Monday, April 25, 2011

Holidays. They Simply Refuse to Pass Me Over

You might want to save this for later.  Seriously. You know how it is when I haven't blogged in a while.  I have a lot of words to purge. But - there are lots of pictures for you slow readers and two videos, too!  So settle yourselves in and procrastinate for a few minutes longer....Sardine Mama blogged her heart out.

There was a time when I was exuberant.  About everything, really - but mostly about parenting, unschooling, homemaking....I don't know how I stood myself.  Holidays were not excluded from my exuberance...and we celebrated all the ones "most people" celebrate and some extras, as well.  We're a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious family (although I have shed the Actual Religion - the holidays just won't go away and there are SO DANG MANY OF THEM). I cleaned, decorated, cooked and also managed to throw in a little Meaning, on the side.  It was exhausting.

It is still exhausting.  Also? Birthdays are exhausting.  And you know what?  The more kids you have, the more birthdays you end up with.  I know, right?  I failed to anticipate that detail during the exuberant business of fruitful multiplying.  I still remember timing contractions at Jules' fourth birthday party - feet propped up on a chair and surrounded by the level of exuberance that only four-year-olds can provide and thinking that I probably could have planned THAT a little better.  And every year on our anniversary, which is right Smack After Christmas....when we're exhausted and penniless...I think to myself that we probably could have planned that a little better, too.  Especially since three days later the layer upon layer of birthdays begins.  In my last post, I mentioned my dad's birthday.  My mom's birthday was on Friday....she passed away from Early Onset Alzheimer's seven years ago - so it is usually a pretty sad day for me.  Jeff's birthday comes the very next day - and God love him, he's an easy birthday boy.  He really is.

This year he wanted a new guitar, and so on Saturday we loaded up the bus with all five kids plus my dad and drove to Guitar World.  Jeff had already spent several hours at Guitar World the previous evening....trying to actually shop with five kids in tow usually leads to poor consumer decision-making. Even so, we were in the shop with the entire crew for quite some time as Jeff still managed to change his mind after we got there. We left with a nice mid-line shiny black guitar....Les Paul style (not an actual Les Paul, of course), a new Line 6 amp with bells and whistles, and a very small acoustic because Camille mentioned that the strings are too hard for her to push down on all of the acoustics we already own and here's the part where you ask me if I play guitar and I say NO OF COURSE NOT and her hands aren't quite big enough and DUH my dad was with us and said that was simply horrible and unacceptable and Camille walked out with a new guitar, too, even though it wasn't her birthday.

My house is full of guitars; I had to move one out of my chair in order to sit down and blog.  And when people are looking for a place to play without other people (Jasper) getting in ther faces they go to my meditation nook which is now no longer used for meditating, as evidenced by the fact that my beautiful fountain now holds Nirvana lyrics and little piles of guitar picks.

Ellie used to be quite the guitarist and she has a pretty nice Fender Strat that lives in Joel's room since she's mostly now into doing this (and I don't know if I've posted this one before - it's Chopin - I think the last one I posted was different):

Scherzo in B-Flat Minor, Op. 31, No. 2 Chopin /

We also have a wonderful old Martin that my mom got when she was 7 - and she would be 82 now.  Lee Greenwood once offered to buy it off of Jeff, but we wouldn't sell it for the world.

After the guitar shopping, we went out for Chinese at one of those horrible buffets that Jeff and the boys love so much.  Me?  Something about watching a bunch of people eat crab legs with their fingers, and then go up to the buffet line and use those same wet, salty, and spittle-laden fingers to grab the serving utensils just turns me off...but hey - it wasn't MY birthday.

Then the real musical talent kicked in from the back seat on the way home.  Joel had been forced to take Jasper to the bathroom earlier at the restaurant, and Jasper was apparently having issues with regularity as they were in there long enough to hear the piped-directly-into-the-bathroom performance of It's Ladies' Night by Kool and the Gang.  They liked it. They liked it a lot.  And, much to Ellie's disgust, they sang it the whole way home.  It sounded pretty awesome, if you ask me.  We had Joel's low, booming voice, complimented by Jasper's chipmunk voice....

Oh, it's Ladies' Night
And the feelin's right
Oh, it's Ladies' Night
It's outta sight...

Then Joel would point to Jasper and say, "You get the trumpet solo, dude!" And then Jasper would make silly sounds.  This went on for at least 45 minutes while Ellie hugged herself and chanted - I'm going away in the fall...I'm going away in the fall....

Personally, I thought it was better than the ride up - which had consisted of 45 minutes of Joel and Jules reciting drinking songs from Lord of the Rings, with Joel switching halfway through from the voice of Gandolph to the voice of Richard Nixon. 

Jules and Jasper both look up to Joel.  It's a problem.

And in addition to birthdays, we've had a few holidays, no?

We celebrated Passover with a Seder Dinner at my dad's.  I've mentioned I'm not religious, right?  But God, I do love a good seder.  It is the only opportunity I ever get to enjoy cheap, kosher, overly- sweet table wine with an extremely high alcohol content. It reminds me of high school.

