Monday, December 30, 2013

That Little Twitch

Busy, fun, exciting, and  exhausting all rolled up into one. Today my right eyelid decided to shudder and twitch. I think I must be tired or something. Imagine that.

It was another day of noise and activity. My three grandchildren came to play early, rousing us from our beds and getting the day started with some smiles and snuggles. Smiles and snuggles are nice. Speaking of snuggles, I've been soaking up those baby snuggles too. Last night I held the little guy while he fell asleep. Oh, so warm and cozy. (Somewhere there are pictures 'cause Grandmanita's here.) Lukie got his turn to hold the baby today. He was very pleased. I think they're all going to miss their little cousin when he goes home.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bribes and Trickery

How does a grand- mother get all of her grand- children to stay in one place for a few quick photos?

Why bribery, of course!

I had five tiny Tootsie Rolls in my purse. They came in very handy for con- vincing some otherwise fairly uncooperative little people to sit on the couch.

Josh, like a good big brother, held Jake. Jake was pretty happy to sit on Josh's lap.

Simon, like a good cousin, held Austin. Austin did not cooperate quite like Jakie, but his presence made Simon feel important, and also made my grandchild photo complete.

Lucas kept asking, "Why isn't there a baby for me to hold?" I guess Aubrey has outgrown the "baby" stage, at least in Lukie's opinion.

My wish for this Christmas was to get a photo of all our grand- children together and that wish was granted. I'm not sure when we will get them all in one spot again so these pictures are special treasures.

My other wish was for a photo of all my children together. That wish was granted in an entirely different way than the grandchild photo. I didn't have any Tootsie Rolls big enough to trick the adults into gathering, but I was given a photo from Jim and Michele's wedding back in April. It has all our kids in it and that makes my wish complete. I'm happy.

Please forgive the overindulgence in grandchild photos today. I couldn't help myself.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Practically Perfect

I have come to the conclusion that my practical side has a really difficult time dealing with my inner perfectionist. Perhaps 2014 will be the year they learn to cooperate. In the meantime I've decided that rather than being "Perfectly Practical", I'll settle for being "Practically Perfect".

My oldest son, his beautiful wife, and my sweet little grandson arrived late last night (actually early this morning) and my mom in law will arrive late tonight (actually, early tomorrow morning... the flight has been delayed). The tough thing about traveling is the fatigue that sets in afterward. We had some sleepy people here this afternoon.

 I think, perhaps, if we can get some sleep tonight, we might actually be ready for tomorrow night's Late Christmas/ Pre-New Year's/ Early Birthday Party. We're rolling it all up into one so as not to miss anything. (I think we'll probably all sleep until dinner time Sunday.)

(Yes, I'm already tired. Is it showing? Ha ha!)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Settling of the Dust

Christmas Day has come and gone once again and we're taking a breather (of sorts) before the party begins again. Jim and Michele will arrive late tonight (or maybe early tomorrow morning...) along with our youngest grandson. If all goes according to plan, Grandmanita will arrive tomorrow night, but she is fighting a respiratory ailment of some kind, so only time will tell if she'll make it tomorrow. Our hope is that she will be here to see Jim and Michele and meet Austin.

We had a houseful for Christmas; five of our kids and five grandchildren. The house went from quiet and still to loud and bustling within a matter of minutes as family members arrived. We ate lasagna, cookies, and cake, listened to music, played with children, and opened a few gifts. I sneaked in a few hugs and kisses wherever I could catch a smiling child. After several hours of noise and excitement, a calm slowly began to descend and the quiet and still returned.

Saturday evening is our planned family Christmas Party. This one will require a small bit of furniture rearranging if we are to fit everyone into the house with a little bit of room to move around. The house that look open and empty when we moved in 12 years ago has been filled to capacity. We're going to be cozy and I am going to love having everyone together for this brief moment in time. My only other wish is for one family photo with everyone in it and another of all my grandchildren. It'll be the first time we have them all in one place.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas


And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Luke 2:12

Monday, December 23, 2013

Oh, There It Is!

