Friday, December 30, 2011

merry and bright

Our Christmases were all they should be. Kids and toys and food and family.

Pook gave me a big bag of Lindt dark chocolate and raspberry truffles and Bug gave me a pair of earrings and a drawing. He gave CD and me, jointly, a clay bunny he'd made in art at school.  Because I know they used their own money, I'm doubly impressed with their choices.  (Not that I didn't like getting my own bubble wrap.) CD gave me a Kindle. I've been reading Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante, which he gave to me also. All good.

Mickey did not show himself by eating more gingerbread and getting stuck in a mouse trap. BUT! I went into the storage room to get a paper bowl and picked up a plastic bag holding a paper tablecloth. Which sprinkled shreds onto my feet.  Shredded paper + gingerbread nibbling = not good. I will try to remember to mention the final results of this drama when they unfold.

We are hosting a South Georgia Islands New Year's party again this year. Simple menu of soup, salad, bread and dessert. There are a total of eight adults and eight kids (ages 5-11) who will be here. I'm looking forward to it. Gotta get to the dollar store with the boys to buy some streamers and horns to toot!

I doubt I'll be posting again this year, so have yourself a merry little New Year's Eve.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

a creature was stirring

Last night when the stockings were hung (and filled) by the chimney with care, and the boys were nestled with sugarplums dancing in their little sweaty heads, I settled down for my long (not really) winter's nap. And yet, all was not right. A creature was stirring.

This morning we naively brushed crumbs off our big dining room table, added a couple place mats and served a Christmas breakfast with Nana, Papa and VB. In the middle of the table was a tray with the boy's gingerbread house.

But something was wrong. A big chunk of the corner had been nibbled.  And part of a tree on the opposite side. I accused the boys, (although this isn't really their style.) No one fessed up.

Mice? No way! Couldn't be. Someone must have eaten a chunk. But when it was suggested that we throw out the remnants of the gingerbread, still no one fessed up.

Yes, mice. No, we've never seen any sign of critters before. Cereal is kept on the floor of the pantry.  Fruit is  on the counter. A compost bowl is by the sink. Crumbs abound. Never have we seen a package nibbled. Nothing has ever been amiss like this.

And yet, mice. What else?  Santa had his chips, salsa and beer (yes, they did, really), the reindeer had a fat carrot, I was eating Christmas cookies from a tin, CD was enjoying Santa's beer (Santa had to drive) and no one else was around.

Gives me the creeps.  But there is a mousetrap as centerpiece tonight, baited with... gingerbread house.  I'm not sure what I want to find in the morning. I might sleep in.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

for the chestnuts on your open fire

Merry Christmas from the home of Pook and Bug!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

three basic needs

Maybe we've always known this but never really put it into words.  But Bug has had some optional basketball practices these last few days and they've been so, so, so helpful. And not just because it separates him from his brother and temporarily stops the squabbling which has been going on since school got out Friday. The exercise calms Bug down. We've occasionally sent him outside to jump rope or play ball when he's gotten fussy, but we're noticing the effect more now.  I mentioned it to CD this evening.

We knew that the kid needed very consistent sleep. We go way out of our way to get him in bed early. He's almost eight and still goes to bed at 7:30, (up by 6:15). We'd put him in bed sooner if we could, on some days.  I was a Nap Nazi for years, making sure he was home for his nap and not in the car or at an activity of Pook's. When he's tired, we all walk on eggshells trying to prevent melt downs.

We knew that he needed to be fed on regular intervals. The four hour feedings never stopped when he was weaned.  Maybe this is a blood sugar issue, maybe the kid just eats huge quantities of food. Regardless of why, he can't skip snacks or meals or he gets really crabby.

Poor Bug. I've just described him as fussy, crabby and prone to melt downs.  He is so much better than he was as a tot that we're hardly aware of it anymore. So when I pointed out that exercise was one of those things too, that Bug's major needs are food, exercise and sleep, CD summed it (him) up.  Yes, our child is kind of like a chipmunk.hamster. (I stand corrected, and I will go buy the boy a wheel)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

one happy family

I agreed to do what?

