Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Great American Pickers

We enjoyed a FABULOUS Thanksgiving holiday. Lots of food. Lots of family. Lots of fun! We started with J's family on Thursday. It is very quiet when compared to the three ring circus of the events with MY family.  Dev enjoyed his birthday, even if it was shared with a major holiday.  Friday found us headed to my mom and dad's to meet up with my 2 brothers, my sister, and their families. .including their spouses and 9 more kids.  In all we total 23 people!! All hanging out in my parent's house. .it is VERRRRRY noisy!! 
On Saturday, my aunt and uncle joined us for the party.  After lunch, my mom, her sister, my sister, and I went for a short drive to the homesteads of my Great-grandparents, and my grandparents. 
The homes have been empty for a VERY long time.  The people that own the land have been instructed that they must bulldoze all of the buildings down.  SOOOOO, we decided to try out the role of a "picker" (someone who makes their living looking through other peoples stuff and selling it). 
While we had no intention of selling the stuff we found, we were interested in finding little bits of remnants of our family tree.  This house was where my great grandparents lived. 
There was a little storm cellar that we were considering a visit into.

Oh brave one.  As we all walked very gingerly into dark and scary places, my mind kept repeating the words of a Berenstein Bear book that I have read many times to my kids. Spooky Old Tree. .Have you ever read it?  It is about 3 little bears who take off to explore the "spooky old tree." One with a light, one with a stick and one with a rope.  They end up losing all their equipment and get a good case of the shivers!
A good case of the shivers indeed!! I was so proud of myself. .Despite broken floor boards and evidence of lots of yucky critters. .I was able to be a big girl and site see through the house all by myself!! Our tools consisted of a hammer, ONE pair of gloves, and a set of fancy "girl" tools that my mom had in her car.  Oh yeah, and we wouldn't want to forget the miniscule flashlight that mom THOUGHT worked better than it did!
We thought that this might have been one of my grandpa's first vehicles.  Jeremy (the car expert) thought that it was a model A from the late 20's. 
I got tickled to see all of these little lids screwed into the roof boards of one of the little sheds. If you look closely, you can see them. .they went all the way to the back of the shed.  They screwed jars of "stuff" into them to keep them at hand. .you know. .stuff like bolts and nuts and nails.

The lighting and angles weren't good for getting a picture of the other house.  But there, we found some cool doorknobs and knob plates.  By then, our creative juices were flowing regarding what to do with our treasures.  As it began getting dark and our time ran out. .we had started scavenging pieces to use to make some birdhouses out of our ancestory.  Hopefully, they won't destroy the homes before Christmas. .giving us a second chance to return to the houses with more tools to finish collecting some things.  We found some tin embossed to look like brick (to use for the roof), some old wainscoating (to use on the house), some old doorknobs, fancy hinges and knob plates (for decoration and perches), and some old spindles (to use as a stand on the bottom of the house). My aunt and uncle are very crafty that way. .and will be able to easily fashion the bird houses.  And what a great sentimental piece for us!
It was pretty amazing to try to imagine how the house looked in it's prime. .and to picture my ancestors in their prime of life too.  I wonder. .will my children and their children and their children's children ever wander through our homestead imagining the family who once lived there. .remembering the things that were done by much younger people than they remember. .being thankful for a family tree???
I hope so!! Wishing you all a GREAT week!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Eight Years and Counting

Seems hard to believe that eight years ago, this crazy guy was just arriving!! We have always had to work around Thanksgiving.  This year, we chose to do his friend birthday the weekend before the big day.
He had three of his best buds come for an overnighter.  Though the weather was cool, they had a ball playing outside!!  They explored through the tree row, took turns with the zip line, enjoyed a little flashlight tag with the new flash lights I gave to them, exercised their acting, drawing, and guessing abilities at Cadoo, and played a little baseball.
I ALWAYS enjoy kids that can entertain themselves. .and these guys just rocked!!
I had intended to buy him a decorated cookie while in Wichita the day before, but ran out of time.  So, I picked up some refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough and made my own.  I probably had too much dough  for my pan, but it worked out better than I expected.  Someday I hope to be able to correctly color frosting in vibrant, beautiful hues. .but for now, we just deal with my shortcomings and pretend they are beautiful.  My big boys didn't believe me when I told them that I made it myself. .so I guess it must not have looked THAT bad. 
And this bunch certainly didn't care what it looked like. .as long as they got to eat some!
Dev's REAL birthday was on Thanksgiving this year.  So in addition to stuffing ourselves on traditional fare, we also have to make room for a little piece of birthday cake too. Great Grandma made his cake as usual.
This year she decided to go with an ice hockey theme.  She made goal boxes out of little pieces of window screening, wooden hockey sticks, and a frosting puck. D loved it!!
I couldn't convince him that he was only getting socks OR underwear for his birthday.  So he was super pleased to find a new bike instead!  He has loved his bike since he was 3 years old!! That kid insisted that his dad take off the training wheels when he was 3--and he got on and fell off, got on and fell off, and got on and fell off. .until he finally got on and rode. It was the funniest site to watch cause he just looked so little on that bike, peddling his little feet off! His bike broke sometime this summer, and his dad was dying to get him a new one! This is probably the fanciest looking one he has ever had.
We had a quiet and nice thanksgiving. .hope everyone else did too!!
One birthday down, one more to go. .Miss Thing turns 3 next weekend! Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday: The Finale

