Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Week

Sunday the first family member arrived--SIL Diane. The gift pile grew daily.

 Monday the three of us joined family and friends of the MNM (Monday Night Meal) crowd for the annual Christmas Eve Brunch.

Stephan and Karen's real tree

No need for MNM that day, enough food, fellowship and fun to last a long while: montecristos, scotch eggs, biscuits and gravy, chai, egg nog; great conversation, plenty of jokes, and a rousing game of nertz.

Serious competition

 Christmas Day I made the traditional breakfast fare--sausage egg casserole (from the recipe in Sam's second-grade handwriting) and baked oatmeal.

Only Leah's family came that day with plans to stay overnight.
Our sons prefer to have their own family Christmas, although for Stephan it is usually, if not always, combined with an ice sculpture delivery or two. We exchanged some gifts, but saved most for the all-family celebration the next day.
However, due to very strong warnings of blizzard conditions for all day Wednesday, Stephan and Karen accepted our invitation to come that night. We made a bed for them in the loft.

The next morning they had fun trying out their newly acquired snow shoes, with their dogs, Gryffon and Gracie, tagging along.

Later in the day everyone enjoyed the fun in the snow, even if from the window like me.

Before the gift exchange, and even before reading the story of the birth of Christ in Luke 2, we had a very hurried photo session to include all the grandkids in a Nativity scene. Just had to take advantage of a new baby in the family. Our little shepherd boy was not at all happy about the idea and kept taking off his costume, but we managed to capture a sweet picture of all seven (including our new grandson-in-law) which I will not reveal now (a possible 2013 Christmas card?). Here are a couple of teasers.

Joseph-Matt, Mary-Kayla, and the Babe-Jude
Shepherd boy-Zion
Men and boys were very happy with their tools/toys. All of them played with the teenagers' remote-controlled helicopters. I was the target victim of one fly-around.

Even Brutus the cat enjoyed his toy all day.

Each family gave and received handcrafted items among other gifts. How do you like this etched Pyrex dish from Stephan and Karen?

And the frilly scarf for Karen?

Amidst all the fun and frenzy, here's a sweet Meemaw moment.

 Snow and ice characterized the rest of the week. Thursday, Mike slid into the mail box and had to pull the car out with the ATV and later that day lost control and snaked his way to a steady course, grateful that no one was coming in the opposite direction.

I was rather scared as we drove into a snow storm Friday on our way back from seeing Les Misérables. I kept my head down, prayed, and chatted with SIL Kim in Argentina as we played Words With Friends. That was her advice for getting through those nervous-passenger moments.

Michael has plowed the driveway numerous times.

And I am slowly taking down and putting away Christmas decorations.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Week 51: Almost There

Only three days left, we're sitting here watching Christmas specials.
Looked for Sara's son in this Anderson annual program on WIPB.
I texted him. His answer, "No. Mine doesn't air till next year."

So, now to remember what happened this past week...more letters sent out, final shopping and the usual.
Michael has been very busy and came down with a constant cough, but he still keeps going.
Team 1720's New Year Eve ball still in pieces, internal problems, required a lot of repair time.

'Dr. Koch' operating
He also performed surgery on one of his prize sculptures--attaching the broken leg!

I prepared the tables for the ladies brunch on Wednesday. And now they are ready for family Christmas dinner.

I really like the gold-colored table cloth and we used the fancy china, no paper plates.

Thursday afternoon I went out for one last shopping spree. In the parking lot of the first shop, I realized I did not have my wallet! I would have had to turn back and lose a whole hour, but my kind husband went out of his way to bring it to me.
I stopped by Leah's and the sparkling gold balls welcomed me! Reminded me of outdoor trees and shrubs decorated for Christmas in Argentina, except that they would be green and in full bloom.

All the mini to medium-sized trees in her house and hand-made ornaments were very cheerful.

After days of mild weather, we got some snow Thursday night.

When I looked out Friday the snowman sitting in the wreath did not look so out of place.

