Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - Year in Review

It's hard to believe that 2010 is almost over ... in just a matter of hours, it will be 2011.  At the end of each year, I like to look back and reflect on the year.

In January, we traveled to southwestern Florida (and had a wonderful time despite a road incident about an hour and a half from home that set us back 2 hours and extremely cold temperatures in Florida).  On our way home, we stopped to visit my dad who was spending a couple of the winter months on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

In February, we celebrated a few birthdays:  T#1 and mine.

In March, we made a whirlwind trip to Florida for Cardinals spring training, with a "detour" to St. Simons Island on our way home.

In May, we celebrated T#2's birthday.

In June, we traveled to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.  We saw elk - everywhere.  As much as I still love (and prefer) the beach, the mountains were beautiful, and I suspect we'll get back some day.

In July, my sisters came into town and we treated my dad to a weekend in St. Louis with a couple of Cardinals games.

In August, we celebrated T#3's birthday.

In October, we celebrated T#4's first birthday.  We also took a trip to Paducah to see the Quilt Museum.  I also finished T#3's big boy quilt (I had started it well over a year earlier, but life happened ... and I lost my motivation).

In November, we celebrated DH's birthday and had a wonderful Thanksgiving with DD and her family.

In December, we celebrated our 23rd anniversary, had a White Christmas, had a good visit with my family, with DD and family, celebrated DSIL's birthday, finished DSIL's quilt, and wondered how it was possible for 2010 to pass so quickly!

I pray that you all have a

So long 2010 ..

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday

It's been a while since I've been able to post a Thankful Thursday post ... now that life has settled down after Christmas, I can get back into my "routine".
  • I'm thankful for my good health.  Oh, I have my share of aches, pains and other health issues, but nothing that I will allow to interfere with doing the things I enjoy doing.  And of course, I get an occasional cold (as I mentioned in my last post).  But all in all, I've been blessed with good health, and I'm thankful.  
  • Speaking of that cold, I'm thankful that the worst seems to be behind me.
  • I'm thankful for our White Christmas.  
  • I'm thankful that I've finished DSIL's quilt (pictures to follow).  
  • I'm thankful for my new sewing space. 
The snow from our White Christmas is just about all gone ... there are only a few remnants where snow was piled when shoveling the driveway.  :-(

My sister K shared in an e-mail yesterday that she served her grandson a Yogi Bear meal from Wendy's, and he asked where the "little one" was ... she assumed that he meant Boo Boo.  Because as a child, our youngest sister L called her stuffed teddy bear Boo Boo, that brought up a conversation about our childhood teddy bears.  Of course, I had to get out my teddy bear.
And of course, that has made me wonder about your childhood teddy bear/stuffy.  

It's hard to believe that we're just 2 days away from the New Year.  Where did this year go?  And speaking of the New Year, any plans for your New Year's Eve?  DH and I have nothing special planned as of right now.  I hope to start T#4's big girl quilt tomorrow, but I don't want to spend the evening sequestered in the sewing room while DH is in the family room.  Luckily there's a hockey game that evening, so our plans - so far - will definitely include watching the game.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Random Post-Christmas Thoughts

1.  My dreams came true ... we had a white Christmas!

It started to snow a little Friday morning but stopped by noon.  The roads stayed clear, but there was a bit of accumulation on the grassy areas.  The respite from the snow meant that my sister K could hit the road for her home in northern Illinois, my sister L could fly out of Lambert back to Texas, and my dad could get back to his home about 40 minutes east of here.  We were back home when the rest of the snow fell.    Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket  We got 3 inches of snow ... the perfect amount!  Enough to cover everything yet not preventing the street crews from clearing the roads.  It was the perfect Christmas present! 

2.  DSIL's mother and sister invited us up to have Christmas Day dinner with them.  We had Christmas early with DD and family because DSIL's sister was finally able to get some time off on Christmas (she works in a hospital in Chattanooga); this is the first time that she's been able to come up to be with her family here in Illinois on Christmas Day.  We were expecting to just have a quiet day here, just DH and me ... so we were pleasantly surprised to be able to spend the evening with DD and extended family. 

