Saturday, December 15, 2012

a lot like Christmas

Getting into the Christmas mood is a little trickier when the mercury's not dipping below 60. One has to fool the senses with lots of Christmas baking, decorating, & pandora permanently set to "Christmas classics". Becca's done a wonderful job trimming Horizon View. I even have a spray of frosted snowblooms in my bathroom to remind me what winter's like outside of SoCal.
In 4 days, I'll be on my way back to IL though, so I'll get a real taste of winter. :(. This past month has flown by. Noah asked me today, "Why is it that when you're an adult, the time goes by so fast?" I couldn't give him an answer. Though I've had more time to ponder the mountains and valleys the last 4 weeks than I've had since before I got my first job at 16. It's been a delightful respite. And part of me isn't quite ready to go back to the cold. There are however, 17 good reasons to visit, and I am so looking forward to seeing them.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

like cinderella...before

Aren't these the cutest liners? Couldn't resist them!
Thursday we cleaned the house from top to bottom. The fridge got cleaned out at lunch. The kids were done with school before noon. All the windows were cleaned. The garage got vacuumed. We discovered the original color of the van. The never-ending war against dirt was temporarily subdued. There was even time to bake a batch of whole wheat apple coconut muffins. And people, this was all before 2:30 pm. I have no idea what happened. Becca & I are trying to figure out how to set this cycle on "rinse, repeat, repeat, repeat". All on only 2 pots of coffee betwixt the both of us. (Normally, it's...more.) As we were congratulating ourselves at lunch over a job well done, looking quite toothsome in our bedraggled state, Noah piped up, "Mom, you look like Cinderella..." then he leaned over to Sophie and said behind his hand in a stage whisper, "...before..." We lost it. He's got quite the sense of comedic timing. Most of the time he is intentionally funny, but some of the funniest times are on accident. On our way to pick up more visitors at the airport, Noah was working on a homework crossword puzzle. Sophie read the clue, "The groom walked his ______ around the track."
        "That's easy!" Noah exclaimed. "The groom walked his bride around the track." I'm surprised Becca managed to stay on the road.
        And since I've hit most of the mundane topics (funny things kids say, baking, cleaning, running errands--Wes, are you rolling your eyes yet, saying, "women!"?) I'm also going to talk about the weather:  it looks like it will be another beautiful day here in San Diego, although a little chilly at 65. (And I've lost a bit of my smugness since it's been about that back in the Midwest. But hey, I'm glad for it. Do you think it will stick around til the 18th? I wouldn't mind if I never experience temperatures below 55 this winter...)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

weekend recap

Here are promised photos from weekend. A few of the highlights:
1. riding in a Mustang convertible through the hills of SoCal.
2. meeting new people that I kind of already knew through previous travels and siblings.
3. discovering a new beach a mere 30 minutes from Escondido.
4. being able to be part of Lizzie's baptism weekend.
5. singing with really good singers.
6. driving to Wagonbach's alone without getting lost.
7. eating Dennis Fulop's kefli.
8. playing Dutch Blitz three nights in a row.
9. Hungarian desserts on Sunday.
10. hiking Elfin Woods.
11. meeting a marine missionary and hearing his testimony.
12. coming back to my Califamily after being gone for 1.5 days and hearing Will say, "I didn't miss you." Becca - "Really? Then why did you keep asking about her?" Success!
13. ordering from the "secret" menu at In 'n' Out. (hint: animal fries)
15. feeling like I was "coming home" when we turned onto Horizon View Drive.
15. conquering the hills driving at night.

Monday, December 3, 2012

i chose to laugh

I was going to write a really nice post about my weekend. It was very nice. I met some new people who were very nice. I don't want to downplay it at all because it really was very lovely. I will perhaps post more pictures of some of the highlights at a later date.
But then Monday happened. And I figured you would find it much more entertaining. At 7 pm I thought it would be a good idea to tackle the Christmas cookie list Becca & I made earlier today. A totally reasonable hour, I thought. Never mind the kid's bedtime's 7:30. Why in the world would they want to join me in a messy, sugary, distastrous endeavor rather than fall into the comfort of their own beds?
Also, I'd had a rather harrowing supper. Dinner, I mean. I will not make the presumption that I have any idea what it's like to be a mother. But I'm understanding it more and more as I observe it from the inside. (Mother, I am sorry for being a selfish little beast at times.) It's not a job for the faint of heart. It's not a job for the unsuspecting & unintentional. It's not a job for those without a sense of humor & an ability to admit imperfection. It's absolutely terrifying realizing I have a little bit of power & influence over such moldable young hearts & minds. Imagine if I were actually the mother! (They have a great one, by the way.) I'm not claiming I know what it's like, and I won't make you suffer through a long explanation of the merits & fulfilling parts of helping Becca out with her kids, but just let me tell you that it is. Actually, I am going to tell you. (What? No one's making you waste your lunch hour reading this.) It is crazily satisfying to see their faces light up when you let them crack the eggs (so what if they spill it all over the counter?). It is strangely moving to watch Will's pudgy little fingers forming cookie dough into balls (so what if they aren't perfectly spherical?). It is a kodak moment when he turns to me and says, "We're chefs, aren't we? I like you, Jenna...can I lick out the bowl?" with those little scarecrow eyebrows raised (So what if he's totally manipulating me?). But like everything else in life, not every moment's a kodak moment.
Because at 7 pm, we were making caramel rolo surprise cookies. They are tasty. Or, as Clint said, "These are really quite spectacular." They. are. good. Come on, a rolo wrapped in chocolate cookie, dipped in sugar and chopped pecans? Here's the recipe. When you make them, you will appreciate the fact that Will was my sous-chef. We were getting along quite nicely (see note in paragraph above, "I like you, Jenna") as long as I let him mold the balls and wrap them around the rolos and dip them in the sugar and place them on the cookie sheet. He only fell off his chair once. And we only made a complete disaster of Becca's kitchen. And I'm pretty sure my "wash your hands every time you so much as breathe on a finger" lecture went unheeded the moment my back was turned. And he most likely thumbed his nose at me while he did it. Then the other two, who were playing "mad scientist" (hence Sophie's lab coat), came slithering out to the kitchen, beckoned by the heavenly scent of baking cookies and insisted on helping too. (Never mind that I'd tried to convice Noah all afternoon that it would be great fun to bake a batch of cookies.) In the midst of 8 hands, the sugar bowl went smashing to the floor.
I sent the kids out of the kitchen so they woudn't step on the glass shards--and because it might've been an hour past their bedtime...oops. As I stood in the kitchen, shopvac in my hand, a pile of dishes to be done, Clint taking pictures of my neat, well-kept appearance, kids still not settled down for the night, the kitchen timer beeping obnoxiously, a tray of cookies still waiting to go in the oven, I thought, "So this is what it feels like to be a mother."  And I chose to laugh instead of cry. I feel like that's maybe the way to survive motherhood. But I could be wrong. I don't claim to be one. I've got a long way to go still. But for a moment, I think I understood how it might feel. By the way, the cookies turned out perfectly, every single one.