentations on large posterboards so I offered to drive them to school. Truth be told, I was as excited as them to find out their parts. We were all stoked to find they were cast as Ursula's evil eels, Flotsam and Jetsam!

Ironically, this is exactly what Maggie was hoping for at breakfast, either to be cast in this role with her sister or a friend. So she was thrilled to have a semi big role with her sister and Morrigan was happy to be the bad guy, who is much more interesting than boring old Ariel, in her opinion.

The principal, who is in charge of the production, also cast twin 7th grade brothers in the roles. Each girl is teamed up with a twin to both be the eel at the same time. A little confusing but no fear, Dominick is here!

One of my first texts was to my brother, Dominick, who lives in Minnesota and make costumes for a living. Big costumes, like the ones in Sesame Street Live. As luck would have it, he is visiting over the holidays and I immediately planned to conscript him, and my mother, also a seamstress, to make a fabulous costume. Dominick, who may be the best uncle and brother ever, didn't even bat an eye when I essentially annexed his vacation to put him to work doing, well, what he does at work!

The two people as one eel was not as flummoxing for a professional and he immediately suggested we do something akin to a Chinese dragon, only eel flavored.

Entrusting the project to the expert, I plan to be labor and financing. I contacted the parents of the twins, who had not yet arrived home to tell their parents about their roles, sorry - spoilers, and they were on board with writing a check and letting Dominick be in charge. 

This is going to be so much fun. I can't wait!

Christmas Parade

Last night was the Dickens of a Christmas parade downtown. As opposed to past years where E marched with his Boy Scout troop and we watched, Morrigan and I went with the troop and threw candy to the spectators. Let me tell you, this is the way to go.

We gathered at the church for pizza beforehand. Then we watched the first 37 floats go by until it was our slot. The church is very close to the official starting point of the parade, so we were able to stay there and then join in rather than queuing up forever.

Then we walked the mile or so of the parade route and we were done. No fighting crowds or battling to stay warm. It was merry indeed!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Live Free or Die, or Maybe Both

So the whole family took the loss of Tank pretty hard. I'm not sure why, but we were all more attached to her than other fallen Peepers of days past. Even Maggie, lover of all pets, said, "I don't mean to be chickenist, but couldn't it have been one of the Koch Brothers?"

The day after The Disappearance, I kept all the remaining birds in their, admittedly deluxe, run. It was rainy, which may have been a mitigating factor, but the birds stayed in the semi dark coop all day, huddled in the corner. Putin would glare at me, I'm not kidding, every time I looked in on them.

They just didn't seem happy.

So we had a family talk. Much of the reading and personal experiences about which I've read and heard all indicate the same thing - chickens rarely reach old age. One chicken blogger, who keeps his chickens in a run all the time, has never had one make it to the point where she now longer lays eggs. Most people I know with chickens have lost whole flocks to unseen predators, be it hawks or raccoons or weasels. In our way, perhaps slightly twisted, of looking at it, the chickens were likely to fall prey to some nasty creature at some point. The difference was how they lived in the meantime. They could either be in the run, confined, or in the fenced yard, relatively free. (And occasionally when their feathers grow out, completely free.)

We've opted for the slightly more dangerous freedom. So the remaining four girls are out and we don't know how long they will make it. That being said, we really didn't know how long they'd make it confined either. Don't worry, either way, I'm sure you'll get to read all about it.

The remaining hens:

James Blond

Putin and Koch Brother I

Koch Brother II