Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Eve

Yes, I am a bit behind posting wise, I blame the holidays, ok? And I blame Dawn for pushing me to post tonight instead of just mindless web surfing after eating too many oliebollen.

One of our neighbours brought over many Christmas goodies, including this bread. I feel very blessed with my neighbours!

Did I mention we had a white Christmas?

Snow ball fights are so much fun!

Sylvia left a note for Santa telling him where to put the presents. Since Santa is getting older, it is nice to have a reminder of things like these.

The kids insisted on leaving Santa some beer too. It was all gone in the morning, I hope it boosted his productivity.

At least they didn't leave him 'cute lady pictures' this year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rotate As Needed

One of our family presents was a new globe. The kids unwrapped it, got it out of the package, and a 'instruction manual' fell out. The kids ignored the manual, but I couldn't resist reading to see what kind of instructions would be needed for a globe. When Cees asked me what I was reading, I said 'I am learning how to use a globe.' He looked at me in a pitiful way and commented dryly 'Rotate as needed?'

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dinosaur Computer

My computer used to be top of the line about, hmmmm, twelve years ago? I would love to upgrade some or all, and am trying to figure out how to do it economically. For now backing up my hard drives, which is taking AGES. That is my excuse for not posting, yes, it is.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holly Hippodays from Our Family to Yours!

Whichever holiday you are celebrating: Happy Holiday! We started the day with yet another basement flood. Thanks to that, I did a LOT of laundry today, oh joy. We also started the day with chocolate chip pancakes, yum! The maple syrup magically disappeared when we ate them, and re-appeared a few hours later. The magic of the season, I presume.

There was much rejoicing, and tons of junk food, and there will be many pictures, but somehow I think I should get some sleep soon, so will just give you our holiday greetings and go to bed. Nice run-on sentence, isn't it?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Easter!

He looks just like a bunny, doesn't he? I opened my old Paint Shop Pro to add some easter eggs, and soon realized that was beyond my image editing capabilities. At least, beyond the ones I was willing to expend today. So just a bunny without the Easter eggs. Feel free to use your imagination or your own image editing program.

Oh, it isn't Easter? Really? ... I see.

Well, he STILL looks like the Easter bunny to me!

Monday, December 22, 2008

FOUR Seconds

Today, the length of our day was FOUR seconds longer than it was yesterday.

Tomorrow's day length will be SEVEN seconds longer than today! Can winter be over yet?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dear Weather Gods

First I would like to thank you for last week's ice storm. Everything looked very beautiful, covered in an inch of ice, even if 400,000 people just in New Hampshire lost power. And I loved witnessing your power when you slammed down many tree branches in my back yard, just to prove that you could, and to delay my trip to Philadelphia. Well done! I enjoyed the quality time I got with my kids, trying to clean off tons of ice and snow off the driveway.

Fast forward to Tuesday. What a beautiful snow storm you got us. It might have been a bit soon after the ice storm, but hey, we did need some exercise and at least it was only about four inches. Not too bad, and yet another opportunity for family bonding time.

I was less amused when I saw the weather forecast for Friday. Um... Didn't we just have a snow storm? I appreciate the efforts, but I wouldn't have minded having a few more days off from shoveling. Tim got volunteered as helper of the day, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Tim's too. Did I mention we barely had dug out from the ice and the snow storm before this?

Yesterday, we actually got the driveway clean enough to get out to do Christmas shopping (four days till Christmas, yikes!) It won't last long though, since you are sending us ANOTHER darned snow storm! This is what our front yard looked like this morning, before this snow storm even has started in earnest! Notice the snow? EVERYWHERE?

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect from 9 am this morning to 5 am EST Monday.

Total snow accumulations will range from 8 to 20 inches. Considerable blowing and drifting snow with near blizzard conditions can be expected.

Winter Storm Warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected. Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel... keep an extra flashlight... food... and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

You gotta be kidding me! Let us do some basic math. This is FOUR storms in less than TEN days. And winter isn't even starting till today! (Happy solstice to you too!)

I appreciate all the energy you put into sending us ice and snow, really I do. Especially with all the global warming going on. But really, we are fine now and would like it to STOP SNOWING ALREADY!

Thank you and take care,


Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Tree

We decorated our Christmas tree.

The Christmas tree which magically appeared in my house while I was away for the weekend (thank you, B and D)

There were the customary fights about 'Who can put the star on top?' We decided it by rolling a four-sided die, since that seemed the most fair solution. How do you mean, you don't have four-sided dice in your house?

Ornaments were being juggled.

Notice the hat at the top of our McTree.

Holiday ear rings.

Putting on the star at the top.

Now what?

Warm and fuzzy moment: Last night, fire going, cats snuggling, snow falling, christmas tree decorated, marshmallows, and two kid friends sleeping over. Life is good!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Sooooo Wanted To Visit This

This sounds quite awesome.

Too bad I spent many hours in impound lot instead of there! Maybe next time I visit Philadelphia.

Monday, December 15, 2008

capitals are optional (just a teaser post)

i went away for a whole weekend, all by myself! well, to attend a go work shop, but not taking any of my family members.

the trip got kinda delayed by the stupid ice storm, but i did make it to philadelphia just fine.

remind me to skip the george washington bridge next time.

i had an awesome, fantastic, super time. even if i didn't sleep much.

later, i'll sit down and tell the story about how hard it is to get one's rental car from the impound lot in philadelphia. especially if said rental car has a maine licence plate, and a new hampshire driver who was born in finland.

anyway, i am back and totally exhausted but very happy. maybe my van even will be fixed today. i will post more later when i can hold a thought for more than a microsecond.

