30 December 2009


When I walked into the kitchen this morning, I introduced myself to KF and she actually laughed at me! Later we played Candyland and puzzles.

We're in that extra-weird place between Christmas and New Years where lots of people anesthesize by shopping--which we did a bit of yesterday. The extra part is because the new baby girl is coming on Saturday morning, or before...

29 December 2009


July in Chorvatsky Grob, near Bratislava, Slovakia

Almost two KF greets her 4-1/2 year old big sister this morning, "Heh-row Yiyi."

27 December 2009


KF has not gotten suddenly large. She is wearing LG's nightgown over her own clothes.

CA and I slip out early this a.m. for a Starbucks run before heading to the grocery store for some last minute supplies. It's fun to sit near the window and appreciate the quaint beauty of the Woodstock Square snow-covered and with Christmas carols echoing from the town square gazebo.

26 December 2009


Major snowstorm. 10 inches since last night have put our entertaining plans on a 24-hour hold. So, we have a cleaned-up house and no plans for the evening. Sounds like a cozy night by the fire for some and DVDs for the rest.

Here's hoping someone (CA?) is willing to trek out to Little John's for some juicy hamburgers...

25 December 2009


Christmas dinner is fini... The little girls are headed to bed. The gift part went spectacularly well. KF was thrilled with her baba and umbrella stroller, but particularly happy with her Craisins. LF was most pleased with her ($1.00) jumping rope. Kids.

Dinner was charcoal grilled (26⁰F) on the driveway--New York strip steaks and 1-1/2" pork chops. We also had twice-baked potatoes (MK's first ever), and a wonderful salad--Romaine, carrots, red onion, red grapes, Clementines, Honey Crisp apples, Craisins, and a pear-gorgonzola vinaigrette.

24 December 2009


by Clement Clarke Moore

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"


Kapustnica - traditional Slovak cabbage soup

A cold, windy, sleeting day. A day to stay nestled by the fireplace, where the stockings are hung with care. Instead, CA and I escape midday for a quiet lunch together at one of our favorites--1776 in Crystal Lake. I enjoy the cream of mushroom soup and a mixed green salad with bleu cheese dressing, and CA has a mini Angus burger and a crabcake--both on yummy house-made buns.

23 December 2009


DM is rapsodizing over tonight's cheddar cheese risotto with sautéed spinach and roasted garlic. We are reminded of recent trips to the Naschmarkt in Vienna where we find the finest of ingredients to prepare at D+M's home in Chorvatsky Grob, Slovakia--near Bratislava.

Some of us are inspired to make note of our top 5 best meals [in no particular order]:


We're leaving soon for Costco and then to Babies R Us to buy the soon-to-be new baby a car seat. She's due to arrive on January 2nd by C-section, but both KF and LG arrived earlier than expected. We've had some near misses on eBay auctions, but we can't delay any longer. We need to be prepared.

The little girls are counting down--two more wake-ups until Christmas presents. Every day around here has been a circus, so Christmas mornng will be a carnival! Gifts, wrappings, monkey bread, orange Juliuses, treks in the snow...

Grandpa and grandma are planning to sneak out to a movie--It's Complicated. That's not a true Christmas tradition, but we've seen movies a few times on Christmas Day. A memorable choice was Love Story in 1970. We were living in Norfolk, VA--CA was a Navy Ensign and we were alone in our apartment on Ft. Worth Avenue. We were feeling quite independent and probably a bit homesick, but we celebrated with special gifts and stockings hung on our bookshelves.

22 December 2009


Bi-lingual LG says she shouted "HEN-RY!" as the sled raced down the hill. When questioned, she said that's what Angelina [Ballerina] yelled... I'm pretty sure she thinks that's Anglo-slang for something like "GERONIMO!"



After midnight and insomnia rules... I am in the great room, in the dark, blogging... One of the candles on our mantle springs to life. It has been over two hours since all six were extinguished.

Thank you, Lord, for insomnia tonight. This candle would have burned for 5 or 6 hours before anyone detected it.

21 December 2009


Finding just the right gift for RvH each Christmas is a challenge. She's a world-class shopper, and particular to-boot. I started with the safe route this time--a Border's gift card to satisfy her magazine addiction. Then I found the perfect scandal mag to wrap with the gift card. I considered a few other gifts, but then happened upon this magnificent fake fur throw at Home Goods.

After this discovery, the deal was done.

And, when RvH opened this over-the-top bit of luxury today she giggled and bounced appreciatively. Every girl needs a bit of silliness and indulgence.


RvH is a world-class gift giver, but a reluctant receiver. Sometimes I get it right and she delights in the gift. Most times she holds onto her gifts for days and even weeks before opening. Her true pleasure is in the giving.

Thank you and thank you, RvH. The presentation is as lovely as the gifts--as usual!


This is KF's ticket to freedom. She takes it everywhere she needs to reach... I spent $6.99 on it at WalMart before the little girls arrived in early October. I imagined that KF and LG would need a boost to reach the powder room sink, but feared this was too short. It's been perfect, and it's so light-weight that KF totes it easily.

First thing this a.m. she slammed herself into the powder room, emerging seconds later with this stool in-hand. Not sure where she was headed, but with this boost she can reach light switches, counter tops, window ledges.

KF owns this stool.

20 December 2009


I can't keep up! For ever I've been convinced that my floors aren't clean unless I clean them on my hands and knees. That's when I see the dusty floorboards and the smudge marks, and use my fingernail through the scrub cloth to clean the beveled edges of our hardwood floors.


MK and the little girls baked wonderful Linzer cookies--a Central European specialty. These are huge! and very yummy.

Once or twice a week the little girls and I bake Pilsbury Dough Boy cookies. Instant gratification. No one will believe I stoop this low, but they taste pretty darn good.

And, I really do love a good Hostess cupcake every so often...

19 December 2009


Because of all the princess activities going on around here, we have a trail of what I am calling fairy dust. More literally it is the off-shoot of all the glitzy couture the little girls wear. Maybe princess dust?

Everyone should have a bit of fairy dust in their lives!


KF is a most interesting child. She's quietly stubborn, except when she's attacking her big sister or protesting bedtime. Then, she's noisily stubborn. Every morning I feel I must re-introduce myself because she gives me a look that implies, "I've never seen you before. Who are you? Leave me alone. And, don't even think about getting close to me."

She needs a haircut, but refuses to even think about it. I've heard her bedtime protests, so I'm not volunteering to take her to the local Super Cuts. JA and LG were seduced into compliance with lolipops, but I KNOW KF wouldn't buy into that ploy. So, she looks like a little pixie, and when she smiles she lights up the WHOLE WIDE WORLD.