Friday, December 31, 2010

Restocked, Refreshed. Renewed

1. I went grocery shopping to restock our very bare cupboards. I like the feeling of filling the shelves and bringing home taste-tempting things to offer the family like a perfectly ripened, sweet pineapple with honey Greek yogurt.
1.a. Bought four more little glasses that are perfectly weighted and shaped to fit the hand.
2. Went through the automatic car wash and transformed the car from grubby to shiny new.
3. Considering the past year, I'm glad it fades behind me and a new adventure stretches out ahead. May I handle whatever it brings with faith, love, and grace.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Possibilities, FUN!, A good kind of tired

1. Waiting for daughter at a new hair salon, one of the stylists stops to chat with the receptionist. She's beautifully tall and willowy. I hear her tell the receptionist that she's 5'7" and I think, "That's my height! With 3" heels and 20 pounds less, I could look like that!" It won't happen, but it's nice to know that it's a possibility : )
2. We attend the annual Vintage Ball where 280 dancers sashay, weave and twirl to music of the 1700's. The dresses and hoop skirts are beautiful, the dances are done in unison and we thoroughly enjoy the evening. Dancers clap their hands in double time and the occasional "Whoop!" livens up the room even more.
3. We fall into bed at 1 a.m. and my last, comforting thought is that no one has to get up by the alarm in the morning.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

After dark, Something different, Attic room

1. It was the first opportunity we've had to drive through our little town of Fincastle after dark. Strings of Christmas lights crisscross the streets, lighted Christmas trees shine in bay windows and shrubs are covered in white lights. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
2. Friends cooked a delicious feast of Indian cuisine for us. We visited for hours, telling stories and laughing at ourselves and one another.
3. A light shines way up high in a third story attic window.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A few of my favorite images- Christmas Weekend

Feeding Time

Mine and Hers

Grandpa Steve

Tess on Steve's homemade sled.

Buche de Noel

Claire and her baby

Notice how someone only takes the peanut butter part of the fudge? : )

Chelsea and Marian

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas morning, Magic snow, New love

1. One by one, we wake up and gather by the Christmas tree. The first arrivals chat quietly, sip coffee and patiently wait for the others to come down.
2. Receiving a gift is a wonderful thing, but it really is the thought behind it that touches hearts.
3. A gentle, new snow falls throughout the day. In the evening, we are drawn outside to its silence, peace and beauty.
4. A new family member is with us this year! Marian fills our hearts with love and we marvel how one day, Poof! there is a baby among us : )

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Christmas!

My days are chock full of blessings in the simplest, but most meaningful forms. The celebration of the nativity of our Lord and Savior gives joy and purpose to our gatherings. All of us together under one roof for a few days, good things to eat, kind thoughts given through gifts, friends, laughter and memories. A pretty tablecloth, baby's first smiles, candles, lovely music, a warm house and cozy bed at night, indulgent sweets, the smell of baby's hair, board games, eggnog, wrapping papers and ribbon.
Last night we opened a bottle of Crown Royal that my dad had saved from 1952. It was the year he and my mom built their house. We decided to celebrate the addition of our first grandchild (and his first great-grandchild were he still alive) by opening this saved relic. We're not a family of drinkers, which is probably why my dad never opened the bottle in the first place, but we decided this was a fitting occasion. Life is to be lived today! So we toasted baby Marian and thanked God for our blessings. And under my breath I thanked Dad and hoped he wasn't mad. Of his three daughters, it would be me that opened the bottle.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tying up loose ends, Filling the stockings, My favorite color of winter day

1. Placing cakes and pies in bakery boxes and then tying them up with ribbon.
2. I made the table in my bedroom into a wrapping station this evening. Here, I could wrap little packages in privacy with all the supplies at my fingertips. The best advantage is that it's not back-breaking like trying to wrap on the floor.
3. The winter solstice. And all day the sky was my ever-favorite color of deep, deep bluish-gray. It's especially beautiful with the white winter hills beneath it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Simple pleasures, Sweetness, Beautiful voices

1. When I phone Mom this afternoon, she's having a coffee break. "I decided that every afternoon I'm going to have a hot drink and a biscotti", she says.
2. The photographer has put Mari's photos up for us to view. They're so creatively done, I'm laughing and crying at the same time. This baby has my heart in her tiny fist.
3. I finally have time to bake and go at it until 8:00pm, getting everything boxed, tinned, refrigerated or frozen. (8:00 is my cut-off time so that Tess and I can watch "The Sing-Off".)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My kitchen- the lab, Happy baker, You're too old for this

