Saturday, December 28, 2013

Brown Couch Christmas Photograph.

Every year on Christmas I make my kids all sit on our brown living room couch for a family photo. 
It's probably their least loved holiday tradition, each and every kid groans, whimpers and complains, but we make them do it anyway.
Usually we take the photo while we are still in our jammies, but this year we opted for Bengals spirit wear instead. 
For historical reference and are the past seven years of brown couch Christmas photos.
Only Turkey hasn't changed... year in and out, he has managed to maintain the same youthful appearance while the rest of us get older. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Second Townsperson Pride and Peace.

Although Christmastime is ideally the season of peace and love, unfortunately my younger kids have been behaving more like it's the season of crabbiness and bickering and each has been getting on each others very last Christmas nerve. 
There have been some very big and not so peaceful moods lately. 
So when this happened, needless to say, I was shocked. 
Last week, Rosie played the part of the second townsperson in her school's Christmas pageant. 
Jamie and Lily surprised me when they said that they WANTED to come to watch their little sister on stage. Then, while sitting in the audience, they both fretted a bit about her saying her single line without making a mistake. And, when she made it through without missing a word, they were relieved and happy for her! I had a hard time believing that Rosie's little part in the Christmas play was really important to her big sibs…but apparently it was and I left the show amazed, not by Rosie's acting chops, but by Lily and Jamie's unexpected goodwill to their youngest sister.
Later on, Lily even told me that she couldn't believe that Rosie was so good…"she didn't just say her line, she DELIVERED it… Mom, she was actually VERY GOOD!"
This display of sibling pride and support was my very own Christmas miracle.
I'm still smiling about it.  
Peace on.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Our Festive (and high) Christmas Banana.

Christmastime this year has been a lot more disorganized and a lot less festive than ever before…which really says a lot as our organizational bar was pretty low to begin with.

We are in the midst of renovating certain aspects of our house, which means that certain aspects of our house, like the area that we live in, just aren't available anymore and I have been required to do stuff this year that I don't usually have to do. 
 Like drag household debris from one part of the house to the other- doing what I can to clear a path for our dear worker guys. 
It will be great when it's finished, but all of that time I spend dragging stuff about doesn't leave a ton of time left over for decking the halls. Which I was ok with, but then my darlings started to panic about the  fact that we did not have a Christmas tree.   
We don't really have a good spot for a tree, but we brought one home anyway and kind of wiggled it in a corner where it sat naked for a few days while I continued my duty of clearing a worker guy paths. 
Until Henry felt sorry for our nude tree…so he hung up his stuffed Jamaican banana, (who has the happy but heavy lidded look of a substance abuser) to jazz up our poor tree.
And for far too long, this was our only Christmas ornament…we took festive to a new low.   
Henry, posing with his beloved substance abuser banana, who is posing as a Christmas ornament. 
There is nothing like spending a few days with a stoned banana as your sole Christmas ornament to motivate you to break out a few more decorations. So I did...and now I think our tree looks cute, even if it is shoved in a corner amongst the debris of my messy house.  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Coffee and Research Facility.

Our  Jamie was impressed this week when his favorite teacher brought a very glamorous looking drink to class… in fact he was so taken with her drink that he asked her exactly what it was and where he could score one of his own. As this was important information, he wrote it down so he wouldn't forget the exact name and origin of this exotic/delicious looking beverage.
It was a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks which led to Jamie's very first Starbucks visit.
He was really quite taken with the glitz and hushed but busy atmosphere of the place and had a couple of questions...
"what exactly is this place?"
"what are all of these people doing?"
"are kids allowed?"
Then he offered is own Starbucks interpetation and I thought it was a good one…
"I think this place is a kind of research facility that has a lot of really fancy coffee"

Sunday, December 8, 2013


I think that snow days are really great. 
Especially snow days that happen on a Friday.
So the kids and I both were thrilled to get the early morning "no school" call.
 Only there was absolutley no snow.
Every school in the city was cancelled but this is what our front yard looked like.... one little girl in a sunhat and evening gown stalking squirrels with her "bone-in-arrow," and not a flake of snow.
At midday... the snow began, and so did the snowball battles.  The kids are smiling here, but as in all wars, there were many tears as the day/fighting progresses. Rosie was hit at very close range causing the snowball to go through her ear and "into my brain, I think." 
It seemed dangerous to have snow on the brain by noon, but she bounced back. 
  We are very lucky to leave in a neighborhood with a lot of kids close by... so Lily's pal was able to join us on the snow ball battlefield.
As the day progressed, so did the snow and the gear. 
Jamie was smart to get into the bags of cold weather gear first so he was outfitted the best. The younger kids were left with mom's mittens... probably even less cool than wearing your mom's jeans.
Later in the afternoon, Karl took two unskilled and unwilling boys to help him shovel the front of his office. Helpful sons don't happen so often here, so I made them pose to mark the occasion.
Then I dressed up the dogs...
And then I had them switch hats to see how Turkey would look in antlers. 
(like this) 
And while I was taking multiple photos of my dogs in Christmas outfits, I realized that I had become  the type of person who dresses and photographs her pets.
Maybe peculiar enough...but then I took it to the next level and took some photos of my decorated cement pig.
While you can't tell due to the abundance of snow, our pig has a Santa hat at a rakish tilt bumped up on her cute little hogshead. 
And so ends of our very fun snowday, full of decorated hogs, dogs and snowball wars... couldn't be a better Friday.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Rosie's Secret Signal.

Rosie is a little girl with a very loud voice and not much of a filter. 
She is also very curious, asks a lot of questions and notices just about everything that is a little bit different about people.
During one particularly awkward afternoon, Rosie made two gleeful (and loud) observations in the course of the two of us running errands… 
"oh my goodness, I think that man is growing a baby inside his tummy!" 
"I have never seen a lady with a mustache before- that is amazing!" 

As you can imagine, I was mortified, and in desperation, told her that if she ever noticed something that's a little different about someone that she wants to talk about later, she should flash me a secret signal. That way we can talk about it in private without hurting anyone's feelings. 
The secret signal looks a little like this.
This little hand to chin move has spared us both of us from many sticky situations, but as she gets older I find that she has been using it less and less. 
So I was surprised the other day when we were picking Anna up at the airport and she got all wide eyed and started bumping her chin like crazy. 
"Oh man, oh man… I think I see a vampire!" 
While the gentleman that she was secret signaling about did look a little bit vampire-ish, he also looked a lot like Johnny Depp, and I thought it was very sweet and wise of her to want to avoid hurting a potential vampire's feelings.  
Well played Ro.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving Bald Eagle...Gratitude.

 Guess what big awesome bird we got to see on Thanksgiving morning?
Not a turkey, but a giant and gorgeous BALD EAGLE!!!
Not kidding.
He was eating his dinner in the middle of a corn field when we drove past. 
I made Karl u turn the van around so I could jump out and and confirm that I wasn't imagining eagles and such. 
Even though he was very far away, he gave me a grumpy look and flew off.
My photos are pretty lousy, but they prove that we didn't imagine it...the emblem of our nation was really and truly right there, eating his dinner in Lebanon, Ohio. 
How fitting is it that we sighted him on Thanksgiving, the only uniquely American holiday. 
Thanksgiving- 2013.
Our day of gratitude and appreciation for all of the blessings in life... family, friends good heath and the love and strength that connects us all together.