Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Eve Recap

A lot of disjointed posts today. The house is getting cleaner and more organized, and so is my computer; 2008 will start out right!

This post, in and of itself, and notwithstanding these first two introductory paragraphs, will not be entirely disjointed since its sole purpose is to recap our Christmas Eve celebration, it's just that everything I've posted here today has been out of order, and this follows that pattern. But, who cares. It's still 2007; I can be organized and logical in 2008.

Christmas Eve kicked off our Christmas festivities. Dad, Diana and Alex (QV) joined us here for an early afternoon feast of roasted beef tenderloin, Mrs. Butland's potatoes, Pioneer Woman dinner rolls, glazed carrots with pecans and grapes, fresh green beans tossed with fresh garlic and tarragon and a tossed green salad.

Here's the table before the meal...


and during.


A five o'clock church service beckoned us after our meal and, with the children's assistance (Hank as a sheep and Madeleine as a reader) we celebrated the birth of our lord.

Here are the two older children in the church basement, readying themselves for their awaiting performance, Madeleine pensive and nervous, Hank excited and brimming with naughtiness with the prospect of sitting through the entire service relatively unsupervised.

Of course, all goes off without a hitch. Well, relatively. During the service a quick thinking parishioner near Hank snatched his bell when it hit the floor after he'd spent half the service serenading the congregation. When asked later how, if he wasn't playing with his bell that it managed to hit the floor Hank, ever the master of quick explanations, was stumped.

After, all head to our house for eggnog, punch and cookies.


And, for the three children, a Christmas Eve gift of...

fleece pajamas; blue with a white polar bear for Hank and light and dark purple stripes for the girls.

Shortly after the kids are anxious to get to bed so that Santa is sure to stop and the evening, full of excitement in its own right, but also brimming with anticipation, comes to a close as guest say good-bye and children say good-night.

Christmas Photo


Madeleine, Elisabeth and me on Christmas evening. Aren't their matching nighties darling?

Christmas Celebration Interlude

We've already been part of two Christmas celebrations, consumed three calorie laden meals, opened countless presents and have been partaking in good company and fun for the past three days and even though, interspersed in all that fun, we've been in our home from time to time, we haven't really been home.

So, for today, we rest. It's a brief stop at home before our Christmas celebration with the Super grandparents. A time for putting away new treasures, throwing clothes in the washing machine and, of course, the best after Christmas chore of them all, paying our property taxes.

However, despite the drudgery of chores, with each new toy that finds a proper home and each box that is dismantled and thrown away, order is restored and a sense of calm washes over me. My house becomes what it was before, before guests, Santa's brief though profitable visit and toy assembly, yet improved with its new cooking utensils, reading materials and running clothes. I am at peace. Rejuvenated, even, for more Christmas celebrations to come and then, after that, New Year's Eve revelry.

All seems well, though quiet, in the blogosphere. Hope all are enjoying past celebrations and future gatherings to come as well!

And, if I don't get a chance, Happy New Year to all!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Christmas Countdown

Did you know there are only four days until Christmas?

I'm actually not as anxiety ridden as I thought I might be, but that's because I haven't been blogging and instead have been wrapping, baking, shopping and baking some more.

I remember last year at this time I was washing sheets and cleaning up my children's vomit as one after the other fell sick, all they way up until Christmas Eve almost and... oh wait, I'm doing that this year too. So there's another good reason I haven't been blogging. Pre-Christmas and stomach bugs; they're synonymous at my house.

Never fear though, they all appear to be on the mend and I promise a germ-free home to those participating in Christmas festivities here with us.

And, to the rest of you, I hope to blog between now and Christmas but, if I don't get the chance, have a very merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Cookie Baking

In movies baking Christmas cookies is always conveyed as peaceful. Idyllic. Smiling people sit around a nice, clean table and calmly, yet somehow efficiently, get all their baking done and the end result of all their efforts is just as lovely as the romantic process of making the cookies.

