Thursday, December 31, 2009

Vittles for Grandparents

Cowboys ain't easy to love and they're harder to hold.
They'd rather give you a song than diamonds or gold.
Lonestar belt buckles and old faded levis,
And each night begins a new day.
If you don't understand him, an' he don't die young,
He'll prob'ly just ride away.


Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys.
Don't let 'em pick guitars or drive them old trucks.
Let 'em be doctors and lawyers and such.
Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys.
'Cos they'll never stay home and they're always alone.
Even with someone they love.

~ Waylon Jennings






I should point out that this last is a video. Just hit the "play" icon on the picture.



Saturday, December 26, 2009

Turkey Lurkey


"It's hard to soar like an eagle when you're surrounded by turkeys."








Thursday, December 24, 2009

Nothin' Much

Just a few pics to share.


This one cracks me up because Ethan took it and came to show me "Frosty," which he had just put together for the kids to look at through the window (because their snow boots are . . . somewhere? in the shed?).



The reason it cracks me up is that when I saw Frosty in the flesh ... er, snow ... he stood maybe, at his tallest, at 2 feet. Of course, now that it's a few days later, he stands much shorter and is tinted yellow as Maverick views him as a snow fire hydrant of sorts.


He also took a picture of a drift that he did not help make:



And BEFORE we had any tinted snow, we did enjoy some Snice Cream. Yum.





And just in case I can't remember which two fingers Jonathan constantly has in his mouth:




And we don't have cable. But we do have Internet (sort of). And there's nothing like the old Inspector Gadget show to bring a family together:



Thank you, Maverick, for tearing yourself away from the screen to look at the camera.


So that's us, the week up to Christmas. We are one happenin' bunch.



Sunday, December 20, 2009

Health and Snow and Christmas Trees


Well, we'll start with the last thing first. I grew up in a family where the yearly tradition was to get the Christmas tree the night before Christmas (at least, that's what my memory recalls). While this was fine for then, I somehow grew up to be the kind of person who can't stand to have Christmasy things up when Christmas is over. So NOW if we were to get the tree the night before Christmas, we would have it up for a maximum of MAYBE four days and that's it.


Fine for me, not so fine for a household of little kids.


So we decided to get a tree as soon as we got back from where Ethan was candidating. And when we heard that considerable snow (for this region) was in the forecast, we headed out right away. It was dark, and the snow was already starting to fall, and none of the "regular" Christmas tree lots were open. (Last year we were spoiled and our Montana logger friend brought us a tree from the woods ... the real woods ... but if you don't have this option, what fun is it to cut down a tree from a "farm"? So to the lots we headed.)


We were getting a little discouraged (and hungry!) when I remembered the local Catholic church usually has a Christmas tree lot. So down the road we went, where, sure enough, there was a lot, there were people working in the lot, and the first tree the man pulled out was the one we wanted.


The price was right, especially at 20% off. I did hesitate as I wrote the check out to "Knights of Columbus" but figured that maybe our check saying "Calvinist and Reformed" (which it does) would somehow even things out. And to sweeten the deal (literally), a lady came over to offer a plate of brownies to the workers. They apologetically explained that they didn't think they would be staying around long enough to eat them, and then she turned and offered the plate to us.


Well. I guess there are advantages to looking like a "good Catholic family," even if you're NOT, after all.



Even after considerable cutting, the star still touches the ceiling. That's OK, because it wants to lean to the side anyway. We decided to keep the current gifts on the mantle so that a certain 18-mo. old can't give himself an early Christmas.



Decorating the tree was a bit of a challenge. We have incredible Christmas decorations, courtesy of my mother-in-law, but they are packed away in the back of the storage shed where it is impossible to get them out. So we headed to Walmart and Target to stock up on cheap balls, lights, and a special ornament for each child. They deliberated over where to hang each decoration and were especially excited to hang their snowflakes, which a kind lady at the candidating church had helped them gluestick and glitter-fy.



I'm obviously no Martha Stewart. But my children think our house is beautiful and magical, and I love that.


And outside? That IS beautiful and magical.









The other beautiful things we've seen around here are smiles. As in all-out I'm-not-sick-anymore smiles. At the advice of some friends I picked up some homeopathic cough syrup and I honestly think that did the trick. I'm sticking with the acidophilus, Vitamin D, and antibacterial hand soap after every outing, and hopefully that will help.


Recent smiles:





We're ready for Christmas. Bring it on.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Ick. Ick. Ick.

