Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category
So I was too busy enjoying the company of my home-too-briefly college girl and my beloved pal Kristen and her hubby and my goddaughter and the rest of my rowdy, riotous gang to REMEMBER TO TAKE ANY PICTURES (*smoke comes out of ears*)—but it seems Scott was clicking away during the frantic final moments of our feast preparation. (Who am I kidding. I was in the kitchen: all moments were frantic.) These just made me laugh and laugh. Which is exactly how I spent the holiday.
This last one is ridiculous but Scott made me include it because he likes how I go tharn. Which, too, is a fair representation of my state of mind while cooking: train rushing toward me and I’m frozen in my tracks. Help! Hrududu ain’t got nothin’ on gravy about to scorch.
(It didn’t. Whew.)
I’m a bit off my game—ordinarily, New Year’s Day posts gallop out of my fingertips even before I’ve cleared the New Year’s Eve sleep out of my eyes. This year, my head’s in seventeen places at once. A family member is ill, a friend’s baby is in the hospital, some other things are afoot. But our Christmas, here at home, was lovely: mellow, merry, and messy—which is possibly the most succinct description of our family dynamic I’ve ever managed.
A highlight of the week (for Beanie, Jane, and me) was singing in a choir at the Sea World Christmas show on Sunday night. A friend of ours is the choir director at a parish in downtown San Diego, and his group was invited to perform in Shamu’s Christmas. He extended the invitation to our homeschooling circle, and thus it was that my girls and I found ourselves decked in blue robes, singing Silent Night and Joy to the World while orcas fountained out of the water behind us. And then in front of us. None of my pictures (from the rehearsal, sans orcas) came out, but it would take a magical photographer to capture the wonder of the moment. An unforgettable experience.
Last night was paninis, gingerbread men, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail: a perfect celebration.
Today is pub day for Inch and Roly and the Very Small Hiding Place, which feels like an auspicious start to the year.
Happy New Year, my friends. I hope your holidays were filled with magic.
One day last week, Rilla came to me with a matter of great urgency: she needed help wrapping the presents she had made for her brothers and sisters. She led me to her closet, where we keep a large storage bin full of her art supplies. “I buried them,” she said, “so the surprise wouldn’t be spoiled.”
Beneath the bucket of crayons, the sheaf of construction paper, the tin of Prismacolors: a set of toilet paper tubes, somewhat squished, each painstakingly colored in bright Crayola. Toilet paper tubes. Colored by hand. Beaming, she gave a little hop of joy.
“Do you think they’ll like them?”
“Oh sweetie, I think they’re going to love them.”
They did. Huck’s squeal was of genuine glee. Wonderboy too. The big sisters grinned, giggled, melted.
Somehow I think I got the best present of all.
Last year’s Halloween post catalogued my history of gripey Halloween posts—or none at all. I’ve been up for almost two hours today and IT ONLY JUST HIT ME that oh yeah, today is Halloween. Of course it was just about all anybody in this house thought about yesterday. (Well, besides Scott. He’s got a deadline.) Beanie was unable to locate yellow pants for her long-planned Pokemon costume (because, well, YELLOW PANTS), so she and Rose came up with a last-minute costume change: Bean will be a werewolf tonight. We’ve worked out a way to make some pretty fabulous wolf ears out of her own hair (gelled, twisted, pinned), so now everyone including the Halloween-Scrooge mother is pretty darn excited.
Rose, the world’s most ardent Warriors fan, is going to be a cat. Rilla’s a sparkly pink-and-purple unicorn. Jane’s still deciding, I think, and as for my boys, I think Wonderboy will wear the knight costume he so enjoys, and Huck has informed us he is Roary the Racing Car. Okay then. Guess I’ll be working on some wheels today.
Last year I was rejoicing that Halloween fell on a Sunday, since that meant Scott would be home to take the kids trick-or-treating while I manned the candy station here at home. This year, it’s Sunday every day. Have I mentioned how much I love having him be freelance again?
Our Easter morning began at 4 a.m., when I jolted out of a deep sleep with an actual shriek. You remember that bit in Bedtime for Frances, when Frances can’t sleep and creeps into her parents’ bedroom and stands beside her slumbering father, staring at him? “She was so quiet that she was the quietest thing in the room. She was so quiet that her father woke with a start.”
