Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Mary!

I can't believe my first baby girl is 11 today! My how time flies. It seems like just yesterday that I was carrying around that chunky baby! Now she's almost as tall as me and a beautiful young lady.


Unfortunately she's sick today. Emma has passed along her cough and congestion. Hopefully Mary will be feeling better by this afternoon. She's drinking lots of hot tea, taking her vitamin C and resting. I've got a pot of chicken soup simmering for lunch.


We celebrated Mary's birthday on Saturday with another friend who had a birthday yesterday. We had planned to have all their friends meet at the outdoor ice skating rink. When we arrived early Saturday morning, it was 77 degrees (25 degrees C) and so humid you could feel the water dripping from the air! Not exactly perfect conditions for an outdoor rink. Still I was optimistic-that is until I actually saw the rink. There was so much water on it that it was running out the sides onto the sidewalk. The water on the ice was rippling from the breeze. Needless to say, I was in tears! I called as many of Mary's friends as I could to cancel. 2 girls had spent the night with us and we didn't have 2 other girl's phone numbers so we had to wait for them. In the mean time, they opened the rink. I couldn't believe it! We put all the kids in skates and sent them out. They actually made waves as their skates went through the water! LOL! Still they managed to skate for the two hours and actually have fun. Later we had cake and then pizza for lunch. What I thought was going to be a flop of a party actually turned out pretty well.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Deck the halls!

One of our Christmas traditions is to go to the same Christmas tree farm the day after Thanksgiving and purchase our tree. This year was no exception. This year the tree farm also had 2 real reindeer! Mark always picks the first tree he comes to while the girls and I wander around forever checking out every angle, every limb, etc. Finally we found the perfect tree.

Mark and I put the lights on the tree. This year I let the girls do almost all the ornaments themselves. Another tradition is reading about and hanging our Adorenaments. These are 12 Christ-centered ornaments that have a picture (for example: baby in a manger), a name of Jesus (Immanuel) and the scripture reference (Matt. 1:23). There's a little book that comes with them that has a mini story to read along with each ornament too. These are by far the most special ornaments we have on our tree. After all the ornaments, Mark held Emma up high and let her put the star on the top of the tree. We think our tree is absolutely gorgeous! Of course we think that every year.
Next I let the girls set up our little village, the nativity scene, the stockings and a special Christmas scene a dear friend gave me several years ago. The girls begged to put lights outside. We gave in and let them wrap clear lights all around the posts and rails on the front porch. Then they put colored lights in 2 of our trees. The only thing left to do was hang the wreaths on the front door, back door and 2 small ones on the mailbox.


I have to say we honestly enjoy our decorations everyday. It's so nice to come home at night and see the lights sparkling outside and the tree glowing in the window. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Merry Christmas!

Purling Pals

Last week we were invited to a dear friend's house to knit. She had invited several other mothers and daughters. Clara is the most talented knitter I've ever met-and the most humble. If you ask her if she sews or knits she'll respond, "a little". In reality she sews beautiful dresses for her daughter, knits bags, hats and intricate sweaters. She was so patient in teaching all the girls to cast on. I know how to knit a little but am anxious to learn more. Plus I enjoy the time set aside with friends to knit and visit at the same time. One of my girls is very new to knitting while the other has knitted small scarfs in the past. Both needed a refresher course and the fire stirred up inside to start knitting again.
Clara gave us all homework-to knit at least 4 inches. Grace and I have accomplished that while Mary has well surpassed the 4 inches. We can't wait to meet with our friends again this week.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Dance Skirts Galore!


My girls are getting ready for the Christmas production at church. There will be music, drama and ballet dancers. The childrens director asked me to make the skirts for the 9 ballerinas. Thankfully she also found a super easy pattern that I wanted to share. First of all, here's the link for the pattern: http://www.gophotography.com/tutu/

For the 9 skirts I made I used 20 yds of tulle and several yards of red ribbon. I also made matching hair accessories in the same way as the skirts. Thankfully I had my 2 big girls to help out. I cut and they tied. I hope all the dancers like the skirts.

