All I Want For Christmas…

Is it too late?

Can I still ask Santa for something special?

All I want for Christmas is an oven mitt, or even a nice pot holder.

Picture the scene.

It’s late evening, the kids are packing their bags and getting ready for the last day of school before Christmas break. We have been blessed with an early Christmas miracle and they are all getting along. John is in the back of the house wrapping presents and I am in the kitchen baking cookies. Christmas carols are cheerfully playing, the tree is lit, the animals are peacefully snoozing on their respective couches. The timer beeps and I reach into the oven to remove another pan of cheerful looking holiday cookies for Jane’s birthday snack and then…

“@!%$*# CATS!!!”

Pans crash, cats scatter under my gaze of fury, dogs jump up, kids and John come running as a stream of language that probably landed me on the naughty list for good runs out of me as I cool my burned thumb under running water.

The problem you see is that the cats – specifically this cute monster –

… have eaten holes in the thumbs of all our oven mitts.

Holes that make it seem like you should still be able to use the oven mitt – but you shouldn’t, you really, really shouldn’t.

Unfortunately after I burned my thumb and our kids’ ears, I doubt Santa is going to deliver.

But I wonder… do you think he’d trade for a cat?

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How To Eat a Prick-Headed Monkey

My brother Tyler is going to demonstrate how to properly eat a prick-headed monkey. But first a few prick-headed monkey facts.

-First off, nobody knows why they are called that. They are three cornered pies filled with currents and citron, there are absolutely no monkeys involved.

-Second, nobody in our family that isn’t a direct blood decedent of Gramps actually likes these. There are those that will eat them, but nobody else loves them.

-Third, those of us who love them really love them.

-Fourth, we only make them at Christmas time.

The first thing to do when eating a prick-headed moneky is to find other prick-headed monkey lovers to eat one with you. Three people is the optimal number though two works as well. This is important because the first key to proper prick-headed monkey consumption is to con someone else into cutting it. I divide and you decide has never been more important than in prick-headed monkey division. The pies are nominally triangular in shape and must always be divided into three pieces (I don’t know, it’s tradition, just go with it okay?).

In this instance my mom divided, now she’s pretty good at prick-headed monkey division ( This is a skill, you try dividing a lumpy triangle into three equal parts, it’s not as easy as it seems.) but there was still a large piece. Tyler and I thumb wrestled for it. My brother has thumbs like a gorilla- he won. You can see him here with his rightfully gained largest piece.

This is of course exactly why you want three people to eat it with. Tyler would have had no fun gloating over the largest piece without the other two of us there. This is also the time to take pictures to send to those family members who aren’t able to join in the feast so that you can hold it over their head that you are eating fresh out of the oven prick-headed monkeys and they are not.

Sorry Uncle Jim, we know you are recovering from heart surgery and that’s why you couldn’t be around but there is actually no one else in the world who would want to eat these so these pictures were for you. Notice how Tyler is gazing fondly at his biggest piece before he takes a bite.

In the following picture you can see how Tyler is clearly enjoying his own piece while at the same time mocking ours. Because dough balls.

If the person who made the prick-headed monkey did a good job the filling will be all the way to the corner. If not, the corner will be nothing but a dough ball. To finish off the proper way to consume a prick-headed monkey you must stay on alert for dough balls in the corners. Then, if you made them, you should deny their existence and attempt to prove that you had a current in the very furthest corner of your piece. If someone else made them however it’s best to claim that your corner was nothing but a dough ball and completely terrible.

Even with a dough ball there are those of us who know that prick-headed monkeys are never terrible and, like Tyler in the picture above, we are already plotting our next piece.

Holiday Lights

There’s so much to love about this time of year, the food, the gift giving, the decorations, the cookies, the parties, the vacation time, the holiday spirit…

But I think the thing I love the most is the lights. All the little, twinkling lights shining everywhere on these long dark nights, even inside.

Especially inside.

Because when you have a tree all lit up in the dark…Christmas Tree

… the rest of the house fades away and you can pretend the mess– What mess?

I don’t see a mess!

‘Tis the season of twinkle lights and dark corners, make the most of it!!!

Long ago I used to write posts with more than a hundred words. (I know!? Who knew?!) But I felt the same way about Christmas time. Here is a six year old post about ignoring The Rest of Life to enjoy the season.

Blogging the Moments

Christmas Day we took a walk down to the unfrozen lake to catch a beautiful, peaceful and serene sunset.Sunset at the lakeAt least, it looks that way after my efforts in Photoshop.

In actuality that moment, like the rest of our Christmas break, was full of kids (our three plus my two year old nephew), numerous dogs and not quite enough tired adults to field all the whining, barking, “Look at me!”‘s ,rolling in dead fish, crying and bouncing off the walls that was going on.

There has been a huge amount of material written about how we skew our internet presence to make our lives look better than they are. And to that I say, of course! I’m not taking a selfie in the clothes I’m wearing. Nobody wants to see the jeans I’ve been wearing for three days, combined with the top I worked out in, while I sport my “hairstyle” created through the subtle use of pony tails, sweat, and winter hats. Including me.

Including me.

I blog because I’m trying hard not to become one of the ferrets that eats it’s own young.

I blog because, if I look at this picture and squint just right, I can see all the fun, giggles, snuggling cousins and laughter that was mixed in the chaos.

I blog because sometimes, in the midst of the snot and the tears and the stinky dogs and the whining, it’s hard to remember that those happy moments are existing right along side. But if I share a moment like the one above, I’m sure to remember that life with kids is more than just accidents on the floor, snot on my shirt and sleepless nights.

I don’t need any help remembering what sort of mess I look like today, all that takes is a mirror.

 

 

Merry Christmas

The Bee Carol

by Carol Ann Duffyblack and white bee hives

Silently on Christmas Eve,
the turn of midnight’s key;
all the garden locked in ice —
a silver frieze —
except the winter cluster of the bees.

Flightless now and shivering,
around their Queen they cling;
every bee a gift of heat;
she will not freeze
within the winter cluster of the bees.

Bring me for my Christmas gift
a single golden jar;
let me taste the sweetness there,
but honey leave
to feed the winter cluster of the bees.

Come with me on Christmas Eve
to see the silent hive —
trembling stars cloistered above —
and then believe,
bless the winter cluster of the bees.black and white bee hives

Merry Christmas and a special thank you to Annette for sending us this poem!