Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Little Nostalgia for Christmas

We're leaving for Blackrock in about three hours, if I'm efficient in getting this insane clown posse out the door this morning. It's a six-hour drive if we're lucky and there isn't any bad weather on the way.

Well, if there isn't a LOT of bad weather. There is ALWAYS bad weather somewhere between here and Blackrock in the winter. Too many lakes that attract too much snow.


A long drive today with children means that I've already got my bag of carrot sticks* ready to go.

Most of you are probably all, "Carrot sticks? What the hell? Why don't you just stop at a gas station like a normal person and buy some chips to throw at the kids in the back of the minivan?"

Whereas my brother and sister are probably nodding their heads and thinking, "Bellows Beach road food."

See, when I was a kid and we were living in Hawaii, we would somewhat frequently make the long drive to the beach at Bellows, and my mom (or possibly my dad; I can't actually remember) would always cut up a large bag of carrot sticks for the drive.

Also, we always made our own sandwiches and wrapped them in aluminum foil so we could scratch our initial into the top and identify them before unwrapping.

Also also, there were always Fritos or potato chips.

I'm even less fun than my parents, however. I make popcorn to bring as a Big Treat instead of chips, and the sandwiches are all the same (because every one of the small ones likes peanut butter and jelly and it's just easier that way**) and all packed in one big plastic container so as to avoid the aluminum foil.

But there are still those carrot sticks.

It's road trippin' time. Merry Christmas Eve, my lovelies.

* That's right, I said carrot sticks, not baby carrots. Baby carrots are an abomination that taste like bleach and I absolutely cannot stand them. Not that I have strong feelings on this subject.

** A. and I don't eat the sandwiches, anyway. We subsist on the carrot sticks and almonds until we arrive at our destination. It is just now occurring to me that possibly I wouldn't hate long drives so much if I entertained myself with junk food instead of carrot sticks and almonds. But it's hard to defy that early childhood training.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Showing Up

Today was the Christmas program at Cubby's school, featuring Santa reading "The Night Before Christmas," interspersed with the children in each grade singing appropriate songs.

The auditorium at the school was literally standing-room only, despite the fact that the roads looked like this:

In the spirit of the season, we'll call this Christmas-y.

As I've said before, you can't live in a place like this and be afraid of driving in the snow. Who cares if it's a twenty-mile drive on nominally plowed roads? I have to watch a bunch of kids sing "The Reindeer Pokey" ("Put your antlers in, take your antlers out . . .") and "Up on the Rooftop"!

I felt obligated to show up if only to acknowledge the incredible dedication of the music teacher, who coached all six grades through two entire songs each with hand motions and props.

All blessings upon you, Mr. Music Teacher. You're a rare spirit among men.

Plus, I would have been sad to miss the little girl in the front row of the second-grade group who clearly has a future in the entertainment industry, if her enthusiastic finger-shaking and twirling during "Jingle Bells" is any indication.

And of course, Cubby's face when he saw me, Charlie, and Jack waving at him from the audience was the whole reason we made the snowy effort to be there.

Worth the drive, without a doubt.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Two Unrelated Things

First, because I'm sure you were all consumed with curiosity about what I brought the plow guys: Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. And it was a supreme effort of will for me not to eat them all. I do not ever make cookies. Because it's always a supreme effort of will for me not to eat them all.

Now I just have to make a few loaves of bread for teacher/mail lady/neighbor gifts, buy some office supplies for the children's stockings (what, you wouldn't be thrilled to receive tape for Christmas?), and Christmas is good to go.

Second, I took Jack to the pediatrician yesterday for his two-year check-up and discovered that our pediatrician has a resident puppy. Name of George. Five months old (though surprisingly calm for such a young dog), half standard poodle, half Burmese mountain dog, all curly fur and big paws. Apparently, the doctor lives on the top floor of the building in which his practice is located, and the dog comes downstairs with him in the morning to hang out all day.

I thought this was swell, and so did Jack and Charlie, but I did wonder if all children are so happy to see an enormous black dog come wandering into their exam room.

Whatever. It was fun to see a random fluffy dog in a place that is not normally so fun.

And now I must go read a book to Charlie. I'm out.

Monday, December 19, 2016

A Third-child Birthday

So the third kid turns two? Whee! Here, have some leftover cupcakes from Daddy's birthday with a single candle to blow out!

Obviously, standards get lower.

Not that Jack cares. You know what he cares about? The rule I made that when he opened his presents, his brothers were not allowed to touch anything until he chose what he wanted to play with. And if he wanted to take one of the birthday toys that they were playing with, they had to give it to him.

For the littlest brother, power over the toys is pretty much everything he wants.

Animal sounds toy? Mine.*

Monster truck? Gimme.

If only he turned two every day. Sorry, kid. Back to the toy struggle today.

* Apologies for the dark photos. Not so much sunlight on December 18 here in the far north.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


Happy birthday to Smiley Jack.
Long may you prosper.