Friday, November 30, 2007

Lil the Elf

B and I have always said she was a little elf. Check this out! :oP

Hee hee hee!

You can check out Ella and Lil here. Ha!

Chaos



Geck the more of horry jorry
Fa la la la la, la la la la

Yes, folks, that's how the Monk sang "Deck the Halls". The "horry jorry" part comes from the end of "A Christmas Story" with Christmas dinner at the Chinese restaurant. This song as been going through my head this evening. You see, I'm going to light the tree tonight.

For me, lighting the tree means stringing on hundreds upon hundreds of lights. Brien is always afraid I'm going to burn the house down. ;oP I don't know what he's so worried about. ;oP

Above is my sweet little tree, ready to be decorated.



This is the chaos of my snowman collection, as yet unorganized and jumbled up. I need to not only light the tree, but organize all my extraneous Christmas stuff.



As I wrote last year, the one thing I don't like about Christmas decorating is the mess that inevitably accompanies it until it is complete. My house has been in a state of chaos and upheaval since last Friday! Yikes!

I've been so busy with school work and the like I haven't really had time to work on the house. Well, that and the down and out yo I was on at the beginning of the week.

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Today's Sparklies:

1. You should see the Christmas hats Pop and I purchased this evening! Aw, heck, I'll just have to have photos taken to share tomorrow! :o)
2. Dinner out with Nana and Pop. Yay!
3. I got a new camera this evening! Yippee!!!
4. Caesar the "Dog Whisperer" is the coolest. Have you all seen that show? The man is amazing!
5. I also got the most beautiful outside pre-lit trees for just outside my front door. :o)

Today's Milestones:

1. Shopping for super fun Christmas items without Hannah. She would have been tickled pink and laughing her infectious Hannah laugh at some of the things we found. You know, I just miss her. :sigh:



Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas

I wish I could transmit aromas via the blog. Oh, how I wish it. My house is redolent with the smells of mulling cider, burning candles and a tree. Yes, a Christmas tree!! Yay! B and I have both been on an up yo and are closer to feeling "normal". We were both ready to go in search of a tree this evening, ready to begin our holidays. :o)

We began our search at Target, both of us thinking we just didn't want to deal with a "live" tree--and all it entails--this year. I was thoroughly dissatisfied with the choices, so we moved on down the road to Lowe's (again...). We once again parked in the garden center parking lot and headed in. We took a pit stop by the "live" (they were alive once, but now they've been cut, so I suppose technically they are no longer live) trees and he and I both decided that was what we really wanted. We took a quick skeg (did I spell that right, Paul?) about through the pre-lit artificial trees and knew we were right. We choose a lovely 6 foot frazier fir and it is currently warming in its stand, the branches beginning to settle. I prefer a balsam fir, but there were none to be had, so frazier it was.

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Today's Sparklies:

1. We have a tree! :o)
2. The gorgeous 11 foot pre-lit tree in the school's gym.
3. The lovely aroma of mingled fragrances in my house. Oh, it just smells like Christmas. I know there are those who will argue if you burn an evergreen scented candle, it is the same, and I'm here to tell you , it AIN'T!
4. The delightfully tacky and amazingly sparkly ornaments that are on sale at Tar-jay right now. I'm thinking I'm going to have to go back and purchase some for Han's tree.
5. I'm also beginning to make plans for my outside decorations. I typically put lights in the small tree out front but I'm planning something a little different this year...;o)
6. "Mythbusters". I just love "Buster" (as the Monk called it).
7. Have I mentioned how deliciously aromatic my house is?? ;oP


Today's Milestones:

1. We got the tree!! Yay!! Big, HUGE, giant step taken! And, it's such a pretty little tree. :o)
2. We watched "Shrek the Halls" which the Monkey would have loved, "Shrek" and "Shrek 2" being among her favorite movies. Lil and I snuggle down on the couch (yes, she totally should have been in bed) and watched it together while B put the tree in the stand all by himself. I'm impressed!

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And now, I'm off to post another journal entry on my teaching blog. I love it when the day goes smoothly! What a day it was. :o)

***Edited to make Jessie happy :oP***

Sparkly number 8. A GIGUNDO box of clothing arrived from Jessie today. I recognized all sorts of my favorite Hannah clothes. :o) (are you happy, Jessie?? ;oP)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Feeling Plucky

I confess, I had been feeling rather down today. I wasn't feeling as bottomed out as I felt Sunday and yesterday, yet, I was still not feeling like what is now "normal". Part of this was due to my inability to fall asleep before 11:30 last night and Miss Lil awakening at 3:15, screaming the house down.

Mom suggested this morning that Lil is feeding off all the stress in the house, and I think she may be right. Upon reflection, Lil is more balanced and happy when B and I are as well. Go figure...:oP

I got home, and instead of going to the grocery store like I should have, I instead called Paul. I've been worried about him of late (funny since he apparently has been worried about me) and wanted to chat. As we chatted, I was talking about the things I was doing to try to brighten my spirits and bring on the holiday mood. I mentioned my "A Charlie Brown Christmas" soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi and Paul said it was the only one he had. Huh??? I'm the woman with 10,000 Christmas albums and always on the look-out for more! :oP Remembering a particular album that is rather heinous, I quickly searched Amazon.com and found it. Paul was suitably horrified, and Lil LOVED it! I then clicked on this one and this one. How could you help laughing at an album called, "Happy Clucking Holidays"?? ;oP

I then searched out "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" and discovered a number of You Tube clips. Not to be species-ist, I then looked up my old pal Dominic the Donkey. Hee hee! You should see the house that has a light display to go with the music. :oP Lily kept chanting, "Again, again!"

Deciding I had tortured Paul enough, I searched "Christmas Time is Here" and found the Chipmunks' Christmas song. Tee hee hee!! I then found a number of lovely versions of the song and Lil was desperate to see them "again". To keep the peace, I had B pop our copy of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in the DVD player. Ah. I just LOVE this movie! I have a number of Christmas movies I could watch over and over again: "A Charlie Brown Christmas", "White Christmas" (oh, oh, I LOVE this one!!), "A Christmas Story" (oh oh, I love this one TOO!), and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"--the animated version. Sure, there are other incredible Christmas movies out there, but these are my be all, end all favorites. :o)

Ah, Christmas and the movies and music. The candy and the goodies! The spirit of kindness, happiness and giving. There are so many things I love about the holidays. One of the things that makes them so special is that they happen only once a year (okay, minus the kindness and happiness and giving). If I had fondant year round, it wouldn't be special. If I heard Christmas Carols all the time, they would lose their charm. I can spend hours watching the same movies over and over again during the holiday season, but if I were to do it year round, I would quickly become tired of them.

