Wednesday, December 29, 2010

...Deep Appreciation

Oh the gifts we received this year! So thoughtful. So lovely. BEST YEAR EVER. It seemed to be the year of Art and Books, which is just wonderful in my opinion. Two of the girls were a little worried when they walked in with the same shape of gift!

From Jen and Jordan.
The pictures spell our last name.
Can you see it?

 From Jill and Clint.
A beautiful rustic bird painting on old barn board.
She knows me well.

 From my mother. I have wanted a sweater like this for so long.

 In fact, if you open my front hall closet you will find this lovely assortment
of hand knits. All made by her, beginning around 1972 or so.

 From my mom again, and Jessica and Dann. 
Lots of new recipies coming to the family table.
(Jess also gave me a lovely gift basket of
fancy schmancy food and wine, which was
dissassembled before photo time)

 For Paul, from my mom.
I wonder if it will work??

 We have an excellent collection now.
Can you tell I love Jamie Oliver recipes?

 This old barn we got second hand for Athena.
We bought it from an elderly man whose GRANDFATHER
made it for him.
I'll bet it is nearly one hundred years old.
All for the low low price of $15.

And Athena's most favorite gift.
Her horse collection who have already been named,
stables labeled and have been played with ever since.
Thank you Auntie Jen.
This gift is closely followed by the
Moon in My Room from Grandma.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

...Deep Exhale

Another Christmas has come and gone. The decorations are all stowed away neatly in boxes. The Christmas tree graces a snowbank in the front yard and provides food and shelter for my feathered friends. The guest bedrooms are back to normal, sheets washed, beds taken down, put away or deflated. One of my favorite days of the year. If you want to read almost the exact same post, visit my oldest daughter's blog. I guess some things are learned indeed.

We had a great family visit. Really great. Since we got together on Boxing Day instead of Christmas Day, I opted to make an Italian dinner, and because I made most of it ahead of time I really got to enjoy my children. We went tobogganing, Jordan (my son-in-law) even did a little bit of snowboarding as well. We ate, opened gifts and played Charades. So much fun. I stayed up until just past midnight, which was oh so late for this "early to bed, early to rise" type of girl. After brunch the next day, all packed up and headed back to their homes, Athena played with her horses, Paul went for a nap, and I proceeded to clean and remove all reminders of the holiday. And now... deep exhale.

 The boys deeply immersed in MLS listings on the computer.

 My girls. Well 3 out of 4 of them.
Jill, Jess,  and Jen.

 Vamping it up!

(no matter how they fought or disagreed
they were and still are fiercly protective of each other.)

Josie and her Papa.
Don't you think they look alike!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

And So This Is Christmas

So this is Christmas

and what have you done

another year over

a new one just begun

and so this is Christmas

I hope you have fun

the near and the dear ones

the old and the young

a very Merry Christmas

and a Happy New Year

let's hope it's a good one

without any fear

and so this is Christmas (war is over...)

for weak and for strong (...if you want it)

the rich and the poor ones

the road is so long

and so happy Christmas

for black and for white

for the yellow and red ones

let's stop all the fight

a very Merry Christmas

and a Happy New Year

lets hope it's a good one

without any fear

so this is Christmas

and what have you done

war is over - if you want it

war is over - if you want it

war is over - if you want it

war is over - if you want it

Happy Days!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won;
Walt Whitman
After roughly ten years on the Fire Department
Paul was promoted to Captain.
I am so proud.
He deserves it.
He really does and was told so by several members.
This is the only picture he would allow me to post.
(Vanity, thy name is woman Paul)
Chief Al Dreher giving him his Captain stripes.

Athena was invited to the Firefighter Banquet.
Her first grown up function.

She was excited to go but later was quite disappointed
as she thought it was a "Ball" and that she was going to
be able to dance!

Winter Solstice

O Winter! ruler of the inverted year, . . . . I crown thee king of intimate delights, Fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness, And all the comforts that the lowly roof Of undisturb'd Retirement, and the hours Of long uninterrupted evening, know.

William Cowper

Sunrise this Solstice Morning

My internal alarm clock (which never seems to fail me) awakened me before 3am. The glow of the full moon shone in our bedroom window and earlier in the evening indeed gave "the lustre of midday to objects below."
I went downstairs. I was eagerly anticipating the sight of the lunar eclipse on this December full moon. I drew the blinds on several windows and although the yard was warmly illuminated, there was a fog present that did not allow a good view.

But this morning... as is always the case after a fog, the hoar frost was just beautiful in the brilliant morning sun. That is the beauty of living in 'the land of the living skies'. We have cold weather, to be sure, but the sun dogs, the twinkle of the snow and the clear blue skies are beyond compare.

