Monday, December 28, 2009

December Highlights

We started the Christmas season decorating gingerbread houses at Jay and Micky's, as we do each year. I made this house for Joe since he and Safety Man were in Seattle at a MMA event where grown men beat each other up. Per Joe's request, I made the house with plenty of sugar cubes and icing. This is what all of my hard work looked like the day after. He ate the roof - all sugar cubes. Yuck. It's all about the candy with that guy.

This is my new nativity scene. One of my favorite things. It's displayed prominently in the center of my kitchen, on the island, so it's always in view.

Lily played in a soccer tournament on the first two weekends of the month. Her team lost in the finals in triple over time. It was a 0-0 game until the fatal suicide kick killed us. December has been mostly clear but cold. When we arrived at the fields early the first morning it was a brutal 17 degrees. Why is this a "highlight"?, you may be wondering. It's because I'm morphing into a soccer mom. I like it. Go figure. Finding the ideal Christmas tree at Stony Ridge Farms is a tradition, but also a challenge for us. This year we (I) decided Lily would have the honor of picking our tree in a successful attempt to stop the bickering over which tree is best. It'll be Joe's turn next year. (I want a white, flocked tree. Can you still get those or are they deemed too toxic, flammable or otherwise dangerous? )

This is Lily dashing off in her fancy socks to find our tree.

Of course, she's happy she'll get her choice. Joe? Not so much.

But, like the trooper he is, he has accepted defeat and helps Lily find her favorite.

Too small. (Her Christmas socks remind of the Wicked Witch as they shrivel up under the fallen house - but I digress.)
Finally. (How curious. Lily's tree looks like the one Joe described as his favorite.) Now, we're off to eat homemade apple, caramel pie that is made here at the farm. It's really not about the tree...
This is Moses. He plays the part of the camel at Stony Ridge's Nativity Scene.

I made toasted coconut marshmallows for the first time this year. They were easy and a surprise big hit. I'm happy to share my (Ina Garten's) recipe.

Lily made Joe this super soft blanket.(with the help of my mom.) I gave him the luxurious robe and he got a new hat from Safety Man - so he won't catch a cold while carrying firewood to the house. I guess we all want him to be warm and cozy. He's well taken care of.

Lily was very happy with the special picture I gave her. It's made of real flowers by Sister Lucy who is now in Heaven.
Here's Harvey at the end of the evening on Christmas day, already in his jammies. He can crawl on his belly and elbows like his uncle Kirby, an army guy, AND eat the crumbs off the floor at the same time. He's brilliant, strong and resourceful.

Max, Lucy and Harvey Jones. A trio of sweetness and delight. I love them so much.
Lucy is ready to head home after spending Christmas day with the family. There were a mere 19 of us at our house to celebrate this year. A small crowd by comparison. It was wonderful.
As delightful as all these highlights were, the two most precious treasures of the season for our family were the new babies. Peter Willard ~ Andrew and Sara's 3rd child and Dashel Edward born on Christmas Eve in Vicenza, Italy ~ Kirby and Gina's 2nd son. With Kirby in Afghanistan our thoughts and prayers are with Gina as she takes care of their family and especially with Kirby as he misses them and stays out of harms way.

Finally, I have to make a confession. As much as I loved all of the above, and believe me, it was a very good December, one of my most favorite parts of this Christmas were the leftovers. Yes, the food. The day after, I ate prime rib and yorkshire pudding, dripping with aus jus and a dollop of hot horseradish for breakfast. Lunch was peppermint ice cream cake with an especially decadent chocolate cookie crust. I snacked on cheesecake in the mid afternoon (with cherry sauce) and for dinner I devoured more yorkshire pudding, smothered with my moms extremely rich but superb crab dip. This was pure gluttony. Since gluttony is one of the 7 deadly sins, I don't recommend this indulgence but it was very, very good.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sucks, like (as in, " know, like, it was awesome.") and dude.

If I were queen of the world (I'd do a good job, by the way.), I'd banish these words for all eternity. Thank you for listening.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hiking with the children

We had to navigate this big river - like Lewis and Clark.

Safety Man pointing out the perfect covering in case we get stranded in this area.

Joe's hiking shoes. If he decided to like hiking we'd have to buy the poor kid some boots. As it is, I think this will be the last path these clunkers will ever see.

