Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Inquisition

The "Christmas Tour of 2009" had ended with a snowy trip home late in the evening.  My Man and I were attempting to get awake the next morning.  Kate, in bed with us since 7:00, was helping.  She reached across my sleeping face to rub her father's. 

"Daddy, you need to do a lot of shaving today."

"Um hummm," said her almost awake father, "I've got to get a good shave today because I've got a hot date later."

Continuing to rub her hand on her Daddy's chin she asked, "What's a hot date?"

"Mommy and I are going to go to dinner and a movie tonight."

"Oh.  I like the candy they have at the movies.  It's very good.  Is Ms. L    going to watch me?"


"Will she watch Cole and Meg too?"


"Are we going there or staying here?"


"When are you going on your date?"

"Late this afternoon."

"Is it almost afternoon?"


"Can we have donuts this morning?"

"Not this morning." 

"How much longer 'till afternoon?"

And with that we decided to begin the day.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Rest

Merry Christmas from the Wright Place! 

We've completed our first two gigs on the "Wright Christmas Tour 2009" and are enjoying sweet respite for a few hours.  This morning began at about 6:30 when daughter #1 entered our sleeping chamber ready to rip.  This would be the very first time daughter #1 has seen any hour before 8:00 am in many a month!  As she was being strongly threatened  encouraged to return to her bed, her brother joined her, hands in tearing position.  As 7:00 rolled 'round Cole was deputizing his two oldest sisters in to the service of the day.  The task at hand was how to wake Molly without actually being responsible for waking her.

Warnings had been posted, threats had been issued, "DO NOT WAKE THE BABY OR. . ." the rest is not necessary to print.  An unimaginable 8:45 am arrived and Molly, usually up at 7, was still snoozing.  Ire was building amongst the Pop Tart crowd and the adults were beginning to fear a mutinous plot afoot.  Barney Fife and Company angelically suggested that we "get on with" our Christmas Morning devotions while we were waiting on Molly.  It seemed as if the memory of last year's "baby up" time of 10:30 was repeating itself again this Christmas and they wanted the process streamlined as much as possible for when operation "go-gift" was finally announced.

Heart-warmed that the children would suggest Christmas devotions on their own, my Man grabbed the gear, served the hot cocoa, lit the candles...

...and announced the opening Christmas song, "Joy to the World". 

A surprisingly rousing rendition rang forth...

"   Joy to the world, the Lord has come, LET EARTH RECEIVE HER KING!!!  Let every heart prepare Him room AND HEAVEN AND NATURE SING, AND HEAVEN AND NATURE SING, AND HEAVEN AND HEAVEN AND NATURE SING!!!"

The kitchen practically vibrated with those last, er, notes, but the nursery above remained undisturbed even as the less-than-sincere choir turned their faces toward the ceiling as they caroled.  Devotions continued...

We were reminded that God really does want US for Christmas! 

Then we offered breakfast to the troops, who declared that they just couldn't  eat until that pesky chore of opening presents had been completed. 

Finally, finally at about 9:30 Rip Van Molly woke up!  Angels sang, children wept and then stampeded to the Christmas tree, O Christmas Tree.

It amazes me how fast things can go from this...

...to this.

Here are a few scenes to connect the above two...



...and finally...

We wish you a peaceful Christmas evening.

As for us, we're getting ready to think about getting ready to prepare for stop #3 on the Christmas '09 Tour.

But...not just yet!