In short, one of the reasons I love this time of year so dearly is that it happens only once a year. I love sitting back on Christmas morning, watching everyone open the gifts I have selected especially for them. I love the giving and the love. And, quite frankly, if I were to receive no gifts, I wouldn't be that upset. For me, Christmas is about the giving and the spreading of love, not the getting.

In other news, B and I are still at loggerheads over the stupid Christmas tree. In all our years together (14 to be precise) we have never fought over the ding dang tree, not even putting the stupid thing in the stand. Grrrr. I want to have the tree up before this weekend. I've got plans for the weekend. They include editing 45 stories utilizing metaphor as a literary device (UGH!!) and watching Tech spank BC in the ACC playoffs. :oP I want to get my house straightened up and all the boxes and "stuff" put away. I want to be able to sit in my living room with the lights turned off and the tree and candles turned on, listening to "The Christmas Song" song by Nat King Cole and the instrumental version of "Christmas Time is Here". I'm ready to tackle Han's ornaments. I think we'll let Lil hang some of the Monkey's ornaments (which would tick her off no end if she were here! :oP) and I'm looking forward to the smells of Christmas. I need to scrub (and I mean S-C-R-U-B!!) my house from top to bottom, even doing the carpets. There is so much to do.

Most of all, though, I just want to be with my family. If the house doesn't get cleaned, if it only gets straightened, that's okay. I've decided it's more important to spend time with my family than it is to do anything else. Time doesn't slow down, nor does it stop. It keeps plodding steadily on, whether I take the time to do anything with my girlie and Honey, or not. I don't want to miss anything so I'm prioritizing what is important in my life.

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Today's Sparklies:

1. The flowers Mom and Jessie sent are opening SO beautifully!
2. I teach in a school that can have Christmas decorations!! Look out room, here come the Christmas lights! :o)
3. The wreaths on the doors at school are so beautiful.
4. Jingle Dogs, Jingle Cats and the Clucking Holidays--Ha!
5. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" :happy sigh:
6. Thanksgiving leftovers--I'm at the end of them and I'll miss them. But, again, they are one of those once-a-year special things.
7. Lil and her enthusiasm for "Charlie Brown and Soopy!"


Today's Milestones:

1. We watched Charlie Brown without the Monkey for the first time. :sigh: We did it. It wasn't easy, it wasn't hard, it just was. Does that even make sense?

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I finally have a new lesson to journal about on my other blog--yay! I'm off to do that and then write three quizzes and four tests. I know you all are SOOOOOOOOOOOO jealous...;o)

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Yo Swings Up and the Yo Swings Down

Boy, has this been a day of ups and downs. My yo-yo is in full motion today. I was down all day yesterday and last night. I spent much of last night crying or down and out. I awoke at 4:15 this morning (thank you, Lily) and couldn't go back to sleep.

I was exhausted and sad and rather grumpy on the way to work this morning, and down most of the day. My zest for life seems to have abandoned me right now. I was teaching and I remember thinking, "This just isn't much fun today." Huh. I know work doesn't always have to be fun, but I typically have an EXCELLENT time with the kids. One of my sweeties looked at me today and said, "Mrs. Davis, you look like you need a hug" and proceeded to give me one. The kids really are so sweet and wonderful. :o) They are really and truly what it's all about. I get up every day for Lily and for them.

At the end of the day, I was beginning to feel on the up again. I was with another teacher, creating an on-line SS test when the secretary walked in with a beautiful bouquet of flowers--for ME! My mama and sister love me! :o) That nudged my yo into high gear up! :o)

This morning, I had no desire to look for a tree to decorate or anything. This evening, with my yo on the up-swing, I was ready to tackle the tree. I practically dragged B and Lil out the door in my haste to get to Lowe's to look for the perfect tree. Well, it turns out that wasn't such a good idea and it plunged the yo back down.

I had not been to Lowe's since Hannah died. Han, as with everything else in her life, LOVED Lowe's. Hannah could find joy and pleasure in everything, even a home improvement store. :oP I was vividly reminded of Christmas 2005 when we headed out on a night similar to this one. I was hugely pregnant with Miss Lily and Han was a vivacious four year old. We all searched together until we found the perfect tree for our family. We came home, I loaded the tree with lights while Han was in bed, and the next evening we decorated the tree.

It also seems B just isn't up to dealing with a "live" tree this year. I like to get a balsam and put as many strings of lights on it as I can. B is in charge of keeping it watered, as it seems he's afraid I'm going to burn the house down. ;o) He told me this evening he just doesn't feel up to it. I can accept and respect that. However, I'm being a picky poo poo in that if I have to have an artificial tree, I want one that I think looks the best. Unfortunately, the best also means pricey and B isn't having any of it. He and I got into at Lowe's and Lil, love her little heart, had finally had enough. We left Lowe's treeless, all of us feeling out of sorts.

I sometimes wonder if God thought we could somehow manage this loss better than we are. I mean, as I've said before, I know God had a purpose for Hannah. I know this with all my heart. Yet, why? Why why why why why???????? How am I supposed to get through my most favorite time of year, the most special time of year, without my Monkey? I know she's with us. I know she's all around us. Yet, I can't see her look of delight as she finds all the familiar ornaments that she loves. For one so young, she had a HUGE collection of ornaments. There were those she had made over the years at Melanie's house and at school, and those that were purchased specifically for her. I'm just not sure how I'm going to face those ornaments, how I'm going to hang them for her when she's supposed to be here to do it herself.

Just let me say this again, this SUCKS! I don't want to have to do this. I don't want to have to get through this. I don't wanna. I just don't wanna. Sometimes I wish I was Lily's age, that it was appropriate for me to throw myself on the floor kicking and screaming in a fit of temper and anguish. Sometimes, I'm sure Lil does that because she is out of sorts and just doesn't know what else to do. If only I could do the same.

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In spite of the drama and the yo-yo action of the day, I still had sparklies. So, here they are, today's sparklies:

1. The flowers from Mom and Jessie.
2. The Bloodmobile was set up in my neighborhood today and seemed to be doing well.
3. The Christmas decorations that are popping up everywhere. :o)
4. Vince Guaraldi's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" soundtrack.
5. "Designing Women" Hee! I forgot what a fantastically funny show this is. :o) I just saw my favorite episode, the one where Anthony and Suzanne are trapped in a snowstorm in the same hotel room. Hee hee! I LOVED that episode!

