Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Carol that You Sing

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here.  
Also, we go through so much toilet paper. This is why we can't have nice things.  
We had some pretty strong wind gusts last week that sent the playhouse tumbling and knocked some holes in it.  Sad day.  It's not quite as cute as it was a while ago. 
 The girls and I went and picked out a Christmas tree on a cold windy day so we were in and out pretty fast.  They had fun playing on the sleigh and pretending they were reindeer. 
They were actually halfway helpful with the decorating.
 They distributed their ornaments fairly well.
 And then of course we had to shut off all the lights and bask in the glow for a while.
 It's so beautiful....
 I made springerle this year and they rose a little bit.  I think I need to ask grandma what her process is and see what I'm doing wrong...
 But I have to climb on the table to touch these pretty flowers.
 I am not up for making real gingerbread houses, and I saw these cardboard houses at hobby lobby.
 Much less messy and they'll last longer. (Or at least, not need to be eaten since we have enough sweets as it is.)
 So festive.  Ha. 
 I let them decorate cookies.  They each got a few to decorate as they pleased.  And they went into their own containers not to be shared.  I decorated the rest with a little less frosting and sprinkles and I didn't lick any knives. 
 I wasn't paying close enough attention and Emmy squeezed half a bag of frosting onto one cookie.
 They were pretty serious about their decorating. 
Cecily and Emmy were super excited to go to program practice at church.  And get presents and eat cookies.  Cadence was very unexcited to get left behind when I dropped them off and picked them up. 

So when I was 6 or 7 Grandma bought Abby and I these awesome red wool coats.  They were sooooo cool.  And classic.  And classy.  They had matching hats too.  It was my church coat and I loved that coat.  (Awww.... little Matt....)
 Then of course we grew out of them and they got passed down to our sisters, and cousins, and other little girls at church.  It's been back in my closet for a few years now waiting for Cecily to grow into it.  The original hat is long gone, but the coat itself still looks brand new.  I was soooo excited for her to wear it.  Guess what- she hates it.  Haha.  I told her she has to wear it at LEAST once, I mean, Emmy and Cadence both have red church coats this year and they would be so cute together.  So she wore it to the Christmas program. 
 The Christmas Program was quite the night.  Emmy and Cecily both did not distinguish themselves, which is good.  The Nursery class as a whole though, was a hilarious train wreck.  I laugh every time I listen to it.  Picture a bunch of exuberant boys waving, making funny noises, sitting down, falling down, looking back over the pulpit; Emmy and three or four others soldiering on.  Haha.  It was so funny.  I was laughing so hard (quietly) that I had tears running down my cheeks and I couldn't really see the last third of their performance.  Little Emmy just stood there singing Away in a Manger and side-eyeing the craziness going on around her. 

Monday morning, bright and early, Emmy and Cadence got to play at Eva's house while I got a cavity filled.  The dentist said it was near the nerve so he numbed it twice and I ended up not being able to feel half my face for three hours.  Ugh. 
In the evening the Washington girls got together.  We met at a nursing home to sing some Christmas Carols first.  It's a low income home with a bad reputation and most of us didn't tell our husbands we were going there until we got home... haha.  I'm sure we were perfectly safe.  Anyway, Erin, Amy, Elise, and Katie and I sang- they announced us over the loudspeaker- only slightly intimidating. We managed 3 part harmony, and we've been singing together for years, so hopefully it wasn't too obvious that we hadn't seen each other in several months, let alone practiced.  They seemed to appreciate it, even though we don't know the words to Deck the Hall.  The guy guarding the door almost got choked up when we left and said we 'took him back to his childhood.' 
We met up with Katelyn and Heidi at Obed and Isaac's for supper, which was delicious.  Some of the girls are way more ambitious than me and brought cookies to exchange.  And then I got to come home and get the girls to bed at a decent hour.  So fun.     
Who needs the festival of lights when you can go to Menards?
Actually, we did go see the lights tonight with Sharon, Grace, and Eden.  It was fun, they were pretty, the girls were wild, and now I have a slight headache.  Woot. 

Sunday, December 03, 2017


I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.  