Friday, December 12, 2008


We lost a bunch of tree limbs.

Lots of ice.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Impeccable Timing

No van, which means we don't have to shovel the driveway yet, I guess.

We are expecting 4 to 8 inches of snow, followed by 0.5 to an inch of ice.

Yes, ice... Did I tell you about last week's black ice during a geocaching trip? I thought not. Let's just say I am not a fan of driving on ice.

Did I ever tell you when I drove my car into the ditch around the same time I learned the term black ice? I was pregnant with Dawn. She was ok, but the car was not, and I was very shaken up too.

Let's just hope the weather forecast is wrong. It has happened before, right?

Anyway, I think winter is here. Ten days to the solstice. Not that we are counting of course.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

No Van...


Today, I woke up to snow. Only an inch, but I don't have winter tires yet, so I was not super amused. Neither was Cees when I woke him up to help me shovel.

Erik had an 11am appointment in town. I got him up, we drove, and about 3/4 there, my van stalled and stopped. Um... That's a fluke, right? I really don't have time for a broken van right now! It stalled and stopped a bunch more times before we arrived (luckily pretty close to home, it's only about a 10 minutes drive, no highway driving either.) I parked and hoped it would work when we got out. I am an optimist.

Finished appointment, and started van. Phew, it worked! Well, for a few minutes that is. Then it stopped again. OK, fine, I am not going anywhere but the garage. Managed to drive it there, stopping only a few times, handed them the keys and begged them for a ride home. Stuck at home. Which would have delighted me to no end, apart from having some commitments which could not be canceled.

I called a friend and suckered a ride, which she thankfully was able to give me. Yay for friends! Tomorrow, another friend will help me with homeschool club rides. I just hope the van will be fixed soon. This is kinda inconvenient to say the least.

The good news is that I could drive it to the garage, instead of having it towed. I am grateful for small things like that.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Giant FAQ

(*edited to add that only the first question is Meritt's, the other ones have been added to answer other frequently asked questions. Meritt's question just was a convenient reminder that I should write this post, since people ask those things all the time*)

Meritt said...

He's a cutie. :)

So - I must have missed something somewhere (although I don't know when or how) - Why exactly is he considered a service dog?

Giant is not our puppy, but he is a guide dog in training. We are raising him for about a year, and then he will go to guide dog school.

Isn't it going to be hard to give him up?

Yes, it will be hard to give him up. But we know he is going to make a huge difference in someone's life, and we know that he will make an excellent guide dog.

How old will he be when he starts guide dog school?

He will be about 16 months when he will go to guide dog school. He will be matched up with a blind partner, they will train together for a few weeks and we will be invited to their graduation.

What happens if he doesn't make it as a guide dog?

Those puppies will be 'career change' dogs and do work like detection dogs, search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs, or will be released to be adopted by a family.

What do you need to do to train him as a guide dog?

We just have to teach basic obedience and expose him to many social situations. He needs a wide variety of experiences to help him succeed as a guide dog. We have taken him to the pet store, to homeschool club, to the art gallery, to the park, to the airport, and to the beach. We take him geocaching, both during the day and at night. We spend a lot of time explaining to him 'No, you can not bite us.' 'No, you still cannot bite us.' 'No, not now either.'

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Grocery List of The Day

We have a system with a notepad on which me and the kids put down whichever groceries we need, so that I can just grab the top sheet when I go to the grocery store. Yesterday, we went shopping, but today I had to pick up a few more things. I went to the notepad and tore off the top sheet, figuring I could also pick up whatever had accumulated since yesterday. The list made me chuckle.
  • Monterey Jack cheese;
  • Oreos;
  • cake mix;
  • pizza.
I see. It was all the same handwriting too.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Wow, we are so organized! We managed to get a family picture AND Dawn ordered the holiday cards.

Now I just need to send them out once they arrive. Like some time before Easter.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Thanksgiving was just perfect. I couldn't have asked for better company and better food for my very first Thanksgiving as an American.

We ended up with twenty one attendants. Not bad for a first try at hosting something like this. Not to mention that it's halfway there to forty two, which should count for something.

My friend made Dutch food, I made Korean food, the neighbours made turkey, everyone brought pies, and there was an abundance of love and laughter.

We had cranberries from our very own cranberry bushes, and maybe some day we will be able to make them into sauce that is NOT bitter. For now let's just say that most people preferred the canned cranberry sauce.

There was eggnog and punch.

I made sweet potatoes surprise from one of the Moosewood cookbooks and fell in love with that way of preparing sweet potatoes.

I was amazed how relatively smooth everything went, I thought it would be hard to pull this off. Of course, the smoothness had a lot to do with the way everyone pitched in and contributed to the fun.

We had EIGHT different desserts!

There was a fire going in the fire place, which made the house nice and toasty. Even more so once the thermostat broke and the furnace joined the heating efforts.

Kate shared with us what she is grateful for 'I am grateful for life, the universe, and everything!' I couldn't agree more.

Architectural design, quite tall and interesting buildings.

This was one wonderful Thanksgiving!