Sunday, November 29, 2015

And So It Begins

Erin had to work the day after Thanksgiving and was a bit sad her time with Grandma and Grandpa would be shortened as result. So we kidnapped her for lunch before Lauren and Makenna ventured into the mall and the rest of us went to see the new Peanuts movie. The movie was pretty cute. I text my sister-in-law on our way out of the theater to let her know I thought her family would enjoy it because Brad is a big fan of Charlie Brown. Jessica text back they were already in the car on the way to the theater because great minds think alike, obviously.

After Mom and Dad left, we warmed left-overs for dinner and then started to decorate for Christmas. I have scaled back enough I honestly believed this process would quick and painless. That was my mistake. After a few hours spent finding a broken bulb on a brand new pre-lit tree and a makeshift tree stand for said tree was created so it would fit inside the bucket I intended to use, I am happy with the results. The little tree is exactly what I hoped it would be. Ty says it is so pretty, Santa may take it back to the North Pole with him.

I plan to leave the trees outside for the duration of winter since they offer a little light to contrast the upcoming grey days. I love the simplicity of the wooden snowflake on the door and red and white pillow on the swing. I believe the look welcomes winter, not just Christmas. The little mailbox by the front door serves not only as a place to countdown the days until Christmas (a job Kate will take very seriously) but will also contain all our holiday greetings this next month.

My grandma's nativity remains the center of our mantel and the little white nativity (displayed on Greg's childhood bible) I have loved since childhood in my mom's house are the two decorations I look the most forward to setting out each year. The kids can't wait for our giant Santa but most everything else is still in the attic. The older I get, the less I enjoy clutter.

Erin and I tackled small business Saturday in our favorite local shops where a new dress for her was purchased and new-to-me purse was finally invested in after drooling over it for a month. The shop owner laughed when I walked it because she knew her 25% off sale would bring me back in to look at it once again. She's good. But more than new dresses and purses, it was pretty sweet to spend the day with Erin while Greg yelled at the Ohio State/Michigan game at home. I just saw this quote on Pinterest and couldn't agree more. "Hanging out with your grown up kids is like visiting the best parts of yourself."

Thursday, November 26, 2015


We attempted a chart for everyone to document all the many things for which they are thankful. The teens ended up in a war of sorts fighting over Justin Bieber and Five Seconds of Summer. Ugly things were happening on the thankful chart so I finally eliminated it. Sigh.

Sometimes we run out of places to sit.

Some of us dropped earlier than others.

I got to spend a lot of quality time with my sister because she had to come to town for a meeting last night. We slipped away for dinner before she met her clients and then she spent the night with us. Ty talked her ear off this morning while I made breakfast and she was able to offer a second set of hands preparing our annual feast. Her family arrived with our parents around noon and we immediately fell into the day of togetherness. Footballs were tossed, fields were explored, calories were consumed and table cloths were decorated. We ended the day with dessert by a bonfire while a gorgeous moon rose.

This day was perfect in every way. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Preschool Art Class

I took the girls to an art class at our local community center this morning. They were so excited, the energy was barely contained as we arrived. They are both quite proud of their creations and are looking forward to returning next month. Preschool teachers should be nominated for sainthood as this experience looked a lot like corralling cats; cats armed with paint.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tea Party

So he is literally climbing the walls these days.
Anne had lunch with her favorite kindergartener and mine today. She called to let me know my little guy was okay but he'd had a pretty rough morning. He thinks the big boys on the bus are his best friends and one told him today he couldn't sit with them anymore. His little heart was broken. And then he got his first color change at school. In his words, "it made my belly a little bit sick when I had to move my color". He made a small mistake at school and learned a lesson including how life goes on after color changes. Thanks to Anne's advanced warning, I was able to have a tea party waiting when the kids got off the bus to help turn sour moods around. It was a welcomed change of pace this afternoon.

Devyn was beyond excited when she learned we were having a tea party. She loves them and for some reason, they haven't been on my radar lately. I suspect we'll be revisiting them more frequently.

And then God showed off a bit at sunset. It had been raining all day but the sun appeared just in time to set. The sky was incredible.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Celebrating Lauren

She is officially nineteen and spent her special day seeing the sharks at Newport Aquarium with Taylor. He tried to surprise her but she can't stand surprises and harassed him until he caved and told her what he had planned.  He is a good sport. We celebrated as a family yesterday with her dinner request of grilled whole chickens, mashed potatoes, slow cooked green beans and candy pizza. I got the official candy pizza recipe from Grandma Carol and no one was disappointed. Her TV has been installed and we fear she may never leave. Just kidding.
When Erin hangs out with us, elaborate tents are constructed

We took Batman to church on Saturday and he fell asleep on the way home. Being super is exhausting. Erin also joined us even though she is plugged into a new church near her house. It is always nice to have her along. She has been surprising us with visits more often lately and we love it.

Makenna's final run of 42nd Street was a success. The thespian society judged it yesterday for consideration of taking it to the nationwide conference this summer. The entire cast and crew are pretty excited by the prospect. Christmas Carol runs the first weekend in December because there is no rest for the weary, apparently.
I worked on Christmas cards today. We have decided to include the animals this year for reasons I do not yet understand but I needed a shot of both dogs together. Grilled chicken was used for cooperation. If only the kids were as easily bribed. But in all seriousness, this shot of Oliver is the one I really wanted to create our card with this year.

It is the most wonderful time of the year after all.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Vacation Week

Greg spent his second consecutive week off working on a giant side of bacon. We ordered half a pig a few weeks back and got the hams and bacon fresh so Greg could experiment with curing and smoking the meat himself. Speaking strictly as a consumer, it was well worth his efforts. The bacon is incredible. Seriously, you should visit us for breakfast soon.

We celebrated Veteran's Day with our favorite Veteran this week. My dad was honored at the kids' school during their annual ceremony. The fourth grade classes create the presentation each year as the big kids on campus and both Mom and Dad were impressed with their efforts. Kate was proud of the ceremony and of course, her grandpa.

While they were here, a very persistent Lauren finagled her way into getting her birthday gifts early. She insisted it was all for Grandma and Grandpa who would clearly want to be a part of the festivities. She may be turning nineteen but she is every bit as stubborn as she was when she was three! When she was three, she got irritated with my dad for guessing all kinds of crazy things for his birthday gift that year. Lauren got tired of the game and yelled, "guess a TV Grandpa!". She knew what was in the box and had no intention of humoring him any longer. Since that year, someone has always yelled, "Guess a TV" when we are opening gifts for any occasion. This year it happened for real! At nineteen, Lauren now has a TV in her room. As she tore back the wrapping, Greg and I yelled, "Guess a TV Lauren" and she rolled laughing.She is starting to gather things to eventually take with her when she moves out and a TV seemed like a lot more fun to buy her than dishes for her birthday.

We've had house guests, extra kiddos, gymnastics, a marriage class, theater commitments, dental appointments, sick kids, a doctor appointment with an EKG on one kid, a conference with one teacher, a phone call with another and a meeting with a school counselor. And tonight, UNO and a movie with Kate and Ty while Lauren babysits and Makenna works another show. Thank God it's Friday.