Monday, December 31, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Knit a long

OK, so I promised a knit-a-long in the New Year, and a knit-a-long you shall have! But I need some guidance. So here is a short poll. If you pick other, please indicate what the "other" is in the comments. I've set it up so you can vote more than once if you would be interested in more than one project, but please don't vote 17 times for one project (I know y'all, you wouldn't do that, right???).



Once the general project type is picked, I will find us a very cool pattern. I promise!

PS: Feel free to tell others to come vote. I'm probably going to set up a separate group blog, unless everyone is on Ravelry, which I doubt.

New Years Menu

Veggies and dip from Costco to tide folks over until those lovely friends bearing appetizers arrive

Other assorted impulse purchases goodies from Costco

Honey Baked Ham with rolls and cheese for sandwiches (Should I warm up the ham or serve it cold? The website said to serve it cold, but I have always thought ham was served warm...opinions???)

Baked beans in the crockpot

Baked ziti

Rebecca's Orzo and Bruchetta Salad (One box orzo, cooked. Two containers bruchetta, two containers mozzarella balls. Voila. Yummy salad!)

60 juice boxes

24 bottles of seltzer/fun sparkling waters

A couple bottles of soda, as no one touched it last year except for caffeine-addict friend.

60 bottles of water (do you think this is enough? I thought so, figuring that a lot of people will drink the seltzer as my friends guzzle seltzer, and then I remembered that the kids will have access to the cooler it will be in, and we all know how kids open up a bottle of water and then abandon it two sips later in some undisclosed location and want another...)

Some yet to be determined amount of beer and wine. Last year we ran out of beer, which was a bad thing from a hosting standpoint but a good thing from a breaking up the party before my kids totally lost it standpoint...

Whatever nut- and peanut-free desserts other lovely friends arrive with.

It is nice to have lovely friends :-).

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Underestimation

It appears that I underestimated how many people would already have plans for New Years Eve. We are currently at 30 adults, 32 children and counting. I'm not quite sure how they are all going to fit. And the logistics of how much wine, beer, seltzer, juice and food to buy are overwhelming me. I have stopped obsessing over the music because with that many people, no one will hear anything except perhaps the screams of "It's MINE!!!!" from the basement.

I actually think it will be fun as it has turned out to be a really, really nice group of kids and adults. Bu next year we are totally catering this thing.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Outta Here

We head north tomorrow to make a whirlwind tour of the J side of the family. May you have a very Merry Christmas if you celebrate. I'll be back around next week, just in time for the big New Years Bash Chez J-E. Bets are now being taken on how long it will take 27 (and counting) children ages 7 and under to take out every toy in my house...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Overheard on the couch

M: (while trying to get the new OLPC up and running) "See! It's just like Microsoft! Something doesn't work, reboot!"

And then "If this were Apple I would have just typed 'Get Flash.' "

So far we're having some set up issues with the OLPC. I am fairly convinced that if we put C in front of the thing he can fix most of it except the Flash issue. And at the end of this experience he will be able to out compute us, big time.

More updates tomorrow...

Overheard over Breakfast

C: "I promised Daddy that I would try to be good for a whole week, and he said if I did he would get me some electric train catalogues!"

A: "And if I am good for a whole week I can have a unicorn!"

Chichimama: "Hmm. I'm not quite sure what to say..."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Years Tunes

OK, so I'm trying to pick a music theme for our "used to be small and is now outgrowing our house" New Years Eve party. I'm thinking 90's one hit wonders. And not just because I can buy the ITunes Essentials list off of ITunes. I mean, who doesn't want to listen to Hansen on New Years? Or do y'all think I should go classy and actually play some "cocktail" music?

Thoughts? Ideas? Input? If you were a 30/40 something with kids at a New Years party guaranteed to break up by 9pm, what would you want to listen to???

A question for the Mac users out there

What word processing program do you use, and do you like/dislike it? I am about to embark on a writing project of some substance, and the free program I am currently using is not working so well for me.

People either seem to love or hate IWork, and love or hate Microsoft. And I can't for the life of me figure out if one is better than the other, or if they both suck.

