The kids made ice cream using a ball ice cream maker. Ice/salt on the outside and cream/sugar/vanilla on the inside and you kick it around the house for 15-20 minutes. Wonderful!
I am spending the morning taking down the (artificial) Christmas tree at our house and I will share how the kids cut down the real Christmas tree a week ago. The Christmas tree farm had a bunch of stumps that were low to the ground and had grown this fungus (?) on it:
I was campaigning for this Charlie Brown-esque tree, but I was outvoted.
Edda (trying to avoid all the prickly pine needles):
We are back from our Christmas vacation in the mid-Hudson Valley. We spent a lovely week with all of Jeremy siblings (3!) and all of the grandchildren (4!). It was a lovely time – Katherine, my mother-in-law, did a lot of planning and arranging to make sure that the cooking/cleaning was evenly divided, that gift giving was primarily focused on the little ones and that there were little outings to break up the times that we were eating. The kids had a lovely time together and I really enjoyed a week where I ignored all my email and responsibilities for a week and rested and ate and slept pretty much to my hearts content. On the 6 hour drive home, Jeremy and I managed to put together a long, 2-column list of things to be done by the time we are back at work on Monday. So we are back slowly in the swing of things.
Backing up to before the holidays, Vince and Edda were in the annual Christmas pageant. I’m pretty sure this is the last year Vince is going to be in the performance. To say that he was not enthusiastic would be putting it mildly.
Edda was a chicken this year. Vince was a dog (which is really a role for a 5 year old, so one of the reasons he was a bit ornery was because his costume squished his noggin too much and gave him a headache). I have been searching high and low for a chicken hat as awesome as the one the church has, but so far, I have been unable to find one.
Went to Jeremy’s office holiday party at the Hotel Helix downtown last night. It was a hotel so hip, it had these awesome lamps all over the place:
How long did it take me to drive downtown last night? Oh maybe 1.75 hours. Mostly down Connecticut Avenue. I hate driving so much, but every once in a while I am presented with a driving challenge so great that I know I need to do it – you know, to keep my driving skills up to snuff. And frankly, everyone is travelling at 10 mph, no one is going to get hurt.
My two kids have very different attitudes about late-night partying.
Vince (life of the party):
Edda (what? a party? I’m taking a nap):
Vince, Jeremy and I (and the two doggies) did a moonlight, 4-mile monument hike last Saturday night. I had never seen all the monuments and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do them all in one fell swoop. Also – we would get to see the new MLK monument that just opened a few months ago. We went with the mid-Atlantic hiking club – so there were about 200 other people who showed up to the hike. I was a little worried that Vince would find it a little tiresome (and he did complain after the first monument that his feet hurt), but after a little while, he cheered up and did the rest of the walk without complaint. We had lots of discussions about the different wars (esp. the Korean War) and Maxi freaked out over the soldier sculptures and barked her head off at them.
This was the first cold, long walk we’ve done with Maxi and it was pretty clear that she was freezing her little butt off, she doesn’t have the warm undercoat that Ruby has. We need to get her a doggie sweater.
One of Edda’s teachers from Singapore just happened to be on a tour of the US this past Monday. The tour just happened to book at a hotel less than 5 miles from our house, so we had to run and pick her up and hang out with her for a few hours. She taught Edda when she was 2-3 years old – thanks Miss Audrey for coming over! I hope your cough is better.
Sometimes I get a little down because Edda does not have friends in the most traditional sense – friends to tell secrets to, friends to argue with, friends to trade clothes with, friends to get in trouble with. I don’t really think Edda thinks about it as much as I do, which I guess is OK. But Edda is always surrounded by people who love and care about her which always, always brings joy and happiness to my heart. Jen, her counselor at camp this summer, came by this weekend to spend some time with Edda. Here is a photo which is happiness all around and the feeling of the holiday season all wrapped up in one single moment 🙂
I try and count all my victories and successes in my life – no matter how small. I present my littlest victory this week – I got my mother’s gardenia to rebloom! Earlier this summer, she gave me this plant and within a month all the leaves started turning yellow and falling off and little white capsules infested all the leaves and stems. I was disheartened. I thought the plant was on it’s way the compost bin. I learned that gardenias are difficult indoor plants and that they are often thrown away after their initial blooms fade, but I persevered! I rescued it and now I have one beautiful bloom which fills the foyer with a wonderful smell. Now my goal it to try and keep it alive until spring when I can put it outside on the porch again. It will be tough, we don’t get enough light in the house – but I’ll keep my fingers crossed.