Thursday, December 27, 2012

Picture Round-Up

Time for some pictures I’ve rounded-up from my phone and camera from the end of the school year before Christmas break and the first couple days of break:

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Becca’s elementary choir singing at a program at the library

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The girls’ piano/violin recital

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No picture of Elise playing because I was playing with her and Ed was at a Council meeting Sad smile

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We learn lots about music and life from this music teacher!

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It’s the white cape & red bow program!!

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Becca playing the “orf”, which is like a xylophone.

I didn’t get a good “whole group” picture this year because one setting on my camera was failing me. THANKFULLY, I have since fixed that setting! Whew! I was getting concerned that my camera was going to fail me completely…but I have made some adjustments and I’m getting by for now.

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Love those class Christmas parties!

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Had some fun with our dear friends whom we do not see nearly frequently enough. Even so, our kids get along great every time!

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Pic from TJ's

I took the little girls to Trader Joe’s and Rocket Donuts one afternoon while Ed took the big girls to see “The Hobbit”!

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After our annual “Christmas Light Drive in our PJ’s” we stopped at Edaleen for Becca’s birthday dessert!

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Christmas program at the Candlelight Service

Becca's solo

Becca had a solo!

Next up: Family Christmas!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A few videos I missed…

Oops! Forgot to upload the recital videos! Enjoy! Be sure to let me know if any links don’t work…for this post and the previous post.

Sarah – “Fur Elise” and “Trepak”

Bethany – “Gavotte”

Becca – Christmas carols

Elise – “Away in a Manger”

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Announcement

Just an FYI for those who live far away and read our blog: our Christmas cards will not be mailed until late January after we have moved so that we can send you our new address at that time. I apologize for this inconvenience, but just think: now you'll get a piece of "real mail" during a time when you don't normally receive "real mail." Won't that be fun?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Decorating our tree

Because of the chaos of life this year, we decided to just put up our small fake tree and let the girls decorate it with their own ornaments. While it’s not anything stunning or gorgeous, we had a great evening just watching the girls open their ornament boxes, listening to them say, “I remember when I got THIS ornament!”, and cringing as they (mostly the little girls) placed ornaments willy-nilly on the tree, with no regard whatsoever to bare spots or other ornaments around. But I have not touched a single ornament on that tree – it is theirs and they are happy, so I am happy.

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Just gave them their ornaments for this year…stuffed owls for the big girls and stuffed dolls for the little girls. I think they liked them!

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This makes me laugh and brings such joy – it’s exactly as it’s supposed to be and shows everyone’s personality of the moment. And it’s as good as the pictures got that night because a couple of those wonderful girls were in pretty silly moods. We are now ready for Christmas!

 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Seems about right

Five years ago today we lost Ed's mom to brain cancer. Seems like yesterday.

And it seems like forever ago.

So I guess 5 years seems about right.

Recently two pastors in our town (our interim pastor & my parents' pastor) lost their mothers, which made me reminisce. Their mothers were older - 75 & 95 - and didn't have cancer, but I imagine it's the same in many ways.

Recently a student at our school (an exchange student, no less) was diagnosed with cancer. Right before Christmas and so far away from her mom. My heart aches.

And it's Christmastime, which is a time when one dearly misses the family that's not around, both because of physical distance on a map and because of the separation death brings.

But it's Christmastime! There are Promises. And there is Hope. And there is a Cure for what ails us all.

So while today is a day we remember and feel the grief of loss, and that grief is compounded by the fact that it is Christmastime, I am being reminded also that that grief is also only comforted by the Promises and Hope that come with Christmastime.

And that also seems about right.




Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Busy Saturday in December

First let me apologize for the quality of my photographs. I am having camera issues. Or photographer issues. I’m not sure which…my new lens just isn’t as good as my other one was, even though it’s the exact same lens. And I can’t seem to get things to work right on my end either. I really need to go outside during the bright part of the day and see if that helps the situation and I get good photos…then I’ll know if it’s the lens or just me.

It’s been a Christmas-filled weekend…started with Ed & I attending the Logos Christmas party on Friday night.

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That’s an iPhone picture, so that’s why it’s so grainy…

We had a good time with the Logos folks, as always, but we didn’t win any prizes this year. Sarah was at a Christmas party with her friends, and Bethany was at a birthday party, so the little girls stayed overnight at my folks. That meant Ed & I got to sleep in and leisurely drink our coffee on Saturday morning, which hardly ever happens. It was wonderful! But then once we picked up the kids, everything was kicked into high gear for the day!

Becca sang with her elementary school choir at the local art center. They sang earlier in the week at the staff Christmas party and will sing next week at the library and again at the school Christmas program on the last day of school before Christmas break.

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See that cute brunette making eyes at her mother? Love that girl.

Then we headed to the tree farm close by to help my parents pick out their tree. No tree for us this year…too much hassle for this year…but of course we couldn’t stand to not go to the tree farm with Grandma & Grandpa!

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Grandpa’s measuring to see if it will fit.

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This is the one!