1. The guys decided to perform an experiment. "Why not make beer from horse grain?" They are the funniest pair to watch in action. They took careful notes and made a total mess.
2. Tess took charge of her Buche de Noel for French class. Here, she pipes meringue mushrooms that will decorate the log. She, on the other hand, hardly made any mess.
3. He went out to feed the horses and when he came back in, he said. "I fell!" Frantically, I asked him, "How? Where! Are you hurt!?" He said, "I was sledding down the hill, standing up." He's fine and I slapped him for being stupid.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Up for grabs, Efficiency, White glow

1. Calling out, "Who wants to lick the fudge pan?!"
2. Tacking four errands on the back of another so it all gets done in one sweep.
3. At bedtime, I go from room to room, turning off lights. Even after they're all out, it still looks bright to me. I peer out a window and see that the moon and snow are casting white light everywhere.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sort of made it, I did it!, The right holiday look

1. We traveled the roads with no trouble. But upon our return, we only made it halfway up our driveway before we got stuck. Some friends pulled up just as we began hauling groceries. With five people to carry bags, we only had to make one trip!
2. For thirty years he has been begging me to do this one thing for him. But I just could not bring myself to do it. My inhibitions and lack of self confidence kept me from saying yes. After all, I'm not a professional. Today, I decided that I am ready to give in to his desires. First, I had to see how this is done (thank you internet). Then, I went to the store and bought the special appliance we needed and hid it in the closet. Next, I sent him a message that said, "Tonight your wildest dreams will come true." When he came home from work, I led him into the master bath and told him to remove his shirt. And then I cut Steve's hair. He is a very happy man... and he owes me twelve bucks.
3. Christmas lights look extra pretty under a blanket of snow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The sound of winter silence, The gift of an empty day, Light to see

1. A thick blanket of snow silences the world. The only sound I hear are the large white flakes pouring from the gray sky and landing with a gentle, "shh".
2. I spend the entire day sewing a Christmas stocking for Mari. It is embellished with gingerbread boys because I know one day she will be baking them with her mom. I imagine the Christmases in her future and what gifts she might find in her stocking.
3. In order to see my stitches better, I pull a chair up to the picture window in the kitchen. My feet rest over the heater vent while my eyes behold the winter wonderland outside. This is a really nice spot for sewing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More, Accidentally funny, Celebrate

1. I babysit my little 17 month old friend today. I give her lots of hugs and each time I let go, she signs, "More Baby". I guess this means more hugs : )
2. I'm driving home after dark, enjoying the lighted Christmas displays. At one corner, I notice three of those large blowup characters, bending forward and looking at the ground. Lying before them are two lighted, wire deer, blown on their sides by the wind. It appears that Mickey Mouse and his friends are peering down at the dead deer with huge smiles on their faces.
3. Everyone anticipates a snow day tomorrow, so the kids are feeling pretty festive.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mending, Ahhh, BINGO!

1. Bones mend themselves. I knew this, but to actually see (in weekly x-rays ) is amazing.
2. The car heater kicks in when we get about a mile down the road. Two miles and we can stop shivering.
3. My large LL Bean tote is perfect for hauling packages to the post office. I don't have to struggle with balancing boxes, fighting the wind and opening doors. Love it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas shopping and wrapping day

1. I bought and stashed away two bags of peppermint puffs. I'm not crazy about regular candy canes, but the soft peppermints, like King Leo peppermint sticks and puffs are wonderful. I'll share them when the kids are all here.
2. Wrapping gifts is more fun when I like the wrapping paper I've chosen. This year I like it.
3. I've chosen several small gifts to send my mom as a goodie box. I wrap each item individually to prolong the fun when she opens them. This is my favorite type of gift to send someone who is old enough to be beyond "needing" anything. Luxurious hand cream, biscotti, and an easy-read measuring cup make up part of the gift.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday, Consolation prize for the cold air, Celebrate!

1. A particularly excellent sermon on "The View of Christmas From Heaven" using Genesis 3:8-15, where it all began, when a perfect world was turned upside down.
2. Winter has come early this year and we see big, fluffy flakes out the window for a second weekend in a row.
3. We gather with friends this evening for a small Christmas party. I enjoy the sense of humor we all share.

