Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Not exactly 'Home Alone' but close enough ...

his "Home Alone" face

The Jump and Roll was jumping and rolling. Kids heading in every direction. The smaller of my two had disappeared into the climbing structure and the biggun wanted me to help her glide on her rented wheels.

I was talking to some other mothers when the music faded out and the microphone cut in. ...

"Would SIOBHAN please come to the ticket counter. Again. SIOBHAN please come to the ticket counter."

I stood there, perplexed. For some reason my mind focused on the word AGAIN.

"That can't be me," I said and looked toward my wallet on the table. Didn't lose anything with my name on it. And they stressed 'again.' Maybe they're looking for someone they'd already summoned before."

"Really?" my friend laughed. "You think there could possibly be another Siobhan here? The name has gotten that popular?"

She was right. How many of us could there be? I started to worry. Maybe there was an accident and Jed couldn't get through on the cell phone ..."

I started walking faster toward the place where we entered, passing the place I was supposed to appear (a place I would have named the "PRIZE BOOTH" not "TICKET COUNTER" if I were in charge of naming areas in a large indoor playground).

Of course. ... It's probably a good thing I'm not in charge of too many children. ...

A woman stopped me and asked if I was "Siobhan" before I noticed the boy in her arms was my son.

I held out my arms, feeling horrible.

"He couldn't find you and was crying," the woman said. "He knew your name, but wouldn't tell me his."

I'm not sure which was worse ... that I had not noticed he was missing or that I had no idea he could pronounce my name so clearly.

Monday, December 27, 2010



Welp, I'll tell you what ... I'm never going to think of TYPEFACE the same way again.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We really do mean 'Happy Holidays'

foodies at a party

Her classroom holiday party - THE event of the season - was today and the not-ready-for-daytime family was invited.

Hair? Uncombed. *Check*

Faces? Unwashed. *Yes* And *Yes*

Fancy clothes? What? We just did laundry the other day. Our comfy clothes are perfectly presentable. There's no need to get out the ol' prom dress. Marking that as an *Uh-huh*

What about holiday colors? Orange and black ARE holiday colors. What planet do you call home, anyway? *Holiday-Schmoliday*

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Flying off the shelf ...


Let's hope the eight tiny reindeer can keep their roof-clattering paws hooves off.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Updates and downgrades


My camera has decided it needs a break.

Its protests come in the form of noise, focus problems and exposure maladies.

It's almost like the surprise of film without the happy results.

More than slightly disappointing.

There's only a few days left before I conclude my 365 project ...

And I don't suppose Santa will be hitting up the Nikon elves on my behalf this Christmas, but there may be enough for a couple of rolls of film and brief return to the analog days.

I've been missing film almost as much as I've been missing life before Internets.


It's true.

Last weekend I turned off the phone. Barely touched the computer. And the world didn't spin off its axis. It was a relief, really.

There's something about imposing goals (on something you like to do) and trying to meet them (in a to-the-letter sort of way) ... It sucks the joy right out of it.

So. ...

I'll finish the project, but I'll likely be phoning it in.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holy craftacular, Batman!


So ...

You know how The Champ is a fan of bats, right?

*Long, meandering, beside-the-point story alert*

Well, we were out late one night ... well past bedtime ... for a holiday event that almost ensures the kids will fall asleep in the car on the way home and you'll have to carry them up to their beds ...

and hope their teeth won't disintegrate from a night without dentifrice.

*Check. Check. Check ... and Check.*

Of course, Jed is already snoring by the time I'm done making sure the kids are tucked in ... I think I'll go downstairs and surf the interwebs for a while.

... also, I seem to recall feeding time for the dog and cat has been overlooked.

So I head downstairs ... Stopping dead in my tracks at the fourth-step from the bottom.

Because in the living room, FLYING AT ME, is a bat.

Now, I know bats are pretty small and harmless when they're all folded up and hanging upside down in a bat lair, cleverly cut into the side of a mountain by some Hollywood film crew ...

In my house. Where my bed and computer are. The thing was a menacing giant.

Now, I did what any self-respecting, bat-loving, can-do-anything woman would do in a situation like this: I crouched as low to the floor as humanly possible, crawled back up the stairs, closed the doors to the kids' rooms and woke my husband from a sound sleep.

"There's a bat in the house."

"I know. You're parents gave it to him last summer. It came with a ball and glove."

"No. The winged creature kind."

He woke up, went downstairs and commenced to wonder what he was going to do about this predicament. ...

While I sat at the top of the stairs and waited. ...

I heard the opening and closing of doors as he went on a room-to-room check.

"Did he come back your way?"

