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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