Sunday, December 31, 2006

Good Bye to 2006

In a few hours we will bid farewell to 2006 and usher in the new year, 2007. We are spending a quiet evening at home with our four youngest children, some snacks and a video. Nothing too special but very nice at the same time. I hope that during the coming year I can again find the special in the everyday, ordinary aspects of life. I have had so much to be thankful for in 2006. Here are just a few...
1. A new nephew born in April, and a chance to meet him in October. He's beautiful!
2. A new brother in law and an opportunity to attend the wedding and see the whole family in New Mexico.
3. Being able to fly to Albuquerque with Grandmanita and Lee Anne and landing safely in Buffalo. (It was a rather "bouncy" landing.)
4. Having Grandma and Lee Anne stay with us for a couple of weeks. I hope they'll come back again sometime soon.
5. All the Sunday afternoons, family Bible studies, and special occasions we spend with our kids.
6. A productive vegetable garden. (I even made pickles and froze sweet corn!)
7. A 25th anniversary celebration. Our kids threw us a surprise party back on Father's Day.
8. A weekend get away at The Quiet Place with James. (Our kids bought it for our anniversary.)
9. Babysitting Troy. He's a lot of fun and very cute.
10. Holidays spent with family.
11. "Meeting" all my blog friends.
12. Orchard walks this fall. I haven't walked so much in years and I loved it.
13. And... I'm thankful for both the photos I've taken and the blogs I've written to help me remember all of the blessings of 2006.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Southwestern Snowstorm

Guess where these snowy streets are.

The snow is falling in Albuquerque again today. Kathy just sent these pictures to James this morning. All I can say is "WOW!". It looks just like it should here but doesn't. This is a record setting snowstorm for them. Snow in the mountains east of the city is not unusual at all but for the city to be buried twice in less than a month is unheard of. Of course if the weather warms up the snow will quickly disappear, well maybe not too quickly. Looks like the perfect conditions for that snowball fight I was thinking of!

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Albuquerque Snow

My sister in law sent some photos of last week's snow in Albuquerque. My nephew, William, is used to living in Nevada but he loves the cold, snowy weather. He even got to go tubing while the snow was still on the ground.
Our snow here along Lake Ontario is slowly melting. It's pretty sloppy outside today. I think we'll have to wait for the next snow to have a snowball fight.


These are my grandparents. My father's mom and dad on the left and mom's parents on the right. I have many memories of Grandma and Grandpa P. We ate dinner with them, stayed overnight at their house, and had them over for birthdays and other special occasions. Grandpa and I shared 35 birthdays together (mine is March 22 and his March 24). He lived to be 95 years old. I thought he would live forever... Grandma suffered from something like Alzheimer's so her last years were spent in an institution where she would be cared for and kept safe. She was an artist, a talented cook and lived well into her 80's.

My other grandparents both died before I had a chance to know them. Grandpa C. died of a heart attack when I was just a year old. I'm told he loved children and enjoyed watching people. He was a practical joker and a stern disciplinarian. Grandma C. went to be with Jesus many, many years before when my own mother was just five years old. I know she loved Jesus and left behind a well used Bible. She struggled with health problems (heart/ lungs) and died of pneumonia in 1940. She left behind four small children.
When I look into the faces of my grandparents, now passed on, I see little glimpses of my own parents, my sisters and brother, some of my cousins, and even my own children. Looking out from those eyes is something very familiar. Hey, that's me in there too!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Not Too Super

The last few days have been rather unproductive and blah. I suppose it could be the holiday let-down but it feels more like laziness and lack of ambition. The "Super-Mom" is not feeling very super today. I took a nap but what I really need is a long walk in the orchard. Not gonna happen, too wet and yucky! April seems a long way off today.

