winterAs the season of giving approaches, the hum of holiday music becomes a temporary backdrop of our daily lives, thanks to my 80s obsessed daughter who, like clockwork, dusts off the Elf soundtrack, Christmas With the Rat Pack, Barbara Streisand/A Christmas Album, Nat King Cole/The Christmas Song and Elvis Presley/ If Every Day Was Like Christmas, and places it conveniently next to our table top stereo where it will sit for the good of the next few months and be played over and over and over again as she dances sprightly, spinning recklessly across our slippery hardwood floors.

For many, this may cause grief, enough so to make one puke. I sit here having just watched a full Ben 10 movie and not a minute had passed when my daughter slipped our good ‘ole ‘Christmas in Santa Fe’ cd in the player and started dancing away. With We Three Kings rearing at high volume in classical Spanish guitar, I look out the window to see my son’s pathetic green pumpkin imploding on the front stoop and I think this just isn’t right. We’re barely in the month of November.


Then I think about the leaves that have fallen already and the trees that are almost bare and get a little melancholy regretting having not paid much attention to the changing foliage during this season that I love so much. I tried to take a picture of a tree that stands fifteen feet out our front door in all its blazing red color and just as I snapped the shot the low battery light flashed across the screen before it turned completely black.

I am missing the best part of the season and realize it is speedily passing by me. But it doesn’t take long for mypumpkin daughter’s joyous spirit and odd two-stepping to contaminate the entire household, especially when Elvis finds his way into the cd player. My son joins his sister on the family room dance floor. My husband is making a hearty lentil soup and curry meatloaf in the kitchen. The smells couldn’t make this moment any better. It is picture perfect.

But momentary it is. My other daughter pulls out her nintendo ds, the other two begin to argue about who spilled the popcorn on the floor, my husband finishes his bowl of soup and annoyed by the banter of the children heads on upstairs and I sit glued to this computer finishing this story, half-heartedly disciplining the two squabblers after the word idiot makes its way out my daughter’s mouth.

The holiday spirit takes form in beautiful ways at our house. But as quickly as it sneaks up on us, it can just as soon disappear. Sibling rivalry, petulant parents, or simple disregard can do the trick. So I should thank my kids for reminding me of the changing seasons by the effortless way in which they bring it into our house. But let’s face it, we’re a real family with typical six member family chaotic moments that we need to deal with every day. Not to say, that I couldn’t be a little more mindful and attentive in handling some of these moments especially with this computer at bay.

This is the time when I need to log off wordpress and shut down the laptop, gather the family back together in somewhat better terms and begin our double feature “movie night”: for the kids, Jack Frost; for the big kids, Transsiberian.

Good night.

Hello crab!

Hello crab!

The dining room table was well prepared for this feast. The cozy breakfast nook was no place for the debauchery that unfolded this Labor Day weekend. Mother laid out the disposable tablecloth as I stockpiled the heavy duty napkins, pre-moistened for added cleaning power. Sister took inventory of all necessary supplies i.e. nutcrackers, picks, vinegar dip, and rice. Even my youngest made sure all drinks were at hand within reasonable grasp. The towering bushel of crabs, haphazardly packed in a white cardboard box, was beautifully seasoned and placed as the one and only centerpiece, rightfully so. Extra chairs were set in place to accommodate all. Even my husband who didn’t plan on eating any, partook in the jovial camaraderie associated with crab eating, and ate one or two of his own. Do you eat as you go, or do you accumulate like me. In other words, I like to shell as many crabs as I can, piling high on my plate a mountain of crab meat then rewarding myself with spoonfuls of crab and rice. Yummy.

Box o' crabs

Box o' crabs

This crab fest is a once a year event for us. So we make sure we enjoy it. It was the perfect way to close the summer season at mom’s house. There was other food to enjoy as well: potato salad, roast beef, baked ziti, fries, chicken tenders (the kid must have), chocolate cream pie, watermelon, and jersey sweet corn.

Thanks mom and dad for making your home a constant source of fun and food for all of us and, as always, making this summer something to remember.