Monday, December 31, 2012


We let the kids open one present Christmas Eve.  It was a group/family gift and here they all are, dying to know what is in the long box that Christian is holding.  Too funny!  They sure do make it enjoyable to give them gifts.  We had so much fun this year watching them open their presents.
The surprise in the box was an official Red Ryder BB gun, given of course with much instruction to "not shoot their eyes out kids!"  The rest of the afternoon was spent target practicing at tin cans in the back yard.

We spent Christmas day at home which made the day relaxing and fun as we opened presents and had fun playing with new toys.
Aiden with his remote control hellicopter.

 Christmas evening we crossed the driveway to have dinner with Christian's parents and his brother and sister and their families.  I didn't get the camera out the whole day so there are no pictures but we had a delicious meal of the traditional fillet minion.  All the cousins also put on their traditional play that they work on every time we get together.  This year they acted out a number of the poems the kids have been working on for school.

Saturday we headed down to my parents and thankfully Christian thought to take some pictures because I still wasn't in the mood to take any.  I guess I just wanted to be "enjoy the moment" and not be bothered with pictures.  Weird, I know.  Anyway...
Patiently waiting to start unwrapping.

 I love this picture.  We tried at first to have the kids take turn opening one present at a time but soon mass chaos broke loose and it was a mad free-for-all.  That's ok, it was a joyful chaos anyway.
I love this picture of my niece.  Too cute!
This picture about sums up the theme of this year's gifts.  Home made gifts and book!  My sister Amy has some serious mad crochet skills that she has developed this year.  She made Claire this adorable bear cowl and and teddy bear.  What a thoughtful gift for our little "Claire bear."
This is not the greatest picture but Asher got this really awesome crocheted dragon and dragon book which he loves.

And then there were books, books and more books!  Grace received a couple Calla Edition books that she wants to start collecting.  Naomi got a couple Polo books of her own so we can stop checking them out of the library every time we go!  Other books included: Betsy Tacy, Swallows and Amazons, Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, The Red Book, The Story of King Arthur and His KnightsPress HereDear Zoo, Toys Go Out and more.   Christmas is a great time to add to the home library.

We've also been doing some more house projects over the holidays and I will post pictures in the next couple of days when we finish.  I know I also neglected to post finish pictures of the girls room so I will add those to the next post as well.

And speaking of Christmas, here is our family Christmas picture that my lazy bum never got around to printing up and sending out to all our friends and family.  So there you go.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mini Mom

With Lily being gone this past week visiting her friend Willie, I realized how beneficial it is to have a little dog in the house cleaning up all the little crumbs in the kitchen from 5 kids, and most especially a little messy one-year-old.  Mopping up the floor 3 times a day got old really fast so I decided it was time to implement a chore chart system again for the kids to make sure things got done.  They always helped out around the house, but I needed something more predictable and routine.  Besides, they needed a way to earn some extra money and allowance doesn't come for free around here.  :)

They have been doing a stupendous job this week, and Naomi even took it upon herself to put Claire in the Ergo while she did her chores in the morning.  Getting just a tiny taste of what it's like to be a mom, she decided it is HARD work!  Despite that emphatic statement she continued to carry her around anyway even though I told her she didn't need to.  Silly girl. 

Checking off jobs completed on the fridge.

Thankfully Lily is back and doing her job as our live Roomba, but thanks to her brief absence the chores are here to stay.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The happenings

Bird watching from the kitchen window.

I'm trying to teach myself how to scissor cut the boys' hair instead of clipper cutting it.  It's going ok.  I'm not giving up yet! 

Seeing a local performance of The Nutcracker with the Lindsay cousins.  The boys decided that men in tights was not for them.  Come to think of it, it really isn't for me either. {gag}

The annual trip to my parents' church to walk through the Living Nativity, 13 scenes depicting the whole gospel story.  Have you seen it yet?  You should!  It's free, not to far away and a great reminder of the real meaning of Christmas.
The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah

The town of Bethlehem

The shepherds looking for the baby Jesus

The wise men talking with king Herod.

The wise men worshiping toddler Jesus.

Jesus calming the storm.

Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

An angel flying through the air at the resurrection scene (ignore the totally bad lighting an picture)

The ascension scene.

Christian took the kids to see our favorite Celtic/folk singer Charlie Zahm last weekend at a local church for a Christmas concert.  While I love any opportunity to hear Charlie's rich baritone voice, the concert started at Claire's bedtime and I figured I wouldn't hear much of it anyway if I did go.  So hopefully I can make it next year.  Have you heard of him?  He's local, so you should be able to catch him somewhere else soon.

I have also been spending a lot of time working on a new blog for the puppies.  I spent an enormous amount of time last litter on corresponding with potential buyers, and I am hoping that having a blog will cut back on a lot of that.  Lily is visiting her friend Willie this week so I wanted to get this up and going. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Yes Claire, this is exactly how I feel most nights...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Comfort and Joy

It has been a busy last month and I haven't had nary a moment to blog.  I really don't have a moment now either, but in order to preserve the memories I am making the time.  The fire is crackling with hickory bark and Christian is reading The Lord of the Rings to the kids.  Naomi is braiding Grace's hair and Aiden is kicking Asher......oh wait.....that doesn't fit the Norman Rockwell scene I was trying to paint.  Oh well.

Anyway, as for what we have been up to...

