Monday, December 24, 2012

Happenings Around the House

This is just a miscellaneous blog of things the I have captured.  I will post various Christmas memories coming up in the next week or so. 

After bath time one night, both girls climbed into the laundry basket.  Madison likes it when her daddy swings her in circles, but that can be exhausted.  So, on this night, she requested that Ellie join her in the basket just for fun.

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Madison loved playing with loose change when she was little.  She recently found the crock full of change again; so we got it out.  I know it is a potential choking hazard, but it is a fun supervised activity to play with and move coins between your hands and containers.  Ellie has enjoyed this as much as Madison did.

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Madison and I worked on wrapping presents for my side’s family Christmas.  Although the process took a little longer, she seemed to really enjoy being a part of things.

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While we wrapped, Daddy and Ellie just hung out snuggling.

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Dress up is a daily activity at our house.  Suddenly, we are super into taking a hundred things on and off all day.  And strangely, she could be in a skirt and short sleeved shirt or princess dress all day and never say she is cold; meanwhile, I am in pants, a hoodie, socks, and slippers!  On this day, she loaded up on the jewelry.  I think she had every necklace she owns on and a pair of clip on earrings (you might see if you look closely).  She was an elusive subject and didn’t really want to be photographed.

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Ellie now knows how to climb up on Madison’s toddler bed and joins in on the fun as much as possible.  Although Madison is not supposed to jump on her bed, she does get away with it occasionally.  Ellie’s version of jumping on the bed is sitting on her bottom and bouncing up and down.  She loves it, especially when her big sister is there with hDSC_1027

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My heart breaks…

I haven’t written about the shooting at Newtown because I can’t process it.  It seems so different than theatre shootings and mall shootings – those are places of pure entertainment being violated, but at the same time not really safe in the way a school is considered safe.  It seems different than university shootings and high school shootings – it wasn’t one of their own frustrated or disturbed by someone or something.  It was someone from the outside (with only a few connections, but not to the little ones it seems) who entered unwelcome and uninvited into an otherwise innocent setting.  And it was small children who should not know about these things – and certainly not need to witness these things. 

We read about child soldiers in other countries and think about the atrocities of war in other counties and how that violence must rob the young (and frankly, the old) of their innocence and suck out some of their hope.  But this is here, and this is our country, and we cannot deny that this violence that we for so long has insisted is “over there” is, in fact, over here. 

What then do we do with this? Do we blame guns? (I tend to believe guns that hold more than one bullet to shoot one helpless deer seem pretty unnecessary…) Do we blame the lack of mental health services?  Do we blame the parents?  Do we blame the society?  Do we blame media source – video games, movies, TV, etc?

Or do we just lay down and accept it as “just the way life is” and give up? 

Or do we take a different path – believing that God, for reasons we may never understand, allows things to happen in our fallen world?  Do we trust that God was there for those children and teachers/staff when we could not be?  That God will heal the hurt that is in the souls of so many and allow it to rise up for good? 

It is just SO HARD.  And I feel so small.  I am thankful for a God who is bigger than this and knows what will come. 

I read on another blog (Mennonite Girls Can Cook) a prayer written by Max Lucado, that I thought was worth reposting and reading and believing.  I have pasted it below.  Please continue to pray for all of us – and especially those closest to the tragedy – as they walk through Christmas this year.

Dear Jesus,
It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.
These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.
The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?
Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were night shift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.
Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.
Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.
Hopefully,
Your Children

Monday, December 17, 2012

Great Grandpa

From my husband who knew him best:
Today (Dec 9th) we lost a GREAT man! He was our Mayor, our Mr. Fix-it (anything can be fixed), our Auction aficionado, our sweet corn connoisseur and our war story orator. All of that and (in my opinion) the strongest hands of any man on the planet! A man who will be remembered for his quiet but mighty and devout faith, and for being a wonderful, honest, gentle and caring friend, neighbor, husband, dad, dad-in-law, grandpa and great grandpa. Rest In Peace Grandpa
With Madison - 2010:
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With Ellie - 2012:
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With his family last Christmas:
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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Decorations

Like frosting (see previous post), my joy at decorating the house is minimal, but unlike frosting, I like having some things up.  So, Saturday, was our Christmas decorating day.  It started with cookies,

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moved on to trees,

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and ended with lights and ornaments. 

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Meanwhile, Ellie just laughed in her highchair… sometimes she rocks herself so fast you can’t catch her on camera!

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Christmas Cookies

I decided to whip up some Christmas cookie dough on Friday.  We had all been having our share of whatever bug is going around and are finally on the mend.  I thought we would be ready for some Chrsitmas festivities.  What I didn’t count on is how impatient a 2 year old is when she knows that there is cookie dough in the fridge, and she wants to be frosting cookies.  I cannot count how many times in about 2 hours she asked if we could frost cookies.  I finally relented, and we rolled and cut the cookies out before and after supper.  I was just going to do this all tomorrow, but decided to just do it so they would be ready to frost on Saturday.  So, we rolled and cut.  I wondered as we did this why, without fail, she felt the need to take a perfectly rolled slab of cookie dough and demolish it with one giant cookie right in the middle?  I must admit, I had to start directing her cookie cutting strategy.  (Hey, you can only roll the dough so many times before it gets tough!) 

