Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

For our family, Christmas season kicks off at Gingerbread Village, where we make graham cracker houses, sneak licks of frosting and sing Christmas carols at the top of our lungs. (OK, that last part is just me.)

My buddy Alice's gall bladder had to go and attack her a few days ago, so she was unable to join us this year. Total bummer. Please keep Alice in your thoughts and prayers, as she goes in for surgery tomorrow.

Garden girl Annie Calovich did join us, though, and so did Elleana, Hannah's BFF. Some photos from today's occasion.... First, the girls at work:

Jack, looking a little guilty after sneaking a taste...

We saw several people we knew, including Amy and her boys...

Noah might just be the cutest little baby I've ever seen.

Although his brother, Kyle, is pretty darn cute himself...

Our group with their houses (Jack always looks so excited)...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Just say no...

I keep forgetting that folks (a few, anyway... OK, mostly just my mom and dad) asked me to post links to my column, so they'd be sure not to miss it.

So here is this week's episode: The story of a girl, a boy, and a drunken mom.

Monday, November 17, 2008

You could mulch your leaves...

... but then you wouldn't have this kind of fun:

Or forget mulching, raking and bagging altogether, and just do this:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Again I say: Brilliant!

I realize that liking David Sedaris makes me just another average white girl. But I'm almost to the end of his newest book, "When You Are Engulfed In Flames," and I'm once again amazed at his writing and humor.

Perhaps it's because we're both North Carolinians, and I can totally believe that his third-grade class went on a field trip to a tobacco warehouse in Durham, where they watched cigarettes being rolled and took home free packs for their parents.

I highly recommend the book. Get it on audio if you can (I checked it out from our friendly Wichita public library). And just so you know: The language is not appropriate for little ears.

Mugs of mugs...

Wow. Never realized how much our coffee mugs say about us.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tag! (which is currently illegal at most elementary schools...)

The lovely Denise Neil, of Best Blog Ever, tagged me in the latest blog connection game making the rounds in Wichita and elsewhere. So here we go.

Here are the rules:

* Link to the person who tagged you.
* Post the rules on your blog.
* Write 6 random things about yourself.
* Tag 6-ish people at the end of your post.
* Let each person know he/she has been tagged.
* Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six random things about me:
  1. I am a first-generation American. My father is Cuban (born in Havana); my mother is German (born in East Prussia, now a part of Russia). Dad came to America in the 1950s, and after a brief stint laying tile in Miami, joined the Army. While stationed in Germany, he met my mom. They married and settled in -- where else? -- North Carolina. And no, I'm not multilingual. Although my father is quite fluent in four languages, the only one ever spoken in our home was English.
  2. I was an extra in "Bull Durham." (The scene where the Bulls play the Asheville Tourists. It's a night game.) I was attending N.C. State at the time, and my roomie and I answered a call for extras. We're just specks in the crowd, but because I wore a bright pink shirt that day, I can always spot myself.
  3. I was a high school cheerleader. In fact, my parents just sent me a lovely home movie (transfered to DVD) of my mullet-headed teenage self practicing a dance routine to Miami Sound Machine's "Conga" in our front yard.
  4. I had both my kids without drugs. (The labor and childbirth part, that is. In subsequent years, I've taken plenty.)
  5. I have a real talent for picking the exact Rubbermaid/Tupperware/Ziploc container that will be just the perfect size for the leftovers I'm looking to store. Which is really weird, because I was never good at physics.
  6. I love Easy Cheese.
And now, who to tag? I think it shall be...




L. Kelly


and that adorable Wilson family.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Save the date...

One of my all-time favorite local events is coming up next weekend: Gingerbread Village, a fund-raiser for the Assistance League of Wichita.

This year, I'm serving as emcee for the "gala" preview party event Thursday night, which is weird, because "gala" is not the sort of word very often associated with me.

