Saturday, December 30, 2006

We were so young. . .

Twelve years ago, tomorrow, Tim and I brought in the New Year and our new life as husband and wife. We joke around here about me robbing the cradle and what a kid he was. There is some truth in that, but at 23 and 18, we both had a lot to learn about life. Together we have learned about faith, love, dreams and reality. We've learned about being a husband, a wife, a couple and parents. We learned plans are good, they don't always work and that it is ok when they don't. Most of all we've learned that we still have a lot to learn.

Marriage isn't always easy. It isn't always fun, but it is always an adventure. The last twelve years have been a grand adventure. One that I am glad we have been on together. I can't wait to see what the next twelve hold and the twelve after that and the rest of our lives. I love you, Tim! Happy Anniversary!

Friday, December 29, 2006

I guess that gift was a hit

Back in October, we made a trip to Coalwood, WV, home of the rocket boys. I have always liked the movie, October Sky and used in school when I was teaching. Kellen first saw it a few years ago. He liked it, but it was really my niece and nephew who loved the movie. Mamaw and Papaw learned that there is a festival each year and that Homer and some of the other "boys" return to Coalwood for it.

We all made the trip. You can see the pictures and the story here. Since then, Homer Hickam has become Kellen's hero. He has decided he wants to be an engineer like Homer and the college of choice is, of course, Virginia Tech. This is Homer's Alma Mater and they were at the festival with activities for the kids. (Pretty smart marketing if you ask me.) I realize Kellen is only 8 and will probably change his mind a 100 times, but I think he'd be a great engineer.

While there, Tim & I purchased a copy of Rocket Boys, and had it signed by Homer Hickam. It took a little sneakiness, but we were able to get it signed without Kellen knowing. We wanted to save it for a Christmas gift.

We gave it to Kellen Christmas morning. He finished it this morning. This is not a juvenile fiction book. This is a full sized adult memoir. 368 pages! Kellen is an avid reader, but even this is quick for him. I guess he liked his Christmas present. Now maybe I can finish it! :)

Please note this is not a children's novel. There is some language and some violence. The movie was rated PG and from what I have read in the book it would have a similar rating. We decided it was ok for Kellen, but you may want to preview for your children!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A cool fundraiser for a good cause

Have you stopped by Pass the Torch today? She is raising money for St Jude Medical Research Hospital. It is simple. Stop by leave a comment and her sponsor gives a dollar to St Jude's. Go by and leave her a comment and tell her I sent you. That puts me in the drawing for a cool prize!

Lydia keeps us laughing

Lydia: Mommy, why is Christmas Day so short?

Me: It really isn't short honey. It is the same as every other day.

Lydia: No, it is short! We just played a little and it got nighter and nighter and nighter and nighter, and then it was bed time!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Why I like Christmas at home. . . .

Imagine the scene, Christmas day around noon on the 100 Acre Woods. . . .

Apple pancakes have been eaten. The Christmas story has been read. The presents are opened. New gifts are being enjoyed. It is time for the next meal. We are enjoying our appetizers; shrimp cocktail and brie with french bread. Tim and I are sipping Merlot in front the fireplace while the children drink their sparkling grape juice.

Before you think you must be reading the wrong blog, surely the 100 Acre Wood is not so refined, let me clarify. While that is part of the picture, you surely can not appreciate our day fully unless I tell you that we are all still in our pajamas and are watching Bob the Builder.

The rest of the meal came around 3:30. We had venison Fillet Mignon, baked potatoes and tossed salad with blackberry vinaigrette. Remember all the blackberries we picked last summer? The vinaigrette was the first use of the vinegar made from those berries. This meal was also eaten in our pajamas.

Dessert came around 5:30; pumpkin pie and ice cream. Again, eaten while still in our pajamas. We did finally get dressed then and went over to Mamaws because Jake and Delilah stopped for a surprise visit on their way to Tennessee.

