Saturday, December 28, 2013

Post-Christmas weekend...

We headed to Memphis the morning after Christmas to bring Boatie, (Alexe's '84 merc wagon,) to the mercedes specialist for a laundry list of repairs, and to hunt for a couch for the sun room.  With a.Eliza and her boyfriend Charlie arriving Friday night, and us very short on a place for them to sleep, looking through the post-Christmas sales seemed like a worthwhile way to spend the day, along with a bit of sock shopping for the kids.

They were still tuckered from a great Christmas, and this one snoozed while Caspian read a basket full of books peacefully on his side.

After dropping the car off and heading over to the clothes stores, and finally finding a parking spot, (oh, the joys of traffic congestion and densely populated areas,) we danced our way into a few clothes stores.

While Alexe tried on a pile of clothes, the kids and I amused ourselves in the waiting area of the changing rooms.  We had some deep conversations on where the real person was when there are endless reflections.

We hit up a few department stores to look at very expensive couches.

Which was fun for us, but didn't inspire any purchases.

Before heading home empty handed, we went back to the first store we started at, to a couch that we really liked, but had walked away from because it was white.  And we have two children.

But if it was still there, at a great price, with its downy goodness and expansive seating, and after the hordes of post-holiday shoppers had been through, maybe it was meant to be.

We still tried every other couch in the place, and every time I looked up, the kids and Alexe were piled on this one.  So we bought it, a big splurge, and I started the project of piling a large sectional onto the back of the truck for the 1.5 hour drive home.

There were two other couch-ish pieces of furniture that were on super sale that we had our eyes on.  Folks seemed to think it would be a stretch to load the first couch on the truck.  I had them hold the other two pieces, and after the sofa was loaded we bought the next one, and after that "fit", we bought the last one.

We made it home, with the truck cab solidly packed with us/cushions/new socks, and did some major re-arranging of the house.

As I type this the new super-comfy sectional is hosting its second movie watching. We finished the Potter series last night; this evening the family is tucked in with a.Eliza and Charlie for a classic, Hook, courtesy of Nonni.

It may not be white for long, but it's going to be comfortable for years to come.

Earlier this evening, after a delicious lasagna our house guests whipped together, the crew enjoyed some homemade light saber popsicles.  

Tomorrow, if the drizzle clears up, we'll make a day of firewood harvesting.  We'll put Charlie on the tractor, and a chainsaw in his hands, (after he gets off the tractor,) and send him back to the city with the country bug.

Christmas 2013

Christmas Eve, headed to an evening service before going home for fondue/book reading/present wrapping.  Alexe and I both like these services with carols, readings, and candle lighting and sharing the Peace with those around you in church.  With two young kids, who are super excited about Christmas! it's a bit less relaxing.  Caspian, squirmy as can be, fell off his pew onto his head in a slow motion boredom roll, twice.


Caspian used his school based reward money, (earned with good behavior,) to buy Alexe and me presents at the school store.  He picked a plate with an oak and acorn theme out for his mother, who loves acorns so much, and for me...

A mug made by a local potter that I really like.  (We have no idea how Town Creek Learning Center finds funds to make these gifts happen.  They impress us in new ways all the time.)

I'm not going to try to keep up with the gift-ers and the many presents that were opened this morning by all of us.  Friends and family spoiled us rotten.  If we were video chatting when your presents were opened there probably won't be any pictures, sorry.

My sister-in-law spoiled me with new jammies, and after an hour of wearing them Alexe noticed they were monogrammed.  

Alexe started the theme of thumbs-up for great presents.

Christmas caught both Alexe and I suddenly, with so many things going on just now, and neither of us had time to deal with presents for each other.  I found something that I can do for Alexe in the coming weeks that she will love, and on Christmas morning Alexe wrote and presented and read to me a love poem/sonnet written in loose medieval language, complete with Alexe-honest speak, and coupons true to her temperament and depth of ability to happily give.  For example a 3 minute back massage.

He is excited about the bubbles.  She is excited about having her picture taking.

Alexe self-gifted these.

A break to prep dinner and feed the livestock and enjoy the lovely sunny day.

It was 19 degrees when we woke up.  The ice in the cow trough was surprisingly thick.

Family walk to get the appetite up and work through the pounds of stocking candy.

There was napping, and surprising amounts of friendly and quiet play with new toys.  We wrapped the day with the 7th Harry Potter film, which again was a bit slow and meandering, but being six films in, we intended to finish the series and give the kids the closure of the bad guy losing that they have been faithfully waiting for.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Quality time with the kiddoes leading up to Christmas.

While I'm having a blast with the new project, the kids haven't been the biggest fans of my absence.  18 months of hanging out with me, traveling, building the house, putting up fencing, fishing and generally enjoying life has spoiled all of us, and now being away from 8 until 5:30  during the week has earned me notes like these: 

So in the Christmas break season, with both kids out of school for two weeks, Alexe and I have each signed up for a work-free, hang with the kids stay-cation of sorts.  I'm going first, Alexe has next week.

It's Christmas Eve, the kids are napping, and Alexe will be home in an hour or so at which point we'll pack up cookies and head to town to deliver them to all our friends.  

In the meantime, some of the things the kids and I have been doing:

Annaliese's Christmas present this year are new shelves in her room, to help organize her clutter, courtesy of the collector gene. Last night I fired up the wood stove in the workshop and put these together.  They are a lovely clear oak, heavy, hard, and hopefully they'll survive living in a kid's room.

They were smooth as a baby's bottom and ready to go last night.

By 8:30 this morning they were up and ready to be loaded down.

Between this picture and the next, Annaliese had a meltdown because the present hadn't been wrapped. 

Not exactly the response I was looking for.  After she came through the emotional storm, she and her brother spent over an hour organizing her stuff. After that helpful and kind little boy told me how much he loved the shelves, she admitted she kind of liked them too.  Grrrr.  

Yesterday we spent several hours making Christmas cookies. 

Hmmm, oh yes, this was Saturday, when we headed over to Pontotoc to pick up feed for the cows/pigs/chickens, loaded up some produce for the BTC, and stopped for a junk food lunch at BK.  My only excuse, there was an indoor playground.

We stopped in Oxford to pick up a book for Christmas Eve at Square Books Jr., and the kids bailed on the book hunt to play in the back of the store with an adorable french speaking little girl.  Our two did not utter a single word in French in over an hour.  We miss their french tutor.

Sarah and Eat Cow are doing fine. They look adorable with their thick winter coats.

Saturday night we spent some quality time under the kitchen counters as a storm system raged through.  No tornadoes, but some crazy straight line winds threw a few things around in town.  We passed the time singing Christmas carols and telling stories.

And making faces.

This is what the storms interrupted: family movie night. We've been working our way through the Harry Potter movies over the last six weeks.  There are two to go...

Annaliese in her new winter coat, strolling onto the bus like it's nothing special.  In some ways it's nice to have this big girl hiding behind the couch wailing about the lack of wrapping paper on her presents.  She's not all grown up just yet.

Not sure which day this was, but we made play dough.

And Annaliese made cookies out of it.

And then served lunch, a partially imaginary, partially edible and delicious smorgasbord.  

A little quiet time to finish my book and enjoy the winter sun shining over the back pasture before the Christmas Eve activities kick in and we juggle visits and church with fondue and present wrapping and story reading.  

Merry Christmas everyone.