Well Lit

Posted on 12/31/2012 05:30:00 AM In:
Christmas Eve lights at the Washington, D.C. LDS Temple


Special bonus photo.  I took this one with my phone a few weeks ago when I was here with the kids from church for an event and I never found a place to post it.  

The D.C. area doesn't often get great sunsets, but when they do, they are spectacular.



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Bird Portrait

Posted on 12/30/2012 06:05:00 AM
How much do I love that big box-o-camera-lenses The KingofHearts gave me for Christmas?


So much.



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Paper Snowflake

Posted on 12/29/2012 05:30:00 PM

There are a multitude of these in our house right now.  Part of me loves them and part of me can't wait until The Children go back to school so I can throw them away.  That part is probably the head part of me that bumps into it every time I walk around the sofa.

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Homemade Garland

Posted on 12/29/2012 04:00:00 PM
In the days leading up to Christmas, The Shortlings turned into tightly wound, vibrating balls of greed and I was looking for something to help them focus their energies on anything other than adding more items to their Christmas lists.  We still had a package of cranberries in the house left over from Thanksgiving that I had always intended to do something about.  So I popped up a batch of microwave popcorn to go with it and handed them each a needle and thread.  What could go wrong, right?




It's pretty enough that I almost don't mind having to finish both of their strands for them.

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Christmas in the District

Posted on 12/29/2012 05:38:00 AM In:
Christmas day in our house is always celebrated with an outing for Chinese food.  Sure, it's partly an homage to The Christmas Story, but we've been doing it as long as The KingofHearts and I have been together and it's grown into a tradition with meaning of our very own.

Mostly the meaning is this: neither one of us has to cook or clean dishes. 

And that's good enough for the both of us.

This year we chose a restaurant in Chinatown for our Christmas day fare and headed there for a late lunch.  After filling our bellies with Kung Po Chicken and sushi (yes, I'm aware sushi is Japanese, shut up, I know) we stopped over at the National Christmas Tree for a quick look-see.

There are so many things I could comment on in the following photo.  For the moment, I will ignore the fact that we let that kid wear bare legs, slipper shoes and a tutu to go out into thirty-nine degree December weather.  Instead I'll point out that this year's coat we bought her seems to have been designed for an orangutan as the sleeves are six inches longer than her actual arms.  But then a little later on in the day there was a medical emergency and a woman collapsed.  The D.C. Police parted the crowd to allow medical attention to attend to her just after The Dormouse and I walked by and it became a little chaotic.  We got separated on one side of the barricade they erected from out of nowhere and The KoH, The Caterpillar and my mother were on the other.  We were closer to the car, so they had to brave the crowds of unnecessarily pissed-off people and go around the edge of the park to get back to us on the other side.  I'm pretty sure that method of sleeve-holding is the only thing that kept The Caterpillar from disappearing into the array. So hooray for cheap coats that do not conform to children's proportions.



I've never been stingy with my opinion that the National Christmas Tree is a hot mess. Sure, it's better looking at night, but still, even then it looks like a tree that was captured in one of Spiderman's webs.  A portion of my brain always feels sorry for the tree because it used to be proud and tall and leafy but now it looks like it's just a humiliated shrub.


A couple of years ago the National Christmas tree blew down in a storm that almost picked our house up and sent it to Oz.  So now we have a Successor Tree.  It's much shorter. 



Surrounding the National Christmas tree are fifty-six smaller trees along what they call The Pathway of Peace, which, is a misnomer - at least if you're trying to walk by while a hundred other visitors stop and take pictures in front of their tree.  There is a tree for every state, five territories, and the District of Columbia.  Each year, ornaments for the state trees are made by a sponsoring organization in the state (usually a school, charity, or children's group) and then the ornaments are encased in a plastic globe to protect them from the weather and hung on that state's tree.


Most of them are just different hand made ornaments that are stuck inside the grapefruit-sized plastic globes and it's usually hard to see what the ornament is supposed to be.  My favorite this year was Florida's, which embraced the plastic globe encasement and took it to a whole new level.



It's all a White House tradition since 1923 and there is a nod to pretty much all the December holidays in the elipse.  There's usually a menorah, a nativity display, a kinara, a Santa's workshop, and a yule log, which is always my favorite thing to do - stand around it and stare at the flames, then leave smelling of smoke.  