Happy Solstice everyone!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010


Thank you all so much for the compliments on the extraordinary picture of the chickadee but... I must admit, I did not take the picture. It was found through Google Images.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I sent Paul to get some more bird seed for me today
as he had some business in the city.
I needed a wild bird seed mix and some black oil.
He called me on the way home to let me know
that the seed costs more than my $38 box of wine.
I knew it would.
(They were each 40lb bags)

So this afternoon I set out to fill my feeders.
About a dozen sparrows watched patiently from about 15 feet away.
I told them to be patient, I was coming.
Then a brave little Chickadee flew right up to the
branch that one of the feeders hung on.
He waited and watched.
I held out my hand with a handful of seed in my palm.
I stood as still as I could.
He wanted to land and eat, I know he did.
He told me he wanted to.
I think I was more skittish than he.

He almost landed. Almost.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

School Days

We are packing in as much learning as we can these days.
So much to cover before winter vacation.
Things like the Iditarod which is a newfound
interest of hers.

We are at a good spot to take a break with learning to read,
after a few more weeks that is.
Math is coming along very well.
Our winter study is moving along nicely.
All is well on the learning front.

 All bathed up and ready for bed, but just one more book please.

 Someone is tired of getting pictures taken. I assure you
no disrespect was intended by the gesture.

 I found this old typewriter on a public "used items" site for $10

 Isn't it much more fun to do a spelling test on it?
This is the sweater my Mother knit for Athena last
Christmas. I fits her now!

 (This is the reaction I got when I asked her how to spell the word length)
What? Your children don't wear bells on their wrists
during school? No? Why not?

 She thinks she is ready to start handwriting.

 We need to work more on the printing first.

Lots of crafting.

And snow play.

And this picture from a few months ago
after she asked me to make her a baby Bjorn
for her little pup.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Little Bits of Red

Little bits of red have been popping up all over the place around here.

In a gift from Auntie Jen which is NOT used
as a decoration as was intended, but more like
a doll who sleeps with a little girl.

Ornaments on her little tree from Christmas past.

Stockings hanging on the mantle awaiting
a jolly old elf.

A bowl of candy canes by the front door
as a proffering to anyone who knocks.

Decorations adorn nooks and crannys.

And some hang on a fresh cut tree.

What's that you say? Your children don't play
with your Christmas villages? They don't
build roads and add matchbox cars?

And this little guy and his mate
grace our dining table
and we can't help but laugh.

Yes there are little bits of red everywhere it seems.

Christmas is coming...and soon. And yet, I have a somewhat
hard time reconciling my beliefs, (which are not Christian any more)
with the season of advent and Christmas.

I want Athena to experience the anticipation
and the joy of it all to be sure.
I also feel bad celebrating a day whose very meaning
is something I do not subscribe to.

Last year we celebrated the Winter Solstice and I even
invited my older girls and their families over for
a Solstice Feast, albeit it happened days later at Christmas.

I try to find greeting cards that do not include the word Christmas
in them to send to family and friends.

It is something I am going to have to think more about
in the coming days and years even.
I want to bring joy and wonder to my littlest one
and make it all seem merry and bright.

My sister, who is not Christian either, tells me
she has always celebrated it in a secular way
and always will.
That seems okay to me and yet...
I am looking for something more.

Maybe just a celebration of the end of another year.
Maybe the return of the light.
Or maybe something somewhere in between

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Learning Notes: Weeks 11 and 12

Weeks 11 and 12 already. Time is going by more quickly than I anticipated. What with the sickness and the allergies and who knows what else, we are still managing to put in a decent amount of learning and the girl could not be happier!


Continued working on telling time
Writing number
Counting by 2's, 5's and 10's
More addition and Subtraction practice with worksheets
Played Shut the Box and UNO
Learned More or Less
Counting by 5's to 100

Language Arts:

Read stories on Starfall
Teaching Reading Lessons 52 through 57
Bob Books with accompanying activities (which are way too easy by the way)
Lots of reading both aloud and to herself
Played pony phonics game several times
Sight word flash cards
Handwriting practice


Finished Bird Study
Hummingbirds, Purple Finch, Canada Goose and Snowy Owl and American Robin
Completed bird book

Completed weekly assignments
Attended 4H meeting. Topic: Dogs

Painted some Christmas ornaments
Made a book mark
Illustrated and narrated some pages for Literature journal

We also set up her new desk. This was my Grandmothers but I cannot remember it in her house. No matter. It is solid wood, has several compartments for her supplies and under the writing surface has ample space for my sewing machine and basket and all sorts of other things. The beauty of this desk is that it fold up to look like a cabinet. Everything out of sight. Love it. Thanks Jen.

 Outdoor Activities:

Made a snowman
Spent several hours playing in the snow
Went on our first snowshoeing outing of the year. It is so nice to have a golf course a mere two houses from our home to trek on. So peaceful. Lots of fun.


Birds of Prey
Birds of Canada
Birds at my Feeder
A child's First Book of Birds
Usborne Pocket Nature: Birds
An Introduction to Backyard Birds
The Chick Book

City Dog Country Frog (several times)
The Little Puppy
The Little Kitten
The Little Pig
The Little Duck
Balto (x3!)
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus