Saturday, December 9, 2017

Super weekend and beyond

Saturday December 2 started with the St. Martin's men's breakfast. This time wives were invited. It was very nice. At the end the two servers brought us cupcakes as gifts and one of them organized us to take our photo.

Short time later Sarah texted this photo to me. Their community HOA had arranged this free picture taking with Mr. and Mrs. Santa. This is my favorite photo, crying and all.
I texted back to her: Mommy, what did you tell us about strangers?

At 2 pm I had to be at church for the wreath making workshop. Senior warden had asked me in the beginning of the year whether I could lead something like this and since I had made wreaths like this for many years it was no problem.
The greenery you can get for free wherever they sell Christmas trees. I had no idea how much we would need but I had plenty and James brought some from the church where Sarah and Wade buy their tree too.
Everybody enjoyed the workshop very much which made me very happy too of course.

Sunday ... 1st Advent Sunday ... all the children of the church were invited to come and collect a gift at the 10 o'clock service (read about this ministry here) ... one of the 100 Chrismons. James had helped me to wrap them the night before. We are quite a team. The children were so cute.

Back at church in the afternoon. This is the 10th year we did the Chrismons. There is always a workshop inviting those who want to learn how to make that year's symbol. We make the bigger church tree ornaments because it is easier to learn with the bigger beads and pearls. Afterwards we went into church to hang them on the tree. It is always nice fellowship. In exchange I gave everybody a little ornament to take home for their efforts.

This year's Alpha & Omega.

And being in the right spirit it was time to start decorating our home too. A package from my sister in Germany had just arrived. This ornament was one of the things inside and was the first on our tree.

Having official obligations behind me I was happy to concentrate on our own things. 1:04 in the morning William's duvet cover was finally done. He wanted me to buy this dinosaur fabric when we were in Germany in June. I hope he will like on his new bed. Sewing duvet covers is not my strength. It even has a zipper.

And yes, writing our Christmas letters. Mail to Australia, New Zealand and Europe takes a little longer.
Ute, siehst Du die Adventskerze? Danke!

And then Wilber the painter came on Wednesday to work on the kitchen cabinets.

Almost done. Almost. Can't wait for it to be totally done. I think we will be happy. The kitchen is so much lighter, friendlier, happier. What a bit of color can do!

Friday, December 8, 2017

OMG where to start?

As soon as we were home life got very busy. The very next day Wilber came and took all the kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts. They are going to be painted white. Aren't we brave?

I can't help it. If I see something like this I have to take the photo. Or two. Next door neighbor is changing his curb appeal. Could not make up my mind which photo I find more "artistic".

Ah, most days seem very nice and even though I have so much to do, I think going for a walk is a must for healthy benefits. And when the weather is so nice, you just have to. Look at the heron in our community.

Sarah is very good communicating. She texted this photo to me from the day care. Sweet guys.

And then Thursday November 30 our plans for the day were scattered. Owen had a fever in the night which means he can't go to day care and arrived at our house at 7:20 in the morning. The boy was miserable but there was no knowing what the matter was. Here are a few photos when he seemed to feel better. Most of the time he wanted to be held and we were not allowed to sit down either. James and I took turns.

He loved the stairs and couldn't get enough of crawling up.

Papa took him for a walk but didn't have to go far and he was asleep ... for long enough for us to have lunch, ha-ha.

Omi, the stairs!

Friday December 1 we decided to finally celebrate out anniversary a little. We went for lunch at the Kona Grill. It was very nice.

I was getting ready for two workshops on the weekend. Again, the weather was so nice that I thought trying to find some of the special pinecones at Maymont for next day's workshop would be a good idea. You never have to ask James twice.

No luck with the pinecones but the Mansion was open to visit. We had been often to the park but never inside the mansion so decided that day was it.

The house was of course decorated for Christmas. I was not so impressed with the dining room. The broad ribbons would have been obstacles to see the other guests.

The menu was impressive though.

The house was interesting to say the least. We walked up the stairs and there on the banister was a peacock. Well, a stuffed one.

The couple didn't have any children but one of the upper rooms was decorated for visiting children. For each child there was a ribbon. The end with the name was tied to the lamp and then the ribbons wound criss cross around the room ending with the gift. What a nice custom.

Mrs swan bed!

Yes, what an estate!

And that was a nice beginning of Advent time. It certainly helped to get into the spirit of the season.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Thanksgiving Time

Time to visit in Nashville again. Sunday November 19 we went to early service and went on the road straight from church. A later start then usual but the sky was blue and the sun was shining. There were patches of trees which showed their autumn colors. Also, since it was Sunday, the streets were less crowded.

Later start, later arrival.

William still had school so no sleepovers but on Monday we could pick him up and take him for an ice cream. Yeah.

Tuesday we went and took Captain D's lunch to Helen where she teaches ESL to her immigrants.

