Saturday, December 29, 2012

Scenes from NYC

Last Saturday, we made our way from Poughkeepsie to New York City on the train.  We were Upstate visiting Kev's family, and part of Daphne's Christmas gift from her Mimi and Papa was a trip into the city to see the Rockette's Christmas show at Radio City.  This was her first time in NYC, and she loved every minute of it.  It was cold, it was windy, and we had to walk and walk and walk, but she didn't complain one single time.

We got a street vendor pretzel, looked at the Christmas windows at Macy's, saw Grand Central Station, ate lunch at the Empire State Building, went to Times Square and Bryant Park, ran around in revolving doors like Buddy the Elf, and at the very end of the night, saw the tree at Rockefeller Center.  Kev and I hung out with the Ralls, who met us in the city,  while the rest of the group went to Radio City.  It was a big big awesome day.

There is nothing like New York at Christmas time.  It's magical.  I think Daphne thought so, too.  That makes me happy.

Friday, December 28, 2012

All Quiet

At about 9:00pm on December 25, I could swear that outside I heard a gigantic collective sigh of relief as people across the country put their kids to bed after Christmas finally came.  At our house at least, there was a lot of build-up and prep-work and general riding the hamster wheel for the last month or so, all leading up to The Big Day.  And I have to say, it was pretty much all worth it.

Kev is at work, and Daphne is across the street playing with a friend.  It is quiet.  I have a lot to catch up on, but I think since I just have a few minutes, I'll recap the second half of the bags.

13.  Triangle Game (a Christmas version of the one with the golf tees that is always on the tables at Cracker Barrel.
14.  Christmas Charades.  Always a favorite.

15.  Choose a toy to donate to Toys for Tots.
16.  Go to Manassas to bake Christmas cookies.

17.  Make-an-Ornament kit from Michael's.
18.  Make cards for the Specials teachers.
19.  A box of Bumble cookies.
20.  "Try something new."  (Pop Rocks)

21.  Open a little gift (a set of Little Golden Christmas books)
22.  New York City scavenger hunt.

23.  Hot Chocolate

24.  Read The Night Before Christmas, feed the reindeer, get Santa's cookies ready, and go to bed!

Lots of fun.  So much more to write...New York City, Project Elf, snow!,Christmas Day, Kev's birthday, arts and crafts, marshmallow-making...but I will have to catch up as I get some time.  As Professor Hinkle says, "Busy! Busy! Busy!"  I hope you all had a great Christmas.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Barrelling through the Bags

Last night, we opened Bag 12.  BAG 12!!!  How did that happen?  It has been a very whirlwind December, that's how.  Lots and lots of fun, but lots and lots to do, and no time to blog.  Here is a quick list to catch up.  We left off with Bag 3...

  • 3 - Write a letter to Santa
  • 4 - Make a special card for Mommy
  • 5 - Family Game Night - Daphne's choice
  • 6 - Practice some Christmas songs
  • 7 - Go to First Friday
  • 8 - Listen to Christmas music and make a snow globe
  • 9 - Decorate a giant gingerbread cookie
  • 10 - Build a new Lego Santa and sleigh
  • 11 - Make paper snowflakes
  • 12 - Make cards for the teacher and bus driver

In addition to all the bag activities, there have been Project Elf projects,  trips to Frederick,  half-birthday celebrations, marching in the town parade with the Daisies, Christmas brunch with the Smitty's, a visit from Santa on the fire truck, and a visit TO Santa at the fire station.  Below are a few pictures from Life on the Hamster Wheel:

Here is the B&B where my mom and I stayed in Frederick.  We had a good time shopping and eating at awesome restaurants, and the B&B was really nice.  It was clean and comfortable, the food was good, and the owners were friendly.  The only drawback was the collection of dolls.  Hundreds of them.  Everywhere.  Including this one, which looks like a real baby and was perched high atop an armoire in our bedroom, staring down at me.  Creepy.  Why is he dressed like a Hell's Angel?

When I got back from Frederick, there was mail from my friend Emily.  We all got awesome new Christmas t-shirts. This one is mine.  No one was here, so I had to take a picture of myself.