Two weeks ago my friend Wanda mailed me a loaf of persimmon bread. I have never tasted persimmons and was anxious to sit down with a cup of coffee and a slice of her homemade treat. I watched the mail. I checked the box. I asked my husband if he had seen a package. Other packages came and went. It snowed a foot or more and I began to think my package was lost in transit. Warmer weather came, along with drenching rains. Our snow melted and the world turned into a soggy, muddy mess. Wanda decided to send out another loaf of bread.

This morning I went to set out the trash and bring in Grandma's newspaper. On my way back up the driveway I glanced toward the mostly unused front door. Last week I'd taken notice of the blanket of snow piled up on the steps. I'd considered taking a picture, but decided I'd already done that so didn't bother. (It looked very much like the snow in this photo. Maybe you see why we rarely use this entrance.)

So, like I said, I was on my way back up the driveway with my mother's newspaper when I glanced toward the house. The snow was all melted and there on the top step sat a small white box. I think I did a double-take. I knew immediately what it was and felt my heart sink. I am certain it was buried under last week's snow all the while I'd been waiting.

I retrieved the soggy package and took it into the house where I cut the packing tape and looked inside. It may have been damp and the bread may gone stale, but the little box was still full of love and I found myself smiling. The little Christmas cup is full of yummy candied walnuts. Once it is empty I will fill it up with some yummy coffee or hot chocolate. I did taste the bread, but I am certain it would have tasted much better had the postal carrier brought it to my back door like usual. Must have been a substitute carrier that day. Guess I'll have to forgive them.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Soggy. It's very soggy. Lots of rain and melting snow. The beautiful white world of last week has turned into a muddy mess. I went out today, out to face the last weekend of holiday madness. It is possible that by some slim chance I may pull off actually being ready again this year. (Keep your fingers crossed.) I have a couple extra days this time since out family gathering isn't until next Saturday.

Since I didn't take any photos of the melting mess, you get to enjoy wintery white snow photos instead. (Lucky you!) This is from my walk around the back of the barn the other day.

And some birds too. Every morning I toss a handful of in-the-shell peanuts out for the blue jays. Hannah and I had to laugh at one bird this morning. He wanted to make sure he got the biggest peanut and so kept hopping from one to another, picking them up and dropping them, and he definitely didn't want to share with anyone else either. Kind of like people in a way.

Haven't seen the juncos since the weather warmed up, but the sparrows are out in abundance along with a friendly flicker. (Wishing I had a wide angle lens today, but Grandmanita is coming late nest week. Maybe she can get some good shots.)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Life on the Farm

Last night James and Hannah put the finishing touches on their graham cracker farm. I think it's pretty incredible. Next year they should start early and enter a contest.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Graham Cracker Boss

They've been working on it for three days now. It looks cool. I am impressed. These are the shots from Wednesday morning, before the decorating began. It's been a great project for James and Hannah and will provide a good memory for many years to come. My poor little graham cracker house pales in comparison.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cracker Creations

We had a lot of fun decorating graham cracker houses with the kids yesterday and I think it is destined to become a holiday tradition. Each child was thrilled to take their house home and helpless to keep himself from taking a nibble or two.

They all turned out different even though all the bags of candy were basically the same.
(Aubrey and Aunt Hannah)

Had it been up to some of these little ones, the houses would have been bare and the candy consumed.

It's a good thing there were plenty of extra goodies to nibble on.
(Jakie and Beth)

Some of the candy had already been sampled by the time it got onto the plate. Lucas just couldn't resist the marshmallow peep tree.

 We even had Teddy Grahams to live in our houses and play in our yards. They're the perfect size for mini graham cracker houses!

And I had to get in on the fun too, of course.

There. That's two posts for today and it's not even 10 am.

W is for White

W is for white. It is a white, white world.

We were blessed with several inches of snow which turned our world white this past weekend. I couldn't resist taking my camera out for a walk about the yard this morning. It's supposed to warm up a bit between now and Christmas. Who knows, maybe some snowman will magically appear in the yard. (It could happen...)

  For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Graham Cracker Houses

It was a wild and noisy day full of children, toys, and candy. Bethany came over with Josh and Jake, Dave and Leta's kids were here, and we had Rocky too. It was Graham Cracker House Day.

