Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Christmas Photo #TBTStories

Once upon a time, there was a family who thought it would be a good idea to take a Christmas picture of four kids and their wild rambunctious Dalmatian.

Sweet (psycho) Dotty was all decked out in her Christmas kerchief, and all they had to do was get her to sit, while four kids smiled angelically for the camera. A Christmas miracle.

The mother thought she might be able to assist in bringing peace to the process.

Smile, children!

I think they've almost got it.

Now that's a good one. An action shot. Say cheese!

Finally, it dawned on the family that including the dog in the photo might not be the best idea. (They were slow learners, you see.)

And if the dog wasn't to be in the photo, they might as well go inside where it was warm.

Where they could take a sweet photo by the Christmas tree. All is calm, all is bright.
Merry Christmas 1989.

Throwback Thursday Stories. #TBTStories

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Here Comes the Hodgepodge

It's Wednesday, so Here Comes the Hodgepodge! Our hostess, Joyce, will be humming Here Comes the Bride very soon when she watches her daughter say "I do", so we thank her for taking time from those last-minute mother-of-the-bride details to host the Hodgepodge. A couple of weeks ago, she invited her HP friends to suggest questions for use in a future Hodgepodge. Read on to see my suggested question. Be sure to hop over to visit Joyce and the others!

Here are her questions (and one of mine!) and my answers:
Time magazine has selected The Ebola Fighters as their person of the year for 2014. Do you agree, and if so who would you say is a close second? If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen?

I'll agree with that choice. I don't really know who would be a close second, unless it could be this guy:
Probably not. :)

2. This question comes to you courtesy of Susan who blogs over at Stew Mama Says. She knows we have a wedding happening any minute now, and she asks, 'What's your favorite-something old? something new? something borrowed? something blue in your home?  Be sure you hop over and say hi to Susan today! 

So fun to have my question featured on the Hodgepodge! Wishing the best to Joyce as she watches her little girl - I mean her D1 - walk down the aisle just days from now. How does that happen??
Now to the question. There are lots of old things at our house. Old clothes, old furniture, old dishes, old towels (anyone else have those?), old people. Oh wait, did I say that? Well, it's true that we aren't getting younger. Lol.
One of my favorite something-old things is this cradle. It has been handed down in my husband's family, and I believe his grandmother and her 5 sisters slept in it, then Jim's dad and his siblings, then Jim and his siblings and cousins, our five and their cousins, and now some of their kids. It has been shipped across the country, and finds its way back here, to our house, the house that Jim's grandparents built. The photo shows Jennifer's little Noah sleeping in it when he was just a few days old. It will be ready for his little sister when she arrives in a few months.

Something-new is my bathroom, which I am slowly getting finished up with artwork and accessories. It's a New Orleans theme, if you couldn't tell, and I love the new shutters, floor, vanity, and fixtures, making it a new old bathroom. :)

Something-borrowed was harder to come up with, but I finally thought of these vintage snack sets that I borrowed from my mom about ten years ago. I use them a couple of times a year, and they are nice for entertaining. She told me to just store them at my house, so I think they're mine now. :)

Something-blue (actually somethings), which I have mentioned here before, are my grandmother's blue willow dishes, on display in my kitchen.

3. Fudge-yay or nay? Your favorite flavor? Do you make it yourself? With nuts or without? 

Definitely yay. Chocolate. Nuts are fine. I have made it, but not recently. Peppermint is tasty too. 

4. December 17th is Wright Brothers Day, commemorating the first successful flights made by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  How old were you when you made your first flight? Do you like to fly? Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk or other parts of the North Carolina Outer Banks? 

I made my first flight when I was about 11, and I flew with my banker dad from Indianapolis to Youngstown, Ohio to repossess a car. Thinking back on it now, it seems odd that he would have gone to that trouble and expense just to recover a car from a loan gone bad. Especially since, when we got there, the car was not in good shape, had no heat, and barely made the trip back home. And my parents thought it a good idea for me to go along just for the opportunity to fly for the first time (and keep my dad company on the six hour drive home).
I do like to fly, especially since it usually means going someplace special or beautiful or relaxing.
I have not been to Kitty Hawk, but I have been to Dayton, Ohio, where the Wright Brothers lived. Dayton has many sites that are rich in Wright Brothers aviation history, one being Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where our oldest son works as a chemist. Maybe they'll have a celebration there for Wright Brothers Day.

5. Do the people in your family tend to follow a particular career path, and if so what's the path?

My mom and I are both retired teachers, but we don't have a long line of teachers or any other career on my side of the family. My husband is a farmer, like his father and his grandfather before him, and our second son is following in their footsteps.

6. What is one thing you absolutely, positively must accomplish today?

I have to show up at church for children's choir, which I somehow agreed to direct this year. It's crunch time for getting them ready for the Christmas Eve service, and I feel like our little group is right out of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Let us pray that it will be.
In addition to choir practice, I have every hope of mailing my Christmas cards. :)

7. This Christmas I hope____for answered prayers.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Just in case I don't actually get those cards sent today, and for all my internet friends, I wish you a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours. 

