Saturday, April 20, 2013

La Fin

For quite some time I have contemplated bringing this blog to its conclusion.  I have less to write about these days as my children grow older and quite frankly, I've realized that my writing abilities and creativity pale in comparison to so much that is out there.  The perfectionist in me has tried to shrug it offbut the skills of other bloggersas well as Pinterest and Etsy, have finally stripped away my denial.

What started as a blog to discuss my love of holidays morphed into more of a family scrapbook, the upside being that it assuaged much of my guilt about long-forgotten baby books, details of recollected celebrations and bins full of mementos whose histories, that except for this blog, would have been lost. I arrived at this blogging thing a little late and so envy those who have this medium to record their families as they grow and change. 

Thanks to those few of you who have checked in regularly to see if I posted (Jill and Robbie, this means you).  Sorry it has been so sporadic the last two years.  I lost my "mojo" (if I ever had any) when relocating to Texas and never seemed to quite find my groove again.  I have enjoyed, and many days even loved, sharing family traditions, celebrations, recipes and photos via this blog.  Thank you for indulging me.

Finally, to my children (and perhaps their children, one day) who will hopefully sit down to read these words and enjoy the photos, thank you for allowing me to share a part of your lives on this blog.  I hope you will cherish so many of the special moments that are contained within these pages.  I know I do.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It's St. Patrick's Day, baby!

Twenty years ago today, on the heels of the Snowpocalypse of '93 (and more than 24 hours without power), this happened.

Thirteen days before her due date and after 21 hours of labor, as the anesthesiologist said, we had our little "leprechaun."  She's been delighting us with her magical charm ever since.
Happy Birthday, McKenzie!  We love you.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spring Break

It's Spring Break week in Texas and we've just returned from a few days on the gulf coast of Florida (the most spectacular sand and surf anywhere in the continental U.S., no doubt).  Sadly, as has been our misfortune over the years, our spring break trip was marred by terribly cold, overcast and windy weather, effectively negating the wonder of our vacation, excepting the view from our condominium window.  

We consoled ourselves with thoughts of dinners out, books absorbed, quality time spent together and that illusive goal of relaxation. Still the weather was nothing less than miserable.  
All this had me thinking about some of our past spring breaks - many of them impaired by less than ideal weather, but part educational, part restful, while others merely represented the need for a change of scenery.  
Two thousand and one marked our first ever trip to Disney's Vero Beach resort.  It was cold then too. Still, we got to see Dodgers' Spring Training; were delighted by a surprise viewing of a Space Shuttle launch and spent a day at Disney World.
The next year, daring to tempt fate, we spent a second freezing Spring Break in Vero using the cold weather as an excuse to travel to see the Kennedy Space Center and the Piper Airplane Factory.
With the space shuttle in the background.
In 2005, we settled on an educational theme for our spring break (and a chance to visit some family as well). We began in Jamestown and Williamsburg, then traveled to see my alma mater as well as Thomas Jefferson's home, then on to Washington, D.C. for a couple of days.  Again, it was mostly freezing during our travels and was a hectic trip that was everything but restful.
What's Williamsburg without a tri-cornered hat?
In front of UVA's Rotunda 
Two years ago, we made the trip to Texas during Spring Break (to figure out if this was where we should make our home).  It was windy and sunny (as spring is here).  We then ventured to coastal Alabama, which just like Florida this week, was cold and overcast.
Finally last year, we traveled to California, both Los Angeles and San Diego. This combined the best of all vacations, sightseeing (Hollywood, DisneyLand - hard as we try, seems we can't get away from Mickey, and the San Diego Zoo); education (shout out to the Reagan and awesome Nixon libraries); and relaxation (Hotel Del Coronado, for the win!).  

A Disney Cruise (wow, in hindsight it seemed  we had a thing for "the Mouse") was warm and wonderful in 2004.

In 2009, we endeavored to see the world (or at least a corner of it) in 6 short days.  A trip to England and France was very enjoyable.  

P.S. Today is National Pi Day and yesterday the Cardinals elected a new Pope. I was a great fan of John Paul II. I even have a coffee table book in my living room about him. Tate and I were gathered around the tv for the announcement (my daughter texted me that she was watching the live stream in her computer at college)! You might have thought there was something in it for us Protestants, we were all so excited! Congratulations to Catholics everywhere!    