Holiday Tunes: The List

So here is my compiles list so far. It's pretty much all upbeat songs, I've been in the mood for pep this year. Perhaps next year I'll move on to more mellow fare...

Wonderful Christmastime
The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)
Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
A Most Excellent Party Christmas
Pop Christmas Medley
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Mary's Boy Child
(It Must've Been Ol') Santa Claus
Sleigh Ride
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Blue Christmas
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
All I Want for Christmas Is You
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
Here Comes Santa Claus (Single)
White Christmas
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

Monday, December 17, 2007

Wanna know how the rest of my day is going???

The kids had their first lunchables ever. I had drive thru Burger King at 2:30 (and no, I didn't order the salad). Right now the kids are watching TV while I frantically try to wash and dry their swim clothes that I found in the bag from last week. Ewww.

My dinner is going to consist of appetizers and cookies. Although I still need to figure out a cookie solution for the swap in T-minus four hours. I have a feeling the the burned biscotti from yesterday will be it, and I'll just pretend that they aren't mine. Or else I'll throw myself on the mercy of Organized Friend who I KNOW just baked 12 dozen lovely cookies yesterday morning.

On the upside, I finished my brother-in-law's hat late last night.

Now I just have to figure out when I can wrap it and get to the post office.


God I just love the holidays.

Cookies are not my thing



There is a reason I do not bake, and I should not be a kindergarten teacher... These are my cookies. Rolled and cut out in class with the children, and baked at home by me.

These are Mrs. S's cookies.



She will never, ever ask me back into the class.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Nothing like first instincts

We had a bit of a reorganization here at Chez JE this weekend. And even though I brought it upon myself, I was the one who at the end of the day was so freaked out by all the changes that I needed a glass of wine and a nice hot shower in my unchanged bathroom to keep myself from delving into a full-fledged panic attack. C was similarly afflicted, requiring a restorative stay in his room, while M and A jumped around the house in glee exclaiming "Look! How great! I love it!"

Now, because you are all going to clamor for such things, I present to you the pictures. With the caveat that once my sewing machine arrives from Santa there will be real window treatments and such...

Eating area before

Eating area after
It feels, well, empty. But it DOES make accessing the pantry easier. And if we ever get around to the kitchen redo, the eating area was going to be toast anyway. But seriously, since the renovation is several years out, do you think the empty space is going to look odd?

"Train room" before
"Train room" after
When I first saw the house, I saw this room and Rebecca and I both went, "Hmmm. What do you DO with that room?" We quickly decided upon eating area, but the real estate showing the house insisted sitting area. And so it became ingrained in everyone's mind that it should be a a sitting area. But there was no real way to configure the room as a sitting area. Clearly this table is too small for the space, especially since we are down to two chairs thanks to "you get what you pay for" construction. What do you think, if there were a larger pedestal table in there, with a small buffet against the wall to the right of the fireplace?

Family room before

Family room after

Not sure how I feel about this one. Clearly that wall is calling out for SOMETHING. We've moved the quilt up to the guest room for now as the kids kept pulling it off the wall, and it really didn't go in the room. I think the long term plan for in here is a sectional with this furniture moving down into the basement for the kids, as it has been basically trashed by them already.

Living room before


Living room after

This one I think came out well. M is less convinced, primarily because he can't figure out where the Christmas tree is supposed to go and refuses to consider placing the tree in the family room. I say you can't build a room around a Christmas tree that is in the house for two weeks a year, but clearly the Christmas tree placement is not quite the concern for me as it is for M...

So what do you think? We are not at all wedded to any of this, and are seeking input....

Friday, December 14, 2007

Don't ya wish you knew???

Wikipeda should totally cite who actually wrote the article on any particular subject. While surfing to fill in info that IMDB couldn't, I decided to see what Wikipedia had to say about my high school. And based on the random alum mentioned under "Notable Alums," and the fact that I KNOW this alum, and his claim to fame is not particularly worthy of mention under "Notable Alums," I am somewhat suspect as to the authorship of this particular entry.

