They are very proud of their Christmas tree, which we purchased late November and has already crisped. They are proud of the ornaments and the stocking that hang on the brass and porcelain knobs of our built-in drawers. Rose practiced filling the stockings with the ornaments from the tree. And for nearly two weeks the bottom half of the tree had to be redecorated.
Outside, the wind makes our rabbit frisky and the local squirrels are eating our avocados off the tree. Our late November harvest included lemons, avocados, mandarine oranges, pink grapefruits, and purple figs. I think the prolonged heat extended our fig harvest this late. The figs started in July and I picked the last ones in December before chopping the branches back to a knee-high stump. The branches will grow back in the spring and stretch beyond our heads by the summer.
Thanks to Mama Mina, the children experienced their first amusement park, Knott's Berry Farm, and decided they could do that all day. They were able to ride many of the rides unattended. Lines were short and the thrills were perfect for their age. Lee enjoyed retelling how robbers came onto our train with candy canes for guns, and they sang sad songs because they were going to jail.
They didn't care so much for the log ride and both were nearly in tears at the dark part where the wolves howl and a raccoon is stealing a camper's hat. The picture taken as we plunged down the last drop shows Rose with a look of utter terror and Lee with my Mom's hand over his eyes. Strangely enough, afterwards they both declared they liked it.
Mini-roller coasters, cotton candy, icee's, the ferris wheel and merry-go-round. It was definitely one of the month's highlights.
The wonderful thing about taking the children to Knott's or to see the annual Uptown Whittier Christmas parade is that they continue the play long after the event is over. Lee came home from Knott's to draw trains and some squiggly lines on the sidewalk that were supposed to be a roller coaster's track. They marched around the house wearing ridiculous getups and making a racquet after seeing the bands play in the parade. And after Megan Hotz and Duanne Litz' wedding, Rose has been walking around the house with a long train and telling Lee how they need to get married.
What I like most about their play is that they seem to be having just as much fun playing as they did on the rides at Knott's Berry Farm. Thank God for simple kids. Their imagination and their riotous laughter is the tinsel of December.
Phil's spoons decorate the house these days. I love the wholesome, earthen look of them on a shelf that I cleared in the kitchen. Every few days I find a new spoon on the kitchen counter, a presentation of his work the previous night when I went to bed early. Some are made of soft pine, others are dark walnut. Then there's the cracked avocado. He even made a spoon using the 100-year-old wood that was an old stud in our house. He has learned a lot about carving and wood types in the last month or so.
Once again, the season has inspired me to slow down and digest the good and wholesome things this time of year. It must be because of my contrariness. When I hear advertisements on my Pandora station urging me to hurry up, or when I'm caught in the current of mad drivers, or when I see the neighbors put up their colored Christmas lights and giant metal stars in their trees, I'm inspired to walk slower, to sit and observe, and to take in the details that I would otherwise miss.Like the bright red Nandina berries that grows on our neighbor's Heavenly Bamboo this time of year. Or the little piles of raked leaves that Lee made in the backyard during his quiet time. Or the sound of a midnight cloud burst after days of heat and sunshine. Or the smooth texture of Trader Joe's Greek yogurt. Or the taste of food that others made. Or the warmth of the sunlight on a day when the high is seventy. Or the sprinkles of glitter on my pants and on Rose's car seat from her new Christmas dress given to her by Grandma Stevens. Or eating monstrous chunks of crab meat at Auntie Jessie's birthday party. Or the children apologizing and forgiving unprompted. Or seeing them rise with wide eyes and start singing along to the Hallelujah Chorus with the church choir. Or the way they get around with their five-year-old-boy and three-year-old-girl vocabularies, saying things like, "Two weeks behind me," and "Mommy, I was terror-rerizing the rabbit and tret-tening her." It is all tinsel this time of year.