"Nope. Nothing up here but us chickens."

He was removing picture frames from the walls and banging sheet rock. He went to the Christmas tree and gave it a shake. Nothing.

Then I heard the unmistakable sound of a muffled curse.


"Did you find him?"

"He went out the door. He's gone now."

"How do you know it's a him?"

"Bad sonar, but won't ask for directions."


OK ... So that's pretty much where the inspiration for this week's craftacular project comes from ... that and the need to have a simple handmade thing-a-ma-jig to put under the tree for the kidlets.

So I put the idea "soft and comfy pillow" together with "winged, rat-like harbinger of terror."

I predict sweet dreams!


* A 9' circular pillow form or polyfill.
* Brown fur-like fabric (I cut two 10-inch circles).
* 1/2 yard of Black pleather material (leftover from the bat costume).
* A few triangles of white craft felt.
* A black, fleece remnant (cut into two triangles for ears, and a little mushroom for nose).
* Saftey eyes.
* A 4" piece of ribbon.


* A sewing machine


* A live model



* Cut two circles of brown fabric for the body.

* Cut two bat wings out of pleather. Flip over and use them to cut two more.
make them the same length as the body.

* Cut two, large triangles out of fleece and fold into smaller triangles.

* Cut mushroom shape out of fleece for nose; and cut triangles out of white felt.


* Cut tiny slits for eyes in the front side of the body fabric and insert safety eyes; secure the backs. Next sew on nose and teeth. I sewed around the entire nose, but secured the teeth only at the top.

* Flip wings so the outsides face in, and pin them together. Sewing around three sides of each wing. Turn right-side out through the end opening. Use a pencil to poke any tight spots out.

* Take the ear triagles and sew around the edge, leaving room to turn it right side out.

* Being careful to put the ears at the top of the face, turn the body circles right side in and sandwich the fabric over the wings, Ears and ribbon loop (also pointing inward). Pin around the outside.

* Sew around the whole thing, making sure to secure the appendages and leave enough room to insert the stuffing or pillow form.

* Turn right side out.

* Insert stuffing or pillow form.

* Close up the opening.


A flightless rodent you're kids CAN cuddle.

*In case you're wondering ... I put the ribbon loop at the bottom so he can hang upsidedown when he's taking a nap.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I know there are signs everywhere ...

Tar arrow 339/365

I just wish mine weren't directing me into traffic.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Planets align ... for only two hours

you can pray for a snowday ...

Just because you want a snow day ...

And you attend a school that is historically known to close on the mere whiff of flakes ...

going to school

Doesn't mean the planets will align for more than a two-hour delay.

Sorry, Charlie.

Monday, December 13, 2010

More than it seems

fashion colors

Dear Ittybit,

I know I should feel embarrassed by the excess.

More than two dozen people invited to a two-hour birthday party.

At Christmas time, no less.

But I don't feel embarrassed.

The much reviled gift bag is in full production mode at our house.

I understand the hatred for such things. Before I was a child, I've come to understand, the party WAS the present.

When I was growing up a few kids would go home with prizes, which was probably how all this excess was born. Everyone, as they start having children of their own, remembers feeling like a loser as they left party after party empty handed.

And here we are - adults, a whole lifetime later - trying to compensate for all the mild disappointments with small bag of trinkets to be handed out to the children we sugared up and are sending home with their parents.

We rent places and spaces, trying to create memories that will last until next year when we'll try to top ourselves.

It sounds so much more of an indictment of modern life that it seems. "It's only money" is the polar opposite of "it's such a waste." Schools of thought that can't meet in the middle and play nice.

It's social/economic position vs. social/economic position: The haves vs. the have nots.

Either way, all that angst and anticipation gets channeled into a plastic and paper assembly line. And things that don't really matter at all -- things that will undoubtedly wind up at the bottom of a drawer -- end up meaning more than they should.

... Except that they do, somehow, matter in the moment we do them. In the minutes we spend planning, shopping and producing we are working together. We are sharing a moment.

I had begun to think it didn't matter that it doesn't matter.

But I know it does matter.

The thing we lose by being so caught up in the details is the big picture; this celebration birth and belonging and life gets lost in the minutia of the minute.

More than seven years ago, when I sat on an examining table in a paper robe listening to the doctor telling me I would have a Christmas baby ... I felt sorry for her.

I thought she would forgotten in the hoopla that is the holidays.

I had no way of understanding what a gift I would get that Christmas when I met her. I didn't have the forethought, and still don't, to see how Christmas would be forever changed by you.

Each year brings a new revelation.

