Monday, December 28, 2015

"It was too wet to go out and too cold to play ball..."

It's either raining snow or snowing rain out there, hard to tell. It's loud and windy and wet, so we are staying inside today and this is what is happening:

Yes, that'd be the boys on the Atari I bought for Dada.

And yes, that is Damon, asleep in the big chair while wearing the sparring gear that was All3Thingz's big Christmas gift this year.

Carrie is starting the fourth Harry Potter for the third time, and Liam found a paper crafts book that is as old as Dada. I think Pap may have brought it with them. It is fun to see him working with his hands, creating old school Christmas scenes.

It's also sheet day, and I just heard the dryer, so I'm out. Enjoy your last Monday of 2015 and try to stay warm and dry.

All titling credits to the brilliant Dr. Seuss and his "The Cat in the Hat"...

Snippets from Packages, Boxes, and Bags

Christmas was a hit. It started off with humungous amounts of candy which had been stuffed into stockings:

Yes, that would be a Twix box of a million Twix... Damon got a pound Hershey bar, I ended up with a plethora of Peppermint Patties, and Carrie had multiple bags of Lindt truffles. There may or may not have been some in her mouth in the following picture:

Everyone seemed to get something they'd been wanting from Grandma Barb's warm, fuzzy everythings to Damon's huge Lego bucket (along with the Minecraft ones from Hinrew & Muggin that came with no note, haha)

Fingerless gloves which convert to mittens for Dee,

And for the retro gifts, an Atari for Dada and a whoopie cushion for Liam!

What was your favorite Christmas loot? 

C is for cookie

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Cookie time! I put my elves to work on their famous sugar cookies:

We also made chocolate chip cookies with the green and red chips, and chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips, and cinnamon rolls and a Baby Jesus cake... let's just say there are no shortage of Christmas sweets at our house.

Damon selected two for Santa, then Liam did, and then Carrie did. Then Carrie, or Dee-vious, as she's known around here, left three clues for Santa to find the cookie plate she'd hidden. I warned her that he might figure, "no cookies? No presents!" but it didn't come to that. Santa found them and the carrot sticks and the glass for him to help himself to whatever he wanted to drink, all right. 

Here's Damon working on his note to Santa.

Houston, we have an oopsie

It's a good thing my poor little wrens don't stick around all winter. They'd surely not be very happy with the current living and dining situation.

I came downstairs early one morning and peeked outside and had to do a double take. The silhouette of the bird houses that I usually have to look around wasn't there. My poor feeder had crashed over hard enough to leave dents in the mud, and my thistle seed feeder is cracked and busted open. 

I saw squirrels fleeing the scene later on, and Dada saw a VERY pudgy raccoon in the driveway earlier in the week, so I'm not sure if it had help on its way down or not. The bottom part of the post is very rotten...

So sad. =(

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

We3Thingz of Orient Ain't

As I sit here, procrastinating, I'm assessing the situation. Carrie isn't up yet and it's roughly 10:11 AM. The boys are in the basement, bickering. I've got a roast in the crock pot that the boys will boycott, the dishwasher is loaded but there are more in the sink which need handwashed, and I should probably start a load of laundry.

Naturally, I'm blogging instead.

So what HAVE we done? Oh, a little of this:

Which yielded this:

Which isn't too bad at all, especially for using every single ornament we possess. 

Then there's been a whole lot of this:

We devour books around here. When I pop the kids into the car and we make it to the library and I tell them each to "get a few", they interpret that as "get a few piles" and come out with armloads each.

Love it.

So we've been reading and "decorationing" as Damon tells it. And bickering/squabbling/hollering as that seems to be the boys' default setting these days.

And it's confession time. Care Bear has inherited her Grandmama's love of parodies. We found this one on Facebook and have been watching it daily. For whatever reason, it is right up our alley these days. A bit of the language is regrettable, but overall I'd give it a "brilliant" in my very poshest British accent. All credit where credit is due. I did none of the work, just copied and pasted from YouTube:

Grandma Barb and Pap will be here from Christmas Eve Day until the day after Christmas, and Grandmama and PaPa will come around New Year's. It'll be nice to have company. The kids are getting super excited. 

And there will be a full moon. Now we're talkin'!

Must get to work. I've got cookies to bake, children to clobber, a Newfoundland to brush, laundry to do, elves named Deloris to curse for not showing up for work, and more presents to wrap. Safe travels to all, and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Already? And why does this surprise me not at all?

Sing with me, everybody.

On the first day of va-ca-tion my children gave to me, wakin' and fightin' by se-ven thiiiiiiiir-ty.

It's going to be a long two to four weeks. 

That startled some of you. Four weeks? Well, historically they've had little to no school the first two weeks "back to school" in January for weather issues like mountains of snow and sheets of ice. So on top of the two weeks of vacation which is way too long anyway, we end up with closer to an entire month off of our routine.

So far we've been lucky, but we'll see if Old Man Winter gets his usual act back together for 2016.

Please ignore the screams coming from the basement. That's me not intervening yet. 

To those of you who tell younger parents that they'll miss the noise/activity/chaos of small children........ think up your own consequence. I'm going to go try again to drink my coffee. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

We did it!

