Tuesday, February 11, 2020

On Turning Seven and Being Caged

This is nearly two weeks late but, well, here we are.

For John's seventh birthday he asked to go the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaurs which we never got to do while actually living in the area since the hall of dinosaurs was closed for renovations for just the four years we were there.  Convenient.  I made a whole plan for us all to go up but at the last minute Chris realized he was on duty and couldn't leave the area so we changed the plan to go to the local zoo because clearly live zoo animals are the next best things to extinct fossil animals. 

He had a lot of fun, especially at the prairie dog/peacock exhibit where I stood for an eternity waiting for that peacock to turn around so that I could take a picture of its feathers.  I don't think I've ever actually seen a live peacock with its feathers on display like that before.  He actually started rattling them which was surprisingly loud.  I'm not sure if he was trying to attract the ladies or frighten my children or maybe both?  I'm not even sure if he was supposed to be in the habitat at all or if he just really likes the prairie dogs.  From what we observed during our visit, the peacocks just do what they want at this particular zoo.  Actually, with a feather rattle like that, they probably just do what they want in general. 

When we got home it was time for some special birthday dessert.  In lieu of cake John requested banana pudding which pleased everyone except Henry.  It came complete with trick candles which pleased mostly just me.  John asked for pancakes for dinner which I felt did not exactly go with pudding but it was his birthday so pancakes it was.  I do endeavor to give satisfaction.

Upon further consideration I'm not sure there really is a birthday dessert that goes especially well with pancakes so.....I guess it doesn't really matter. 

It was a lovely day all around and I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that he's seven.  Maybe next year we can actually get up to see the dinosaurs :) 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

On the Twelve Days of Christmas

Well we're winding down the twelve days of Christmas here and gearing up to jump back into regular life.  I'm gearing up anyway, the kids are pretending it's not happening and will likely throw four gigantic fits come Monday morning lessons. 

I really love the weeks after Christmas day.  We just take all the things most people cram in before Christmas and then do them at our leisure when everyone is off and has all the time in the world to relax and really enjoy them.  We do things like build and eat gingerbread houses, put together crazy large Christmas puzzles. drive around and look at lights, open presents I've saved for later (books, family games, sketchpads), go for hikes, have New Year's Eve fondue, celebrate my birthday--granted that last one wouldn't necessarily be on anyone else's Twelve Days To-Do list, but I mean feel free to add it to yours if you're so inclined :) 

This year we have a friend who's throwing a big Twelfth Night party so the festivities will end with a bang.  Don't tell her, but I'm also planning on abandoning all of my leftover Christmas cookies at her house so they won't be living in my freezer into the new year.  It's a win-win. 

If you haven't started celebrating the Twelve Days at your house I highly recommend pulling back from the pre-Christmas frenzy, having a nice calm Advent, and then really doing it up once the real fun begins on Christmas Eve.  Of course that means that the Christmas decorations don't come down until after Epiphany which is a real bummer since it would be a lot easier to do that during vacation time, but I suppose you can't have everything.  It's worth it, I promise!

Happy Christmas everyone! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

On Christmas Preparations and Christmas Day


It seems like Advent flew by this year, which I'm sure I say every year but it's still true.  We had Thanksgiving dinner, I blinked, and all of a sudden I was baking sugar cookies for Saint Nicholas and trimming the tree on Christmas Eve.  We had a lovely time in those fast flying weeks.  We had lots of visitors, made Christmas cards, fit in all of our traditions, and even tried our hands at making pomanders which are currently drying out in the garage--hopefully.  Next year maybe we can do them in time to actually have them dried in time for Christmas.  I did manage to finally dry orange slices in the oven without burning them which was very satisfying.  With as many brown orange slices as I have produced these last several years, it might even be considered a Christmas miracle :)

Christmas morning came early with the first children popping their darling tousled heads into our bedroom at four am.  If anything could really be considered darling at such an unseemly hour.  I'm inclined to think not, but you'd have to ask Chris for certain because I was unaware of the festive beginnings until around five-thirty after the coffee had already been brewed and the oven preheated.  That man of mine is certainly a keeper. 