 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, 
I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:10-11

Monday, December 15, 2014

Grand Christmas Fun

This has been a special week of fun with Haleigh and Ella. They stayed at our house for three days while their mommy and daddy were in Chicago. Uncle Big Jon was responsible for them on Tuesday, while I was at Noah's house, and they had a great time going to El Reparo for lunch and eating his home-cooked bacon and eggs for supper. When he picked them up from school, they jumped up and ran to him, shouting, "Big Jon! Big Jon!" Then the teacher asked him to show her his ID. Lol. One can never be too careful!

We went to church on Wednesday for supper, choir, and GUMY Kids, then came home for baths and jammies. Silly girls!

We read Jan Brett's book The Gingerbread Baby, in which the little boy, Mattie, catches the baby by making a gingerbread house and putting it out in the woods. That prompted us to think that it might be fun to make our own gingerbread house, something I have not done before. (Well, I did help with the milk carton/graham cracker ones at school a few times.)
Since I wasn't sure that my rolling, cutting, baking skills would produce sturdy walls, and considering the patience of 3 and 4 year old little girls, I found a pre-made gingerbread kit that looked just right for us.

They helped me spread icing on the roof, one side at a time (since it dries quickly), and then went to town adding candy embellishments.

Then we turned it around and did the other side of the roof.
We added some fancy peppermint windows,
and Haleigh wanted to be sure we had a wreath over the door. :)
They worked hard, and did a good job. There was a question about new traditions on the Wednesday Hodgepodge last week, and maybe this will be one we will continue! 
Of course, I wanted a nice photo of them with the finished product.
I got some silliness.
And sister hugs.
And happy girls. (Maybe it was tasting the extra icing that made them smile. Lol.)

The fun continued on Thursday night when I got to watch them portray two little red birds in their school Christmas program. On Saturday afternoon, I took them to the GCHS Drama Club production of the Velveteen Rabbit. (Sorry, no photos of the program or the play.)

On Sunday after church, we went to the Decatur County Historical Museum for their Christmas Open House. We took them last year, on a very snowy day, and they were the only children there. The weather was better yesterday, and there were Girl Scouts singing, and several other children playing in the old fashioned toy room.

Haleigh enjoyed the old-time telephone, while Ella sat at the little table for a pretend snack.
They also had the opportunity to visit with Santa himself. Haleigh says, like ELF, "I know him!" Haleigh asked for a doll, and Ella asked for a doll and a zebra. Santa said, "Did you say a zebra?" :) 
Of course, he also said he would bring some surprises. Good ol' Santa Claus.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Up on the Hodgepodge, Reindeer Pause

It's a wonderful Wednesday in December, and that means time for a little Hodgepodge. We thank our very busy hostess, Joyce (she's got a wedding coming up!) for posing the most excellent questions, and for bringing us together each week. If you click on the button below, it will take you straight to her blog where you can read her answers to her own questions. :) Lots of our friends link up, too, and you can click on through and pay a visit to all sorts of nice bloggers from near and far. It's lots of fun!
Here are her questions and my answers:

1. What is one new holiday tradition you'd like to establish, or one you've established recently, say in the last year or two?

We have started taking the grandkids to the tree farm to select our Christmas tree (see previous blog post). It's the same farm I often went to as a child, and the same farm we took our children to when they were kids. Then there were a few years, when our kids were teenagers, and too busy to schedule a time to go together, that one or two would be bribed volunteer to complete this chore delightful holiday tradition. :) 

We have enjoyed taking Matthew with us for several years, and now the girls are big enough to come along, too. Hopefully, we can continue this with all the grandkids.

Here is a photo, probably 1989, of our kids riding the wagon at the tree farm with their cousins and Aunt Janet.
Here are 3 of our 4 grandkids last Sunday. So I guess it's a renewed tradition. These three are the children of Andrew, in the red sweatshirt above.

2. It's the second week of December. Have you sipped a cup of eggnog yet this month? Wrapped a gift? Opened a gift? Kissed someone under the mistletoe? Lit a candle? Eaten a Christmas cookie? Seen Santa in person? Watched a Christmas movie or special? Read scripture relating to the birth of Jesus?

Well, let's see now… that's a lot of questions. Here goes:
No to eggnog (don't care for it).
No to gift wrap.
No to kissing under the mistletoe.
I did light a Yankee Sparkling Cinnamon candle, does that count?
Yes to Christmas cookie.
No to Santa.
No to Christmas movie. At least not yet.
Yes to scripture! As it should be. :)

3. Do you think it's better to be an adult or a child at Christmastime? Explain.

Each stage of life is special, but I think it's great to be a child at Christmas. I remember the excitement and anticipation of Christmas Eve, which included singing in the children's choir at church. We sat up front with a clear view of all those candles being lifted overhead to the strains of Silent Night, Holy Night. And the night did seem holy to me. And magical, and wonderful, and oh so exciting. Yes, I looked forward to Santa, but I mostly remember being snug in my bed, trying hard to sleep, listening for sleigh bells, and feeling loved.
4. It's often said, 'Good things come to those who wait'...agree or disagree? Why?