I spent 3+ hours removing the small branches and raking up sticks on Monday and Tuesday last week.  
 And put it all in the truck.  By myself.  I was so sore.  (I'm getting lazy and weak in my old age.)
 We read the story of Esther, which segued into a brief history lesson on the kingdoms and conquests of Asia Minor. Ha. 
 I try and do at least some Christmas cookie baking in November and freeze them so I'm not scrambling for our early Christmas events.  The girls "helped" unwrap kisses, and ate several.
 Bob had some days off the week of Thanksgiving so we cut up the tree as much as we could without a chainsaw.  Seriously, who needs fancy playgrounds?
 Thanksgiving day we went to Washington for church because Jake and Rachel were going to be there.  Nothing like descending on the poor unsuspecting future sister-in-law with our three ring circus.... neither of the older girls would sit by her in church.  They warmed up a little when we stopped at the farm, especially when she told them about the animals she gets to take care of.  
We headed back to Dave and June's for Thanksgiving that evening.
Friday we raked leaves and enjoyed the sunshine.  
 Cecily wanted to decorate for Christmas and begged and begged to set up their little tree.  There was some fighting about who got to decorate, but then they "compromised" and Emmy got to hand ornaments to Cecily.  *sigh*  It's a sweet picture though, right?   
 This little one has discovered electronics.  She likes them a lot.  
 Saturday morning I went to sing at the funeral while Bob, Sharon, Rustin, Grace, Eden, Susan, and Matt came over.  I had to miss the felling of the tree trunk, but it was nice to get to be at the funeral- it's hard to be involved with little kids and I'd much rather sing than make food.  When I got home they were busy splitting wood.  
 I'm so glad we could borrow this log-splitter- it was pretty slick!
 I whipped up the quintessential AC workday lunch spread- Sloppy Joes, relishes, chips and pop.  And brownies. Ha.  I don't even like sloppy joes. 
After lunch was more of the same.  Bob's back was sore the next day.  
It's a good thing we cut it down, even though I will miss it.  There was a pretty decent sized hole in the base where it was starting to rot out- and lots and lots of ants. Sharon and I counted 49 and 52 rings on the bottom slices, so we're guessing it was probably planted soon after the house was built.   
 Dad and Mom showed up in the afternoon and Dad cut down the redbud.  
 It was VERY hollow and had a large mass of bird nest way down in it.  We heard baby birds in there last spring.... 
 We stacked a lot of wood.  We don't even use our fireplace.    
I'm really glad that job is done.  And I'm thankful we have such willing family to come help us and loan equipment.  And there were no injuries or mishap videos to go viral!  woot woot! 
 Sunday I subbed in Emmy's Sunday School Class.  It was an adventure, or something.  They have some high energy boys and they're only 3 years old. Emmy insisted on sitting on my lap in the big room so I couldn't physically separate some of them when they needed it... I didn't have a helper and had to take 2 kids on bathroom breaks.... Marching around Jericho was a bad idea.... haha.  I was so glad when the bell rang.  I don't ever need to teach Sunday School.  
Our yard is so open.... Checking out the stump. 
 And the "Pancakes" Grandpa cut off the red bud for them.
 And finding X marks the spot in the garden. (And eating dirt.)
 I have no idea where she found these or how she got them on.
 What do you mean I can't kiss the cute girl I see in the neighbor's shiny bumper?
 Bob worked some crazy late hours this past week, which is never any fun.  The girls (all of us) get cranky when we don't see him until 9...or 11... 
Thursday I had a meeting with the lawyer about easements and Grandma Koch came to keep an eye on the little two.  They made a big pancake breakfast and then Cadence got mad when we put the dishes away and put the pancakes back on the table.   
 I don't want to go to bed yet, I'm playing tablet. 
 Friday we went to "teaching-school" and then in the evening I took the older two Christmas caroling.  Cecily, Emmy, and Kenna were in the front and the people at the nursing home were just enthralled by them.  "Oh they're just little angels!"  Haha.  One of the men handed Emmy this picture of Mickey and Minnie that he drew.  She was SO thrilled.  Kenna rode with us so the drive was quite lively.
 Saturday morning the girls were soooo excited to go to the Santa Breakfast at school.  They talked about the book fair all week long.  So we went, and it was fun.  I let them do the Santa's workshop shopping- they came out with the gifts they found already in bags and they are doing pretty well not telling what they bought so it will be really interesting to see what all they chose!  They were a little disappointed that the line for carriage rides was too long, but Cadence was ready to go home and we still wanted to do the library scavenger hunt.  They loved their library prizes of crayons and a cookie! Good times.
 I don't often write cheesy Christmas letter poems. But when I do, I write sonnets.  Ha.  I will spare you the rest of it; my prose is not that great, and my poetry is abysmal.  
 We enjoyed the sunshine again today after church- it really doesn't feel very Christmas-y yet.  Or even like it's December.  

