Friday, December 26, 2008

Another Christmas Past..Makin' Memories

Christmas Eve, Pa and I were up way too late as usual. Come Christmas morning, Pa and I both had a heck of a time trying to open our eyes and drag ourselves out of bed when the kids began shaking us, and excitedly insisting we get up at what they seemed to think was a most reasonable hour of 6:00. When we protested, they were quick to inform us that we were fortunate that they had actually allowed us to sleep in. It seems Lindsay was ready to wake us at 3:00! Yup! Lindsay had awakened at 3AM, headed in to the living room, took one look, and immediately rushed in to wake up her brother and let him know there were two brand new bikes sitting in the living room! By the time our wake-up call arrived, they had thoroughly inspected said bikes, and were full of information. I had no idea the bikes had been made in California!

While I truly am grateful the kids allowed us to "sleep in", by the time early afternoon, and kitchen duties were in full swing, both my body and my mind were telling me noon would've been a much more appropriate time to get up. Thankfully, Pa is pretty good in the kitchen, and is more than willing to pitch in so the food prep was actually pretty much evenly divided. Although a bit late by Christmas meal standards, dinner was a success. A perfect ending to a perfect Christmas day!

There were a few chuckles to be had Christmas morning as we were opening gifts. First, was two of the gifts for the kids from my sister. Blanket sleepers! Nathan and Lindsay both had huge smiles on their faces as they held them up and Daniel and I both had a good laugh. Later it occurred to me that I've been relishing memories of their younger days, wishing those days and moments could last just a wee bit longer. These gifts are a fun blast to the past for me ;-)

The next very hearty laugh was from Pa when he opened his gift from my daughter, Kimmi. Pa likes pocket Ts. and is always insistent that any t-shirts he purchases, or receives as a gift is adorned with a pocket. Kimmi had done a fine job of honoring this request with a t-shirt that had a printed pocket with a rather cranky looking creature (a lizard? Or perhaps a dinosaur?), printed within it. It was great! And.... Pa said he would wear it! :)

The third gleeful chuckle was at Nathan's expense. Both our young'uns have been fighting cold and cough symptoms lately. Naturally, that means Ma and Pa have been diligently pouring liquid medications down their throats. Nathan is old enough now that we've been opting to give him a mild dose of Nyquil at night, as it seems to help more than the children's medicine. Although he admits it does help, he hates it!

Christmas Eve, one of the gifts I had to wrap for Nathan was very small. I did manage to wrap it, but it was so small it would've easily become lost in the jumble of gifts the next morning, so I thought I'd pull a fast one on him, and place it inside another, larger box before wrapping it once again. Pa and I looked around and found a box for a three pack of Nyquil we'd gotten from Costco. Perfect! I placed the tiny package inside, stuffed it with plastic bags, and wrapped it up, before placing it under the tree alongside everything else.

Christmas morning, as the gifts were gone through one at a time, Nathan finally came to "the gift". He eagerly ripped the paper off the box, gasped, and said, "You! You Guys! Very funny!" He then set the box off to the side like so much rubbish, and prepared to look for another, more desirable gift to open. We had to force him to open the box! He seemed confused when he saw the plastic packing material, and began pulling it out until he finally reached the tiny wrapped package in the bottom. He opened this package carefully, turned it over in his hands and became a bit excited, "A knife!" He then opened the box and peered inside. Then he got real excited! "It's a Swiss Army Knife! It's just what I wanted!"

*sigh* My son is growing up.

Last night, Pa and I were snug in bed by 9:30. It was nearly 8:30 when I got up and started the coffee and the fire this morning. Pa followed shortly after 9. Aahh! Blessed sleep!

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, and that you are enjoying the rest of this most wonderful of seasons safe, warm and dry, with your loved ones.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Real Santa

This afternoon, I read The First Christmas to my children. Afterwards, Nathan wanted to know how "we" managed to go from that story, to the fat jolly fellow dressed in red, delivering gifts to children in the middle of the night.

I immediately thought of an earlier entry posted by Alexandra, at Happy Hearts At Home. She posted some book titles, and a link to some information about a Bishop, named Nicholas. I quickly went on line, and went directly to Alexandra's site, where I proceeded to scroll through her posts for the month of December. I followed her link, and checked out several links provided there, until I came upon what I felt was the perfect story to satisfy my children's curiosity.

Personally, I think this story, The Real Santa is the perfect follow up to the story of the first Christmas. It's not too long, and it tells the story simply, in a way that children can understand, without going into too much detail, which one can always follow up on if more detail is desired.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Crazy Cold!

Yesterday morning we noted our low temperature was a frigid 22ยบ! This is the Southern Oregon coast for Pete's sake! As if last year wasn't bad enough, now we're having this bitter cold tossed out at us. Has Mother Nature finally snapped? Has she lost her mind?