An entire day with the family spent in pajamas, playing with new toys and eating our favorite foods. That is my kind of Christmas. Hope you had a good day too!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - My First

Thirteen (of the 100) things to do before we go to Grandma and Grandpa's Thursday evening.

  1. Final touches on two gifts.
  2. Re wrap and decorate Grandma and Grandpa's gift. I wrapped the gift with the white side of the paper out. The idea was the kids could decorate it. I had in mind some hand traces, names written, maybe a few small nice pictures. The kids idea was to scribble over the whole thing, in blue; even where I already had the baby hands. I want it to be the kids work, but we need to do it again with more specific guidelines!
  3. Finish folding and putting away the laundry I've been working on all week. Perhaps do 2 more loads: one of diapers, the other of jeans.
  4. Fix the flat tire. Applehead's job! Yes, I discovered a flat tire this Wednesday afternoon. Luckily, I was already home and didn't need to go anywhere else.
  5. Locate suitcases for six.
  6. Pack clothing for six.
  7. Another batch of peanut butter blossoms? Maybe.
  8. Water tree.
  9. Remind Mamaw to water tree while we are gone.
  10. Be sure the rabbits', chicken (not a typo, we have one chicken) and dog's food and water are full.
  11. Remind Ashley and Miles to feed animals while we are gone.
  12. Take Christmas dinner food out of the freezer to defrost. We are coming home Christmas Eve. On the menu for Christmas day: bacon wrapped fillet Mignon, shrimp cocktail, french bread and brie, green beans, baked sweet potatoes, ice cream. I know, not your traditional, but all things we like that don't take much fuss.
  13. Tell all my blogging friends Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas!
May you see His Glory and be Overjoyed this Christmas!

P.S. Grandma doesn't have Internet, so I won't be around for a few days!

For more Thursday Thirteen click here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My smiling husband

For why I posted this picture click here.
For more Wordless Wednesday click here.

The Story Behind the Picture

Our family Christmas photo has been the subject of lots of conversation around here. The comments about "Why isn't Tim smiling?" were quite entertaining: ranging from funny to slightly bizarre. Thanks everyone who commented! So, as promised, here is the real story.

We have been saying for months, "We need to get our family picture taken for Christmas." The original plan was to go to a studio. I usually prefer done at home type pictures, but our digital camera isn't all that great, so I was opting for a studio. It didn't get done and it didn't get done. Then Mamaw got a new digital camera, the day after Thanksgiving. Yes! Now we could just do it ourselves when it was "convenient." Well, trying to get all six of us clean and ready to take a picture didn't just "conveniently" happen. (What was I thinking?)

I am sporadic about doing my Christmas cards, but this year I bought cards that required a picture to be put on them. I was bound and determined to get them out! It was December 9th and I was beginning to get a bit desperate. I decided, on the way to church, that this was the day! We would take our picture after church today!

Wouldn't you know church ran late and people wanted to chat. We also live a considerable distance from the church we attend, so by the time we got home it was around two. The little ones had only napped in the car and more relevant to this discussion; we had not eaten lunch. If there is anything that turns my normally happy husband into a grumpy, it is hunger. Why didn't we just wait until after lunch you might ask? We were having spaghetti. Imagine, Nolan, spaghetti and a family photo?!

Those of you who said Tim was probably thinking, "Could we just get it over with?" You are very close to the truth. Add in, "I'm starving," and you have the whole story behind the picture.

To answer Aunt Nancy's questions:
Mamaw took the picture.
The lighting just right?! No plan there, that is just how it was when we got home from church.
Nolan is sitting on the old tractor tire Papaw "planted," Kellen and Lydia are standing in front of the tire, Tim and I behind it. The ground is sloping there (and everywhere else on the 100 Acre Wood LOL) so that is probably why they look like they may be on a platform.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Why isn't Tim smiling?