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone today!!
Today is the last post dedicated to being thankful.  I hope that you still have some things to be thankful for that you can share in a comment!!
I certainly wish that it was easier to harbor a thankful attitude the whole year round!! But I am really grateful for the opportunity to have an entire holiday season to truly be mindful of our many blessings. 
As many of you may know, the first thanksgiving was held as a part of the religious beliefs of the pilgrims.  They were days of prayer. .especially to praise God for the success of their first crops.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says
Rejoice always. .Pray continually. .Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Today I'm most thankful for this. .
The nativity.
Without the birth of our Savior Jesus. .we would be a lost people.
I am thankful for his merciful gift of eternal life for those who believe in Him, even when we don't deserve it.
I am thankful that I don't have to be "good enough" because I know that I can NEVER be good enough to go to heaven on my own power!
I am thankful that my children are believers in Him and strive to know Him better.
I am thankful that my husband was a light for me when I had lost my way.
I am so, SOOOO thankful to live in America. .where I can exercise my right to my religious beliefs without fear of fatal persecution. 
I am thankful for a Christmas season to share with others. And while Christmas is a sorrowful time for some, I just hope and pray that we can light their way with the Good News!
Luke 1:30-33
"But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Wishing everyone a VERY grateful Thanksgiving filled with blessings and love
a joyous Holiday season filled with good things all around.
Thanks for sharing these last 3 Thursday's with me being mindful of our many blessings!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Out with the Old, In with the New

Not to be rushing Thanksgiving out the door. .but much of my decoration is Halloweenish.  So the last couple of weeks have found me slowly unpacking my beloved snowmen and bright Christmas decorations. .to transform my house from
THIS. . .
to THIS!!
I love, LOVE decorating for winter and Christmas. .and have been collecting snowmen for years. 
I also am a little partial to bling and bright red berries. So I incorporate a lot of Hobby Lobby picks and greenery into the mix. The results always make me smile.
Last year I found these two antique stockings in an antique store in my hometown while shopping for my sister in law over Thanksgiving break.  I really LOVE the snow-guy with the worn fuzz!
And while most of my things are snowmen (which I can leave out until February/March), I do have a very small whimsical Santa collection.  They are housed in my bathroom this year.  No room goes untouched around here!! Yesterday I finished my big Christmas tree.  But not without a little drama!!
It is 12 years old.  I have said for the last few years that I am gonna get a new one.  The branches are falling apart. .some branches are no longer marked. .it has a "lean" to it. .stringing the lights make me lose character.  I looked at new trees Thursday while Christmas shopping with my girlfriends.  Nah. .I can make it another year.  The sucker fell over yesterday while I was getting the lights on! We put it up Sunday night. I broke it, but thought we could wing it (Jeremy was at a Bible study, so I didn't have his opinion). I TOLD him it was broke when he got home. "Looked alright to him." Hmmpf! Decided yesterday morning that it stood up all night, so we're probably good to go.  Started stringing lights after Cam was tucked in bed for her nap. BAM!! Over she went.  I stood it back up, reset the pole, and pleaded with it to stay. .I DIDN'T have time for this!! No luck.  Went back to my bedroom. Opened a top door in my closet. Yup--there it was--an old base for a real tree. Great!! I single handedly moved my put together tree from one base to the other--screwed the metal things into the pole. Great--that will work. Moved the sucker back against the wall. CRASH!! Out the back door I flew on my broom. .headed for the shop.  Nearly taking the door off the hinges, I flew right on into the shop. .only to be greeted by one of my husband's 90 year old little customers. Enter sweet smile and dripping voice, witch hat transforming into a halo.  Grateful for the opportunity to simmer down before I finally got to talk to Jeremy about my tree. Thankfully, in his true gentleman fashion. .he was able to save the damsel in distress by welding her tree base back together!!
"My hero."
The end!!
There's NO place like home!! Have a blessed week!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday. . Part Two

