Monday, December 21, 2009

No Longer Dreaming of a White Christmas

It's no secret, over the past weekend we were slammed with a snowstorm that dumped roughly 20 inches of snow in our area. In December. That's big for the winter season in our area and unheard of for December in our area, and it's going to guarantee a somewhat white Christmas.

The kids are over the snow. It was pretty while it came down for 24 straight hours. It was fun to play in a couple times. It's great for canceling these 2 1/2 days of school before the holiday break officially starts Wednesday afternoon. But now we dread that we still don't have a snow shovel, one car is encased, the sidewalk is impenetrable and we'll probably get a nasty note (again... we've gotten one from a "helpful" neighbor telling us when our grass was too long and another stating when our leaves needed collecting, so it's well within the realm of expectancy we'll get one about not clearing our snow fast enough. If they can reach the mailbox).
12/20 Our house from across the street.
The snow interrupted quite a bit of course. Katherine had planned on earning 6 hours of volunteer time on Saturday and Sunday decorating the church and at the Foreign Service Youth Foundation Christmas party, and my parents were going to take the boys to see the new "Christmas Carol" movie.
We have a well-stocked pantry so aside from cautiously making it to church on Sunday, we have stayed home. In our small house with kids who want nothing to do with the snow anymore, that means a lot of TV, computers, cleaning house, cooking food, and a random game here or there. We've discovered the full joys of Netflix on demand. Getting a couple movies out and back over the course of a 4 days was great initially, Netflix makes no sense overseas with the shipping lag time, but now we can make an Instant queue and watch whatever whenever. Yesterday was a Mythbusters, original Twilight Zone and Planet of the Apes kind of day. Today, who knows. With another big storm making its way across the country and threatening us with icy rain on Christmas Day, I'm thinking that tomorrow may be my day to hit the grocery for some particular Christmas meal items (and perhaps a shovel). My parents and grandmother plan to come down and celebrate the day with us. We'll see what the weather brings.
With all the snow I managed to finish Rebecca's blanket and put it under the tree.
Finished Christmas gift.
With all the snow I managed to pick a pattern for Katherine's and decide on her color palette but couldn't get to a craft store, so ordered what I think I want and cross my fingers it works. With all the snow I started on another small project with some cotton yarns I've had for a while. I'm making a multitude of small squares with them and will sew them in a patchwork. They won't make a soft blanket or anything, cotton is more for functional items like place mats or washcloths, but we'll see what it ends up being. If I have enough they might be a nice tree skirt. Somehow in our move I lost both our tree skirts, one the kids decorated back in 2002 and one my mom made. I am bummed.
What I really want to make is this blanket with different colors(hope the link works), but even the sample colors aren't so bad. I do realize that one house can only handle so many afghans, but I'm looking ahead here people, work with me. When my kids grow up and leave the nest (except Nicholas, he's never leaving he says, though I remember when Katherine was this age and saying the same thing... times have changed), they take their stuff with them. They'll each have their clothes and knick knacks, a bed set with comforter, a couple homemade afghans, a case holding their own Christmas ornaments, and a set of dishes and cutlery. I suppose we should toss in a tool kit and a car kit too. Am I planning too far ahead? It doesn't seem that far ahead. Next year Katherine heads off to high school.
Ah, the house is waking up. I was up around 6 a.m. due to bad dreams of being attacked/overrun, so I popped on here to update the blog. Nicholas is up now at 7:15 and I sent him downstairs to get some breakfast. He came back up with the question: "Mom, are we rich, poor, or in the middle." The only correct answer in my book is "Well, what do you think?" He figured we're in the middle, then rattled off that we have a big house, 2 TVs, an XBox, a Wii, etc. etc. I pointed out that we have enough, far more than just enough actually and with all our stuff we certainly sound rich. I think we're rich in more than just stuff though, don't you? Christmas comes in 3 days and sometimes it's a little difficult to keep the focus on the parts not packaged under the tree (we don't "do" Santa, so gifts raining down from a mysterious man in red don't apply), but we'll keep working at it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

There's music in the air.

We went to a Messiah concert on Sunday afternoon, my mom was singing, where the highlight is always the final Alleluia chorus. Tonight we went to the 6th grade chorus concert, the highlight was a "cat duet" song composed entirely of Meows.

This fits right in to both and it'll put a smile on your face (not from our 6th grade program):

Saturday, December 5, 2009

5 December: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I never imagined that we would have snow in December.

A few hours later.

It's been snowing for about 7 hours and is sticking. The roads are slushy, the air is fresh and I rather wish we had a fireplace. The reality is this will be one of the few snow "storms" we'll have this winter and neither heavy snow clothes or a fireplace are necessary, but on a day like today it's nice to bundle up and enjoy the view.

The boys and Rebecca played in the yard. Rebecca built a snowpenguin
The Christmas penguin
and the boys soaked each other with snowballs.
Perfect sticky snow for snowballs.
Katherine disappeared with her friends for an afternoon of sledding at the elementary school, so the rest of the family braved the roads for a quick bite and a venture to the VFW tree sale. They have a covered lot with a roaring fireplace. No snowy Boy Scout lots for us.
Bringing home the Christmas tree.
We brought our tree home and are waiting for it to dry a bit before putting it in the stand. A few other decorations made it up. Tomorrow is Saint Nicholas day, the day he fills the kids' stockings with goodies, so they are ready.
Ready for St. Nicholas on the 6th.
For those in the mid-Atlantic, enjoy the evening warm and cozy!

3rd Grade Field Trip

Tuesday was the big field trip for Jonathon's class and all the third graders. A 45-minute ride downtown brought us (yup, call me Chaperone) to the Natural History Museum. The kids have been learning about soil and habitats and animal adaptations, so the chaperones were each assigned 3-5 kids (those with boys got 3, those with girls got 5) and set loose on the museum.

Here is Jonathon's photo journal:

Finally, a good photo!  The Natural History dome.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving may be done, but the Thanks don't stop there.

Our new 12 year old.

My girl

The school won't let me bring her balloons (too disruptive or someone might choke on one, who knows) but after her weekend shopping spree and a dinner tonight at Chik-Fil-A followed by ice cream cake and plenty of gifts, she'll be ready to face her 13th year.

What most impresses us with Rebecca is her work ethic. She's still all about fairness, but she also puts her homework first every night, she attends every drama rehearsal (you'd be surprised how many kids don't), her room is kept neat, she's got a sense of style/fashion, her first quarter grades were straight As, she does her chores and is saving methodically to purchase her own laptop. She's fun and funny, responsible and bright; she makes smart choices and tries to keep her temper in check. I hope she continues to develop and mature the person she is now because she's awesome to have around.