Each year I can't shake that imagery. Each year I envision, at the very least, a table free of red, green and white sticky icing and a floor free of a generous heaping of different colored sugars. I hope, each year, that the simple process of rolling out, baking and decorating of simple sugar cookies will take less than two and a half hours.

And though things never go as I imagined, and though the clean-up takes almost as long as the rolling, baking and decorating, I always forget how much fun it is to watch the kids heap a mound of green sugar on the toe of one gingerbread man while leaving the rest bare, or watch them generously mound and mix the red and green icings on an unsuspecting Santa Claus cut-out.

This year was no exception, and although it took far longer than it should have, I am proud to say I did not decorate even one cookie; the big kids did it all (Elisabeth was napping), I was only minimally frustrated a few times ("Please stop sticking the cookie cutters in the flour and spilling it all over the floor!") and I now have some Christmas cookies to share on Christmas Eve. Hooray!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hank's Winter Concert

I know, I know, unless you're a grandparent or parent you probably can't stand another video of one of my kids. Sadly though, Superdad had to miss Hank's Winter Concert today, something both Hank and Superdad were very sad about.

Superdad does, however, have the ability to view my blog while he's away (isn't he lucky?!) and, for him, I will share the very substandard, grainy video of smiley Hank performing two of his numbers. Hank is right in the middle of the frame in a bright orange fleece and an ear-to-ear grin.


video video

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Alex!

Hurray, hurray, it's Quantum Void's birthday today!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jury Service

I've never live blogged before because, well, I'm always home. And, come to think of it, I usually talk about my kids and home and things relating to my home, so I guess that's live blogging, right?

I'm blogging today from the Milwaukee County Courthouse. I'm sitting in the jury pool room waiting to be called for possible service. I'm surrounded by chatting jurors and jurors reading John Grisham and People magazine and jurors playing cards. Anxious jurors , happy jurors and bored jurors; they're all here. In the meantime I wait. And wait. And wait some more.

During our orientation we were thanked numerous times for our service and the sacrifice of our time. I kept wondering why they were bothering to thank us; it's not like any of us chose to be here.

In any event, here I am. Performing my civic duty instead of preparing to board a flight for New York City. What a kind and generous citizen I am.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Reading: A Post by Hank

I CAN READ 3 BOOKS AND I MIGHT GET MORE NEXT TIME I GO TO THE LIBRARY. I WANT TO GET THEM ALL.

MOMMY SAYS I CAN'T CHECK THEM ALL OUT AT ONE TIME BUT I WANT TO ANYWAY.

FROM,

Hank


Hank Learns to Read

About six months ago a phonics video appeared in our home. Truly I have no idea where it came from; it seemingly came from nowhere, but Hank wanted to watch it and after just two times through, Hank had the sounds for every consonant memorized.

He then asked me to teach him to read. We've made it through about five lessons, the short vowel sounds, in The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. And then that was it. The kid put the following together all on his own and I really don't think it's necessary for me and try and quantify how proud of my little Hanker I am, but what I really love is how proud of himself he is.

video

Monday, December 10, 2007

Just the Right Tree

There is one truth in regards to Christmas decorating that holds steadfast in our household year after year, despite any amount of grumbling on my part and that is: thou must cuttest down thou own Christmas tree. It's the eleventh commandment, I think, and this past Saturday we set out to do just that.

Part of that tradition is that we eat eggs and bacon at a restaurant before we head out into the bitter cold, which is the part of the day I really, really like. How much fun is it to slurp hot chocolate and sop up sticky syrup with yummy pancakes on a plate you know you won't have to wash?


But after all that sugary wonderfulness, it's out into the nineteen degree weather. Or was it sixteen degrees last Saturday? I don't know, but it was cold. And we spent a looong time out there. Superdad (and Hank, for, like two seconds) diligently searched for Just the Right Tree while the kids and I whizzed up and down the open lanes in our sled.


