Christmas shopping

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I had so much fun with Georgia tonight! We left the girls at home with their daddy and headed to Target to Christmas shop. She had a pretty good idea what she wanted to get them, and their great-grand dad had sent us money for them as well. We heaped our cart with warm clothes, a few special toys, and gifts for their dad and uncle. Christmas shopping is definitely more fun with a shopping partner, and mine is the very best! The anticipation of the girls’ joy when they open their presents was wonderful. Then when we reached the register we sorted out who was paying for what…in perfect agreement.

The icing on the Christmas cake (pudding?) was a call from my son saying he and my daughter-in-love would be coming a day sooner than I had expected. To make it even better, they can stay three nights, rather than the here and back overnight at Thanksgiving.

I love Christmas. Next task: Wrapping presents!

Christmas kitchen #2

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Tonight the joyful Christmas kitchen chaos continued. Lily wanted to give each of her classmates a cookie (in a baggie) to go into their goodie bags for tomorrow’s Christmas party. Time was tight, as I had Christmas caroling practice this evening (a story for another day), so we started off with refrigerator sugar cookies. Lily and Olivia loved sprinkling red and green sugar on top of each cookie on the first batch before going to bed. I continued until we had enough for her 30 classmates and teacher, and then started in on chocolate chip ones, too.

Georgia asked me if it finally felt like Christmas because I was baking. While the cookies baked, I made my special Fantasy Fudge (my late mother-in-law’s recipe) to send to my brother-in-law in Ohio (he always gets a batch of his own for Christmas). Then I went out to the garage and announced that Christmas was officially here — the first batch of fudge was done.

Of course, during this whole process there were people wandering through the kitchen, tasting here, sniffing there, offering advice and encouragement.

After the cookies were baked, my job was done, so Georgia and Nick took over. She made adorable gift tags with my new one-inch punch, then they put each cookie in a baggie tied with ribbon. Of course, there is a plate of goodies for Lily’s teacher, as well. I think Lily will be pleased with the results of our group effort!

Many hands make light work!

Many hands make light work!

Christmas kitchen

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Ours was truly a Christmas kitchen tonight. I ventured out to Target to find a microwave to replace our late departed one, constrained by the dimensions of the cabinet niche it needed to fit. When I arrived home (triumphant, with new microwave — huzzah!), Georgia was in the midst of a wild candy-making fit, with the Christmas music channel in the background. Nick did a quick microwave installation (huzzah, again) and tutorial, then we forged ahead.

The candy melts were conspiring against Georgia, but I was able to whip them into shape. Georgia made these gorgeous peppermint-bark leaves for the girls’ teachers, as well as baking some chocolate chip cookies (for us to eat), brownies, and some free-form peppermint bark. She wrapped them up with bows and gift-tag labels, and will include a Starbucks gift card inside one of my handmade Christmas cards.

The most wonderful part of all was the three of us in the kitchen together. The girls were asleep and the adult conversation was comfortable and love-filled. And we all know that the magic ingredient in any cooking is the love.

Little Ballerina

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Tonight I am in “proud Grammy” mode, and I hope the photos explain why. Lily had her ballet Christmas program tonight and, even though her teacher called it “the world’s shortest recital”, it was still great fun!

Little ballerinas waiting to begin.  Lily is standing up next to the mirror.

Little ballerinas waiting to begin. Lily is standing up next to the mirror.

Lily, waiting.

Lily, waiting.

The girls were to come in black leotards, pink tights, with their hair up in a bun. The teachers added the finishing touches to their outfits — shimmery sequined skirts and hair ornaments. (A bonus for Lily was that her Aunt Melody sent a box with a new leotard, tights, wrap skirt, and tutu. She also sent Olivia a leotard, two pairs of tights, and a tutu. What fun!)

The dancers.  Lily is right beneath the Christmas wreath.

The dancers. Lily is right beneath the Christmas wreath.

Taking photographs was challenging, as the mom in front of me had her phone waving in the air, effectively blocking the view from our row. So I took a couple, then waited until afterwards to finish.

After they got home, Lily and Olivia put on their new outfits and decided to do some dancing. Lily was very patient with her little sister’s lessons.

Follow Big Sister's directions.

Follow Big Sister’s directions.

At the end of a lovely evening:  Hugs and kisses from Big Sister.

At the end of a lovely evening: Hugs and kisses from Big Sister.

Tomorrow morning is Olivia’s Christmas Pageant at Preschool, and Thursday night Lily’s class will be presenting their tap and jazz performance. Such fun!

Sleep-blogging

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One of the downsides to blogging late at night after the house is quiet: Falling asleep at the computer. I have been known to do this more than once (even more often while playing games in the middle of the night), but to my knowledge last night is the only time I have hit “Publish” before completely waking up and proofreading what I had written. Thank goodness posts can be edited after publishing, because last night’s post made no sense at all!

Today, telling Georgia what had happened and thinking about the silliness of it all, I got the giggles and could hardly stop. I love that blogging is so much fun for me that I can even enjoy my mistakes.

I hope you will tell your own stories without fear of mistakes…and always keep the giggles handy!

