Um, Merry Christmas?

I really have no excuse for why I’ve been an absentee blogger except to say that the holidays did, in fact, swallow me whole and just now spit me out the other side…  Do you feel that way?  We had some kind of craziness or activity every single day leading up to Christmas.  All good things but all serious time drains.  I’ve got a ridiculous amount of photos to share that I will now dump into this post.  I want to end this year by remembering all of the amazing things we did this holiday season yet I know this isn’t the most appropriate way to present this information.  But what am I gonna do?  I simply ran out of time to post each story individually…  Perhaps things will be better in 2012 in terms of blogging consistently?  Well, better in terms of everything would be really nice too.

Let’s see, I left off blogging on December 13th…  What happened next?  Oh, yes!  Our city’s annual Santa-on-the-fire-truck tradition.  He came zooming by our house at 9:30 PM on December 15th.  We’d been hearing him since 6:30 pm and had waited outside pretty much the entire time.  At 9 PM, I finally had the kids get into bed thinking he was not coming down our street after all.  Then the music and sirens got louder and louder.  The boys shot out of bed just in time to see Santa go speeding by our house!

I also invited Cutie Pie’s preschool class over for lunch during the last week of school before winter break.  We had a yummy assortment of preschool-friendly foods with plenty of pizza, salad and sangria for the moms 🙂  Then the kids camped out in front of the television to watch the new Ice Age Christmas movie on DVD.

Cutie Pie’s preschool Christmas program was on Friday, December 16th.  It struck me while sitting in the audience surrounded by all of the loving friends and family that this will be our last Christmas program at the preschool…  Cutie Pie will be entering Kindergarten in the fall and Eastminster will become a distant memory for him.  Bittersweet, indeed.  And see that little girl with the white fur trimmed dress in the first picture?  Her mom informed me that their entire family will be moving to Shanghai with her husband’s work in March.  It’s an exciting adventure for them but it will be so sad to see them go.  Wildman was in the three’s class with her middle son and Cutie Pie is now in VPK with her youngest daughter.  It’s funny how lives overlap and you get used to seeing the same familiar faces everyday and then one day they’re gone for whatever reason.  You realize how much you enjoyed their company over the years.

Saturday, December 17th brought the Satellite Beach Boat Parade!  It was our first time participating.  We were so excited to be a part of this cool Florida Christmas tradition!  We left the dock with Big Red, his kids and our across-the-street neighbors at 5 PM.  The parade began at the north entrance to the Grand Canal at 6 PM.  The weather could not have been more perfect- clear with wonderfully mild temperatures.

On Saturday night, after the boat parade, we quickly changed into our best vintage polyester and headed over to our friends’ Disco Funk Christmas Party!  What a crazy fun evening!

The Sunday before Christmas brought sugar cookie decorating with the cousins and breakfast for dinner!

We delivered Christmas goodies to the neighbors and hosted a little family party for Wildman’s 7th birthday on Monday, December 19th.  He insisted on an Angry Birds cake from Publix and was thrilled with all of his amazing gifts including a sweet child-size kayak from J and I.

On December 20th, we hosted a little beach bonfire for Wildman’s classmates to celebrate the last day of school before winter break and also roast s’mores in honor of Wildman’s birthday.

This post has grown much too long!  Looks like I will have to break it up into two.  Stay tuned!


Super Moon

Our friends got a beach bonfire permit from our town’s fire station for Saturday evening.  It was a treat to watch the largest full moon in more than 18 years rise up out of the ocean.  It rose orangey-red out of the haze on the horizon at 7:49 pm.

Even with the flash on, my camera picked up how spectacular the color was.  Gorgeous!

We met our friends at the beach about 5:30 pm to enjoy the last hours of daylight.  So many families were able to join us.  People brought everything from margaritas to chocolate chip cookies to oysters.  It was awesome!

This guy even delivered pizza to us on the beach!  I had no idea they would do that!  I’ll have to keep that idea in my back pocket for future reference 🙂

The twenty or so children busied themselves body surfing with J, playing what looked like Lord of the Flies in a big hole, making sand angels, driving toy dump trucks, finding fire wood, playing tag, wrestling- you name it!  At the end of the evening they were exhausted.

The bonfire helped to warm the children after their games had been played out.  It lured parents and children alike into a drowsy trance.  It was a lovely evening full of fun memories and good conversation.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend too!

Demise of a Christmas Tree

This was me on New Year’s Eve.  Our friends, Ricardo and Karenita, hosted a beach bonfire.  It was a family-friendly way to spend the evening.  The night was gorgeous!  It was clear, cool, with little wind and no clouds.

There were many other bonfires up and down the beach that night.  We were treated to an illegal fireworks display thanks to the people next to us.  We really enjoyed it until the police put a smack down on them…

Their next prank brought the fire department running…

They rigged up a little hot air balloon with a few craft sticks, a candle, some string and a plastic bag.  They launched their contraption at the water’s edge.  It glowed beautifully as the gentle breeze lifted up and away.  We watched it until it disappeared high in the atmosphere behind some wispy clouds.  The boys thought it was the coolest thing ever.

But then the fire department showed up, truck and all…  The SBFD went to each beach party and said that they didn’t care who did it and didn’t want to know but they did not want to see another hot air balloon go up.  If the wind shifted and the thing fell on the city then there would be real problems.  They had a point.

J remembered making those homemade hot air balloons when he was in school.  A teacher took his class out to a field in the middle of the city and taught everyone how to make them.  Times have changed a bit, it would seem.

So, the demise of the Christmas tree!  Right!

When I found out about the bonfire and heard that the hosts were bringing a Christmas tree to burn, my thoughts immediately went to our wilted, dried out tree.  I insisted that J disrobe the tree while I prepared dinner.  The thought of it lying in a sad heap on the street until the city came to pick it up just did not seem right.  Why not send it up in a blaze of glory?

We chucked the nude tree in the back of J’s truck and headed to the beach after dinner (we had black-eyed peas, of course).  At the very end of the evening, J tossed it onto the fire.  The flames engulfed our tree in no time.  It burned very quickly and very hot then it was gone.  Almost in the blink of an eye.

I think we should do this with all of our Christmas trees from now on.

It seems like the proper way to send off a tree that has served us well.

After the fire, we came home and let the boys toss colored smoke bombs into the street.  Second to the hot air balloon, they thought it was the coolest thing ever…