Bethany, Hannah, and I constructed houses while the Curtain Climbers watched a video. We "glued" them (the houses, not the children) onto Chinet plates and left them to dry.

When we weren't looking, Jake helped himself to a house. "Nibble, nibble like a mouse, who is nibbling at my house?"

Thankfully, we'd made enough houses that we didn't have to worry about one missing.

The kids had a great time decorating their houses and eating candy.

Even Jacob thought it was fun.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Blue Jays Came for Breakfast

The blue jays came to visit this morning. Three or four of them were hanging out in the weeping birch outside by the driveway. I think they were looking for some breakfast. I'm not sure what they found to eat, but maybe I can pick up something they would like while I'm out shopping later today. I think they like peanuts. I found them eating those one Christmas morning. They were sharing with some squirrels who also happen to like peanuts.

We got some more snow last night. If this is any indication of what's to come, I think we'd better prepare ourselves for a long, cold, and snowy winter. (They even had snow in Cairo, Egypt the other day!) Sure is pretty even if it is a nuisance. Bethany managed a game of bumper cars the other day and Ben hit an iceberg head on yesterday morning. I'm so glad Hannah took her road test before all the snow showed up.

Hope all of you are staying safe!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

In the Quiet

It was a quiet weekend. I stayed home, cleaned, and sorted through stacks of "rubble". I learned, that in spite of often feeling like I can't catch up, I really can if given the time and space. There is still a long way to go if I want to sort through all the "junk" we've collected, but you won't be seeing us on the next episode of "Hoarders" anytime soon. (Please don't be disappointed.)

Last week, long before the cold and snow descended on the northeast, I filled my little bird feeder with seeds. It went untouched for many days and I thought perhaps all of my summer bird friends had moved on, but when the storm moved in, so did the little birds. They've been very happy with my meager offering. I haven't see any cardinals yet, and the bluejays haven't been back, but these (I can't see them very well... are they chickadees?) little birds are fun to watch even if they don't have bright colors.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday Morning

It's 10º F outside (-12º C) and Mom has gone to Rachel's for the weekend. I'd thought to go out shopping early again today, but the cold, snow, and silence urged me to stay home instead. Only Hannah and I are at home. I won't need to pick up any toys, prepare any lunches, or answer any questions. It's a good day to replenish my energy and recharge my introvert side. It might even be a good day to clean the bathrooms. (Imagine that!)

Christmas is headed our direction with all the force of a speeding locomotive. I hope I'm ready when it pulls into the station. Remember that little girl I told you about? The one who just wanted to soak in the Christmas season? Well, here she is. It must have been a little past Christmas as the toys appear to have been unwrapped...

Looks like I got a Heidi doll and she's wearing a winter coat. I often wonder what happened to some of those old toys we used to have. Heidi probably went into the garbage after her arm fell off. Remember how you could press her belly button and she would wave? Mom must have tossed her out when I wasn't paying attention. I can't blame her, that's what Mom's do sometimes.

The Playskool Peggy Board probably belonged to my brother Tim, but I do remember hauling it out of the closet a time or two myself. It was kind of fun to set up a town and drive a wooden car or truck along the painted road. Back when my own kids were small I dreamed of making one myself, but it never happened. Still, it was fun to imagine doing it and they never knew so they weren't disappointed. (Maybe I can get "The Grandfather" to make one for the grandkids instead.)

The toys I find in toy stores today just don't measure up to what we once found under the Christmas tree. What do you remember under yours when you were a kid? Liddle Kiddles, anyone?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

3X Thursday

Hi! I'm hanging out over at Kristina's place. You coming too?

By the way...

1. Do you like snow for Christmas?
2. Do you find yourself clever?
3. Which do you prefer, gloves or mittens?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Horse Cookies

A few little cookies we decorated. (See? I can have fun. And there were Christmas carols too.) Hannah gave the horses manes and tails, and then she put a halter on them because she knows how to do that. :0)

I think the next batch will be all horses and no stars or snowmen. (okay, maybe just one or two trees... Maybe we can make some darker colors and turn a few horses into Appaloosas and painted ponies. Maybe we can decorate their halters with red and green and give them blazin' saddles...

Oh the possibilities!