Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Snapshot: a rare moment of grace

So I pinky-promised Coleen that I will only post pictures of her if she looks fabulous. The problem is that if we are both in the shot, you can be guaranteed that one of us will look like a dog. It's apparently some kind of cosmic Law of the Universe.

That's why we both love this picture -- it's a Christmas miracle!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow Day!

So the urchins are skipping with glee as we sip our hot chocolate, enjoying the first snow day of the year. We should be digging out from under the nearly two feet of snow that fell on Saturday, but do you really think that's how we roll?

Check out our back deck over the course of the storm:

Midnight -- Friday into Saturday

9:00 a.m. Saturday

1:00 p.m. Saturday

4:00 p.m. Saturday

Midnight Saturday into Sunday

Our final total was nineteen inches, which of course shut the entire region down. I know that this snowfall total makes us seem like pikers to folks who live in New England, or the Great Lakes area, or the Rockies. Whatever -- don't be a hater!

We used the time to get the lights on our Christmas tree. Yes. I know that the Big Day arrives momentarily. Did I not tell you that we like to saunter into the Christmas season? -- which Catholic purists will tell you doesn't actually begin until December 25 anyway. I have friends who don't even put their tree up until Christmas Eve -- on purpose! Now that's counter-cultural!

I don't have political reasons for waiting to get my tree up and my Christmas trinkets displayed. I am just intrinsically lazy -- and I have plenty of things to stress out about without adding decorating angst to the list.

My husband and I perfected the "one person wears the lights while the other person strings the lights" technique years ago -- and this year the oldest girl learned from the master.

He believes strongly in the squint method for making sure lights are spaced properly to ensure that perfect, even glow. Try it -- squint at your tree so that your vision is a little blurry. Glasses wearers -- just take your glasses off! If your lights are placed well, your tree will glow evenly. Gaps in the lighting show up very clearly. Don't thank me -- I'm just glad to help.

The decorations might actually get put up today, but stay tuned because it's noon and I'm still in my pajamas. Because (you guessed it) that's how we roll on a snow day!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Snapshot: Casino Night!

We went to a swingin' party on Saturday night, hosted my my husband's employer. Everyone received play money and we gambled it all away. Fabulous!

My husband actually won a ton of money, but he gave it all to me which was a mistake.

I was having way too much fun to actually concentrate on the winning part -- but it sure was a good time!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A choir of angels . . . I think

So last night I went to the middle school winter chorus concert -- sixth and seventh grade version. The eighth-graders get their own concert due to their awesomeness and to cut down on the drugs they sell to the youngsters. Just kidding, Mrs. Fitzgerald!

Let me say to you now that you have not lived until you have heard ninety sixth-graders sing "The Hallelujah Chorus." Ninety sixth-graders who make up four different classes. Four different classes that have had no opportunity to rehearse together. Contemplate this, my people, and then imagine "The Hallelujah Chorus." That's right -- use the Think Method like they did in The Music Man -- and at the concert last night. The execution of the song was actually relatively excellent, but we enjoyed an unexpected treat when the microphone from the Jazzercize class across the hall in the cafeteria added an extra track to the accompaniment written by Handel. "Pump! Pump! Let me see you sweat!" gave the music an extra je ne sais quoi that I'm sure old Georg would have appreciated.

I did enjoy myself immensely because there is no fear like the fear of a seventh grade girl who is performing her very first solo, in front of five hundred parents and siblings -- and there is no thunderous applause like the thunderous applause she receives at the end of her truly terrific song. Her parents beamed the entire time -- and her little brother slept. It was awesome.

Unfortunately due to my crappy seat I have no glamour shots of this fabulous night . . .

. . . other than of the sunny girl and her BFF, Jolie Blonde, who are all about the glamour.

I stood up to get this shot with the ever-ready iPhone, thus humiliating the youngest urchin who cannot even be seen in this picture. But do you see the girls over on the left, with their arms crossed? They stood that way the entire night, while singing their hearts out. This is the classic "I am mortified and self-conscious because people are looking at me" middle school girl pose. They'll grow out of it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blessings are thick on the ground around here!

I know we're supposed to be decking the halls all over the place by now, but my family has always sauntered into this process instead of rushing. So before the mad frenzy of fa-la-la-ing overtakes me, I did want to tell you now that we did have the best Thanksgiving!

We feel so fortunate this year that we are all healthy, and that we are warm and safe and well-fed.

This time last year my husband was gallivanting about the Middle East, so we are so glad that he is home with us -- and that our home is in America.

And our friends are such a gift!

There are no words to describe this wider family of loved ones who make our lives so full. This year we just had to stop counting our blessings because we ran out of fingers and toes!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy birthday, adored one!

So the tall boy turned 18 last week, which has totally weirded me out. First of all, about fifteen minutes ago he was five, so I'm not amused that the time is just plain gone. Second, -- well, I think there is no second.

And really, when I look back on the near-death experiences the tall boy has lived through, it's a miracle that he's here. No shit.

Putting aside the whole repeatedly collapsing lung thing -- People! He drank X-14 scum remover when he was eleven months old. When he was two, he wandered into the street just as a dump truck barreled along. Screeching brakes, I honor your service. As you may remember, he fell through the carport ceiling and landed on the concrete below when he was twelve. No, it has not been repaired, and don't look at me like that. Did you think I was kidding when I told you I have earned the Bad Mother of the Year award every single year since 1992?

But even though I am not the mother he deserves, he is the light of my life.

A kinder person does not exist on the planet.

Curious and too daring, he is willing to try any adventure. If there is a trail leading to it, he has hiked up it, paddled through it, fished on it, or rappelled off it. Not particularly interested in a driver's license, he is all about learning to fly. In a plane if necessary.

He was born a hugger, and has never lost the knack -- offering the perfect hug at the perfect time to lift my spirits or get himself out of trouble.

He will hug me in public. Once he even hugged me in the lobby of his high school. Shocking, but I swear it's true.

I could go on about his brilliant mind, his determined attitude, his beautiful spirit, but I'm clearly so besotted with him that you wouldn't believe me -- even though every word would be true. I really just want to say that I know without a doubt that I am the luckiest mom.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Snapshot: I dare you not to smile!

Patrons at our local grocery store are so lucky that we get to encounter this ball of fire, who rings his bell and sings the festive holiday tunes -- for hours at a time! The oldest girl and I time our visits to the grocery store so that we can be sure to get a chance to sing along with him. Fabulous -- I'm telling you!

Check out this piece that appeared on our local news:

Shop happy, people! And hit those Salvation Army buckets hard!