He became what He was not, without ceasing to be what He was.
Christ became what we are that He might make us what He is.
- Athanasius (4th century)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blissful retreat, I give you my kitchen, My closet is as cold as the North Pole.

1. Since the last three days have been spent in bliss, holding baby and visiting with Claire, I have lots of energy when I get home.
2. I keep a wide berth from the kitchen while Audrey and a friend bake cookies. The house fills with a wonderful aroma and they are kind enough to let us have a sample.
3. Our walk-in closet holds the Christmas stash in a totally disorganized pile of bags and boxes. I package and stack everything neatly, which leaves a lot more space, plus it doesn't mess with my neatness compulsion.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A little side trip, No cooking today, The best part

1. We visit a special exhibit of Norman Rockwell at the art museum. I lose all sense of time and place as we wander the rooms, viewing his nostalgic paintings.
2. Daniel cooks a delicious chicken alfredo dinner for us.
3. Lots of cuddle time with baby.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Falling in love, Henri, we're not in Roanoke any more, Dad holds down the fort

1. My first kiss on our new granddaughter's head. Silky soft hair, pursed lips and furrowed brow as she studies me for the first time in her life.
2. I am struck by the amount of silk and extravagance in Nordstrom's lingerie department at the Raleigh shopping mall. In Roanoke we have mostly flannel and camouflage : )
3. Tess's account of dinner while I'm away reads as follows:

Dear Mom,
I just wanted to let you know that Dad's cooking is fine! Although yours is better, today we had fish sticks. So that Dad didn't have to wash any pans, he cooked on tin foil. We had fun standing up and eating off the island, and we ate our salad directly out of the salad bowl so we didn't have to do dishes (Although we did use our own forks) We also used plastic cups so we wouldn't have to wash those either.
We hope you're having fun with the little baby!
Love Tess

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bedside manner, It's so cold you can..., Winter

1. Our family doctor: She takes the time to chat and ends the visit with a hug.
2. A customer in the hairdresser's chair talks about Michigan winters and driving on frozen lakes.
3. Tess and I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. My favorite scene is where the characters are skating on a frozen pond. This program always reminds me of my childhood winters in New York. Charles Schulz used the perfect colors and shades of light to capture his winter scenes.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Buy, buy, buy!, Pressure, Shelter

1. Stumbled in on Macy's sale quite by accident. I went in to check on an item I had my eye on as a gift for someone. Regular price $80. Today it's 40% off plus a 25% Friends and Family Discount = final price $36.00!!
2. It's just as I imagined. We hear a loud pop and something hits the floorboards below the living room. I just knew things would explode when one brewed beer.
3. The wind is bitter and relentless as I carry hay across the field to the horses. I take it into the lean-to where it's calm and cozy. VanderBandy prances to me with his neck arched, frisking in the wind. I'm glad somebody's happy in this weather!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Smaller than last year, but still big, First magical snow, Am I dreaming?

1. I can feel the cold air coming off the tree as it stands in our house.
2. The sky slowly deepens to a sheet of dark gray. And then the snow begins. A pretty, gentle snow that we special ordered to coincide with tree trimming.
3. I remember hearing his voice say that we need to get birdseed. But either he said it as I was falling asleep, or I was truly dreaming it. I have to ask him if it was real.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Rescued, A favorite hobby, Christmas by mail

1. I'm out too early for my next errand, but the library isn't open yet and I've nowhere to go. A friend happens to stop by to leave books in the drop-slot. She invites me to join her and another friend for coffee-perfect!
2. Our church's youth group is having a progressive dinner with dessert being served at our house. I'm so happy to spend the afternoon baking and preparing to make it special for the teens.
3. Packages arrive in the mailbox.

Cheesecakes, Gingerbread, Apple Pie and Mint Brownies

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fun time, Beautiful book, Cuddly little guy

1. Play time with the gingerbread cookies, adding a bit of whimsy with the Royal Icing.
2. I purchased "The Mitten" for a special, little someone this Christmas. Our daughters had this book and I always loved the illustrations.
3. Henri's fur is extra soft and cuddly after his groomer visit, making me want to hug and kiss him whenever he is nearby.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ready or not, Missed you all, Comfort food

1. Snow flurries whirl at the window on this cold, blustery day. This is the cue to turn on Christmas music while I bake.
2. Back to our book study after a long break. I've missed learning and laughing with the ladies.
3. I had saved a bit of turkey in the freezer and tonight we have it in the form of an exceptionally good pot pie.