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The cookies turned out great!

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Saturday morning she woke up, eagerly asking – you guessed it – when can we frost the cookies?  So, after breakfast I mixed up frosting, got out the cookie sheets to contain mess, rummaged around for my sprinkles, and dug out some plastic knives.  And I let her loose.  I may have issues with how she cut her cookies, but I have no advice for how she frosts her cookies.  (Let it be known that I really don’t like frosting anything… I think, although pretty, it is tedious, and my cake/cupcakes/cookies/etc taste just as delicious without it.)  So, frost away, Madison, I say!  She did a great job… .and she took her job very seriously.  Here are her first strokes of frosting:

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And her first cookie completed:

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Ellie jumped in on the action after she woke up from her nap (not really helpful, but still..)

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Still working:

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Her last cookie (yeah, that’s a bunny she needed to cut out…):

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Finished products:

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The Nutcracker

Last Sunday, Jeremy, Madison, and I met Grandpa, Grandma, and Aunt Jen to see The Nutcracker.  I had never seen it; Madison had never seen it; and Jen had only performed in this version.  Jeremy, Grandma, and Grandpa had seen this one MANY times.  Madison looked cute as a button in her little candy cane Christmas dress.  She proudly showed the usher her ticket and sat in her seat.  She was all eyes as soon as it started.  She wanted to figure it all out.  So although her eyes were glued to the stage, my ear was glued to her mouth as she asked question after question after question.  (I decided someone with a little more knowledge of the overall story should have sat beside her!)  The cutest part was toward the beginning when the Nutcracker doll gets broken.  As soon as it happened, Madison said, “Oh, no!” which got quite a few of the audience members to chuckle! 

At intermission, we went out to enjoy a complimentary cookie and water.  We stood in a long line for the bathroom, and then headed back inside.  She cheered for the Russian dancers and clapped with enthusiasm for each group of “country” dancers.  She (and I) were a little antsy as the dance of the sugar plum fairy went on and on and on.  Overall, we had a great time!

We only got one picture, but I think it is a pretty good one…

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dress Up Time

Madison has her dress up box… and Jeremy and I have ours.  Why?  Not because we are frisky newleyweds, but because over the years, we have been invited to a few themed parties.  And as a teacher, I have been involved in numerous spirit weeks.  If the students aren’t into showing spirit, THIS teacher is because anything (yep, pretty much anything) beats having to dress up in teacher gear every single day!   (Plus, sometimes, it lets me get to wear jeans, which is the ultimate in teacher dress down opportunities in my book!)  So, today, I decided to go through this box because it was annoying me that the lid wasn’t shutting.   I realized that Jeremy had put some t-shirts in there recently – you know the ones.. you don’t really wear them, but you just can’t throw them out.  In some ways they “fit” – Star Wars, Men in Black – but really… he just couldn’t bear it apparently!  Madison enjoyed what we unearthed…. There were wigs, glasses, cowboy holsters, numchucks (SP!!), leis, moon boots, 80s stuff, Hawaiian themes, and more.  When I glanced up from putting a few things back in the box, this is what I saw..

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And then, she added the Napoleon Dynamite glasses…

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And for all her long hair dreams… (I think this week was more annoying than fun, maybe a wig for her birthday???)

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I am sure that one day she will want to kill me for ever letting these pictures see the light of day (the evil of digital photography and the internet).  But I simply couldn’t resist sharing one of the bright moments of our day.  (Ellie would have wholeheartedly participated, I am sure, but she was sleeping.)

Sisters

Yesterday Madison was extremely lovey with Ellie.  I see other big sisters playing, loving, and hugging their little sister.  And not that Madison doesn’t love Ellie or exhibit love to her, but usually she just does her own thing.  However, yesterday, she went all out.  Mommy, can I hold Ellie?  Mommy, can I pick Ellie up?  Mommy, can I feed her?  Mommy, can I ….?  I accommodated whenever possible.  Ellie enjoyed some, but not all of the extra attention.  Ellie’s favorite thing to do with Madison was hold her hands while standing up and “dance” (what I mean to say, it bounce!) with her.  This usually turned into a full blown hug by Madison during which Ellie was resisting the close quarters.  Ellie didn’t mind the book reading…

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…until she tried to move and Madison held her back in a death trap! 

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Ellie was accommodating when it came to the bottle – most anything to do with food, she does willingly – the problem was that Madison couldn’t actually hold Ellie (or the bottle) at an angle to allow milk to flow. 

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So, I had to take over.  As for picking Ellie up?  Well, that just wasn’t physically possible, but Madison gave it her best shot during some of the dominating hugs mentioned before.  Regardless, it was neat to see some sisterly love and affection.  I do know Ellie loves Madison in return because she wants to do whatever Madison is doing – dancing, dressing up, reading books, playing with babies, etc.  Madison is doing it?  Ellie wants to, too!