Saturday, December 19, 2009

Oh, Christmas tree...

Last year's pre-Christmas post celebrated my catastrophe of a kitchen. This year it's our poor Christmas tree. I'm sensing a theme with my holiday posts--"our tinsel bloodied, but unbowed." (As I looked up "Invictus" to make sure I had my mangled reference correct, I'm reminded what a great poem it is. And I'm definitely seeing a holiday subtext in there...

Back to the tree. It started out so well, standing straight, full of bushy green needles just waiting for ornaments and lights.

And waiting.

And waiting.

Waiting because somehow only three boxes of lights surfaced in all of the Christmas storage bins--enough to do the top half in colored lights and a thin smattering of white lights from the top to about three feet above the floor. Carden and Seth wanted both colored and white lights on the tree, and I kept thinking I'd make it to the store to buy more. Finally after three days of their relentless pleading I thought, "the heck with this. It's good enough." I tugged the strands around to make it appear more even (albeit even more sparse now) and announced the tree ready for decorating. Three eager helpers descended upon me, snatching all the unbreakable ornaments they could find (most featuring popsicle sticks and a lot of glitter) and crammed them onto one side of the tree.

Now we are one week away from this poor tree's day of glory and this is what I've got.

A crumpled tree skirt from when I accidentally sucked it into the vacuum cleaner.

A big blob of star garland. This is from when Carden accidentally sucked it into the vacuum cleaner, slurping it off the tree at a frightening speed. Once he pulled it out, I think he just threw it at the tree, hoping it'd stick.

A tree with some major bare spots on the top and sides. Two boxes of pretty but breakable ornaments sitting on the couch. Maybe we can get together?

But you know, I was reminiscing about the Christmas trees of my childhood with my brother, and we only really remembered the tree that fell over the day after we'd decorated it, or the tree Dad picked out by himself (the ugliest, scrawniest, lumpiest one on the lot), or the live tree that died once we planted it in the yard. So on that note, I think I'll remember my "Invictus Tree" for a long time to come.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Worth a thousand words

Not much to say, just some cute pictures of the kids. Not the cute picture I wanted (all of us together), but some fun individual shots showing their personalities.

Charlotte: loud

We were driving and Claire started fussing. Charlotte patted Claire's carseat and said, "It's ok, baby. Don't cry, baby." over and over. When this got no response she shouted at her, "Be quiet, baby!"

Carden: without pretense

We're at a restaurant and Tyler orders a burrito without cheese. The server accidentally puts cheese on the order. Tyler repeats the "no cheese" part and the guy quickly fixes it. No problem; we move on. Carden goes back in line and tells him earnestly, "I know how it feels to make a mistake." A few days earlier we're in the parking lot at Target and he sees someone walking on crutches about 25 feet away. He shouts out, "Hey, you need some help?"

Seth: trying really hard to be happy

"Mom, I know what the three wise men brought. Frankincense, gold, and murder."

Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm just here for the food

We've had lots of great Thanksgivings over the years, but this was the first one that was just about the food. Joel and Mandi were in town and we had a great Thanksgiving with them. Joel is a fabulous, creative cook, and we had a great time cooking together. We didn't worry about centerpieces, the antique gold china stayed in its box, the mismatched serving bowls worked just fine; it was all about having some fun in the kitchen. Here's what we came up with:

Brined turkey with roast vegetable gravy

Mixed sweet potatoes and yams, cooked in orange juice and cream

Some of the best rolls I have ever eaten (and I ate about 10, just to be sure)

Butternut squash panade

Mashed potatoes

Autumn salad

Carrot and cumin tart

Corn on the cob (Seth's one request)

Green beans with tomato-mushroom topping

Apple tart tatin

Homemade pecan pie

Pumpkin pie

Peach-ginger fizzy punch

All for four adults and four kids. I think I used up every piece of tupperware I owned! Well worth it, though.