Friday, December 21, 2007

Seeking a Noche De Paz

Merry Christmas
Feliz Navidad
Mele Kalikimaka
Buon Natale

On good advisement, I am setting aside projects & any unnecessary errands, and I will stop saying "Yes" to everything. I am going to slow down and smell the pine. I don't want to be a worn out heap by Tuesday, or by Christmas Eve for that matter. Mind you, the decision not to add to my list does not mean that I won't be busy in the next few days, but I am going to relax about the details, and focus on the blessings. Christmas time is here and I don't want to miss the magic and the wonder.

Happy Solstice
I wish you peace and plenty, light and comfort, and a very Merry Christmas.

Yours Truly:
Lady Madame Natalie the Incomplete of Eschaton End
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title
(Thank you Campbell Girl for this fun little gift!)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Theme-less Thursday
Fellow bloggers are you sending Christmas cards?... with photos?... and newsy letters? I love those! I am running out of time to get my cards signed and in the mailbox, and I am really frustrated about this. It's the same every year: The ideal vision of a perfect Christmas, with happy faces next to every checked-off item on my to do list, and then the sad realization that I cannot do it all. It's so much easier when I roll over and give-up, with some dignity. But instead I am getting snappy and cranky and grinchy and I am really starting to panic that I may be visited by Krampus (I learned about him from Jennifer, but for the full story Google him. Yikes!) I addressed and stamped 40 cards, and I could sign them and send them, but I am still attached to the idea of writing and enclosing a letter and printing 40 pictures to send along. There's no time. There is no time! Sorry, that was for my benefit.

Maybe I haven't written a letter and printed photos, because it's so much like what I do several times a week here at Chickenblog... I don't have much more to say in a letter than I have already written about in the blog. Seriously, it would be really redundant and quite possibly annoying, boring and pointless too. I don't want to be redundant, annoying, boring and pointless... not at Christmas, not any more than usual.

That settles it: I am going to sign our names, and write a quick little Love or maybe a doodle heart, and then seal and send. Done. Simple. Move on.

Thank you. You have been a tremendous help. You know who you are...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sweet Diversions

I don't know what possessed me to call friends over, but I have no regrets. We finally made time and squeezed in our annual gingerbread decorating party. It's our family tradition, having friends over and we bequeath them a kit and we offer them hot glue for assembly and food for their appetites, and, in recent years, we slip "Elf" in the player. And then it's sweet creativity and sugary abandon for the rest of the evening!

Alex worked on an Ikea house, so he could, at long last, try skipping the hot glue, and go all icing. He had great success with this, though we did have to modify the very thick icing.

I whipped-up a little hot glue and graham cracker creation just for Maria to decorate. Why hot glue? It's fast and it holds, and we never eat our houses. That's how we do it.

Our friends, Adam, Anne and Jacob, voted to go with an all icing construction too. Patiently they waited out the 15 minute drying time... alas, in the end, the icing was less than effective, so we came in with a last minute hot glue fix on the roof. It's like retrofitting, which is something Californians are quite accustomed to.

Mitchell and William worked together as a dream team... I think they could enter a Food Network Challenge!

Without debate or conflict, they quietly set to making a very thoughtfully decorated gingerbread masterpiece.

Maria scored points for patience and novice skill. She even endured the dreaded sticky fingers! And then she discovered they were sweet and sticky fingers... hmmm, not bad!

She really loved this decorating business.

Max was disappointed that Mom was too lazy to let him mix 4 different colored icings this year. I won't apologize: I didn't have my partner and fellow clean-up man, Geoff, this time, so I meant to keep it simple... simpler... somewhat.

Mitchell could not believe that we never eat our houses and my boys could not comprehend wanting to eat the houses. They do look good enough to eat, but it's just not part of our tradition.

The *L* Team: Jacob, Anne and Adam. Their house is going to smell so good and gingery!

Our house smells good and gingery too.

Maria was so happy this morning when she got to show her daddy her house.

I found another old post about our gingerbread traditions, from 2003,, but I need to unlock all the pictures... that might not happen too soon, but I'll try. (Update: I fixed the photo links. Good grief that was hard.) Now, I am off to make tamales!

Update part 2, with a part 3 in the works:

Max wanted to see the photos of gingerbreads past, so we went searching. No digital before 2003. We covered 2004, in this link. I didn't take pictures last year... shocking! So, that leaves 2005: We were in the Treehouse and... well, here are the photos...

Oh my goodness... such wonderful memories.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Out-Takes
Ah, the family portrait. Timing. Everyone in a good mood at the same time. Everyone clean, dressed, and together at the same time. Good lighting, no shadows, no glare, focus...

We made 36 attempts and I think we should have gone for 37.