Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Lights and Why the Floors are Sticky

Its the Holiday Season in Seattle.  This means that parking lots are always full, websites and calendars are buzzing with listings of  Craft Fairs, Winter Festivals, theater, dance, Meaningful Moments with Santa at the mall and Family Traditions (Trademark, TM, TM).  There's the Nutcracker (which seems to be some kind of obligatory cult to which you drag your kids), Christmas train rides, a carousel, ice-skating and many opportunities to buy Christmas gifts and treat yourself along the way.

When you call your friends, people preface any attempt to make plans with "I know its the busy season but..." as if it is understood that we are all overstressed and scheduled with our Holiday Spirit (TM) and yet, my secret is that we are not that busy. 

Sure, there are many Memorable things to do which exemplify the winter season.  There are things that are fun to do.  However,  Fun and Memorable do not always coincide.  At times I feel the sheer abundance on offer tempts us to pay or participate in experiences just because they are there.  So, I try to remember to leave time to do the things I like, like running, pilates, drinking lattes, spending time with friends and ....

 baking cookies :)

Eating our way to Christmas
Today I hosted a "Cookie Exchange" in which 6 of us baked cookies and brought them to my house to swap.  We each ended up with a mixed box (or rather boxes) of cookies.

As a result, my kitchen is a wreck - the floor is sticky - the dishwasher is on its third load and I cannot eat dinner tonight because of all the sampling I have been doing all day.

The cookies await division (and sampling)

Wren digs his hand into a tub of marshmallow cream.

Anna and Meghan work out an algorithm to allocate cookies equitably.

These large frosted cookies were Wren's favorites. 
He ate TWO immediately I had my portion allocated.

But it was a lot of genuine fun and Wren had his best playdate ever (4 friends for a total of 4 hours!)

And did I mention that the cookies are Utterly Fabulously Varied and Delicious (TM).

Lighting the Path to Goodness
We also enjoy Christmas Lights and have recently decorated the house with colored strands of lights and draped other white ones over the bushes.  We have yet to install the illuminated deer which raises and lowers its head (seriously, folks abroad.  It does!).  A few weeks ago, we visited a display of Christmas Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden.  It was very intensely pretty.  I would be one of those outsider artists if my house looked anything like the garden but it was a fun thing to do together and an excuse for a hot chocolate [during the holiday season kids take to asking for hot chocolate instead of wearing sweaters and coats].

Wren sips cocoa by the shining lake of lights.

A glowing moon by the Japanese pavilion.

The Garden Vista

Wren looks out over the lake made of lights.
The spider lights were a favorite.
Wren was interested in the fly that was caught in the web.

Frost is enjoying the holiday season.  He says that to him it means "Fun, getting presents, celebration also family times and presents and Compassion To Others."

I notice that he has been well indoctrinated.

Wren says that birthday and Christmas mean that he will get Lego Lavatraz.

The Fight as Family Tradition
Wren is enjoying being a Warrior and spends much of the day hauling around weapons (bows, arrows, guns, wooden swords).  He likes to parry and wrestle with Frost but occasionally over-reaches and hurts Frost (and visa versa).

Wren says "Take a picture of my bad guy face."

Yesterday, Wren and Frost were on the couch.  Frost was watching Tower Prep on TV.  Wren waved his rifle at Frost and said "I am going to hit you in the eye" and then proceeded to swing at Frost and hit him across the nose.  Frost had an egg on his nose in a place that I have never seen swell - he was crying and Wren received the ultimate punishment - all the weapons went away for 24 hours. 

He kept checking if it was "the next day yet?"  Thankfully, he has been a bit more circumspect with his artillery today and didn't overexpose his 3 and 4 year old playmates with his fighting moves.  More than a few times our friends mentioned how their children (two are eldest boys) are not exposed to as many concepts as Wren because "they don't have older siblings."

I didn't choose to complete the sentence as I would usually:  "They don't have older siblings who play video games and a father who likes fantasy battles."

The Geek Tradition -  Penny Arcade Charity Auction
Speaking of Joshua's fantasy battles, his Christmas tradition is to attend the Penny Arcade Child's Play Charity Auction.  This year I went with him.

Josh and I actually do go out sometimes.
It was a lot of fun with people dressed in period costume, tattooed ladies and men in coat tails.  There was also a stray Zombie wandering around (from Plants Versus Zombies - PVZ), apparently looking for his creators at Pop Cap Games.

The Portal Gun $15K.  Apparently you do not run around
the house playing Paintball with it.

The most eye-opening part of the night was the auction of high-ticket items like a Portal Gun known to geeks and officianados as a masterful replica of a significant element of gamer lore but as a Toy Gun to the rest of us.  It sold for over $15,000, buoyed by goodwill towards Children's Hospital and a certain amount of 'Festive Cheer'.

I hope you are enjoying your Holiday Season and are just the right amount of busy to have fun.

Wren turns FOUR in a few days.  Keep and eye out for a birthday party post.


Anonymous said...

Happy Happy Birthday Wren. Love you Granny

Anonymous said...

where are the blogs? i feel out of MUM