That night, we celebrated Daphne's half birthday with a cupcake, which has become a tradition.  She is six and a half, which means she is halfway to 13.  Good grief.

Here is Daphne's awesome new T-shirt.  She loves it, and the scarf, too.

First Friday was great.  The December one is always best.  We ate at the hotdog place, went to see the tree, picked up treats in the various shops, and listened to carolers. The green building on the corner always has the best treats:

Saturday was the parade.  The other moms and I herded the Daisies through town as they passed out candy to the crowd.  It was fun.  Now I can say we've done it, so we don't have to do it again unless everyone just really wants to.  Daphne had a good time, but prefers to be on the receiving end of the candy.

Saturday night, Santa, Rudolf, and Frosty came by on the fire truck.  This is always extremely exciting, and even when Daphne grows up and doesn't care, I will still be outside waving.

Here is Kev, cooking sausage for the band party brunch in his awesome new t-shirt.

The party was nice.  Great to see our friends.  We played Christmas songs and ate lots of food and drank eggnog punch all day.

After the party, I took Daphne to the fire station to see Santa.  It wasn't busy, so she also got to get in the fire truck and ring the bell.  Pretty cool.  She told Santa she wants a stuffed dog bigger than her stuffed dog Donner, who is huge.  And a red pogo stick.  We'll see how all that works out for her.

I have been running around town being an Elf, and running around the house being an elf.  I am getting tired, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  That light is called Christmas, and I can not wait.  Until then, the hamster wheel continues to spin.  More bags coming soon!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Baked Goods and Bags

November went out with Christmas caroling and hot chocolate with good friends.  Can't think of a better way to end a month of thankfulness.  The people we caroled to were very receptive and friendly in spite of being interrupted during dinner on Friday night.  And, an interesting side note.  The last house we sang to was the house of the one of the guys who was in that Starland Vocal Band from the 70s- the Skyrockets in flight people.  He and his wife sang along with the girls and it was pretty awesome.  Good times.

Caroling Practice
December came in with a basket of bags.  Daphne was excited to see them.

Bag One - Go pick out a new ornament, and start decorating the tree.

So that's what we did.  But first, there were popovers.  

Popping the popovers.

Popovers, oh yeah.

After our popover lunch, we went to the local holiday craft fair to pick out our new ornaments.  I got a sheep, Daphne got an owl, and Kev got a trumpet.  Then, we walked to the high school for a free showing of Charlotte's Web.  It was a pretty sad little turn-out, but those of us who went enjoyed it.  Daphne's school read the whole novel together, and then they made arrangements to show the movie as a treat at the end, but it got rescheduled because of high school football or something, and I think it just sort of fell off the radar.  I felt kind of bad for the organizers.   Anyway, Daphne was surprisingly OK when Charlotte died, which kind of surprised me because she wept for about 20 minutes earlier in the day when we found a dead bug in the TV room that resembled Ocornio.  I'm not kidding.  She was inconsolable.  I guess she had no tears left for Charlotte.

After the movie, we had dinner and got back to the business of decorating the tree.  Daphne did her annual job of placing the angel on top, which is getting easier for her because she can reach, but harder for Kev because she is heavy.   The tree is very pretty.  But for some reason, the lights on the top half of the tree are about twice as bright as the ones on the bottom half, so it looks a little weird.  I guess it's not quite as weird as last year, though, when the ones in the middle burned out and we had a stripe of darkness.

Sunday morning, we made brunch.  Sausage and eggs from the farmers market, and ebelskivers:

We filled some with strawberry jam, some with chocolate chips, some with PB chips and mini marshmallows, and left some plain.  They were all great.  Kev is getting to be really good at flipping them, which isn't easy.

Then, Daphne wanted to open Bag #2, which contained a box of holiday Junior Mints and a note that said it was Elf night!  Woohoo!  I love Elf night!