Maybe I'll feel more "super" tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Settling in to Winter

Now that Christmas is behind us and the snow is starting to fall, it feels like winter is settling in. I'm not sure if I'm ready for it or not but it is inevitable so I may as well not fight it. Probably the best thing to do is take an inventory of what needs to be done and get those things accomplished. Cold wintery weather is a good time to do school work, scrapbook photos, work on paint projects, or any other number of things. It's a good time to read a book, bake cookies, or take nice long naps. Maybe I could write some letters, work on crocheting or start sewing something wonderful. I definitely can't work on my garden or paint the house and orchard walks aren't quite as enjoyable but there is plenty to do. Better get going and see what kind of stuff I have to work on!
Oh yes, there were a couple of sleepy people here on Christmas. Aren't they sweet?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Anticipation, Disappointment, Relief

We had a wonderful Christmas gathering with our family yesterday. The best part of Christmas for me is when the gifts have been opened and the giving pressure is relieved. Somehow that attempt to please everyone and keep things balanced always proves to be quite stressful for me. I'm glad when it's time to eat and we have the chance to sit around, play a game or two, make a puzzle, or have some dessert.
This year I decided to surprise my oldest daughter at Christmas and order her a handmade French silk purse. It looks like the one pictured here but a different color. The biggest part of the surprise was not the purse, but where it came from ( so I was anticipating Bethany's reaction when she opened the gift on Christmas day. She is the most likely of all my kids to give a really good reaction and I was really looking forward to it.
When the blizzards hit Denver I was a little concerned that my package might not arrive on time. I wasn't sure whether Ginger was still in Boulder, Colorado or if she had moved to Portland, Oregon. Turns out she is in Portland so my package arrived here on Friday afternoon in time for me to wrap it and put it under the tree. The only problem is that Beth answered the door when the mail was delivered. She tried to tell me she didn't know what was in the box, she hadn't seen what was in it and "let's just rewind and pretend I didn't" but it was too late! She knew and I was so disappointed in missing her Christmas day reaction that I couldn't help but cry. (I surprised even myself in doing that, but I'm not sure why.) By Christmas morning I had recovered from my disappointment and we had a great time opening gifts and sharing with each other. I think I learned a valuable lesson but I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it is.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas

Wishing all of you the love of Jesus.

May He shine in our hearts and lives this Christmas and all throughout the year to come!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Mistletoe and Holly

This December has been anything but typical. When I imagine Christmas shopping it always involves snow and slush. This year there has been none of that. Aside from the couple of inches we had a few weeks ago, there has been no snow to speak of at all this year. I really don't mind not traipsing through all that white stuff when I head out to shop but it just doesn't seem normal.
The temperatures have been hovering around freezing during the night and then get up into the 40's or 50's during the day. Not cold enough to freeze the skating rink (which is slowing disappearing with each passing day), just cold enough to keep me inside.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Priscilla!

When I was just 2 1/2 years old I got a baby sister for Christmas. Today is her 40th birthday so here are 13 random things that you probably already know about Priscilla .

1. Today she's 40, incase you missed that one.

2. Priscilla taught me how to blog.

3. She is a wonderful painter. (Check her art blog)

4. She took me to decorative painting classes 8 years ago.

5. She likes to sleep at my house.

6. She wants to take a vacation somewhere out west.

7. She would love a new digital camera.

8. She's taller than I am but she still looks up to me. (I think)

9. She walks faster than me because I have short fat legs.

10. She wear glasses. (or maybe contacts)

11. She was the tallest one in her 6th grade class.

12. She's not too hot on chile sauce.

13. She is both a big sister and a little sister.

I hope you have a great birthday, Little Sister! From your big sister.

Gotta go now, James and I are going out tonight!

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Skating Rink

Anyone care to go skating? The weather is gorgeous!
Okay, maybe we should give it a little more time?

A Holly Jolly September?