3.  DSIL turned 36 yesterday, so we helped him celebrate ... we had soup & sandwiches and played games ... A Minute to Win It home-style and Catch Phrase.  
4.  I caught some kind of upper respiratory bug and am feeling pretty puny today.  Today might well be a stay-in-the-PJ's kind of day, taking it pretty easy.  Maybe I'll do a little quilting ... I'm getting pretty close to finishing up the quilting of the borders ... all that will be left will be sewing on the binding.  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dreaming of a white Christmas

And we'll be having one here!  We've got 2-5" of snow in the forecast for the rest of today ... and there's already about an inch on the ground with the snow still falling.

There's White Christmas playing on TV right now while there's snow falling outside ... happy time here.

Christmas Eve blessings to you all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Year in Review edition

Once again, Joyce has come up with some interesting questions ... I look forward to Wednesdays!  If you want to play along or see what everyone else has to share, just click on the button above.

1. Share your Christmas Eve traditions.
I've never been able to develop any Christmas Eve traditions.  When DD was growing up, she'd spend one of the two days (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) with me and the other with her dad.  The days always seemed to vary so that we really weren't able to create any Christmas Eve traditions.  Once she married, then she needed to spend some time with her hubby's family ... and now that she has littles, she needs to spend some time with her own family.  And when we have Christmas with her and her family changes from year to year, so we still don't have any significant traditions.  But it's all good ... we have time with them, opening gifts and preparing/eating great food.  And on whatever day that it's just DH and me, we open our gifts and have a nice quiet day together (usually watching more Christmas movies). 

2. What was the best book you read in 2010? (we're not going to include The Bible here)
I didn't do a lot of reading this year, and while I enjoyed what I did read, none of it was so outstanding as to stand out in my mind or recommend to anyone else.  I hope to do more reading in 2011 (especially based on what everyone else has shared on their Wednesday Hodgepodge posts).

3. Do you have pets and if so do you allow them on the furniture?
Yes and yes.  Although DH allows them to lie on the couch only ... as long as I have an old quilt over it to keep it from getting too dirty (I just had a thought ... I'm very anxious to replace or reupholster that couch ... it's 20+ years old and definitely says 1980's ... maybe if I forget to put the quilt on the couch, it'll get so dirty that we "have" to replace or reupholster it????  ha!).

4. What event from 2010 are you most thankful for?
This is a toughie ... nothing significant stands out in my mind.  2010 was a good year, don't get me wrong ... but nothing significant happened ... at least nothing that I can remember.  

5. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before.
Went to Colorado, to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.  As you all know, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the beach, but I enjoyed the time in the mountains more than I thought I would.  I was taken aback by the beauty and majesty of the mountains.  While the beach will always be my #1 vacation destination, I wouldn't mind going back to the mountains some day.

6. Brussel sprouts...friend or foe?
I liked Brussel sprouts as a child but hadn't had them in years.  I decided to try them a couple of weeks ago ... I'd been hearing a lot about roasted Brussel sprouts, so I tried some.  They were ok, but I don't know that I'll have them again.  My mom didn't roast them, so maybe if I prepare them like she did, I'll like them??  

7. Who would you nominate for man/woman of the year? 
My daughter.  She has 4 littles and homeschools the older 3.  She has such an engaging personality, a heart that seeks to please God, and a selfless nature.  

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Enjoy these last few days leading to Christmas ... and remember "the reason for the season".

Monday, December 20, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

The countdown to Christmas is now on in full force ... are you ready?  Since we're just a matter of a few days away from Christmas, this week's randomness will focus on what blesses me at Christmastime. 

1.  Christmas music

The two radio stations that I listen to have been playing Christmas music since Thanksgiving (one of them 24/7).  But this song has always been one that has touched me ... I think because as a mother, I can relate to Mary ... and always wondered if she truly understood what was happening to her, if she truly understood just who her baby was, if she truly understood why her baby came.

2.  Snow

We've had some snow this Christmas season ... not all that much, but it's been snow.  Of course, it's almost all melted now, but there is some wintry weather in the forecast for Christmas Eve (hopefully later rather than earlier since my sister L is scheduled to fly back home that afternoon).  It would be awesome if we could have some white this Christmas).

3.  Christmas movies

It's not Christmastime until we've watched Christmas movies.  I have a list of "must-see" Christmas movies ... and a list of movies that I need to add to my list.  ;-)

4.  Christmas cookies
It certainly isn't Christmastime until the cookies are baked.  DD & I have been doing this every Christmas for more years than I can remember.  The Ts are starting to get old enough that they want to help a little with the baking (they definitely want to help with the eating! ha!).  Tomorrow is baking day ... and I can't wait!

