Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Day

Todd had Monday off of work. He kindly gave me the day off of my regular job and learned more about how school works on a daily basis. He slept in, but that was still early for the rest of us. School was finished before 4 PM though so his first suggestion was to get up earlier. We tried today. We will try harder tomorrow.

After school was done he encouraged everyone to get out side. G loves to skate on the pond, but that means someone has to keep the snow off of some of it. Todd becomes the human Zamboni. This is his first attempt at a home made snow removal device. He made a "blade" out of scrap metal from the corn crib that had fallen down on the property years ago and 2 x 4s. He attached that to a furniture dolly. It works better then shoveling, but it still is a lot of work to do the 600+ foot drive. I will try to get pictures of his second invention later.J had taken a walk in the woods earlier. She saw lots of deer prints. T doesn't handle to cold well so she and J worked on something on J's laptop--music organization I think.
After some fresh air Todd and G worked on math facts.
And J and T made cookies. Here she is offering me the chocolate chips that were left over.T got the most important job--licking the beaters.
I spent the day sewing curtains. I was happy to get them done, but did get bored of sewing straight lines.
D has a John Deere room so he chose curtains to match.

This is an close of the fabric.
G and N chose a silky sheer print that looks like water to go in their tropical room. I made sheers instead of lining theirs. All the others are lined with white muslin.

My favorite are the ones I made for the little girls. M's response was worth the extra effort: she stared for a moment then said, "They are cooooollll and beautiful!"I found the main fabric and was amazed how well it matched their room--green and orange with numbers to go with the letters on the border. Then I saw the coordinating stripey print and bought some to do "something fun with". I used the ancient ruffler attachment for my ancient machine (that lost a part in the move) to make a ruffle, but that wasn't enough so I added the valence. I originally planned to use the ribbon to tie the curtains to the rod, but changed my mind when I added the valence. The ribbon makes a nice contrast.I ran out of orange thread with one and a half seams yet to top stitch on the ribbon. I called some nearby friends, they didn't have any orange thread. I was I was getting worried. I had to go into town for something else (and lunch out on my day off I thought I might as well live it up and grab a quarter pounder). I was not surprised that nowhere in our little town could I find orange thread, but I did think in the quiet of my van that I could use clear or mono filament thread. So I was able to finish. No one will every know...well you know, but I doubt you will go looking for the difference.
The master suite curtains are up but need hemming. Maybe I will get pictures up when that is done.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Moon shadows

Because we are away from city lights we often get shadows from a full moon. This summer it was fun to walk outside without a flashlight and not run into trees or trip over bikes. Now that we have snow on the ground the effect of the bright moon is even greater. I don't go walking around in it...too cold especially this week, but love to admire it from the many windows of our house. In fact I don't even need a night light to walk safely around the house because so much light comes in.
I really wanted to be able to share what it looks like, so last night when I woke wide awake at 2 AM I got out my camera and tried a bunch of different settings. The pictures were taken from our dinig room and kitchen. Here is what I ended up with. I did some editing with Paint Shop, but the first is untouched:

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas at the Farm

All of our married years we have gone "home" for Christmas to visit family. Like most years we started with Todd's family. The drive was slow going because of freezing rain, but we were not late for dinner--it is difficult to be late for dinner at the Norris Farmhouse even if you are really late there will be tons of leftovers. The big farmhouse fills up fast just before Christmas...Todd's sister was already there as well as his aunt, uncle and cousin from Baltimore. His other uncle still lives in the original house with his family so they were in and out the entire time we were there. Chad was able to arrive late on Christmas Night so we could all be together for a couple of days.

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring except for....
Aunt Carole who never stops stirring. She keeps us all busy and entertained. She especially likes to take time for the little ones. Here she is reading a bedtime story. The big lump on the floor next to M and T is Tim, Todd's 23 yo cousin.
On Christmas morning Father Christmas (Todd's cousin Jonathon in costume made by Aunt Carole) passed out presents with some little helpers. We tried to down play material gifts this year and gave more "gifts of self".The Gifts of Self varied--Suzanne's was cooking--she is amazing, Carole played a piano piece, Tim played his guitar and sang for us, Uncle David babysat T who had a fever the night of the Cousin's party, , J, G, &N with the help of Aunt Lora's soundtrack collection sang for us. Uncles John's gift of self was a tractor ride/farm tour. D had to get in on the tractor driving.
D loves hanging out with Tim. Poor thing is surrounded by girls so much of the time. He was asking of Tim would be at the farm weeks before we left.
Christmas day was the most beautiful, chilliest day we had at the Farm

