Abode {W}

Friday, December 30, 2011

A year in review

January- Estelle turns seven!

February- Rain. Lots of rain. But when the sun shone, it was beautiful!

March- More rain!

April- Cherry blossom time!

May- Strawberry planting!

June- the return of the flowers!

July- Harvest season! Blueberry crates ready for the cannery.

August- All eleven cousins together for one night full of crazy fun. 21 attempts at a good group picture for my mother for Christmas. She got a scarf instead!

September-last breakfast on the porch of the store before school begins!

October- Beautiful hickory tree just before losing it's leaves.

November- The end of the farm season, the return of the grey.

A really good Thanksgiving with friends.

December- Christmas morning!

Playing Happy family on Christmas.Grateful for good friends , both for the farmer and I and our children.

Christmas tree, harvested, set up in the house, and decorated by the children with no help from us! I think they did a lovely job!
2011 is drawing to a close. I don't have any new resolutions (always the same ones-lose weight, exercise more, be more disciplined, and so on!) and I don't have a wise or witty look at the year past to offer.  But as I think about the events of the last year, all the stress and sorrow and joy and moments of laughing until I was crying, the words of one of my favorite hymns come to mind. And I am grateful that the words to this song have proven true! There is nothing else to say-God has been my help, and is my hope for the years to come!

Oh God our help in ages past
Our hope for years to come
Our shelter from the stormy blast
And our eternal home

Under the shadow of thy wings
Still may we dwell secure
Sufficient is thine are alone
And our defense is sure

Thursday, December 29, 2011

{phfr} Christmas version

 Pretty- my niece (on the left) and my daughter. The look alike cousins!
 Happy- Stuart with his new trucks. Notice his other loves represented here- the fire man's hat and the Thomas the Tank Engine shirt.
 Funny- I don't know what was being discussed here, but love that everyone has their head in their hands. Was it bad news? Or are they just simply exhausted by the round of Christmas festivities?
 Real- TOO MUCH CHOCOLATE!!!!!! I never thought I would say it, but I am sick of chocolate!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. These pictures (minus the last one of my son asleep under our tree) were all taken at my sister's house, where we were celebrating Christmas (on the third day of Christmas!) with my sisters and mother. Joining Like Mother Like Daughter for another round of {PHFR}, finding and recognizing contentment in the everyday. Now, I realize that Christmas is not the everyday, but the joys of time spent with family and friends carry on into the ordinary days, and the coming of our Lord and Savior makes it possible to find contentment and peace in everyday life.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve peace

The halls are decked, the turkey is ready to roast, the house is covered with lights, and I just took a hazelnut cake out of the oven. The tree is up and decorated (I think it is a little bit crooked....) and this year, the children did most of the decorating. I am so looking forward to our Christmas meal tomorrow evening, shared with good friends. The house is ready, and all is merry and bright. Monday afternoon will find us celebrating Christmas with the farmer's family. Have I said before how blessed I am in the in law department? His family rocks. Wishing you and yours a happy and blessed Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

So! I know it is almost Christmas, and that I should be full of good cheer and rejoicing. But, honestly, I am not feeling the love. It has been a long week of sinus infection and nasty cough, capped by a trip to the doctor (who looked like Andy Warhol) and a mishap involving my husbands truck and a tree. The trip to the doctor's office was half funny, half really, really aggravating. I know I should be nothing but grateful for medical care, and the money to pay for the office visit. However, 75 minutes of sitting in a waiting room full of sick, angry people clouded my outlook..

I know in my head that Jesus came in to this world of darkness to bring light, consolation, and hope. I know that my focus should be that, and that if I could see it clearly, I would indeed be consoled. But somehow, this miracle of the greatest gift of all has been obscured by the daily stresses that have become my companions, and I don't know how to turn this event, this tiny baby coming as the Savior of the world, into peace and joy in my own life. Well advising friends would remind me to turn my focus outward, and focus on making the day a special one of celebration for my children. I can do that, and I will. Yet, at the same time, I want to regain this sense of wonder and joy, to throw my head back and laugh, to stand up tall and say the words " It is all good" and mean them.

A large part of my angst stems from missing my dad. I have been thinking about Christmases past, and the things my dad always did to make Christmas special. Christmas is not the same without a long walk, an afternoon of playing the new game he always bought us, and a dish of the Melt-a-Way mints he always bought at Hickory Farms. And my mom? She has started referring to my family as "those friends of ours with the land." I am sad that she doesn't always remember who we are, can't recall our names.

