(click on any photo to see them larger)

Monday, December 22, 2008


It is still snowing! The first day, I made sure and took pictures of the snow before it went away because that is what usually happens, snow, then quick melt. But each day since, it has kept snowing and I have taken a couple more shots as an update thinking it is as high as it will go. I am pretty sure that this is the most snow we have gotten at this house in the almost 20 years we have lived here. They said on the news that this is second only to the snow we had in 1968. Not only is it snow...there is ice. The first day we got snow, the second day there was freezing rain, so there is a layer of about 1/2 to 1 inch of ice, then on top of that, another layer of snow. My estimate from a rough measuring is 22". And guess what? I forgot to say that JESSI MADE IT HOME FOR CHRISTMAS! She got here last Tuesday night at midnight. We had a couple days of shopping and lunches out and meeting up with Grandma and Grandpa McCool and met up with Aunt Cyndi at the print shop to get her wedding invitations ordered. But then it has kept on snowing and snowing and now she has been housebound for THREE WHOLE DAYS now! She came a long way just to spend the whole time inside with ME! We are now in the 'what if' stage of plans for what to do about Christmas. John and Rachel and Emily and Joshua are still hoping to get up here on Christmas Eve, but there is a chance that it might not happen. We may have to hold her here a week or two longer and have a late Christmas when it all melts.
No bird bathing...
Nobody has made it to the front door.
The rose was still blooming when it all began...
I don't think the kids will be swinging for a while...
The trash man didn't make it out on Tuesday...and the mail and paper box got hit and knocked over by a van on Wed...I dug down and found them today...
No snow plows yet...would you drive up this? Or down?
John made it out to the wood pile today, and has a toasty fire going in the stove...hopefully we won't have to resort to that as our only source of heat if the power goes out.
The Canadian Geese took flight today...trouble is, they are headed north, not south...

Saturday, December 20, 2008


It hasn't stopped snowing all day! Last night it was huge flakes that pile up fast, but today, it is colder and the flakes are smaller, but they have been non-stop, so it is piling up. It is only 20°.

The neighbor kids are enjoying the road since there is no traffic today.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This is my Christmas stocking. My Grandma Harman made one for all of us grandkids as each of us were born. It is made from flannel and she wrote my name on the cuff. Then she put two tiny bells on the edge. She said the bells were to alert us when they rang as Santa was filling them up. My two sisters each have one exactly like it, except she put the bells in different places. I don’t remember ever really believing in Santa, I probably did, but I do remember that every Christmas morning, the socks were full. We used to hang them on the mantel when we lived in the house that had a fireplace, but when we moved, we didn’t have a fireplace for Santa to come down, so we just left them by the tree. Our socks were always what we looked at first. We were busy emptying them while Mom and Dad were getting up and about, getting out the camera and all that, not really sure, since I was too busy looking at what was inside my stocking. It was always so much fun to discover what was inside. We got all kinds of little treasures. A ball and jacks, tiny games, little books, colors, water paints, jewelry, chocolate wrapped in foil to look like money, lots of little things. The toe always held a can of play dough or an orange. Isn’t it strange, how I can remember all those little sock fillers, but the ‘real’ presents I got don’t just come to mind (well, except for my Barbie dolls and all those clothes my Mom made for them). It kinda makes you evaluate the whole gift giving thing doesn’t it?

Monday, December 15, 2008

I woke up thinking it was Thursday. I had tons to do! While making my latte, I realized it was only Wednesday. There was NOTHING on the calendar for Wednesday. I had just been given an extra day! I sat down to admire my Christmas tree and count my blessings. The phone rang interrupting my prayers. I saw on the ID that it was the Red Cross. For a fleeting ½ second, I contemplated not answering, just let them leave a message. But I couldn't do it. I answered, sure enough, there was a fire. And it was not a close-by fire, it was almost an hour away. Reluctantly I said I’d go…but what about all those extra things I was going to do? Should I take time to wash my hair and put on some make-up? I was still in my pjs, so I got dressed, decided to just put on a stocking hat and packed my gear into the car and left. My ½ full latte getting cold as it waited by the tree. As usual, once I’m on the road, I’m in a whole new frame of mind and feeling guilty for the selfish hesitation to answer the call. Now I’m ready. My hair looks bad, no make-up…but one look at the soot covered woman adjusts all those vain thoughts. I’m no longer feeling bad about losing that ‘found’ extra day…these people just lost all their possessions, they got out with the clothes they were sleeping in, they no longer have a Christmas tree to sit beside and admire, the gifts they had under the tree are destroyed. Two little kids stand there with a stuffed Red Cross animal I had just handed them…and for the moment, it is their only toy, but they are pleased to have it. Another Red Cross volunteer and I assist them with a place to stay for a day or two, give them some assistance for food and a set of clothes until their insurance can take over. They are still shaken up, but feeling better when we drive off. I return to my warm home 3 hours later…there sits my cold latte, in a minute it is warmed and I am once again sitting admiring my tree and thanking God for all my blessings and thanking Him that I had been given that extra day to have been able to say YES to the phone call to go help.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

MY ORNAMENTS
A Hallmark commercial came on while I was decorating the Christmas tree. It showed two little girls looking at their ornaments and remembering stories behind them. I thought at the time that it would be nice if my ornaments had a little story behind them, and then as I put them on the tree, I realized, THEY DO!
My most treasured ornament is the 'Humdinger'. It came from my Grandma Harman. Every year my Grandma would hang it at the top of her tree and when we went to visit she would lift me up to ring it, each time she would say " It's a HUMMMMM DINGER". Mom had it on her tree for years after and carried on the tradition of lifting my kids up to ring it, but they didn't do the HUMMMM anything like Grandma used to. Quite a few years back Mom passed it on to me and now each year my own grandkids get a chance to ring it. I don't know if they even know what it is called. I've told them, but they don't seem as excited about it as I remember being when I got to ring it.
Mom painted soldiers and little dolls out of clothes pins...with every detail, check out the buttons on the shoes! Every year Mom paints us some kind of place marker for the Christmas dinner table. Usually it is a tree ornament, so I have quite a collection of 'John and Vicki' ornaments. The oldest ornaments on my tree are from John's mom Cleo, they were on her tree when she was growing up. I'm not quite sure what they are supposed to be except a decoration. (bottom row, center)
I have a plastic white reindeer and a red elf. Kinda funny looking, but we always had them on the tree when I was little. One year, before the days when Mom had a real tree flocker, my Dad sprayed white 'snow' all over the tree when we were done decorating to give it the 'just snowed' look. My littlest sister, Cyndi, got so upset because he got snow on the faces of the elves and ran for a cloth to wash it off them. There is a cute little horse that my aunt made, kinda clever how you insert a candy cane in it.


I have an ornament from Dennis and Abby of the US Capitol from when they lived in Baltimore and one from my friends Ron and Ann to remember when they took me to visit the White House (we even got to see President Bush!) I have two tiny bells that are made into snowmen with Emily and Joshua's names on them. And then there is the GREEN M&M. One of the ornaments depicts the nativity scene, another a snowball. I really like snowmen, so I have plenty of snowmen on the tree.


I have a tiny motorcycle to mark that Little John loved them, a skier turned into a snowball with skis that really rolls around because Dennis was into skiing, and a little ballerina mouse because Jessi was my ballerina. There is a sand dollar that I found on the beach, my sister-in-law Terri and I would walk the beach while the guys were fishing on the jetty and one time we found buckets of sand dollars. Once we got them all home, we had no idea what to do with them, so we painted some of them to look like poinsettias. There are other ornaments I made...a hazelnut angel, a walnut manger for baby Jesus, a noodle angle and a mouse made from a thistle, a wreath I wove from wheat and a reindeer from clothes pins. The first year Johnjohn was born, I started making hand prints from dough. I made them every year from all three kids and painted the year on them. I stopped doing them when my whole tree was covered with hand prints and realized it didn't look so good after all. Eventually most of them have broken, some of them molded in storage and have been tossed out, but I still have the first year's hand print from each kid. The first year I was married, I made ornaments from egg shells that I had blown the eggs out of. We had a lot of scrambled eggs that first year. I painted them all up and was pretty proud of them. The last few years, they have remained in the egg carton. Somehow, their time has past, kinda like the tree full of hand prints and mice made from thistles.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME!
We went Christmas tree hunting this morning.

There are so many choices...this year I decided not to have a flocked one...look at all the choices in color.Once I decided between white or natural...then I had to decide which kind of tree I wanted...noble, grand, fir, spruce...nobles have plenty of spaces to hang the ornaments, but grands smell so nice...



I decided on a noble...because I have TONS of ornaments.....now it REALLY feels like Christmas.
Bazzel can't believe we actually brought a tree inside for him.This is where he has been since we put the tree up.