First of all, I have to say that I was totally humbled and near tears to read from everyone's hearts last week!! I appreciate that open-ness and I felt thankful with everyone else too!!
Psalm 50:23 tells us
"But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God."
I have tried to be extra-thankful over the last week.  And my sister pointed out in her comment last week that it is easy to be thankful for the big things, but even then, it is easy to take that stuff for granted.  I don't know about you. .but I have never considered giving thanks to be a sacrifice as the scripture from Psalms suggests.  As I researched that verse a little, it really made a lot of sense.  Once God has our hearts, he really needs NOTHING else from us. He has provided our salvation as a gift--once we accept that gift, we need not do ANYTHING else to attain that.  We can't be extra good, do extra good things, or say extra prayers to please Him.  But we can be extra thankful to honor Him.  And because most of us aren't naturally thankful ALWAYS and for EVERYTHING. .I can see where it would become a sacrifice of your mind and your heart to keep that thanksgiving attitude at the forefront of our beings? Wondering if anyone else agrees?

That being said. .I am thankful today for the CHALLENGE of being a mother and a wife.  For those of you that are also blessed with children (and those who survived the children and now have the challenge of dealing with the CHILDREN of their children). .I think that you would have to agree that often times there seem to be more challenges than good things?! Challenges of attitudes, relationships, fighting, peacemaking, teaching them. .and on and on and on!! And the challenges of a spouse?? Those are there too--meeting their needs, accomodating to their schedules, willing to negotiate different opinions and sharing everything--even the covers with a bed hog!!
I am thankful for a home that I frequently liken to an "ant den." with busy-ness and chaos abounding in every corner. With more than one person talking at once about more than one different topic at a time, and children that even use my first name to get my attention from another child (including the littlest!) Even though it is undoubtedly the hardest job I will ever do I am thankful that I was allowed to have children.  From the time I was little and played with dolls. . To the time when I grew a little older and had names picked out for them nearly a decade before I would ever give birth to one (not that I stuck with any of the original names, by the way). Being a mom and a wife was something that I always wanted for my life.
I am thankful for this one. .our first born.  The one we practice on. The one that cried endlessly or ate unsatiably for the first 6 weeks of his life. The one that struggles with inattentiveness.
The hunter. .and the comedian.  The one who will be in high school in 8 short months. .and DRIVING.  The one who is always coming up to his mom and giving her a big hug. .even in junior high!
And then I'm thankful for this one.  The one whose expectant life we announced on Tristan's 1st birthday (in retrospect, I bet they thought we were NUTS and talked about us for weeks!!) The one who is totally black. . or white--no gray!! The one who always seeks to please.
The motor head, car freak who can tell you every make of semi truck there is when we meet them on the highway.  The one who loves ebay almost as much as his dad! The one that rarely misses a night of telling his mama that he loves her.
And thankful for this one. .the great debate.  This one that we argued about weekly for 3 1/2 years before we agreed to try for that girl. .just ONE more time!! This one that has more energy than the other 5 of us put together.  The one that loves shooting baskets, even if it is by himself.  The one that doesn't like to get in trouble and hasn't learned to talk back yet. 
The one that loves to be up in front of people, whether singing or speaking.  The one that never misses seeing me and saying "oh, hi mom" like he hasn't seen me for a week. 
And last but not least, totally thankful for this one!! The only girl. The one who caused me to call the OB/GYN to cancel my consultation appointment for a tubal ligation.  The one that I could hardly bear the thought of because I was OLD! The one that will cause me to stay young for a LONG time yet.
The one who loves babies and kitties and cheerleading.  The one who can give you a hug with every ounce of her being. The one who can look up from what she is doing and randomly say "I wuv you so much" and make everything better!
And THEN. .there's THIS one.  I'm so thankful for him.  Thankful that he is a hard worker and a great provider.  Thankful that he was a Christian that helped turn this God believing, but not saved girl's life around. Thankful that he is a good sport with a sense of humor (that is a nerf gun, by the way). Thankful that he doesn't get riled very often.  Thankful that he tolerates me and the kids daily--good or bad--just as we tolerate him!
In addition to all those guys. . I am REALLY thankful for a set of stable and wonderful parents, 3 siblings that I love dearly, and great in-laws!!
Psalm 100:4
Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name!