Today's Milestones:

1. Lowe's without Han. Yup, that was not much fun. The lawn tractors just sat there, no one begging to climb in the seat. Lil wouldn't even entertain the thought and was, quite frankly, very upset when I sat on one.

2. Christmas tree hunting cemented for me just how difficult this Christmas is going to be this year. :sigh:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ups and Downs


Lissie has packed up her toys and left the building. Actually, after visiting for almost a week, I'm sure she was more than ready to hit the road and return to her own bed and the comforts of her own home, and really, I don't blame her in the least. There really is nothing like sleeping in your own bed, surrounded by your own stuff.

Friday we did nothing. Okay, not true. Friday, Mom and I made cards for most of the afternoon and then hit Chico's and their sale and then Target. I had my typical post celebration let-down Friday and felt in need of major retail therapy. Brien and I went to the Yankee Candle Flagship store for candles and to search (in vain it seems) for a gift for Lily. The flagship store has a lovely toy store and yet, I couldn't seem to find anything that called to me. :sigh: The real kicker is I have to get through her birthday and then Christmas. Yikes!

Saturday dawned bright and early after a late night spent watching Hawaii beat Boise State to go undefeated in the regular season. Yesterday was also my "birfday" (to quote the Monk). Brien gave me the most beautiful, hand-crafted turquoise necklace and I proudly wore it all day. Unfortunately, Lil managed to stretch it into a million little beady pieces this morning and I'm heartbroken. At least B works with the husband of the lady who made it. Hopefully she'll be able to fix it. :fingers crossed:

Mom gave me a beautiful blue quartz and topaz necklace with matching earrings from Mr. Ron's shop and Robin sent me bee-yoo-tee-ful golden topaz earrings that said they were for "good luck". It was definitely a jewelry birthday. And, to make my morning complete, Dani called to wish me a happy birthday! Yay! I miss her so terribly but am so happy she is having such a great time in Germany. :o)

Brien made those delightfully horrible for you Pillsbury orange danish for my breakfast and put a candle in them. :o) I took a picture of Lil enjoying them before we left for the Farmers' Market.



Brien and I were marveling on the way to the Farmers' Market just how October everything still looks. The trees are still so colorful and well, leafy for this time of year! I love Autumn, and I love the color, but I remember many a Thanksgiving from my childhood were there was SNOW! In fact, I can clearly remember one in particular. I had gone to Papa's on Wednesday for a Thanksgiving church service I was to sing in, and the weather turned snowy and icy and he and I didn't feel safe driving me home to the boonies in the dark.

The following morning dawned precipitation-free, Mom called asking us to pick up a gallon of milk, and Papa and I hit the road. The roads were treacherous at best, and by the time we reached the second set of railroad tracks we were glad we waited out the storm. The second set of tracks had a STEEP hill and Papa's rear wheel drive car was having none of it. I had to trek the last half mile home in the snow and stinging wind with a gallon of milk in one hand and a broken backpack in the other. I had no hat, scarf or gloves (I was too cool for those...) and by the time I got home, my hands were frozen into the shape of the jug handle and backpack strap! I was frozen to the bone! Mom sent me upstairs for a hot bath, which was, quite frankly, painful as my skin began to thaw. I itched and ached, and was thankful for hot water and a warm house!



Anyhow, Saturday morning was chilly, but not as raw as that Thanksgiving. There was nothing in the way of fresh produce, although there was seafood, soups, cheese and holiday greenery. I purchased two dozen scratch eggs (you should see the yolks on those puppies!) and turned around to find the live music. Bagels and Fraylox, a local Klezmer band was playing.


Lily loved it! After each song she would clap enthusiastically and cry out, "AGAIN!". Who knew?? Hee hee! :o)



As we made our way back to the car, I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday decorations that are continuing to sprout up along Merchant's Square. :o)

B and I had intended to pick up a Christmas tree yesterday (we were going to do it Friday, but I just wasn't in that frame of mind) but time got away from us. We instead raced home for the Hokies/Wahoos game. The Hokies didn't let me down, beating the 'Hoos 33-21! YAYAYAYAYYAYAY!! Never has there been a bigger rivalry. We are the cow school and they are the school of Thomas Jefferson. The intellectuals versus the hicks, the city versus the cow town, the haves versus the have nots. You name it, it is most likely something we fight over. ;oP We argue the 'Hoos are snooty and presumptuous. They argue we are uncouth, rowdy hicks. It's fabulous! ;oP

Actually, UVA was one of our biggest supporters in the wake of April 16th, and I will never forget their outpouring of love and support in the face of our tragedy. It was beautiful and somehow unifying and I'm grateful to them for everything they did. Today's Roanoke Times has a couple of nice articles in the sports section for anyone interested.

After the game, Brien cooked a delicious bison chili and grilled cheese sandwiches and Mom baked a fabulous flourless chocolate cake. Nana and Pop came for dinner and gave me money for Stampin' Up! goodies! Yay! And, they brought in a gift box from my lovely friend Julie. She included some cold and sinus tea which was much needed. :o) She also sent a musical card Lil fell in love with. :oP

Yesterday I finally decided what we are going to do with the Hannah tree. Each year, on my birthday (assuming the stores are open), we are going to go purchase an ornament for her tree. Since yesterday was rather difficult we decided we would also pick up a new snowman for my collection. Our Hannah candle is just about burned out, so I went on-line to World Market in search of appropriate delightful candles and met with success.

And now, I sit here delaying my school work. I'm very anxious about work right now. I can't seem to shake it. I remember my first year in NNPS was very difficult. I think your first year anywhere is bound to be hard, for a number of reasons. First off, you are in a new place and have an entire host of new rules and routines to learn. Second, you have to learn a new curriculum and pacing. Finally, change is NEVER easy. Period.

I'm working my heart out, but still feel as if my best somehow isn't good enough. I've been teaching for close to eight years, so I know what I'm doing. I also know this year is going to be difficult no matter what I do. I think I'm going to look back at the 2007-08 school year and think, "Whew! I made it!" Dealing with a new job and new school in the face of my grief and Hannah's death is amazingly difficult, but I know I will survive and be successful. I know it! I think the lead up to Christmas Break is going to be particularly hard as I try to deal with my anxiety over the approaching holidays and my stress with giving my all to my students.