I have gotten so many comments about Tim's expression on our family picture. We used this picture for our Christmas cards also, and I think everyone I've talked to, that has gotten the card, has asked me why Tim (aka Applehead) isn't smiling. As background, you must understand that Tim is the most laid back, happy-go-lucky, optimistic member of the 100 Acre Wood and is generally smiling. This stern look is not normal Some have suggested what they think he might be thinking;

Sister-in-law judeandelise suggested, "He looks like he was annoyed and wanted to get the photo over with"

Cousin Heather thought he was thinking, "I thought that camera would have snapped by now"

So, what do you think Tim might be thinking as this family photo was snapped? Leave your ideas in the comments (you may venture multiple guesses if you like) over the weekend and next week I (or perhaps Applehead himself) will tell you the real story.

Merry Christmas from the 100 Acre Wood

Welcome family, friends and visitors to the Christmas Tour of Homes. This photo was taken in our back yard December 9. As you can see, it has been unseasonably warm here. Not much hope for a white Christmas, but we still have Christmas spirit.

Our Christmas tree, like the rest of our home, is evidence that children live in this house . It isn't exactly matched or well organized, things are constantly moved and some places are down right cluttered, but it is homey and comfortable. Most of the ornaments are either made by or picked out by the kids. (They get a new ornament each year.) I plan to give the ornaments to the kids when they move out and then I will have an empty tree to decorate in matching ornaments. *grin*

The nativity finds a home on the mantle. They are ceramic and I actually painted them when I was in grade school. It was the craft for a local church's VBS. There were more in the set, but they have gotten broken over the years. In fact, these are not in the best of shape. I really should look for a new set after Christmas.

The stocking hangers were last year's after Christmas find. They are picture frames. This year I took a picture of each child in front of the tree for the stocking holder. I plan to take a new picture every year and leave old ones in too. (behind the new does that make sense?)

Every year Tim's grandma makes all the little kids and all the adult women a plush Christmas decoration. I can't even begin to count how many she must make. Heather or Mandy do you know? They are always so cute and lovingly made. We have accumulated quite the collection over the years. There have been snowmen, gingerbread, Santas, reindeer, dogs and even frogs. Here are some of the snow people she has made.

Thank you so much for stopping by for a visit. You are welcome anytime. May you have a blessed holiday full of love and joy. Merry Christmas!

For the next stop on the tour please click here.
To see our home on the last tour click here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

As heard around our dinner table

Tim: Who would like to pray?

Nolan (2) & Lydia (4): Me!

Tim: Nolan go ahead then Lydia.

Nolan: Jesus. . . . . . . . . Oh man! . . . . . . .

Me: Go ahead Nolan.

Nolan: Jesus . . . . . . . .You do it Lydia.
And Lydia did!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My little helpers

This time of year, when there is so much to do it is easy to feel like the kids are getting in the way. It is tempting to let them watch TV all day so that I can get things done. My kids really want to help and if they aren't helping they are either under foot or getting into trouble. So, what works for me is to let them help!

Yes, I know sometimes their "help" is really no help at all. Letting them "help" sometimes makes a project take twice as long. In those times, I try to remember that this is how they learn and we are making memories. When there is a lot to do though, I try to find jobs for them that they really can help with, that they can do with minimal instruction or supervision. Here are some Christmas jobs they have been able to help with;

Christmas Cards
We made photo cards. We had to stick the photo to the card and stamp the message inside. We did this in a few steps over a couple of days.

The first step was a family project Tim (DH) actually did most of the stamping. Kellen (8) and Lydia (almost 5) signed their own names and then I signed the rest of the names and put the return address on.

Next, I addressed the envelopes and Lydia put the postage on.

Then, I put the picture on the card, Lydia and Kellen put the cards in the envelopes and sealed them.