Ice Skating at the Beach!


Can you believe it? We have a temporary outdoor ice skating rink set up at the beach. We were thrilled when it opened. It's kind of small and the weather has to be just right for good skating, but at least we can skate!

Recently we met our friends at the rink and skated for 2 hours. We had so much fun. The ice was perfect that morning. After going out to lunch we walked back by the rink. By then the temp was about 75 degrees F (24 degrees C). There were already a few puddles starting to form. I'm so glad we went early.
I think the neatest thing is that while your ice skating you can look out over the intercoastal waterway. What a fun day! The only downside is the rink will be gone in January. Guess we'll just have to enjoy it while it's here.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Happy St Nicholas Day!

Recently a friend shared their tradition of celebrating St. Nicholas Day. I decided to read more about it.



Well, this was a fabulous book-very enlightening. "St. Nicholas was a real person-a fourth century bishop, a defender of the Christian faith, a model for sacrificial giving, a protector of children, and a true churchman."


In the spirit of giving, I decided to let the girls purchase 2 small gifts for their sisters. It was so sweet watching them shop and really reflect on what their siblings liked. I wrapped each of the gifts and kept them hidden. I also bought them a gift-Christmas pajamas. We talked and read about St. Nicholas for a couple of weeks. This morning they could barely wait to see what was in their stocking. Before taking a peek, we took a moment to talk. I asked them to name one thing about their sisters that they were thankful for and liked. The comments flowed smoothly-even from little Emma. Finally they opened their gifts.



Another thing we did was bake. The girls each chose a recipe and made it on her own. We put them in pretty bags and handed them out to the neighbors.



We like the tradion of St. Nicholas day so much-I know we'll celebrate again next year.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Fella

(Levi & me after our 1st hunt in CA this year)

11 years ago we had a litter of 10 lab puppies. My job was to choose one to be our new hunting dog. I picked him out and named him "Levi". Over the next 3 years we had a love/hate relationship. He was so adorable but he loved to bark and chew and dig. Thankfully he finally grew out of most of that and became the dog we dreamed he'd be.

Over the years he's hunted in Texas, Louisiana and numerous times in Canada. This last trip to Manitoba was in October. He had developed cataracts, was becoming hard of hearing and didn't have that same old drive. He went on a few hunts then decided he'd rather hang out at the farm house with the girls-wearing his new Shoal Lake t-shirt and sleeping on Emma's soft pink blanket. Mark said he'd turned into a Moma's boy!

Here at home he "protected" us girls many nights while Mark was out of town. I also never worried about Mark on those long drives to Canada as long as Levi was riding in the back seat. He had his own unique way of keeping Mark awake on those drives. LOL!

I'm sorry to say that Levi, my little Fella, passed away Thanksgiving morning. He's left a huge void in our home, our family and our lives. This Thanksgiving Day I'm thankful for him-for the joy, the laughs and all the memories he's added to our family. He'll be greatly missed.
(Levi & Emma napping at the farm house in CA)

Recent Field Trips

We've been so busy lately with school, holidays and field trips that I haven't had time to blog. First of all we went to a The Wind in the Willows play performed by a local children's theater. It was so cute. I especially like the costumes. Mr. Toad was just adorable!

Secondly we went to pioneer day at Rikard's Mill. This was a water-powered grain mill and museum established in 1845. We were able to buy sacks of cornmeal and grits. There was a man carving bowls from wood, a blacksmith shop, ladies weaving baskets, candle and soap making and a man demonstrating how to make cane syrup from sugar cane. They gave the children pieces of sugar cane to sample. My oldest really liked this. Our favorite spot was with the "spinning lady". She was actually a young lady who was demonstrating spinning natural fiber to make your own yarn. Now we just have to have our own spinning wheel.

I've lived in this area all of my life and never knew about this mill. We'll definitely go back next year.


Then finally we went to a musical about Dr. Seuss-a Seussical performed by a local childrens group. I think Emma enjoyed this production the most. She sat in my lap, perfectly still for the whole hour.