Friday, December 18, 2009

Our cozy home in this wonderful snow! Everything looks so fresh and bright! We must have at least 10 inches already-and it is so light and powdery! Ella, Joshua and Gabriel were already sledding this afternoon, I hope they remember where they left the sleds because they are most certainly hidden.
And, a notice to all: Ella's cantata has been rescheduled for a very special day............... January the third! I think she will be excited to be singing on her birthday. I hope everyone can make it for a grand cELLAbration!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It was gingerbread house day here today! Much sugar was consumed by all before the morning was over. They even dug out the Halloween candy bag for an extra variety of supplies. Finally a use for all those smarties!

The snowmen peeps are just the cutest!
The three chillins with their respective houses:

Ella was extra proud of this Hershey bar wheelbarrow:

And the table set for two:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

In our backyard

The melting snow and RAIN left our little section of creek roaring. This video is from yesterday morning; this morning we awoke to find one of our huge pines from the top of the hill fallen, the uppermost branches reaching all the way down into the creek. Ella and Joshua are pleased with their new fort and we now have plenty of fresh pine... Christmas greens anyone?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Scenes from 12.7

Sledding on the last bit of snow (with a sled salvaged from the neighbor's trash this summer!)
Watching the Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Ella from whoville

Lexington Christmas Parade 2009!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Snow Snow Snow Snow Snow

We awoke to our first snow of the season! There was much hustle and bustle and finding of boots and snowpants, hats and gloves even before the hot chocolate was served this morning. The munsters were in and out, in and out as they got cold outside and then came in to warm up. I got a little weary (dare I say grumpy?) as mountains of coats and woolens were strewn about each in their own melting pool of snow. However, we put on Johnny Mathis, hung everything out to dry and did a bit more decorating.

In the afternoon we headed out to the George C. Marshall Museum at VMI, where Ella and Joshua made an ornament and card each to send to our troops overseas. Dear Joshua was worried that the soldiers wouldn't have a Christmas tree to hang his ornament on.

After supper and a traditional Saint Nicholas story, we put our shoes out on the doorstep. I hope they are filled with goodies in the morning!
I think Joshua was worried Saint Nick couldn't get through for the snow; he left this out with his shoes:

Friday, December 4, 2009

For Kathleen

This is classic holiday magic right here folks. Guaranteed to make you smile!

One more

I had to add this one of Joshua at 11 months! Look at that belly!Maybe this is why:
Or this:

A trip down memory lane

Tonight I started looking for a picture of Joshua in a certain shirt that he would have worn when he was about one. I didn't find it, but we had fun looking through the photos of when my "big kids" were "little kids". Ella had just turned three and Joshua had just turned a year.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Last night we participated in the annual candlelight procession and tree lighting ceremony here in Lexington. We started at the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery and walked the four or five blocks to Hopkins Green where our town Christmas tree was waiting to be lit. The night was windy and cold, we had had our first snow flurries earlier in the day. As a result, our candles kept blowing out and everyone was more or less sprinting to reach the tree, but when we got there the effect was truly magical. Luminaries were lit around the brick walkways and candles were being re lit to glow on people's faces. The lights popped on on the tree and we all sang the first Christmas carols of the season.
Afterwards we went out for sushi. Joshua particularly liked his "cow" as he insisted on calling the beef teriyaki, but the highlight of his whole night was the green tea ice cream. (Yuck!) Which, when the waiter asked us how it was, Joshua nearly shouted, "We like it!"

Friday, November 20, 2009

Big Night

We had a big night last night. Ella had her first sleepover at her friend Caitlin's house. She had a ball staying up late, watching a movie with popcorn and designing fashions. Joshua meanwhile had his friend Evan come spend the night at our house. The first time he's had a friend of his own come to sleepover. They mainly played legos and soldiers and ate pizza. Evan fell asleep around 9:00, but Joshua was so excited to have him over he didn't conk out until 11:00. Here's to more sleepless nights!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Devil's Marble Yard

Monday we took advantage of the unseasonably warm sunshine and went hiking to Devil's Marble Yard. I thought it was just a one mile hike, but it turned out to be at least three round trip with a very steep rock scramble at the top. Joshua charged up the mountain like he was on a dirt bike, Ella mostly enjoyed the creek crossings, and Gabriel happily freeloaded on Tucker's back three quarters of the way. The "marble yard" is a massive mountain side covered in boulders (Antietam quartzite) that looms larger and larger the closer you get. At many points on the way up we thought we were almost there, only to be fooled by a bend in the trail.
I would have loved to enjoy the sunset from the top, but after a quick peak treat of teddy grahams, we scurried back down and returned to our Subaru at dusk. Picked up cheese steaks on the way home and called it a night.

Love this hiking outfit!

Wild ginger root grows rampant all around the trail

Monday, November 16, 2009

Several days ago we collected some dried weeds from the field at Kendal. This morning we mixed them with watercolors for some lovely art.

