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So it's probably about time for me to check in and say, yes, we're still alive.  I'm sure there were lots of things I could have posted about between the first day of school and today (Evan's adjustment to kindergarten, for instance), but, well, it's rare that I manage to muster the enthusiasm to post a status update to Facebook.

So let's talk about December... )
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Compare with last year's.

More photos from this morning are here.
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This one has been hanging on the corkboard in the kitchen for a while -- I kept meaning to scan it and post it, but only now got around to it.  The kids are huge Star Wars fans, especially the Clone Wars cartoon.  And they're very much into the whole concept of Anakin and how he becomes Darth Vader.  When Abigail found out that his mom died, she concluded (at least at the time she drew these pictures nearly a year ago) that was the reason he turned evil.

When they play "Clone Wars," Evan is Anakin - and his blankie is what keeps him from turning into Darth Vader. 
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I don't post much because I can't think of much to post about, though if I stop and think about it there's things to talk about. 

On Saturday, we have friends over for a grillin' night, as [ profile] ajb47 felt inclined to try three different chicken marinade recipes, all of which turned out quite yummy.  The chicken in mojito marinade, with the mint spread, was especially yummy.  As was the one with the mango watermelon salsa, even if the mango was a pain in the ass to pit.

Sunday, after many promises to the kids, we dragged out the Intex inflatable pool (10ft diameter, 30" high).  We had to scrub it quite a bit before inflating the top and starting to fill it.  AJ had to run out to get a clean filter, and returned only to find that the inflatable top had numerous pinholes in it.  So out again to Toys 'R Us to get a new one (12 ft diameter, 36").  He and the kids got to enjoy it, though the water coming from the hose was very very cold.  Poor Evan nearly shivered himself to death.  And then it has rained all week, so they haven't gotten to enjoy it much since.

Abigail's kindergarten "celebration" (they don't call it a graduation) was Tuesday night.  The three kindergarten classes sang songs ([ profile] ajb47 captured it on the Flip Mino HD), there was a photo DVD presentation put together by one teacher, Mr. Sweeney (who takes great photographs), and then punch and cookies.  Lots and lots of cookies, brought by the families of the 60+ kindergarten students to be enjoyed by the students, their siblings, and their parents.  And afterwards, 60+ kindergartners and their siblings running around hopped up on sugar.

Last night, we had a lovely lovely time with, among others, [ profile] ratphooey , her hubby, and the One, The Only, Pop Phooey.   Our firm is a sponsor of the Walnut Street Theatre, which brings with it 5 nights during the season where someone at the firm can invite 9 folks to a private dinner and then enjoy the show (last night, The Producers) in a private box.  It sounds fancier than it was -- the Walnut is an old theatre and not plush.  The dinner was in a room probably used mostly for meetings, with the bartender and the caterer using folding tables.  And the "box" looks like a storage area with a coatrack.   But the food was great, the posters of past shows were terrific decorations, the service was wonderful, the view of the stage was good, and the performance was fantastic.  (You were greatly missed, [ profile] sconstant , and I'll have to try to see whether I can score a similar night for the next season.)

And to end things on an end note ...  the son seems to have overcome the fear of pooping in the toilet.  Now, he needs to work on the effective and thorough wiping part.  Just thought I'd leave you with that pleasant image...

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  1. Open the windows -- all the windows -- before starting the seasoning of the cast iron-smeared-in-Crisco-at-500-degrees.
  2. Pay attention when the kids come back into the house -- it will save both parents a heart attack when they look into the backyard and find both kids missing.
  3. Teach kids to answer immediately the first time you yell out for them, rather than hide in a bedroom without answering through several rounds of calling.
  4. Try not to scare kids as much as you've scared yourself.
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but the dolllhouse Abigail got for Christmas (purchased in October, when was having a phenomenal sale) is finally put together.  On Christmas morning, she ripped open the wrapping paper to find a plain cardboard box inside, and declared (in a moment preserved on video) in disgust, "I got a box" before stomping off to find something else to open.

Then it sat for about six weeks before I cracked open the box, only to find that two pieces (including a key support piece) were broken.  Thankfully, Kidkraft replaces the pieces for free, no questions asked.  A couple of weeks for the new parts to arrive, then a couple more weeks of not getting to it, and finally this morning we started.  Abigail had cleaned her room enough for us to actually find a place for it, and I didn't want to lose that window of opportunity.

The instructions were clear, but unfortunately not easily understood by me, and so my patient husband ended up with the task of actually figuring out how the pieces fit together and which screws/bolts went where.  It turns out the replacement pieces are from a different version of the same house, so the graphics are different, leaving some rooms with some strangely contrasting designs on different walls.  But the kids love it, and have now filled it with Star Wars figures.

