(otherwise known as a Quick Takes wannabe)
1. I think I can take a deep breath now. Christmas preparations... at least a big chunk of them... are done. Of course, I still have a hefty amount to do, like send out Christmas cards and wrap the rest of the presents, but hey! I'm feeling pretty good about the progress made so far! Surprisingly, I did more in-store shopping than I have in years. I had forgotten how much fun it is to shop by actually picking up the items and looking them over. I'm not sure I'll do the bulk of my shopping that way next year, but I'll definitely visit the local shops again.
2. Part of the Christmas preparation, of course, involved baking cookies. As we were in the midst of it, I was struck yet again by the differences between boys and girls. My girls spent a morning baking 6 dozen cookies for a formal tea party they had been invited to. They took their job very seriously -- putting on aprons, reading directions carefully, getting out all the ingredients beforehand, shaping the cookies properly, placing each batch on the cooling racks with great pride, and cleaning up afterwards. The boys had their turn the next day. They were just as excited about making cookies, but their approach to it all was rather, um, unorthodox. They first started staking their claims over which kitchen utensil they would get to use, and then just jumped into the whole process without getting all the ingredients out. Their need for bouncing around and making it a rather active experience was entertaining as I watched them dash to the pantry for the oil, hoist themselves on the counter for the flour, or run to the refrigerator for the eggs. As they were shaping the cookies to put on the cookie sheet they were sitting on the table, laughing and getting their hands completely covered in dough, and joking about how it looked like something the dog would leave in the yard (ahem).
In the end, both sets of kids made delicious gingersnaps and molasses cookies, but the process couldn't have been any more different!
3. Baking always reminds me of the Jean-Paul Sartre cookbook, which has been around forever and has been read by everyone who ever had the (mis)fortune of studying French theater in college. If you've read Sartre, Malraux, and Camus, this one's for you!
4. Joseph is now up to 12 1/2 pounds! God be praised!
5. We don't watch TV, so I had never seen this before...
When you drive a 15-passenger van, however, the "cool factor" diminishes drastically.... *sigh*
6. All kidding aside, I want to shout out CONGRATULATIONS to two sweet mommies who gave birth to sons just recently: Beth (from Beautiful Day) and Suzanne (from Gladdest Hours). I am so excited for both of them! Make sure to stop by and say hello to Leo Michael and Julius Peter Michael!