Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mmm, Mmm Good

I love IKEA. It is one of the world's greatest shopping experiences. Things are bargain priced, unique and useful, and the selection is plentiful. The bathrooms are set up for children. There is a check-in playground. There are even kid activity kiosks in areas where a mom might get bogged down and wish to thoughtfully consider a purchase for more than 30 seconds. Say, for instance, in the window treatment section, where I happily spent a good 15 minutes today, even with 4 children in tow.

But even better than all of these things is the IKEA cafeteria. The meatballs with cream gravy and lingonberry jam are absolutely delicious, and with kids' meals priced at just $1.99, what could be better?

Not much, in my opinion.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mother Mary...Or, More Correctly, Mother OF Mary

Julia has been cast as Mary in her preschool's Christmas pageant. This is a really, REALLY big deal at her school, let me tell you.

For months now, as soon as people learn that Julia has switched to Mission Bell preschool, I have been hearing, "Wait until the Christmas Pageant, you are going to LOVE it!"

Now, I am really, truly not one of those stage moms who pushes. As long as my kids are happy with what they are doing, I am happy. But I could not help but catch the enthusiasm of the teachers when they gave me the news at pick up time today. All three of them gushed over her, saying how perfect she was for their Mary. They pointed out how similar her facial features and hair were to the likeness of Mary most often portrayed and how her natural mothering way was perfect for the role. They handed me a pre-made costume (THANK YOU!), complete with hair clips, and a dialogue sheet to practice lines with her at home, and sent me on my way. By the time I walked out of the preschool, I was puffed up like a peacock.

I believe there is little I will ever look forward to seeing as much as I am looking forward to this performance. There are three preschool classes of about 20 kids each that are all coming together for this one pageant. The 3 year olds will be the angels and lambs while the 4 year olds tackle the subtleties of the more complex roles. I can't stop thinking of that book The Best Christmas Pageant Ever where the whole thing is a disaster, but even if it is, how could it be anything other than a completely adorable disaster? I truly can't wait to see it. This would be true no matter what role Julia was playing, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't thrilled to see her cast as Mary.

Naturally, I'll post pictures. I might even have to figure out the whole video link thing. (But don't hold your breath for that one!) In the meantime, I am enjoying this holy influence on my occasionally-somewhat-less-than-holy 4 year old daughter. May it live on, long beyond Christmas!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy New Year!

It was Fall Luncheon time at Sacred Heart School again today. This year's theme was "Happy Holidays". Each of the 10 tables celebrated a different holiday, and ours was New Year.

Here we are, the hostesses with the mostesses. We are the same five who put together China last year and had a great time working together again.

Here is the whole length of the table. It runs from the champagne fountain at one end, to the painting of Times Square in the back, seating 40 guests in between. Most of the guests sat at our table last year as well, so we were serving a friendly crowd.

Here is a closer view of the table. Each guest received a split of champagne and a wrapped gift to take home, as well as a party blower. All the champagne-bottle centerpieces have labels with New Year's Resolutions on them.

As it turns out, the combination of flowing champagne and noise makers made our table one of the rowdiest...but that's the way we like it. It is a total hoot to see the old guard of our parish come out and party down in the middle of the afternoon.

As before, all three of our priests attended (our pastor, who sat at the "Christmas" table was wearing a "I believe in Santa Claus" hat, which was nice touch) along with a few Carmelite sisters, the principal, a good number of Knights, the former principal, at least half a dozen folks from my choir, and many, many others. It made for a diverse, fun group, though it was hardly intimate at 400 seated, plus their servers.

I, as madame treasurer, will be counting the money later in the week (give me a few days, I need to recover from this first!) but all indications are that we pulled off a very successful event for our kids.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Did It To Myself

Sam (as he is voraciously gulping down the shrimp scampi I made for dinner tonight):

"I don't want macaroni and cheese anymore. I just want this."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

You Can Call Him Sir

Sir Knight, that is. Jay is now officially a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus.

Here he is, decked out in his full regalia (he's holding the plumed hat in front of him and you can't see the sword very well, but, trust me, it looks great).

Shortly after this photo was taken, I had the pleasure of dressing in formal attire and accompanying him to a dinner. I put makeup on, I curled my hair, I wore a floor-length gown that was not in any way nursing-friendly. It was great! It has been so long since I've dressed up like that that I forgot how fun it is. Sorry I cannot post a photo...if you can believe it, I forgot my camera for the weekend! Someone was kind enough to give me the one above.

At any rate, I am very happy for Jay and, indeed, happy for our whole family that we are involved in such a fine organization.

Now I guess you can say I'm a Lady of a Knight. (Hee hee hee)

An Angel and a Saint

I would be remiss if I did not also post our All Saints Day photos.

I cleverly recycled Sam's dragon slayer costume so Lindsey could be Joan of Arc.

Jay gently suggested that we might remove the horns in order to make a more authentic Saint Joan. However, since I had just spend several evenings frustrated lovingly hand-tacking these horns (did I mention that this fabric is thin and slippery?) to the costume, I was disinclined to do this. And, after all, since the only known portrait of Joan of Arc was long ago destroyed and we now have only artists' imaginative depictions of her likeness, can we really be sure that she didn't have horns on her armor? It must have taken a lot to make a 17 year old girl seem scary to the English and perhaps that's just what she needed to make her point.

At any rate, I regretted my decision when we went to the school mass and had no trouble picking Lindsey out in the crowded pews because her horns were the highest point in the row. Turns out, it's not really the best adornment for mass. Ah, well, live and learn.

Sam decided he wanted to be Saint Michael the Archangel.

While I applaud the decision overall, he decided to do this the day before when I, certain that he would be using the Franciscan robe we already had, was little in the mood to go find a white robe and wings for him. Now, who would have imagined that shopping for Halloween-type accessories on Halloween afternoon might be a little trying? I was unable, in three stops, to locate anything resembling a white robe (although, thankfully, I did find good wings), so there I was at my sewing machine at midnight, turning a Walmart sheet into a robe fit for an Archangel. Luckily, he looked so cute in it that I nearly immediately forgot my irritation.

So there you have it. An angel and a saint. Now if they'd just stay that way...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Halloween Photos (Part 2)

Sam required an entire post of his own because he simply could not choose what to be for Halloween. Over the course of the school day, trick or treating and two parties, he was four different things, one made just for him this year and the other three pulled out of the Halloween bins in the garage. Here I present to you the many faces of Sam.

His official costume: Dragon Slayer

America's pasttime...only this time he's the player and the ball!

Some scary, flashing red-eyed ghoul...

...and, of course, the classic dead motorcycle rider.

He's worse than the host of the Oscars. But at least he had fun.

Halloween Photos (Part 1)

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep...

...and found it!

Hermione casts a spell...

...and turns Joey into a rapper.

Tony is delighted to be Thomas.

(More photos on their way.)

Friday, November 02, 2007

It's All Monkey Business to Them

Driving along in the van yesterday, Jay and I began talking about his upcoming 4th degree exemplification in the Knights of Columbus. This event requires a tuxedo, so we were talking about different styles of shirts and which he would be wearing.

We were having trouble finding the style of shirt Jay needed, so Jay joked that he would just go bare chested. I said he would look like Chippendale if he did that. Joey, who of course had no idea what Chippendale is, said, "Actually, dad, I think you would look like Donkey Kong."

Not exactly the look Jay was hoping to achieve, but a very funny image nonetheless. I guess that's why they call it a monkey suit!