Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Memories

We had an especially nice Christmas this year. What with our crazy move on the first of December, I had my doubts, but it all worked out to one of the best Christmases I can remember in a while.
Christmas always stresses me out. It's hard for me to spend tons of money when all year I struggle to get by. Thankfully my dad was able to help me out, and with the blessing of getting work cleaning a couple houses, it all worked out.
The one thing that always gets me in the mood for Christmas is when we are visiting Grandpa, we go out and see the neighborhoods that go all out with lights. It is one of my favorite traditions.
This year at our family celebration, Cam whipped out his trumpet and treated us to Christmas carols. It's been a long time since I've heard him play. What a treat!
I was so impressed by how thoughtful my older kids were with providing gifts for everyone. I never expect them to get me anything and then they surpise me with the nicest stuff! It really touches me!
This year it was just me and the two youngest on Christmas morning and I thought that might be weird, but it was really nice. Here is what our livingroom looked like on Christmas Eve:

 Then on Christmas morning with Christmas loot and Christmas wrapping mess:

 This is the only time I don't mind having my house trashed. I think there is something fun and festive about having wrappings everywhere. It's kind of the measure of Christmas somehow.

Later Carley arrived and helped Shelby learn a little bit about makeup:

 Then Cam and Cassie arrived and we ate turkey dinner...that I cooked...and it was good...not only that it wasn't a big hassle. Of course I did canned gravy and boxed stuffing, but still, I was kinda proud of myself. I've always been intimidated by the whole "turkey dinner" thing. But maybe I'm getting the hang of this!
 The next day was rainy and Cam, Cassie and I spent five hours doing this:
 It's been way too long since I did a puzzle! And you see that missing piece up near Cam's hand? Yeah, we couldn't find that piece anywhere! We were convinced the puzzle was faulty and missing that piece. In the end, there it was amongst the others! Hiding in plain sight! It had us worried and frustrated for quite a while!

Then there is this picture of me taken by Cam in September when we went to Point Reyes Lighthouse. I came across it and it just struck me as reflecting who I am right now.
I'm alone, but happy.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fuyus, Nuts and Bolts, Secret Santas, and The End of an Era

These little beauties were given to me...and we have been devouring them. I didn't even know about Fuyu persimmons until two years ago. The only ones I knew of were the acorn-shaped ones that my mom used for persimmon cookies. I'm sorry I've been missing out on these yummy and funny-named fruits for so long! (Oh, they are so good with Cheezit--that sweet/salty thing happens!)

And I had one of those turkey roast things in my freezer and cooked that up. It has one of those little timers on it and that thing didn't pop up until 45 minutes after it said it should. I got to the point where I just kept cranking up the temp on the oven, we were so hungry! It was so delicious though! Maybe food tastes more delicious when you're ravenous, I don't know, but I was proud of myself for this dinner! (Turkey, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cranberry sauce, spinach salad with fresh mandarins).

And then, about an hour after we finished our dinner we heard a loud knock on the door. Here's what we found when we opened it:
 I cried when I saw the money tree...topped by a $100 bill. Holy cow...
 There was so much good stuff in this box, a turkey and all the trimmings, plus lots of goodies, a gingerbread house kit, popcorn, candy, sparkling cider, you name it, and the softest blanket I've ever felt. I know if came from the church, so I made sure I told a few people "thank you" that would pass it on to our Secret Santas. It was just so cool!
 I made Nuts and Bolts this week. This is not Chex Mix, mind you. This is an old recipe that my mom always made since I can remember. It's so good.
 And just some randomness: I had to buy some scrubbing pads, but I was surprised at the tag on the back that reads "personal skin care". Yikes, that's a bit harsh, huh?
 Today I woke up to this beautiful sunrise. It was my last day of work until January 7th for Christmas--whoops---I mean "Winter Break".
This year the school's "Holiday Program" was actually Christmas based. They did a cute musical called "The Reindeer Whisperer". Nat played one of the reindeer. And no, I don't have a picture of her...but I have a good reason, and that is that it is so hard to get a good picture and I know that they will have good pictures in the school yearbook, that I've given up trying and I just go and enjoy.

But it was my last program at the elementary school because Nat will move on to middle school next year. The first program I went to was in 1992...and then through the years with each kid. That's 20 years! (not consecutive, I had a few years off) but! I'm glad that this last one was Christmassy and that they even sang We Wish You A Merry Christmas at the end. A great way to end an era!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Moving, Sunshine and Santa

I have good reason for not keeping up with my blog. I moved. During December.
And this whole picture a day thing? Well, I'm going to revise that since I can't seem to do that...I average 3 pictures a week due to lack of interesting things to photograph, lack of photography skills, and lack of a decent camera. So it will be a few pics to represent my week. Good enough.
Here's what I thought I would miss most after my move:

There's nothing like wood heat, right? I love it. But you know what? I'm not missing it. I don't miss hauling my wood up to my porch, or feeding the fire all the time, or the mess, or waking up to a cold house and having to get the fire going. My new place has central heat. All I do is push a button. I. Am. Happy.

And here's my new house keys. It was so exciting for me. Kinda like when you get the keys to a new (or new to you) car.
Here is a photo of when you get to that place in the move when you are just grabbing random stuff and throwing it in boxes. I hate this part.
The church guys moved me on a weekend when we had one of the biggest storms ever. It was dumping. Like God had a fire hose and was aiming it at Northern California. Yikes. I had a bunch of guys with pickup trucks and willing hearts and stuff I didn't want wet. And you know what? By some miracle (maybe 'cause all those church guys and their families said a prayer), it stopped raining for about 3-4 hours on the morning of the move...just enough time to move me. Then the heavens opened up and dumped again. Amazing.
This was one of the easiest moves I've made. Maybe because I've moved so much...just in the last 5 years: 4 times. I SO want to stay put now!

Here are the pointsettias my little preschoolers made. I think they turned out pretty darned cute. (Thank you Pinterest, you are a preschool teacher's best friend!)

Oh, and you know why I don't miss the fire so much? 'Cause I get this wonderful thing called SUNSHINE that streams into my windows and makes my house warm, and makes my heart happy, and makes my dog happy too. It has been way too long since I had a house that sunlight streamed into. I love my new place. Love it.

Oh, but it has gotten frosty lately:
 It was 25 degrees yesterday morning. But now my commute to work is about 3 minutes, instead of 20 minutes on an icy highway.

And here is our latest student:
 I wish I could show his cute little face. He is a sweet boy who has Down Syndrome and is deaf. He's tiny and is like having a 12-month-old in the class despite the fact that he is 3. He has captured all our hearts.

And we got a Roku. I like it. And here it sits along with my mom's Christmas dolls.
  And then there is my newest ornament:
I got this at a church Christmas party ornament exchange. He's handmade. He's sitting on a glass ornament. What a lot of work, and so cute! Lucky me!

So that's been my life for the last few weeks: stressful, happy, busy, rewarding, sunny,'s all good!