Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santa, Reindeer, a Christmas Tree, and The Parsley That Wouldn't Die

(I enjoyed writing that title!)

Here's a bit of what we've been busy with the past 2 weeks, other than finishing up school for the year, and getting ready for Christmas . . .

A week and a half ago, we still didn't have a Christmas tree. So when Rashed had a day off work, we decided that would be the day to find our tree. First, we went to a lot with cut trees set up near a local shopping area. After only 5 minutes of wandering through the lot, with the wind blowing hard, and near zero degrees wind-chill, we found ourselves questioning our sanity and asking "WHY are we looking for a tree outside today??"

The trees were very pretty, but we decided their prices were a bit too high for us, so we hurried back to the warm van and went to Christmas Tree Place #2.

Christmas Tree Place #2 was Horrock's - a local specialty grocery store and garden center that we love. Their trees were outside, but blocked by much of the wind - yay! We quickly found a fair-sized tree that caught my eye for some un-known reason because they were all bound up and you couldn't see their shape. But this one called out to me, and home it came. After thawing out a bit in our garage and relaxing it's branches, we put it up in the house the next day. And it had a great shape!

a growing Snoopy ornament collection, that started with this first one which I've had since I was a child

(sorry, he's out of focus for some reason, but I didn't want to leave him out)

The next day, we went back to Horrock's; this time to see Santa and 2 real live reindeer. I've never seen real reindeer before. I thought they were very cute - like a mix of moose and deer.

We've never made a big deal about Santa at all, and Aaron has never done the sit-on-Santa's-lap-and-tell-him-what-you-want-for-Christmas thing. So after I quickly explained the drill, he eagerly climbed up on Santa's lap and told him he wants Legos and cars and Sponge Bob stuff for Christmas. And then Santa just kept chatting with Aaron for a couple minutes, it was so cute! After Aaron got down from the sleigh, he stopped and turned around and said "Santa? I have a question. Are you real?" Exactly like that, word for word! I guess Aaron was confused because we had told him that the story of Santa delivering presents to kids all over the world in one night, with flying reindeer, was not real. Santa poked his arm and his cheek and pulled on his beard, and said "Looks like I'm real!" Aaron just looked at him for a minute, and then said Okay! and walked away.

(aren't they cute?? By the way, the owner said they have to keep them in an air-conditioned barn in the summer!)

And finally, The Parsley!

Maybe I'm just ignorant about the hardiness and strength of parsley. But weeks after putting our garden "to rest" for the winter, one of the boys noticed that this potted parsley, which had been sitting just inside the gate to the garden, was still green and alive! We brought it up near the house, and I actually used some in November! It hasn't continued to grow, but it certainly seems to have no plans on dying this winter, as evidenced below:

December 4: (after 8 inches of snow)

December 11: (after 14 more inches of snow over 4 days)

December 14: (after several nights of temps in the teens, and wind-chills in single digits)

We're calling it our Miraculous Christmas Parsley. We'll see if it holds up in the new year!

May you have a joyful and blessed Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's Christmas Break!

Yay! I'm (almost) as excited as the kids that our Christmas Break from homeschooling is here (as of about 1 1/2 hours ago). We had originally planned to continue on with 3 days of school next week since the boys had already had some time off in November when I was dealing with my depression again. But, I realized a couple days ago that I really needed/wanted the time off. So if the teacher's done with school, I guess the kids are too!

Even though we have taken many days off the past few months due to my health issues, I, myself, spent those days not feeling well. And then as soon as I was up to it, we were back to school and trying to catch up. I don't feel as though I've really had any real time off, so we declared that today was the last day.

Overall, I've been feeling pretty well lately, although I still have to lay down for a short nap after taking the medication that makes me sleepy and I still have to be careful not to get too busy and worn out. The naps are frustrating sometimes because I have to schedule my day around those non-functional hours twice a day (just like a baby!). But the amount of time I'm "out of it" is slowly getting shorter and less intense. And as I continue adjusting, it's supposed to get even better. Where I am now is far better than where I was, so I won't complain!

No pictures today! It feels very strange for me to make a post without pictures. But I haven't had the time or energy to download photos the past couple weeks. We've had some soccer going on, more snow, Christmas tree hunting, Santa and reindeer, and an interesting story about parsley! So lots to post about, and many fun pictures, which I'm hoping to get done this weekend or early next week. Sometime when I'm not trying to get everything finished for Christmas, that is!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Winter Is Here!

Our first snowfall began last night, and by this morning we had around 6" - 8" of snow on the ground, with a little more coming off and on throughout the day.

(looking east toward our neighbors' yards; just after sunrise)

(Our cats love to be let outside immediately every morning. This morning, Hazel was a little confused - what's all the white stuff? Both cats were back in the porch waiting to be let in after just a few minutes!)

(Just yesterday, I was marveling that some of my potted parsley was still growing after numerous frosts. I don't think it will survive this snow cover though! In the background, in a flurry, is our strange dog, Chester, who LOVES snow and races around the yard frantically every single time it snows. I'm actually thinking about asking the vet. if there's something we can do or give him to calm him down; for at least the first hour after bringing him back inside, he kept pacing around, looking out the front window, and whining to go back out. It drives me crazy!)

(heavy snow weighing down branches on the big evergreen tree in our backyard)

(a close up of some of the branches)

Today happened to be the day I needed to go have a fasting blood test done; so I was out and about earlier than usual. Near the building with the blood lab is a walking trail. I had brought my camera with me, in case there was a good shot that I just couldn't resist.

We'll surely be tired of the snow come February or so; but for now, it's always exciting and so pretty! If I ever moved really south, I'd miss the snow. Even though it can be a bother sometimes, there's nothing like the calm, quiet beauty of freshly fallen snow.