I got an amazing deal on Please Touch Museum tickets recently so I took the kids down there the day before Thanksgiving.  I was worried about it being crowded, but it wasn't bad and there were no school trips which was definitely a good thing.

Claire was particularly delighted with the carousal ride.

She was also enthralled with the rain forest rhythm room.

While this museum is geared toward kids 6 and under my 11, 9 and 7 year old enjoyed it just as much.  We took in a fun puppet show, explored the Alice in Wonderland exhibit, the kid size supermarket, and this Christmas village.

We also celebrated Claire's first birthday a couple weeks ago.  She just recently started walking and all the bigger kids are taking such delight in watching her take her first steps.  She is such a joy!

Then of course there was Thanksgiving.  We had three days of feasting and family.  The first day at my Uncle and Aunt's home with my Dad's side of the family and my cousins.  We always enjoy being with them and were glad we could make it.  

The next day we spent with my parents and sisters and their families.  We took our traditional hike/walk through the woods and were able to sneak in a family portrait before the setting sun quickly departed.  I am looking at Grace and Aiden in this picture and wondering how it is that I have such old looking children already.

Last night Grace, Aiden and Naomi had the first of three Christmas concerts with their home-school choir this year.  It was so gratifying to hear what they had been working on so hard week after week.  After wondering if all this shuttling and time was worth the effort, hearing the four choirs perform last night I was thoroughly convinced that yes it was.

Our days are full and rich these days.  I am making every effort to keep to our morning time routine every day.   Some days it is crazy and broken up with a noisy baby or a talkative 4-year-old but we plod on.  I am always glad we do.  Especially yesterday when I was brought to near tears listening to Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor.  It was that beautiful.

I am not a crafty mom.  I don't have an elaborate plan or schedule.  Some days I struggle with feeling inadequate like most home school moms I'm sure.  But I do so enjoy bringing beautiful things to my children for their eyes and ears to feast on.

This month in addition to our regular morning time routine we are working through the hymn book, singing familiar Christmas hymns and learning new ones.  We are reading Christmas stories and poems from this book.  We are also going to be going through 25 days of Christmas with Handel's Messiah.  This is right up my alley so I was so glad to happen upon it today.

Hopefully I can find time to update again sooner rather than later since my poor mother reports that she misses us.  :)  Now back to Frodo...

Friday, November 2, 2012

The storm

After being without power since Monday night it sure is nice to be back to normal as of this afternoon.  We were so excited to see the power company (all the way from New Orleans) drive their four bucket trucks down our street this afternoon to fix the line affecting our street.  My mother-in-law was so happy she went out to give one of the crewmen a hug.  :)  Can you imagine trying to run a tree company after this crazy storm with no electricity and no normal phone service?!  It would have been insane normally with electricity but this was just crazy!
The offending tree of the neighbors.

Of course if you live anywhere on the path of hurricane Sandy you know how bad it was, but we never would have expected to have lost the trees we did.  Thankfully none of them fell toward the house.  After watching two different trees go down we could tell which direction they would most likely fall and figured where the safest place to sleep was.
We heard this big maple in our front yard go down around 9:30pm when we were in bed.  It wasn't that loud, but we knew something had happened and when we looked out the window were shocked to see it had gone down.  It had been right outside our bedroom window.  Needless to say, I hardly slept the rest of the night knowing that there was still another maple on the other side of the bedroom.
We didn't lose that other maple but we did lose this big cedar tree that Christian liked so much.  I'm not sure why, but I guess he's sentimental about it. 
Same tree, different angle.
The neighbors lost two of these huge Norway Spruce trees.  They could have fallen on the pool or the neighbor's house, but thank the Lord they didn't.
Our fence was blown apart.  Not a big deal but it still adds to the look.  :)

Living without electricity wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  It was like camping really, but really better actually.  We had the wood-stove for warmth and we still had our beds.  We had saved water in buckets for drinking and dishes, and Christian's dad had tons of rain water collected that we used to flush toilets.
 Granted, continually having to get buckets of water to flush the toilet got a little tiring, but at least we had water to do that.  It certainly could have been worse and for many people it was.
Buckets for drinking water and dish washing.
And then their were the buckets for collecting drips from the leaky ceiling.  We were bummed to see the ceiling still leaked after we thought we finally had it fixed. Oh the joys of an old house!
 Of course we had to empty out the fridge after day one.  Some stuff went to a friends house and some stuff we kept outside in a cooler.
And then there were the romantic candle-lit dinners.
The kids thought this was great fun!
The kids also thought it was fun to camp out in the living room on the pull-out couch and floor.  They weren't used to no night lights in their rooms so sleeping altogether downstairs made it a lot easier on them.  We all got a lot of sleep, since when the sun goes down and you don't have electric there isn't much to do except go to bed!

Before you feel too bad for us I must tell you that I spent a good deal of time at my friend Sarah's house down the road for showers, baths, laundry, coffee and food.  It certainly would have been a lot more difficult had we not been able to do that.  I mean I like camping, but after two days without a shower I get grumpy.  :)  Thanks again Sarah!

I am just so thankful as well that no one was hurt and there was no major damage.  My good friend had a tree go right through their kitchen.  Thankfully no one was hurt there, but it sure will be a major inconvenience getting that fixed.  Christian has been seeing all kinds of stuff as he is out there cleaning up all the damage.  So many people had trees on their houses or cars so we are thankful we didn't have that situation.

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