Monday, December 31, 2007

Friends and Family

Friends, family, family friends, and family who are friends... Yesterday we had another family gathering, this time in honor of Josiah's birthday. He will turn 20 on Friday but we decided to celebrate early, while Jim is still home. My sister Rachel came with Dave and the boys and also my Aunt Margie. It was a nice afternoon. We ate lasagna and had brownie sundaes. Ellie thoroughly embarrassed us by jumping onto Aunt Margie's lap and into her plate of lasagna. She had sauce all over her foot. Yucky! Good thing I had just given her a bath. Mom took another turn holding the baby even though she wasn't feeling quite like herself yesterday, and Dave took the splint off his broken arm to give it a little "exercise". We were able to see the pretty bruise colors and the set of railroad tracks down his arm. Ouch!

Tonight our kids are coming over again and also some friends. We're going to have a little New Year's Eve party. After cleaning my house all day, I'm not sure if I will make it til midnight but at least I have "swept out the old" and am ready for the new.

Have a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007


This is the what I see when I pass the computer. It makes me smile every time.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


The two Nativities I painted this month went to my daughter and my daughter in law. We packed boxes with all kinds of fun things for our older kids. It's so hard to know what to give, especially when I have kids who really don't ask for much. They are great that way and never act disappointed in our gifts.

The Christmas rush is over for another year and, as usual, I am thinking about how to keep things controlled when it rolls around next year. I really do need a plan, and more than that, I need to implement it. So, I am tossing things around in my little old brain and formulating a plan. (I'm also packing things away, because I think I need to change my readiness goal from December 24th to December 1st.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Morning

A couple weeks ago I set out some peanuts for the squirrels. It was supposed to be cold and snowy, and they looked so busy running around getting ready that I thought I would make things easy on them (kind of like when I stop somewhere for a quick lunch). I was rather disappointed to find that no one seemed the least bit interested in my offering. The peanuts sat on the ground and were covered by snow, seemingly forgotten.

God works in mysterious ways. Yesterday was Christmas and what did I see through my upstairs window? A beautiful blue jay sitting on the branch of our big birch tree. When I looked out, he swooped down to the ground where three more blue jays were inspecting my pile of peanuts at the base of the tree. Every so often one would fly off with a nut in his beak, a Christmas gift for Mrs. Blue jay, maybe? The blue jays weren't the only ones to enjoy the feast, there was also a little squirrel, who buried his peanuts for later, and big old blackbird who I'm sure tookshis share. I found it interesting that the pile would remain on the ground until yesterday morning when I would be blessed to catch a glimpse of the wildlife Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Getting Malled

This morning I took my kids to downtown Rochester to see Midtown Plaza. We parked in the underground garage (but didn't drive down into the depths), took the escalator up into the shopping plaza and looked around a little bit. It was sadly empty with many vacant stores. Not too much to do or see, but Santa was there and several groups of children were riding the monorail. We waved to them as they went over our heads. We checked out the silent Clock of the Nations and then decided to go on with our shopping trip. I paid 40 cents for parking on my way out and the attendant said it had been that way all morning. It was a trip for nostalgia's sake.

When my sisters and I were little girls, we looked forward to the annual Christmas shopping trip to Midtown. It was in the heart of the city and we usually went at night after supper. The snow would be drifting down when we crossed the street to go in Sibley's department store. The parking garage was mysterious, the clock intriguing, and the fountains playful, but the best part of the trip was going through the Christmas tunnel in Sibley's. It was a darkened maze of Christmas scenes with moving figures. It always depicted A Christmas Carol or some other holiday story and was crowded with friendly shoppers. At the end of the tunnel, Santa was waiting to meet the children, many of whom had traveled into the city with their parents like we did. About 20 years ago Sibley's closed their downtown location and the tunnel was gone for good. Too bad, because it was so much fun and made such wonderful memories.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Little Christmas Cheer

An interesting title seeing as I feel completely overwhelmed at the moment. Time is slipping by, the big day is fast approaching and I am helpless to slow it down. I thought my house was a disaster at Thanksgiving...

