Friday, December 31, 2010

Onward and Upward

So many people have gone through trying and difficult times this past year, I thought I should write something wise and helpful as 2010 comes to a close. My pitiful attempts, however, seem trite. There's not much I can say to make anyone feel better about his or her particular situation when life can be rock hard and crushing.

My prayer is that if you are questioning God's love for you—asking whether He cares, whether He even exists—you will hear a clear and resounding YES throughout this next year.

Happy New Year, gentle readers.

Dinner last night: split pea and ham soup, sweet cornbread muffins

Exactly one year ago:

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We're All Winners

My girls' dreams of spending their Christmas vacation sledding and skiing have been thwarted by the colder than typical temperatures of this December.

Since the kids are spending so much time indoors, I came up with a plan to play a different board game each day and keep a running list of who won—at the end of two weeks we would have a Game Master.

We lasted about 3 days with keeping track of first place; after that, we began playing games willy-nilly and just for the fun of it. My eldest daughter loves Scrabble. My 10-year-old prefers Apples to Apples. The twins are learning how to play Chutes & Ladders. I'm partial to card games and my husband likes jigsaw puzzles.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go whip some girls' booties in Sorry and then beat a couple of preschoolers at Candyland.

Dinner last night: caprese pasta salad

Exactly one year ago:

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


My 10-year-old's science teacher sent out an e-mail, reminding all us parents about the eclipse that was forecast to be seen in clear Alaskan skies on Monday night. Evidently, a full lunar eclipse will only occur once in our lifetime, and is an event not to be missed.

In celebration, my husband made me sit down to watch Eclipse, the third film in the Twilight series, and then he promptly fell asleep about 20 minutes into it. Some loud noise—perhaps Bella shouting at Edward that SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE WANTS—finally stirred my chick flick watcher, and he stood up and abruptly turned off the TV. We both shuffled off to bed, where our tired old bodies immediately fell into a deep sleep.

I awoke with a start and croaked in despair, "We missed the lunar eclipse." My husband peered at his glow-in-the-dark watch and said, "Well, it's exactly 10:30 right now." I'm continually amazed at my inner clock. I wanted to see that lunar eclipse, and my subconscious woke me at just the right time.

If you're thinking this post ends with beautiful pictures of the exceedingly rare and awe-inspiring amber moon, think again. The temperatures were subzero outside, my bed was toasty warm, and I was too tired to roll my lazy rear out of it. I missed the once-in-a-lifetime full lunar eclipse.

The moral of the story? Petulant teenage girls who prefer a thin, pasty, soulless vampire over a good-looking, warm-blooded, passionate wolfman are crazy.

Dinner last night: Chinese takeout

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

COO - KEE!! Ruhm! Yum! Um!

One of my family's favorite Christmas traditions is baking and decorating sugar cookies. This year, the twins joined us for the first time. I didn't know what to expect from them—sprinkles poured directly onto the floor? eating the frosting straight from the bowl?—but they were so creative and focused. They sat at the table for a good 45 minutes, working diligently and carefully. It's a Christmas miracle.

My 10-year-old was clowning around and deliberately dabbed frosting on her nose, but the twins were too busy for hijinks. Cookie decorating is serious business.

Cookies don't have to be pretty to be pretty special.

Dinner last night: spaghetti and meatballs, corn, salad

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Santa Dilemma

When I was 7 or 8, I started hearing rumors that Santa was a made-up character. I asked my dad, and he assured me that Santa was real. So I broke some kid's nose when he argued with me that Santa did not exist. Kidding. But I did vigorously defend Santa's honor against the other children who chanted that I was a big dummy for continuing to believe. When my dad eventually admitted that Santa did not exist, I was furious. I wasn't upset about the overall myth of Santa; I was angry that my father had lied to me when I asked him straight out for the truth. I remember thinking to myself that I would tell the truth to my kids if they asked me about Santa.