Damn it

Feb. 13th, 2009 02:12 pm
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A good friend of ours -- someone has been a better friend to me than I have been to her -- lost her mother a little over a year ago. In various ways, things haven't been easy for her. I heard from AJ earlier that today C. has had to make the difficult decision to do the right thing for her dog, Jame, a 16-year-old Dalmatian who was a unique combination of hard-headedness and sweetness.

Our love to you [ profile] harpfox10 .

Meme me

Feb. 5th, 2009 10:52 am
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Your result for The Golden Compass Daemon Test...

Multi-Faceted Soul

In a way, you are a truly balanced person. You have a good sense of self, but you have periods of worry and self doubt. You don't like to be alone a lot, but you don't like being constantly surrounded, either. You can be shy in some situations and bold in others. You can tell people how you feel, but you don't wear your heart on your sleeve. You aren't "TOO" anything: You aren't too shy, you aren't too aggressive, you aren't too extroverted, you aren't too introverted. However at any one time you can be any combination of these things.

You tend to adapt yourself to match the situations in which you find yourself. You may be quiet and sensitive with some people, or joking and loud with others. These are all facets of your personality. People tend to perceive you as they want to perceive you. They may even tend to idealize you a bit. Then, when you do something that doesn't fit their concept of who you are (like have an outburst of anger, or a fit of shyness, or make an insensitive joke)they can be shocked and surprised. Does anyone know the real you?

Your daemon would represent your multi-faceted and ever-changing personality, as well as people's tendency to idealize you. He or she would get angry when you did not, be calm and poised when you felt ruffled and anxious, and always be the voice of emotion and reason in your ear.

Suggested forms:
Swan, Elephant, Koala, Panda, Chameleon, Wolf.

Take The Golden Compass Daemon Test
at HelloQuizzy

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We started the cleaning after the kids opened presents on Christmas morning (and after some assembly was required).  This involved a lot of dusting, sweeping/vacuuming of dog hair, and the long-delayed Toy Sort and Cull (I usually try to do it after Thanksgiving).  The rest of Thursday and most of the daylight hours on Friday were devoted to that.  Then last night, the cooking started. 

The first guests arrived at about 2:00 a.m. -- my sister and her husband Dan, driving down from Boston, with cat in tow.  (Toby is safely ensconced in the guest bedroom, the outside knob covered by one of those safety knobs so the kids don't inadvertently set the feline free.)  My in-laws arrived about an hour ago and put the geese in the oven.   On the menu:

Pre-dining:  A selection of Belgian and Dutch cheese with miscellaneous crackers and vegetable crudites (or as the Butterwicks call it, "the gnoshing stuff")

Butternut squash soup with apple cream cider (I love me my new immersion blender -- it was so much easier to puree this year)
1 goose with the senior Butterwicks traditional orange-honey glaze
1 goose with a ruby port glaze
Bourbon cranberry sauce
Tawny port gravy
Wild rice stuffing with Granny Smith apples and dried cranberries
Aunt Del's mashed potatoes
Broccoli and carrots with toasted almonds
My father-in-law's homemade coleslaw
My mother-in-law's homemade cranberry and pumpkin breads

With us, we'll have 24 adults and 7 kids under aged 7 or younger.  (I'm making hot dogs for the young'uns).  The rest of the guests are scheduled to arrive starting in about 10 minutes.

We probably should have gotten a third goose.
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Can't just dive in and start this whole posting thing willy-nilly, after all.

Anyway, today:

Made cinnamon pancakes with the kids today, turnign into a weekend tradition for us.  Have pulled clothes to be tossed into a sack and hauled off.  Barely started the toy threshing, however -- just four large trucks of Evan's that he hardly plays with anymore.  Need to start making room for the Christmas bounty for them.  Also need to start the cleaning at some point for goose dinner on Saturday. 
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So, I went with an unpainted one .. well, actually this one:

which comes with two (two!!! ahahahahaha!) shelves because I was crazily sold on the idea of the kids choosing their own way to decorate it.

So, for those who have actually done such projects with those in the 4 - 6 year old range .. how crazy am I to actually be looking forward to that?
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evan apple ball camera

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Edited to Add: This is apparently original with the four-man comedy troupe Moosebutter, who reports at their web page ( that this fellow, Corey Vidal, made his video with their blessing.
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Back here, I mentioned how I no longer recognize the landscape of the place I grew up.  Here's more about why.
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