Friday, December 28, 2007

The Day After Christmas...

The day after Christmas was an enjoyable day also. We invited our friends from Florida back and the Hoekstras (old friends and bowling partners) also.

This is a picture of all the "kids". Amber was just 9 when we first moved to Michigan so a few of these kids weren't even born yet. Scott went through pre-school to graduation with one of the girls (Beth, on the left in the grey sweater) so most of these kids have known each other for quite a few years. Tyler and Michael (in the green shirt) were inseparable in elementary school. Sadly the McGinnis' were missing. Their youngest had a medical emergency on Christmas Day so they weren't able to attend.

Here are the "old folks".

The "ladies".

The "girls".

Amber & Andy

Amber & Charlie

The "boys" playing games.

The "girls" hanging out.

It was Mark's 14th Birthday.

A Birthday kiss from his sisters!!

We all enjoyed a nice visit and then it was time for the Henderson's to get ready to leave so they could get a good night's sleep for their long drive back to Florida.

The drive back to sunshine and warm temps. The drive away from gray, cloudy skies and freezing rain. Lucky ducks!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's Over for Another Year...

What a busy few days we have had. We went over to visit friends (the McGinnis') for Christmas Eve and were having so much fun that time got away from us and we missed the Christmas Eve candlelight service! Some other friends (the Henderson's) were visiting from Florida and they stopped in so we had quite a crowd.
Christmas morning we just took it easy since we were waiting for Amber & Andy to arrive later in the day. We had a nice leisurely breakfast, I did a bit of cleaning and cooking and we opened our gifts around 2:30. We received some very special gifts this year, photos Tyler had taken of Hawaii and Amber helped him print and mount in beautiful frames. I got a new cordless keyboard and mouse which will greatly contribute to my blogging, I'm sure, some new perfume which I desperately needed and lots of other wonderful gifts. Howard got lots of clothes and new cologne also.
We invited friends over for dinner and they arrived around 5:00 and we all ate until we were stuffed, turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pies, rolls, the whole works.

The boys were so excited about their Christmas Eve pajamas!!

Our annual Christmas Eve Family picture, minus a few family members this year!

Amber & Andy were here Christmas afternoon to open presents!

Christmas Puppies!!

Tyler liked his new camera! Now we should be getting plenty of pictures from Hawaii!!

Scott will be smelling good for another year!

Christmas is over now and I think we managed to keep it fairly low-key which was our plan. Amber and I decided that we probably over-did it in the cookie baking department as we baked 5 different types of cookies and it was alot of hard work. We decided that next year it will just be the Christmas sugar cookies and that's it!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Christmas Eve Day!!

Happy Christmas Eve Day!! The shopping is done, really, well almost, maybe just one more little thing I have to run out for today!! But I won't be going to the mall! Just a store close by for one little thing I forgot! Otherwise, the wrapping is well underway and the pie baking has begun.
While Amber & Andy were here we baked and decorated cookies. The competition was intense.

Here's Andy's entry. Nice job on the gingerbread girl Andy!!

This is a lovely Christmas centerpiece from Howard's Brother Dan and his wife Cheryl. It's so charming!!

His brother Bo and family sent us this package of goodies that we will be breaking into tomorrow!!

This is my annual pewter Christmas ornament.

And this is a spectacular ornament sent to us by Howard's Administrative Assistant, Judy. Her sister, Cindy, is a nurse at the White House and when we were in Virginia for Amber and Andy's wedding, she gave us a personal tour of the East Wing. To say the least, it was a very interesting tour, especially since she did the narrating and told us so many interesting things many people may not know about that section of the White House. Then a couple days ago this beautiful ornament arrives. It's the White House's official ornament for 2007 and it's called The Wedding at the White House and it honors the only President to marry in the White House, Grover Cleveland. The wedding took place on June 2, 1886. What a charming gift from two very thoughtful and caring ladies, Judy and Cindy!!

