As promised, here is this year’s Sangria Family Christmas Card, in which Ben and Smalls review the major events of the year: Smalls’s arrival, Tim’s graduation party, the new door, our new jobs, the skunk incident, and our new niece.
(Click for the annotated version on Flickr for easier reading.)
About four years ago, when I graduated from college, my parents threw me a fantastic graduation party catered by my all-time favorite Ft. Collins Mexican restaurant, El Burrito. We ended up with lots of delicious leftovers, most of which Tim and I took with us when we moved down to Colorado Springs the next day. We stocked our freezer with tortillas, ground beef, green chile, and sopapillas (we had a lot of sopapillas since we kinda forgot to put them out until the party was almost over — oops!) and basically lived on El Burrito leftovers for the first month we lived here. I can’t even begin to tell you how delicious it was.
While we quickly ran out of tortillas, we had plenty of everything else those first tasty weeks in our house. So once burritos were no loner an option, I started making stuffed sopapillas on a regular basis. I’d just slice open a sopapilla, fill it with beef, cheese, and green chile, and smother the whole thing with more green chile (El Burrito has damn good green chile). It was far from healthy, but who cares? It was delicious, and that’s really all that matters.
That was four years ago. Two nights ago, while eating mediocre Mexican food at a local restaurant, the conversation turned to how much we enjoy El Burrito and how disappointing it is that we’ve yet to find a restaurant in the Springs that compares. We’d been to El Burrito over the weekend while celebrating Christmas in Ft. Collins with my family, and the bland food before us now was just not doing it for us. As we grew nostalgic for the days of a freezer full of burrito- and stuffed sopapilla-makings, when we could satisfy our El Burrito craving whenever the mood struck, Tim mentioned that back then he’d thought I’d invented the stuffed sopapilla. He’d never noticed that fairly common menu item at Mexican restaurants before and thought sopapillas were just delicious dessert pastries. But then we moved into this house and I kept coming out of the kitchen with plate after plate of this “dessert pastry” stuffed with meat and smothered in green chile and he couldn’t believe I’d come up with such a delicious flavor combination. It was genius!
I wish I had invented the stuffed sopapilla — man, what a great legacy to have to my name! — but of course I didn’t, as Tim eventually figured out. I just hope that when he finally noticed the dish on a restaurant menu for the first time there was a big pitcher of margaritas nearby to help him deal with the realization that he was not married to a genius culinary inventor after all
Smalls is a very good finder of things. She is constantly finding things on the floor or in the yard and then bringing them to us so that we may throw them and she may chase them. Often, after being outside for a bit, she’ll try to bring the things she finds — sticks, usually — inside with her. If chasing a stick is fun outside, think how fun it would be inside!
Sadly for Smalls, we don’t allow sticks in the house, and she often finds herself being told to put her stick down before coming inside. No matter how many times we tell her this, though, she still keeps on bringing the sticks she finds to the door in hopes of being able to bring them inside.
The other night, Smalls found a particularly impressive stick that she really thought she should get to bring inside with her.
Impressive as it was, we still made her leave it outside. We’re mean like that.
We put a lot of thought and care into our Christmas card this year . . . thought, care, and peanut butter, as we worked to get the dogs into just the right pose. And, as Rufus and Kaya have shown us before, with puppy photo shoots come puppy photo shoot outtakes.
As we tried various poses in various locations and Ben obediently kept his nose to the grindstone dog bowl, Smalls just couldn’t seem to focus on the task at hand. She was either hanging out on the edges of the picture, despite being told to get back in the frame, or taking a break from the grueling photo shoot to sing a little Christmas carol. Ben stayed focused for the most part, if not a little too focused, until finally he had to take a minute to offer up a prayer of thanks to the gods of peanut butter.
We eventually got what we needed for our card, many many photos later. And I must say, the end result is awfully cute. I’d hate to spoil the suprise for the people who will be receiving their cards a few days from now, but maybe in some future edition of Wednesday-Bensday the 2008 Sangria Family Christmas Card will make an appearance.
Smalls would like it to be known that Rufus and Kaya are not the only helpful dogs on the Internet. She, too, is a very good helper to her parents. When I work from home, she is sure to snuggle up close and help me find misplaced commas and re-word awkward sentences. And when Tim has a stack of papers to grade or a classroom website to update, she is right there with him, offering lots of support and kisses to help him out.