Tag Archives: autumn

Female Bonding

Like most families, we have many Thanksgiving traditions: fried turkey, my cranberry salad, the Stinky Boy Room, and Euchre. None, however, top the Female Bonding Ritual: Black Friday shopping.

My first Thanksgiving with Mark’s family, 6 years ago, I was a little intimidated by how intense the women were, but now I look forward to this all year. As soon as the dining room table has been cleared from dinner and everyone has their slices of (the 5 kinds of) pie, the advertisements come out. I think there are about 10 pounds worth, I kid you not. We draw names for the family gift exchange and set to creating our shopping lists. This takes at least a half hour, as we scan the ads for the best deals for each item and make shopping lists specific to each store. Then, we coordinate who is going to which store when, and who is going to be the designated “Kohl’s Jewelry Counter Girl” in order to secure the best jewelry selection. We usually hit Kohl’s first and have one person stand in line while the rest of us bring in our loot.

And did I mention that one of the aunts does a run through of some of the stores on Wednesday, to get a feel for the layout ahead of time? TRUE STORY!

After Kohl’s we always meet for breakfast at McDonalds to give us a chance to regroup before hitting up Target. Following Target we split up for the rest of our shopping, which goes off and on until early evening.

There is a certain appeal to finishing the Christmas shopping in one fell swoop (I was done by 8:30 AM this year!), but I think the real enjoyment comes from the thrill of the hunt and just spending time together sans the boys.


What kinds of Thanksgiving traditions do your families share?



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Mark’s brother demonstrates how to fry hush puppies (using polenta):

Video of the men frying the Thanksgiving turkeys:


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(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

P1070271 Commander William Riker & Counselor Deanna Troi





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A Halloween Past

I’m pretty sure I came straight from the womb as a Tree-Hugging, Bleeding-Heart Liberal.

You doubt me?

Each September, my mother asked my siblings and me what Halloween costume we wanted her to make for us. As a 7 or 8 year old, I requested a princess costume. But not just ANY princess costume, mind you. Princesses are frilly things who wait to be rescued by princes. I’d definitely grown out of insisting that everyone at church refer to me as “Cinderella.”

No, this year would be different. I would trick or treat as the Be Kind to Animals Princess.

[Incidentally, I believe this was the same year I wrote a heated letter to the editor of the local paper bemoaning the over-industrialization of my neighborhood because I felt it was encroaching on the deer’s natural habitat, and because Mom told me I was too young to personally plead the case at the Zoning Commission meeting. But that’s neither here nor there.]

I give my poor mother props for attempting this costume. She created a dress out of our mauve (or was it plum?) colored futon sheets, though it looked a little like a wizard’s garb. The sleeves and bottom were trimmed with silver zigzag piping and she used puffy paint to attempt various animals along the bottom of the skirt.

Just in case that wasn’t enough to get my theme across, I decided that instead of the usual “Trick-or-treat!” I’d say “TrickOrTreatI’mTheBeKindToAnimalsPrincessSoBeKindToAnimals! Thanks!

That lasted all of 3 or 4 houses and as many confused looks before I chickened (excuse the pun) out.

I wish I had some video of this to show Menininho someday when he complains about being “different,” as most children inevitably do, so that I can prove that I used to be different too, but still turned out OK.

I mean, I did turn out ok…right?

* This post in honor of MamaKat’s blogging carnival, in which I am responding to prompt #5.


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Pumpkin Patch, Parte Dois




pictures courtesy of Stacey Morris


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Pumpkin Patch

Hello. My name is Maya, and I have a thing for pumpkin patches.

I suppose “a thing” might be putting it mildly. To me, they are the symbol of fall. They get me in the mood for baking and crafting and cocooning myself in sweatshirts, blankets, and big winter coat until spring. But really, I LOOKED FORWARD TO HAVING A BABY SO I COULD TAKE HIM/HER TO A PUMPKIN PATCH FOR PICTURES.

You can ask Mark. From early on in my pregnancy I would daydream not about baby’s first Christmas or first birthday, but about the first time we’d take him to a pumpkin patch for pictures.

Be honest: are there many cuter things than a little baby in fall clothes with pumpkins?


I carefully chose our outfits for our first family pumpkin patch excursion, so we could use a picture or two for our Christmas card. I even brought an extra outfit for Menininho, to placate Mark. I practically trembled with excitement the entire 45-minute drive. The patch did not disappoint. There were rows of affordable pumpkins of all shapes and color, Indian corn, food booths, hayrides, corn mazes, and a live band.

The best part? Menininho’s obvious love of the pumpkin patch:

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Perfect Day

Recipe for a Perfect Day:

1) Wake up early to sunshine, early enough that you have time to lie in bed for a moment and contemplate life

2) Take a warm shower and eat a good breakfast

3) Enjoy the warm autumn weather while admiring the golden leaves everywhere

4) Get a FREE TANK OF GAS by redeeming your fuel perks

5) Dance in your car like nobody’s watching

6) Grab that grande Starbucks hot chocolate you’ve been craving and a glazed donut (calories don’t count on a Perfect Day)

7) Help educate people about their voter rights and then encourage them to GO VOTE

8) Enjoy the yummy smells of High Street as you get some exercise

9) Have a colleague of your former boss offer to help get you a job at STANFORD

10) Pass your Environmental Health Sciences test with at least a B (here’s hoping!)

11) Spend the evening with your friends keeping track of the electoral college totals

12) Sleeeeeeep (preferably with a cat at your feet, because who doesn’t like cats cuddling with them?)

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