But alas, there was no yule log this year.  All for the love of having the White House as a backdrop to the musical performances, they rearranged the site plan and the locations in the park this year and there was no room for the yule log. I haz a sad.



Let us all cry a silent tear for the missing yule log.

...

So that's our Christmas day.  Except for the one true Christmas miracle that happened. A picture with all four of us in it.




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Faces of Christmas

Posted on 12/28/2012 07:34:00 AM
I've come to understand that about ninety percent of the faces my children make in photographs are put on for the camera's sake and little other reason -- and no where was this more obvious than in my recent set of Christmas day photographs. 

Please to observe:

I call this one The "Oversold Elation"

The "Exaggerated Bewilderment"

The "I Already Got a Mouthful of Candy Can't Be Bothered to Pose for You Now"

The "Clasping Hands in Quiet Devotion"

The "Unbridled Excitation"

The "Cannot Contain My Love for This Item"

The "Shock and Awe"

The "I Can't Believe My Sister is So Thoughtful"

The "Dual Delight"

The "Quiet Reflection of Joy"
(alternate title if you know what she's holding:
The "Momma's Gonna Regret this Later")

And now here's a word to the wise for those considering getting those kinds of presents where it's not really a corporeal thing, but rather an activity for them to do later.  The Dormouse has wanted to take skating lessons for a long time.  Then after her misguided attempt at Rockefeller Center when we thought that would put her off skating forever and then she still wanted to take skating lessons, we decided that would make a good Christmas present.  But when you get a kid a gift where there's not really a Thing In A Box (using every ounce of self-control to not link to this video - oh... wait... woops), you have to be creative about giving them some tangible thing to open.  And then you have to be patient while they figure it out.

The "I Don't Really Get this Conceptual Present So I'm Not Quite Sure How to React Yet"

The "Dawnlight Breaks on Marblehead"
The "Ooooh.... NOW I Get It"

The Caterpillar has shown quite a unique ability for dance and movement lately and we've been saying we should put her in dance lessons for ages now.  Recently, she came to me despondent, saying "I'm never gonna be in a dance class, am I?" So dance lessons was her big present this year.  But that one was a bit harder to get her to understand.

The "Oh I Get It, You Got Me a Dress"

The "Stare Patiently While Daddy Says No and Tries Once More To Explain"

And then....

"Enthusiastic Gratitude"
And...

"Unconstrained Passion"

It might have been a slow burn, but it was totally worth it.

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Boundless Joy

Posted on 12/28/2012 05:51:00 AM
I think it might be time to admit that she's too old for the rides in the mall.



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Christmas Eve Bokeh

Posted on 12/27/2012 11:30:00 PM



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All Work and No Play Makes The Caterpillar a Dull Girl

Posted on 12/26/2012 07:17:00 PM
...or something like that.



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I Like it Because it Reminds Me of Crêpes

Posted on 12/24/2012 11:00:00 PM
We attended a crèche exhibit at the LDS Temple on Christmas Eve. When I was a kid we just called these "manger scenes" or "nativity sets," but when it's high art, I guess only a word with an accent will suffice.  There were amazing displays from all over the world, but this was my favorite.



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Holiday Bokeh

Posted on 12/24/2012 07:44:00 AM


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It's a Festivus Miracle

Posted on 12/23/2012 06:00:00 AM
I think it might be about time for me to admit that I'm not good at Christmas.  I'd like to think otherwise, and I try, for The Shortlings' sake, I really do, but I'm just not feelin' it this year.  So then I was thinking back to last year when I just wasn't feelin' it then, either.  Last year, I blamed it on my extremely crappy year and the crappy year before that, but 2012 hasn't been entirely unkind to me.  I'm not sure I can get away with that excuse anymore.  So, instead, I go through the motions and try very hard to feel something, or at least pretend that I do. 

There's got to be another way.

A few days ago a box arrived for me in the mail. 

I opened it up and this was inside:


Actually not just this, there was also a book about Festivus and a stack of postcards that say, "A donation has been made in your name to the Human Fund."  You might say it was a veritable Festivus In A Box kit... actually you should say that because that's what it was.

I didn't see a note or a name I recognized anywhere on the package so I naturally assumed Monica (almost always the sender of unmarked things I receive in the mail) had sent it to me and I proudly displayed my pole on my computer desk without another thought.  It wasn't until a few days later when I mentioned something to her about it and she was all, "Wait. What? I didn't send you a Festivus pole.  Though if I'd thought of it, I would have."

