Monday, December 17, 2018

The Big Snow and the aftermath

The weather people on TV kept talking about a storm coming but they didn't know how much north or south of us etc etc. It looked like we were right at the edge and might get an inch or two. Well ...

Sunday December 9 - It started early in the morning with some snow flakes. We decided we could go to church since the storm should not reach us before 11 am. It was Chrismon Sunday ... when I am giving the Chrismons to the children at the church. Well ... to those who were there this time.

At 2 pm this is the view from our front door and back patio.

Time: 4:30 pm

Time: 10 pm

Almost 11 pm and time to go to bed. James decided he needed to try some measuring. At some pots it was 10 1/2 inches and in some close to 17 inches. Oh my.

Monday December 10 - The monthly Colonial Lacemakers meeting was supposed to be in our house. The Christmas party. I had to cancel it on Sunday. No use. Some would have an hourlong drive each way.

Tuesday December 11 - Other Christmas party planned. This time there was no problem. The CR quilters live more or less in walking distance. It was a potluck.

With show+tell. 

We had a really nice time. 

Starting on Sunday afternoon the roads were quite bad. The road department tried their best though. Sarah was in the circle of working the  night-shifts and had to drive to the hospital in the evenings and come back early mornings after everything melted had frozen again. A mother's nightmare. I think it was  Sunday evening when she told us that she was stuck 45 minutes on an on-ramp of the highway on the way to work. Luckily she had left the house early enough.

Tuesday morning brought a bad shock though. Caleb and Wade found that Schatzi had died in her sleep. She used to wander between Caleb's and the parents bedrooms in the nights to find a place (or her dog bed) to get comfy. Schatzi was Sarah's first family member before husband or children. And she was a really sweet dog. And the day before they all played happily in the snow. This is what she posted:

The advantage of a week with snow: you can take care of your Christmas mail and I finally made the overdue stockings. I had made Helen and Sarah's when they were still living in our household. I had taken a class were I learned to do special stitches with my Pfaff. How many years ago was that? Several years later I made another "batch": Ben, William and Wade. Sarah's children were not yet on the horizon. Well, they are now. Caleb is 5 years old.

There was a problem. Years earlier I had made Wade's stocking the other way. 

It took some doing but here is the row now.

Friday - The snow is pretty much gone. I am happy. 

We had invited Sarah with the children for lunch. They needed a new environment. We had brought toys down from upstairs and I showed the children some videos of them I had just made recently:

VIDEO 12/06    (0:45 minutes)

VIDEO 12/11   (0:49 minutes)

We had a lot of fun. And then I thought of doing FaceTime with Tante Ute in Germany. My sister loves people and especially children. And this is family!
Sarah took a VIDEO   (0:40) and photos. The video doesn't quite show HOW MUCH fun we had. It started out just Caleb and I with me holding the iPad. 
VIDEO   this is the same but look what I just did with it with a free app. Pretty excited about it.

Then James held the iPad for all of us. The boys laughed loud. I am not sure why they thought hearing Ute trying to talk English was so funny. Then they took turns sending her kisses. The video was taken at the very end. Ah, if these gadgets were around when my parents were still alive ...

I forgot to take photos but here are some of the toys which need to go upstairs until next time.

Saturday we had errands to do. In the afternoon I decided I had to do the bicycle exercises before I settle down for the evening. Since I was out with the car anyway I went first to the Glen Allen Arts Center. I had heard that there was a quilt exhibition. Actually, it was very nice but there was lots more going on. Lots of Christmas trees and Advent Wreaths decorated but different people and some even for sale. These I thought were funny.

Last but not least ... we felt sorry for the birds in all that snow. We looked for some bird feeders and bird food in the garage to put on the front porch. The snow is gone, the birds are here and very happy. Mr. Cardinal just flew off though. Taking a photo through the window (and screen) without chasing them off is difficult. 

Today (Sunday 12/16) the wrap-up of the church Chrismons. Since so many could not make it to church last Sunday I brought them again this morning. It was the service with the Children's Christmas Pageant and I was almost worried I might not have enough but all went well. 

I had to also postpone the workshop from last Sunday afternoon to today. We made this year's symbol for the church tree. It is always nice fellowship but today we were only three. 

Yup, and now I am up-to-date again. Where is the eggnog?

Saturday, December 15, 2018

End of Nov - Beginning of Advent

Two major holidays in the USA: Thanksgiving and Christmas, close together. Now it's time to think of the next one.

Friday November 30 - Sarah was in her off-work time and they wanted to get out of their house. So they came over for lunch. She brought her leftovers. I didn't have to worry what the little ones might want to eat. Ha-ha, we had just taken out the bottom stair gate because when we babysit we always do it at their house. But did find out though that it is not a problem. They were very good and we had toys for them to play with too.

Saturday December 1 - Like last year I had been asked to teach again how to make a live Advent wreath. It had been great fun last year. And it was this year too. Nancye had been wonderful to order all the things we needed. When it needed doing I still had not been in the best of shapes after the knee surgery. 

1st Sunday of Advent - Carols and Lessons service at church. So nice. 
It's time to start decorating our house. The big tree first. I call it family tree or memory tree. Oh, all those memories: ornaments from my parent's tree, ornaments our girls have made when they were little, ornaments we have bought on family trips etc etc. I love doing it.

Good. Time for a break. Helen and William called on FaceTime. I love it!!!

Another tradition: the Advent candle. From Germany courtesy of my sister. There are 24 marks on it and every day we burn it a little at mealtimes to see Christmas getting closer.

The Hartensteiner Advent star can't be missed either. This one is as old as our marriage. It gets a little bit more difficult to assemble with its age but so far it's still good.

Our Chrismon tree (in the sunroom) was the first to be finished decorating. Dear James puts all the trees up for me. Huge helper. I think I have about 27 Chrismon designs on this by now. Each one in the large version and the small version. 

The Christmas cactus in the sunroom is starting to be "in the season" too.

My gorgeous amaryllis though got top-heavy and I had to make a cut flower out of it.

The straw ornament tree (I also call it our German tree) took a little bit more effort this year. Last year's tree was replaced. And we also needed new lights. James got into the spirit and found "Candle lights" on the internet and they came fast. They so remind me of the lights we had when I was a child ... after we didn't use real candles any longer.

It took a few days but finally here is the family tree in all its glory. 

We had to take care of some errands around town. Might as well just stay for lunch. Got to treat yourself when you are working hard. It was yummy.

The lace tree, it did get put up but not decorated. It stands in the loft and that's where we usually sit in the evenings when it is cold. The ornaments are laying out though and I enjoy looking at them. So many came from other lacemakers (in exchange) and there are more memories.

This year's Chrismon for the children at church is the anchor. It is 3D and needs a box. James helped me with those. I hope, HOPE, I made enough. Every year I have anxiety about that. It always turns out well though.

Happy Advent!