This is a view of the farm house from the middle of the corn field across the street which belongs to Wissing-Norris Clearview Farms. Todd's Grandmother's family originally owned the farm and as you can see by the clear view it was aptly named.
A more up close view of the house from the road. Todd's grandmother spent all of her Christmases here, as did her sister, Todd's father and his siblings, Todd and his siblings and our children.
T loved all the laps that were available to her. She really enjoyed a chap stick routine with Uncle David.There has been a long tradition of performing the "Norris Family Christmas Pageant" every year for a long time. This is how it works: Someone (Carole) designates scenes of the Christmas story to teams of the people who are there. If there are special guests They also participate, one year my brother came and got to be a "wise guy". This year the special guest was an older man who lived in the nearby small town and is the town historian...he maybe more appropriately got cast as a wise man.

So each team is given a Bible verse and has to act it out, including costumes and whatever props can be found nearby. Often we have a theme for example one year it was "they just didn't get it." After each scene we sing a chorus (or more) of an appropriate Christmas Carole. The normally quiet and reserved Norrises can really hoop it up with this. Todd's Aunt Lora (a Norris by marriage) always gets up laughing hysterically.

I am going to let you guess the scenes being acted out, some are more obvious than others.

Todd's Sister, Aunt Lora and G

This year I was not going to be typecast and chose to read for N, M, and T instead

Todd, Uncle David, and Tim Carole, Mr. Newkirk, and John

As you can see Grandmother Norris's collection of canes proves handy as do sheets, towels, garland, hats, place mats and of course stuffed animals. It is so much fun. We all moan and groan as Carole hands out the parts, but it is too fun to go without.
Also while we are at the farm house we usually get together with Todd's Grandfather's brother's family--Todd's dad's cousins and their children. While we only see this extended family once a year it is a treat for us all. My kid's first cousin, Grace and one of their third cousins Emma (whose mom's maiden name is the same as my married name)There are traditions with this gathering also. Generally there are organized games. It is held at a small town youth ministry center so many games are provided--D enjoyed wii race cars and chocolate,

N and Emma (they are within months of being the same age and N remembers playing with E when they were 3 or 4, they have always gotten along splendidly) and G, Holly and Big D guitar hero and J billiards. The biggest tradition is the ham. I don't remember what started the ham. Anyhow there is this plastic ham that gets passed via a game or lottery and the winner gets to keep it for the year, improve it somehow, then bring it the next year to hand it off. One year some one attached a light bulb to it and it can be plugged in and lit. We added one of Todd's dad's Pacer bandannas shortly after his death the year we had it. The passing of the ham from Jonathon to Bobbie

Christmas in Indy

We got to my mom's for lunch. As the finishing touches were being done my brother grabbed his girlfriends (Kim) hand and held up to my face. A beautiful ring was on her left hand. Congratulations!
After lunch we opened gifts with my mom and Greg and Kim.

Josie was thrilled with her book about the show Wicked and that excited everyone else.

Greg and Kim did their shopping in Mexico, where they got engaged. Todd got a hammock. I got really yummy chocolate.

Daniel received his first Lego set from my mom. Todd got him started and in no time he had it all put together.

The next day we went to my dad's house and celebrated with Dad and Nancy, Greg and Kim were also there.

The next day N and Mom went shopping as part of N's gift. G, J and I went to Broadripple to explore. Not many of my clan can just go window shopping and there is little in Broadripple that we could afford or isn't a restaurant. But it was fun to look.
We decided to leave that evening. The weather was so nice we gave Mom another gift--help with yard work. Some were more helpful than other, but it was great for us all to spend time outside without getting wet or freezing.
We left right after dinner. The first half of the trip went great--sleeping children and great weather. Shortly after we got in to MI it started to rain and freeze. Around Lansing it stared to snow. It was very slow going. We finally got home after midnight and spent the next day reorganizing and relaxing.