So as we ready for the day you will turn seven, I want to tell you to just enjoy this moment for all that it is and all it could be.

And I'll try to do the same.

Love and just-about-birthday kisses,


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Got cookies?

Cookie Party

The first time I earnestly made cookies for a "Cookie Party" (somewhere in the neighborhood of six or 18 thousand dozens) I went into labor a day before the party and the butter shortbreads, hand dipped in dark chocolate, were parceled out to the nursing staff on the maternity ward.

That was about seven years ago ...

This year we attended the same party and Jed took over the production, making his grandma's recipe bourbon balls.

(Jed, if you're reading, I did NOT spit mine out in the trash ... that was someone else. I pinky swear.)

Thing is, I kinda wish there were more of these kinds of parties in my holiday itinerary. I could eat dinners made of cookies from now until Christmas, no problem.

So, with that in mind, I thought I'd host a virtual cookie exchange here. I'd share a recipe with you in hopes you'll share one with me.

Of course I didn't really have a recipe ... so chances are I won't be able to recreate them ...

(Aren't you glad you come here?)

Anyhow ... without further spoilage, I give you ...


PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees

TOSS the following ingredients into a mixing bowl:
* Two cups or so of finely ground oatmeal
* A few shakes of enriched white flour (maybe a 3/4 of a cup) or almond flour
* About two tablespoons of butter, softened
* About two tablespoons of canola oil
* Half a box of dark brown sugar
* About half a cup of granulated sugar
* Two pours of vanilla extract
* A pinch of salt
* A spoon-tip of baking soda (couldn't find the baking powder but I would have put in an equal amount of that).

For a while.

About a cup of chocolate chunks
3/4 of a bag of shredded coconut
three dried pineapple rings, chopped

Heaping teaspoons of batter on a parchment lined baking sheet)
Bake for 10 minutes.

*I know they don't look like much, but they taste so good.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Snow kidding


While his handwriting would indicate he missed his calling as a doctor, his footwriting is completely legible.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I'm kind of glad I didn't see this ...

as I was walking IN to the dentist's office.

Seeing it on the way out was bad enough.


Monday, December 06, 2010

Secret's in the tummy ... (not the wrist)


I'm thinking this fairly adequately sums up how three-year-olds make gingerbread houses.

Fairly standard operation whether you are one, two or ... you know ... older.

Friday, December 03, 2010

It's practically a law of nature ...

Give a kid a a gift, and they'll play with the box.


So, without further explanation: I present ROCKET BOX.



* The bottle separators from a LARGE case of wine
* Scissors
* Hot melt glue gun


* Paint
* Glitter
* Markers


* The wine that came in the box.




* Take the inserts out of the box.
* Cut away one section of cardboard from a four-section piece.
* Cut the top of the remaining tabs into triangles.
* Fold so that you have a square box and pointed end.
* Glue the edges in place creating a box and nosecone.
* Cut another triangular piece and glue into the nosecone.
* Take the fourth section of cardboard and glue it into the bottom of the rocket, a section will extend past the box. Allow enough extra space so that it "catches" under the rocket's nosecone.
* Score the bottom piece of cardboard and fold it upward to make a flap.
* Add as many floors (compartments) to the rocket as will fit.
* Cut more triangles and glue to exterior ... these can be handles.
* Decorate or leave plain


* Spend the next several hours in test-flight operations.

Also ...

thanks, dad

Say 'Thanks' to the engineer. He likes to be appreciated.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What time is it?



the Season

holiday excess ...

Which ... in my little corner

of the universe means purchasing

coffee cups I only need because my last

(and most favorite) one, which was to be put in

the car's cup holder, went flying off the car's roof

and broke into a bazillion pieces as I drove away from

the place where my bed and coffee maker reside.

No Matter.

It's that

time again ...

It's time for the slinging of holiday swag!

The new Holiday Masthead Mug is 10 (or 12, who knows) ounces of holiday joy, which I perennially have trouble giving away ... even with the addition last year of homemade candy. (But I'm not bitter.)

And new this year, we bring you Holiday Masthead Stacking Mugs ...


With four of us around it's a party!

Yeah. I know ... whatev ...

Finally ... and having nothing (and everything) to do with the holiday season of excess and guilt, I present the ultimate in passive aggressive travel drinkware:


I'm calling it the "Just Say No" travel mug.

These, and much, much more, are available for purchase at egregious prices at Cafe Press.

**And ... as per custom ... If you'd like a mug but don't want to shell out mucho dinero, just fill my email box with love. I'll pick one reader/commenter at random and you'll get a mug filled with homemade toffee. You know ... whenever I get a chance to make it.