I’ve missed you, my three faithfuls.   It’s time to make up.  Here’s what we’ve been up to since October.  You read that right: October.  (And you thought you were behind on your blog.)

I will now sub-head to maintain order.  It’s a complex document.


One night, just hangin’ (okay, living) at my mom’s, the kids decided to whip up their own version of  Jeopardy!  Still my family’s favorite gameshow, and ever-present at Grandpa’s house.  You really had to see them put it on live to appreciate its nuances.  I was so impressed that I decided to stick photos of it in the holiday post.

Who else but Rachael would be Trebek?

Bailie just realized she bet too high on the Daily Double, while Megan looks away in shame.


We made our annual trek to the coast to spend Turkey Day with the Smith clan. Uncle Jeff, little Kaylee, Bronner, Jesse, and Blake joined us.  The food was fabulous and the company even better.  We had all kinds of fun.

Ethan was caught red-handed brushing his cousin Kaylee’s hair in Grandma Smith’s bathroom.  He was mortified, so naturally I grabbed the camera.  What would his recess posse say now?

With his second cousin Blake, the sweetest football player/oboe player/accomplished actor from the great state of California.


We moved.  Two weeks before Christmas.  Another one of our brilliant ideas. I took exactly one photo, and that’s of the perfectly timed December snow outside our new back window.

I am in love with our new backyard.  I am in love with our new house.  I feel extremely lucky.  But that’s another post.


Christmas this year dovetailed perfectly with our third move in six months.  In all the craziness, I forgot to recharge my camera’s battery and the pictures are blurry and awful.  I hope you’ll forgive me.  (please see post title)

Despite all indications to the contrary, we had one of our best Christmases ever.  (Is “Christmases” a word?) Derrick’s family came and stayed with us in our messy, un-decorated  home and it was fabulous.  We pushed the boxes aside and ate, drank and made merry for three days.  Our company was helpful and gracious, and I learned that simplifying my expectations for Christmas makes everyone happier–especially me.  I must be cautious, however, lest I get too used to a messy house, limited tableware, and a tired, greasy face for the holidays.  And I’m sorry, my three faithfuls, that I failed to send you a Christmas card this year.  (please see post title.)  It actually really bothered me that I didn’t do it.  Next year, my friends, next year!

Below is the best nativity play ever.  And by that, I mean it was sloppy, irreverent, and Uncle Jeff was cast perfectly as the you-know-what.  He ate it up, as did his darling daughter.  Kaylee just loved ordering her Poppa around like a donkey. It was hilarious.

And to clarify:  Rachael is supposed to be a sheep, not Jacob Marley’s ghost.  Our bad.

The gorgeous nightgowns handmade by Grandma Laura.  The girls adored them, as did I.  She is really talented, not to mention generous and thoughtful.

Megan asked me to put curlers in her hair on Christmas Eve.  I think she rightly determined that the new nightgown called for it.

The closest we got to pictures with Santa.

Pimp my sleigh, baby.

(An aside:  Is it wrong that I have never been a big fan of pictures with Santa?  I think I had my girls do them once when they were little.  Is anyone out there with me?)

#1 Gift:  Band Hero.  We are all addicted, including moi.  My kids are thrilled that they finally found a way to get Mom on the Wii, and I’ll confess:  Pat Benetar never sounded so tough.


The day our company left, my sister came with her family from Utah for a belated Christmas.  We ate, opened more gifts together, played games, and ate some more.  (Did I mention that we ate?)  It was perfect.

Below we have the kids’ version of The Night Before Christmas, performed five nights after Christmas.  No matter.  This bad boy was in the works for months, and it did not disappoint.  Rachael even called her cousins in Utah last fall to review their parts with them and ensure adequate preparation for opening night.  And notice the singular adult on stage who seems to be the common denominator in every one of the grandkids’ theatrical productions. These heinously blurry photos do not do our young thespians justice.

And yes, Virginia, that sign reads, “The stockings were hung on the chimney by Claire.”  Such was the theme of the entire show:  a spoof on the traditional Christmas tale, filled with clever wordplay and puns galore.  It was scary smart, and so funny.

New Year’s Eve

I threw in this crappy shot  because I’ve decided, at our age, that blurry is good.  The poor woman’s version of airbrushed.

Derrick fussing over his tamales.  He’s worse than a woman when he cooks, which is roughly every-other year.  We had a fabulous fiesta on New Years Eve, for which Derrick made these famed, from-scratch tamales (to die for) and Uncle Larry grilled up the best carne asada I’ve ever had.  And I’ve had plenty, believe me.  (Did I mention that we ate?)

Really, the best food I ate in 2010.  Thank you, gentlemen.

Post New Year’s Eve

Ethan roller skating.  It’s the last photo I have.  I know.  Finishing up with a bang.

He went from a non-skater to a skater in one mere session. Can you sense his confidence?  He was so proud of himself, and I was proud of him.

We went skating a second time before his cousins went home. While getting him dressed, he asked me if he could don this shirt and pants again, because, “that’s gonna be my roller skating outfit from now on, okay?”

Should I be worried?

Post Post New Year’s Eve

Reconnecting with friends.  Getting the house organized.  Getting back into a routine.  Celebrating Derrick’s birthday.  Celebrating the survival of 2010, which was as crazy and wonderful a year as any our family has had.  I hope yours was too.  If not wonderful, at least crazy.