I'm doing my best to think positive. Thinking forward to Spring and Summer, and considering all those less than beneficial "bugs" we normally have to deal with. Perhaps this rather lengthy, and lower than usual for our area dip in temperatures will serve to reduce the numbers of those normally tenacious insects we fight every year.

The kids are thinking positive as well. They're hoping for just the right combination of cold and moisture that might result in their first (and perhaps only)white Christmas!

It's good to dream! :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Winter Gardening

Nathan and Lindsay are both feeling better today. Naturally, this makes Pa and me both very happy. Thanks to the weather, the kids are even happier about their recovery than they might be otherwise.

This morning the kids awoke to a light dusting of snow on the ground. While neither of them thought it enough to bother going out to play in, they did agree it was exciting just to see it there, especially considering how close to Christmas it is.

By the time I got up, the snow was still decorating the ground, but the cloouds had parted, leaving patches of blue in the sky. Within the hour though, the blue had disappeared, and the snow was rapidly disappearing as well, being replaced, and overtaken by another white substance. It was hailing, and this was not a short burst of hail either. No, this downpour of icy pelts lasted a good hour, before being joined by rain, and then snow mixed in with that. It has been a most interesting weather day! The hail comes down, making everything white, then rain with more hail, and snow, and more of all of the above, being accompanied on occasion by bursts of wind, which causes the icy pellets to reveal their sting.

Although Nathan was excited by the sight of all the white stuff, he was also a bit unnerved, realizing this may signify the end of any hope for his garden to make it through the winter this year. All was not lost though. He decided to make the best of the situation.

Currently, the sky is once again showing us some blue. It's quite cold outside, but clear, so the kids are taking advantage of their limited cold weather wear, including their gloves. Nathan's garden has been transformed into a winter wonderland of sorts, or, at least as close to a winter wonderland as we're likely to experience where we live...

If you look closely, you can see the green ears, on top of the snowman's (actually, a combo of hail and snow)head.Those are radish tops. The eyes are radishes, and at the base of the snowman, you can see where the snowman's nose, a carrot has fallen. Naturally, all the snowman's vegetable features were harvested from Nathan's garden, where the snowman resides until his classic "Frosty" demise.

Who knows, whether it be by snow or by hail, maybe, just maybe, we'll actually manage a white Christmas this year!

Granted, I'm not planning to hold my breath, but I figure a couple crossed fingers can't hurt ;-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pipe Cleaners To The Rescue

Yesterday, Lindsay came down with her brother's ailment. Nathan was still working on recovery while she was experiencing the worst of it. Today, both kids were still feeling less than perky, but they were also bored.

When they are ill, provided it's not a serious illness which would keep them confined to bed, we like to allow them outside for fresh air and to soak up some of the healing rays the sun provides. Unfortunately, this time of year, that isn't always an option. This year it is certainly not an option, so I was left to try and come up with something to keep hands and minds relatively busy.

While Nathan was relatively happy just curling up with a book, Lindsay was interested in something a bit more creative. However, yesterday, she really wasn't up to anything too complicated. I thought a bit and remembered the two packages of pipe cleaners I had grabbed the last time we were at the dollar store. I checked, and sure enough there were plenty of red and white ones. I cut them in half and within minutes she was happily twisting them together to create candy canes for the tree.

Today, Lindsay was feeling a bit better so I put my thinking cap on again, and tried to come up with an idea that might be a wee bit more challenging for her. Again, my mind wandered to the pipe cleaners and Christmas ornaments. I looked online for ideas but couldn't come up with the perfect idea there (although I did discover my oh so clever candy cane ornament idea was less than original..) so I thought some more, pulled out a pipe cleaner and started playing with it until I came up with an idea Lindsay thought was great.

It took a bit more searching for products I knew we had stashed around somewhere, and a bit of experimenting, twisting pipe cleaners this way and that, finding just the right size and color of beads to string on for the noses, and deciding the best way of affixing the google eyes, but in the end Lindsay and I had oodles of fun, and we ended up with what we both think are some pretty cute ornaments to add to our tree.

The black, as well as the red and white reindeer were the two I made to give Lindsay some ideas. She had a great time making the others all by herself. Her most favorite seems to be the white one with the bright orange nose.

On the off chance you may want to try making a pipe cleaner reindeer, here's how we did it!

For each reindeer you'll need
1 12" pipe cleaner (or two if you want to make a bi-color one)
1 bead, with a hole large enough to thread through 1 pipe cleaner
2 small google eyes
Glue (we used elmers)

Fold your pipe cleaner in half to find the center. Thread the bead to the center point.

If you choose to make a bi-color reindeer, twist the two together.