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In typical Sunday fashion, today is pretty crummy emotionally. I'm tired and sleep deprived and miss Hannah dreadfully. The house (in spite of my mom's best efforts--my scullery maid has left the building :sniff sniff:) is in shambles and I have no energy with which to fix it. My plan is to work on my lesson plans for the rest of the quarter while Lil is sleeping. When she gets up, I think I would like to go out in search of the perfect "shrissmas tree" (courtesy of Lily). I think Lil is going to get a HUGE rush out of the holidays this year, and I'd love to be able to live up to her expectations. :o)

I'm also hoping that by working on that which is stressing me out, I'll be able to put it behind me and instead focus on family and my house this afternoon and evening and not worry about work until I get there tomorrow morning. I'm going to grow a thicker skin, I know I am. Until then, I have to suck it up and deal. One thing that won't change though, is I'm always going to give my BEST for my kids!

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Today's Sparklies:

1. "A Christmas Story" We've broken out the Ralphie DVD for the first time today. B and I both needed a pick-me-up and we thought Ralphie would fit the bill. :o)
2. We had a wonderful visit with my Mom and I'm so sorry she had to leave. But, she took the "pixie" boat across the James River today which I'm sure made her trip nicer. (Pixie boat is what Han called ferry boats.)
3. Fuzzy jammies you can stay in all day.
4. Sometimes it's good to feel down. If you didn't have down days, you wouldn't know when you were having good days. Does that make sense?
5. Lil was extra snuggly today, which was quite nice.


Weekend Milestones:

1. My first birthday without the Monkmeister. There was no one to sing, "You look like a gir-aaaffffe, and you smell like one too!" :sigh:

2. Our first viewing of Ralphie without Han giving a running commentary and chatting along with the dialog. Oh, do I miss her something fierce today.

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Tomorrow we're back to life as usual. :sigh:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!


I once read some silly statistic that said more Americans take pictures of their dining room table at Thanksgiving than they do any other time of the year. Hee. I sure did! I always do as a matter of fact. You see, it is one of the only times of year I get out the linens, fine china, crystal and silver. The table was lovely and set with yummy cranberry citrus candles and sparkly tea lights.

Mom and I began cooking this morning so we wouldn't be rushed later this afternoon. I made the best pie crust, EVER! Who knew vodka could make a pie crust so tender an flaky?? I made two very delicious chocolate pies to go with those crusts. I also made a yummy pumpkin cheesecake pie. Of course, the pie would have been even better had I remembered to put sugar in the pie... oops!! :oP

We had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, deviled eggs, potato salad, Brussels' sprouts, green bean casserole, rolls, and cranberry relish. Then, there were chocolate, pumpkin and apple pies all with fresh whipped cream for dessert. Oooooh. I'm stuffed, and yet, the food was SO fantabulous I want to taste just a little more.

Sarah, Erik and Erin joined us for dinner and Nana and Pop came to keep us company, having already dined with Jen, Derek and the kids. The company was fantastic, the food divine and the entertainment (in the form of two little girls) delightful. :o)

There were many false starts along the way today, some sad moments and some tensions. But, we persevered and had a wonderful evening. :o)

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Lily and Erin had the best time playing together. What one did, the other was ready to do. One of the girls got down from the table, the other had to get down. One little girl came racing around with a stroller, the other was right behind her with another walk-behind toy.

Lily found a hat and decided Erin needed a hat. Hee hee!




So, my question is this, how in the world does she see?? ;oP



I see these two together and I can't believe how big they have gotten. Erin is such a big girl and Lil is still so dinky. But, they are both SO cute! :o)


While the Mommys all packed up leftovers and cleaned the kitchen, they mini-monkeys provided entertainment. They played "asses down" over and over again, making us all laugh. :o)


They finally got to the point they would no longer wait to get to the end of the song and instead fell down anyway. :oP



See? Hee hee hee! ;oP


Erik kept both little monkeys entertained while we finished cleaning. You should have heard the giggling and laughing coming from the living room. I could actually hear the girlies having pseudo conversations which was too sweet. I also marveled at the similarities and differences in their language. Erin drinks "nook" while Lil drinks "neelk". Erin asks, "Help?" while Lily declares, "A-stuck!!" or "A-hold you??". I think I would rather be greeted with "Help?"

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Today's Sparklies:

1. Hah! I love my crazy honey!

2. The weather was beautiful once again today. B and Lil spent time outside swinging and playing together.


3. The sparkly tea lights I put on the table. There was glitter and teeny tiny silver stars that floated in the melted wax. I put them on the table in memory of the Monkey.
4. Our company for Thanksgiving dinner--Lissie, Sarah, Erik, Erin, Nana and Pop. Thanksgiving is a time for family and they all are!
5. My wonderful internet family. I hope you all had delightful, fun-filled turkey days. :o)


Today's Milestones:

1. This one really goes without typing, I made it through another holiday sans Hannah. The funny thing was, I kept finding her everywhere today. There was the black notebook she wrote in sitting on the stairs, her sparkly monkey cup Lily drank from, her papers all hidden under the cabinet, waiting for me when I went searching for storage containers for leftovers. I sure missed her presence today. I wanted her to help me peel eggs and crack eggs. I wanted her company as I cooked. I missed her quite dreadfully, yet, I made it. I made it through yet another big holiday without my big girl. And, the thing is, I will continue to make it without her, because, I have no choice in the matter.

Tomorrow I will put up the Christmas tree without her, and I will move into my most favorite time of year without her. Any activity done without Hannah is a little less vibrant, a little less bright. I'm making the best of this situation, but God knows I miss my Monkey more than I could even begin to describe.

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Unfortunately, I have a turkey carcass waiting to be denuded of meat so I can make a fantastic turkey soup tomorrow (or some day this coming weekend...). I hope you all had the most wonderful of Thanksgivings. :o)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Eve


Don't you just love little kids? Lily found this hat and Hannah's "croc croc shooooooooes!" and went running around the living room. Brien and I laughed and laughed because she was so cute! :o)


We had mentioned that it was bath time, so Lil had stripped down to just her diaper (which she has yet to figure out how to take off, thank goodness!) and then found her accessories.


I had to laugh about the diaper because by the time Han was two, she was already stripping at night after we put her to bed. I would go in to check on her, and would see her tiny hiney shining in the moonlight and a pile of clothing with a diaper on top on the floor. Hee hee.

Of course, it wasn't so funny when I had to awaken her to put her diaper and pants back on...:oP

When she saw Brien with the camera, Lil ran away as fast as she could given the cumbersome nature of the too-big "croc crocs".