Snow is still on the ground, tho' the sun was out bright and beautiful.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Week 50: Christmas Countdown

Sad news hit our family and the nation this week.
We keep on keeping on, reminded that joy and sorrow coexisted when Jesus came to this earth.
A madman back then had some 20 children killed (as per historians' estimate)--Matthew 2:18.
Our hope is set on the One who appeared to destroy the works of the devil--I John 3:8.

Sunday was a very long busy day. I taught 2nd and 3rd grade junior church and the lesson was powerful. From Exodus and the story of the plagues and how God allowed Pharoah's heart to be hardened in order to "multiply His wonders"--the LORD's sovereign plan and His power to deliver became so evident.
In the afternoon we went to Kayla's dance recital and had a great time with Leah and family. I took some family pictures. Our favorite was the crazy pose.

At Monday Night meal I handed out our Christmas card and letter, the Krazy Koch version for that crowd.

Nanxin, a student from China who attends quite regularly, gave us a big handmade card.

Nanxin (signature on left) Body Health!
I sent out many cards and letters this week and received several as well.

Mike has spent more time than usual at Team 1720's robotics workshop as they upgrade the New Year's Eve ball. The show this year should be quite spectacular.

Sara had invited us to link up with our Christmas decor post on Wednesday. I gathered the photos that day and posted the next.
Thursday afternoon I traveled up to Winona Lake to visit my parents. Dad greeted me with smiles that seemed to say he was happy to see me.

I arrived in time to hear the Grace Village Chime Choir perform for the Health Care residents.

The participant to the right of the director is a missionary lady that I've always called Aunt Margaret. They lived next door when I was a little girl.

 A special visit with my youngest brother Alan and SIL Sharon was a highlight of my overnight visit. I was so wrapped up in our conversation that I forgot to take a picture of them.
When I got back home Friday, I spent the afternoon trying to catch up on some projects for Christmas and realized there is not much time left.

Only a week ago this bulb began to shoot up beyond two-inch sprouts. Look at it now!

I sped up my shopping efforts at a similar rate and accomplished quite a bit on Saturday.
Two of the grandboys came to spend the night and give their mom a respite.

Elijah reading the story of Saint Nicholas

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Decor 2012

A Chrismtas Walk Through


The decor came together from what was recovered or restored from the house fire, what we were given, and what we purchased at very reduced prices after last Christmas.
I keep a small reminder on the window sill of how I want to live, focusing on what is really important, i.e. "Simplify". For that very reason, the central story of the Incarnation--the Babe in the manger--is seen throughout the house in many different creative expressions. I challenge those walking through to count Nativity scenes.

This little miniature comes from Argentina. Can you read what it says?

Before we leave the kitchen, look over at the lighted display shelves our son built into the cabinetry.

Even the cat's area in the solarium is decorated, but the references to winter snow seem incongruous.

I had the table set with old china for the Tour of Homes. We may try to eat Christmas dinner like this. ( it possible?)
The Thanksgiving garland is made of our expressions of thanks written on slips of paper.

 Our daughter's miniature clay Christmas creatures on the next window sill.

The coffee table in the center of the living room

The piano corner has been enhanced with a gift of a live wreath.

The main Christmas tree is not live, however.

Nor is last year's anorexic-tree-turned-Country-Christmas-tree on the next level.

As you go up the spiral staircase, take a look at the stockings waiting to be filled--16 in all!

 Once upstairs, look over at the top of the book shelves.

The tiniest and the biggest

All the way from Argentina

Clay Nativity by Leah
 Now look down by the books.

 Oh, but where's the Elf on a Shelf?

We were given several Santas, a few nicely fill a space on my large desk.

One sits on the file cabinet. Keep in mind this loft is also a play area for grandchildren.

Let's go down to the lower level. On the way check out the new location for Mike's masterpiece of the harpist at Sing Noel a year ago.

His Klaytivity display area has added a Christmas tree.

My sewing room added a few touches as well: a silvery Santa and his shimmery toy-laden train which has accompanied our Christmases ever since our consuegra spent the holidays with us some ten years ago.

And now I must head down to the said Santa's workshop, some sewing projects await.