We did stockings and presents and french toast and went to mass and then the kids spent the rest of the day playing outside--jumping on the trampoline and waiting for daddy to get the new zip line set up.  After getting a brisket into the oven, I decided to ignore the mess of ribbons and paper scraps and general Christmas morning detritus and sit down with one of my new books until the little ones woke up from their naps.  I managed to read two whole pages before I heard the delightful cries of an over-sugared fourteen month old calling me back to my actual current life.  Now that he's officially down for the evening, I think my book is calling me back up to my bed where maybe I can get in another two pages before I fall asleep. 

I hope you all had a lovely day and continue to celebrate Christmas all season long!  We're just warming up over here! 

PS Henry likes his shellacked alligator head way more than his face is letting on in that picture :)

Sunday, November 3, 2019

On Hallowtide


My Halloween pictures aren't late, I just had to wait for the whole Hallowtide to be over :)

This year we kicked off the festivities with trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.  And since we chose our neighborhood mainly for the giant wooded lot sizes it was a lot of walking to get to each house.  Half the kids gave up early and were escorted home while I took the truly serious candy hunters on the full neighborhood loop.  We had two matching Pikachus and an Ash Ketchum, a Link, a butterfly, and a dragon who changed his mind at the last minute and transformed himself into a wizard.  This is why our five and under crowd almost exclusively make their costumes on the day of Halloween by rummaging through the costume box. 

Fickle.  That's what they are.

Now, it's difficult enough to get a decent picture of six kids at once on any given regular day--trying to do it right before the most spectacularly candy filled night of the year is just impossible.  I tried, but this was the best shot of the disappointing bunch.  And the only picture I got of wizard Christopher was blurry.  He was actually a much cuter wizard than he was a giant three year old who squeezed himself into an 18-24 month sized dragon costume but I was not going to argue with a crazed red headed toddler who decided he was definitely going to wear a tiny costume.  I pick my battles more carefully than that. 

I'm fairly anti Pokemon as a rule, mostly because I dislike adults marketing things to children that they then need to collect indefinitely.  I mean, the tagline is literally "gotta catch 'em all."  Anyway, there was pretty much zero chance I was going to give the franchise my dollars by buying actual Pokemon costumes from the store so they can continue to convince my children that they will never be able to be happy until they have indeed caught them all.  But when your nine year old desperately wants to have a matching costume with his baby brother you kind of need to make that happen, yes?  I found some yellow shirts and hats and attached tails and ears and Henry could not have been more excited.  The delight was palpable with every shake of his lightning bolt tail.  The yellows weren't all exactly Pikachu yellow, but I suppose we found the silver lining of the boys' color deficient status because Henry totally couldn't tell that the yellows didn't match. 

They were pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen.  Well, beside Margaret and her pipe cleaner antennae. 


No one wanted to dress up as saints the next day for the All Saints Day mass but we did get donuts at the local donut shop which were very festive and delicious.  What could a bunch of children hyped up on a dragon hoard of candy need but to top themselves off with sugary baked goods?  A feast day is a feast day so...... 

On All Souls Day we met up with some friends at a nearby Catholic cemetery to pray for the souls of the dead and then, since we have family buried nearby, we swung by that cemetery afterwards to pray there as well.  We hadn't ever done this before but the children did surprisingly well.  Our friend printed out prayer cards with the Eternal Rest prayer on one side and a place to write the names of the people you want to remember this month on the other and everyone was as reverent as could be expected for their various ages.  Meaning that Christopher was minimally reverent.  The fact that we brought soul cakes to trade with each other afterwards might have helped keep everyone on track as well. 

It was really a great three days.  Now we just need to make a plan to get rid of the giant stash of candy.  In the past we've bought most of it back from the children--paying by the ounce--and then disappeared the candy by taking it in to Chris' office.  This year no one wanted to sell. 

Touché children.  Touché.  
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