Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Hangover

I love Christmas. Who doesn't??

As an adult without kids, I liked Christmas, but now? It's just so much better. Hearing the squeals as they open gifts. Hearing "WOW!" over something Santa knew they wanted, or "Thanks for getting that for me," or hearing little Lennon say, "Where's Santa? I wanted to give him a hug and say 'Thanks'," is something i can't put into words. These kids...

They are something else...I tell ya.

We had such a great day. I want to make every day more like Christmas. Of course, without all the hoop-la and gifts, but with the good feelings and glad tidings. Who couldn't use more joy in the every day?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Last Christmas...

A year ago (well, almost), it snowed on Christmas eve, at our old house
in Texas.
It never snows in Texas.
People will talk about it for eons.
It probably snowed an entire foot-which was the biggest snowfall on record.
It was incredible...and beautiful.
And it was the perfect last Christmas for us to have there.

Even if they don't remember it, I know we'll never forget it.
And I'm so thankful for the memories we will make this year...
and for years to come.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A conversation between my two sons

Lennon: "Jingle bells! Jingle bells! Jingle all the way!"

Noel: "No, Lennon, sing this one: 'Jingle bells! Batman smells! Robin laid an egg! Batmobile lost a wheel and the Joker ran away! Hey!'"

Lennon: "Jingle bells! Batman smells! Batmobile! Batmobile! Joker ran away! Hey!"

Noel: "No...Lennon...that's not's not Batmobile! Batmobile!"

minutes later....

Noel: " Batmobile! Batmobile! Batmobile! Batmobile! Batmobile! Batmobile! Batmobile! Batmobile! AND THE JOKER RAN AWAY! HEY!"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Finding the Words

Last night I heard something here, that I want to try and put into words of my own, but I'm not sure how just yet...

Instead, I post these pictures. And once again, just looking at them, I'm at a loss for words.

If you want to listen to what's got me so tongue-tied, you can listen to it here. I hope it touches you too.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Move Over, Williams-Sonoma

I'm always looking for a new holiday goody to share with my family & give away to friends. I love to bake, but cookies can become a bit of a chore and a mess (although they are FUN). Candy and fudge need thermometers and that gets tricky when you have small people that want to "help". Measuring temperatures while two kids fight for real-estate in the Learning Tower and arguing over who gets to stir and pour the lava-like concoction can get a little taxing.

This year, I decided to go with Peppermint Bark, which seemed like something everyone could participate in pretty safely, and it just sounded good. My old blogging friend Sarah started my wheels turning with this picture, and last night I went to work on my test batch. We'll be making more for gifts today, because, y''s friggin' amazing. The recipe is from Bon Appetit, December 1998, and can be found in detail here. This is all you will need:

  • 17 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker's), finely chopped
  • 30 red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (about 6 ounces)
  • 7 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

  • Folks, this is so easy. And so much less and so much better than what you will buy at a store. Not to mention, you can package it up nice & pretty your very own self and make it your own. Nothing says Christmas and holiday spirit like a home-made, hand-packaged gift. That is, if it makes it to the intended parties and not into your tum...

    Saturday, December 18, 2010


    Today, we're headed down to the Coterie Theatre to see a live version of Judith Viorst's classic, "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". We're all very excited. In 7th or 8th grade, I memorized this book for a speech contest, where I completely bombed. And I mean bombed. However, I still LOVE this book. Noel & Lennon do too. There's also a cute HBO Storybook musical version that they dig, and Lennon likes to walk around singing, "I've had a TERRIBLE! I've had a HORRIBLE! I've had a TERRIBLE! HORRIBLE! NO GOOD! VERY BAD! DAYYYYYY," which I need to catch on video. I hope the live version lives up to the book and musical versions with which we're already familiar. I've heard good things. I'm hopeful everyone will enjoy themselves.

    I've also got chicken pot pies in the oven, and my mom is bringing over apple crisp...somehow I don't think this is going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    The New City & Christmastime

    Growing up, I considered Kansas City a one-horse town and could not wait to bail on it as soon as I could. I flew the coop to college and headed straight for Manhattan...KANSAS. So, of course, my skin still crawled for more "stuff to do". After college, I headed for the "big" metroplex of Dallas/Fort Worth. Now, I can't complain too much about the place that I called home for 12 years, although I wasn't immediately taken with the city. Texas really is a world of it's own, and the people there, particularly the ones that were born and raised there, are crazy in love with the state. Now, there's nothing wrong with a little loyalty, and after 10 years or so, I'd given in to this loyalty a little and sipped the Kool-Aid. Texas ain't bad, but Dallas and Fort Worth, I found, really had no more to offer than Kansas City.

    And I missed home.

    And every time we visited, we wondered, "Why aren't we here?"

    And guess what? THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO. I'm not all that familiar with the dream and idea behind the city, but the way it is laid out, especially where we live, is so conducive to walking places. Our neighborhood, within blocks, has tons of restaurants, 2 grocery stores, coffee shops, even a five and dime. And there are lots of neighborhoods just like this, close by. There was nothing like these neighborhoods where we lived before anywhere, unless it was some lame shopping center with the same stores as the one down the street. You know the ones...the Kohls, the Chili's, and of course, the Starbucks.

    With the boys not being in school right now (they'll start at a pre-K in January!), we're constantly on the prowl for activities. We're able to find something to do almost every day, despite the cold weather. Even just a trip to our OUTSTANDING branch of the library is an exciting event. It has it's own ART ROOM for kids. Just sitting there for your use. Free. There are incredible art galleries, historical buildings that have been restored and now contain museums, children's museums, outdoor ice skating rinks, farms with petting zoos...and these are all things we can do without even getting on the highway.

    During the holidays, this city turns into nothing short of magic. It's like everyone is infected with the spirit. The Plaza lights seem to inspire everyone to decorate their homes to the nines. The weather is chilly, there's usually snow on the ground, as everyone prepares to celebrate this season with their families. There are Christmas tree lightings to attend all over the city, holiday concerts on every corner. Last night, the boys and I walked home from the grocery store and decided to take a different street to see the lights. I love the creative, outlandish, and simple ways people choose to decorate their homes. I wanted to come home and get crazy on the front yard, but we just don't have enough lights. It would be pretty pathetic compared to some of our neighbors. And speaking of my neighborhood, did I mention that the boys' picture was in the Kansas City Star?!?

    Perhaps the stars will fall from my eyes one day again, and I will once again think of Kansas City as a one-horse town, but I hope they don't.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010


    We're in a new city...well, it's not new to me, but to the rest of my people, it's new. It's colder here, but we're enjoying the prospect of seasons, something we didn't really have in Texas much. We're also enjoying our new house with a pretty front door.
    We loved dressing up for Halloween and going trick or treating in our really cool new neighborhood with it's cute shops that gave out candy. Everything is so accessible and we enjoy walking to the coffee shop and childrens' bookshop and the restaurants. There's also a school right across the street with a play ground and a big area to ride bikes and trikes. Grandparents are a mile away. If we take the car to their house, we can't even finish a whole song by the time we're there.
    We have a front porch. And the trees turn all sorts of beautiful colors, and the leaves fall in droves, and we throw them. We have friends that are my old friends with kids who have kids and now they're friends with my kids. These metamorphases are pretty amazing and wonderful.
    We spent Thanksgiving with some of our favorite family and it was divine. The boys had their first sleepover with their Neena and Grandpa. They didn't miss us a bit.

    We've put up our tree, the stockings our hung. Markle is quietly keeping tabs and making sure two little lads mind their p's and q's. We look outside for snow, and we wait to see the quiet blanket so we can rush out and enjoy it...I think we are home.