If a child is doing this, the next step is where they may need some help:

Fold in half again,with the nose being your center point, and bend each side towards each other about 2" from the center point. Tuck one end underneath the other as if to tie, and twist it up at the opposing corner. Tuck the other end under at the bent point, twisting it up. Straighten everything a bit if necessary so you have a triangle with the bead "nose" at the bottom corner, and a long "tail" sticking up at the other two corners.

Fold each "tail" in half, upon themselves, pinching the fold, then fold a portion of (maybe half) back up and out in a direction you like to complete the antler.I noticed it helped to twist the last fold around the main portion of the antler, to make it seem more like a seperate fork.

If you chose to do a bi-color, then the last folds can be seperated for additional antler forks.

At this point, I like to bend the bottom portion of the head out just a little so the nose sticks out a bit. You can also pinch the nose portion in just a little for shaping. Now just squeeze a dot of glue at the two upper edges of the triangle (where the antlers begin), and top that with your google eyes.

Hopefully I described this in a comprehendable way! LOL If you have a question, let me know and I'll try to explain it more clearly ;)

Hopefully, tomorrow both my children will be feeling much better. Otherwise, I think I may have to find something other than pipe cleaners to get creative with. ;-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sleepless In The Boondocks

I hope you all will forgive my absence this last month. For some reason I just haven't been feeling great. I thought about it a bit and I realized that I had somehow managed to slack off on my healthy eating habits. It would seem that there really is something to those V8 ads. If you want to stay reasonably healthy, don't skimp on your veggies!

Wednesday, Nathan and Lindsay had their very first experience at a day care provider. At 11 and nearly 10 years of age, it was a rather strange experience for Pa and me. A whole afternoon without the happy chatter of our children every where we went. Although it was kinda nice in a way, it also felt very strange, almost wrong. It's been a long time! The nicest part of the whole thing was being able to shop for those items that will be a big surprise for our children come the 25th together, rather than taking turns ushering the kids in one direction while the other of us adds items to a basket to be left around a corner to be inspected by the other parent when we switch roles . That really was a nice, even fun change for us!

Yesterday morning, Nathan woke up with a sore throat and a tummy ache. While Pa and I were busy trying to keep him comfortable, Lindsay was doing what she always does when her brother gets sick. She was worrying. By the time bedtime arrived she had worried herself just about to the point of being sick herself. Everything about her said she was about to burst into tears. There was only one thing I could think of to help her calm down, and hopefully get some sleep.

Last night, we pulled out the hide-a-bed, brought out some blankets and pillows and Lindsay and I camped out in the living room together. While she was still concerned about her brother, it did seem to divert her attention enough to cheer her up a bit. I was hopeful we would both manage a good nights sleep. Silly me.

I will give her credit for warning me that she was a bit of a restless sleeper. She said I may be awakened at some point by her knee jabbing me. I'm happy to report that was not an issue. However... it was not a good sleep night! I discovered rather quickly that I am just plain too old for sleepovers with an almost 10 year old! She tossed and she turned. Then she tossed and she turned some more. The whole bed was shaking for a good hour. At one point I was just sure she was doing jumping jacks on the bed. A quick glance in her direction told me that was not the case. I asked her if there was a problem. She responded in the negative, saying she was just having a hard time getting to sleep. I suggested she might try laying still and closing her eyes.

An hour later the bed was still moving about, being none to gently rocked by my daughter. When questioned this time she responded by saying she was hot. Okay. I removed the top cover. Oddly enough, that didn't stop the rocking bed.

"Lindsay! Lay still!"

5 minutes of quiet, then...

"I know why it's called the midnight!"

"Huh?" Okay...why is it called midnight?"

"Because it's the middle of the night!"

"Hmmm! I guess that makes sense! Since it is now after midnight, do you suppose we could go to sleep now?


5 minutes later I hear my daughter's voice once again, "I know why it's called high noon!"

"What?!!? *sigh* Alright, why is it called high noon?"

"Because the sun is high in the sky!"

"Ah! I see! Thank you for letting me know. Goodnight"


Maybe 5 minutes later she pipes up again, "Maybe I should think of these things during the day"

"Huh! Now there's an idea! Can we please go to sleep now?"


I then lay there for at least an hour being rocked by the tossing and the turning. I'd given up on trying to get her to lay still. I figured that only encouraged her to talk. At some point I realized the bed was no longer rocking. I turned over and glanced at my daughter, sleeping soundly beside me.

This morning, shortly after 6AM, I awoke, opening my eyes to see Lindsay, propped up on her elbows, gazing down at me. It only took a second for me to realize there was no point in trying to convince her to go back to sleep. I asked her to go turn the coffee maker on while I got the fire going in the wood stove. I figure I might have gotten 3 hours of sleep last night, although I sure wouldn't bet money on it!

Fortunately, Nathan is feeling better today. I'm rather looking forward to sleeping in my own bed again tonight. I'm thinking I could even manage to sleep through Pa's snoring!