Today we made a batch of "Grandma Floy's English Toffee". I wish I could say I followed the directions to a T, but the sun isn't shining (at least it's not raining), I used Hershey's chocolate, and since walnuts seem to be scarce in these parts, we put chopped cashews on the outside. Tastes yummy and if it weren't for the fact that there are only a few days left 'til Christmas, I'd likely have to hide this too. I also made a batch of Russian Teacakes. These normally have walnuts inside, but we substituted pecans. I should be making more cookies or cleaning the house. Instead I am having my afternoon cup of coffee and visiting with my friends.
Troy was here this afternoon, but went home early with his dad. He won't be back until the end of January, so tomorrow I am going shopping and I don't have to be home until 4 o'clock! If I can figure out what I need to look for, maybe I can get something done... maybe.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Finish Line

Where has the time gone? Will I ever be ready before Christmas morning? What do we give to all our kids? How do I know what they want or need? Why do I let this happen every year?

I have to say that on one hand I was looking forward to a big snowstorm this past weekend, but only because it gives me a good reason to stay home and work on my projects. The other hand was hoping the storm didn't dump too much snow as Josiah is working for a guy who plows driveways. When it snows they are up all hours of the night trying to keep contracted customers happy and that isn't easy. Anyway, our big snow turned to sleet and freezing rain which kept the accumulation down. We stayed off the icy roads and enjoyed the woodstove some more. I spent hours at the table painting my nativity figures. Maybe by tonight I will be finished and able to go on to the next project. I'm thinking I may do some snowmen.

PS- Jasmine's foot is better. I took her to the vet and they said it was a cyst. They gave me some antibiotics but really she was already getting better. I suppose it had already festered and burst and that is why she was looking so glum. I never gave gave her any medicine and now she is fine. Doesn't it just figure?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another Day With Josh

It is the season for Christmas candy so we are enjoying Josh's company while Bethany helps pack boxes of candy at work. Every time I see Josh, his eyes look bluer and bluer. He is growing so fast. This afternoon he and I took a nap in the chair. It was nice to be snuggled up with a soft, sweet baby for a couple of hours.
All my kids love him. No one is afraid to hold him, no one feels silly talking to him, and they all think he's cute and funny. Right now he's thinking it might be time to eat so he's complaining. The faces and sounds he makes are rather amusing. I'd warm up a bottle, but I think his mommy will be coming any minute now.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Update on Dave

Dave had surgery on his arm late last night. He was able to go home wearing a cast from hand to near shoulder and a blue foam stabilizer. He has some nice pain medication and will likely be in a cast for quite some time. He is somewhat concerned about being out of work. Easy to say "God has everything worked out" but a little harder to live.

Tonight Dave and Leta went out to the Rochester Philharmonic to hear Handel's Messiah. We had given them tickets and I think he didn't want to disappoint her. They say you can't keep a good man down...

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Prayer Request

My son Dave had an accident today, not a car accident but one that has left him severely wounded none the less. He was doing a painting job and his ladder slipped. He fell and broke both the bones in his forearm and dislocated his elbow. Praise God he was not alone. I believe he had surgery on his arm this evening. I don't know too much more than that. Please keep him in your prayers, especially that he would heal well and quickly. And for his wife Leta too. Thanks.

The picture? Just before Dave's third birthday he was out playing with a friend. They were jumping off the slanted basement doors outside our apartment when Dave fell and broke his funny bone. Not funny. It hurt so bad he asked me to call the police. Today he wanted an ambulance.

The Calm Before the Next Storm

It is a fairly quiet day at my house. James is here making phone calls and looking at his books. My three youngest are here doing their school work (I think) and being generally quiet. Troy was feeling a bit under the weather and stayed home with his dad. I have been working on my nativity sets. My fingers are flecked with paint; maple sugar tan, butter cream, and spice brown. You would think I was baking cookies, but those are my paint colors.