Well, OK, I didn't get to do much (OK, any) whizzing. I got to do a lot of huffing and pulling, but at least that kept me with only my toes feeling like they were going to freeze off as opposed to my entire body.

And then, at last, he found it. Just the Right Tree in row four about a third of the way back. We all quickly agreed with Superdad that it really and truly was Just the Right Tree and we anxiously watched while Superdad cut it down.


No, that's not true. I stood and watched and photographed while Superdad worked away. The two big kids on the other hand...


well, those two little bozos found the tallest snowbank ever (so they said) and played there and pretty much ignored both parents for the remainder of the trip.

And, later that day, after mounting Just the Right Tree on the roof of the van, getting him set into the tree stand, throwing on lights, garlands and ornaments galore we all stood back in awe, reflecting on our wonderful day and nodding in agreement that we had, indeed, found Just the Right Tree.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Christmas

I wish it was Christmas.my sister named Elisabeth she likes me and Christmas of course she wants a baby doll, she loves baby dolls.Hank wants a toy car.I want a American girl doll.My family got a Christmas tree!I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

From,
Madeleine

p.s.I took this picture tonight.




Friday, December 07, 2007

Stupid Google

I mean, I don't really think it's stupid, you know, having been smart enough to basically take over the internet and everything, but this is stupid.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy St. Nick's Day, 2007

For those who you have no idea what I'm talking about, refer back to my 2006 St. Nick's post.

For the rest of you, have a happy day. We sure did!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Week 6... and Beyond

I have not given up running. I have though, it seems, given up writing about it. Not entirely, I'm sure, it's just that now I'm running the same amount each and every time. Sure, I've had some unique moments, maybe even some bloggable moments but, for the most part, the runs are starting to blend together.

I have stalled out on the Cool Running's plan, though. Not because I don't think it's a good program (I think it's great, actually) or because I've decided not to challenge myself (no, in fact my goal is to run in a 5K this spring) but because, for now, for me, running twenty minutes is enough. It's about all have time for and it's enough to make me feel like I'm getting a good workout. My goal is to maintain twenty minutes until early 2008, and then I'll work up to thirty minutes.

But, honestly? I feel confident now that I could run thirty minutes pretty easily.

It's funny, but I've noticed a clear pattern develop since I reached twenty minutes of running. The first five minutes of running are easy and exhilarating but the next five is where I want to stop and feel like I won't possibly be able to run twenty minutes and start contemplating walking a short distance if only I first run ten minutes. And then that's it. Minute ten passes and I can run and run and run. At that point twenty minutes is cake; I can't imagine tacking on another five, ten minutes is going to be that hard.

I'll update as interesting develops occur (i.e. race dates, etc.) but for now, I am very, very proud of myself. I almost-- almost -- feel like a runner.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Lull

I feel like I'm in a lull right now in regards to many things I normally find enjoyable. Or maybe calling it a funk would be more appropriate.

In any event I have many, many unread books in my home that I'm anxious to read and, yet, can't quite work up interest in any of them right now. Blogging? I love to write, but lately the mood hasn't struck me.

Maybe it's because I've been busy watching the kids build snowmen...

and baking gingerbread men (you really should try the recipe; it's extra delicious, though admittedly, time consuming!)...


and, of course, schooling Madeleine, which really deserves a post in and of itself, but, like I said, I'm in a lull right now. A funk. So maybe later.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

First Snow


That's the scene out my front door right now. Interestingly enough, December 1 was also the date of our first real snowstorm last year as well.

It's Up!

It's real. It's official: Christmas is on its way. How do I know? The anxiety advent calendar is up in our house.


Tonight, before bed, Madeleine will pull the first ornament out of its pocket and stick it to the manger scene.

You know, it's funny. As a child we had an advent calendar every year. And each childhood December I remember thinking how stinkin' long it took to open every door or to fill the advent calendar up, whichever the case might have been. And now? I look at it and realize just how close Christmas really is and it simultaneously fills me with elation and dread.