It still feels like September. That's when I took this photo. I'll have to walk around the house and see if the holly berries are still there now that it's almost Christmas. Wouldn't they be pretty with a little snow?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

No Snow

I am desparately trying to be ready for Christmas but not sure I'll make it on time. I'm not the only one who's late though, this just might be another green Christmas. Our cold weather is missing and so is the snow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Help! Why did everyone turm anonymous when I switched to the new blog? Did that happen to anyone else?


"It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!"

Did it come with out lights too?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Stockings Were Hung

We never had Christmas stockings at home when we were small. There were always plenty of gifts under the tree and Mom and Dad made the holiday special with their own traditions. Since Santa Claus didn't visit our house, we always opened our gifts on Christmas eve. Mom and Dad got to sleep a little bit longer Christmas morning and we were able to get up early and admire all the wonderful treasures we received with out having to wait.

When my husband was small Santa always left stockings on Christmas morning. From what I understand there were always oranges and pieces of candy along with whatever else Santa had on hand.

I remember my first Christmas stocking. It was lying at the foot of the bed when I woke up in the morning. We had gone to visit Grandmanita and while we were sleeping Santa had arrived and left us a sock full of goodies. I can't even remember what was in there, that didn't really matter, it was just the fun of receiving a stocking at all. I decided then that it would be a great thing to do with our own kids. Thus began our own Christmas stocking tradition. One year when money was a bit tight, we searched the attic and kitchen drawers and found all kinds of goodies to put in the stockings. We laughed at the looks on the kids faces because everything looked all too familiar. They laughed too and we had a great time. At least the candy was fresh.

When we moved into this house James made me a Shaker peg rack especially for hanging our Christmas stocking. It stays up all year but has nine pegs, one for each stocking. Originally we hung stockings for ourselves and our seven kids. Now that Beth and David are married we have added Adam and Leta, and have nine kids to fill stockings for. So, I am busy looking for candy and trinkets to fill up nine Christmas stockings. If I was really smart I would collect all through the year and have a whole bucket full of loot by the time Christmas came, but alas, I am a slow learner and must do all at the very last minute. Good thing for Walmart and Dollar Stores!

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Tree

Some families have long standing traditions when it comes to the Christmas tree. Maybe they make it a family affair and set off for a tree farm to choose and cut their own tree each year. Possibly they pick out an already cut tree like the boy scouts sell. Maybe they buy a live potted pine that is planted outside after the holidays are past. We've been known, a time or two, to cut a scraggily little evergreen from our own back yard. (I recall Priscilla's horror one year when she saw our "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree.) It's also quite fun to surprise your friends and family by "making" your own "artificial" tree from a log and some fresh cut pine boughs. Sometimes parents, especially grandparents, get tired of the yearly search and decide to go with an artificial tree; no needles to worry about, no watering of the tree, no wondering how to dispose of it afterward.

Yesterday we took a ride to Wilbert's tree farm and walked back to pick out our Christmas tree. It was a bright sunny day with a trace of snow on the ground and lots of mud. We chose a tree that has short needles. It isn't too tall for the ceilings and isn't too big around. It fits nicely in the corner we cleared in the living room. The kids hung the lights and now we are wondering how we have celebrated 25 Christmases together and have so few ornaments. Apparently the gifts underneath were more important than what was hanging on the branches. Ahh, a few dozen candy canes and some fake snow will fill it up quite nicely!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Information Wanted

What do teenaged boys want for Christmas? Any good ideas that won't cost hundreds? I have more boys to buy for than ideas. HELP!

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Christmas to Remember

For years James' family had talked of getting together for the holidays. In 2002 we all met in Boulder, Colorado for a Christmas family reunion. Some family members flew and some, like us, took a chance and drove across the country. It was the first time the whole family had been together in over 20 years!