I do think there are many times when we have to wait for things. We wait for birthdays, babies to be born, and visits from loved ones. We wait for the kettle to boil, the mail to be delivered, and the light to turn green. We wait our turn, we wait for spring, and we wait for vacation time to roll around. Most of the time, a 'good thing' comes at the end of the wait. And anticipating brings pleasure to our patience. And patience is a good thing. :)
5. What's the last sweet thing you baked? Did you keep it, take it to a party/event, or give it away?

I was at Jennifer and Bryan's brand new house yesterday, and tried out the oven for the first time by baking some chocolate chip cookies. I baked the cookies, Nestle made them. :)
6.  This question comes to us courtesy of Jhona who blogs over at The Red House at the End of the Lane. Everyone hop over and say hi to Jhona this week!  Here is her question... "I heard an actor talk about how he makes a conscious choice to talk to people in elevators.  He chooses to connect, make eye contact, and converse. Do you talk to people/strangers when you're in an elevator or any other place where you might have to wait together? Why or why not?"

I do. But it has taken me many years to feel comfortable doing so. I was a shy child and teenager, and even as a young adult I was not good at speaking to people/strangers in a public place. I am not sure when I turned the corner, so to speak, but I find it much easier now. It must be my age. :) It is interesting to see how others respond when I do make an effort to connect. Some respond, like I would have, with a short answer and a downward glance. (Thinking, who is this crazy lady making random comments to me?) Others chat right back, and by the time we've reached our floor, we have exchanged restaurant recommendations and discovered a mutual friend. It's a small world after all. 
7. Are you on the naughty or nice list this year? What put you there?

Nice, of course. Because, Santa, I know him.
And I found this light-hearted look at which names top the naughty and nice list this year, based on an education rewards program called School Stickers. My name isn't on either list (because there aren't many little Susans in school these days… even though there were four in my kindergarten class).
Click on the link to see which list your favorite little ones are on. :)

8. Insert your own random thought here.

There are many stages of parenting. You know, the newborn stage, the toddler stage, the school project stage, the team parent stage, the teenager stage, and the college stage, which begins the moving stage. Move them to college, move them home, move them to an apartment, to the sorority house, back home, to a different apartment, to a rental house, home, up three flights of stairs, in August, to a storage unit, and, most recently, to a newly built home. Whew!

Jennifer and Bryan moved into their brand new house last Friday. Though the movers showed up over 3 hours late, and it was pouring rain, they (with help) managed to get enough furniture in place by evening to spend their first night in their home sweet home.

Jennifer and I waited at the house while Bryan patiently waited for the movers to arrive at the storage unit with the truck. (Good things come to those who wait, you know.)

This is the kitchen end of the room...
and this is the living room end. Notice the barn beam over the fireplace.
The beam came from our barn that was destroyed torn down last summer. They had to do a little negotiating to get it installed, but it turned out so nice!
Not a piece of furniture to sit on yet, but they have Christmas towels! :)
 Still waiting for Bryan and the furniture, but we managed a little pizza picnic.

The furniture finally arrived, along with some boxes for Noah to start unpacking.
The all day rain prevented me from getting a photo of the new homeowners in front of the house, so this will have to do. Weary, but happy. 
Bless this house, O Lord, we pray.
Make it safe by night and day.

Monday, December 8, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Hello out there! It's been a while since I've had a chance to put a post together here on the blog. It is always best to choose living life over recording it. :) In any case, it's a busy season, and we are finally getting around to making things look a little bit more like Christmas around here. Since we enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner the Sunday after Thanksgiving, we waited until yesterday to get our tree. I thought by now, everyone would have theirs already and the tree farm wouldn't be crowded. I was wrong.

It was a pretty day, and the parking lot was full of families ready to ride the wagon out to the hills in search of the perfect tree. Jim and I had three special little helpers with us, and I pointed to the wagon suggesting that we ride out and saw down a tree. Jim quickly pointed to the pre-cut trees beside the shed, and our quest was instantly simplified. :)
We didn't traipse though the mud, but we did manage to look over a few trees...
until we came to an agreement that this was the one.
Haleigh said it was the perfect tree!

Shake, shake, shake...
all the loose needles off.
Measure twice...
cut once.
Steve has some careful supervision while he cuts the bottom off so it will fit in the living room.
Almost done!
And thanks to some expert decorating help, it is transformed from a plain evergreen to a beautiful Christmas tree! How lovely are your branches!