In the afternoon, the Daisies all met at Target to shop for our adopted family.  It was absolute chaos, but a big success.  I think the girls enjoyed it.  I came home with a giant pile of toys and a splitting Target headache, so I was glad for a relaxing evening with my family and Buddy the Elf.

After dinner, bath, and homework, Daphne put on her elf hat and Christmas robe, gathered up Quincy and Chris-Moose and her bowl of popcorn and Junior Mints, and settled in for the movie.  She gets the jokes now, and it was so much fun to watch it with her because she laughed through the whole thing.   We put her to bed and sat by the tree.  I did some knitting, and Kev played his guitar, and it was pretty much my ideal evening.  If only there had been eggnog.  Oh well, there are 22 more bags...plenty of time for eggnog.

Friday, November 30, 2012

At the Buzzer...

This morning in my hour between pilates class and volunteering at school, I finished the bags.  You may recognize them from last year, and the year before that.  There was a bit of panic earlier in the week when I couldn't find them.  I looked through all the Christmas bins.  Three times.  And then, I remembered that last year, I put them in my closet in order to have easier access to them rather than having to search through the Christmas bins.  That plan didn't work out too well for me.  But, in any case, I FOUND them, and today, I loaded them up with little notes and treats and got them all ready for December, which starts tomorrow.  I have no idea how, now that Daphne is in school full time, I seem to have LESS time to get things done.  I could either blame Girl Scouts, or just own up to the fact that I have poor time management skills.  Probably a combination of both, mixed with unexpected sicknesses and hurricane-days-off.  Getting those bags done was a real relief, though, and now I can relax and enjoy the weekend, which is going to be busy.

Tonight, the troop is going caroling.  Tomorrow is family-put-up-the-tree day.  And Sunday we're taking the girls in the troop shopping for the family they adopted for Christmas. Yesterday at the meeting, the girls made placemats and cards for them.  My friend Jill took this picture of Daphne.  Nice attitude, huh?

The girls were very silly yesterday, but still managed to make some sweet cards and pictures, and learn a little something about being responsible.  It was a good meeting even though I was feeling a little off.  I'm very lucky.  I had a lot of help.  Thankful for that.

November ends today, and I have enjoyed doing these "thankful" posts.  I really do have a lot to be thankful for, and I appreciate my family and friends and home and all the things I have a lot more than I probably ever say.

Off soon to troll the ancient Yuletide carol.  Happy end of November.  Stay tuned for some very bag-intensive posts.(Sorry.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ready or Not...

Here comes Christmas.   Yesterday, I poured myself some eggnog and braved the basement.  I dragged up all the Christmas bins except the giant one with the tree.  We'll do that on Saturday - whole family.  But the little bins are my job.  The stockings were hung, and other Christmasy items were thoughtfully placed around the house.  It's getting festive in here.  Just the way I like it. 

Daphne was so excited when she got off the bus.  She loves all the familiar Christmas stuff.  She went around the house announcing everything.  "Oh!  Here's our stockings!  And here is my Santa bag!  And my tree that I made at preschool!"  And on and on.  It's all special because it's hidden away in the basement all year.  And I only got about half the stuff out yesterday.  More to come.

This year, I'd like to get my candles back in the windows.  It just didn't happen last year for some reason.  And I want to do something special on the porch.  If I had time, I'd make some pillows.  We'll see.  Daphne told me this morning that she wants to do some Christmas crafts.  That's my girl! 

OK.  I haven't left the house since Thanksgiving.  It's time. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Day

I made apple crisp.

Daphne made place cards.

Grandpa carved the turkey.

The table was set.

Scout had a birthday.

There were garlic cheddar biscuits.

Grandma made noodles.

Kev mashed potatoes.

Aunt Kathy made the drinks.

Plates were filled.

And we ate.

Thanksgiving weekend.  If not for the pink eye, it would have been perfect.  Even with the pink eye, it was still pretty great.

I have learned that it is a little harder to feel thankful when your eye is matted shut with disgusting eye goop.  But it IS still possible.  And I have a lot to be thankful for.  After all, there are NO LIONS.  I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving with the people that you like the most and lots of pie.  Stay tuned for Christmas!