Friday, February 8, 2013

It's National Girl Scout Cookie Day

To my mind, there are few things as wonderful as Girl Scout cookies.  Don't get me wrong, there are better cookies (sorry, Girl Scouts), but there's just something wonderfully old-school about neighborhood girls knocking on your door asking you to purchase a box or two and then having to wait weeks and weeks (oh, the anticipation) for them to arrive.

There was a time when I bought lots and lots of cookies (an embarrassing amount, actually), as I shipped some overseas to a relative and to cookie-loving grandmothers far away and saved some for my own family, but these days I try to limit my purchase to just a few favorites. And, I always freeze a box or two so that about 7 or 8 months from now, everyone is delighted when I break out the Trefoils or Samoas or, let's face it, the Thin Mints.

At this year's Texas State Fair, the Girl Scouts had an entire exhibition hall celebrating the organization's 100th birthday. Despite the fact that I was a Brownie for just one short season, and here's the proof,

The Christmas ornament I made in Brownies. (You would have thought
40 years would have been long enough for me to replace the ribbon!) 
the exhibition was terrific, a real tribute to the past and founder Juliette Low, the present and the future.

I must admit I was pretty nostalgic as I took a glimpse of the orange paperback Brownie Handbook and the adorable uniform with its brown elastic belt.  I remember being particularly taken by the faux leather  tiny purse (I'll call it a pursette, for lack of a better word) that attached to the belt. It was so small, I'm not even sure what it was meant to hold.  Coins? A membership card, perhaps?  But that would be sort of silly wouldn't it, given that you were already wearing the uniform. Anyway, I was clearly sans my pursette when the photo above was taken, so here's a photo in case you are unfamiliar. Just to be clear, I did have my beanie on in the photo, it's just a little hard to see against the lovely hedge in my troop leader's back yard.

At the State Fair in July, any woman/girl  touring the exhibit who was ever a Girl Scout (or a Brownie) even for a very, very short while, as I was, received a sleeve of Girl Scout cookies.  Now that was something to celebrate.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ronald Reagan's Birthday and a Field Trip

Robbie and I did something really intellectual last night (a sort of Bachelor protest, if you will - sorry Bachelor lovers). We attended a lecture given by Presidential historians Michael Bechloss and David Brinkley. Can I say, if I haven't already lost your interest, that it was a really thoughtful, and not too long, discussion of the legacy of the Presidents of the second half of the 20th century. It was, in my mind, super interesting. Of course, I've long professed my love for all things Presidential. Mr. Bechloss said, it takes about 40 years from the time a President leaves office for his legacy to really solidify but that a legacy is perhaps a very fluid thing, regardless. I won't attempt a recitation of all that I learned last night but trust me when I say it was super informative and left me even more curious about the 44 men who've served in the country's highest office.  

But, the real point of this post is that today is Ronald Wilson Reagan's 102nd birthday!  Now, I've written before about President Reagan. He was the first President I was old enough to cast a vote for (November 1983) and I had the good fortune to see him up close and personal in the White House Rose Garden (why yes, lucky me). But this year, while we were visiting California, our family made the trek to Simi Valley to visit the Reagan Library (the most visited of all of the Presidential libraries). A spectacular setting, an endearing childhood, Americana, an enormous time capsule of the 80s, Air Force One, it was all a treat.

The view from the library.  
The statue of President Reagan, rancher-style,  that welcomes visitors.
A portion of the Berlin Wall.
The burial site.  
I could probably wax on incessantly about this, but suffice it to say, if you have the opportunity to visit  a Presidential Library, regardless of the man's policies, politics or persona (though if you're an admirer, it will no doubt enhance your experience), it is totally worth it.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

DMV Dread

I spent this morning here.  To say that I'd been dreading it would be an understatement.  Honestly, a root canal or watching Ghostbusters II seem like less painful ways to spend some time. But my youngest needed, okay, wanted, to get his learner's permit (belatedly, he likes to remind me).  So, bright and early, before it even opened, we drove to the Department of Motor Vehicles to wait in line. I was convinced it would be hours standing in line with our  file folder FULL of documents. (Texas surely has one of the toughest thresholds for proving residency and obtaining a driver's license. This had been my own experience when we moved here, anyway). Perhaps it was the unseasonalbly cold weather, or the fact that some are just finishing their holiday celebrations or that it's only the 3rd of the month and procrastinators will wait to the end of January, but the line was short and the DMV workers in great spirits and very helpful. From arrival to departure (learner's in hand) only took about 45 minutes.  

Now, I have a six-month interlude before he can obtain his driver's license so I plan to enjoy every worry-free moment.