I'm tempted to add myself to the list of notable alums. "Chichimama, fabulous mother and wife. Queen of the Laundry Room." Do you think that would be too obvious???

Tis the season for sitting on my you know what

Y'all might have noticed that there hasn't been a menu for a while. Ahem, about that. Well, there hasn't been a menu because there hasn't really been much cooking going on around here. By the time dinner rolls around it is dark, and I am tired, and the effort to make dinner just got to be too much. Not that we are doing take out or any such thing, but we have basically been living off of my stash of freezer meals. Which is not really a bad thing, I suppose, as isn't that why there are there? But still, I sort of feel like I should make the effort to actually cook something at least once a week.

But, yet, I keep pulling from the freezer. And then I realized a few days ago that my stash was getting pretty low. Low to the point that we are about to eat the smothered eggplant that I wasn't so sure was worth the effort when I made it this summer, but still froze because who knew, we might get snowed in for a week this winter (It could happen....).

So for the last few days I have been trying to throw meals together in the afternoon, before I collapse onto the couch and watch Clifford the Big Red Dog. Then I had the inspired idea that I should make one meal for dinner and one for the freezer. I know, I know, I'm not a rocket scientist. This method has been touted by folks far and wide. But we've established that I am slow on the uptake.

To aid in my efforts, I decided to order some foil take out pans and lids from a restaurant supply company so I didn't have to use up my limited stash of Pyrex. Not the most environmentally friendly option, I know. But I could buy 500 take out pans for the cost one one Pyrex, and I couldn't really argue with the numbers there. And hey, at least foil is recyclable.

Do you KNOW how much space 500 take out pans and lids requires? I didn't quite think about the logistics of having to store that many pans. Or the draw that that many glittery foil objects might have for my kids. "Can we have JUST one more? You have so MANY!" I have a feeling that the garage is the best place to stash the big box-o-foil pans, but that means having to clear out a shelf (or two or three) out there to keep them on. Which requires a trip to the hazardous waste disposal place to get rid of all the old paint and lawn chemicals. And probably a trip to Goodwill and the used bookstore, and several trips around town to return all of the random crap that I have been "storing" for other people.

Somehow, I think I would have been better off just cooking dinner.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's the little things

After I picked the kids up at school today, we swung by church to deliver some presents for the angel tree. We saw the rector from afar, and I waved as he was conversing with someone else. We kept heading towards the angel tree, and the kids kept chattering about their day. At some point once we reached the tree, the rector caught up with us and I didn't quite notice as I was busy depositing the presents and keeping A from knocking over the water cooler.

I heard C say "Hi!" The rector responded with "Hello Father XYZ, how are you?" to which C blinked and dutifully repeated him. I blinked as well, and then, unclear how I was supposed to respond at that point, escorted the kids out of the building.

The whole interaction basically ruined my day. At first I was terribly embarrassed because clearly I had failed as a parent since the rector felt it necessary to parent my children in front of me. Then I got rather upset because really, my children are polite and interested in other people. They are three and five. The fact the C even had an interest in saying hello in a friendly tone of voice to a figure of authority is more than I can say for most of the children I interact with in the church.

By the end of the day I was ready to take our pledge card back from the stewardship office and rip it up. I have gone out of my way to instruct my children in the religion in which I was not raised. I have gone out of my way to volunteer, befriend members of the church who need befriending, and do the best I can to be an active and involved parishioner. I have done the best I can in raising my children, and yes, in an ideal world, they should have addressed the rector with " Hello Father XYZ, how are you today?" But I can't come up with a scenario in my mind in which I would have responded to a child's friendly hello in such a manner.

This is not a child-friendly, or even a family-friendly, church. It is a critical and insular church, which resists change and deters newcomers. And I really have no interest in continuing to participate. So the rector who has been nothing but unresponsive, condescending and insincere to my family can look for another family to drive out of this church. I'll fulfill my pledge and other commitments for the upcoming year, but after that I'm done.