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Christmas List

  • Christmas Cards....addressed--go get stamps
  • Teacher gifts...made...delivered...
  • Special top secret project...progressing on schedule
  • Christmas shopping...finished...all but...O MAN!
  • Finish Christmas shopping
  • Pack family for the first stop on the 2009 Christmas Tour
  • Do laundry so that I can pack family for Christmas Tour
  • Packages wrapped...half of packages wrapped
  • Wrap rest of packages
  • Charge camera battery and video camera battery to capture all that is to come.
  • Teach one Wright child how to charge cameras so that next time, I can delegate.
  • Take 2 future battery-chargers to get their bangs trimmed.
  • Box up cookies for mail man--he delivered a big box of toys to our home on a snowy Sunday morning a few years ago at Christmas time and I am forever in his debt.
  • Make Christmas breakfast for when we hit stop #2 on "The Tour"
  • Bake last (dare I think it?) batch of Snickerdoodles
  • Assign 10 year old and 9 year old above task! (For goodness sakes!)
  • Sit with family and sing Christmas carols around fireplace while sipping hot cocoa. 
  • Stop dreaming and pack van.
  • Place Christmas CDs in van for the sing-along on "The Tour"
  • Feed husband and children at least two meals over the next day and 1/2.
  • Memorize phone number for Papa John's Pizza.
  • Decide that Snickerdoodles have most of the same ingredients as breakfast muffins and serve them for breakfast.
  • Make another batch of Snickerdoodles.
  • Blog...sadly neglected.
  • Blog about children's Christmas play...so cute.  Blog about decorating the tree...special-ness.  Blog about a Snickerdoodle incident that "lived on" for two long days.  Blog about Advent...family traditions...Blog about having absolutely NO TIME to blog--ha!
  • Blog...must blog...so many things to share...so many things to wrap, so many wonders of Christmas...so many blessings...so little time!! 
  • Sleep...soon!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cookies that Make Ya Happy

Did a cookie ever make you happy? 

I confess, the whole tone of many a bad day has been changed by a carefully selected pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.  When I'm cold, or have a cold, I am much improved by a huge pot of chili or better yet, a bowl or two of a friend's spicy bean soup.  Food is so tied to the moments of our lives-- the celebrations, the challenges, the victories, the special occasions and even the emotions.

Most of us I'm sure, experience these "food associations" especially deeply at Christmas time.  We all have our favorites and have probably been known to comment, "It just wouldn't seem like Christmas without ____________."  The blank-filler for our family,  would be a unanimous chorus of "SNICKERDOODLES!" 

These simple little cookies make me happy.  What, you may wonder, is so special about a SNICKERDOODLE?  First of all, just saying, "SNICKERDOODLE" is fun.  Can you say it without smiling?  I can't.  Who named this cookie?  Who looked at a little round lump of baked dough and said..."You are a SNICKERDOODLE."

According to the Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, the word snickerdoodle is "simply a nineteenth-century nonsense word for a quickly made confection."  These confections are indeed simple and fun, which is the second reason for my well-placed affection. The Wright Kids' Snickerdoodles are not your grandma's snickerdoodles.  Our version is a little jazzier and a bit less cinnamon-ier and ooooooooohhh we love 'em.

The baker for our first official batch of The Wright Kids' Snickerdoodles this year was Cole who, with moderate supervision, did a super job.

(Looks like he just said, "Snickerdoodle".)

The recipe is a very straight-forward as cookie recipes go...

Our copy is a few years old.  I copied it "big" for Cole and Meg when they were beginning readers.  They marked each ingredient off as we added it to the recipe.

Combine the dry ingredients.

Check out my new wisk.  My old one began to come apart after fifteen years!!

Mix all the "other" ingredients.

Next, add the dry ingredients and mix until sticky dough forms.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least one hour.  The next part is so much easier when the dough is chilly.

Now, the pizazz...instead of dusting the cookies with cinnamon, break out the...

...colored sugar!! 
Roll the chilled dough into walnut sized balls and then...

...drop 'em into their sugar baths.  Roll them around to coat completely.

Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes.  Remove them from the oven right as they are developing little cracks on the top.

Transfer to a cooling rack.  I like to put them on the cooling rack in a "festive" fashion.

It just says, "Christmas".  Sparkly lights, or perhaps ornaments.


