Monthly Archives: December 2008

Happy Belated Holidays!

Laurel got the DS she wanted, along with several games and books.  Really, the DS was all that mattered. She refused to take her nose out of it for days.

Ethan got his yellow car and Hot Wheels sets and GeoAir planes, etc. Sense a theme?

Ethan learned to play Candyland, and loves it. I’m not sure how many times he watched “Polar Express,” but it was many.

I have been unable to wind down enough to sleep for the past two nights thanks to Rockband 2.

And we ate, and ate, and ate.

Thank god Christmas only comes once per year.

laurel ethan grandma

Caroling with Ethan.

Ethan’s been big into Christmas this year.  He’s been asking about Christmas since before Halloween, in fact, and has really taken to the idea of Christmas carols.  He sings along with them whether he knows the words or not.  I managed to catch some of it on video. So here, for your viewing pleasure, the BoneBlog is pleased to present Caroling with Ethan.

Enjoy.

Jingle Bells:

 

Santa Claus is Coming to Town:

 

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer:

 

An Interview with the Artist:

You Just Never Know With Me.

Sometimes I don’t like approaching people.  Other times I possess chutzpah you wouldn’t believe. And you never know which you’re going to get. Fun, no?

And that is why I made a deal with Santa at the mall yesterday — or rather, Santa’s handlers.

Ethan wanted to see Santa, and I wanted photos.

But I wasn’t about to pay $20 for 2 5x7s.  Call me cheap, call me whatever you will, but folks, it’s just not worth that. Greg and I talked about the idea that they should offer to allow people to take their own photos for a smaller charge, but no, and when we arrived they had signs up requesting people to refrain from using their own cameras — which didn’t stop everyone, but I was trying to be a decent human for once.  After lots of back-and-forth with my conscience and with Greg, I figured it couldn’t hurt to play the economics card. I’d give them a choice — they either take my offer to take photos myself, or they’d get NOTHING from me and would lose money on the deal.

I know, I drive a hard bargain, right?

I drew myself up as tall as I could and strode up to the counter. “Hi,” I began.  “Tell you what.  I’ll give you five bucks to let me take photos with my own camera.”

“Uh,” stammered the handler, “Okay. We can do that. In fact, we tell them every year that should be an option.”

I thrust our camera at Greg, and that’s what we did. Frankly, this is a much better photo than any they’d have taken:

ethan with Santa

We Won’t Go Until We Get Some.

No, that’s not just a blackmail line used by desperate men in bars.  That’s a line from a Christmas carol.

This year we set out to make figgy pudding. I like to try to do things as traditionally as possible, and when embarking upon this quest, the first thing I noticed was that authentic figgy pudding calls for suet.  Yuck. So okay, the recipe wasn’t going to be that authentic.  The second thing I learned was that figgy pudding should be steamed.

Wow.  Steamed. Okay, never did that before — not with an English pudding.

Fortunately, I have a very large canning vessel ripe for the job.

canning vessel

Naturally, it was wintering in the garage, covered in dust.  But that’s what kids are for — dusting canning vessels.  So I put Laurel to work while I gathered the ingredients:

brandy and rum

That one on the right is rum steeped in vanilla beans, by the way.

We cut and rehydrated figs and raisins, and Greg set them aflame — but I was too concerned about the large fireball he created to get a photo.  Sorry.  The aftermath will have to suffice:

figs and liquor

We all stirred the pudding together and made a wish, as is customary, then scraped the batter into a bundt pan and steamed it for TWO HOURS.

And it looked like this:

finished figgy pudding

And you know — it wasn’t bad.  If you like spice cake and bread pudding, figgy pudding is very similar. 

Now you got some, so you have to go.

Noel.

The other night I attended Laurel’s vocal concert at the elementary school.  Eventually I’ll get some video of that and her strings concert up, but not right now.  Anyway, the 2nd graders did the most adorable rendition of the Animaniacs’ ‘Noel.’ Even funnier was that I think I was the first one in the audience to really get the joke and I started laughing right out loud while other people looked at me as if wondering whether I needed an ambulance.

I came home and worked it into our Christmas lights display.

And just because some of you are too young or too old or just don’t remember the Animaniacs, here is the song (Mom, I know you’ll appreciate this, seeing as how you’re a fun pan. I mean, a pun fan). I’m posting it without the video because although I think it takes more work to understand it, it’s funnier this way:

And so yes, now our lights are also encoded to this tune.

Sweeeeeeeeeeet.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

The FM transmitter Greg bought last week was crap, and we needed one that worked well, else nobody would be able to understand why we had seizure-inducing flashes going in front of our house.  And while this is, after all, Jefferson County, we can’t exactly erect loudspeakers or tap into the tornado sirens to broadcast our music.