It's the little things that keep a family in a church. And the little things that drive them out.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Overheard in the kitchen

The phone rings in the middle of dinner...

M: "It has to be one of your many relatives."

Chichimama: "Actually, it's an out of area call. Probably the Republicans looking for you. Can I tell them you're voting for Hillary?"

M: "No!!!! I'll be blackballed for life!"

Chichimama: "Ohhh, now there's a thought."

Answering Machine: "Hi, this is Hillary! We have reached a critical point in our campaign...."

Chichimama: "It's fate. Clearly some higher being is telling you how you should vote."

M: "I'm melting! MELTING I tell you!!!!"

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Overheard in the livingroom

M: "You haven't posted today!"

Chichimama: "I know! But I don't HAVE to, it's December!"

M: "The whole point is to keep the momentum going!"

Chichimama: "It is Sunday. I deserve a day of rest."

M: "Who are you, God?"

Chichimama: "I'm your God, anyway."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Cheaters

For the past month I have been glued to my back window twice a week. Thursday and Saturday, the days that the next door and diagonally behind neighbors' landscapers come to do the leaves. On Thursday, the landscapers of the diagonally behind neighbors blow all the leaves into the backyard of the next door neighbor's instead of collecting and disposing of them. Then on Saturday, the next door neighbor's landscapers blow THE EXACT SAME LEAVES, plus whatever fell during the last few days, back into the diagonally behind neighbor's lawn. For some reason, this amuses me to no end.

I figured it is a big old game of chicken, and at some point in the near future, someone is going to get stuck having to collect and dispose an entire season's worth of leaves from two lawns in one day. My money is on the next door neighbor's landscapers....

Friday, December 07, 2007

Overheard by the computer

M: (after setting a pan on fire and singeing the kitchen ceiling and cabinets) "Well, there's your blog fodder for the day..."

Chichimama: "No, I'll let you blog it. It was your 'accident.' "

M: "Naw, I'm a professional blogger now*. I don't have time for THAT kind of blogging anymore."

Chichimama: "Well, lah-di-dah! Too bad you aren't a professional chef..."

*I can't link to his "professional" blog as it is his real name. But if you are really interested and I "know" you (FYI, it's rather dry unless you are, you know, a finance person) email me.

Overheard in the bedroom

A pads in at some early hour and crawls into bed.

A: "Mommy?"

Chichimama: "Ungh?"

A: "Do you remember the time C wasn't behaving and you yelled at him?"

Chichimama: "Ungh."

A: "You weren't yelling at me..."

Chichimama: (rousing herself enough to respond appropriately) "Ungh. Sometimes you don't behave either."

A: "Yeah, I get mixed up sometimes. But that's OK, I'm still little and cute."

Chichimama: "Ungh."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Good news!!!!

C: "Great news Mom! It is so exciting!!!!"

Chichimama: "Really???? What!?!"

C: "The school nurse is coming tomorrow to check us for lice! Isn't that great?!"

Chichimama: "Fab. Just what I need, lice AND fleas. Now I'm twice as itchy."

All I ever wanted for the holidays...

Fleas. On the upside, the mysterious bumps all over my legs that Dr. Google had me convinced was some horrific auto-immune disease are suddenly much less concerning.

Sometimes I'm not really sure that pet ownership is worth all the headaches.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Holiday Card Fiasco

I have had my cards since mid-October. But yet, I still have no picture. And yet again, my cards will end up going out on December 23rd. Gah. On the upside, the outtakes are hysterical. If only they didn't feature my children, I would post them to amuse you all.

So much for planning ahead.

Little Voices

A and I are sitting at Starbucks having a lovely juice/coffee and pumpkin loaf. It is snowing outside. There is holiday music playing. I have no pressing anything hanging over my head. At the table next to us, two women are having a pow-wow about how to best proceed with a school fundraiser. They are clearly headed down the wrong path. I contemplate saying something, and then take another bit of the pumpkin loaf. Yumm, pumpkin loaf.