I realize that everyone will be busy with Thanksgiving next Thursday. .but I will have my third and final Thankful Thursday post up early that morning.  If you felt led to share, please know you are welcome to share anytime you have the chance to look in--I have noticed many people have gone back this past week and checked comments! Have a very THANKFUL and BLESSED week!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Waterfall Sounds

We finally enjoyed a day that wasn't too windy--and one where I had time to take a short video of the pond and waterfall.  Several of you expressed interest in hearing the captivating music of the waterfall.  I think I shot it about 3 times before I got the focus thing right, and then several more before I got one without a lot of kid background noise.  You will notice a large semi truck sound that vrooms through it. .but you'll just have to take it how you get it. .and know that I was smiling in disbelief as I heard him coming up the highway!! Hope you enjoy it!
Coupled with the lovely sunrise photo of the pond above, I think I won't have any trouble making it a habit to drink my coffee there. .when my kids are grown!!

Hope you all check back tomorrow to join in our Thankful Thursday celebration!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chance of a Lifetime Weekend

So, we had nothing planned for this last weekend.  Jeremy intended to be gone Sat and Sun to meet up with his buddies for some metal-head shop work on the new race car he has started building. .but then that got canceled Friday. 
So then it was back to nothin'.  We enjoyed a low key evening at home watching a movie, drinking apple cider and eating a delicious fall version of caramel corn (of which I must share the recipe one of these days). 
Saturday started like any other Saturday. .lazy :-)  As I was getting out of the shower, the phone rang.  Now that is NOT unusual. .and we hardly ever answer it on the weekends, unless we recognize the numbers (because our jobs NEVER end. . unless we make them).  But I decided to answer the phone so the person didn't continue to call every 15 minutes to see if we were home yet.  I was surprised to hear from a gentleman that manages the local airport.  He was reminding me that they were having free airplane rides for the kids. .and a helicopter was there to boot.
Wow. .you should have seen us fly into warp speed after that!!
Within 20 minutes we were pulling into the airport.
D was up first and caught the helicopter ride with his friend Landon, who was out there when we arrived.
He was super nervous. . as you might recognize from the smile.
And lift off!!!
His sister was as excited as he was. .yelling "there goes D!!" All the while clapping her hands.
She could hardly wait for her own turn!
We were going to let Jeremy ride with her. .but he didn't want to go in the helicopter. .and I went up a few years ago when the life flight units that service our hospital came for a P.R. visit.
So we let Tristan go in the chopper with her.  They loved every second of the ride.
They also had the opportunity to ride in a small airplane. .and after the great fun of the helicopter, they could hardly wait their turns. .even Camille!!
They had an absolute blast!!
But you may be wondering what happened our fourth kid. .not aforementioned above??
He will get up on the roof. .climbing out of the bedroom window to get there. .but was. .under NOOOOO circumstances (and I mean NONE) getting into one of the flying machines.  He enjoyed some peace and quiet in the pickup until everyone was done riding!
Saturday turned out to be an absolutely GORGEOUS day. .warmish with NO wind!! I dug out my Christmas lights from the garage and got them untangled.  Jeremy and 2 of the boys helped me hang up the icicles on the front of the house.  Some of them weren't working properly, so they were laid aside, and we will finish them up another day, hopefully next weekend so they will be ready to fire off Thanksgiving evening.  The front of the house is the hardest to get at--so their help was really appreciated. 
The boys are sure getting to be old hands at pinning up lights.  Jeremy just kind of drives our little tractor around and we hook them onto the house--either from the bucket (which D thinks is some type of county fair ride) or from the rooftops!
And I just couldn't resist giving ya'll a big howdy wave!
Tristan and D had the bows out and target practiced with some leftover pumpkins.
Cami and I did some bird watching while jumping on the trampoline (actually--she jumped and I watched!)
We enjoyed hot apple cider two nights in a row. .
Lots of good food. .
And enjoyed the company of friends on Sunday after church. .where we downed some VERY good Cajun cookin'.  After which Kendy and I, with the help of our young friend Bailee. .proceeded to whip some little boy butts at a game of basketball.  And I will NEVER tell them that I couldn't sleep last night because my back was out. .and the top of my rear end is quite sensitive to movement today.  Initially I chalked the back thing up to this very nasty "cough from your toenails" cough that I have been blessed with this week. .but when the gluteal muscles chimed in too. .I decided that I most certainly am getting too old to act like a child
As I told Kendy. .it's like the country song goes. .I'm not as good as I once was. .BUT, I'm as good ONCE as I ever was!!
Perhaps the greatest part of the whole weekend. . .
Was the sunsets that we saw 3 nights in a row!!
I'm thankful that God was an artist!!