Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Winter Photo Walk

Katherine got a camera of her own for Christmas, a gift that pleased her immensely.  When the girls and I sat down Sunday to make a list of things to do this week, "taking pictures" was Kate's first choice.  So this afternoon we set out for a photo walk.
They took plenty of pictures!
Winter's beauty is more subtle than the flashiness of fall, but the details are so fascinating.

Leaves in the ice.
 
 

Berries against the sky.

The starkness of sticks.
The strange beauty of algae waving under a thin layer of ice.
And at the edge of every shot was Rachel.
My beautiful, fun loving, always-ready-to-pose Rae Girl.
We discovered a stand of cattails.
Cattails in winter are a hoot!

Rachel was not entirely convinced that they were not some sort of fuzzy animal...
I was intrigued by lichen growing on some trees.
I especially like the lichens that had snagged some floating seeds.
It was a wonderful to spend time appreciating nature and spending time with my girls.
A perfect way to end a year.








Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Doll's Life

My sister and I loved our dolls when we were children.  We spent many, many hours dressing and feeding and inventing imaginary worlds with them.  (I still have a few of my dolls.  Every few years I think I should get rid of them, but I never can.  They are my babies!)  My girls have never been as doll crazy as I was, so I was pleased when Rachel wanted a doll for her birthday.  I would love for her to have doll memories as sweet as mine.  Besides, doll accessories are now fabulous!

Santa and Granny and I had a whole lot of fun shopping for Rae's doll, Jessica, this Christmas.  She now has a tent, with a folding chair, cooler, fire pit, and a lantern that really lights up.
There is also a sleeping bag and assorted slumber party items - sleep mask, curlers, fuzzy slippers.
Then there is the picnic set.  The miniature food is adorable and the picnic basket has working latches. 
Granny bought Rachel (or Jessica) a bunk bed, but I haven't managed to photograph it yet.  I did get pictures of the baking set.  The teeny nesting measuring spoons crack me up!
But my favorites are these.  Too cute for words...
Oh, to be six again!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Preparations

It's been a busy couple of days around here! 

Yesterday we finished the last minute Christmas shopping and went to the library to replenish our book habit.  The girls and I made dipped pretzels - something we do every year.  I must say, it's not nearly as messy as it was when they were toddlers!

Last night, we went to my mom's extended family Christmas gathering.  There was food and a visit from Santa and family members crammed into every corner.
Rachel refused to sit on Santa's lap, but she was more than willing to collect a present from him.
Katherine's gift was a bundt pan, which pleased her immensely.
This morning, the girls went to Granny and Poppy's.  Kate helped Granny bake her famous candy cane bread.  Then she came home and used her new bundt pan to make a peppermint chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting.
After that, she made a double batch of no-bake cherry cheesecake by herself.  This girl LOVES to cook!

We lit the advent candles at our church's early Christmas Eve service.  Our friend Sarah sang Oh Holy Night and Rachel listened to that big voice in complete awe.  Katherine helped our pastor light the candles during Silent Night and it was beautiful, as always.

Afterward we posed for the rare family picture.
Once we were home, we each opened one present.  New pajamas for all the girls, including Jessica the doll!  Steve got a stuffed Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
Now milk and cookies have been set out, the girls are tucked into bed, and Santa is on his way.  Merry Christmas!



Sunday, December 22, 2013

Church Christmas Program

Today was the girls' church Christmas program.  It was delightful!  The kids were cute and knew their music and the whole thing was touching, as church Christmas programs always are.  I was proud of my girls and of all the other kids.

Katherine was the rather bossy head angel.
It just might have been type casting!
Rachel was a star...
...who sang in the chorus and later returned as a shepherd.
I won't go into the whole plot, but there was an assortment of angel personalities and lots of singing and a nativity scene with a real baby.  And I loved it all.




Friday, December 20, 2013

4th Grade Field Trip

The girls and I had one last half day of school before Christmas break today and Katherine's class went on a field trip. Personally, I thought the 4th grade teachers were brilliant - they combined the chaos of a field trip day and the last day before break and didn't have to host a Christmas party! 

Since I didn't have students today, I went along.  I have never been on a field trip with Kate.  I always meant to, but never took a day off from teaching to join her (although I usually managed to find another relative to go).  I realized that I am rapidly running out of chances to be a field trip mom and that the days of Katherine wanting to be seen in public with a parent are probably numbered.  So, I went along.  Kate was quite pleased, although she wouldn't sit by me on the bus!  (She wanted to be by her best buddy Trent.)

This field trip had no particular educational theme, it was just for fun.  It was a morning for singing and eating.  The kids started off by singing Christmas carols at a nursing home.
Katherine, of course, had a grand time.
The kids had made holiday decorations to give to the residents.
Caroling didn't take as long as expected, so we had time to kill before the next scheduled stop.  So we pulled up at a doctor's clinic and did some impromptu singing there.
Then it was on to the city for a stop at Krispy Kreme.  The kids had all been there on a class trip before, but they were still delighted to watch the workers make doughnuts. 
The kids sampled hot, newly glazed confections and then a worker came out and explained the whole doughnut making process.  She brought out a mound of dough and let the kids play with it.  Katherine would have handled the dough for as long as she was allowed.
We were still ahead of schedule, so we stopped at a nearby grocery store and sang some more.  The shoppers' reactions ranged from startled to highly amused.
We ended the morning at McDonalds.  Katherine did allow me to sit beside her at lunch.  She never said so, but I am pretty sure she was happy that I had come along.
And I have to say, spending a morning with a bunch of goofy, hyped up 4th graders was a lot of fun!




I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters

Sisters

Sisters
Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way