Saturday, January 30, 2010

Our Christmas Letter (or lack of...)

Most of you probably noticed that for the first time in years and years, you didn't get a Christmas letter from us. I HATE not sending one out, especially since I so enjoy all the letters and pictures that we get. But we just couldn't spend that money this year - we came into our marriage with about 100 recipients EACH (that's a combination of extensive families and years of relationships through 2 separate churches and college ministries.) We cut it down every year (something else I HATED), but it was still such a long list. Even if we just did family, we've got 2 long lists of Davises (I'm Davis on both sides, it was my mom's maiden name as well as her married name), Eysters, Meyers, and McCutcheons. There are LOTS of McCutcheons! :). We would probably have almost 50 people just on a family list.

For a couple of years Matt has been trying to talk me into an e-letter. Yuck. But last year I finally capitulated. We just can't spend $200 of our Christmas budget on sending a letter (and I had it down to the cheapest possible picture/letter combo - it's the postage that kills you!) So this year we decided to do an internet Christmas letter...except I never did it. That's what happens when I don't have the deadline hanging over my head! :)

So... In lieu of our normal Christmas letter, here's a little glimpse into our 2009 (please ignore that you're seeing this almost a month into 2010...)

Friday, January 29, 2010

What I've been doing...

Being snowed in...

Taking care of sick Tobin- he's all better now, but spent last weekend sneezing in my face and laying on top of me, leading to...
Now taking care of sick me... (so thankful that Mama Sara is keeping Tobin today, so I can get some rest!)

Baking (a lot!)... I've been experimenting with yeast breads, which I've always been intimidated by. I'm not much of a kneader (too impatient), but am figuring out how to use my stand mixer for that. Our favorites so far are:
Pull apart garlic bread
Cinnamon Swirl Bread (so yummy...I think Matt fell a little bit more in love with me because of this bread)
Super cheap and easy french bread (I tried a new soup recipe this week - Italian wedding soup, with meatballs; the boys liked the soup, I thought it was just OK. But we all loved the bread!)

Knitting... Pictures coming soon :). Earlier in the month, during our second set of 3 snow days, I decided that I needed something besides baking as a hobby - otherwise we're all going to be as big as a house! So I got on the internet & taught myself how to knit! So far I've made a hat for Luke...that's actually a hat for Tobin, because I got the sizing wrong, and a curly scarf for me (that's also a little short... sizing is not my forte, apparently!) I had the needles and some yarn on hand already because about 4 years ago I tried to learn to knit, but gave up after just a little bit. My sweet MIL also gave me a bunch of old yarn (orange and black, and this awesome 70s multicolored with green and orange and brown :D) to practice with. I really like it, I like having something to do with my hands while the boys are watching a movie, or after they go to bed, if Matt & I are watching TV (I don't know if I'll be able to knit during LOST, now that it's FINALLY coming back...)

AND...In the last week or so, I've been scrapbooking. I have a coupon for a free photobook from which expires on 1/31, so I've been quickly putting together a 2009 digital scrapbook for our family. I finished last night - that's the GREAT thing about digital scrapbooking, you can do it even when you're home sick, flat on your back on the couch! Coming soon, to a blog near you... :)

The final installment of our Christmas marathon...Our own little live nativity

Ironically, since I'm just getting this up here in almost February, this was actually our first Christmas celebration - at Grammie & Papa's! I managed to not get a single picture, so these are all courtesy of my lovely SIL Betsy...

I'm sharing these pictures even though they're not mine because this was one of my favorite memories this Christmas... For a couple of years, I've been waiting until the kids were old enough to act out the nativity. I love love LOVE the idea of having this be a tradition they will remember, and I think it is a good way to make the real meaning of Christmas (about which I tend to obsess) concrete in their little brains. We all had a part, and everyone played along really well. Annalise was in her ELEMENT, and directed multiple practice sessions leading up to opening day.

For dessert, in addition to pie and other traditional Christmas desserts, we had birthday cupcakes and sang happy birthday to Jesus. I think the kids' favorite part about that is that Jesus doesn't mind that they help blow out His candles. We spread the candles out, so that each kid could blow one out for Jesus.