Sunday, November 19, 2017

My cup runneth over

It's been a full two weeks.  
Grace and Eden spent the night at our house.  I was at Messiah practice when they came and when I got home my girls were so excited they would hardly go to bed.  We did manage to get the school girls out the door on time in the morning!
 And then the next day they played sleepover until I couldn't take the mess and put everything away again.
 We've been playing outside when it's nice out and not too cold.
 And we take advantage of crafts at the library!  They are so much more creative AND they do all the work and cleanup!  
 The cat found a new home.  Sad day at our house.  The neighbors are much more animal lovers than we are- they were worried about it being outside this winter and found a friend to adopt it.  
 I don't have a long enough block of un-distracted time right now to make cider donuts, so Apple Cider Donut cake will have to do.  It's almost better because it keeps longer than homemade donuts.
 Cecily got to go to another birthday party on Saturday.  She was so excited, and they got to wear fairy wings and do fun crafts....  and so of course she wants to know when she can have her friends for a birthday party.  Um... how 'bout never? Because I'm not that into parties?  And I think friend parties are completely unnecessary when you will barely remember them? Not to mention it would be a lot of time and extra work for your mother, who is inherently lazy.  Poor kid.  
They made a leaf pile to jump in.    
 And throw.  
 Bob removed two more limbs from the ash tree with his bow saw.
 Last Sunday we were invited to Goodfield for invite-a-guest.  However, Cadence was running a fever for a few days and she was still hot Sunday morning.  Bob volunteered to stay home with her and I took the older two over for church.  Sara and Herman invited us- we each have three girls and they are all pretty close in age.  My girls have never been to Goodfield before and I wasn't sure if they would even go to Sunday school, but they did!  Marched right in and sat down.  It was really good to be there- I saw all kinds of people that I haven't seen in ages.  After church the girls and I went to their house briefly.  The girls got to play a little bit and then we had a potty accident.  Bleah.  *sigh*  They will probably never want to have us over again.  We didn't do the supper/singing because Cadence was still sick and I didn't want to leave Bob with a fussy sick girl all day.  So instead we came home and I had to come up with supper.  Pretty sure we would have eaten better at the invite.  
I'd rather put my mashed potatoes in my hair than in my mouth.
 Who needs playgrounds when you have large tree limbs to climb on?
 Ugh.  It feels like it took a month to paint the bathroom.  I bought cheap paint (first mistake) and didn't realize the moisture streaks were stains and didn't prime (second mistake).  I put three coats of paint on (over several days in my two hour nap window) and could still see streaks.  So we went back and bought expensive primer and expensive paint.  The girls were very confused after I painted the primer coat:  "Why are you painting the green bathroom white??"   
 The little one wanted to dust like the big girls.  Hehe.  
 So after primer and two more coats of "Dried Basil" I finally got to take the tape off and put the room back together.  The plus side of all these coats of paint is that I am now really, really fast at tearing this room apart and removing towel bars, outlet covers, and light fixtures, and putting it all back together again before Cadence wakes up.  It's more grey-green in real life, not so yellow.  It's a shade darker than the family room/office right next to it. 
 Monday I had to miss Messiah practice because we had a marriage enrichment night at church for us young-ish couples.  It was an enjoyable evening and the girls had a great time with Bob's mom.  
Friday was eventful.  I had the girls up bright and early and in the van for Co-op.  And it didn't start.  Ahhh.  Thankfully it was Bob's Friday off so he watched the little girls and Anne let me use their vehicle to drive Matthew and Alex to Co-op.  We weren't even late!  But talk about a stressful way to start the day.  Bob pushed the van out of the garage and managed to jump start it while we were gone.  When I got home I took it to the mechanic and walked home.... thankfully it just needed a new battery so I walked up a few hours later to pick it up.  
Rustin and Sharon came over after work with chainsaws to start working on our trees.  We cut down the last three big sections.  Mostly in the dark.  Probably not the safest.  
 Bob and I were on rope duty and I was completely unhelpful and dropped the rope- which had a brick tied to one end that snapped back and hit his arm.  Oooops.  I get the award for being the worst wife.
So then it was really dark and we had one more mostly dead section to cut.  I got put on ladder duty for that one.  Rustin was barely back on the ladder and the limb started falling funny so he yelled at me to run... I hesitated a minute because I was supposed to be holding the ladder steady for him and he was still all the way at the top.  But I abandoned my post and ran (I had to hop over several downed limbs to get to safety) and thankfully the limb didn't hit the ladder, or Bob and Sharon.  Good times. 
 At that point it was too dark to see and we were hungry and I had no idea what I was going to make for supper, so I pulled a Lydiann and invited them to stay.  And then a bottle fell out of my cupboard into the blender full of alfredo sauce ingredients.  It was an alfredo fountain. There was milk dripping down the inside of the cabinet doors.  It was awful.  
 It turned out ok, I managed to salvage it and we did eat eventually.  Although, I was a little bit short on pasta.  I have no idea how to figure out how many noodles to make.  
It rained/snowed the next day so the yard still looks like this.  We've still got the main trunk and a smaller, hollow Redbud to take down.
I spent Saturday morning at Messiah dress rehearsal.  It's so fun to sing with an orchestra!  And with a really good choir!  Sometimes I think they must wonder what an average singer like me is doing there.  
Saturday evening the girls went to the farm to play while Bob and I went to potluck.  
And finally today, Sunday, was a wonderful day.  So, Jakey called earlier this week to tell us he was engaged.  (Hallelujah! It's about time!) At dress rehearsal we other siblings, who couldn't go to Burlington because of the performance, were discussing ways to hear the announcement since we didn't think it was going be announced in Washington, and the service times are later in Iowa.  We conspired, and one of us pulled a few strings, and it was announced in Washington. Hehe.  So Cadence and I hung out in the back stairway at church and live streamed the end of Washington's service on my phone.  And they said her name wrong and I laughed.  
Bob and the girls went to his parents' house to hang out for the afternoon and I went to sing.  The girls asked if I was going to sound good.  Um... I hope so?  It was so fun.  I was a little nervous and I was just hoping I wouldn't sing in the wrong spot or mess up really obviously, and I didn't so that was good.  The soloists were great.  I really liked the tenor, and of course I totally fangirl over Michelle's (the soprano) voice.  And it's always a joy to sing under Phil's direction.  Anyway, I loved it and I'm kind of sad it's over.  
Now I am so tired...