Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Recap

Naomi enjoying second breakfast
Christmas preparations take months!  All the planning and buying and wrapping and baking and, and, and...  and then it's over in the blink of an eye.  In truth, Christmas Day in the Harris household was one LONG blink that started abound 9 am and ended 10 hours later.

We started with stockings and Butter Braids - gooey sugary goodness wrapped around a cinnamon center.  Yum!  We moved on to gifts.  I can't give you a list of items received. My vision was hampered by flying wrapping paper. But I did see smiles all around.

Joyfully Josiah
Next came dishes for some of us, games for others and then a feeble attempt at gingerbread houses. Granma was losing steam by then. Somewhere in the afternoon there were several rounds of naps: by the very youngest and by several of the parents. The eldest of us relied on caffeine to prepare the next round if eating.  There was a salad assist (thank you, Corey) and potatoes mashing (thank you, Colin).  Dinner arrived more or less as scheduled and as planned.  One salad spent a lonely Christmas, forgotten in the basement frig. The dishwasher, on the other hand,
did not get a holiday, either the mechanical or the human variety.

We ended the day with the most beautiful dessert ever, courtesy of Christine.  And it tasted better than it looked. Bella loved the rum sauce; she was allowed an entire thimbleful.  It was quite rummy!

The best way to sum up the day came from Elijah aka Zeke aka Nugget (he answers to them all). With perfect 2 year old diction he intoned, "Ho, ho, ho!  Mer-wee Crit-with!!!"  And it was, sweet one!  It absolutely was.

Nuggets of wisdom - Mer-wee Crit-with!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Cookie: Monsters and Minnions

Some Christmas traditions just must occur.  I might spend some time wistfully thinking how much easier the season would be without hours spent, say, wrapping gifts or decorating the tree, but I wouldn't give it up.  That makes me either a hopeless sap or obsessive compulsive.  I prefer sentimental Granma hoping to pass on a tradition or two - though OCD is pretty descriptive, too.

I am hardly the investor of the Christmas cookie baking tradition.  There are a lot of us sugar plum(p) fairies during the holidays!  As a child, my siblings and I required our Mom to make gingerbread Santas.  They were about 6" tall, frosted and an unquestioned stocking stuffer.  No one really ate them, but they were not Christmas optional, either.  Mom grew tired of making them long before we moved out of the house.  They are still required when we go home for Christmas...

About 17 years ago, (how could it be that long?) my bestie invited me to join her in making Christmas cookies.  I think the first year we had a dozen different kinds, the second year we made 13.  Each year we tried to top the previous year - until we realized we weren't that impressed with ourselves.  Six is a good number for anyone wondering, a fact that we proved again last Sunday.  We were heavy on the chocolate, which might not make for the most photogenic sugar gathering, but it sure tastes good!

Just a couple of days previous to that, Josiah and Aidan joined me in round of frosting art.  Their cookies, as you can plainly see, are a study in eye catching design.  Little to no chocolate was employed, though marshmallows were popular, as were sprinkles.  We started with more marshmallows than you see here.  Apparently, it's pretty easy to sneak those fluff balls - there is no tell-tale crunch to call attention to the guilty pleasure/party.

At one point, I caught Josiah "sprinkling" his tongue with red sugar.  Upon extracting the bottle from his mouth (and bidding it a premature farewell), I looked left to see Aidan taste-testing the blue sugar in much the same fashion.  Brothers...  It has been a few days now, and I'm starting to remember with fondness, and a giggle, two little boys with red and blue smiles.  I must remember to get more sprinkles before attempting cookies with them again.  Who knew it a whole bottle of sprinkles was a single use item?

So who won the cookie cook-off of 2016?  Well, for looks, I have to give it to the mini monsters.  They beat the besties with color and creativity!  However, for general public consumption of a more sanitary nature, I recommend the chocolate.  Seventeen years of practice has to show up somewhere - besides our hips...

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas Magic

There are some special "grands" Christmas memories.

Last year was one of them.  Holding two precious baby girles, home from the hospital, but still tethered to oxygen.  How sweet that was!  This year, holding them is much more difficult - they want to be down and moving, especially Faith.  She gyrates in your arms, demanding the freedom of the floor.  What a wonderful, miraculous, welcome change!