Yeah, that was Rilla this morning.
She was completely unfazed by my outcry, which Scott later said sounded like a flock of screeching birds. “I can’t sleep,” she said matter-of-factly. Groggily I lifted up the covers and she slipped in beside me, and ten seconds later she was snoring. Oh, but I was awake, yes indeed.
At 6:30 she came wide awake in one gasp and said, “It’s Easter!” and dashed out of our room. And we lay there listening to rustles and squeals from the bedroom she shares with Rose and Beanie. Huck snoozed for another twenty minutes before joining the candy fray. Jane and Wonderboy had the sense to wait for the sun to come up. The (candy-filled) egg hunt was a delight: Huck considered this the finest hour our family has ever spent and seemed baffled as to why we don’t begin every morning this way.
We’re missing Mass today, still observing the voluntary quarantine recommended by Wonderboy’s doctor. This wave of strep has crashed through most of the families in our homeschooling circle, even smacking some kids a second time, a few weeks later. As far as I know, Wonderboy’s the only one in whom it has erupted as scarlet fever, but I know it’s been a pretty miserable slog for several of the families. Huck woke up from his nap with a fever yesterday. We’re assuming it’s likely to barrel through all of us, one by one, dragging out the fun as long as possible. Given its obvious virulence, we don’t want to risk exposing anyone else—certainly not a crowd of churchgoers. So home we stay, gorging on candy, feasting our eyes on the backyard flowers which have exploded into a crazy extravagance of bloom. There are decidedly worse fates. 🙂
OK, who punked me? I didn’t see the hidden cameras but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn they were there. Stopped by the post office today to mail one (one!) package. The line was out the door, easily half an hour long, but this didn’t faze me because all I had was one flat-rate mailer and I knew I could use the automated postage machine. Only three people in front of me in line there.
The first of them had a longish transaction. No worries; we all know I’ve been that person before. The next woman punched buttons for a few minutes, frowned, and said “It won’t take my package.” She beckoned for the next customer, the man in front of me, to take a crack at it. All he needed were stamps, and the machine spit them out with no problem.
By this time a postal worker had joined us, an official-looking personage smartly dressed in a red and black suit. She re-entered the package lady’s particulars, then shook her head and said, “Nope. Won’t take it. I’m sorry, you’ll have to wait in that line.”—pointing toward the twenty-odd people waiting miserably for a turn at the counter.
The poor woman trudged off with her single small jiffy-bag. I lingered a moment, hopeful, as the postal worker swiped a badge and rapid-fired a code into the machine. Another woman stepped forward, carrying a keyboard and some kind of electrical gizmo.
“This is going to take a while,” she told me apologetically. “I have to recalibrate the whole thing.”
That’s about when I started to wonder if I’d been set up. But the forlorn jiffy-bag lady stood slumped in the conga line, so I determined that Ashton Kutcher was unlikely to leap out from behind the Evergreens Collection signboard. (Evidently, though I find this hard to believe, post-office punkings of suburban mothers just don’t fetch the ratings.)
Well, my sad and untelevised tale does have a happy(ish) ending. I got back in the van full of kids—we were heading home from the girls’ piano recital—and drove home the long way, stopping off at a tiny partial-service USPS station I recently found tucked between a liquor store and a gas station. (Because you know how much time I spend skulking around liquor stores and gas stations.) Lines are short there, usually, because you can only do certain kinds of transactions. There was one customer at the counter, and a man in line ahead of me—but he saw through the open door that I had kids in the car and insisted I go in front of him. Which was so sweet and unexpected that I wound up being kind of glad the machine in the main branch had gone bust.
It is amusing just how much of my holiday cheer is happening in the post office this year!
Because THERE ARE NO CRACKS. My assortment of Urgent Things to Do is so vast that the Urgent Things are crammed tightly together, forming an impermeable surface for Slightly Less Urgent Things to bounce off and roll around underfoot, tripping me up at every step.
In other words, it’s mid-December.
Christmas lights up: check.
Tree trimmed: check.
Tree pulled over by inquisitive 23-month-old, spewing shards of ornament across the room: check.
Stockings hung by the chimney with care: watch your backs.