I loved the signs on the wall in the break room.
When we left we were called back because the next class wanted to meet the parents of their beloved teacher. They love her and she loves them. The students were from Myanmar and Nepal.

And after school William arrived for his sleepovers. No school next day. Thanksgiving mini vacation.
William likes to play games. After playing several games of dominoes we used the stones to try our luck in building.

One of the things we had to do on Wednesday was bake two pies. William wanted to bake (eat) pumpkin pie and his parents had requested Auntie Sarah's apple pie. We both had fun and he even did the crimping of the edges.

Thursday ... Thanksgiving Day ... taking it easy. William likes to climb in when he wakes up and cuddle. Who would not like that?

And then later there is the Parade and of course lots of playing in the living room including "angry birds".

We were invited to be at the Farm for the FEAST at 1 pm. And what a feast it was. Helen and Ben had cooked many delicious dishes. Ben had lost his mother in June when we were in Europe. A difficult time for sure. And since then a lot of time was spent sorting things out in her house. But there is always a bittersweet side. They had found different sets of dishes and silverware and laid the table very nicely.

After the meal (the turkey wasn't stuffed any more but we were) Ben showed us around on the (former) farm. There were chicken houses and ham smoking houses and other interesting things.

Wade had mounted a new gate. William was a bit reluctant to "ride" on it. VIDEO!

Back at the back porch the kitty had left a present.

William wanted to spent the night with his parents at the farm (times are changing) so I had time to work on this year's Chrismons back at the townhouse. Perfect! Now all 100 were done!

An important day for Helen. With the help of another lady she wanted to organize William's room. She had asked me to come as well. It was fun working together and making great progress. We sorted all the toys and clothes and sorted out those things he had outgrown. Helen was happy. We found the cardigan and hat I had knitted for Baby William and decided to dress a teddy.

I found these old photos. I think they were taken February 2011. Cute little William. He is such a big boy now. I must say that I didn't do such a bad job considering that I didn't even have a pattern and made it all up myself.

Back at the townhouse Ben came and brought William again for another sleepover. We had sorted out all his train tracks and brought them to the townhouse ... in case he wouldn't want to part completely with them. It was a huge success. Here he could build wherever he wanted. We started by making a track totally around the two chairs.

And then we built in a loop ... and a bridge.

And then the three of us went to the Mexican restaurant close to us. William had a big appetite.

He ate so well that we didn't mind adding the dessert.

Saturday was the crucial day. What would William say to the "progress" in his room. Actually it was a pleasant moment. He could not believe all the books, games and toys he had he had not found in a long time. The whole reason was that he needed a big bed now and space had to be made for it.

After that he was ready for the bed shopping. His Mommy had already done her homework and knew exactly where she wanted to look. The bed is now ordered and will be delivered Monday December 11 or was it the 13? Anyway, it was a day when Helen is on Christmas break and can be at home to wait for the delivery.

Then back to the townhouse to play more with the trains. A "shortcut" way between the chairs with an approach from the south and north, another bridge, another loop. Papa was into it too. What needed to be delivered by the train where etc etc. Lots of fun.

Sunday we went to church. Sunday school is after the service and William loves it. Of course we stayed so he could participate. Because of the holiday weekend there was no adult Sunday school so James went to investigate the Blessing Box we had heard about. It is mounted next to the church driveway close to the road.

It is totally unlocked and available for people to put things in or take things out ... I guess similar to the "little free library". James and I guess that it must have been an old metal school locker.

Information on the inside of both doors. I especially like the "Please help spread the word in the community".

For lunch we were again invited to the farm.

On the way he say this advertising board. He kept saying "You get it? You get it?". Yes, Omi got it. Ha-ha. And he doesn't even like fries.

We took William's suitcase with us and left him there afterwards. That made saying good-bye to him easier than he leaving our place.

We had the evening to pack up and get ready for the return to Virginia. But not before some of the Advent-sacks have been packed ready for Helen to pick up. I can't believe that Advent/Christmas-time is already upon us.

On Sunday we had some car trouble with the brand new Honda. Warning lights had come on and then gone off again but the car ran nicely.

So, Monday morning we were off early as always. About 170 miles without any problems but then ... the warning lights again. Something about the brakes. The brakes worked fine but somehow it affected the cruise control. It didn't work and these days we are so used to the convenience of it. So we googled and found a dealer in Bristol. James used the waiting time to read his newspaper with the free internet and I did some Chrismons for Helen.

About 2 hours later we were on the road again. Nothing lost but some time. I always get amused about this stretch of the highway. Two roads run together but one is called South and one is called North ... in the same direction.

 And when James was driving I worked a little more on you know what. Helen will be pleased.

We had to drive the last hour in the dark but no big deal. All is well. And the feeling of a really great time in Nashville with our loved-ones there. We have Thanksgiving Day every day.