Friday, December 30, 2011


\ˈa-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\
b : a cool, cocky, defiant, or arrogant manner

Yeah. She's got it in spades.

The Christmas Eve Post.

It's  photo montage time!
Partly because I'm lazy, and also partly because there are only so many times in so many different ways that I can tell you I love my family before you become rather  bore with me.
But I do. I love my family. Even the weird ones. ha.

Christmas Eve has always been our night to gather.
Once everyone started moving on and moving out, my parents were pretty staunch supporters of the You-Shouldn't-Have-To-Get-Out-Of-Your-Pajamas-If-You-Don't-Want-To-on-Chrismtas-Day School of thought. Which is nice. It means we still get to share my favorite part of the holiday. The anticipation.

We do Christmas Eve Mass together as a family, then it's back to mom& dad's for dinner.
I've always been grateful that we don't do the big Thanksgiving Two feast. It seems so stressful. Instead, we eat something warm and filling then linger over coffee...stretching out the time before presents until the Munchkins are at a near-fever pitch.

Miss Attitude up there opted to serenade us a bit on the piano with some Christmas Carols.

And then the unwrapping began!
It was, as always, a blur of wrapping paper piles and squeals of delight. Mostly from me. Hah. I can hear myself turning into my mother when I exclaim over gifts and things as the kids open them; Ooohing and Aaaahing just like I remember her doing for us on Christmas Mornings...

It's such a comforting thing, to be surrounded by your family all in one room.
I miss my sister at times like this. But she'll be back soon. Okay not soon, May. But still.
She was there in spirit...and she'll probably be there via Photoshop as well if I get bored enough this afternoon...

Post-Presents we switched gears so Tony could turn the big 3-0.
My younger brother is 30.
That hurts more than ME turning 30 for some reason.

And finally, with three increasingly sleepy Munchkins all bundled up against the cold, we made our grand exit. Two were nearly asleep in the eight or so blocks between mom & dad's & my I schlepped them all up into bed...where visions of sugar plums [read: Lego Ninjago and Baby Dolls] danced in their heads...

What are you Doing New Years Eve?

I love Everything about this.

Zooey Deschanel +Joseph Gordon-Levitt
"What Are You Doing New Years Eve?" 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Pre-Christmas Post

The last few weeks have just been a whirlwind.
Let's see if we can't get you back up to speed, shall we?

The Biz was in a play at school.
The kids were 100% responsible for costumes, props & rehearsals.
Blue construction paper pond weighted down with pint-size water bottles and such... Potted ferns for the marsh reeds...and a handful of kids dressed head to toe in yellow. Adorable.

She's "Old Duck"  It was a riot. They took their parts awfully seriously.

Does her costume look like I cobbled it together the night before the play?
I did. oops.

Christmas gifting was HEAVILY supplemented with store bought this year.
I had such lovely intentions of mountains of handmade gifts...and was able to crank out a few sets of coasters, personalized mugs, bits of jewelry, scarves and the like...but that's about as far as it went this year.

I did several of these little fleece + minky reversibles because I had all the scraps just laying around, taunting me. And I can't just let $13/yd minky lay around!!!


Teachers gifts all sort of came together in a single, stressful evening, during which I'm pretty sure I snapped at Mr. Handsome over the phone while trying to modge podge the kids' drawings onto coasters and fill treat bags with handmade peppermint bark, and craft up some gift tags for each of the 10 gifts we managed to cobble together.

Luckily, he brushed it off and brought me ice cream anyway.
Because he's awesome.

As were these coasters when all was said and done! The kidlets did a grand job of personalizing each one for each of their teachers and then we wrapped them all up with clear cellophane, added the gift tag, tied it with some ribbon and called it done!


And then, of course, there was the usual flurry of candy making, cookie making, light hanging, and house decorating that never quite seems to come together until the last minute anywho...

^Mom's traditional gingerbread people. Every year. we have to. It's hilarious. and tradition. I can't even remember the first time we made them chippendale dancers...but it stuck. I think they might have all worn leiderhosen the year Jane lived in Germany...Makes me giggle a little through my nose just to think about them all lined up in scandalous lingerie...

 Anyway, most of my evenings ended something along the lines of the above.
Exhausted, on the couch, glass of wine or two in hand, reveling in the quiet glow of the tree, trying desperately to resist the urge to rearrange the ornaments that the kids had moved. Again. For the umpteenth time that day.

Merry Merry, all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

coffee break

We're making coffee at work just now.

It's 3:30 and I'm hitting the afternoon slump. And we've opened a new canister of coffee in the pod...

That's still one of the best smells in the world to me, Opening up a fresh bag of coffee

I can remember, as a kid, my mom reaching to put groceries away in our cupboards, and we’d all amble over to her as she’d open up the vacuum-sealed back of ground beans. The swoosh and sudden weight of the bag. The sharp, rich smell of the beans as she’d hold it out and let each of us stick our noses into the bag and smell before she refilled the giant canister she kept in the cupboard.