I've never set out deliberately to fool my children into believing in Santa, but they've managed to learn about him despite my attempts to run ahead into stores and hide all the displays or tape the mouths of their playmates who begin babbling about Claus's reindeer or his elves or his big jelly belly. I've said NOTHING to my 4-year-old twins about Santa, but this year, they seem to know all about him and how he works.

So do I give in and let the charade continue? Or do I nip it in the bud?

My eldest daughter figured out on her own. She never cared one way or the other about Santa, so realizing he was a myth didn't bother her. My second daughter was one of those kids who really got into Christmas, and I may or may not have encouraged her excitement with a present marked "From Santa" and a half-eaten cookie left on the plate she set out for him. When she eventually came to me in earnest and asked me to tell her the truth, I did . . .  and we both had a big cry at the loss of her childish belief. It was quite traumatic for her and for me, and I don't ever want to go through that again.

I'm such a hypocrite.

Dinner last night: salmon patties with creamed peas, green salad

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sing, Choirs of Angels

I've attended my share of dance recitals and 6th grade band concerts and kindergarten graduations and poetry recitations and award ceremonies and elementary plays and soccer games and science fair demonstrations. But there's something about children singing Christmas hymns that warms my weary heart.

Dinner last night: eggplant parmigiana, salad, steamed asparagus

Exactly two years ago:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Merry Bypass to All, and to All a Good Stent

My dad and his wife decided to give an early Christmas gift to all of us kids. Hospital visits and prayer chains for everyone!

Last week, my stepmom skipped up the stairs per usual to her bedroom. My dad noticed with apprehension that upon reaching the top, his sweetie was shockingly winded and gray in pallor. He insisted she visit the doctor, who after reading the results of her stress test, said Get ye to Anchorage stat. They drove to the big city for further tests, during which two blockages were discovered at a spot where cardiologists couldn't place a stent—complete blockages of the sort that cause a DROP DEAD ANY SECOND kind of heart attack. She was whisked off to an operating room, where surgeons cracked open her sternum, rummaged around in her chest, and tied the whole package up with string.

Three days into her recovery from open heart surgery, my dad was sitting at her bedside quietly weeping as he mopped her brow—okay, maybe he was reading the newspaper while she talked on her cell phone—when he started experiencing chest pain that wouldn't pass, despite the popping of nitro pills like candy. In fact, the pain intensified and radiated down his left arm. Since he was in the hospital any way, might as well take a ride in the wheel chair. Turns out he had a major blockage requiring emergency surgery and the insertion of two stents.

Both are now resting comfortably in their hospital beds, while visions of IVs dance through their heads.

UPDATE: Dad and Vickie are out of the hospital and recuperating at my home for a few days. Welcome to Kim's Kompassionate Kare, the fastest recovery center around . . . because there's nothing like a pair of screeching 4-year-old lunatics asking 500 times a day to see your scar to make you want to get out of your bed, on your feet, through the door, and back to your normal life.

Dinner last night: vending machine delights

Exactly one year ago:

Friday, December 3, 2010

An Afternoon with Hans Brinker

The days are cold and crisp.

Ponds have frozen solid and smooth.

Guess who'll be receiving skates for Christmas? Until then, the twins are happy to shuffle across the ice in their boots.

Dinner last night: split pea and ham soup, cornbread

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Good-Bye, November

Some years, I am really organized when it comes to the holidays. This is not one of those years. Unfortunately, if I don't prepare for Christmas around here, it won't happen. My husband will make sure to stock the fridge with eggnog, but that's about it.

I need to accept the fact that time is indeed flying, buckle down, and get to work . . . hauling the totes of Christmas decorations from the attic . . . writing Christmas cards . . . planning a schedule for baking and the menu for Christmas Eve dinner . . . shopping for and wrapping gifts . . .

. . . right after I finish my mug of cocoa and the book I'm reading.

Dinner last night: venison with cranberry sauce, wild rice, brussels sprouts

Exactly one year ago: