Friday, December 28, 2007
We're back! We had a great time in Mississippi with the family. On Wednesday night, there were twenty people sleeping in the house (3 bedroom, 2 bath)! It sounds like a lot, but it's always "the more, the merrier" philosophy there. Quinn killed a great, big buck on Christmas day, which he is so proud of. I'm glad, too because of all that meat (no Ginger, I won't sneak Venison to you). Fun times included:
Stuffing stockings on Christmas Eve
The merriment of Christmas morning and reading of the Christmas story
Lots of singing and guitar playing (and dancing of the children)
Playing games (Scrabble and Mexican Train-the most fun game ever)
Lots of chit chats
Coffee and dessert whenever you wanted (I must've gained five pounds)
Wassail (it is so good)
Going on a fourwheeler with my hubby
Seeing how proud Quinn was for killing the buck- the biggest he's ever killed
Making food in the kitchen with all the ladies
Breakfast (I love everybody sitting in pj's drinking coffee and drowsily talking)
Fighting over pecan pie
Watching my boys with Quinn when he would take them hunting
Getting to go through old jewelry with Michelle, Kerri, and Madison (Jason's sister). I got some cool stuff.
Going to Walmart. Somehow, it's just more fun in Kosciusko, MS.
Watching the grandparents with the little ones. It was like they were feasting on their cuteness and littleness.
Watching Felix and Ansley. Man, they were CUTE!
Soaking up every second of family time and looking forward to the next time around.
It was wonderful. Hope ya'll had a good Christmas!
Monday, December 24, 2007
I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas. We're headed out tonight to Mississippi for a few days for an old-fashioned Christmas. There's no snow, but there's Wassail always hot for sipping and the guitar is handy for singing. I'm hoping a bonfire is in store and maybe building a gingerbread house. There's hunting for the men (I guess the women too but, uh, not me) and hayrides for everybody. Felix has already asked us a million times when he can ride the "traccor". It's always fun and it's one of my very favorite places on this earth. We're looking forward to it! Enjoy your time with family and have a wonderful Christmas!
P.S. These pictures were done by Jessica Wright, a friend of ours at church who does a great job and is reasonably priced.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Picture it... Gleaming white tablecloth, candles, house that is just filled with good smells coming from the kitchen. My make-up perfectly done; my hair curled and coiffed. Tea is chilling in the fridge and coffee is ready to brew at the touch of a button. The house is clean, the table is set, and Christmas music is softly playing. I'm laughing with my adoring hubby and he is thinking how lucky he is to be married to me. That's how I pictured last night with company was going to be.
Baked Maple Dijon Chicken Thighs
Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Marshmellows
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
We had Matt and Heather Davis and their boys over for dinner last night. They were due between 6 and 6:30. I knew since lunchtime they were coming. The house was basically clean and just needed some tidying up. Laundry needed to be put away, the house vacuumed, the bathroom cleaned, the kitchen floors mopped, and the food prepared. No big deal. I also needed to shower. I usually don't shower in the morning because I think all day that I'm going to exercise and usually shower in the afternoon when I see that I'm not going to get exercising done. So, by 4:15 in the afternoon I'm still wearing sweats and starting to mix up the pie. The bathroom is done, the laundry put away and the chicken is ready for the Maple Dijon sauce. I've given up on mopping the kitchen floor, I'll just spot sweep. 4:30...pie goes in the oven, and I call Quinn to see if he can swing by the store to pick up marjoram (a spice I've never heard of before) that needs to go in the Maple Dijon sauce (of course, I have to try a recipe I've never tried before on company dinner). I also asked him to pick up fresh broccoli and an extra sweet potato. I cut up the potatoes and put them in a pot to boil and finish tidying up the living room, leaving the vacuuming until just before 6:00. The chicken only needs its sauce and it will go in the oven at 5:30. Time to shower. I'm just about to jump in when BOOM! pitch blackness overtakes my house. Great. Quinn pulls in and we light some candles. I do not get in the shower because I cannot dry my hair with the power off and I must be able to dry my hair. I make the sauce in the dark and hope the power comes on by 5:30. Nope. Quinn suggests we order pizza. That reminds me of the pie, which I had forgotten about because the timer is on the microwave (which is not working because there is no power) and I go look at the pie. It is done so I take it out and it looks nice (by candlelight anyway). We talk about ordering pizza again, which depresses me because of everything I've already gotten ready. By 5:55, I've given up that vacuuming, sweeping, and a much-needed shower will get done. The raw chicken is sitting on the counter and the potatoes are halfway done on the stove. Quinn then suggests that we can grill the chicken! Brilliant, although the chicken recipe is supposed to be baked, I'll take anything at this point. He turns on the grill and then the there's a knock on the door. The Davis' arrive and the men head outside immediately to the grill. Heather wipes off the table for me (another thing that didn't get done) and I inspect the potatoes. Fortunately, the potatoes sat in the water so long that they got soft and I can handmash them. I do not like handmashing potatoes, because I think they taste better when they are whipped with a handmixer. Oh well, I chunk in some butter, brown sugar, heavy cream, salt, and cinnamon (never made mashed sweet potatoes before-again the new recipe thing) and then think "maybe they need marshmellows". Pour in marshmellows and take the pot out to the grill to see if we can use the grill to melt the marshmellows. The broccoli is already in a pot on the grill. Heather and I set the table and get juice boxes for the kids, who are running around screaming and scaring each other with flashlights. I remember, just before dinner, that my Uncle Wayne had given us this ENORMOUS flashlight that has "1,000,000 candle power" a while back, so I lug that out and we have a glaring spotlight in the living room for dinner (thanks Uncle Wayne). At least it's light. Dinner is ready. The chicken is good, the sweet potatoes are eaten only by polite adults, and the broccoli needs A LOT of salt. We should've had bread, but it wasn't in my head for the magic menu, so we didn't have it.
After dinner, the men take all the kids to go look at the "SUPER, FANTASTIC, GRISWOLD-LIKE" Christmas lights at a house in Moody (apparently there was electricity somewhere) and Heather and I sit on the couch and eat pumpkin pie with plenty of Cool Whip by ourselves, talking about how we are too attached to electricity. It scares me a wee bit to think of POOF! not having electricity ever again. What would we do? Anyway, the lights come back on just before the men get back and the kids play upstairs and we eat pie and sit and talk. It was great. Even if I did have on sweats and hair that hadn't been washed since Tuesday. There was no coffee brewing and I had forgotten to make tea earlier that day, but the house did smell good, thanks to the previously baked pumpkin pie and somehow it didn't matter anymore anyway. Good times.
Speaking of, I'm still wearing those sweats and I need to shower and wash my hair that (still) hasn't been washed since Tuesday. Melissa and Ginger are coming over for coffee at 10AM. Maybe I can get it done before they come. I wonder if I should try to mop my floor...
Pop in if you've got the gumption.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
If you're reading this with a yucky look on your face like "ewww, I do not want to go shopping at thrift stores", then we need to shop together. You have to get over the smell of the place and wash your hands when you leave, and I don't recommend the bathrooms, but, WOW, you CAN find good stuff. Last summer, when we were at Lifeline Village, I remember taking one of the girls to find some "interview-for-a-job" clothes. We shopped and shopped at retail stores and she would never find a whole outfit for what she had money for. She did not want to go to the thrift stores, but I tricked her into going one day. We pieced together three outfits, including two pair of shoes and were still under her budget. Good stuff, too from Express, Banana Republic, Gap, and Ann Taylor. I like being a personal shopper. It's fun. I am for hire... or can be bribed with Starbucks or a candy bar.
PS... Virginia posted pictures of her new baby girl, Sabriel on her blog. Her link is to the right. Gotta go break up a fight. Toodles!
Monday, December 17, 2007
I could clean it, but, alas, I'm still in my pajamas. That means I can't clean it (duh). I wanted to try to go to Kohl's and the thrift store this morning, but now chances are pretty slim for a shopping trip. The baby is very whiny today and he NEEDS a nap. After lunch. He was sick this weekend. I guess he's technically still sick today since he woke up at 4:00 AM with fever, but he's fever-free this morning. Saturday was a vomit day, which is my favorite part of being a mother. Between vomiting I wrapped Christmas presents and watched White Christmas with Missy. I do love to wrap presents. And I love to watch White Christmas. And I love Missy. It made the vomiting not so bad. Although, White Christmas does drive me a little bit crazy. Rosemary Clooney is such a four-year old in the movie. I just want to say to her "Now, Rosemary, why don't you sit down and talk to Bing and let him know what you're upset about? It's really unwise to just leave Vermont and go to New York to sing in that fancy night club without telling anybody just because you're mad. You know you had such a good time singing that "Count Your Blessings" song and dancing with him in the "Mandy" minstril number. Let's just rethink your bitterness and think about what you're doing." If you've never seen White Christmas, then I'm sorry you don't know what I'm talking about. What am I talking about? Everybody has seen White Christmas. If you haven't then I'm giving you an open-mouthed stare. :O You must see it. I wanted to marry Danny Kaye when I was a little girl. He's very funny. And I adore watching Vera Ellen dance. I can dance like her. Well, I want to. She was anorexic, you know. I found that out when I was a teenager. I especially like her dancing in the "Choreography" number. It's my favorite song in the whole movie. Good grief, her feet just fly. And the muscles in her legs are unbelievable. I wanted to be her when I was 10. Kristi (my sister) and I used to take turns dancing to the songs in the movie when we were little. And probably when we were too old to be doing that. Watch it. Let Rosemary Clooney drive you crazy. It's a nice Christmasy movie.
Quinn and I watched "A Christmas Carol" this weekend. The boys and I went to see it at the BJCC's Children's Theatre last Thursday, too. It's my favorite story by Dickens. Well, perhaps I should say, the only story I've finished reading by Dickens. He intrigues me. When he was a little boy, he was abandoned by his family because they had to go to a debt work house (a place families had to go when they owed too much money) and he was old enough to work in a factory. I think he was 10 years old. He lived by himself for three months and went to work in a factory "glueing labels on bottles of black goo". This time in his life so dramatically left an impression on him that he would constantly include a character of this type in all of his books. Knowing about that makes him more real to me. I want to read more stuff by Dickens now.
Well, I've wasted forty-five minutes now on this very important post. If you haven't watched the White Christmas links yet, WATCH THEM NOW.
If you want to, of course. I don't want to be too pushy. It's not like me to do that. Watch them now, please. Thanks.
I'm so needy.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Quinn went hunting. I don't like sleeping by myself.
Felix is loving the Advent candles. He calls them Happy Birthdays. He also likes holding Little People plastic cars over the flames. We moved the Advent wreath.
I can't find the remote.
I got out my winter clothes yesterday. I usually do this in September. I got rid of most of them and a lot of my summer ones. I want to buy more clothes. I made a new link to a great site called What I Wore Today. I like her style most of the time and the things that she does are totally doable. Maybe I'll go to the thrift store tomorrow.
It's cold and I don't want to get off the couch.
I guess I'll force myself up.
Goodnight random viewers...
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
I went to our church's cookie swap last night. It was a blast. If you missed it, then you missed out! We revealed secret pals, which was fun. Kim Poston was mine, and I was hers. She gave me stuff all year from the Candy Store in Leeds. Yummalicious. Can you say "Dark Chocolate-Covered Coffee Beans"? Can you also say "WIRED"? I had five cups of coffee, five glasses of water, and an embarrassing amount of cookies. And, yes, it was after 6:00PM. The guilt was overwelming as I brushed my teeth before bed. I've GOT to exercise this week.
Well, I need to get ready for church. Today is the Advent Candle of Bethlehem. Remember the Promise of a Savior!
Saturday, December 08, 2007
My Pandora playlist will play all day. It's fabuloso. A lot of variety and different sounds than the typical Christmas radio station. Virginia e-mailed it to me and I've been in love ever since. The link has three playlists that you can choose from: The Barenaked Ladies (horrible name of a band, great music) is the first station and the second is the Transiberian Orchestra Playlist. The third is an Over the Rhine Holiday station which is more acoustic sounding. What Pandora does is allow you to pick the genre of music you like by entering a favorite band and then they choose music that you may like but may have never listened to. If you don't like a song, then click on the song and a thumbs up or thumbs down thing will pop up and you won't have to listen to it (or songs like it) anymore. Christa e-mailed me about Snow Angel yesterday and I love it. I really loved Over the Rhine's older Christmas album, The Darkest Night of the Year, but I don't know how to share that with you (maybe not so much a computer genius). Listen and enjoy, friends!
BTW, my Rachel posted... check her out!
Okay, for my mother's supreme enjoyment, I've created a fourth Pandora radio station called the Michael Buble Holiday station. Now you may choose from four stations. Also I just noticed an option you may select called "quick mix". This allows you to choose multiple playlists to play from, if you so desire. How cool is Pandora!
Friday, December 07, 2007
Anyway, I'm pleased with my pagan tree. Oops, did I let a tiny bit of cynicism slip in? My bad. I did have a wonderful time with the men in my life; hot chocolate was consumed and Over the Rhine's SnowAngel played instead of Burl Ives. If you're looking for something different to listen to, I highly recommend this CD by my most favorite of bands. Just click on the title and it should play. OTR is playing it this month on their online record player. It has become a favorite (I listened to it for over three hours today).
Have a good night!