Anyway, I highly recommend taking your kidlets to the make-your-own graham cracker house workshop: 2 to 8 p.m. Nov. 21; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 22; and 12:30 to 5 p.m. Nov. 23. It's at the Church of the Magdalen, 12626 East 21st St. North. I'll be there with my kiddos Saturday afternoon, as soon as we can escape "Nutcracker" rehearsals.

As per our annual tradition, our friend Alice is planning to go along. She will no doubt create some sort of architectural wonder, along the lines of this from a few years ago. Note the perfectly symmetrical Smartie windows and the puffs of cotton-candy smoke wafting from the Spoon-Size Shredded Wheat chimney. Amazing.

And here's a look at Jack's house from 2006. He, obviously, is more free-form. Not a big fan of symmetry. But it doesn't matter much, because his house is usually half-digested by the time we get home.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Modern classics...

I love lists. And I love kid movies. So a list of kid movies makes me extra happy.

Time to Play just this very day released a list they're calling "The New Classics": the top 50 kid movies over the past 25 years. Says the Time to Play editorial team: "For the generation born after 1980 -- and the first group of youngsters to enjoy watching their favorite films over an over with the introduction of home video -- these are some of the most memorable and magical films of their childhood."

A team of 12 movie buffs spanning four generations reviewed hundreds of movies that have debuted since 1983. Criteria included a theatrical release, story, quality of the film, entertainment value, whether the movie stands up to repeated viewing over time, and whether kids still love it today.

Though it's hard to pick a favorite from this bunch, I think I'd have to go with No. 19. No, wait... No. 6. No, maybe No. 18. ("I just like smiling. Smiling's my favorite.") Oh well, here's the Top 20:

1. Finding Nemo
2. The Lion King
3. Shrek
4. The Little Mermaid
5. Home Alone
6. Toy Story
7. Back to the Future
8. Aladdin
9. Beauty and the Beast
10. The Princess Bride
11. Ghostbusters
12. Big
13. The Sandlot
14. The Incredibles
15. Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone
16. Babe
17. Honey I Shrunk the Kids
18. Elf
19. Monsters, Inc.
20. The Muppets Take Manhattan

This is me. Seriously.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gal pals

When I look at this photo of Tara and me, taken during October's book club meeting at the Arb, I think two things:

1. I like Tara. She's a good friend.

2. I should really wear lipstick.

Great timing...

Starting (or should I say re-starting) a blog seems a little ridiculous, since blogs are dead and all. But here's the deal:

I loved my old blog. (Any of you out there remember "More to Life"? Saaaaaaa-lute!!) My parents loved my blog. My brothers did, too. I liked that it offered a way to share bits of news -- not to mention photos -- with friends and family. Then a mean, evil troll had to go and ruin everything with random crazy threats about knowing the layout of my house and whatnot. Weirdo.

I joined Facebook and started Twittering. And while I enjoy that sort of thing, it leaves me oddly unsatisfied.

So I'm embracing the blog once again. {{{raising wine glass}}} Here's to being retro.

A good day for cookies...

The kids are off (another ridiculous inservice day, to be followed by Veterans Day, to be followed in just a couple weeks by Thanksgiving break). I'm off, too, in exchange for working last night. It's gray and gloomy.

"Let's bake cookies!" Hannah said this morning.

Absolutely, my girl. Let's bake cookies.

Let's eat some dough before it ever gets to the oven. Let's peek through the window as they bake. Let's wait impatiently as they cool, then decorate them with neon frosting and insane amounts of sprinkles. Let's use way too many spoons, knives and plates, load up the dishwasher and let it do the dirty work.

Let's bake cookies. It's a good day for cookies.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

And here we are...

Blogging again. We'll see how this goes.

I'd like to thank Bobby Rozzell at Douglas & Main for the awesome title suggestion. It's fitting, because for years now I've been saying that the sure sign of successful parenting is kids who can afford their own therapy. So now, when Hannah and Jack make an appointment to see their respective therapists, they can just take along a link to the archives of this blog. How convenient.

Let's try a quick photo, of the kidlets on Halloween. Hannah was a cowgirl, and Jack was The Thing.