So Greg went and bought a kit from a local electronics store, and then did this to the kitchen table:

table

The crayons and cars?  Also his.

Heh.

Anyway, after many hours of soldering, admonishing Ethan to stay back from the iron, and cross words between us about measuring voltage across a resistor, we had something like this:

transmitter1

WHICH………….

WORKS.

Just as I knew it would, despite Greg’s self-doubt. He’s brilliant, and I had faith in his abilities.

And now, after putting out a sign and a spotlight giving passersby the correct frequency, we have people stopping in front of our house all night long.  Nice, eh?

Because When We Do Something, We Really Overdo It.

So Greg’s had this light controller for a couple of years now but we haven’t really used it to its full advantage.

"This year," I said, "THIS year we’re gonna use it, even if we have to put our lights up in October." I was very insistent because last year we didn’t put up any lights AT ALL, and what kind of loser technophiles don’t put up any lights AT ALL?

So because I’m The Boss, we put up lights. Lots of them.

People have been driving by slowly for days, and the delivery men have to jump over myriads of extension cords. We’ll probably cause a wreck or something and get sued.

It wouldn’t do justice to the effort if you couldn’t see what our home looks like during the day, so I have taken photos so you can see just exactly the kind of excess we’re dealing with, here:

big junction cords1

cords2 whole house

culmination

Disclaimer: The video you are about to see is not of the best quality — we need to enlist John for that — but Greg is all antsy to get this posted and he says it’s cold outside and he’d have to stand in the neighbor’s yard and people keep driving by and we have to put it up AS SOON AS POSSIBLE before he explodes, despite the burnt-out bulbs that need to be replaced and the focusing issues.  We discussed this at length and I decided I wouldn’t make him go out and record it again. So, gentle readers, I am not at fault for video quality complaints.

I did, however, encode the lights.  So if you don’t like the presentation, THAT is my fault. 

Enjoy!

Carol of the Bells:

 

Blue Christmas (my favorite):

 

Throwin’ it Into High Gear.

Some of you know about the truck drama we had last week.  And the week before. I’m not here to address that. At least not yet. Patience.

Instead, I’m working to maintain my holiday good cheer (you see that, Greg? Good cheer!) by posting about our weekend, complete with toddler yelling — because that is the only volume we encounter these days.

Friday  night we went to Ethan’s holiday celebration at his preschool, where he made a set of antlers. But don’t ask him about it, he vehemently denies it ever happened — NO I DID NOT MAKE REINDEER ANTLERS! I TOLD YOU!

ethan with reindeer antlers

He’s kind of like O.J.

Each year we venture south to Meert Tree Farm for our tree. It’s the best tree farm. Well, the only other one I’ve been to in the St. Louis area is Eckerts, and Meert is way better.  Trust me. Not so commercial. Not so crowded. Parking lot filled with trucks and dogs, the way any self-respecting tree farm should be. It was about 17 degrees when we went this year.  Laurel wore jeans with holes in the knees. Ethan demanded that we ride on THAT wagon, NO NOT THIS ONE, THAT ONE. Was he cold?  NO!  I TOLD YOU I AM NOT COLD!

Get the picture?

But we had a good time in spite of the cold, and we found a winner.

chosen christmas tree felling the tree

Funny thing —  we found this tree in record time. Whether it was just a good year for tree-felling or we were spurred on by the cold, I don’t know.

As we do every year, we enjoyed hot chocolate at the barn while our tree was shaken and baled.  We enjoyed hot chocolate despite initial protests from our youngest, who declared, I DO NOT LIKE HOT CHOCOLATE!  I LIKE COCOA!  NO, NOT COCOA, BUT I LIKE HOT CHOCOLATE!

Whew. So the jury was out, but after tasting it, he looked like this:

ethan reaction to hot chocolate

And both kids together looked like this:

hot chocolate

And when we got home and decorated the tree (I WANT TO HELP YOU, IS IT TIME TO PUT THE LIGHTS ON? NOW IS IT?  IS IT NOW? IS IT TIME? IS IT?), we looked like this:

o christmas tree 

Now.  Aren’t you in the holiday mood?

Happy Big Three-Oh to…

Greg!

Just think, if we play our cards right, you could be halfway to retirement.

I can’t wait to celebrate with you this weekend, and I’m sorry I have class tonight. Laurel thinks I should stay home because family is more important than school, but you know I just can’t, so go ahead and eat the rest of that cake without me.

I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather have by my side, and I’m sure the kids feel the same. We’re so fortunate to have you, and we know it.

Happy birthday, baby.  We love you very much.