Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year in Review--2008

For several years now, I've been keeping a family scrapbook in addition to the kids' scrapbooks so we could see the happenings of the year-(birthdays, milestones, vacations, progress to the house and gardens, etc).

Since I'm viewing my blog as a way to chart our family's personal history, I decided to do the year in review on line. Look away if you hate those TMI Christmas letters that dish about every little hiccup in their children's lives.

This is for us to look back on in years to come...

January 7--Reilly gets her tonsils out

January 29--Reilly turns 5 and has a dress up party

January 30--Granny Sherry comes for a visit

Feb 2--Shannon turns 37

Feb 19--Our favorite duck, Buck, dies. (racoon incident)

March 18--Brian and Shannon's 10 year anniversary

March 19--New ducklings arrive! "Henry" & "Pearl"

March 22--Jake turns 8!--Has a safari themed birthday--Joe, from Animal Junction, came to our house and gave an awesome animal presentation!

March--Jake starts cub scouts

March--Spring baseball begins (Brian was the assistant coach for the Hooks)

April--Ellie cuts the tips of "Mr. Boon" (our cat) ears off! He's a good sport and still loves to be around children. His favorite time of the day is story time at night.

May 3--I did the flowers for Jen Barclay's wedding (one of my young women from several years back)--She had her reception at the James Laura House in Doylestown. Susan Taylor and Anabel Hansen were there to help with the set up. Susan created that beautiful dogwood branch arrangement! Everything she touches turns to magic! I'm hoping that some of it rubs off on me!

May 2-5---Brian takes the three kids to Williamsburg, Va. to visit Grandpa Wilson, Uncle Brent, and Aunt Renee. They were on a mini vacation, so Brian took the gang to see them since I had the wedding to do.

June--There's nothing like June roses!...Except, well, maybe September's!

June 12--Pete, Judy, Libby & McKinnley drove out from Utah to visit us as well as attend Jake's baptism.

June 14--Jake gets baptized in the Susquehanna River. We waited until June since the water would have been too cold in March. It totally started pouring as soon as we started heading towards the river. Granny Sherry, Corey Gravelle, and our dear friend Rob Merrill were also able to join us.

June 21--Brian turns 45!

June 29-July 5--We went on vacation to Atlantic Beach, NC (the southern most outer bank). We rented a beach house for a week with our friends, the Pynes. We had a great week of sightseeing (aquarium, Fort Macon, Cape Lookout, Beaufort, etc.) as well as fun in the sun at the beach....Shannon even went boogy boarding, but Christine made me promise not to show those pictures to anyone as she is in them as well). We were both pretty disheveled, but had a really great time.

July 19--We had an early birthday celebration for Ellie

July 21--Ellie officially turns 4--We had dinner at Ooka at the Hibatchi grill--lots of fun was had by all)

August 3--Shannon and the kids go back to Butler, Pa. to visit Granny Sherry...We had fun going to the farm show, playing in Granny's yard, and having a bonfire.

August 12-15--Middleton Grange Fair--Brian wins 1st prize on his spaghetti squash!

Grange Fair continued...Just a few of the things that Shannon entered...(lemon balm, verbena, cosmo, curry, and bread & butter pickles were the things that won blue ribbons)

August--Soccer begins--"Flamethrowers"

September--another canning project...Grapejuice! Does this make you proud, mom?

September 2--Jake and Reilly's first day of school....Reilly starts Kindergarten!

September 8--Ellie starts 3 day kindergarten at St. Paul's United Methodist

September--Reilly starts Daisies!

October--Apple picking at Solebury Orchards

October 9--Granny Sherry comes for Time Out For Women (Shannon is in charge of setting up the stage decor). We canned 5 bushels of apples a few days later!

Oct 26-Nov 2--Brian goes on hunting trip to Idaho

October--Granny, Katie and Josie came up to spend Halloween with us! We went trunk or treating at church, trick or treating, and carved pumpkins...such a fun visit....hopefully it will become a tradition....

pumpkin finale!

November--Reilly learns how to ride a bike with no training wheels

November--Shannon gets called as Enrichment Leader

November 26--Granny comes for a visit and stays for Thanksgiving--she helped us make cutout sugar cookies, and spritz and did other fun pre-holiday projects. It was the best Thanksgiving we've had in years! Such a happy memory....!

November 30--Brian gets released as scout master and called as Young Men's President...again!

December--Christmas at home--filled with our favorite traditions!

Happy 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Keeping Sheep

I went on a walk this morning (Sunday) to get some fresh air, clear my mind and to try out my new chartreuse ipod (thanks Brian!) Our church doesn't start until 1pm so I have down time in the morning. Brian helped me load some "Sunday music" onto my new little gizmo before I went out.

The album I was listening to was one I hadn't heard in ages entitled, "When I Feel His Love"--(written by Janice Kapp Perry/Lynne Perry Christofferson). As I was walking, a song came on that literally stopped me in my tracks...

It's funny how things hit you sometimes. There was something about experiencing this song, at that moment on this day. There was something so deliciously engulfing about hearing it so clearly piped into my eardrum. A message just for me...when I needed it the most.

I struggle with motherhood...alot! I get impatient and sometimes feel resentful that my children are keeping me from doing the things that I want to be doing.

Hearing this song this morning brought such clarity of my valuable roll as a mother...It gave me such a different perspective. Although it's not a new message, it was one that I needed right then.

