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right now

Dec 29, 2009

Holiday Wrap-Up

I am back after a short hiatus! My post today is a bunch of random, unrelated junk that has been happening over the holidays. I love Christmas, love decorating, but I suffer from post-holiday funk every year, so when it's over, IT'S OVER! So in the spirit of that sentiment, here's a recap of the holiday this year which will serve to purge my mind of it along with my desktop which is littered with images from the camera!

As I said before, we were unable to go back home to MN for the holidays this year (which is a good thing, since we would have had to cancel due to the weather anyways!), so we stayed here in VA and explored around our area. One night we went to the Botanical Gardens to see the "Garden of Lights", which the kids enjoyed immensely! The day before Christmas Eve we headed up to Yorktown and Colonial Williamsburg (wow, our state is OLD) and checked out the battlefields and holiday decorating. Williamsburg is always quaint and beautiful, but even more so on the holidays. Here are some photos of that day:

Williamsburg, VA
Yorktown, VA
Mmmm, Hot Chocolate!
Kids checking out the replica Revolutionary Ship
Yorktown, VA
Williamsburg, VA
Kids in Williamsburg
Hubby remarking on how much nicer the American Revolution guys' bunks are than his on the carrier!
Kids "gettin schooled"

On Christmas Eve we went to dinner at a friend's house (a native New Yorker), and enjoyed their Italian Pasta tradition and the kids enjoyed playing with their friends. We thought we got back home early enough to call MN and say hi to everyone at my parents' house, but some had to leave early due to their winter storm and the road conditions. Christmas Eve was always a bigger deal for me (read: party!) than Christmas Day growing up, so we decided to let the kids open all the gifts from anyone but us & Santa that night. We are really trying to teach the kids that the holidays are about more than presents, which is why they only got 1 gift each from Santa this year, and we used some of the money they received as gifts to visit the Yorktown battlefields and light displays as a family instead of toys that will be broken by the end of the week! Hopefully they learned something and will have family memories from that day.

On the way home from Christmas Eve Dinner... who eats an orange like this?!

Christmas Day started with the kids opening their gifts from Santa, and count it.... ONE gift from us! We did it! They actually shared one gift and LOVE IT! That's because, wait for it... they got the coveted BB Gun! Here they are happy and learning to shoot (after our safety lecture, of course!) They are lucky mama knows how to handle a weapon and loves to shoot, so they won't need daddy for that when he leaves on deployment. I was the one who had to be talked down out of the pink .22 rifle and settle for the BB Gun, :)! Someday! Me? I got a new pair of rubber boots, gloves, and a stirrup hoe for Christmas, bought by me I might add! But the best gift was the new camera I received from my parents' charitable donation to my blogging efforts. Now the blogging can resume!

A very happy child!
You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!!!

Marley & Sprocket

It's not Christmas until someone dons a Viking Helmet... here's my friend's Great Dane "Baby Bubbles"... can you tell her kids named the dog?!

A little chaos at my friend's house! Does watching dogs chase remote control cars ever get old?

"You'll shoot your eye out!"

There, it's done! Even the decorations, tree, house & yard lights are back in the attic. Now I can concentrate on something I have been looking forward to and waiting until after the holidays were over.... planning my Spring Garden! Here's to the garden blog getting back to being garden-related! Hope all of you have fun surfing your seed catalogs, that's where I am headed!

Dec 24, 2009

Winters of old...

Since we are stuck here in Virginia this year longing for a white Christmas, I thought I would share these pics I found of Christmases and winters past in Minnesota. This one's for you, Mom & Dad! Merry Christmas!

Now this is snow!
Dad & Me... 1973?

Dad & Me

Yours truly, probably 1973, age 3?

Snow is a blast when you're a kid

Me & my gorgeous ma!

On grandpa's jeep

How long does it take to dress up in MN? lol

Dad & Me

Holiday Dinner, me (age 2), & mom

This probably wouldn't happen if I wasn't wearing 18" of clothing!

Love the pants, mom!

Like in Christmas Story when he couldn't put his arms down

(age 4?)

Merry Christmas to everyone, and to all back home in Minnesota & Wisconsin, we miss you! And thanks, Ma & Dad, for giving us many, many White Christmases!

Dec 22, 2009

I have no business doing this...!

I need an intervention, seriously! I decided to learn a new skill. Of course, I would go and pick one that I have no business learning - KNITTING! With my no-patience, Type-A, OCD personality I decide to learn something that requires loads of patience and time. To make matters worse, I am trying to teach knitting to myself using a book! Someone stop me, please....

After an hour or so of my husband watching me throwing needles, swearing, and just acting like a 2 year old in general, he decides to pick up the crochet hook I had also purchased along with my knitting supplies. Within a half hour he has already made a toy for the dog. My husband is "opposite-me", that is, he has infinite patience, calm personality, and a real whiz at knotwork. The guy makes rope hammocks in his spare time onboard the ship when he is deployed. I should have known to hide while I was trying to learn this!

Here is Sailor/Husband crocheting happily within minutes of first touching a crochet hook.

Here is what I have after 3 hours... this is worse than I remember boot camp being!