Thus began the Festivus Mystery of 2012.

I started hinting around to people I thought might be likely, but no one fessed up.  

I posted a picture on the FacePlace and no one claimed responsibility.

I asked a my husband whom he thought had sent it and he had helpful, yet equally ridiculous suggestions:

"That person? Ha ha, that's funny.  He doesn't talk to me."

"Her?  I'm not even sure she's ever seen an episode of Seinfeld."

Finally, I just resigned myself to the fact that it was Another Festivus Miracle and I wasn't ever gonna know.  Then I would go around the world and my life thinking any one person I met could be THE person and I would have to treat them all differently, perhaps being... gasp... nice... to everyone. 

Fortunately, the next day I was delivered from my cruciation by a facebook message that came out of the blue from a cousin who lives two thousand miles away, whom I rarely see:

I was debating between sending you a leg lamp or a Festivus pole instead of a card this year, and the Festivus In A Box won out. I hope you're displaying it proudly. 

So thanks for the distraction, cuz.  You're one person I don't have a problem with this year.  If you were here, I'd allow you to perform the feats of strength.

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Christmas 2012

Posted on 12/22/2012 01:00:00 AM In:

Well, if you're reading this, that means the Mayan Calendar was not correct and the world probably did not end anytime on December 21, 2012 when a 12th planet in our solar system, called Nibiru which orbits the sun every 3,600 years, rammed into the Earth to destroy it. It's actually pretty disappointing because I was counting on not having to live past the end of December this year and now I gotta go get some Christmas presents.

For some reason, we got it together this year and I'm pleased to say that our Christmas cards were not only mailed before Christmas, but well before Christmas.  I know this might be on the verge of boastfulness and there's supposed to be something wrong with that, but it might be the only thing I do right this holiday season, so let me revel in my accomplishments (and the fact that I found a 50% off coupon so the ridiculous amount of cards I print didn't break us). 




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Passed Out Under the Christmas Tree

Posted on 12/20/2012 05:26:00 PM


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The Single Greatest Attraction in NYC

Posted on 12/17/2012 06:51:00 AM In:
*according to a nine-year-old

When I took The Dormouse to New York for her birthday a couple of years ago,we did it all:  Dylan's Candy Shop, Serendipity, Central Park Zoo, Central Park Alice in Wonderland Statue, Fountains, Times Square, M&M Store, Hershey's Store, Toys R Us Store, Disney Store, stayed overnight in the Planetarium, Broadway play... everything a kid could possibly want to do.

So when I asked her what memorable things from her first trip we should all do together this month as we went back, she didn't even have to think before the following sentence came rolling out her mouth, "Iwannagobacktothatrockandclimbupitandtakeapicture."

The hell?

"What?"

"You know.  That rock."

"What rock?"

"It was a big rock and I climbed it and you took a picture of me."

"All that stuff we did in the City on that trip and the most memorable thing for you is a rock?"

"It was a really cool rock."

This went on for awhile until I just threw up my hands and decided I wasn't going to figure it out.

We were not in Central Park for ten minutes before she recognized the rock.




Note to self: Next time avoid all the driving, hotel, parking and money spent and instead just head to the local quarry to make her happy.

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Clean Cup, Move Down

Posted on 12/16/2012 07:00:00 PM In:
When we drove into Manhattan early in the morning, our first order of business was finding a) parking and b) some place to eat breakfast.  As we were driving around hoping to score some sweet, sweet free street parking, The KoH said to me, "So where are we going to eat breakfast?"

Just then I looked up and saw this place and yelled "There! We're eating breakfast there!"

And then when they told us it would be an hour wait for a table, I declared our breakfast would now be brunch. 

I love Alice's Tea Cup, and not just because that's one of the first places I ever visited when I went to Manhattan for the first time, but also because I think The Shortlings loved it as much as I do. They have amazing scones and about a million selections of herbal teas, which makes me incredibly happy.

They also had fairy dust, which made the girls incredibly happy.

Different strokes for different folks.

They let the kids borrow fairy wings to wear because their parents were too cheap to pony up the dough to purchase them very overpriced shop wings.









The Instagrammed version of the morning:






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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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