Friday, January 4, 2013

Volume VIII, issues viii and ix, November and December 2012

November 2013
Some of our friends generously invited the nine of us over for a pleasantly competitive Pie Contest before Thanksgiving. We decided to go for style rather than substance as a ridiculous requiem to the timely demise of Hostess only days earlier.  We used home-made chocolate and vanilla mousses (meeses?) to glue the disgustingly caloric layers together and the kids present inhaled it with guilt-free gusto and showered us with shameful votes.

Admittedly our dessert wasn't a pie, and it played on sugar-laden pathos rather than baking skills, but that didn't stop us from taking home first prize! It's a major award! Not only can I wear it, but I can also eat out of it and defend myself with it and use it to discipline small children and cheeky adults.

Before I was married, I told my Mom, "If I ever make my kids wear matching clothes, please shoot me!" Now I wear a bullet-proof vest and egg on my face to family reunions!

Holden sailed through his first year as a teen with ease, with temperamental transitions and wavy mood swings affecting not his personality but his hair (see photo above). Adding a little squirt of gel to the spikes in his hair in the morning made them spiral out of control by afternoon and his friends started calling his coif "The Wave." Holden reported to me one day after school that as he was walking down the junior high hallway (shudder, shudder), he overheard one girl say to her friend, "I want to touch that kid's hair."

He said that he wanted to turn around and say to his admirers, "That kid has a name."

I promptly gave him an appreciative pat on the back and a haircut.

Soups of Pumpkins and Peters

One Monday I asked Peter if we should have a giant cookie for our Family Home Evening treat. He was silently thoughtful for about ten seconds and then said, "Why don't you make TWO giant cookies and then we could make a giant ice cream sandwich?" Well played, my son! Who wouldn't want to consume a monstrous cookie-ish confection as big as their head?
* * *
While staying at my parents house for Thanksgiving, Peter suffered through one of the worst colds he's ever experienced and was startled when he woke up one morning and couldn't speak. He croaked, "My voice is broken!"

That night he screamed out in the dark when he thought he couldn't breathe, so I got out of bed to rush him into bathroom so he could breathe in some steam. He sweetly pitter-pattered back to bed a few minutes later. In the morning, he said sadly, "My voice is still broken, Mom. Bytheway. . sorry I woke everyone up."
* * *
Peter loves to give a sort of "dream report" when he wakes up. Last week he spun a sleepy yarn about how he was being attacked by brains that had eyes and squid-like arms. After describing the violently cerebral war, he said calmly. "Do you know how I know it was a dream? Brains don't have eyeballs."

Christmas 2013

Christmas Prayer

One night as we were opening the cute cardboard door on our Lego Advent Calendar, there were shrieks of anything but Christmas joy when the kids uncovered an empty compartment. Peter had been trying to peek and had somehow relocated the legos to a different compartment. All wasn't lost, but we still had to endure a lecture about sharing and patience and taking turns (I really don't like giving the lectures either). 

While saying the family prayer that night, Ethan said, "Please help us not be overtaken by greed. "  

Celebrity-ating in Style

Eric and I were invited to a Christmas Costume Party early in December and the invitation said to wear our "Best red and green." We couldn't resist. You should have seen us giggling and carrying on as we carefully planned each perfect detail of our costumes for weeks before the party. I have to say that conjuring up the costumes with Eric and then posing for this picture were two of the highlights of my holiday season. I had been practicing my "joyously evil ambulance chaser" expression for days to get it just right.

Marie's cute pronunciation of "hand sanitizer" inspired is to make these goodies to share with our neighbors and friends. I loved watching the kids at each door, belting out Christmas cheer, Marie popcorn-ing as she sang. Because I didn't want the delivery of the gifts to take until the new year, I suggested that maybe they didn't need to sing at every door. After the next rousing chorus, Eve returned to the car and said resignedly, "Sorry. I can't resist singing."

Eve lost one of the screws to her glasses right before her class Christmas program, so she jimmy-rigged a paperclip, Macgyver-style, to hold her glasses on. You'll also notice in the photo that she removed the bow from her hair and added it to her Santa hat for just a touch of feminine flair. 

* * *
Eve has started experimenting with language in a way that makes my poetic heart flutter. Rather than just calling us by our given titles, she'll say things like "Mom of all Moms, can I have a snack?" or 
"Charlie that I know and love, you are so cute." 

* * *
Her fingers are itching to start violin lessons and I told her that if she was exceptionally good, I'd let her start on her birthday. She sighed sadly so I told her it wasn't a long time to wait. She replied, "In my time it is."

* * *
Since she learned how to sew this summer, Eve is constantly found in her room with a needle and thread, huddled over scraps of fabric (and her brothers are constantly found yelping and pulling needles out of their feet. Oh! The memories!). She makes stuffed animals, purses, doll clothes and anything else she can piece together with a little thread and her vivid imagination. She sewed hand-made gifts for family members for Christmas, and even created a special "Idaho" for Charlie (bottom right) with paper, stuffing and staples.  

I was filled with extreme glee when I realized that we could have a Christmas quartet this year. It was the stuff that my nerdy adolescent fantasies were made of. Being surrounded by three handsome string-playing fellas was almost more than I could bear as we filled up the house with Christmas melodies for the Sunday before Christmas. We played as a quartet for a while and then I switched to the piano and accompanied Caleb on his viola and then switched things up and accompanied some duets with Holden and Ethan on their cellos. Then Eve wanted to play the piano and Caleb figured out how to play with her. By the time we finished and looked at the clock, we realized our jam session had lasted for three hours.  Oh what fun, indeed!

We brainstormed about what we could call ourselves and my first suggestion was "The G Strings." Eric and I laughed whole-heartedly until the boys wanted to know what was so funny.  I'm thinking that maybe "Me and My Bows" might be more family friendly.

Eric snickered each time we finished a song and told us our look at the camera said, "We. . . are. . . performers!"

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