It’s better than the smell of brewed coffee. Better than the smell of the beans by themselves. Those grounds makes me think of digging my toes into the dark, loamy mud in the summer. They make me think of curling up around a mug in the kitchen of our old house in the winter, after dinner, watching the birds and squirrels peck at the feeders in the narrow strip of mossed-over back yard just before the edge dropped off down a small ravine ending in a winding little creek. Of swinging my feet against the short, berbered carpet under the heavy woodplank antique kitchen table, the sound of my soles shushing over the carpet, my calves cracking against the cane chairs softly, listening to the murmur of my parents talk over their coffee, listening to the soft clink of forks and spoons against ceramic, of glasses against the placemats, listening to the maker percolating on the countertop.

Funny how memories are so wrapped up in individual senses sometimes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

So despite the lack of posting around here lately, we've actually been incredibly busy on the home front.
This past weekend saw us taking a brief time out from the wackiness of Christmas prep to simply enjoy some of the anticipation build.

We headed out to Traders Point Creamery to do the annual Santa Visit.
And, to my complete and utter shock, I was able to get ALL THREE Munchkins up onto Santa's lap this year.

The Christmas on the Farm Weekends up at Traders Point are by far my favorite of the season. As a matter of fact, every seasonal celebration Traders Point hosts just goes above and beyond in regards to family interaction, ease of navigation, entertainment, etc. They're just the tops.

But I digress. Each year we pile into the big red barn, queue up to see the Big Man himself, then hop over to the craft stations to make whatever kid-friendly concoction they have set up. This year we did all three crafts and the Munchkins were in a good enough mood to let me browse around the Craft/Organics Market. What a treat! 

We listened and sang along to a few Christmas Carols, then swung around behind the barn to say a quick hello to the animals before scooting out quickly past the hot chocolate station while I did my best to distract everyone from the overly-tempting $4 hot chocolate. Don't get me wrong, the stuff's to die for, I just didn't have $12 on me. So we scurried. And I pointed and gestured wildly to the reindeer across the way.

If it's one thing being a parent teaches you, it's that distraction is often the key to getting through your day.

And, because we were feeling abundantly Christmas-y, we also tackled Gingerbread Houses this weekend.

I've learned my lesson in years past though.
It may be less authentic to buy the gingerbread kit, but it is infinitely more enjoyable a process.

The kids had a ball.
And I had to force myself to be hands off with the process.
Other than helping hold pieces together for basic construction, I just made up icing cones for each of them, laid out the pieces, portioned out the toppings and let them go to town.

They were terribly proud of their work.

And, because The Monkey is my daughter, she mostly sat around and nibbled bites and pieces off of her creation.

What a little Monkey.

Seeing how each of The Munchkins tackles the same problem/construction in different ways just fascinates me.  It makes me eager to see the kind of functioning adult they're growing into. Makes me eager to see how they're going to turn out... In movies you get that classic montage scene where you can so easily marry up the small moments in a persons life that led them along the path of becoming who they are. I constantly wonder which moments will run through on The Munchkins highlight reel. Which moments will they remember? I hope fervently and daily that it's more the Lazy Sundays lounging in our pajamas, bundled up together watching cartoons, building gingerbread houses; and less the moments where I lose my temper with them and send them to their rooms...

Mr. Man's level of concentration on projects just awes me. I wonder sometimes how his teacher can complain that he lacks focus in group settings. When that kid gets into a project he's lost to the world until he's perfected it. Then again, when he's not interested in something, mountains can't move that kid to participate. Sorry, Mrs. Bullock...Sorry.

And, since I couldn't just hover and take pictures and not participate at all. I made the least-desirable gingerbread house; the one The Munchkins all passed on. The Outhouse.

Pfft. Who doesn't  want to make the outhouse?!
I'm pretty sure I rocked it out.

The Munchkins were so thrilled with our little village that we've all made a pact not to eat it until Christmas Eve. I'm wondering who will crack first. I'd lay cash money on The Monkey.

After sugaring everyone up, I turned them loose on my parents.

We headed over to Nani & Pops' for dinner and a trip to see the lights at the zoo.
It was a sort of Christmas Traditions weekend, I guess. We've done Christmas lights at the Indianapolis Zoo for years and years now. You wander around the exhibits, all the walkways lit with an obscene amount of holiday lights.

We stop in to visit the dolphins and the tigers and the seals.
We sit for a while at the campfire and sing along with the period-dress Carolers.
It's quiet and peaceful at the Zoo at night. Despite the overflowing walkways and filled-to-the-brim parking lot, there's a hushed quality to the place. People saunter a little slower around the exhibits. You catch more smiles than is strictly expected when getting your heels run over with double strollers.

And it was such a mild night, Sunday, that we lingered even longer than we usually do, snapping photos and wandering about. Soaking in all the holiday cheer.

I'm a sucker for the tradition of it all. It's what I love most about the holidays. Truly.
It's the same Bing Crosby White Christmas tape played every year.
It's the same Bass & Rankin claymation movies that I watched as a kid being passed on and on.
It's these small things that tie us all together across states and time zones.
It's these small things that make the distances shrink, if only for a few times each season.
It's these small things that are Christmas for me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Best of The Best

These Girls save my life.

Truly they do.


 Oh, and we absolutely rock at throwing together last-minute holiday parties complete with gifts from everyone with less than four hours notice. HOW we all did that I'll NEVER know.


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