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Monday, December 28, 2009

Bradley’s First Christmas

Well Bradley’s first Christmas was definitely an adventure as far as the blizzard went. He was pretty laid  back about all the excitement, though. Jess is blessed to have such a good baby who takes the routine changes in stride.

holiday helper

He’s three months old today, oblivious to the gifts and celebrating, so the excitement of his first Christmas was ours. We actually didn’t go overboard with gifts this year, but cannot wait for next year – Grammy already has plans for a sled, and a wagon, and toys, and…

He’s pretty happy here while we wait for Grampy to wake up and join us to open presents:

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Santa brought a Glo Worm that plays music. Santa said he was really impressed with it in the store, smiling and laughing. Here at home he was a bit puzzled…

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It ended up that a nap was preferable to present opening…

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Uncle Nick’s gift of a new bouncy seat turned out to be most useful for that.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snowbound: Our Christmas 2009 Adventure!

We knew for days ahead of time that the storm was on it’s way. All of the headlines read “White Christmas”.  We awaited the freezing rain and the 6+ inches of snow they said were coming. But we were not prepared.

Not prepared for 50 mph winds.

Not prepared for 10’ high snowdrifts.

Not prepared for 18 hours with no electricity.

The rain/sleet/snow mix started on Wednesday morning. The highway was okay to drive if you went s.l.o.w. 

I had given my Thursday morning shift to one of the college girls, so when I went home Wednesday morning, I was home for the duration. The wind began to blow and the snowflakes were huge and abundant.

The rest of the family still had to work on Thursday, but each of them arrived home safely by mid-afternoon and I said a quick prayer of thanks that I had my little family together under one roof for the holiday.

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Then the wind began to blow harder. Through the night I awakened several times to the howling and creaking and banging noises it made. Each time, another prayer of thanks that everyone was warm and safe at home.

By Christmas morning we were officially snowed in. Greg started periodically scooping by the back door so the drift there didn’t get so high we couldn’t open it. His brother came by with a blade on his pickup and made a path so he could get the Bobcat and start clearing the driveway.

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We were able to get out and drive the block to Nanny’s and Poppo’s for lunch and presents, then back home to snuggle in and stay warm. Yeah, warm. For awhile, anyway.

I went to bed just after 10:00, falling asleep quickly. A few hours later I awoke, feeling the chill of the air in our room. I was puzzled since I’d set the furnace temp to stay at 68 through the night – usually it’s programmed to go down to 64. Anyway, I opened my eyes to darkness. No alarm clock numbers visible – no electricity.

By the time everyone got up and moving at daylight, I was heating some milk on the gas cooktop for hot chocolate. It was the best way to start this chilly day. This is what we found inside the front door when we opened it…

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Greg got out and onto the Bobcat right away. Nick scooped by the front door, then went out to uncover his car – it was completely buried except for a few inches of antenna.

This is looking out the front window at Nick’s car. It’s out there – somewhere…

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After the baby ate, Jess and Nick took him down to Greg’s brother’s house where they have a pellet stove and a generator. He stayed toasty warm all day and enjoyed having everyone love on him.

I stayed home and cleaned up our Christmas mess, keeping a big pot of water hot on the stove for dishes and handwashing. By mid-afternoon, though, I succumbed to the cold and headed down the street to enjoy the warmth of the pellet stove with everyone else.

Shortly before 5 p.m. the power was restored and we didn’t have to have a huge slumber party at Greg’s brother’s house after all.

I have no idea what the official total of inches of snowfall we had, but it had to be double digits. I’m thinking we not only had a white Christmas, we’re going to have a white winter.

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A long, white winter.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Tree on the Avenue

For the past few years the local library has offered their “Avenue of Trees” event for the holidays. They invite the public to bring decorated Christmas trees for display in the building from the weekend after Thanksgiving until the weekend after New Year’s.  Each year a growing number of individuals and groups bring trees of every size, color, and theme,  and turn that library into a Christmas forest!

The first year of the event, I think it was 2006, I was still at Head Start and we put together a small tree with crayon bundles and small wooden alphabet blocks as ornaments. It was simple and sweet and a good way to advertise for us.

The next year I took Grace to the library one day, not remembering about the trees, and she was entranced. She would have been just almost 3 and we spent a long time going from tree to tree, touching what was allowed.

This year I decided to take a tree of my own. My theme is “In Loving Memory” and I made ornaments with photos of loved ones who have passed on – my parents, my brother Arlan, all of our grandparents, and some of the great-grandparents.

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The ornaments are photos sandwiched between two pieces of microscope glass, then soldered around the outside. While soldering, I attached a jump ring to the top so the ornament could be hung with a ribbon.

This is the wedding photo of Greg’s grandparents, Fred and Myrtle Wolfe:12-05-09 027

My dad’s high school senior photo:

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Mom when she was 15:

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There are only 10 soldered ornaments and it’s a 4-ish foot tree, so I filled in with plastic silver ornaments and silver/white wired ribbon. A small plastic topper and some white fleece around the base finished it off.