The weather has settled down for the moment but they say a storm is headed our way. We seem to be situated in an area forecast to receive significant snowfall. A little east of here they will likely be under at least 12-18 inches of snow, maybe we will be too. I'm not complaining; my house is warm and I have plenty to keep me busy. Maybe I'll actually get my painting done... or bake some cookies.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Winter Storm

Today we had a nice little snowstorm. I would have chosen to stay at home all day, but instead I had to venture out at the height of the storm to retrieve Troy from preschool. It was snowy and slick. I drove slow and we both got back safe.

I've not done near the tasks I hoped to this week. James and I had talked of writing our Christmas cards on Sunday afternoon... We didn't. I had hoped to have my nativity sets painted... I'm still working on them. Cookies? Maybe they'll happen and maybe they won't... In any case, the laundry has been getting done, the dishes are clean, I've managed to get suppers on the table, and the vacuum cleaner has been exercised a few times this week. Josh was here for several hours today. Hannah is more than happy to hold him and feed him, as long as I change his diapers. We've been enjoying his company.

Jasmine may need to take a trip to the vet. Her front paw is swollen and bleeding. She has been somewhat reluctant to get up off her bed the past few days, but I thought she was just being sulky. Poor thing, she really looks unhappy and can't favor her foot like most animals. She's never learned to walk on two legs. Lucky for Jazz I have a husband who notices things like wounded dogs.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Soup's On!

Last night I made an easy dinner; baked ham, mashed potatoes, and green beans. I hadn't glazed the ham while it was baking so I mixed up a little frozen orange juice concentrate and some brown sugar and spooned that on top before we ate. Mmm, mmm, good! Josiah stopped by to eat with us and Bethany ate after work when she came to pick up the baby. This morning I checked Christine's blog and found a very nice recipe for Ham and Corn Chowder which I made for tonight. I had planned to make soup with the leftovers anyway and had everything I needed to try something new. Thanks, Christine!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Work in Progress

December is a busy month and I have been working hard to catch up with all that needs to get done. I'm not sure if I'm gaining any ground, but things are happening. Saturday was the Ladies' Auction at church. I did not end up donating my checkerboard, but I did end up playing the auction game. I came home with a lovely little painting of a fruit basket. After the auction Hannah and I did a little bit of shopping. Sunday afternoon Bethany wanted some shopping company so Hannah and I went out with her. I had promised the boys we would go out on Monday morning while Troy was at preschool, so yesterday we headed out again. (I am making progress, but I'm still not quite finished shopping.)

I am working on projects here at home too. I'm getting a late start, but I work best under pressure, so there is hope that I might finish before the big day. This is a nativity puzzle that I just started. Yesterday I found some strawberries in my freezer, so this morning I made a batch of strawberry jam. I'm drying another batch of apples (if you can believe that) and have one more left to go. I sent the rest of the apples to my friend Becky. She has a horse who thinks apples are mighty tasty. The other thing occupying my thoughts is the Wednesday night kid's class at church. This week we are going to make fleece hats, but I still need a lesson to go along with them. (Any ideas? I'm taking a short break from the regular lesson book.)

All this activity has gotten me thinking about Proverbs 31 and that woman who is mentioned there...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dancing With Baby

A little Christmas music from the Jackson 5, and a little dance with Baby.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Positively Negative

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
Philippians 2:14-15

Last night my husband and I had a short conversation which has left me thinking. How does one maintain a positive attitude in a negative world? It seems so much easier to complain than to be filled with gratitude and contentment. I guess that's what got the Children of Israel into a heap of trouble in the wilderness, and likely what gets me into a heap of trouble also.

So, thank you, Lord, for summer and winter, for springtime and harvest. Thank you for all those little irritations that You are using to conform me into your likeness, as well as the bright and wonderful things that leave a smile on my face..