They continue to bicker over what is clearly a bad idea. I sip my coffee. Not my problem. Not going to get involved. Not even my kid's school. Yumm, coffee. OK, these woman are going to serious regret what they are about to do. I did that, last year. It so didn't work. It was a flipping nightmare, in fact. It is my moral duty to step in and say something. I cannot let another human being suffer the way I did last year.

I turn to say something, and then I hear a voice inside my head, that sounds remarkably like Lovely Friend's. "DON'T YOU DARE GET INVOLVED. YOU ARE CERTIFIABLE IF YOU GET INVOLVED." And so I walk out the door, sipping my coffee.

But I still feel guilty.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Perhaps there is a shot after all

At dinner tonight...

C's friend: "Raise your hand if you celebrate Christmas!" C's hand goes up.

C's friend: "Raise your hand if you celebrate Hanukkah!" C' s hand goes up again.

Chichimama: "Um, C? You're Episcopalian."

C: "But we celebrate it every year at Julia's house and just because she is in London, I'm not going to to forget that I celebrate Hanukkah with her. And Passover. I love celebrating with Julia. I love her holidays because I love her."

Chichimama wipes away a tear and then calculates that Rebecca is probably fast asleep and we can't start planning the wedding right that very instant...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Assming the worst

When I got home from dropping off C at school this morning, there was a message on my answering machine from the chair of a committee I am on. "Could you give me a call back when you get a chance? I need to discuss something with you." So, of course, my brain goes into overdrive, trying to figure out what she needed to discuss.

Did I say something inadvertent to offend her? Did I do something wrong? Am I being released from the committee (Hmm, that might not be so bad, really...). Every time my phone rang, I nervously jumped for it, wondering if it was her and mentally steeling myself for the worst.

Turns out, SHE had receieved an email from HER "boss" who was less than thrilled with something she had done, and she wanted my advice on how to handle it, because I am apparently "so good at these political things." Really??? You could have fooled me...

When am I going to stop assuming the worst? And more importantly, how do I keep my kids from inheriting this trait, or is it too late???

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Holiday Tunes

So I am building the ultimate holiday tune list. What are your favorites? Currently I'm blaring "All I Want for Christmas is You" but I can't decide whose version I like the best. This particular version isn't it though. Once I get the list built, I'll share it with you.

Ah, now up is Paul McCarthy, "Wonderful Christmastime." Life is good...

The life and times of a Dumb Cat

5am: Meow! I'm hungry! Meow! Meow! Hee, hee, hee. I got her out of bed even though there is food in my bowl.

5:30am: Meow! Meow! Hee, hee, hee, I got her out of bed again. Why did I get her out of bed? Hmm. I think I will lie down right here and take a snooze while I think it over.

6:10am: I remember! Meow! Meow! Let me out! Meow! Meow!

6:11am: What IS that outside! OMG! It is cold and white! Meow! Meow! Let me IN!

6:12am: Clearly the front door is not the way out today. I will get her to let me out the back door.

6:13am: OMG! The white cold stuff is out there too! Meow! Meow! Let me IN!

6:14am: What about the side door? NO! The garage door? NO! Meow!!! Meow!!!!

6:15am: Where IS that litter box? Ewww. She needs to clean it. Now. Meow!!! Meow!!!!

6:17am: Hmm. I wonder if the white stuff is gone from the front. NOOOO! Meow! Meow!!!!

6:20am: I guess I am just going to take another nap. But what does she think she is doing??? The lights are on now, and she isn't headed back to bed. But I wanted to nap! And it is bright and loud and OMG the kids are up!!!!

6:21am: Ahh, under the bed. Nice and quiet and warm. I never should have gotten up this morning.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ow

My feet hurt. I have been on my feet since 6 am this morning, and it is 11:55pm. I am now going to bed. Santa has been dispatched off to the North Pole; I have been officially excused from church tomorrow morning, and I am heading to bed. Ah, bed, how I love you so.

Coming next week, a return to the usual dribble at life at Chez J-E. Because I seem to be (almost) commitment free until March 1st. And tomorrow, you may even get pictures of the house decorated for Christmas. Or not. Depending on how my feet are doing.

Ow.