I’ve had several compliments on the tree and a woman from Exeter called the last week wondering about the ornaments and where I got those frames. She said if I ever want to make her a dozen or so, give her a call. :o)

My tree is in the foyer of the library, and time was short the day it was set up, so I’ve not been to see the rest of the Avenue for this year. Perhaps this week? The twins will be here for the afternoon on Thursday, so maybe we’ll stop in after preschool and take a look. If so, I’ll share our favorites with you!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Decking Some of the Halls

Thanksgiving weekend began the decking of the halls as we helped decorate at our church here in town. It’s  tradition to wait until the evening of the first Sunday in Advent to traipse up the narrow, winding wooden stairs to the attic and haul down the boxes of festive adornments for the sanctuary.

(The photos I’m posting here I took from another blog by Nile Buch, our current supply pastor.)

The first thing to be set up is usually the model church. Like a dollhouse, it has furniture (pews) inside and is decorated for Christmas. You can see that it is lighted on the inside. There are lots of little details I’d love to show you – that’ll be a separate post.

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I don’t know how old this church is, but it’s been on display at Christmas every year since I became a member of Zion 26 years ago.

Another tradition is garland and bows all around the sanctuary. Greg worked with a few others on that project.

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I helped with the tree. A little bit.

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Several years ago the congregation donated white and gold ornaments to replace the aged and worn ones we’d used for a long, long time. I think it makes for a beautiful tree.

zion tree 

Decorating the church has always been a family holiday tradition for us, but as the kids grew up and moved away, we got away from it. I was very glad that Greg signed us up again this year. It was a fun way to begin our holiday season!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Grandboy Update


Bradley will be 10 weeks old tomorrow and is growing and changing quickly as babies do. At his two-month check-up he weighed 12 lb., 14 oz. and was 23” long. Definitely a big, healthy boy.

He’s been pretty strong since birth, and is now pushing his upper body up off the floor, holding his head up and looking around.  Leslie took this one day last week:


Bradley is a happy baby, evident by the smiles and giggles we get all the time now. He’s vocalizing a lot, “talking” to us in baby jabber, squealing, and the sweetest contented sighs while he’s eating.  He’s pretty ticklish, especially under the arms and on the bottoms of his feet.

He’s always been a pretty good sleeper, going a good 6 hours at night, but a few weeks ago he had a couple of 8 hour nights. Last week he had his first set of shots and there were a couple of rough nights, but he’s been back to sleeping those eight hours again. I think one reason is that he’s found his thumb and can soothe himself back to sleep if he wakes in the night. (We love thumbs and will not discourage his use of them!)


He’s noticed the TV a few times, couldn’t tear his eyes away from the movie “Star Trek” the other night (Uncle Nick will be proud!), and loves to watch Giada DeLaurentiis on Food Network. He doesn’t care for Rachel Ray (again, Uncle Nick will like that).  Last night he paid rapt attention to the Nebraska football game.

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His first Thanksgiving went great – he doesn’t mind being passed around in a group of strangers, or the noise in a house full of family.

Jess and I haul him all over Creation to run errands or workout at the gym, but when the weather is bad, he’s happy to stay with Nanny & Poppo or Aunt Leslie and the kids.

We truly feel blessed to be able to share in Bradley’s first months, to be able to hold and care for him daily.  I have to confess that I say a little prayer of thanks every day that he and his mommy are here.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Oh the things you see…

Yesterday I cleaned out photos on  my cell phone. This means I downloaded anything I didn’t already have, then deleted everything off my memory card. Sometimes there are odd photos on that cell phone and I wonder “why?”.  Obviously some are taken as blog fodder, but never offered up since I’m so great about blogging on a regular basis…

Anyway, here are a few things I found on my phone that I intended to share with you:

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This is Baby, the “stray” cat I’ve been feeding for a few months in the hope that she’ll keep the mice at bay in the garage. (I put stray in quotes because I think she belongs to the neighbors who bring cats from the farm and then just let them run  all over.) She likes to sleep in the garage rafters and is very friendly. When working in the garden she’d come lie down nearby and purr when I scratched her head.  I must also mention that I’m not the only one in the neighborhood who feeds this darling. We’re all hoping she’s a good mouser.

Next up, a pretty decorated wine bottle:

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One of my regulars at the gym in the mornings bought this at a huge craft show in Omaha recently. She knew I’d like it, and was kind enough to bring it for show and tell one day. I’m thinking something like this would be neat back in our wine center, so I snapped some photos in order to be a copycat. There are four empty wine bottles in the garage waiting to be donated to a friend of Greg’s brother’s for use in his homemade wine-making hobby – one of them probably needs embellishment. Stay tuned.

Last, but definitely not least, we have perhaps one of the oddest things we’ve ever seen. Jess and I were in Lincoln in early September and when we drove past this, um, display. It struck us both as being hilarious, so I slowed the car way down and she grabbed a photo. Doesn’t this just make you want to buy ice cream?

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I didn’t think so.  :o)