5.  Christmas decorations
It won't feel like Christmastime without my decorations and the tree.  We get a real tree and put it up right away (might as well sit in our house as out on the lot ... besides, on the 26th, I'm ready to take it down).  Even though I don't decorate as much as I used to, I still have my favorites that just *have* to go up.

Of course, all these things are good, fun things that help to make Christmastime a festive time ... but Christmas is far, far more than these things.  Christmas is God knowing that we needed a savior and providing that savior in the form of a tiny babe.  Christmas is Jesus knowing that His coming meant death ... on a cross ... and He came anyway and will come again, not as a helpless babe but as a King.  Christmas is living that joy and sharing that hope all year long.

May we enjoy these final days leading up to Christmas ... and may we never forget what Christmas truly is.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

Whoa!  What a weekend ... but a good one!

This weekend I ...
  • had all four Ts overnight Friday night ... the first time that they all 4 spent the night here at Nana's
  • watched Despicable Me with the Ts

  • was awakened every 2 hours by T#4 who's got some kind of viral thing going on (hopefully NOT strep -- waiting on a culture) and once by T#3 who woke up at 2:30 and decided that he was Calley from the Chuggingtons -- complete with sound effects!

  • celebrated our 23rd anniversary at DD's on Saturday ... we had our Christmas with them (THE BEST way to celebrate our anniversary, if you ask me)
  • watched the 3 oldest Ts in the middle of our Christmas get-together while DD & DSIL took T#4 to the urgent care (where they took the culture mentioned above ... so far the diagnosis is a viral bug)
  • had a ton of laughs while playing Wii Sports Resort (our gift to DD)

  • woke up to a dusting of snow Sunday morning
  • attended church
  • cleaned up from the Ts' visit (toys put away, pack & play and high chair put away, beds stripped & re-made)
  • going to have our anniversary celebration this evening ... a nice quiet evening at home, watching Holiday Inn

Friday, December 17, 2010

Flashback Friday - Christmas Presents

When did you open Christmas presents when you were growing up? Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? 
While I distinctly remember opening presents on Christmas Eve, I have a vague recollection that in my earliest childhood years, we opened them on Christmas morning.  I suspect that my sister K and I must have worn our parents down to allow us to open them Christmas Eve ... I mean, what child wants to wait to open presents?  ha!  I remember that after dinner, my dad would take us girls down to the basement to play while my mom stayed upstairs to clean up after dinner.  Then after a while, we'd hear some bells ring and before too much longer, my mom would come downstairs to tell us that Santa had been there.  In hindsight, I can't believe that we were so gullible to not figure out that it was my mom pretending to be Santa ... but it was a less cynical time when I was growing up.    

If you traveled, did your parents take the gifts, or did you open them early or late? Did your parents have Santa leave presents? Were they wrapped or unwrapped? 
A couple of Christmases, my mother's sister (who lived in Springfield, IL - about an hour and a half) and her family came down to visit my grandparents and all of us (my grand parents and my mother's other sister lived in the same town we did).  It was neat to have all the cousins together (2 were about 4-5 years older than me, 2 were the same age, and then there was my sister K almost 2 years younger than me).  I wish we would have done that every year.  

As I mentioned above, Santa brought all our presents ... wrapped.    

Did you have stockings? What was generally in those? Were gifts simple and practical or more extravagant? Did you give presents to your parents and siblings? Were they homemade or purchased? If purchased, did you pay with your own money or did your parents pay? What are memories of special gifts you received? 
We didn't have stockings.  Our gifts were generally toys ... nothing extravagant, but certainly nothing practical.  My sisters and I would pour through the Sears & Roebuck catalog (it was huge) and mark what we wanted for Christmas (no doubt we marked just about every toy in the catalog ha!). 

I don't remember giving presents to my mom & dad nor my sisters ... at least not during my childhood.  Maybe I did and just can't remember.  

I really don't have any memories, either, of any special gifts I received.  I'm sure I always got some of what I asked for ... the only year I remember being disappointed was the year that my sister L (who was 8 years younger than me) got more gifts than I did.  As a child, I didn't realize that an older kid's gifts would have been more expensive than a younger kid's gifts ... therefore the same amount of money would have bought more gifts for a little one than for an older one.  I liked my gifts ... but I thought it unfair that L would have gotten more presents.  Not exactly my finest moment ha! but hey, I was a kid.      