The truth is, I am neither depressed or terribly gloomy, and I know that when I wake up in the morning feeling better than I did today (if the anti-biotic does it's work...) things will seem much better. Tonight, I am just not feeling the Christmas joy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas baking

 Every year, we make boxes of Christmas goodies for our neighbors. This year, the process was so much easier than it has ever been in the past. Evangeline and Estelle are old enough to be very helpful, and they absolutely loved it. They rolled out dough, cut out the shapes, and took cookies out of the oven.
 Stuart was happy with a little rolling pin and a was of dough, but he spent a good amount of time lining pennies up on the baking sheet. He is so eager to be a part of what we are doing, and was so thrilled to have a bit of dough that he was no trouble whatsoever.
And, the best part? He fell asleep on the couch just before we started icing the gingerbread! The icing is tricky, as it involves boiling sugar and water to just the right temperature and then drizzling the syrup in to stiffly beaten egg whites. Once it is mixed, you have to move quickly to ice the cookies before the icing hardens. Last year, he was crawling all over the table, smearing icing everywhere and creating general chaos. Tomorrow we will box up the goodies, and walk around to our neighbor's houses. I am so proud of myself, as I made three kinds of cookies and did not eat a single one! Usually, on these big baking days, I eat too many cookies and then feel sick! It is a nice feeling to have mustered up all of my self control and resisted the siren song of warm cookies!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

{phfr} almost winter!

 Pretty- Heavy frost on the sundial in the garden. This may be the closest we come to snow this year!
 Happy- Butterscotch brownies for the farm children, homemade raspberry cordial for the farmer and I! I made the cordial using our raspberries, and it is a blast of delicious summer time flavor!
 Funny- A (blurry) Stuart with little people on his fingers. He walked around for quite a while with them on his fingers, and was showing them to all his siblings. He thought he was pretty funny!
Real- Do your toddlers ever scribble in their older sister's school books? Mine does. Not very often, but when he does, he does such a thorough job! He also appears to be ambidextrous!

Joining Like Mother, Like Daughter for another round of {phfr}, capturing the contentment found in the ordinary. This contentment in the ordinary is comes very easily to me right now, during these quiet days of almost winter! I spend my mornings schooling my children, my afternoons baking, cooking, knitting, reading aloud. It is very pleasant, especially after a summer and fall of sheer busyness! There is such contentment in letting each day find it's own rhythm, without the usual hustle and bustle! Cozy, peaceful winter.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A brilliant solution!

 My girls have been having a hard time with spelling. Not only has it become difficult for them to learn the misspelled words, but they are upset when they get words wrong, which only adds to the frustration. Today, I hit upon the idea of having them type their misspelled words on my typewriter. they absolutely LOVE messing around with the typewriter, and so were thrilled to get a chance to use it. Having to hunt and peck for the letters made them think harder about which letter came next in the word, and, as a result, they both correctly spelled words they have been missing all week! I love finding easy solutions to problems! This has also made me appreciate home schooling, as I am able to tailor our lessons to suit my children's strengths and weaknesses.
 While the girls worked on spelling, Stuart happily played with the Fisher price school house. He will usually play quietly for quite a while, and as a result of playing nearby while we do our work, he is learning how to count and name his colors.
 I have been knitting while giving spelling tests and hearing reading assignments, and have actually gotten in quite a lot of knitting time! I have made two cowls for the girls, and am now making them matching hats.
All in all, the school year is going very well for us. This is somewhat of a relief, as the last two years have just been difficult, and I feel as if we have not made much progress. Someday, I will type out a post on my thoughts about home schooling. This always helps me to clarify my own thinking, and to remind me of why I do what I do! Now it is time to make dinner and read a little more of the excellent book we are reading!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

{phfr} Thanksgiving version

 Pretty- A bouquet on the Thanksgiving table. The flowers are gone from the garden, so we look to bushes and shrubs for beautiful greenery.
Happy-My son and his cousin doing a happy dance on their way to the food table! 
 Funny- My husband and my mother. I had just told my mother to stop making silly faces for the camera, and then in the split second I pushed the shutter button, my husband did this.
Real- Friends and family gathered about the table, sharing the Thanksgiving meal. I am so grateful for the family and friends I have been given. These friends are godparents to Stuart, ride givers from school, meal bringers during times of sorrow, and people who inspire me to grow in my faith. We have been blessed, and I am really, really thankful!

Joining Like Mother, Like Daughter for another week of {phfr}, taking note and giving thanks for the ever day things that bring us contentment.