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Lissie, Lily and I left the house just a little after 8:00 this morning. We dropped Lil off at Shari's, picked up Nana and headed to NN for Michael's. I found some awesome deals on stamping stuff as did Lissie and Nana. We spent close to an hour in the store, scrutinizing everything. :oP

Lissie and I were looking for a system by which we could organize our papers and other goodies so we stopped by Staples on the way home. I've set up the dining room as my hobby area and knew a nice plastic filing system would work. Staples had a seven drawer filing cabinet on sale for $29.00, which I thought was a fantastic deal. When I got to the cash register, it was only $20!! I was floored, and Lissie and Nana had to get one as well. ;o)

After I got everything organized, I picked Lil up and brought her home. The day was just GORGEOUS with highs in the lower 70s, and Lily was desperate to get outside. I had propped the back door open so the dogs could come and go freely and Lil took advantage. She had such a wonderful time outside. :o)


The leaves are finally finally beautiful! The playground is particularly colorful.


Lil getting ready to slide.


Going down down DOWN!!


The thrill of hitting the bottom.


And we're off the slide to head up and do it again!

Oh, what fun was had, and what an angry little girl I had when I dragged her inside to take a nap. :oP Let me tell you, this child can SCREAM!

While she napped, Lissie, Nana and I worked on some more Christmas cards and gathered more ideas. I LOVE the internet! We were able to call Woli via Sightspeed and show her our cards and then she gave us some more ideas, showing us what she has been working on. I LOVE her Christmas card for this year!

As for right now, I'm watching Lil water the bathroom floor as she finishes her bath. She is currently using a toy umbrella (imaging something Barbie sized) to "cover" her head and keep her dry. :oP

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I've been trying to decide how I feel this evening. Physically, I'm feeling a little ill. I have a sore throat, cough, and stuffy/runny nose. Emotionally, I'm just not sure. I know I miss Hannah like the dickens. Last year, it was frigid cold and pouring rain. I had driven to Han's school to see her Kindergarten Thanksgiving program, surprising her since she thought her daddy would be going, not me. She looked so cute in her striped tights, beige corduroy skirt and striped turtleneck sweater and pilgrim's hat. She sang her little heart out and threw herself at me in a great big Monkey hug when she had finished. :o)

I ache with missing her this evening. What a sweet little Monkey she was. She was a friend to everyone and saw everything. I'm not sure how tomorrow is going to go. I'm hoping I can approach it with my happy Pollyanna attitude and show thanks for all I have. Every night, the first thing I do in my evening prayers is thank God for allowing me the joy of being Hannah's Mommy for almost six years. I learned more from her than I can ever say. I hope I'm able to continue to be grateful I had those six years with her and not wallow in misery tomorrow. Thanksgiving is a day of camaraderie spent with family and friends and I'm looking forward to time with my Mom, Brien, Lily, Sarah, Erik and Erin.

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Today's Sparklies:

1. Lil's new chair:
2. The fun goodies I purchased at Michael's today.
3. The fun goodies I found today at Michael's that Hannah would have LOVED!! :o) She would have been in heaven in that store with the decorating stuff everywhere!
4. The fun time I had with Nana and Lissie today--thank you, ladies!
5. Seeing Woli on Sightspeed and seeing her cool cards.
6. A day off from work is always a good day. ;oP
7. I'm currently reliving my childhood watching a show on Discovery channel about the birth of video games, and there's Atari! :oP


Today's Milestones:

1. My first day before Thanksgiving without the Monk. I didn't have a Thanksgiving program to attend today. I don't have a turkey made from a hand print. I don't have Han bouncing through the kitchen anxious to help cook. None of that. I don't have her curled up against me as I type this, Han watching tv waiting patiently for me to finish. She's just not here, and it's another thing to get used to, another new "normal" to experience.

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I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving spent in love and fellowship with family and friends. May there be good food, good company and lots of love. :o)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Gooey Ducks", Oh My!

I've become distracted from my post this evening by "Dirty Jobs". I love Mike Rowe and "Dirty Jobs", even though I am often forced to say, "Eeeewwwwwwwwwww!" This evening's show was a conglomeration of past shows, highlighting various jobs involving animals. The last segment of the show was one I hadn't seen before, detailing the job of growing geoducks. I confess to having been stunned by the appearance of this strange creature, having never heard of it, let alone seen one! You should do a search of geoduck to see what an odd creature it is.

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I was very busy last night and didn't have an opportunity to journal before falling asleep. B and I took Lily to Tar-jay last night in search of birthday and Christmas ideas. I continue to be stymied by what to get Lil as her interests are so varied. I had no trouble, even at Lil's age, determining what to purchase for the Monkey. She was so very clear on what she enjoyed and was thrilled with anything and everything. I'm reminded of Christmas 2004 when she had just turned three. She would open a package and exclaim, "Oooooh, it's a box!!" And, quite frankly, she would have been thrilled had the gift indeed only been a box. We began to chuckle as this phrase was repeated again, again, and yet again.

Lily however is a puzzle. I'm just not sure what she will enjoy and get the most use out of. I want to get her a wooden kitchen that doesn't cost a fortune, as she loves to be in the kitchen with me so much. She really enjoyed all those noisy, obnoxious toys that are so popular right now. The toys aren't annoying initially, it's only after they've been played with for five minutes or more that they become obnoxious.

I want to encourage imaginative play, but on the flip side, I want to give Lily any advantage I can with regards to exposure to the alphabet and numbers and letter and number recognition. Where is the balance I wonder.

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Mom made it back to Williamsburg this afternoon. Sweet Lissie stopped by Ukrop's to pick up items for dinner and was here when I got home. Sarah stopped by with Erin this afternoon as well, so I was greeted by three people instead of only the dogs. Sarah and Erin were such a pleasant surprise! I'm hoping they (along with Erik) will be able to join us for Thanksgiving dinner Thursday evening.

We are planning on eating around 5:00. Since I'm in charge this year, I decided we would have dinner at a time that works for little kiddos. I've been tired of people deciding we would eat at 1:00 or 2:00, which inevitably is during nap time. This means the younger kiddos would either have to stay up past nap time, leaving them worn out and grumpy, or, they have to miss family dinner time. I decreed we would have dinner after nap time, while the kids are still fresh, at a time they would normally eat.

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I know Lissie is chomping at the bit to get in to make some Christmas cards this evening. I, however, feel ready for bed. I've been anticipating this nice little break from work and am looking forward to sleeping in (not tomorrow as B has to go to work) and being with family. Tomorrow Nana, Lissie and I are going to Michael's in Newport News to look for embellishments and ribbons for card-making. Lil will go to Shari's for the morning--she'll have more fun there anyway--and we'll pick her up in time for lunch and nap. Then, the three of us will make cards until into the evening. Yay!