Looks like my Man has been up to his old tricks again.  He's the linear, right angle type (in case you didn't know).  This arrangement, though organized, doesn't say, "Fa la la la la" to me.  It causes me to flash back to the bar graph section of the SATs.

Finally, seal these gems in an air tight fashion so they won't dry out until you get 'em packed up to send off or serve up.

These lovelies are soft and chewy on the inside and sugary-sweet and colorful on the outside. We packaged them in Chinese take-out boxes last year for our "appreciation gifts".  We had a blast in the production line-- counting cookies, lining boxes, preparing the gift tags.  The happiest thing of all was giving them to the kids' teachers and helpers and "cheerleaders".

Now I ask you...did you ever have a cookie make you that happy?  These shiny snickerdoodles will surely do the trick!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas in the Air

Hi Friends!

I'm just popping in to say "Happy Christmastime!"  Things are gearing up here at The Wright Place.  The tree is up--except for the star on top, I'm still looking for it! 

Christmas baking is set to begin later today with the making of a few hundred "Wright Kids Snicker Doodles" (I'll post a picture or two if it's safe to expose the camera to all the flour and goo!). 

I'm currently working on one of my favorite projects of the year: "teacher gifts".  We are crafting away and are excited to, in our own small way, thank all of the dedicated teachers and caregivers who have loved us so extravagantly throughout the year.

The Children's Christmas Play is this Sunday and we are sooooo excited!  Saturday is the big dress rehearsal and cast party! 

Christmas cards are yet on the horizon!  I've got a picture I can use, but maybe a fresher one would be better...I don't know...I'm hesitant to take on another "photo session" anytime soon after last Thursday, which we survived, by the way--but just!

So, check in on us every now and then for pictures and stories of our Christmas adventures.  Remember, though, to check in with HIM for the most amazing Christmas adventure that there will ever be!!

More soon!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Really Wanna Tell You I'm Sorry

So, we were preparing to leave my Ant and Uncle's home after a more than lovely Thanksgiving celebration.

My Uncle John had just hooked my Man and Cole up with some tickets for the BIG Game the next day, and life was sweet. 

The children had all been gathered and placed in the van, except for Meg who was bound for Grandma camp.  I stopped to tell Meg good bye and my Uncle John was talking with my Man at the van while holding the passenger side door open for me to get in, ever the gentleman.  There seems to have been some confusion regarding whether to converse through the open car window or to open the car door for the post Thanksgiving discussion, but the opened door was settled upon and when I got into the car all was well.

Thank you's and good travel wishes expressed, the children were nestled all snug in their car seats, Christmas music was playing on the radio...when "YYEEEEOOOOOOWWWWW," cried my Uncle jumping into the air and holding his hand at a rather odd angle. 

"Oh!" said my Man who in seeming slow-motion, groped for the window button which he'd just engaged and in so doing, caught my Uncle's thumb in the window.  

I, mere inches away, was still trying to figure out what had just happened.  I looked at the window which was an inch short of being closed, and assumed that it was just a close call.  That did not, however, jive with the obvious pain my Uncle was attempting to hide as he remained in the drive way until we backed out.  It turns out that the inch short of closed window that I had observed was the result of the reopening of the window to release our captive, the provider of the home for our Thanksgiving festivities and the football tickets to be enjoyed the following day.  Geesh, my Man felt horrible

We called from the road, to make sure Uncle John was as "all right" as he claimed and we learned that the injured thumb was under ice and all seemed well, or at least better.  Unbeknownst to us, it seems a purple hue was creeping over and pressure was increasng under my Uncle's thumb, the same thumb that would be necessary to insure a certain football team was properly taped and readied to take the field the next day.

Allow me to pause here and share that my Man is not alone in his assault on my Uncle with the car window.  Based on a telephone survey conducted by Kids and Cars, a nonprofit child safety organization, more than 13 million adults in the US have injured someone they know by closing a car window.  How about that?  I need to alert the "Kids and Cars" survey folks to add another to their tally.