The kids were home from school the Friday after Thanksgiving so with a little coercion Safety Man and I convinced them to join us on our weekly hike. In an ideal world my children would be thrilled to hike with us and be happy to enjoy the fresh, crisp air and all the wilderness has to offer. Unfortunately, this is not my world. (What IS the color of the sky in that world?) Lily complained throughout - " Are we almost done?" and Joe, to his credit, stated straightaway - "I'm going to have a good attitude." and he did, for the most part. It was hardly the natural enthusiasm I was hoping for but for a 13 year old boy who'd rather be tucked away at home playing Madden football on his Wii, I was pleased with him.
Safety Man is wearing bright yellow. He'll never be mistaken for a dear.

Friday, November 27, 2009


There were a comfortable 26 ( give or take) friends and family at our house for Thanksgiving 2009. The turkey was cooked perfectly this year so there was no sudden gasp from Jeri declaring the bird raw. Thank goodness. My dear sister made the various pies, as usual, and they were fabulous, especially the chocolate one. Although the lemon meringue slice was the best day after Thanksgiving breakfast I've ever had. They were all divine as were the shrimp and crab stuffed mushroom Rockefellers that Shannon made. We were well fed.
Unfortunately, Evan, Elisa, Max, Lucy and Harvey came down with dreaded flu the day before so they stayed nestled in their home. We missed them terribly as we missed the rest of the family who are living far away from us. Kirby, Gina and Oliver were especially on our minds as they celebrated a combined Thanksgiving and Christmas in Italy before Kirby leaves for Afghanistan. Here are a few quick snapshots of our motley crew. (Oddly, I didn't take any of the young children. I'm sorry about that. They are the better looking of all of us.)
Tom and Jenn
Karen and Mom
Jeff & Jenn
John & the moms
Tim, Sammy & John
Jeri & Chris
Rob & Katie
Me & the twins
Jeff getting a hug from Kicks
The obligatory post dinner snooze.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Safety Man and hiking

From here on, I will call my husband by his well earned moniker, Safety Man. I could write volumes on why this nick name is well earned and why he accepts it in the loving and endearing way it was given to him by me and the kids, but that will have to wait for another post. For now, trust me when I say that he believes you can never be too careful and danger is lurking everywhere.
Safety Man and I have started a routine of taking Friday hikes together. It is our great fortune to have trails all around us with easy access to quiet, solitary and stunningly beautiful walks where we enjoy the tall, mossy trees, low ferns and small, remote lakes. It would take a lifetime to exhaust them all but we plan to do our best even though we're pretty old to start such a daunting task.
On our first hike, we were walking less than 10 minutes when Safety Man asks me this serious question, "Would you know what to do if you were attacked by a tiger?" Okay, I have to admit that I have a very real fear of being eaten by a wild animal. Mostly, on my mind are cougars since they are the most likely predator I'd run into in these parts. Tiger?, not so much. Anyway, I respond, "No, I wouldn't know what to do if a tiger attacked." Safety Man explained how I should ram my arm down it's throat and bite it's nose. That would definitely stop the attack, he said. So, there you go. Walks with Safety Man can be very beneficial. I'm lucky to have him. After all, I will never know when a ravenous escapee from the local zoo may be tracking me, patiently waiting for the opportunity to pounce out from the wilderness and devour me.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Scary Halloween

Gone are the good old Halloween days with my darling little Lily in her sweet, handmade (by my sister, of course) princess costume holding my hand tightly as we trick or treated.

This is Lily 1 and Lily 2 dressed up as......well... they described their costumes as a "rainbow girl" and a "blue fairy that eats other fairies". I think the impetus behind my Lily's costume was the opportunity to wear dangle earrings and some make up. I can't say what inspired the other Lily's choice.
Joe is not pictured because he and his buddy, Collin, were with JT at the theater watching Saw 6. As scary as the Lily's are to see, JT definitely got the raw end of the Halloween deal. Saw 6 - How rediculous. As if Saw 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 weren't enough.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

...and the prize for the best curls goes to....

........................Agatha Elizabeth. Way to go, Agatha!

Curls, beautiful blue eyes and as sweet as can be. This girl has it all!
Her sister Mary is adorable and knows how to have fun!

Harvey the Buddha baby. " Hey, where'd everybody go?"

Check Spelling The Cousins ~ Wishing Oliver and Erin were here.

The girl with the curl didn't want to sit for the group shot.