Thursday will be spent watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade--yay!--and then preparing for dinner. Friday is my day to dig out all the Christmas decorations (Woo Hoo!!) and I'm going to try to organize closets and cabinets if possible.

Saturday is my birthday and I hope the day we get our Christmas tree--they will have them at the Farmers' Market--and the VT/UVA football game. Again, time spent with family and friends doing things I love, not worrying about work. :o)

Sure, I've got to post some grades, write some lesson plans, and grade some papers, but I'm determined to just enjoy my time off. I used to tell first-year teachers in our building that the first year sucked. I promised them it got better the second year, and inevitably, it did. I am trying to heed this same advice. Your first year teaching in a new location is always tough and I'm working on pulling it together.

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Today's Sparklies:

1. My sweet students (three little girls in particular), organized a birthday shindig for me, complete with cards, posters, and brownies. Yum! I sure do feel the love from them! :o)
2. I wore my super sparkly top and bracelet today. Han would approve!
3. Lissie is here! Lissie is here!
4. Lily's enthusiasm for everything and the way she trows herself whole-heartedly into everything she does. She is one determined little puss.
5. Compliments on my appearance and weight loss always make me smile. :o)
6. My co-workers are such an amazing group of people. I can not begin to tell you how many came up to me today and said," We'll be praying for you and your family over the holiday." Isn't that sweet?
7. Sister Mary Jean pointed out something I had never really given any thought to: Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated throughout the US, by almost all our citizens, regardless of religious beliefs. How wonderfully unifying!

Today's Milestones:

1. Our first big holiday without the Monkey's presence is going to be coming up shortly and I'm praying I can find a way to turn it Pollyanna and wonderful instead of dwelling on the sadness of being without her.

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Okay, I'm off to bed. I know tomorrow is going to be LOADED with sparklies!! :o)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Yay! The Farmers' Market is Back!


Well, it's back for the next two weekends anyway, as everyone in the Williamsburg area prepares for the holidays. It was so wonderful to bundle up warm and head out to see what yumminess we could find for the coming week (including Thanksgiving). Colonial Williamsburg and Merchant's Square are gearing up for holidays, decorations apparent throughout.

I LOVE the holiday season so very much, I'm especially looking forward to the Grand Illumination and the gorgeousness that is Christmastime in Colonial Williamsburg. :o)


My favorite vendor, Blenheim, was at the Market this one last time until May. I purchased fresh broccoli, salad mix (which lasts three or four weeks in the fridge!!), parsley and fresh spinach. Lil saw the broccoli, reached up and snatched a piece to snarf down while walking along. The nice vendor, Becky, was more than happy to share the broccoli with Lil. :o) (Thank goodness...:oP) Just look at that face, how could you resist it??


Lil and her broccoli. Hee hee! She was a hit with her broccoli, walking around the Farmers' Market. Everyone commented on her choice of snack. :o)



It was a cool morning, the breeze making it more so. The trees have finally become gorgeous and I had to get a photo of the vendors lining DOG street with the trees in their Autumnal glory.


In typical Lily fashion, she found a seat for herself and proceeded to pat the spot next to her, calling out, "A seat, Daddy! A seat!" demanding her daddy join her.


My two sweeties. Lil is once again finding her cheesiness. :oP


The music was delightful, as always. There were very few of us listening, as many folks didn't realize the Market was open this weekend. As I mentioned earlier, it was also quite chilly yesterday morning, and I was feeling for the two guitarists as I was sure their hands must have been frozen. In spite of it, we enjoyed the selections and they chatted with the audience between songs.


I was trying to get a photo of Lily dancing. This was the best I could do. Oh, well. Lil likes to "dance" while lying on the ground, and once again insisted with play, "asses down" while the performers played. ;o)



We purchased those lovely fresh veggies, bison (yum--B's making chili for dinner!), bacon, scallops and crab meat. All items were carried out in the lovely blue bags above. Rachel, sweet, lovely, Rachel in California made those bags for me. You see, she knew I had been looking for some eco-friendly bags and when she spotted the delightful fabric, she knew I had to have bags made from it.


I LOVE them!! They are sturdy (we stopped by the Fresh Market after the Farmers' Market and one bag carried a six-pack of cider and a half gallon of milk with no strain at all!) and soft and fun! Not to mention, environmentally friendly! Yay! :o)


The dragon fly's wings are sequined with iridescent sparklies. They throw of rainbows in the light and are a ton of fun. :o) The lacy detailing at the top is fun as well.

Rachel, thank you from the bottom of my heart. They were such a delightful surprise on a grumpy morning, and really made the Farmers' Market a little more sparkly. :o)

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Today's Sparklies:

1. The bags from Rachel. Yay!
2. Making cards with my Mama. :o)
3. Lily is drinking from a big girl cup. Woo hoo!
4. Lil has the most wicked sense of humor. She makes us laugh all the time. :o)
5. Nana and Pop came for a visit after their long drive home from Blacksburg.
6. Tech beat Miami--WOO HOO!!!
7. Making plans for gifts for Christmas. I LOVE to give gifts more than just about anything! :o)
8. I'm not horribly sad on a Sunday. Yippee!
9. Chipbutties. Ask Paul...Eeeeeeeeeeeee!
10. I have a two day work week ahead of me. WOO HOO again. :oP


Today's Milestones:

1. This is the first Sunday I have had in a long while where I'm not horribly down and depressed. I got up, had a nice breakfast and began stamping with Mom. She left and I began to clean, something I haven't been inclined to do (okay, honesty compels me to write I'm never inclined to clean but I usually am more motivated to keep my house clean) for quite a while.

2. We're also making holiday plans. B and I are planning on having a pre-lit tree on the bridge upstairs as a tribute to the Monkey. We are trying to determine just what we want in the way of ornaments for the tree. Are we going to make a new one every year? Are we going to purchase a new special one every year? All the ornaments she already had will go on our family tree (duh!), but what shall we do to honor Miss Monkey? We're still giving it thought.