The next morning, Cole awoke counting down the hours until the big game, planning his cold weather wardrobe with great care.  Finally, FINALLY the time came for their departure.  The forecast predicted some pretty chilly temps, so blankets and hats and gloves and hand warmers and hats were gathered and off they traveled.

Upon their arrival in Morgantown, my guys would learn that the events surrounding my Uncle John's injured thumb did not, in fact, end with an ice treatment.  Apparently in the middle of the night the pressure under my Uncle's thumbnail grew painful to the point of action.

NOTE:  If, like me you are a bit queasy by nature, you may want to read the next paragraph or two with a nice cold glass of ice water at hand.

My Uncle John, would never have told us how awfully much he was hurting.  He didn't have to tell us, however, for when we heard what treatment he directed my Ant Sab to undertake, we knew.  In the next scene you will find my Ant in her jammies drill in hand, searching for the necessary size drill bit.  Do you see the words DRILL and DRILL BIT?  How bad was this poor man suffering?? 

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I'm just not sure, the right drill bit couldn't be located in the middle of the night so, an alternate method was used.  It is a little known fact, to me at least, (and thank the Dear Lord for that!) that the human thumbnail can be melted through.  Oh yes, we're going there. 

An o'dark thirty attempt was made at heating a paper clip to the point of making it able to melt through the smashed thumbnail which would release the pressure building up under said nail.  Please note, this medical procedure was preformed under the strict supervision of a trained professional in a horrendous amount of pain and should not be attempted by just any ole injured person or their gutsy spouse. 

Do you wonder that a car window in the hands of a humble, mortified pastor could cause such pain and suffering?  Did you know that the power window on a typical vehicle exerts over 80 pounds of pressure?  My Uncle John does!

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I'm still not too sure, the paper clip procedure was not successful.  Uncle John was forced to call a colleague to meet him in the training room with the tool used to perform the fingernail melt on football players who were habitually late for practice whose fingers were smashed between the shoulder pads and helmets of their own or the opposing team.  I hear that my Uncle was an example to others who received the same treatment that day. 

I dearly hope he made up some super cool incident that resulted in his injury because really, for that amount of pain one needs a better story than "My goofy niece's preacher husband rolled my thumb up in the window of his ultra-happenin' minivan."

Maybe something along the lines of, "My lovely wife was removing the most beautiful turkey you've ever seen from the oven when one of the forty-eight small children who were at our home walked in front of her.  My wife tripped and the oven-hot turkey, pan and all, went flying toward another of those little children.  I jumped over two toddlers and and infant and grabbed the roasting pan just before it hit the opposite wall, thus smashing my thumb and causing 2nd degree burns on my hand.  Happily, not one piece of turkey or one drop of the juice spilled on any of the little cherubs and we were able to enjoy the Thanksgiving meal."

I bet I know a minister who'd back Uncle John on that story!

I Just Need to Get a Little Coffee

Dear Readers,
I owe you the rest of the story.  I wanted to have it here for you this morning...however, it was AWANA night, it is so very late, and I'm in need of sleep (and a little Nyquil!!)  My goal is to call a "teacher work day" in the morning, down my first pot of coffee, and have "The Rest of the Story" to you sometime today--

However...it occurs to me that at 3ish today, we are scheduled to have family pictures taken for the church directory.  Frankly, I'd rather take a beating--  Kate and I are already in negotiations regarding the family wardrobe, I'm just certain that Molly will incur some sort of injury involving her "almost bump free" face, or that I'll be so crazed by the time we are looking pretty that my face will be frozen in a permanate stage of distress, or that none of the colors in my "season" will fit tomorrow and I'm pretty sure what I want Meg to wear is deep, deep in the laundry.. . .

Other than those "minor details", as my Dad would say, I'll get another post on here assuming I'm fit to type with the nervous twitch that I'm bound to have! 

Here's to adventure!!

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