Thursday, December 31, 2009 2010

My husband is joining me this time in reading through the Bible. Once again, I'll be using We'll be reading Today's New International Version, with passages from the Old and New Testaments each day.

The TNIV is a translation we don't own, so that should keep the readings fresh. (That's the idea, anyway.)

Having it all online, bookmarked on each of our laptops will be very convenient when he travels. We'll still be able to stay on track together.

I'm really looking forward to this!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Saying good bye hurts.

She's going to hate this goofy picture, but I think she deserves a tiara more than anyone I know. Her daughters think she is the "smartest" and "most beautiful" lady in the world. What girl Musketeer wouldn't? I just said good bye, and I miss them already.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

C & O Canal

We make more potty stops for Trixie than anyone else. Small dog = small bladder. On our way to Grandma's house today, we made a stop along the canal at one of the locks. Since we were there, we walked around for a couple minutes.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monkey Hide and Seek

Sunshine and I played hide and seek with Lumpy, Fforde, and Tallulah yesterday.

Lumpy was a good hider, but Sunshine was the trickiest. She convinced Lumpy the other monkeys were upstairs when they were hiding downstairs.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The young adult cousin

She has trouble keeping his name straight, but little Sunshine thinks her oldest cousin, who is, according to her, "a young adult," pretty fun. He sword fights. He will play sock monkeys. He makes "good knights" battle "bad knights" on his computer and tells stories while doing it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Game Night

I'm glad we are past the Hungry, Hungry Hippos stage of game playing. I need games like gin rummy that have enough luck involved that I stand a chance of winning.

A happy Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Meant to be together

This photo was taken Sunday.
Totally unplanned matching ensembles.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The best kind of day

is one spent with those we love.

Photos from WV

While we were trapped in WV, I did take a few photos. I do not think they capture the experience, but here they are. The ones above were taken while we were stuck in the back up. Below is the parking lot of the travel center (after being plowed a few times through the night) and the back up as viewed from the other side of the highway the next morning.

Monday, December 21, 2009

What do you do after surviving a blizzard?

You shovel out the neighbors, of course.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The best laid plans...

We decided to leave Thursday evening for our drive east, in hopes that we would get ahead of the storm predicted for overnight Friday/Saturday. We planned to drive straight through, alternating drivers. That would get us in Friday evening, before the storm.

That is not what happened. We were making good time, listening to local weather reports, when about 5:00pm we ran smack into the blizzard. The radio was announcing, "It's raining now, but will soon turn to snow," as we were driving in snow. In under half an hour, we were at a standstill on 64 in West Virginia, near Beckley. It was snowing hard, but we had no idea why the back-up. We assumed an accident. I was texting and talking to my friend Melissa, who was trying to find out online what was going on. She could not find anything about 64 in WV.

A couple hours later, it was snowing even harder, icing up, and we learned that an 18 wheeler had jack knifed on a hill up ahead. Eventually one plow came up alongside the shoulder, and everyone tried to scoot their cars over to make room for it. Seven hours later cars started to move. Yes, seven.

By this time, there were a couple feet of snow on the ground, and none of the road we were on was plowed, because it was packed with cars. Our minivan would not spinning, smell of rubber burning, but no motion. Until it started going backward in a circle.

Yeah, so my husband says he and the boys will push the car, and I will drive it. Talk about scary! I was just praying the whole time, "Please, God, do not let me drive over my children!" The boys were behind the van, where I could not see them, and my husband was pushing from the side, either left or right, depending on which direction we needed the car to move.

It worked. We went through this each time the traffic moved forward, little by little, with them jumping out to push, my husband yelling things like, "Hard left! Hard left!" Me, yelling back, "It's as left as it can go!" even as the car was moving right.

Scary. Constantly praying, "Please, God, don't let me crush them with the car. Please!"

Eventually we got to the bottom of the hill, and the guys were able to get back in the car before I headed up it. Such brave and strong men! Really, they were quite impressive.

We made it to the top of the hill!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We had been there about eight hours by the time we got out of it.

A few miles down the road was a service center - one of those combination gas station, Burger King, truck stop places. Considering that we were in a blizzard and had just spent eight hours stuck on the tollway, we ignored the "no dogs allowed" sign and went inside.

You know how some of these rest stops are all clean and others are gross? This one was gross. It had three distinct areas of aroma: smokey trucker lounge, dirty bathroom, and rarely cleaned grease pit. It was slowly filling with people like us, who had made it up the hill. Nobody seemed to mind the dogs. Except the manager, who after a couple hours noticed Jeb.