I will say that what happened after all my struggling made me burst out in fits of laughter... below is hubby with one of my knitting needles stuck through his nose piercing. (This of course was something he had done before I met him LOL) He just sat there crocheting quietly away until I looked up during one of my knitting/cussing rants and saw it. Looks like it came in handy for comic relief for me when I needed it!

Now I am not completely inept at everything. As a matter of fact this woman knows how to ride a dirt bike, I can portage my own canoe, I can do it while carrying a baby on my front! I even know how to ride a stand-up jetski and take off while standing up....why is this so difficult?! I would love to hear from those of you who remember learning to knit or crochet and give me any tips on maintaining my sanity. I understand that neither is easier, just different. How long did it take you? And did you struggle as I am? I am bound and determined to learn a proper homesteading skill this winter, even if someone gets hurt in the process...

The below photo is completely random, but for those of you that read Nicholas Sparks' novels (he is a "local" author), here is the status of the house in the movie "Nights in Rodanthe"... this was taken after our nor'easter. Yep, that would be the Atlantic Ocean! Not sure this one will survive another storm.

Dec 21, 2009

Friends, Fun, Chaos & Snow!

Today is a lazy blog of pictures, but when it comes to the kids - pics speak volumes! We had a Christmas Party Saturday night for a few of our friends, all of us are stuck here for the holidays. This is probably a good thing, since many people we know had to cancel their plans for road trips Friday. The start of the military's Christmas leave period coincided with the largest snowstorm in years and record snowfall amounts across several states. Most everyone we know travels from 600-1200 miles one way to get home for the holidays, and usually by car since cost prohibits us from flying with children, pets, etc, so the storm put a damper on plans. Parts of the state of VA here received 28 inches in less than 24 hours!! Here, however... different story, only a dusting near the coast, although the bad road conditions started less than an hour from here. The kids were a bit disappointed, and I was too - I was looking forward to being able to make my kids shovel the driveway!

Here are a few pics of our party the other night. We had a dinner of Elk Chili, Buffalo Wings, assorted appetizers and way too many cookies!

Hubby keeping an eye on the food

Great friends!

All my baking efforts of the past week!

A little bit of Christmas came early for the kids

Did someone say "sugar"? Apparently cookies were enough to remove the gas mask and take a break from whatever game required it...

Best friends Liz & Nick can always be counted on for a get together of any sort!

"Military Family" cousins! Note that it was ALL BOYS, except for one gorgeous girl that hung out with us in the other room... can't say I blame her!

Our "Military Family" Christmas Portrait... first of several we will take between now and Christmas Eve & Christmas Day. Drop-ins are welcome too!

I am not sure this video needs any explanation... I will say, however, my house was spotless before the invasion of the children! Listening to this from the other room we commented that in a few short years our homes will be quiet and we will miss this!

...and did the child seriously ask me for a ladder?!!

After dinner it started SNOWING, yay!

Snow on the Blue Star Juniper

Snow on the Mugo Pine

Snow on the deck

Snow on the winter container garden
** this morning's update: the sub freezing temps and snow didn't hurt the Giant Parsley or the ornamental cabbages and only damaged a few leaves on the Chard!

Hope you all are having fun over the holidays, whether you are with family or making your own family wherever you are!

Dec 17, 2009

Did someone say she has TOMATOES???

Believe it or not, some things in my garden have been thriving in the cool temps! Here's what's going on now:

Salvia is thriving all around the little barrel pond. It blooms most of the year round, but in the fall it really takes off. The little fish in the pond are starting to go dormant, not wanting food or swimming the surface much anymore.

Garlic & Onion & Pansy Bed

Lettuces, this may be the last photo I get of them due to frost.

Mama got some new boots!!

A stray clematis bloom that thought it was springtime after it had already been pruned back! It proceeded to grow about 2 feet and start budding! The bloom was very pale compared to normal, but it was a surprise beauty anyways. That's gone now, thanks to the frost last night. Our area even had cherry & pear trees putting out blossoms 2 weeks ago due to the strange fall we have been having.

My deck containers are still going, the Giant Parsley LOVES fall and is going crazy taking over my Swiss Chard. These containers have been getting covered at night the past two nights since they are easily accessible from the house. I suspect their time is limited though.

My husband's awesome find at work - not sure what it's purpose will be yet.

And finally... don't laugh.... TOMATOES in the house??!! I rescued these babies growing out of a few fallen tomatoes in one of the beds back in October. They are both Heirloom, so there is no reason not to use the seedlings, since I save seed anyways. I didn't expect much, but they seem to be thriving in the kids' southern facing room. I went ahead and drug out one of the grow lights a little early and hung one above. If it never fruits, no big deal, at least a fun experiment, but if it does..... fresh tomato grilled pizza in winter!! Stay tuned...

I think I will have to admit defeat on the lettuces for the year, they are suffering frost damage bit by by over the past week, but this weekend we are actually supposed to get snow. I didn't do anything in the way of hoophouses or tunnels this year, so I think the fact that we got greens for this long is pretty good! Hope you are all getting ready for the Holiday... Me? Haven't even started shopping yet! I am doing sugar cookies today, and I cannot even describe how much I hate rolling and cutting and transferring them to the baking sheet! Every year I seem to forget how big of a pain it is...