Fancy Shmancy

Last week, the cutest, funniest, smartest, kindest, most competent, capable, responsible, active, adventurous, caring, sensitive, optimistic and loving husband and father in the world celebrated his 37th birthday.  He thinks he’s old.  We think he’s wonderful.

We wanted to do something special for him this year, so the kids dreamed up a “Real, Fancy Restaurant” (their words).  We hung Fancy Tablecloths over the entryways to the dining room, dimmed the lights, and lit Fancy Candles on a Fancy Table complete with a black tablecloth, fresh flowers, and Grandma’s Special Super Fancy China, which hasn’t been used since two Christmases ago.  (Yeah, it’s that Fancy.)

This was no dummy establishment. Megan named the restaurant Derrick’s Delights and typed up the following Fancy Menu (note the many fanciful adjectives):

  Drinks:  World’s Finest Champagne (Martinelli’s White Grape Juice, of course)
Appetizers:  Bistro Salad of mixed greens, capers, and onions
Entree:  Succulent Indian Curry, steamed jasmine rice, warm, crisp flatbread

Dessert: Decadant Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake with rich vanilla bean ice cream.

It all went off perfectly.  Dad came home, waited in the Fancy Foyer (our living room with a few dining chairs set in it) and relaxed to Fancy Classical Music while mom changed from sweaty chef to glamorous date.  We sat and enjoyed our Fancy Fare while the gracious waiters showered us with flawless service.  The youngest waiter, however, got bored with serving and decided to sit down next to us and be served instead. (He’s nobody’s fool.)  We allowed this addition to our Fancy Romantic Dinner because, honestly…how do you shoo away a four-year old with a mustache?

I had to use the flash to get these photos to come out, so you’ll just have to imagine the sultry ambience, the darkened decadence, the sheer extravagance that was Derrick’s Delights:

The Fancy Dessert:  a flourless chocolate cake that was supposed
to look like the one from Julie & Julia.  It almost did, until it sank
in the middle.  (Keep trying, Mom.)

Ethan was just told that he would be receiving his 
tips in fruit snacks.

My two favorite smooth-skinned fellas.
(Facial hair on men is so overrated.)
Derrick left (stayed home) one very satisfied customer.
Happy Birthday, Dad.
We think you are the fanciest of them all.

Festivus for the Restivus

They got to me. Those rotten, stinking magazine covers finally got to me.
This December, as I pulled out old Enrichment Night crafts and homemade ornaments to deck my little hall, I found myself wanting to break out of my tacky standard of decor (i.e., this…)
and shoot for something more along the lines of, say, this…
I looked around my living room bathed in mismatched, garish red-and-green garb and realized that my holiday decor was approximately two decades out of style (which is quite an accomplishment, considering that I haven’t even owned my own home half that long.) I found myself suddenly wanting Christmas to be about all the things it’s not supposed to be about: money, nice things, slick appearances. I began yearning for a sleek, department-store styled silver and gold theme; understated yet elegant, dignified yet festive, untouched by sticky hands and preschool-produced glitterglue wall hangings “for Mom.” I’d like to say that I tempered my materialistic desires through my own self-control and character, but the thing that really halted it was my pocketbook. Short of Oprah arriving on my doorstep, a Christmas Miracle Home Makeover was not happening this year.
So I decided to turn my holiday aspirations to something far more attainable: having fun. I’m happy to say that I met and exceeded this goal, and did it all without the help of Martha Stewart Living. A few highlights:
  • Wavy Lays potato chips dipped in chocolate fondue. What a happy accident. Two great tastes that coagulate-on-your-thighs-together.
  • Scoring positive feedback on the Slurpee giftcards I gave to my nieces and nephews. Who says money (and junk food) can’t buy affection?
  • Setting a new world record on pounds of sugar and fat consumed in a single day by a woman my height and (now increased) weight. It shouldn’t feel this good to plump up, but somehow it does.
  • Beating my sisters in trivial pursuit (Dad was my teammate–need I say more?)
  • Beating my sisters in cards (Mom was my teammate–dig into her past for more info on her cardsharkiness.)
  • Our first ever fake tree. Definitely not our last. Convenience trumps sentimentality yet again. And I can’t even pretend to be sad about it.
  • Ice skating with the the ward, watching Alvin and the Chipmunks with the kids, cooking and baking with the women, a Christmas Eve program with the whole family, staying up late to watch Julie and Julia with my sister who I never get to see, post-Christmas shopping for eight hours while Grandpa-the-Saint watched all the kids, staying up too late, sleeping in too late, and waking up to brilliant new snow. It’s amazing how much kinder each morning looks when it doesn’t start until ten a.m. I spent the better part of a week:
  • Too lazy to exercise.
  • Too lazy to clean my house.
  • Too lazy to blog.
  • Too lazy to eat a vegetable.
  • In elasticized waistbands for the majority of the day and night (yes, Virginia, you can wear pajama bottoms to the grocery store…)
  • Soaking up my family
  • Soaking up the season
We are a lucky, lucky crew to have one another.  Here’s some visual proof (and please forgive my spacing errors; my computer’s buggy tonight.)

The thrill of opening (yet another) lightsaber.
And thanks for the cute jammies, Grandma Laura.

This interchangeable purse was a big hit for my Mom. Have any of
you seen these? They are supercool. (And doesn’t my mom look cute?)

Is Christmas Day really this painful for men? Really, guys?

Cute fam! As you can see, Makenzie’s my spunky middlechild kindred spirit
(remember what I told you, Kenz…it’s compliment when they say you’re like me…)

Our gift from Grandma and Grandpa S. was to dogsit Abby for four weeks.
(Yeah, Merry Christmas to
you, too.)
Grandpa’s just the best. Especially at Christmastime.  He broke from tradition and started
his shopping a full 48 hours before Christmas Eve.  The stores didn’t know what to do when
they saw Rod Christensen coming in so early. I’m sure some kind of door prize was involved.
And then there’s Frank.  I feel a certain kinship with him this year.
Let Martha Stewart have her designer Christmas.

Long Live Festivus!