Did you ever peek and find out what your gifts were ahead of time? Did presents gradually appear under the tree in the days leading up to Christmas and were you allowed to touch/shake them?
I must have been in 6th grade or maybe even junior high, when my sister K & I discovered where mom hid our gifts.  I remember sneaking a peak ... I can't remember what we saw.  But I definitely remember peaking. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ice Ice Baby

It was no surprise to wake up this morning to see a thin coat of ice on everything.  Thankfully it's thin enough that you can scarcely even see it when looking out the windows.  As opposed to what we had 4 years ago.

But it's definitely there ... just ask our golden retriever who fell twice when outside doing her business.  (She's ok ... but she's 11 years old now and not as sure-footed as she used to be, poor thing.)

The salt trucks have been out, and traffic is moving at a normal pace on the road that you can see from our subdivision. 

Still, I think it will be a good day to stay inside ... and get some quilting done.  I'm working on the borders for DSIL's quilt.  The stencil that I was going to use was too big for the border, so I'm just using a "hatch" quilting pattern (I'm sure it has a name ... it's not cross hatch quilting ... just the first set of lines, no crossing lines to make the grid pattern).  I used my 6" ruler width to space the stitching lines.  I've realized that I'm not going to be able to get this finished by Christmas ... from Friday though Christmas Eve, there's something going on every day that will keep me from being able to get any quilting done.  But I should definitely have this done by the end of the year.  I'll be so excited to get this quilt to DSIL (remember, it's a surprise), but I'll definitely have to get a picture taken ... and share it here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday Hodgepodge - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Yes, folks, it IS beginning to look a lot like Christmas here ... we actually have a little snow on the ground here, although I'm sure it will be just a memory by the time Christmas gets here.

Once again, Joyce has come up with some thought-provoking questions for Wednesday Hodgepodge.  If you'd like to play along or see what everyone else's answers are, click on the button at the top of this post.

1. What does it mean to have the 'holiday spirit'?
To me, it means having a spirit of wonder and awe ... of excitement and anticipation ... of generosity and joy and wonder ... of remembering old traditions while making new ones.  And because I believe, it means having a spirit of worship, of looking back to when Christ first came and looking forward to when He comes again.

2. What sits atop your tree (s)? Why?
An angel sits atop our Christmas tree.  I found a cute little angel quite a number of years ago that I liked ... so she's on top of our tree.  I like that her "dress" is a bit of an old quilt (it doesn't hurt that her skirt slips over the top of the tree ... so regardless of how thick the top of the tree is, she fits).

3. When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back?
To be honest, I don't know ... I have a tendency to be pretty hard on myself, so it's probably been a while.

4. Which of your senses is most sensitive this time of year?
I don't know that any one is more sensitive than the others, although the two senses I think of most when I think of Christmas are my sense of smell and my sense of sight.  There are so many wonderful aromas associated with the Christmas season ... fresh-cut trees, Christmas cookies, scented candles.  And of course there are so many wonderful sights associated with the Christmas season ... the lights twinkling on the tree, the wonder in the grandkids' eyes when they open their gifts, watching snow fall.

5. What do you have too much of in your kitchen?
I don't know that I have too much of anything in my kitchen ... if for no other reason than my kitchen isn't huge and I have to be judicious with what I keep/store in the kitchen.  Although I do have what some might think is too much stuff on the refrigerator (although I've seen more cluttered refrigerators than mine ha!).  I try to collect magnets when we travel so I have them on one half of the refrigerator, and on the other half I have artwork/notes from the Ts.

6. What do you do for meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Big meal? Breakfast tradition? Open the cookie tins and have at it? 
Having had to split holidays for so many years (splitting with DD's dad when she was growing up and then with DSIL's family now that she's married), we don't really have a huge tradition for meals on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  When we all get together at Christmas varies between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day from year to year (or even on the 18th like this year!), so I've learned early on to just "go with the flow".  Yes, there are times when I wish we wouldn't have had to split the holidays, but I've learned that what's most important is that we're together.  