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

It has been a busy week. My back hurts (from bending over safety pin angels) and I'm tired. The week is nearly over and, although I still have lots to do, I have accomplished some "great" things this week...

1. I cleaned the goldfish bowl.
2. We took the freestanding closet and portable dishwasher out to the barn.
3. I cleaned the junk out of one kitchen cupboard.
4. I painted a puzzle.
5. I took Oreo to the vet for his shots.
6. The picnic table is no longer in the front room.
7. I put out a few Christmas decorations.
8. I finished up the safety pin angels that the kids at church would never have been able to do themselves. (Too hard.)
9. I read Proverbs 1-6.
10. I gave my grandson his first bottle.
11. I took Little Cat to the vet for her shots. (Bo Cat goes tomorrow 'cause she escaped today.)
12. I watched a movie, Amazing Grace.
13. And, I think I dried another batch of apples but I'm having a hard time remembering...

Sometime soon I'll need to make that trip to the grocery store, but not tonight.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Can I Hold the Baby?

Bethany went to help out at work today. The Christmas season is busy because of the wonderful homemade candy they sell, so... Josh came to visit us for a few hours. There has been plenty of time for all of us to have a turn holding him. I gave him his first bottle and, since it had the right stuff inside, he didn't mind a bit. Of course, the kids also let me change the diapers, even the stinky one!

I took Oreo to the vet for his shots this morning, Tyler and Alysa had a half day of school, and Troy is here so its been a busy day. Tonight we have the kids class at church. Although I have been rolling ideas around in my head for the past week, I'm still having trouble knowing exactly what to do. I have just a few hours to get it all together...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Staying Warm

Each day I manage to remove a little more clutter from my house. Today I moved this little cart away from my basement door and out of the kitchen. I figured we could make coffee in the sitting area by the dinner table and woodstove. In the cabinet underneath is a bigger coffee pot and... lots of jars of apple butter. Guess I need to make some room for the coffee... I still haven't decorated for Christmas but that is getting closer to happening also. Well, okay, I did hang the stockings but that is about the extent of my present holiday decor.

The weather outside is frightful. I need to go grocery shopping but really don't want to brave the weather right now. The snow isn't very deep, but the wind has been blowing relentlessly since Sunday night. It is the wind that keeps me inside. My face and hands can't take the freezing cold and will instantly turn to leather, so I choose to stay inside and enjoy the warmth of the woodstove. Anybody for some tea and honey with a slice of warm bread and apple butter?

Monday, December 03, 2007

An Icycle Ride

It's a great day to be an icycle, or an ice cube for that matter. The wind blew all last night and has been blowing all throughout today too. It is an icy frigid wind, the kind that goes right through and freezes your bones. The actual temperature is 27 degrees, but with the windchill it feels more like 3. Every once in a while I half expect the house to blow away! Its a good night to stay home, watch a movie, and drink hot cocoa or tea.

I'm still working at cleaning out the extra stuff in my house. Today we removed a free standing closet and a portable dishwasher from my entry/kitchen. The closet collects coats and clothing we don't wear inside and clutter and other debris on top. The dishwasher works but because our water pressure is low, takes 2 hours to run. That's too long to have a dishewasher hooked up to my sink. Ellie went out with us when Nate and I took the dishwasher into the barn. Two and a half hours later I realized she had never come back in the house. I grabbed my coat and went outside in the gale-force winds to see if I could locate my poor little dog. I called her name, all the while thinking she could never hear me in all the wind. I walked toward the barn and called again. What was that? I heard barking! There was Ellie, closed in the barn. She was cold, trembly and a little confused but happy to be rescued from her cold, lonely prison. She's all warmed up now and has forgiven us for locking her out in the cold. Good thing Beth and I left her hair long!

(Wish Beth and Adam a happy anniversary in the post below.)

Happy 2nd Anniversary!

It's Adam and Bethany's anniversary today! Nothing like some brothers to add a little fun to your wedding photos.