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After hot cocoa and warm pumpkin donuts, we headed home to get all the girls all spiffed-up. Sarah was headed to an “anti-tolo” event with her friends (Tolo is a local Sadie-Hawkins-style dance that is for all the county high schools. A LOT of kids, especially lower classmen, get dressed up and do their own thing, instead of going to the dance…hence the name “anti-tolo.”) The other 3 were headed to see The Nutcracker in town with my aunt and my cousin’s daughter.

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Hoping to get more anti-tolo pictures from some parents who took pictures at the event. Will post soon!

Ed & I found ourselves at home alone together for the second time on a very busy Saturday. We got take-out from the local “meat pies” establishment, watched a movie & a TV show and I finished some gifts I have been working on. It was quite a pleasant, yet busy, Saturday in December!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Alright. I'm done.

Now that it's a for sure thing that we won't be moving until mid-January, due to the slowness of certain agencies in their ability to process loans, I've been kind of mopey. Realizing that it's at least 5+ weeks until we'll be moving makes me feel just a little insane.

But it's time I take the advice I so often give my children: Stop. Whining.

I'm done whining. I'm done being sad. I'm done wishing it could be different.

At least for today.

So today, I'm going to pick up this house a little. Straighten piles & re-organize boxes. If we have to live here through the holidays and into the beginning of the school year, we're going to need that space. Today I will blast the Christmas music while I prepare the house for (a few) Christmas decorations. Today I will try to get back into my regular rhythm & routine of caring for this house and my family. It's definitely not fair to them for me to just quit my "job" for the next month.

Yes, I'm still sad and yes, I'm still bummed, but there's nothing to be done, except to pray, which I will.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Giver & The Gift

During this Christmas season when I am anxious...when I can't decorate for Christmas...when I have no idea how many more nights this family will be in this house - 10 or 30 or somewhere in between...I am trying to focus instead on the real magic of this season and trust that the God who sent his Son to be born as the gift of all gifts cares about this move, cares about wrapping us in His comfort & joy, and can do something as piddly as moving our buyer's file to the top of the pile it needs to be on the top of for expedited completion. And yet when I pray for that, I feel somehow guilty to pray for something so un-earth-shattering...there are people who are praying for their children to live to see another Christmas...people living their first Christmas after losing a child...people living on the streets this Christmas...people with far greater hurts and sorrows and problems than me trying to move my family 7 miles west. This song reminds me that God wants us to come to Him because He came to us. He is the comfort & joy. So I am praying this song for all those hurts, but because I believe God cares about me moving 7 miles west too, I pray it for myself as well.

(I tried to find it on YouTube so I could give you a link to listen to it, but there's just not a good version there. You'll have to try Spotify if you don't know it and want to listen.)

The Giver and the Gift

Three men and a star in the skyOh, what I would give for a wisdom so brightOne girl with a journey to makeOh, how I wish I was that braveFearless, shameless, faith through the darkHow I wish I was as strong as they are
You say come to me, wait no moreI give you all you're asking forForget the lies this world has toldI'll wrap your life in red & gold
I'm more than just onlyOne night that's holyI'm your star and I'm your wish'Cause I am both the giver and the gift
A child far away born in the nightToo young to know what is meant for his lifeBut he'll grow and he'll love more than anyone canAnd the world's gonna see a light where he stands
He'll say come to me, wait no moreI give you all you're asking forForget the lies this world has toldI'll wrap your life in red & gold
I'm more than just onlyOne night that's holyI'm your star and I'm your wish'Cause I am both the giver and the gift
Christmas Eve, all I seeIs snow on the treesAnd its white and it glowsThat's how I want to be
And you say come to me, wait no moreI give you all you're asking forForget the lies this world has toldI'll wrap your life in red & gold
I'm more than just onlyOne night that's holyI'm your star and I'm your wish'Cause I am both the giver and the giftThe Giver and the gift


Friday, November 30, 2012

Never. Again.

I am not even MOVING yet and I am sick of it. I am sick of thinking about moving and how it's going to work and when it's going to happen. I am sick of wondering where stuff will go and how many people will actually show up to help us move. I wouldn't call myself "worried" about it...because I'm quite certain that we can make it happen, but I am sick of it not happening yet.

And after this, I am Never. Moving. Again.

Hopefully.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

What’s been happening around these here parts…

1. Somebody had a birthday. Celebrations included coffee, purchasing airline tickets to visit a friend in Arizona in January, Thai food for dinner, purchasing new dishes on a Black Friday online sale, and Thanksgiving Eve Church Service. Thanks to everyone who called and sent birthday messages! I had a good and blessed day.

2. Pre-birthday celebrations with the Kindergarteners included these awesome teepee cupcakes:

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I found them on Pinterest. Fell in love. I showed them to the teacher I worked for and begged her to make them in class. She discovered they were not so kid-friendly in regards to construction, so she made them for my birthday treats for school. LOVED THEM!

3. Thanksgiving. Relaxing morning drinking coffee, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, making sweet potato casserole and chocolate chip pie and acorns!

Yes, acorns. Donut holes dipped in generic Nutella, dipped in sprinkles or toffee bits, and pretzel sticks as stems. Good work, Sarah B!