I cried as I put these pictures together. I couldn't help it. I missed her voice this morning when I got up. Connor didn't come out saying "Kimmy, I wun Cheeos". Which means that he and Felix didn't sit on the stairs sharing the cups of "cheeos" and spill them everywhere. The children didn't come bounding down the stairs like a herd of elephants. I didn't hear them whisper to each other about whether or not it was light enough to come down (the first morning they all woke up at 5:45 AM; which constituted the rule that they were not allowed to get up until they saw sunlight). There was plenty of hot water for showers this morning, and there wasn't a ton of laundry to do. There was no pre-adolescent crying over, well, everything and fewer arguments about school (I still have two here, you know). Fewer tattling, fewer messes, fewer whining... Yesterday, we didn't have to take two cars to go to Walmart and there wasn't seven children to look after. I miss it. Felix is going through Connor withdrawls; he asks about "Conna" all day. "I ride Conna's van, Momma?" "I sleep in Conna's bed, Momma?" "Where Conna go, Momma?" "I ride bikes with Conna?" My personal favorite (and the most pathetic) is where he growls and says in his demanding, scary voice, "I wan Conna!" Poor baby.
Even though it was crazy, it was so fun and I would love to do it again. I miss my sister. Maybe next month...
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Enough of the crazy.
Thanks to everybody for the encouragement to me in our beloved Christmas season. Quinn has been a great encouragement to me; just reminding me of the gospel and showing me different stuff about Advent. My mom had some great activities for crafts and I'm thinking next Tuesday is craft day at my house. Takers? We've been talking about Matisse in school lately and he did a lot of interesting things. He was one of the "Fauve" artists which means "wild beasts". The art critics called them that because they would paint a picture using bright colors (paints the sky red instead of blue) to describe the way they felt. Critics didn't like that. Anyhoo, Matisse also did Decoupage with different color tissue to create some of his art and I would like to do that with the kids. Maybe even something Christmasy. Let me know. Or make Christmas ornaments.
My sister is leaving tomorrow. I'm sad because we've had a great time together, even though there have been mass amounts of children in the house. Actually, that hasn't been too bad. The laundry has been insane. But I am a little weird about laundry (imagine that). The kids have gotten along very well and have thoroughly enjoyed each other. I'm sad to see them go. My brother-in-law arrived yesterday and we all (minus the kids) went out to PF Changs and Cheesecake Factory last night. Emma and Katrina kept the kids. It was a blast. I like being friends with my sister.
So this is a broad post. A little crazy, followed by a little Christmas, followed by a little sentimentality...
Now it's 5:20. I'm hungry but I can't eat until 6:00. Maybe I'll make coffee. There are no mental times on coffee.
Let's talk about mental for a minute...
Sunday, December 02, 2007
What are we supposed to do? Modern traditions reek of commercialism and "Holiday Cheer". Even the Christian Bookstores are all about some money. Who wants a "Christian" plaque for Christmas? What does that mean? How many presents are my kids supposed to open for it to be a "good" Christmas? Because after the fourth or fifth one, a glaze washes over their eyes and they start asking for more. They're only five and seven (and two, but he hasn't cared yet-this year he'll be the one yanking other toys out of other children's hands) and yet I'm tired already of having the greedy conversation with them every year. Don't get me wrong, I've yet to not make a "Christmas Wish List" (thank you Service Merchandise catalogs for that lovely jargon) and I do love to give presents (and get presents, by the way- that greedy glaze has passed over my eyes just about every Christmas that I remember), but I'm just over it. Why DO we buy and buy and buy? I'm an affirmation junky and I love praise and adoration, even from my kids. And Christmas gift-giving is "all fair", i.e. "We've got to give so-and-so something, they always give us something", or "he got eight presents and I've only gotten seven!" Both of these thoughts have caused me to overspend a lot.
Today is the first Sunday in Advent. Today I will teach my four and five year old Sunday School class about the prophecies in the Old Testament. We will light the first candle in the Advent Wreath at church and at home and talk about the prophecies in the Old Testament and why they are important to our faith today. God has and will always keep His covenants with His people. Should there even be a balance between modern commercialized Christmas and Christ?
So here I am, on my soapbox. Guess what? I will buy presents this year. I will send Christmas Cards. I will wrap presents this year (I do love to wrap presents-there are no ends to my need for affirmation). I will decorate the tree, with Burl Ives playing and hot cocoa being sipped on by all (how's that for modern tradition). My confliction lies in the balance or the lack of balance: "Oh yeah, it's the celebration of Christ's birth, by the way."