So my kids stayed inside and slept on the tables. (We had blankets and pillows with us.) My husband and I went out to the car with the dogs. The travel center was so nasty that I was happier in the car than there, but I still think it STINKS that anyone would kick out a dog into a blizzard!!!!

This morning we headed back up 64 to Charleston. We passed over 10 miles of cars that were still sitting where we had been the night before!

Our side of the road was kinda-sorta plowed. My sister called, and I told her our situation. She sprang into super-sister mode and found the nearest motel that accepted dogs and booked and paid for rooms for us. We checked in, showered, and I fell asleep.

My husband went to Walmart and bought new tires. We had stripped the edges of our front tires, and not knowing what would be next, we wanted fresh tires.

Now, here is something odd - there were no local weather and road reports anywhere on the tv or radio. We knew more about the weather in Philadelphia than in WV.

This morning, we decided to avoid the southern route and head north and then east, which we did. The roads were dry, but in WV all sorts of abandoned cars were on the roads. We pulled into one gas station that had several snowed in cars sitting at the pumps. Signs read "no gas," and that was as far as they could go.

Most of the roads we drove today had been plowed and were dry. So we arrived at Mimi's about 5:00pm - two days later than we'd anticipated, but safe, and that is the most important thing.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Haiku 3

Homeward longings stir
dreams of heavenly dwellings
earthbound, I must wait

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Haiku 2

Christmas vacation
pack your bag, load the car
We want to get home

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Haiku 1

Christmas approaches
Peace on earth: our Savior born.
Have you met Him yet?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Spreading the News

Lumpy decided to share his excitement. He told Lucy and Fforde about the upcoming trip. Today they announced they were, "Packed and ready to go!"

Three more days till we leave, guys!
(I don't think those bananas will last that long.)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Monkey Math

Lumpy overheard the words "visit" and "cousins" today.
He did the math.
He is now climbing the walls in excitement.

One more week, Lumpy!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Saxon Mitts

I still haven't figured out what to do about my sweater, so I knit a pair of mitts this week.

They are made of tapestry yarn, which was given to me a couple months ago. It's rather scratchy compared to wool marketed for sweaters, so I am thinking these will be more comfortable worn over my cheapie stretchy gloves than over my bare hands. Perhaps they'd soften with a nice washing?

I used Ann Budd's Handy Book of Patterns for the numbers on the thumb gusset, and they fit perfectly. They were a simple knit, a perfect antidote to the frustration of the sorry darts on the sweater.

The darker color is more accurate. They are a deep burgundy.

They didn't use much yarn, so I might make another pair to use what yarn was left from my son's hat. A pair of colorwork mitts would be rather nice.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thank you, Heather!

Look what my friend sent me: a Christmas ornament all the way from Brazil! I love both birds and handcrafted ornaments, so this will fit in nicely on my tree. I'm really tickled with it, but it's going to have to wait for another year to be hung on my tree. I am not putting one up this year since we leave in just another week for our Christmas holiday.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Art Gallery

This weekend we installed our new art gallery on the dining room wall. My plan is to have it being a rotating display of my daughter's artwork and whatever else I find that I want to display.

Only three of the frames currently are filled. Two are my daughter's work. The one of birch trees was a souvenir from a vacation to Acadia National Park. The sailboats came with the frames. Do you like the one that is sailing off the edge of the world?

I've had the idea for the gallery for a long time, but I could not find frames in they size, style, and price range that I wanted. So the wall has been blank for years.

Last week there was a coupon for Michael's for an addition 30% off on the 40% off frame sale. You might think this means the actual price would be 30% of the original price, but you would be wrong. It is 30% off the 60% price, so it is 42% of the original price.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Odds and Ends

Lucy and Samantha's tea party photos are unrelated to anything I will say, but aren't they cute?

My portion of ATHIP was finished on Monday. The last door frame was painted but not photographed. That one did my back in, because it is the one at the top of the basement stairs and required more stretching than I've done in a long while. My husband is, as I type, planing the last door. Then he has to drill the hole for the knob.

I got to hold two different (relatively) newborn boys this week. Bliss! They were both really quiet and snuggly for me, and both did that heart-melting smile in their sleep thing while I held them.

Two weeks from tomorrow I will be on route home for Christmas!!!!!