When I heard it, I wanted to run home and gather everyone up in my arms. I'm grateful to be a "keeper" of these "sheep". I hope they always know how dearly I love them.

I'm striving to be be more be talk savor the moments a little live each day so that I won't say one day, "If only I would have spent more time with them".

Although I don't have such a good singing voice, (unless it's a Patsy Cline song and I happen to be in the bathtub), I adore music and can honestly say that I feel the closest to the Lord when I hear uplifting music. It's my favorite form of worship. Whenever I feel stressed or disconnected , nothing soothes my soul like a song.

I tried desperately to find creative ways to upload this onto my blog post. As I wasn't able to find a way to do it, I wrote the words down so that I could refer to them from time to time.

Keeping Sheep

I have a little flock of sheep
And they are mine to tend and keep
And I must guard them everyday
For little lambs, when left alone, will lose their way.

So many voices say to me,
"A sheep fold is no place to be
Your time in there is dull and slow
And lambs leave very little room for you to grow."

For if I ever start to stray
Deceived by thoughts of greener pastures,
Remind me, Lord, that keeping sheep
Will lead to happier ever afters

Oh, surely there will come a day,
When all the lambs have left my side
And I am free to roam about
And go exploring other meadows, green and wide

Yet something whispers in my heart
That when my sheep have left this pen
I'll long to stroke their little heads
To draw them close to me and have them young again

So if I ever start to stray
Deceived by thoughts of greener pastures
Remind me, Lord, that keeping sheep
Will lead to happier ever afters

So while they still are in my care,
I pray that I will clearly see
These little lambs within my fold
Are tender gifts the Master Shepherd
Has given me

Such a sweet message--It breathes new life into my day...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post Christmas Blues

I get this way every year...

For some reason, Christmas day, although special and exciting in the beginning, always fizzles for me. The magic is over! The mystery of what's under the wrapping...gone! I think the best way to describe it is having all of the flourescent lights being turned on suddenly at a candlelit dinner party. Everyone's flaws become apparant.

Even as a little girl, I used to get so sad when Chrismas was over and it was time to take down the tree. We always used to have a live tree, and so a week or so after Christmas, it always got put out by the curb. I can actually remember sitting out there talking to it, telling it what a great job it did and that we would really miss it. I think I read The Little Fir tree one too many times, and so I actually treated it as if it had human qualities. (Keep in mind that I was an only child for many years, and had a very vivid imagination to boot). I was quirky that way. I used to gather sticks for the reindeer...Why? I guess I thought that sticks were right up there with hay. I never did find out what "Santa" did with all those bags of sticks that had collected. I was very observant and would have recognized the sticks that I had gathered if they ended up back in the grass. Thank goodness my kids haven't picked that traditon up. We just stick to sensible things like leaving cheese for Santa Mouse, sugar for Rudolph, cookies for Santa, and oatmeal laced with glitter for the "other" reindeer.

Anyway, back to the depression thing...I never feel that the Christmas season is long enough for me to fully enjoy the effort it takes me to decorate. I don't like starting before Thanksgiving because I really love that holiday, and I feel like I'm just discounting it by bringing Christmas in too soon. Christmas is such a sacred holiday for me. I just have so many magical memories associated with this time, that I want to keep it special. I don't step foot in a Christmas store, watch Christmas movies, or listen to Christmas songs until the day after Thanksgiving. I even keep my holiday candles out of sight.

I look at it this way...If I ate my favorite food everyday, the entire year, it would lose it's yum factor...the same goes for celebrating Christmas.

I decided to "just take a few things down" today...and now it's launched into a full on pack up fest. I like to start the new year off fresh--holiday free. There are a few things, however, that I waited until last to pack ...things that I've so enjoyed seeing everytime I come in the door...

A little bench adorned with a few random Christmas trees...some bottlebrush, some vintage. I love the old tree with the red balls and cotton balls on the's so whimsical...

My bottle brush collection, displayed on a thriftstore find in my entryway...most of them courtesy of my sweet and classsy friend, Susan Taylor.
This was a little project that I did this year...I mounted art work from Ellie (angel; top left), Reilly (reindeer; top right), Jake (hand reindeer; middle), Brian (Santa; bottom left), Me (Mary, Joseph & Jesus; bottom right).............We were all around the same age when we drew them....I just love that it's displayed together. I didn't spend alot on the frames and the backing is just scrapbook paper. Next year, I'll display it with ribbons...
A burst of red nestled into my white and cream ware collection on the mantle...
I loved sitting in our dining room for each meal and seeing this cheerful sight....
This is a little nativity set that I made many years ago when I was living in NYC. A dear friend taught me how to create these figures out of different types of bread (potatoe, pumpernickle and wheat) and elmers glue. The little sheep are my favorite.
This is just one of those sweet pictures that I love to look at...(thank you, mom!) I have it displayed above one of my tree collections...
A few tiny bottle brush trees displayed on my kitchen window ledge....

It was nice to walk around the house, find these special little nooks and take a picture of a few of the things that brought me joy this holiday season.
The best cure for these kind of blues, is to buy some fresh flowers to put in my entryway and dining room table. I might even try to force some forsythia branches...The weather has been so mild here that I might not even have to force them--good grief. I want a crazy snow storm already!
*Do you get the post Christmas blues?
*Have you ever comforted your Christmas tree while it was at the curb?
*When do you take your decorations down?