Thursday, December 24, 2009

5:00 Fridays

I love egg nog. This statement will not be a non sequitor in a moment.

Read on.

Merry Christmas!
Feliz Navidad!

Joyeux Noel!

Froliche Weinachten!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

We shared a lovely Christmas Eve by the outdoor fireplace with dear friends (who luckily enough, happen to be our neighbors). The children frolicked in noisy abandon as only children can. We stuffed our jelly bellies full of smoked salmon, fennel salad, steamed shrimp, crostini, apple/cranberry pie, and chocolate truffles. There was much merriment to be had, and Christmas spirit(s) flowed.

We all remarked how stress-free and footloose and fancy free our celebration was. As the kids get older the hovering gets easier. Bird and Deal know to stay in the yard, they can claw their way through tussles, and there are enough dart guns, remote control cars, and stuffed animals to go around. Lark was an exhausted little champ who happily retired to his crate to escape the onset of Kid-dom ruling.

After our friends went their merry ways we perched the boys at the kitchen table with a plate of smoked salmon and set to cleaning up. They then showered (must be clean for Santa!) and donned their matching plaid Christmas jammies. So cute it would melt the Snow Miser's frigid heart. We settled in under blankets to watch the old Rankin Bass Twas the Night Before Christmas and romped in the yard to sprinkle glitter and oat reindeer food.

Now that the boys are tucked in bed and sleeping (not even pretending!), Mac Daddy and I opened a beribboned gift from a neighbor. Lo and behold, my most favorite of Christmas spirits was there!

And so it is with an iced crystal tumbler full of this I toast you this Christmas. Merry Christmas to my delightful readers. I hope your season is so bright so you gotta wear shades. I know you're all so Hollywood like that.

Evan Williams Holiday Egg Nog

Da Bomb.

First of all, let it be known that I love me some egg nog. Our family friend Ty makes some killer homemade stuff that I cannot replicate to save my life. I settle for the grocery store brands and spike it myself. Then I get a work out just swallowing that gloppy thick stuff while I trick myself into believing it's the real deal.

Evan Williams does it all for me. And it's oh so good.

Not treacly sweet. Not fake. Not so thick you could condition your hair with it.

Evan Williams is the Avis of straight bourbon whiskey in the US. It's "extra aged," which I can totally identify with.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Tis the Season

I love Christmas. Really I do. Yes, I revel in the spirit of the season. But admittedly this year I'd rather imbibe the spirit(s) of the season than anything else.

Christmas is kicking my ass this year. It's par for the proverbial 2009 course.

I've baked hundreds of goodies and have mint and chocolate and sprinkles oozing out of my pores. Rolls of wrapping paper sit tucked behind my closet door. I don't even bother with ribbon anymore. When I was a kid I was often charged with wrapping my own presents (that my parents boxed up lest the surprise was ruined) so I made expert Martha-esque fancy schmancy bows on my boxes. I settled for the bag o' bows for my brother's boxes because I knew he wouldn't be impressed by my handiwork anyway. And now 30 years later, I don't even stick an adornment of any kind on my sons' presents. Let's look at it as my way of greening up the season.

I've decorated the house, including the bathrooms. I stopped short of the snowman toilet seat cover and rug ensemble. We have two full size trees and a handful of miniature ones scattered about the house. I even raced out to buy our new dog a stocking. I was *this* close to restaging or digitally enhancing our holiday card photo to include our newest addition. Mac Daddy poo-poohed my idea to send doggy birth announcements.

But humor me while I digress.

Fa la la la Lark!


It's a good idea, no? Well, perhaps you should know his name is Lark before you go judging.

Anyway, we're not sending birth announcements for Lark. We might not even send holiday cards since I haven't ordered them yet. Perhaps we'll make it for New Year's greetings. Or realistically, there's always Arbor Day.

For some reason I cannot get my act together this Christmas. I'm an over achiever in all the wrong arenas. Homemade Christmas goodies, personal, thoughtful teacher gifts, stocking stuffers galore. Is it all really necessary? I even shopped ahead and have a stash of gifts squirreled away for Bird and Deal. Lord knows what's in that loot. I didn't keep track of what I bought. I pray it's gonna be equitable distribution of gifts. I suppose I'll find out when I dig it all out to start wrapping tomorrow night. And yeah, we even wrap stocking stuffers. Le sigh. On a positive note, I did find an ornament I bought for my mom last year and forget to give her. I'm pretty sure she'll still like the Obama glass ball this year.

I'm pretty much overwhelmed with Christmas this year. I haven't made any progress on our dinner and brunch menus, much less hit the grocery store. Is there pizza delivery on Christmas Day? A green pepper and tomato combo would be festive, no?

Among all the hubbub of the season, the single most important thing we did was deliver gifts to needy families. It wasn't just about the boys choosing something from a child's wish list (while meandering Target's aisles chanting "I want..." repeatedly). We hand delivered those boxes and met the very kids for whom we brightened Christmas.

And that made all the difference.

One house was in such squalor that we didn't let Deal out of the car. The wretched barking dog tied with a rope to the front porch cemented that for us. I was aghast at the living conditions in the house and was praying Bird didn't let his nose pucker at the stench, giving away our shared persnickety nature. It turns out he was a champ. He delivered two loads of boxes, met the children, displayed lovely manners, and excused himself to the car.

And all he said was, "Wow, Mommy, that house is a lot different from ours."

He remarked without judgment. Without pity. Without snobbery. He was simply observing the obvious differences in our home and theirs. Luckily it was dark so the boys couldn't really see the state of the yard and didn't take notice of the burned down boarded up house across the street. They were fixated on neighboring Christmas lights.

We haven't talked so much about the differences in our homes but we have talked about how grateful those kids will be to get simple things like the pajamas and socks on their wish lists. We talked about how the spirit of the season is about love and generosity and empathy. Regardless of religious affiliation and where you fall on the Santa debate, I think the spirit of Christmas is about Jesus' message, if not his birth. It's about the giving spirit that Santa imparts. Peace and goodwill abound.

Christmas is about sharing and love and joy and selflessness. And it's sprinkled with a healthy dose of glitter, non pareils, and nutmeg atop some bourbon enhanced egg nog.

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