Today is just one of those days I would rather was over. And it's hardly even started.


Or maybe it started late last night, and that's why I'm ready for it to be over.




We got back late last night from a four-day expedition to a church where Ethan is candidating. On the way home, I said, "I think everyone's coming down with something. Miriam told me her 'mouth hurts really far deep,' I've been wiping everyone's noses, my throat is scratchy, and I could hear yours was too when you were preaching tonight." The children were already in their pajamas, so we got their pillows out of the car and got them situated in their beds and started the laundry going. Ethan found something online to watch to help unwind from a weekend of meeting and greeting and preaching, and we watched that and then stumbled to bed.


And then it all started. Jonathan started crying so Ethan went to check him out. Turns out he had thrown up all over his playpen. So I plopped him in the tub, Ethan stripped the playpen, and we got him some medicine. We stuck him back in bed. Thirty minutes later he was crying again. I went and got him and he had thrown up again. I stripped the playpen and his shirt, cleaned him up, rocked him for a while, got him back in bed.


Then it was Miriam (4). Not throwing up, just sneezing. Constantly - as in every two seconds. So I got her up, got her some medicine, a box of tissues and a trashcan, propped her pillow up, and tucked her back in.


Then Eden (2). She was coughing hoarsely and crying, so she got warm tea with wild raw honey.


Then Lily (6). She, too, was coughing and her throat was sore, so she was medicined up and tucked back in.


Then I finally went back to bed (3 AM). Eden started crying again. I asked Ethan, "Can you get her?" and I doubt he even really heard me because he said, "No." So I got up and got her situated and then switched the laundry over (again) and then decided to sleep on the couch. Honestly, it was much more comfortable. I'm 31 weeks pregnant with twins, and the couch supports my back better than the bed does, especially if I'm trying not to accidentally kick a husband as I situate. Yesterday was a bad day for being pregnant with twins. I ended up standing with Jonathan during the entire church service because he refused to be quiet if I sat. My legs are so swollen I honestly cannot feel my feet. I was hoping for a good night of rest for the swelling to go down, but that has not happened.


And then it was time to get up again and get Jonathan, who woke early. His brothers got up shortly thereafter (thank the Lord they required nothing from me last night!), and the four of us have been puttering around. At least Jon is helping me out a little bit by turning grey and saying, "Oweee Oweee Oweee" right before he spews, which gives me enough time to grab the bowl (although I only had enough time to run him to the kitchen about an hour ago - but cleaning up vinyl is better than carpet!).


We have friends who are in Virginia for the week, and we very badly want to see them. But I know today is not the day.


And I'm ready for "today" to be over.


Trying to focus on sunnier days:












Perhaps a good nap will be forthcoming.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snow Day

I periodically check the forecast for 59634, because that was our zip code in Montana. I'll read what the day's weather is going to be like, and the children will groan at all of the snow they're missing. I'll groan, too, because I miss Montana and because, against everything I would have predicted, I loved winter there.


It is very harsh and it is very cold and it is very snowy. But when you're all bundled up and wearing good boots and the night is quiet and the only sounds you can hear are the crunching of your boots and the panting of the dog ... I don't even know a word that describes that kind of comforting peace.  And when you live on the side of a mountain, and you can walk a mile down and see the lights of the city below melding with the stars above - stars that are doing that special shine that they do only when the air is bitingly cold - it is indescribably awesome.


But yesterday I checked our own forecast, for our current zip code. And snow was in the forecast. Now this may not seem like much to the rest of the world, but for us to be getting snow ... at all, let alone this early ... well, there was some excitement in the house. It was cautious, reserved excitement, because snow in the forecast here could just mean you see something whitish occasionally float down from above. Ethan left at a little after 7 AM for his presbytery meeting, and the children and I continued decorating and hoping the rain would turn to snow.


We were not disappointed.



Maverick was thrilled. He is our Montana mutt, and he has always loved snow. (He's the one running at breakneck speed on the left side of the picture.) While this snow was much less than he's used to, it was still cold and wet and he was happy.


So were some others.






Ben and Lily continued trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues while the littles napped, and then they decided to come inside for a warm drink and some crafting.


But even with the fun distraction, the day seemed long without Papa. It wasn't long before they were at the windows, watching for the van to return.





It proved to be a longer wait than they expected, so they snuggled in with the littles to finish a movie, and left only the bird to stand watch.



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