Monday, November 26, 2012

Giving Thanks and Decorating

My focus this week was to decorate the house for the Tour of Homes. Upland celebrates its annual Olde Tyme Christmas the first Sunday in December. Last year we were asked repeatedly to participate in one of the favorite events of the festival. With two weeks left, my goal for the first-->decorate, and the second--> clean.
[It's Monday and I haven't started on #2...should I panic? Better get this Project 365 done first!]

So, I dragged all the accumulated Christmas decorations out from the attic into the large space in my loft-library-kid's toys-writing center. (I now have a door that leads into that storage space from my area.]
Next, I let the items speak to me and find their place in the new house, starting with all the Nativity scenes. It's been fun.

Mike was having fun too--early morning hunting, teaching the young how to sculpt faces out of clay... among other things.

Friend Gina makes us a unique clay ornament every year. (Mike was the one who got her started in ceramics and she now has her own little studio.)

Gina's 2012 ornament: "Behold the Lamb"

Remember the "anorexic tree" from last year? Now it sits at the top of the spiral stairs (by the handy dandy door that leads to the attic) and has become the Country-Christmas tree.

We accepted chef-son's invitation to Thanksgiving dinner as I couldn't take time away from the main task of the week. It was a veritable feast of food and fellowship.

Thanksgiving table

Dessert counter

The new member is still the center of attraction.

Jude at 6 weeks

The big tree on the main floor came together nicely. Friday, Leah was here all afternoon offering her exquisite decorating advice. We had a great time together finding the right spot for each style.

Mike and Stephan spent the day processing two of the four deer. (Wednesday, Mike got four with only four shots in the space of half an hour! I have photos but must accept that some readers may not wish to see the process, nor eat the venison.)

Saturday--a double birthday celebration: Malachi 14 on the 21st; and Zion 3 on the 23rd.

Mesmerized by the car-monster truck-stuck-in-the-mud cake
Again, the center of attention seems to be the new little one who is quite alert now.

We also had to survey Sam's handiwork--a remodeled bathroom.

I had better get back to work! Drop by December 2, 1:00-5:00 p.m. to see the results and enjoy some fun community interaction. Our friends, Dane and Laurie, are also involved in the Tour of Homes, along with three other couples. It will be fun to share together in this event.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Week 46

Sunday we celebrated the first of November birthdays--Sam's 34th. He wanted steak fajitas and guacamole. Son Stephan volunteered to be lead chef and taught me several food prep tricks as I helped.

Great family time. Tasty food. Lot of reminiscing as we poured over old photos. Horrible birthday song.

Monday I accompanied a friend to her appointment with a specialist in Fort Wayne, just so we could spend time together. Afterwards we stopped at a busy little restaurant and tried their new offerings: peanut butter and jelly french toast and pancakes with a very unusual ingredient. Can you guess?

Tuesday the robotics team had an open house in an attempt to recruit more members.
Just this week I framed a drawing by a former team member. A friend who was working on the demolition of our old house after the fire, rescued it from the rubble, and brought it to our open house in June.

Wednesday at our monthly ACW meeting we had a very different presentation--a book of poems for children in Korea! The author explained the different sections and some of the imagery. Beautiful! Too bad I can't read that language.

Thursday was a very sad day for Leah and family as they laid their faithful dog-friend to rest. We joined the tearful ceremony. What used to be the corral has become the family pet cemetery.

Friday I picked up Malachi after school for a birthday shopping trip. We had fun together, found some cool clothes deals, and got lost quite turned around in the mall. Then Elijah and Zion came home with me for the weekend. The challenge to keep them entertained and busy grows with them.

Saturday, for lack of other ideas, I decided to give Zion an early birthday gift...

...a wooden alphabet puzzle. He named the animal shapes and played with them for awhile. But, alas, his attention span is not very long.

Elijah relaxed in bed playing video games.

Grandpa took the boys for a ride on the ATV; we pulled up the remaining plants in the mini vegetable garden; went to the park where they ran themselves ragged.


Then we crashed a birthday party for pastor's four year old. I thought I'd never be able to drag Zion away from the train set...

...and other toys. But look at those red ears. That was always a sign of being very tired.

Sure enough he didn't complain, went to bed early and slept 12 hours straight.

I might be able to do that myself after this intense weekend!

We have much to be thankful for each day we are able to lead such full and meaningful lives.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Home again!

Mike, brother Terry, and nephew Jeff enjoyed their last days together out in the wild before the brothers headed back home. Half way across the country they had vehicle problems and had to wait out several hours of repair work on the truck.
Michael made it back home Friday around 4:30 a.m.

From Idaho with love
You'd think that when hubby was gone I'd take it easy, but it felt like I tried to do more. Every day there was a to-do list. For lack of paper next to my bed, this is what Monday's looked like.

It was good to get away for a nice meal and fellowship in the evening.
It was Auntie Karen's turn to hold and admire baby Jude.

Tuesday evening instead of Bible study at the church it was an evening set aside to socialize--game night at Koch's was the consensus. However, it turned into pizza and non-stop talking. Can you believe we never got around to the games?

Did Wednesday really go by with no photo?

I hadn't seen my friend Viola for way too long, so Thursday I was able to get away and drop in for a brief visit, and I got to meet her helper, Mary.

Mike was back Friday and the day sped by again without even one photo.

Saturday early Michael helped me set up at another craft show and then came back home and slept some more. I do believe he is still catching up from the many early mornings of the past three weeks.

Leah came to help me and this time we had a sprayed tree to show off her ornaments better.

She sat there and kept on painting more of her clay creations.

After packing up we stopped by Kayla's place, only a few blocks away, and enjoyed watching her play with pets Lilly and Moe.

So another week is over, and yet another election day. I feel compelled and committed to pray for our president, his spiritual advisers and all those in government.

November 6th was also important to our family--Samuel's 34th birthday. A few years ago I wrote a special post on that day. A dear friend reminded us this week that when he was struggling through the adolescent years Sam's name was at the top of the Mom's In Touch prayer list. We now look back and praise God for the man he has become. Thank you, ladies, for all your many prayers!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Just Keepin' Busy

Last wildflower bouquet of the season
 Another week alone, but keeping busy.
News from Idaho: broken tooth cannot be fixed out there but was filed and no longer cuts into tongue; daily hunt brings in varying numbers of ducks, pheasants, even one goose.

Sunday evening fellowship at Pastor Dan's included a delightful mini-concert by one of the students, as well as warm homemade bread again.

Monday at our exercise class, I just had to take a picture of the person next to me, multitasking. Can you see what she is doing?

Extreme multitasking

Tuesday I spent some time gathering bits of information about Mike's dad, Milton Koch, for Malachi (8th grade) who wanted to talk about his great grandfather for a Day of the Dead presentation.

1929, age 12

It is interesting to compare young and old photos.

Wednesday I wore my simple little mask to the weekly meal at the senior center  and won a free meal for the funniest. It helped that I was the only one in that category!

In the evening I joined in some of the grandkids' fun.

Koch cousins

Lil' Pumpkin
Here's the book I've been listening to all week. Set in World War II times, it got me through a lot of house work on Thursday.

Friday Leah and I tackled the first phase of a secret Christmas  project. That was fun.
Then we went to the Gray Barn and set up our tables for the craft sale the next day.

Saturday we showed up in time to open at 9 a.m.

Leah's painted ornaments did not show up enough. Next time we will have a white tree.

We enjoyed our time together, meeting and talking to so many.