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Bethany made turkey feather napkins to help decorate the table!

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Then dinner at my mom’s with my grandma and one aunt & uncle, some Skype, some game-time, and just enjoying each other’s company.

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Sarah took almost all the Thanksgiving pictures! We should have probably taken an actual picture with everyone looking at the camera, but we didn’t think of it. Sad smile

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These two are such good friends…I LOVE that.

4. Packing: yes, we’ve been packing. Have no clue when we’ll move as we are completely at the mercy of the USDA approval of our buyer’s loan. We will likely have only a few days notice prior to moving. Aack! Just praying that it goes smoothly, on a weekend, and before Christmas!

5. Crafting. Yes, we’re still creating Christmas crafts. Pictures of finished projects will be posted in about a month. Smile

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Slumber Party Time

This past weekend Becca was finally able to have her birthday slumber party with her friends. I only allow two at a time at this age and because of the size of our house. When we move, I’m going to probably have to give in to bigger slumber parties, I think.

Her two current BFF’s came over after school and they had a lot of fun. One girl doesn’t do so well with sleeping over yet, so her dad ended up picking her up at 10:30, but that was OK. They had finished their games, their painting project, dinner, presents, and a movie by that time. Becca and her remaining friend were asleep before 11:00 and slept until a bit after 6:00…not too bad for 9 year olds sleeping on a sofa bed together!

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When Becca & I chose this art palette cake, I was feeling very energetic and creative. When I made the cake, after an entire week of subbing…well, let’s just say I was feeling less energetic and creative. They still loved it, though. I mean, what 9-year-old girl in her right mind would not appreciate a chocolate cake with globs of frosting?

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Here’s Becca & her nearest & dearest friend in all the earth after pancakes on Saturday morning, showing off the craft they made at the party:

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They are two peas in a pod. That is for. sure.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wondering what we’re up to?

First off, the winners are: Mother Superior and Tamara! It was easy, I know. Tamara – your prize is your little D fabric swatch. You know what I’m talking about. Mother Superior, I haven’t decided on your prize yet. Whatcha want?

Second, I strangely don’t have much to blog about. Every day is consumed with whatever is going on that day + Christmas crafting + packing. Since I can’t show pictures of the Christmas crafting, here’s what the beginning stages of packing looks like:

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I’ve packed a dozen boxes and the girls are complaining: “The house looks so empty!” Oh….kay….

I think they’re in for a bit of a shock.

Still no closing date. Appraisal on our current house today. Things just keep moving forward and we just keep walking forward in faith.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Conferences

Last night Ed & I attended Parent/Teacher Conferences for all 4 of the girls. I love conferences. I love that when we sit down with the teachers, they are prepared and ready to talk to us about our daughters. I love that they ask our perceptions of how things are going for each daughter so far that year. I love that these teachers care about more than the grade on the paper. I love it that when teachers have had more than one of our girls, they ask how the older one, whom they no longer teach, is doing. I love that they listen and appreciate what we say. I love that they give fair, honest, and insightful opinions of how each girl is doing, how they could improve, and how to build on what is already going well for them.

I also love it when teachers have their students do things like this before conferences:

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Each student had to write a paragraph about their parents and then the parents had to read them all and initial the one they believe is the one their child wrote about them. Ours were pretty obvious…

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What is medium? This really made me laugh, but at least she didn’t write that I take naps in my spare time like a few others I read…

Now, leave a comment and guess which child wrote these for us! Maybe there will be a prize for the winners… Winking smile

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

iPhone photo dump

Those moments when hauling out/along the big camera is just tough…those moments when I’m feeling lazy…those moments when I want to send a picture or post a picture online immediately…that’s when I use my iPhone to take pictures…

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Way back when, this cute girl in the middle had a birthday. And then a while later she had a birthday party. We spent a few hours at a local pottery painting place where these girls giggled and painted and designed travel mugs. Lunch at Milt’s followed by an afternoon of crafts at our house was just what these 3 friends ordered!

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Way back when, this girl was VIP of the week in her classroom. The picture-taking episode was her teacher’s first glimpse into the style & flair that is Becca.

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Spirit Week at school Day #1: “90210” Huh? What does that mean? Dress like the TV show? I should think not! And if so, which one? But surely not. So, dress like CA? When it’s 40 degrees out? Brrr. So, we went with “fashion” – as high as we get…sunglasses, jewelry, lots of make-up, and boots. Good enough.

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Spirit Week, another day: Super Hero. She’s Black Widow. From the Avengers.

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One of Becca’s b-day gifts was several rolls of fancy duct tape with some instructions for making different items. We made this tote bag the other day – pretty cute and fun to do!

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First high school band concert…in her formal black band gown, which she loved wearing. I’m sure she’ll hate them by the time she’s a Senior, but that’s OK. That concert was the first one I’ve ever missed. Sad smile It was not a good week at our house…Ed was gone and things were happening with the house. It was a good thing I didn’t end up going because papers did need to be signed on the house and the girls would have gotten to bed way too late, but I don’t plan to miss any more concerts!

I hope you enjoyed this quarterly report from my iPhone camera!