Bella's first Christmas with us was last year, too.  She arrived walking and talking, of course.  She and I made ornaments to decorate the tree, dancing snowmen and gingerbread men and women.  We started out following the directions.  We ended up with a whole village of our creations - no two the same.

A dozen Christmases ago, was Bryce's first, all six weeks old of him.  I was still trying on the name 'Granma,' and hadn't settled on the spelling yet.  But I certainly had settled on Bryce!  He has sparkled on Christmas every year since.  I'm looking forward to some boardgames with him this Christmas.

Tyler was almost a year old by the time his first Christmas arrived.  Older and wiser, he enjoyed all the gifts, especially the wrapping and bows.  I love to watch the world through his eyes, which haven't lost the wonder of expectation.

Elijah slept through much of his first Christmas, a mistake he won't make again, I'm sure!  Being grandboy number five at the time, the pack-and-play was a safe location for him, while the rest of the world spun out of control with laughter and bits of colorful confetti raining down.

But my favorite grandboy Christmas memory is the year Aidan learned to blow out the Christmas tree!  He walked into the house, straight up to the tree and started blowing.  The behavior seemed a bit odd, quite frankly, two-year-old adorable, but odd.  Court and Christine let us know that we should stand at the ready by the light switch that controlled the outlet to the tree lights.  We were a quick study.  The lights went off (or back on) with each watery blow from his lips.

My next favorite memory is too intertwined to be a separate memory, though it happened two years later.  Aidan was then in control of the light switch for two-year-old Josiah.  His younger brother would giggle with delight that started at his toes.  Aidan, sharing in the joy, joined a duet with the shear joy of toddler laughter!

I can't wait for Christmas!  I wait expectantly with the joy of a toddler for the gathering of the red and green grands!  Merry Christmas, everyone!  And merry memories in the making!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

One, Two, Four, Five, Six...

Angelic looks can be deceiving
Family gatherings are always an adventure, regardless of the location.  The most recent occurred at our house.  We are fairly child-proof here, or at least the adults are not so severely outnumbered by the munchkins that it has been a problem.  The biggest rule is to keep the basement door closed.  We do not want the twins exploring the stairs.  This, of course, means that the door is slammed multiple times throughout the gathering, though we barely notice among the other bedlam.  Some toys are housed upstairs where they are available to the mini grandgirlies.  But the ones of more interest to larger grands are in the basement.

Last week, after turning down an invitation to join them in play, those between the ages of 2 and 11 made their way down to the toys.  I am experienced enough to eliminate the "toys" that should not be available.  Their toy room is also my toy room, so sharp quilting items are put away and the sewing machine is unplugged.  There is something about that on/off switch that is a grandboy magnet.  Eliminating the lights that flash helps immensely.  All involved are well aware of the doors that may be opened and those that offer nothing for their playing pleasure.

Shortly after the crew descended, the eldest three among them, made their way back upstairs.  (Tattling is always more fun in groups.)  "Granma, Josiah is being bad.  He's going into the wrong rooms."  I joined them in their lair, where I found Josiah (3) in the gift closet.  So close to Christmas, this is not a good thing.  "And he's turning on and off you sewing machine."

"Josiah, Granma's machine is not a toy."  He acknowledged my authority with a slap to the previously unplugged machine.  Sigh.

"And he hid the TV controller behind the TV."  Easily remedied.

Josiah and I made our way upstairs, where he decided the most desirable toy available was in his sister's hands.  A short discussion ensued before his father directed Josiah to a special bench designed just for thinking.

Bryce commented at dinner that Josiah was being really bad that day, which gave me a chance to offer him some sage parental advice that he will not be able to use for another decade or two.  But for those of you who might need the help sooner, here it is.  Avoid three year olds at all cost.  Terrible twos are not that bad, and three becomes four in a year's time.  But if at all possible, skip three.

There.  Now if you figure out how to do that, let me know.  Until then, I'll just have to love him anyway.  I do love you, Josiah, and I'm looking forward to your birthday...