I know it when I see it...

Santa's breakfast at Volta Park playground

December 6, 2010

Many Georgetown families turned out despite the freezing cold to see Santa arrive by fire engine at The Friends of Volta Park 2nd annual Breakfast with

(Photo by: John Lever)
Santa on Sunday.  The event included a tree lighting and performance by the Holy Trinity choir as well as ornament making, bagels  and a hot chocolate bar.   Ever patient, Santa listened to each child's requests and posed for pictures as his "helpers" assured each waiting family in line that no one would be turned away.
Despite a few crying babies on Santa's lap, everyone assembled seemed to be enjoying visiting with friends and marveling at the unusually cold temperature.  The children were delighted with the snow globes and candy canes Santa had brought and this kick-off to the holiday season will surely top many "must do" holiday lists next year.
The Friends of Volta Park is a non-profit organization dedicated to the upkeep and beautification of Volta Park.  Their latest project is a planned refurbishment of the children's play area.  For more information go to VoltaParkPlaygroundProject.org

(Photo by: John Lever)

Katie Manning and John Lever contributed to this post.

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December 2, 2010

How can it be that it is only December the first and I feel like I am already terribly, irrevocably behind schedule?  I skipped Black Friday (it was 27 degrees in Michigan) and missed Cyber Monday altogether, but it wouldn't have helped me anyway because all I want for Christmas this year is a Batmobile.  Not a toy, not a model- a REAL Batmobile.  Ahem. It's not for me.
Over Thanksgiving weekend the relatives began asking for my boys' Christmas wish lists, so when we got home I offhandedly asked my younger child what was on his list this year.  It went something like this:
Me:  What's on your Christmas list this year?
Him:  Well...(thoughtful pause),

Scotch tape and all, the 1972 Sears Wish Book (Photo by: Sears) Scotch tape and all, the 1972 Sears Wish Book
since Santa didn't bring me the real Batmobile I asked for last year, I guess that's what's on my list this year.
Me: (Stunned, horrified and guilty silence)
Okay, never mind that we live in the city and there's no place for a four year old to drive a mini Batmobile or that I myself have chuckled heartily over items like this in the Hammacher Schlemmer and Frontgate catalogs, but the real problem with this is that there is no such thing.  And believe me I have searched.  Marx made one sometime in the 1970's and they occasionally turn up on Ebay, but they are jealously hoarded by collectors and are actually pretty lame looking.  The last fairly decent model was made a few years before my son was born and may have been involved in a safety recall, but you still can't find one.  I actually saw one on Craig's List once for $20 but it had to be picked up in Akron or shipped for $450.
Checking in with him again a few days later, I tried to reason.  "Isn't there anything else you'd like for Christmas?  What if Santa can't find a real Batmobile?"
"His elves can make it" says he, with the air of someone talking to a person with extremely limited faculties.  "So my BODY can fit in it" he added,  gesturing from head to foot for emphasis and reminding me of the many, many Batmobiles of every size and style we already own, but none that can be ridden.
My mistake last year (when he was three) was thinking that he wouldn't notice the lack of said item when he saw all the other Bat related merchandise under the tree (not to mention the never touched substitute scooter) or that since he has moved on to Spiderman and Iron Man he wouldn't remember last year's request, but there seems to be some kind of four-year-old principle involved: when you ask Santa for something, he is supposed to bring it.  Who am I to argue?
Despite the limited time frame I have actually looked at purchasing plans on line for building a Batmobile out of wood, and considered the level of my artistic skills to ascertain whether or not I could paint or stencil some other black sports car on the market to look like the Batmobile, but I know these will never pass muster with Old Eagle Eye.
In the meantime does anyone have a Sears Wish Book from 1972?

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From Aspen to Ann Arbor...Thanksgiving

November 23, 2010

Aaah.....Thanksgiving.  A day to reflect on the many blessings life has given us:  family, friends and French's Fried Onions.  And what better way to observe the original American holiday than...canoeing in the Everglades?

At least that's what my sister thinks.

At a recent gathering I heard about ski trips to Aspen and weekends in Paris, but few if any were planning Thanksgiving dinner with family in Washington.  I guess that's because so many people who live here aren't "from" here (myself included).

Growing up in New England, my Thanksgivings consisted of going to Grandma's house where we started the festivities by watching the Macy's parade on television. At dinner, ten or twelve adults were seated around the dining room table and an equal number of children were sitting in the kitchen and all were enjoying a giant turkey feast topped off with lots of commotion, dessert and uncles watching the football game. It was all pretty Norman Rockwell (at least from my kids' table POV).

Nowadays, our family is scattered from California and Michigan to Ohio, Massachusetts, Maryland and Florida.

My husband and I decided to do something different this year and have planned a good old fashioned, fun-filled, family road trip with our two boys for Thanksgiving. We'll be loading up the car with gifts and games (as well as a few bottles of wine) and stopping in on relatives on our way to the Great Lakes region to share Thanksgiving dinner with a branch of our family in the freezing cold.

While we will be going over the river and through the woods, it's not to Grandmother's house we go this time, but I'm looking forward to playing Punchbuggy and the license plate game with my kids and staring out the window for a while.  I think it's going to be a great Thanksgiving and if it's not exactly Rockwell-ian, maybe it will be one that my boys look back fondly on some day.

At least there won't be any alligators.

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