We videotaped our Christmas play, but I'm going to put that in a separate post b/c I'm not sure how it will come in... But here are the pictures!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Snow Dog

We interrupt your Christmas Extravaganza updates with the following news...

Border Collies are crazy.

We had another snow day today. I'd tell you how cold it is, but I've stopped checking because it's too depressing. And I haven't left the house since Monday anyway (and Monday I only left to take Luke to school & bring him home again.) Even if school's not canceled tomorrow, I probably won't have to leave the house again, because it's not my day to drive in the car pool. I must say I picked a great week to stay in all week & potty train! On that front, it's day 3, and we had NO accidents today. I think he's getting it - YAY!

So...It's freezing to an amazing degree today, with what the news calls "blizzard like conditions." Any sane living thing would stay inside where it's warm, if they had the choice.

But not Dudley. Border Collies are great dogs, but they do like to have a job. If you don't give them one, they'll come up with one on their own. Dudley has decided that it's his God-given duty in life to protect our back yard from wild life. He also likes to be inside with us, but he always has one eye on his yard, and the squirrel activity in particular. We also have rabbits wander through occasionally, which drives him WILD. I think the squirrels run across the back fence just to taunt him, also.

What that means is that, even though it's negative something out there, and blizzarding about all day, he spent most of his day on the back porch, watching over his domain. I've gotten used to the constant in and outs, but I don't like seeing him sitting out there, visibly shivering.

I looked out the back door today to see this:

Can you tell how intent he is? He's looking toward the tree where the squirrels live - they run from that neighbor's yard, across our back fence, into the neighbor's yard on the other side of us...

Needless to say, this picture was taken through the window in our back door.

I had Tobin bang on the door and we called his name:

Isn't he cute, all encrusted with snow?

Then, of course, he was like, "Oh, it's you. Let me in, please?"

Border Collies really are the best dogs. Even if they are crazy. It is nice to have a varmint free yard...
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas Extravaganza Part 3!

While we were in Texas with my family, we were able to get to Austin for a short visit with Uncle Jon & Aunt Terry. We are SO thankful for the time with them, for the loan of a car from my sister, and for Jon & Terry for letting us take over their home for 24 hours! It was especially sweet, since they had to cancel their planned trip to Nebraska for Christmas this year to work around Jon's cancer treatment. The entire time was a blessing, and a good reminder of why we love them so!

Christmas Extravaganza Part 2!

Don't worry, you didn't miss part 1. I just managed to make it all the way through Christmas with Sara & Bill (Grammie & Papa!) without taking pictures. I know Betsy got some, and I'm waiting for her to send me the link to the video of my favorite Christmas memory from this year - we put on a nativity play (no audience, everyone had a part!)

After Christmas #1 in Nebraska (Raymond, NE, to be exact...), we headed down to balmy Texas for a lovely break from what has been a ridiculous winter here. There we had Christmases #2 & #3, with my mom on Christmas morning, and with my dad & Terry & the rest of our wonderful family Christmas afternoon.

I love my family.

Monday, January 4, 2010

snow days...

Between being snowed in and Christmased-out, December just flew by. I've got a LOT to share!

Shortly after our Christmas program, we had 3 snow days in a row. It was pretty first. After 2 days, though, I was ready to get back to my to do list, and get out of the house.

This is by far the most snow Lincoln has gotten in any of my 4 previous winters here. I'm VERY thankful that we were in TX for the second blizzard, so we were not trapped inside again! Our Lincoln family (Bill & Sara) and our Iowa family (the McCutcheons) were without power for significant amounts of time on Christmas, and even our hardy Minnesota family (the Hinds & Husos) were snowed in on Christmas day. Meanwhile, we were in Houston, where everyone was freezing to death at 50 degrees :).

This morning when I drove Luke to school, our van registered NEGATIVE 11. Negative ELEVEN. I think that's the coldest I've ever been out in... But I hear we have even colder coming this week. I'm pretty happily trapped inside for potty training, round 2. This time for keeps (I hope.) So far, T is doing very well, with no accidents. But it's only been 4 hours or so... I'm sure you'll hear more about that later...

In the meantime, here are pictures & a video of our December fun in the snow... I'll put Christmas stuff up over the next few days!