Lots of you have met (or at least seen pictures of, or have heard of) our sweet old Newfoundland, Triskal. Lots of you also know that big dogs don't usually live as long as smaller dogs. Some of you might know that the projected lifespans for Newfies range from 6 to 8 years or 8 to 10 years, depending on your source.

Well, today is Triskal's tenth birthday, so we beat all odds!

She's grown up (and old) with our crazy Thingz: put up with toys being stuffed in her ears, fingers stuck up her nose, being laid on and crawled over.

She is our official greeter, with a tail wag and sniffs for all incoming visitors. She doesn't care if you've been here a hundred times or if you're a pizza dude delivering. She seems to be particularly fond of any man from the geothermal guys traipsing all over the yard to our handyman friend Carlos to our dogsitting friend Lincoln (who we're sure she's very fond of) to all of Dada's krav buddies. 

And children, holy cow, she loves children. Some are not too thrilled with the attention (particularly those at tongue- and tail-level, like our sweet Not-Violet), but we can honestly say she's one of the sweetest and well-behaved dogs you will ever meet. 

She is an excellent reminder of how we should all be treating each other. She may not be first to the front door anymore because of slippery floors and old joints, but her enthusiasm to greet friends old and new and not-yet-made hasn't waned a bit.

Come on over and give her some birthday love! Happy birthday, Triskal. We sure have enjoyed having you as a family member for a decade!

Mid-December morning light

A lot of you have probably figured out that if I were a Lord of the Rings character I'd be a hobbit. I have aspirations of achieving Wood Elf status, but really, I like food and being lazy more than I like archery and foraging. 

It follows that morning light on trees happens to be one of my very favorite things in nature. I don't necessarily enjoy being up to see said morning light, but since we have school age children, it is what it is. And, since we live in Ohio, we don't have the plentiful sunshine found in other, more fortunate, parts of the world. So I get to see my fair share of sunrises, especially in the winter. Oh goody.

Since I can't seem to help myself, here you go. ( I can claim that the photos are for far-flung family who don't have these particular trees and miss them, but we all know I have an addiction to trees.)

As always, you can click on the picture to see it larger and in more detail. Or you can move on if you are so over trees. I understand not everyone has the same obsessions. It's okay.

Monday, December 14, 2015

And for my 2901st post...

Yes, you read that right. I couldn't believe it, either. 

Carrie took these for us before Dada's work holiday party:

Occasionally (and I seriously misspelled that word at least three times) we get to clean up and have fun sans children. Hopefully 2016 will find us making more of an effort in that department. 

For the eagle-eyed among you, yes, that is one of my Pap Pap's hats. It snagged Dada lots of compliments that evening, along with his snazzy white tie! 

Wait, it IS December, right?

These were all taken last week because I couldn't believe the temperature outside. I figured I better get some pictures while I could still feel my fingers, since it was the second week of December:

Sure doesn't LOOK like December in Ohio, but I'll take it any day of the week. Virgil Eugene is outfitted for the season, once again, though Cheeky Beaky isn't wrapped in a scarf yet. 

We're taking bets on when Virgil Eugene will lose his hat this year. Last year he started off with a red and black one which mysteriously disappeared, never to be seen again. I put this blue one on him because it was so miserable out for forever, and it, too, vanished.

Fast forward to early fall in the backyard. I notice a swatch of blue against dead pine needles. I investigate and lo and behold, it's one of Carrie's hats! I think to myself, "that GIRL! She never cleans up after herself. How long has this even been out here!?"

Then I notice that it's folded and relatively clean. As I show it to Dada, I realize that it had been on Virgil Eugene all those many months of misery ago. We're betting a squirrel stole it and used it all winter to pad a nest and then pitched it back out when it wasn't needed anymore. 

I washed it and popped it back on Virgil Eugene. I've had to tug it back down more firmly once so far, but maybe it was just him loosening it because he was getting warm in this unseasonable weather. Heehee.

And then these were of the sunset last Thursday, I believe. As is typical, the camera didn't do it justice:

Tis the season

... for family photos! A big thanks to the folks at CedarCreek who are taking pictures and letting everyone use them this year. Most of you will have already seen this from Facebook, but since some of you my mother is not, here you go, Mommee!

Mid-December mornings

Dada called just before I headed out the door with the boys to say that he'd seen a huge, full rainbow on his way to work. We missed it, sadly, but we watched the clouds and enjoyed the pastels of the sunrise:

The reason you guys never see pictures of Carrie getting on the bus is that her bus comes an hour before, and there is no light to speak of. Often she'll step out of the garage door, inhale sharply and observe, "gark!"

That's not a typo. At Hinrew and Muggin's wedding (when I was pregnant with Liam) PaPa was chasing Carrie around the church hallways to keep her entertained. She was shoeless and short. He'd wait for her to get pretty far ahead of him, and he'd turn off the lights for that particular section of hall. She'd freeze in her tracks, point to the ceiling, and gasp, "gark!" That was one of the first words this family coined, soon to be followed by "hat on", "up hiiiiiigh", "flowerful", and so forth.

It's gark, all right. But next week is the official start of winter and the days will start getting longer again!