Kellen, Lydia, and Nolan (2 1/2) decorated white tissue paper . They stamped and colored it, and we used it for packing in the boxes we mailed. We will do a similar project for gift baskets I am making. For grandparents presents we are going to turn the paper inside out (this idea came from another Works For Me, thanks!) and let the kids decorate. They can also help me wrap by holding tape pieces, putting on name tags and moving gifts around for me.

They are constantly "decorating" and "redecorating" the house whether I want them to or not! We let them put all the ornaments on the tree. It needed a little rearranging when it was done. After all, one branch does not need five ornaments! Nolan is still rearranging the tree and any other decorations he can reach.

This can be one of those tasks that "helpers" are not really any help, but it is also probably their favorite thing to help with. I try to do kitchen projects when I can get just one "helper" and the others are busy with something else. Besides licking bowls and beaters, they can help get out and put away ingredients, and measure and dump into the bowl. They like to help with chocolate covered pretzels and nuts and anything that involves frosting and sprinkles. Of course, if they help with the baking they also have to help with the clean up!

I try to look for things that they can do to help. They love to help and with the right projects they really are helpful.

For more helpful tips visit Works for Me Wednesday.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Spotlight is on Me?!

Normally, I hate to be in the spotlight. I am much more a behind the scenes kind of gal, but in this case, I am honored. My post Seeing the Magic has been picked by Kelly at Pass the Torch for this week's spotlight. Thanks Kelly!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Get Ready to Tour

Do you remember Boo Mama's Tour of Homes back in July? Well, as promised she is hosting a Christmas Tour of Homes. So deck the halls, break out the cameras and get ready to tour on December 15th!

Laundry room closet

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Yesterday, I tackled the closet in the laundry room. This also serves as our mud room, so all the coats and shoes are in there. Here is what it looked like before:

I went through the coats and washed those that needed it. I took all the shoes out and mopped the floor, put summer shoes in bedroom closets, sorted out the shoes that are too small and put back the shoes we need in there for winter. I didn't get any pictures, but I also washed and sorted our tub of hats and gloves. Here is the closet after:

How long will it last? Well, it made it through the night. I am sure it won't stay so neat much longer, but since there are less shoes in there now, hopefully it won't get too out of control.

Add your tackle or see others at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Seeing the Magic

The most beautiful adventures are not those we go to seek.

This was the fortune in my cookie at dinner Saturday night. Fortune cookies are not life changing, but they are entertaining. A friend of ours makes them more entertaining by always adding the phrase, "in bed" to the end of the fortune, but that is a subject for another time (or perhaps not.) This fortune though reminded me of something that happened last Tuesday where Nolan (2 1/2) reminded me to enjoy the journey.

I love the Christmas season, but even though I try to keep it simple and focused on what is important, the joy and magic of the season often seem lost in my to do list. This week Nolan brought me back to it.

We were going to Christmas in the Park at a nearby town. The town was lighting the big tree, providing snacks and musical entertainment, and Santa was there. There were lots of people and long lines. It was ok, and the kids enjoyed themselves, but the real highlight of the evening was found in the journey; the ride there and back home again.

Not far from us, there is a house with a large Christmas light display. On the way to the park, we drove slowly past the house to let the kids get a good look. There were plenty of ooohs and aaahs, as expected. What was not expected was Nolan's reaction to the lights.

He loved the lights at that house and at every other house too. Every time he saw lights he would point and excitedly say, "other one." I think he is trying to say another one, but it comes out other one. It didn't matter if the whole yard was lit up or if there was one small strand displayed, he loved them and was so excited. Soon, the other kids were joining in and all searching for the next house with lights. It was contagious and Tim and I couldn't help but smile and join right in.

We went home a different way and the reaction was the same. In fact, since then, every time Nolan sees Christmas lights he has the same reaction. Such simple and complete joy, it is enough to take this task oriented mom pull away from the to do list and enjoy the journey and the season. May we all take the time to look at Christmas through a child's eyes and remember the magic.

This is my Pass the Torch for the week. For more stories about kids doing something good check Pass the Torch.