I'm making plans to do my holiday baking and candy making with Bridget. There will definitely by fondant in the future. I'm also planning our Thanksgiving meal and Christmas dinner. Mom will be with the three of us for Thanksgiving and Grandma mentioned spending Christmas with Nana and Pop. It is our Christmas with them, so it would be fantastic if Grandma and Bill visit! I'm keeping my fingers crossed. :o)

I'm looking forward to getting out my snowmen and lighting all my special holiday candles. I just love the feeling of the holidays. I'm struggling with gift ideas for Miss Lily. I had such a clear sense of what Hannah enjoyed at this age, and with Lil, I have no idea--she is interested in so many things. I'm going to play around on-line this evening and see what I can see.

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To those interested: The cards were made using Stampin' Up! materials. There are on-line catalogs full of fun goodies! :o) I believe you should be able to locate a consultant to hook you up as well. It really is a fabulous hobby and I'm enjoying it SO much! Thank you, Woli!! :o)

Laura, the blue card with snowflakes is embossed in silver. It is rather striking in person.

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As always, thank you all so much for coming to visit and supporting me. You mean the world to me! :o)

The Holidays are Coming!


My dining room has most definitely seen better days. Between the two of us, Mom and I have a TON of Stampin' Up! stuff. We decided to spend the weekend making Christmas cards, whatever caught our fancy. I spent Friday night playing with stamps and papers getting a feel for how best to cut the papers and lay them out.

I LOVED having Woli here. She brought what seemed like a million ideas with her, as well as cut paper. I knew I could figure out what to do stamping wise, it was the paper cutting that had me stymied at first. Then, I figured it out! Yay me!


I have had such fun playing the past two days. Mom and I had to take a break last nigh since B and I had a retirement dinner to attend. I love Anthony dearly and was more than happy to go. However, I wished there was a little more time in the day so that I could stamp when I came home. It didn't work out. There was Hokies football to watch and then it was bedtime. Many of these cards I designed today.


B thinks this one is pretty fun. I'm still working on ways to modify it a bit.


I liked this one particularly well. I did the one with "Cheers" for Paul. :o)


I like the little button brads on this guy. I'm not sure yet how I feel about the card. We'll see if I make a couple of modifications with the colors or not.

I wish my camera wasn't broken. It had been on its last legs for a while, but then, the LCD screen somehow got cracked, and the colors are very off in the photos. Oh, well. My birthday and Christmas are coming. ;oP

I do so enjoy the creative outlet provided by the card making. I know Hannah got a lot of her creative energy from me. :o) Mom is full of wonderful ideas as well, but when her cards are finished she always says, "Oh, I really don't like this one." I don't see it. I think she does a wonderful job! :o) Maybe she'll share some of hers on her blog.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I'm beginning to see a theme with my recent posts, all of them revolving around the need for sleep and the need for a break. Hm. Maybe I need to heed this advice?

I had 14 conferences today and I'm wiped out. For me, it is more physically exhausting to be with the parents than to teach the children all day long. I'm not sure why, but I can tell you I'm more wiped out this evening than I have been in a while. I have a TON of tension in my neck, shoulders and back. I want to be a lump on the couch, unmoving, just sitting here on the 'net.

I've had a hard, down day, missing Hannah too. It began this morning on my way to work. I had dropped Lily off and was driving down the road and "Landslide" by Stevie Nicks came on the radio. Before I knew it, I was crying in the car. As is my normal pattern these days, when I become overly tired or stressed, I am more down than up.

For the past few days, I've been trying to pinpoint how I'm feeling and what is going on in my life. I may be a Pollyanna, but I'm also morbid sometimes. There were times when I would try to imagine what my life would be like if something happened to Hannah (this was before Lil was born and Hannah was my ENTIRE life). What I saw was an open and empty void where the Monkey used to be, but I also saw it as if Hannah were completely wiped from the face of the earth, as if there were no little reminders of her everywhere.

And, of course, the thing is, she is everywhere. She is in the fuzzy jammies I'm wearing, in the candles we're burning, in her little sister's meanness. :oP She's there when I go to bed at night, and then again when I awaken. She is there when I'm bathing Lil, and again when I'm putting on lotion. In fact, the Monkey is indeed everywhere.

I was reminded of that this evening as Lily and I were slathering her with lotion post-bath this evening. Just like her big sister, Lily wanted to put the lotion on herself. She would either scoop it out of my hand, or grab the bottle and try to get some more. She was continually begging, "A-more! A-more lotion peese, Mommy!"

As she began to smear it in her hair, I was reminded of one of my favorite Hannah stories. I preface this by saying it was FAR from a favorite story when it was happening. Of course, now, looking back on it, it was quite amusing. :o) As was typical when Han was two, she was playing in her room, reading books. B was in his "office" (read: the guest bedroom) and I was in the loft right outside her room. What could possibly happen? Oh, yeah, this was the Monkey. I finally realized it was WAY too quiet in her room and went in to see what was happening.

As is always the case when a mama finally notices the quiet, it was too late. There Han sat, in the middle of her carpeted floor, coated in Vaseline, Eucerine (the thick, goopy kind!), and Aveeno baby lotion. Her hair was standing up on her head (think "Something About Mary"), her clothing was sticking to her body, and I doubted we would ever be able to get all the gunk and goop out of the carpet. Oh, she was a greasy, gunky monkey!

She wound up having the softest skin for the next few days. :o) And, for those interested, isopropyl alcohol will take the nastiness out of the carpet--thank goodness! As was also typical of Hannah during those days, she was quite articulate and seemed older than her years. I remember talking with her, asking her why she had done it. (She was only two, Mommy...) Her resonse? "I thought it would be fun." Ah, that was the Monkey, she always went with what she thought would be fun, instead of worrying about the consequences. And, again, she was only TWO. :oP

Hee hee, though. I chuckled remembering her consternation in having all that grease on her hands. Han always wanted her hands clean and Vaseline definitely wasn't clean. :oP

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Today's sparklies:

1. "hearing" Hannah say, "I love you, Mommy" in my head.
2. I only have two conferences left!!
3. I missed the kiddos today--and I'm pretty sure they missed me. :o)
4. The Green & Black hot chocolate is divine!
5. The warm milk helping me feel relaxed and sleepy. Hm, a new bedtime routine...?
6. Mom is coming tomorrow and I'm feeling a pajama day coming on. :oP
7. The temperature dropped this afternoon, bringing with it more seasonal temps. Yay!


Today's Milestones:

I can't think of any although I'm sure there were. Instead, I'm off to bed. Good night! :o)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Busy-ness

I've been typing up a test, having it photocopied and working on getting sub plans together. I'll be out of the classroom tomorrow meeting with round two of parents. I always HATE being out of the classroom as I'm missing direct instruction time and time with the kids. And, writing detailed sub plans is a pain in the tuckus. Period.