A print from a piemarker (did you know there is a weed called piemarker?): Leaf spattering around Japanese maple leaves from our yard:
Using the maple leaf as a stamp:
This I thought was really cool, a foxtail dipped in a rainbow of colors:
And my beautiful artists just beginning to get busy:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Here's a bit of randomness from today (because it was just that kind of day):
First, something beautiful Next something magical

Then something funny
We found this cover floating down the creek. It says "irrigation control valve"
Another funny thing I discovered while baking blueberry muffins; on the bottom of our pyrex 4 cup measurer it reads:
"For general household and photographic use only"
Do people take pictures of pyrex ware? or is it the official measurement tool in darkrooms everywhere? Any ideas anyone? Do your pyrex products say this?
And for a bit of weirdness, I found this video clip when I was clearing the camera card.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And by popular request, another of Ella's poems.

In the Fall
by Ella

In the fall
I like to look
at the leaves
and watch them
fall to the ground

A couple of weeks ago, Ella "fell" into the creek on a cool evening at our friends house. Looking in the trunk I found we had no extra clothes, only a few old felted sweaters. So I pulled one up around her waist, tied the sleeves tight and voila! Instant skirt! That night prompted this little combo:
Grey wool skirt with woolen leg warmers. The leg warmers are super easy, just cut off the sleeves :). Thanks to Ella for wearing such fun outfits and thanks to mama for the sewing machine.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The night before Ella got sick she declared she was going to sit up all night like Jo (from Little Women) and write stories. She had a bit of a poetry frenzy and churned out six poems before she finally fell asleep. Here's one of my favorites:

About My Papa
by Ella

Papa doesn't like red beets.
When we go to Michie Tavern
We try to pile them on his plate
Hee hee

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I think we are on the mend here. Yesterday all three little ones were driven to a halt with high fevers, today lingering coughs and tiredness. We took it easy, read lots of stories, played mastermind and candyland, and all snuggled in under wool blankets for a mid-afternoon movie (The Fox and the Child). I put a ten pound ham in the oven just before we started the movie, and by the end all of our mouths were watering. Everyone ate a good meal and at the end Ella announced that she was even feeling up for some candy. At which point Joshua asked,

"Is peanut butter healthy?"

me: "Yes"

J: "Does it have vitamin C in it?"

me: "Well, no, but it has protein."

J: "what does that do?"

me: "It helps build your muscles"

J: "Hmmm. Then I think I'll have a Reese's!"

Oh, and we amused ourselves with the magnifying glass:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Joshua wanted to make a stuffed animal leaf. ("So we can play leaves together Mommy") Here he is stuffing the tips with a dowel rod.

I love Ella's head thrown back in laughter in this one. They've actually been playing with their halloween candy, trucking it around the house to different "stores".

Friday, October 30, 2009

This is a video of the state song. I liked it so I decided to put it on my blog. Love, Ella

Thursday, October 29, 2009

As many of you know, we have a lot of books in this house. Occasionally, I sort through some of the older ones to make room for newer finds. I do this by perusing several pages and seeing if what's inside still strikes our fancy. Tonight I opened up a questionable book and read two fascinating facts.
One: aspirin is made from coal.
a quick google search yielded this information:

In the recovery method process, the smoky emissions from the coke ovens are distilled and condensed. Aspirin, believe it or not, is made from this process. The Bayer Company (Germany) began making fabric dyes from coal tar and later discovered that they could make aspirin from the same process. Aspirin is the tradename that Bayer registered for acetylsalicylic acid, the actual miracle chemical that cures our aches and pains

Two: The Ten Commandments were supposedly written on Sapphire

Perhaps I should have know this second one. Did you?
And yes, the book is back on the shelf.
A couple of quotes from today...

Gabriel walking after dinner:
"Wook! When I am walking the moon goes, when I stop it don't!"

And Ella reading a book about Marie Curie in bed:
"One thing about this book! It just gives you the giggles!"
Today we made our traditional Halloween doughnuts. They can't be beat hot out of the oil and coated in cinnamon and sugar. The perfect treat to go with apple cider and pumpkin carving to make for a happy fall day.

can you guess who carved which pumpkin?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Two doors down from us, in our neighbor's yard, is a beautiful golden chestnut tree, complete with a rope swing that sails you out over the hillside. We spent the morning collecting chestnuts (Joshua had the idea of using tongs) and soaring on the rope swing. Ella brought along a clipboard and made a few sketches of the spiny shelled nuts. We're hoping to get at least a few nuts to taste, although all of the ones we've opened so far have been shriveled inside. Apparently that happens some years, according to a man that passed by while we were collecting. He also told us that there is a worm inside each nut, and to either roast them or freeze them as soon as you pick them or the worm will get all the tasty meat before you do!