Christmas shopping

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In my conversations with random guests today (Along the lines of: “Are you tackling the Christmas shopping today?) Christmas shopping was the issue that never failed to get a smile from someone, whether they had children or not.

I don’t know whether they believed me when I remarked that, “I haven’t even started mine!” I wish I could say it was because I was handcrafting all the gifts, and would shop when I finished my crafting. Actually it is a manifestation of an idea I have always followed, regarding taking care to use in-the-area small businesswomen and men. It is partially why the direct sales model for gift shopping is so successful. If you want to find a unique gift item this Christmas, head to a local, independently owned business. Unlike purchases at the so-called Big Box stores, your contribution will make an impact on this small, locally-owned business’ survival.

And me…I’ll be starting to shop next week. (If you feel like shopping with my small, independently-owned business, check out PhotofunwithFawn.)

Forty-five years with Sesame Street

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While watching Sesame Street yesterday with Olivia, I heard something that really gave me pause: This is the forty-fifth year of Sesame Street! I started watching Sesame Street while in college, from the very beginning. Kermit the Frog and Oscar the Grouch have always been my VERY favorites, although my list of my favorites goes on to include Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster (and I hate that the producers are being PC and having him love veggies as well as cookies), the Swedish Chef, and the two old dudes that sit up in the balcony and make rude comments.

Watching Olivia be charmed by the Sesame Street characters is as much fun now as it was when Joseph watched over 40 years ago. The magic is still there, brought to us by the number and letter of the day. (Friday’s number was 4, and the letter was W.)

I wonder if the dreamers behind what became the Children’s Television Workshop envisioned creating a neighborhood that would be this enduring. Did they realize that the legacy they were developing would encompass multiple generations? It is such a joy to watch a show geared towards children that does not encourage rude behavior or assume parents (especially fathers) are idiots; one I can view with my granddaughters without cringing at the language or the storyline.

Sesame Street, I wish you another 45 years of visits by and with happy children.

Staying in

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Sometimes life just urges us to hunker down indoors and spend the day snuggling with someone special. And for us Grammies, that someone special is, more often than not, a grandchild.

Today, as it drizzled, rained, and rested between rains, Olivia and I stayed in, wrapped in blankets, and made each other cozy. We alternately watched shows on PBS and read the latest batch of books Olivia chose at the library. It was a lovely, laid-back day, and I think we both needed it.

Sweet dreams.

“Stormageddon”

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Well, all day I have been hearing reports and seeing pictures of the huge storm that hit Northern California early this morning. It is so hard to imagine closing schools in advance of an anticipated storm, as did many Marin County school districts. (As a practical matter, though, I would think that they districts would not lose the Average Daily Attendance funds if school were completely closed for an emergency, rather than just letting the parents decide to keep their students home.)

Anyhow, in preparation for the giant rainstorm to come, I swept the driveway and sidewalks completely clear of leaves this afternoon. Rain-soaked leaves on the sidewalk become VERY slippery after a while. I picked Lily up from school before the rain began. I took her to her Tap & Jazz Class…and returned her home, too, before the rain began. And Georgia made it safely home from work. We were ready and waiting for rain, but none came.

I checked and re-checked the weather forecast on my phone. Yes, we were still expecting rain — later. Each time I checked, the estimated rain arrival time was pushed farther ahead. And now, at 11:30, the forecast calls for a 60% chance of rain at 1:00 a.m., and a 100% chance (I have never seen that before) at 2:00 a.m.

(As I typed that last sentence I heard a huge rushing sound, and went to the front door to check things out. No rain yet, but major wind kicking up, rattling the trees and sending the leaves flying.)

It is 66 degrees out, which is the high for today. The rain is coming…I hope it rains gently all night, so that it can soak into the soil rather than running off down the gutters.

Ah, the pleasure of hearing rain as I sleep. Sweet dreams.

Winter

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I have come to the conclusion that I am not suited to winter weather. Today was grey and gloomy, with the Tule Fog shrouding the world until nearly noon. I ventured outdoors twice: in the morning to take Lily to school, and in the afternoon to fetch her home again. The rest of the day I tried to stay warm without cranking up the heater. I got all excited about 1:00 when the sun came out, but it retreated as quickly as it had come.

I layered on a sweater, zip-front hoodie, knee socks, slippers, and jeans. Meanwhile, Olivia scampered about wearing as few clothes as possible. Just looking at her made me chilly! (I know I must sound like a sissy, but we live in Central California, for Heaven’s sake.)

My answer to the cool house, of course, was to bake. Nothing like a 350 degree oven to warm things up. Unfortunately, as we are out of both chocolate candy and ice cream, I have eaten about half the loaf of blueberry bread that I baked. I think if I lived somewhere where it got really cold I would hibernate and/or bake all winter, and end up weighing 300 pounds by spring!

Tomorrow our state is gearing up for a ferocious storm — fierce enough that some San Francisco area school districts have canceled school. We are expecting rain to reach us on Friday, rain that is sorely needed, but will set us up for more Tule fog as the ground warms again. I am grateful that I don’t have to drive to work out in the country through the fog any more. I haven’t missed it a bit!

For the rest of the evening I will be curled up with a book, wrapped in a blanket. Warm!

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