7. What is the best thing about winter? 
Snow!  You had to know that was coming.  ha!  Seriously though, snow is what makes the short days and cold temperatures tolerable.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
We have more wintry weather in the forecast for this evening ... freezing rain and/or sleet.  Thankfully there's enough salt/chemicals on the streets that ice should only form on untreated areas ... grass, trees, bushes, etc.  Which means it ought to be gorgeous tomorrow ... all sparkly.  But I would have rather had snow.  ha!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I missed the snow

You all surely know by now that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE snow!  So I was ecstatic when I heard that we were due to get a 2-3" snowfall on Sunday (that's a pretty significant snowfall for this area).  It was snowing and accumulating when we got up Sunday morning, but we still made it into church.  DD called that morning to suggest we move up our cookie baking day so we could bake cookies while the snow was falling.  On the way to church, with the snow falling so beautifully, I decided that sounded like a spectacular idea ... and if that didn't put us into the Christmas spirit, nothing would.  I was looking forward to baking cookies with DD and the Ts while watching the snow fall ... but unfortunately God had other plans for my afternoon ... and evening ... and Monday, too.

As I was getting my coat to leave, I got a call on my cell ... it was from a doctor from the ER at the hospital in my home town.  My dad was going to be transported to Barnes hospital in St. Louis.

My dad had reported, via e-mail that morning, that he had developed a partial loss of vision in his right eye the night before.  The ER personnel at the small regional hospital in his home town weren't equipped to do the extensive testing necessary to determine what was causing the vision loss so they sent him to Barnes (a large teaching hospital in St. Louis, an hour from his hometown). 

DH & I drove home, changed clothes, grabbed a bite to eat, called my sisters and DD to let them know what was going on, and drove over to St. Louis to meet him at the ER.  7 hours later (much of it spent waiting and waiting and waiting), they advised us that they needed to keep him overnight so that they could run more tests the next morning.  It was a long, stressful, exhausting day.

They ran a number of tests yesterday and have diagnosed his vision loss due to glaucoma.  He was released late yesterday afternoon and is home and back to his routine now. 

Thankfully, the two stressful days had a good ending ... a diagnosis, my dad back home ... and a phone call from DD inviting me to join her on a little shopping expedition.  We had a great time ... but any time spent with DD is a great time in my book.  A perfect ending to a rough couple of days. 

Needless to say, today is going to be a LAZY day!  ;-)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday's Fave Five

Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story hosts a weekly look back at the blessings of the previous week.  I like the idea of taking the time to intentionally look back to see how I was blessed, so I'm joining in this week.

1.  T time  Mama had to take T#3 to the Urgent Care Center Monday evening, so I got called to take T#1 (and T#2) to his Cub Scouts meeting.  Tuesday, I got to watch T#3 and T#4 while Mama worked a Scholastic Book Fair.  Yesterday, I got to watch all 4 Ts while Mama worked her last "shift" at the Book Fair.  I always LOVE my time with the Ts!

2.  Hearing snow in the forecast  Ok, the snow itself isn't coming until Saturday night/Sunday ... but after some serious pining for some snow over the last several days, it was awesome to hear that we have snow (and accumulating snow at that!) in the forecast.  I can't wait!   

3.  Less is more at Christmas  Ever since we staged our old house to sell a couple of years ago, I've found that I prefer a less is more approach to decorating ... including Christmas.  I've enjoyed being able to get the house ready for Christmas in just a few hours instead of a few days, and it's helped get the Christmas season started without a lot of added stress.  This year, I've decided to take a bit of a less is more approach to gift giving, too ... instead of spending my entire budget on a plethora of gifts for the Ts, I'm buying one gift that I think they'll really like (thanks to recommendations from DD) and giving the rest of the money (in the name of the Ts) to a Christian charity to help those who are less fortunate.  I can't take full credit for the giving to help others ... T#1, when asked what he'd like for Christmas, named just one gift and asked that the rest of the money go to those in need. 

4.  My new Ott Lite  It really provides much better lighting for when I'm quilting ... and I'll really appreciate it this summer when it's warm and I'm bundled under a quilt.  ;-)  Plus it's a nicer looking lamp than what I had before (which will be used as supplemental lighting at my sewing table).  I had been wanting an Ott Lite for some time, but every time I'd look at them, the prices were just too high.  I finally found one online at a very good price.

5.  My sweet hubby  I got back from taking T#1 & T#2 back home Monday evening with a tank just about out of gas.  Knowing that I'd have to get up and get going early the next morning to go pick up T#3 & T#4, DH filled up my tank that evening so I'd be ready to hit the road that next morning.  And he's agreed to go do the last of the Christmas shopping with me this afternoon ... he even suggested lunch at the Bread Co. (he's got a coupon).  I am so thankful for him!