Our devious music director came to me and asked if the boys wanted to be shepherds in the Christmas pageant again this year.

Is Bug too young to be a narrator?

Yes, maybe in a year or so.

Then sure, they'll be happy to be shepherds.

And would I be willing to be Mary to CD's Joseph?

(CD agreed to be in the pageant? Really?) Sure, I guess.

Apparently he had already asked CD if he'd be willing to be in the pageant as Joseph to my part as Mary.

Tricky guy.

But here we are, the happy family of Mary, Joseph, Shepherd Pook and Shepherd Bug.

I must go unearth a baby doll upstairs. We'll need a Jesus to pull this off!

Friday, December 16, 2011

butter, sugar and gifts

I worked both Monday and Tuesday this week, swapping out so I was home on Thursday. Liking it. Even making progress on a long to do list. Not that I was "home" much on any of these days. Yesterday the school had holiday parties and I was, of course, helping to organize one of them.

I came home and by 4pm I realized I felt ready to crash in bed for the night. Not just tired, but actually sleepy. I couldn't think of any good reason for my exhaustion, but I gave up on dinner planning and called CD to pick something up on his way home.

I revived just fine, not feeling sick or anything. Except I was starving this morning and at 10 am I had two leftover slices of pizza. That might have been the best leftover cold pizza I've ever enjoyed. Could be that it is just the best cold pizza I've had at 10 am in many years.

 The boys are finishing up their last day of school today. (Yes, holiday parties were Thursday and school ends on Friday. No, I don't get it.)

We've got a lot of activities planned. They want to go to the zoo, to the art museum, to ice skate, to see a movie and to bake cookies (x3, including a gingerbread house). I want them to get haircuts, to buy new shoes, and to start and complete a science fair experiment. We, as a family, need to get a Christmas tree and decorate it, get stocking stuffers, wrap presents and mail a couple of them.

Overall I'm in a good place. All but two or three gifts are purchased, many decorations are out, extra butter and sugar are bought Butter, sugar and gifts. That's about all anyone needs.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

carpel tunnel candies

Where has December gone? Half through!  I think between the job and, of course, the holidays, I've been busy!  I have had time for these however:

Prepare your materials: mini pretzels, Hershey's kisses of all variety, M$M's

Peel/husk/disrobe the Hershey's kisses. Next time get the kids to help.

Pop a kiss on each pretzel, bake 3-4 min at 200', then place an M$M on each

My family likes the mint truffle and candy cane flavors best

Monday, December 5, 2011

'tis the season

'Tis the time of year that proclaims that winter is about to begin. I know it must be December because my neighbor's cherry tree is blooming.  Right on schedule every year.

And yet, while I usually feel badly that the tree is going to freeze and waste its blooms, maybe I should look at it more optimistically. Yes, we're going to have winter, but heck, this is Georgia. It will not be long and it will not be mean.

There will be cold weather (yes, we've had a few hard freezes already) and it will snow (yes, this happens about once a year) but as soon as I think I cannot spend one more dreary day wearing wool socks but still having cold feet, I see blossoms.  The little heads of crocus come popping up. The daffodils smile yellow smiles and I know that even if a late snow shows up, it will melt quickly.

So her cherry tree is a reminder that spring is not so far away. The tree is simply planning ahead and getting herself dressed up a bit early. She will ruin her dress, (we know that) but she doesn't care. She will put on another in just a few months.

Other blooms in my December garden:

This is an ancient white camellia which came with our house. We prune its ten foot height occasionally but it is in such an inconspicuous location that we usually forget that we own it.

Yuletide camellias I've put by the front door.

The Obedient Plant I dug from a neighbor last spring has done perfectly in this confined location between the two driveways. If it becomes less than obedient I think I can easily limit the spread.

Winter Daphne by the front door. It will be the very best smell in my garden. I think it wins over its rival the gardenias by its timing alone. Who else can bring that smell in mid-winter? (Not yet in bloom)

Daffodil leaves. I hope they won't be bent, broken and yellow in the spring, or if they are, that they can be like the cherry tree next door and simply change to freshen up.