I'm going to make it through tomorrow and my stress level should fall once again. Thank goodness. As I've mentioned before, stress exacerbates my grief and I can't manage as well as I would like.

I spoke with Grandfather again this evening. It's really such a small thing, this calling Grandfather. It takes little more than my time, yet it means so very much to him. I love him and Grammy so dearly.

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It's 11:30 (sleep?? me??) and I'm off to bed. Good night!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What Me Stressed??


Sleep. Ah, sleep. I wish I could stay asleep once I fall asleep. If it's not the dogs yapping, it's the cat thudding on us (he weighs about 20 pounds...) and not budging, or Lil waking up crying. Or, it's my traitorous body waking up after only four hours' sleep with me wide awake. All this leaves me feeling very exhausted by 8:30 at night.

Combine this with the feelings of having no free time and I'm getting a little restless. It seems I spend the majority of my time during the week grading papers, planning lessons and worrying about the students. That is, when I'm not worried about my family, and stressing over cleaning my house. I can't seem to balance everything right now and I'm getting frustrated.

I don't have the time to visit the blogs I enjoy (hi everyone I've been missing for the past three weeks!), to read for pleasure, or to stamp and make cards. I'm ready for a break. I've got round two of parent/teacher conferences Thursday, and then a two-day week and then Thanksgiving break. Whew.

Thanksgiving is going to be different this year, for so many reasons. Of course, there's the obvious of Hannah not being physically with us. Then, it will just be Mom, Brien, Lily and me. I can't remember the last time we had Thanksgiving with so few people. I always think of Thanksgiving as being a crowd of friends and family with a room full of love and laughter, and the joy of camaraderie. I confess I'm a bit distressed there will only be the four of us, but I know we will make the best of it.

Lissie and I will be stampin' fools (maybe Nana could join us) and then, Friday will be spent getting the house ready for the holidays, including getting the tree. I know I have seemed to be a Christmas curmudgeon, but I'm not. I ADORE the holiday season, but don't want to see it begin before Thanksgiving. I'm already planning the decorations and thinking about what we will do to honor Hannah.

Then, Saturday is my birthday, so we'll have to do something fun then, too. :o) I'm just looking forward to some fun and free time, a time to be stress free and with my family. Is that wrong of me?

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Today's Sparklies:

1. Thank you, Rachel! The package arrived today, and I'm holding on to it for all I'm worth until I have a down yo again. :o) BTW, I opened the other gift today--I've been a little stressed--and the bracelets are fantabulous!
2. My latest Stampin' Up! order arrived today. So much fun! :o)
3. One of the stamp sets came die-cut so I didn't have to cut it out--yay!!
4. I had another compliment on my weight loss today. Those always feel good. :o)

It seems I really am having a down-ish day. I need time for me, I just have to figure out how to get it.

Today's Milestones:

1. I'm actually planning the holidays without the Monk. How is that possible? How in the world is it possible I'll be having a Thanksgiving sans the Monkey? I'm thinking through all the ways to honor Han throughout the holiday season, instead of making plans to spend time with her. I HATE that, and yet, here I am.

I think I need a good night's sleep and a stress-free weekend to gain a better perspective and readjust my attitude. I'm tired and grumpy and need a break. I hope the rest of you aren't grumpy like me...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sleep--It's Overrated :oP


Our hike Saturday morning was brisk and grey. I've decided there is beauty in all the seasons at the Cascades. The summer is a vibrant green, Autumn dawns bold and colorful and by turns is grey and cold, winter will have "naked" trees interspersed with evergreens and other conifers, and spring will bring new life and fresh greenness.

I've come to appreciate the cold grey as much as the bold colors. The seasons seem to be a metaphor for life, somehow.



Per the norm, we began at the rest area with me scouring the wildflowers for the last of the sweetpeas. Look what I found! It was honestly the last one of the season. There are nightly frosts now and I'm surprised these lasted this long.



This is the view from the first bridge. The leaves are beginning to give up the ghost, but these were still a lovely yellow and gold. As I look at this picture I can feel just how chilly the day was.


We hiked fairly rapidly Saturday, with Lil confined to the backpack (much to her horror and dismay!). On past hikes, we've had either Hannah, or Lily, slowing us down and having us take the time to notice the wonder of the items around us. Saturday, we moved quickly, and yet, I found items I hadn't noticed before.

Ruhiyyih pointed out the tree growing around the rock.


Here is a close-up so you can see the growth.


This is the view from the second bridge. The rhodies are just about the only green in the photo.


I paused for a moment to catch my breath, looked up and saw this. Amazing how there are little (or, in this case, NOT so little) signs everywhere.


I love the way water flows over itself, tumbling in a roar sound.


And, here are the falls. They seem rather stark compared with the photos from throughout the summer. The sky was a perfect snow grey and the flurries were fluttering around here and there.


I do believe this is the first time a family photo has been taken at the falls. Thank you, Ruhiyyih! :o)

Lily slept most of the way down the mountain and before we knew it we were in the car headed for home. I'm always sad to leave the Cascades, as there is something so amazingly peaceful about them. I come away with my batteries recharged, knowing Hannah was with us. :o)

I'm also amazed at how much easier it is to climb to the falls when you are lugging around less weight. I had Lil on my chest and was amazed at how difficult she was to carry and thought about the fact I have lost well over Lily in weight.

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This beautiful red maple is in Lissie's neighborhood. I love me some showy maples!! :oP


Per the norm, there were livestock pens all along the path to the ball game. These sheep were particularly cute and I found I couldn't resist the photo op. Of course, sheep are, without a doubt, some of the dumbest animals we've ever raised. Yes, I said "raised". When I was younger, I thought it would be divine to have lambs to raise. We were friends with Wimpy at the sheep farm, and he gave us three lambies whose mommy's were wither raising triplets, or had a prolapsed uterus.

Wow, what stinky, unintelligent creatures!


This stump is on the way to the game--it's massive! B's arms reach out about 6 feet or so.


This photo was taken on Cambridge Ave. Please note the use of Christmas lights...Arrrrrrggghhhhhh!

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Today's Sparklies:

1. Kat and Troy are having a BOYS!! Yay!!!!!!1
2. A good nights' sleep.
3. Dinner out with Nan and Pop for her birthday.
4. Yankee Candle--except for all the Christmas finery--is so much fun! :o)
5. A good nights' sleep. I'm ready for one right now!

Speaking of that sleep, I'm ready to be off. I hope everyone has a sparkling, happy day tomorrow! Good night! :o)