Saturday, December 24, 2016

Sledding Hill

Life unfolded in an unexpected way.  Our house deal fell through.  Mixed emotions.  We believe God has a better plan for us, and that house was not for us.

We are using the time to make a few tweaks in the home.  This is the before picture of our kitchen island.

And this is the after!

We're doing this to sell our home.  But, we are loving it so much it might be hard to leave:) 

Enjoyed Marie's annual Gingerbread Party with my running buddies (missed the few who could not make it).

The kids don't let any dust settle on the cookies before eating them:)

His masterpiece.

The cookies were a hit with this one.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas:)

The Boy Scouts (and Dads) filled a care package of notes and goodies for my cousin and his squadron in the Air Force.

On a truly frigid day, the boys bundled up and took to the slope.

Even though it doesn't look like a lot of snow, the sledding was still amazing.

Phase two of kitchen updates: granite counter tops.

We agreed that we should have made these remodels years ago!

So pretty!

Our annual New Year's Eve (we did it on the 23rd this year), dinner with the Maxwell family.

Runner's World announced "Happy first day of winter running" on social media yesterday.  Accompanying their pronouncement was a photo of a women runner clad in a long sleeve shirt and running tights.  She gleefully cut through powdery snow.  Her expression was light without depicting an ounce of discomfort.

Her image looks little like my reality.

For my winter running, I'm bundled in several layers.  My clothes are functional; style falls second place to warmth.  A hardy hat covers my head.  Pretty, no.  Practical, yes.  Am I smiling?  Who can see between the clothing layers, snow, and gusts of wind?

Winter is not my favorite season.  Most of the winter months, I daydream about teleporting our home, school, and church to the southern tip of Florida.  I can live a good, fulfilled life without ever experiencing another snow storm, blizzard, freezing rain storm, ice storm, or any other unbearable winter weather condition.

On Sunday, the boys and I bundled (and I mean bundled) up to go sledding on our local hill.  With our extensive layering, the frigid (-1 degree) temps were bearable.  We skated across the icy field to arrive at the sledding hill.  Then, the boys ascended the hill clutching plastic saucer and foam riding sleds.  I tagged along behind and supervised the crew.

They must have raced down the hill about a zillion times.  As soon as they landed at the bottom, they jumped up and darted back up the incline.  After awhile, they became interested in an icy patch at the base of the hill.  From the top of the hill, I watched them slide across the ice, giggle and stumbling across the surface.  Through their layers, I could see the pure bliss across their faces.

Seating on my little patch at the top of the hill, I scanned the winter scenery that unfolded below me.  The winter white decorated the landscape.  It was beautiful.

Florida would be nice in December.  But, this was nice too.  I decided a lounge chair by the swimming pool could wait.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

December Birthdays

It was red and green day at school to celebrate Christmas.  Whereas many students selected festive items like Christmas sweaters, Collin wore green shorts with a red Nike sweatshirt.

Collin's Thanksgiving recipe.  We are grateful that Collin did not make the turkey this Thanksgiving!  Saved us an ER visit.

For the state's 200th birthday, Cooper submitted an essay on "What's Next for Indiana."  Out of 700 received essays, he earned a second place award.

For the state's birthday celebration, Cooper read his essay at the Indiana State Library.  Here he's getting a hug from the Indiana Superintendent of Schools.

And he won $100 for college.  Chris said it will probably be enough money to pay for his lunch one day:)

Birthday season began.  I blinked, and Caleb turned 14 years old!

Move over Baskin Robbins, this year I made Caleb an ice cream birthday cake.  

A day after Caleb's birthday, Connor celebrated his 12th birthday!

Per Connor's request, I made a peppermint birthday cake.

This one is a certified pre-teen.

I hope his wish was more time with his parents.

This was actually a happier occasion than Collin's face displayed.  Mr. Collin aided me in whipping up sugar cookies.

I think the cookies were one part flour to one part cookie.

Rounding up birthday week, Chris celebrated his 25th birthday (plus 20) with his favorite male companions.

Christmas is a nutty season for us all.  Between the shopping, the baking, the wrapping, and the the merriment, life is hectic.  In our family, we have an added layer of complexity.  We have not just one birthday, but three family birthdays in the span of a week.  What would I call it?  poor planning.  dumb luck.  extra blessing.  Probably all of the above.  But it's pumped more calories into our bodies in the form of multiple birthday cakes, and it's pulled more money from our wallets in the form of multiple birthday presents.

Three birthdays in the span of a week in December has taught me that the Christmas month will be crazy.  It will not be neat and organized.  My presents will not be wrapped and purchased before December 15th.  

Somethings will fall under my radar.  

I'll forget to buy a present.  I'll omit a loved one from the Christmas card list.  I'll add salt instead of sugar in the Christmas cookies.  But that's ok.      

Our December will not mimic a Martha Stewart Holiday celebration, but it will be filled with love....and lots and lots of cake.