Lori made lists and each of us had a family member to buy a gift for. We collected candy and trinkets to make sure each child received a Christmas stocking. We had been assured ahead of time that Darius would have a Christmas tree for us even though he and his family typically celebrated Kwanza instead. When we arrived the tree was still absent and no one seemed in a hurry to get one. There were a few people who were quite opposed to cutting one down and so a compromise was arranged. Lee Anne set to work drilling holes in a log from the back yard and Ginger went about trimming the huge pine tree in the front yard. Talk about a Charlie Brown Christmas! Luckily, some of us brought strings of lights from home and we found all kinds of things of decorate our little tree with. We even made an angel from an old McDonald's toy.

I'll always remember Christmas in Colorado, not just because of the stomach bug that swept though the house, the drives up into the mountains, our trip to Focus on the family, or the day we walked through the shops on Pearl Street, but because it was such a special time with family who we don't often see. My children had a chance to meet aunts, uncles, and cousins they had never seen or couldn't remember and we had the special opportunty to be together once again before all the kids grew up and went their separate ways.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmasy Stuff

Well, I've ordered a few gifts and am thinking hard on the others. This weekend I'm hoping that we can get a tree and decorate it. Maybe that will help with the "lost" feeling I have had the past couple of weeks. I am always at a loss as to how to get into the Christmas spirit. Sometimes I feel as though I am wandering aimlessly and getting nothing accomplished at all.

My favorite husband put together and installed this mantle last weekend. The house is all decorated for the season and looking quite festive. I know that there are many houses that are lavishly decorated and the air is filled with anticipation but something is still missing. Where is Jesus in all of the excitement? Do they even notice He is missing?

Last year our church had a children's Christmas program. The program itself was very short but they had worked hard ahead of time on learning the parts and songs, painting the backdrops and building the props. Bethany's wedding was somewhat Christmas like too and we also had a Christmas piano recital for Ben and Hannah. They were all holiday happenings to look forward to attending but this year there isn't any children's Christmas program or piano recital so I'm thinking I may have to look around and see if I can find another Christmas celebration to attend. Any good ideas?

Old Man Winter

Looks and feels like winter is here. Brrrr! It's cold and somewhat snowy. The wind is blowing and sounding winter-like. It's a good day to curl up by the wood stove with a cup of something hot and take a nap.

Hey Priscilla, wanna come over?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

He Likes It! Hey Mikey!

Anyone recall about 10 years back when Life cereal was looking for a new Mikey? Here he is.

Baking Cookies

Yesterday afternoon I mixed up some dough for cutout cookies. Today we are cutting and baking shapes and tomorrow we will take some time to frost and decorate. Sara, Alysa, and Tyler all have a half day of school and I thought they might enjoy frosting cookies to take home.

This picture is Nathan back when he was about 5 years old and Gramanita did cookies with the kids.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Remember when the bulbs on strings of Christmas lights were big and really got hot?

This was my very first Christmas. I was nine months old and my brothers were 7 and 6.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Happy first anniversary to Beth and Adam. I can't believe it's been a whole year already since your wedding. What a beautiful day it was, even if Bethany did go down the aisle in bare feet!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Cold Weather

After a week of unseasonably warm temperatures, the cold weather is finally moving in. Yesterday we got another dousing of rain and if it gets very cold soon, we'll have a terrific skating rink out back. The wind blew hard all night long and it's rather chilly today but we still don't have any snow.

This afternoon Rachel and I went back out to the Craft and Antique Co-op, finished walking the bottom floor and then stopped at Wendy's for a Frosty. It was a nice relaxed time. I needed a chance to go out and relax with a friend. In this case my friend was also my sister. Thanks Rach, even though neither of us bought anything, it was a productive time for me.

Before heading home I did some shopping at Wegman's where I ran into my friend, Cindy. Funny thing is I had just seen her this morning at the post office where I rarely ever stop. Ever wonder how we can go for years without seeing someone and then run into them over and over in a rather short period of time?

Maybe the Lord is putting us back together after all these years... (Hey Cindy, if you're out there, leave me a comment. )

Christmas 1983

Christmas Day 1983. We were at Mom and Dad's house with our two little boys. Jim was two and David just 2 months. James and I were both 19.