Anyway, if you're not Jewish and you've not been to a Seder Dinner - there is a lot of reciting and reading and praying and washing of the hands and hunting for the matzoh.  Accompanied by a minimum of four glasses of the above-mentioned table wine. We try to be reverent, we really do.  And there are certain poignant moments in the Seder where we muster it royally.  But there is also lots of other stuff.  There is the part where we solemnly recite the words...."we know what it is to suffer...and how to find good Chinese!"  There are the 10 Plagues....the recitation of which involves dipping of spoons into wine and making little drops on our plates while my kids fight over who gets to read aloud about the choicest of plagues.  My boys say things like, "Fine! But next year I get the lice and you get stuck reading about the lame frogs or famine!"    This year Joel wanted the Wild Beasts.  And he read it like this:

Nobody wants to read about the smiting of the firstborns, the smiting of firstborns by the Unconditionally Loving Father being one of my Minor Small Problems with religion.
Jules, as usual, was our Sharp Dressed Man.

Jasper mostly did this over at the table reserved for Little Kids and Shiksas, because who else besides Jeff is going to suffer through a Seder with Jasper?

Jasper also did lots of this:

I think he was attacking the Wild Beasts.  He also did this.

And below, Camille took reclining at the table to a whole new level. We don't have multiple Jaspers, by the way.  He just won't light very long in one place and he ends up in all the pictures.
All the while, Ellie sat at the table with her mantra running through her head....Leaving in the fall, leaving in the fall and excuse me but was that a slightly little melancholy I'm So Going To Miss These People look on her face?  I seriously doubt it! More likely, it is me projecting my emotions....

Our holiday Mood Music was provided by Matisyahu. I love him, love him, love him....although I doubt very seriously he'd approve of our Seder. Check him out at the end of the post.

I mentioned the Multi-Everything business right?  That's good, because we also do Easter.  And we do it Texas Style...which is where our kids walk through tall grass searching for Easter eggs while wearing boots just in case they find a rattlesnake, instead.

We have Easter Chicks and Easter Turkeys, all of which we plan to eat.

It is supposed to be hard to get turkeys to breed and brood.  Nobody told our turkey. These are fertile grounds.  Apparently.
And we even had birth and the promise of new life...I saw this:

See those udders above?  That is one engorged mama.  I knew there was a newborn nearby and I was right. He didn't seem even slightly interested in the egg hunt going on around him.

His new friends were very interested in him - all lined up and waiting to play.

When the gathering of the plastic eggs was all done, Jasper still had to do his chores, which included Real Egg Gathering.

So that's it for holidays until next month.  Drumroll....Mother's Day.  And this year's celebration of My Awesomeness should be really great because I'm pretty sure they're all still feeling guilty about last year. And they totally should.

Hope your holidays were marvelous and don't forget to check out my man Matisyahu.  Shalom Y'all!


  1. Either I'm getting used to your long posts or mine are becoming just as long and I can't tell the difference any longer. I glided right through this post easily. I love that you have a Seder dinner. I want more traditions and more Religions going on in my house too. My hope is that my kids will each pick a different relgion and if I'm wrong, I'm covered under one of them.
    I just love how Jules dresses for dinner. What were you wearing by the way? Something low-cut and strapless I can only assume.
    Guitars, I have nothing to say about them.
    Jasper is such a cutie. What a face he has and faces he makes. Does he crack you up all the time.
    My kids would love all of those animals around. I wonder which would would do the, um, killing?
    It sounds as if you had a wonderful weekend. Even if Ellie did not.
    Your Friend, m.
    p.s. excuse any typos. I'm not going back and reading what I wrote. m.

  2. Mark - I'm so proud of you! I think I've improved your reading skills. You know...if a person were to read your comment under the incorrect assumption that you had made the choice to develop into a heterosexual like Everyone Else, your inquiry as to what I was wearing at the Seder would raise some eyebrows. As it is, though....well, I was wearing denim cropped pants and a chocolate brown top that has little peek-a-boo metal rings along the top and brown leather sandals that show off my foot tattoo. Jeff was in shorts. But Jules, Ellie, and Camille dressed for success. Let's see....YES Jasper cracks us up all the time. And I wish we had fewer animals and fewer holidays. And do you realize that the link I have at the bottom of my post about last Mother's Day is the first time you visited my blog? I'm tearing up now....

  3. yes matisyahu.

    of course your turkeys are fruitful and multiplying. THEY LEARNED IT FROM WATCHING YOU, OKAY?

    our chicks came today, all 18 of them, even though i ordered 17. love the free extra meat bird.
    henry had me order a turken, and man, is that thing weird-looking. no feathers on the neck.

    finally, i want to drink wine (no, i want to drink bourbon, who am i kidding) but i'm having too many headaches and have been taking too many narcotics to drink wine. it's one of those sad-happy things.

  4. I like that your house is full of guitars. Our house has a lot of guitars too but only my husband plays and he's still learning. I hope to get my kids taking lessons soon (oldest is still in K) and I am going to be guitar grandma because it's going to take me that long to get around to learning...

  5. Let's just get one thing straight, Pamela. We've never multiplied in front of the turkeys.

  6. dinster - I would love to learn how to play the guitar but I would also love to learn how to work the remote control and neither one are likely to happen.

  7. I'd switch for you! But I may need a sixpack to get me started. m.

  8. This just occurred to me ... how many tattoos do you have now? I seem to recall one on your arm that you were concerned about, in the event your arm gets all skinny and gaunt.