It snowed again and is beyond freezing outside, yet it is sunny.

Jebediah has developed a puzzling new habit of licking his dog bed. Bizarre.

I am experimenting with turning an old sweater into a tote bag. When I get it done, I'll share pictures.

I finally made something from SmittenKitchen, a cooking blog I read regularly: Moroccan spiced spaghetti squash. It was the best spaghetti squash I've ever made, and super easy.

The periwinkle sweater is on hold. I'm leaning towards taking the whole thing apart and starting over.

My husband and I are watching every episode of The Office (US version) on instant view Netflix. I think he is cheating and watching some while I'm asleep.

I finally saw the latest Star Trek movie. I liked it! Spock always made me sad, so I am super excited that he gets to be totally different in this alternate reality. We always knew he and Uhura liked each other, and now..........okay, I am a total romantic. When his dad said he'd married his mom because he loved her, I felt like, "YES!!!" because I always hated his earlier response of, "It seemed like the logical thing to do at the time."

My husband did not like the latest Star Trek.

I bought a curling iron, the big barrel kind. The difference in my hair may be imperceptible to anyone but me.

That's all I can think of for now.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Today we set out our Advent wreath and our nativity. Because I love my nativity set so much, I took pictures to share it with you. My daughter did the arranging this year. I suggested the location of the shepherd's field and unwrapped the pieces. Typically, the arrangement of nativity pieces changes throughout the season of Advent. We all like to move the people around a bit now and then.

My favorite years were the ones when Luke and Han or Spiderman and Wolverine would come to visit Bethlehem. Why didn't I take photos of that? Those memories are so much more precious to me than who gave whom what.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The start of something good

My daughter made chocolate chip cookies today, without my help. Lots of "Mmming" was heard from the boys!

It's not over yet

ATHIP continues. I painted the trim for the back door today. The door itself is only a couple years old, and I did not paint it because Jeb scratches it to go out. He has claws like a bear.

Friday, November 27, 2009

ATHIP - stage three complete

We finished the front door today, so here are before and afters, and an extra after which includes the front door.

This finishes all three phases of the entryway.

Dealing with Disappointment

At Costco earlier this week we saw three enormous stuffed animals: a bear, a giraffe, and an elephant. When I told Lumpy about them, he immediately asked to go see the elephant. Because of ATHIP, we did not get there until today.

The bear and elephant had been sold! (The elephant was well over $1000. Who buys these things?) Lumpy was the saddest little monkey. He laid his head down on my socks and cried. He had SO wanted to touch an elephant. We all felt bad for him.

We tried to get him interested in the giraffe. My husband and daughter got him as close to the giraffe as they could. It was little consolation. Giraffes are amazing in their own way, but his heart had been set on meeting an elephant.

Later, the girl spotted a bunch of gorillas. We thought that might cheer Lumpy a bit. It did not. "Gorillas," we were told, "Do not have trunks. And they smell." At least he waited until we were in the next aisle to say it.

It was not looking good. There's really not much you can do when sock monkeys are in a pout. However, Dad seemed to know the trick. Soda pop. With a straw. Not as good as touching an elephant, but it made the disappointment easier to swallow. - completed today

You might recall that back in June I decided to read through the Bible using I chose the chronological plan, NASB, and today was my last reading. I cannot say enough how easy to use BibleYear is. It was fantastic! I highly recommend it for anyone who is on the computer daily.

I plan to start another plan in January, but this time I'll read at the regular pace, not the accelerated one I did during the summer. My husband is planning to join me. He can pick the reading plan and translation this time.

Between now and then, I have an Advent devotional I'll be reading with a group from my church. I'm looking forward to that, too.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving with Fred and Ginger

ATHIP continued today. My husband and I painted the door frames and the doors. We are not quite done, but should be tomorrow morning.

While we painted, I enjoyed listening to several Fred and Ginger movies. TCM had them on all day. George and Ira Gershwin. Jerome Kern. Irving Berlin. What's not to love?

For dinner, we went to Pete's, our favorite Greek place in the city. Usually, when we eat there, we either skip dessert because we are too full, or we share. Today, official day of overeating across the USA, we each had our own dessert.

My family laughed at me for photographing my baklava, but it is so huge! I just had to show you. I couldn't finish it, and I had boxed half my veggie moussaka trying to save room.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ATHIP, stage 2

The new doors have been installed.

The trim has also been sanded, which is technically step 1 of stage 3, painting the door trim.