Tonight, after our traditional dinner of pizza, we will go visit friends and then go to the Candlelight Service at church. Hopefully I will stay awake this year! What can I say, it's a late service!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas Eve with family or friends and Santa stops in for his cookies and milk!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Everyone's Home, Safe & Sound

Amber & Andy made it in this morning with no delays or problems. We spent most of the day baking cookies, after a quick trip to the store for supplies. After all the hard work and a couple burned batches because we were trying to do too many things at once, we paused to wonder why the heck we go to all this much trouble sometimes. It's just so much work and expense. We felt like we spent the entire day in the kitchen!

Tyler got in around 4:00 this afternoon. He's had a really long day, leaving Hawaii around 11:30 last night, flying into LA this morning and then on to Detroit with a 5 hour time difference on top of that. He's really tired now as he didn't get much sleep on the plane. At least he'll hopefully sleep well tonight!

Tomorrow some of us will do a little shopping, some a little wrapping and all of us will do a little cookie frosting.

These are some cookies I made last week to hand out to friends at school.

Puppy Nap

Here's Scott doing what he enjoys most, playing computer games.

Zoe and Charlie waiting for us to drop something on the floor!

Only 4 more days until Christmas!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Report on the Blizzard...

Well, it came. It sounded blizzardy during the night. Around 5:00 a.m. I heard snow thunder!! I had heard of it but never heard it before! It was a big boom and then rolled for a good 20 seconds. The wind was howling too and the snow was coming down horizontal! After the thunder Charlie had to go outside and when he came in he was a little white puppy instead of a little red puppy!! The official report was that we got 8 inches, which doesn't sound like much until you have to shovel it out of the driveway. Just ask Howard and Scott!!

They were out shoveling for a good hour. And as an added bonus: we are having a SNOW DAY today! No one really cares about that other than me as Scott is finished with school and Howard took this week off anyway but it gives me another day to get things done around here!! They called the snow day last night around 11:00 so I didn't have to get up early to find out. I'm sure the main roads will be ok but the back roads won't be cleared off until probably sometime today, that's why school was cancelled I'm sure.
So today I will get some more things done which is really nice. I still have cookies to ice, basements to clean, laundry to do and gifts to wrap.
Scott and Tyler are both finished with their exams and this semester. Tyler is enjoying Hawaii for a few days before he comes back to Michigan on Wednesday. It will be so nice to have everyone together again later this week!

Christmas Eve is just a week from today and Santa will be filling up those stockings!

And even though these two don't have stockings, Santa will surely bring them lots of new toys and chew bones, they've been such good little doggies. Even though lately in most pictures Zoe seems to be sticking her tongue out at the whole idea of holiday spirit! Either that or she's just finally getting tired of posing for pictures!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's Coming...

Well, the weather predictors are having a ball!! They get to interrupt shows with special Winter Storm Warnings every half hour!! They are actually calling it a BLIZZARD!! They are predicting anywhere from 3 to 12 inches of snow by Sunday night. When Detroit makes The Weather Channel you know it's got to be big! And today at the two groceries stores I had to go to, you would think people believed they were going to be snowed in... for weeks! There was hardly a place to park! And no, I wasn't stocking up on food to wait out the storm but I figured if I was going to be snowed in tomorrow I might as well get something done so I'm going to start on the Christmas cookies. Plus, if we do have school on Monday, I'm supposed to be participating in a cookie exchange. I only had to bake 6 dozen Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss cookies and a few extra dozen for family and friends.

Tomorrow I'll move on to sugar cookies that I'm making for friends at school and some rosemary foccacia bread for the luncheon we are having in the Special Ed department. So, I figure since I'm doing all this, we surely won't have school on Monday! We are bound to have a snow day!

On the plus side, the Christmas trees are all up and decorated, the Snow Babies are in their usual place and I think most of my shopping is done too.

Only a few small items to pick up next week sometime. The Christmas cards I ordered finally arrived yesterday so now those have been addressed and sent out today! Things are finally coming together and the pressure is off, at least a little.

Zoe and Charlie look relaxed so they must have finished their shopping too!
Wish us luck! I'll report back on the Blizzard when we get finished shovelling!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Busy Weekend!

We've been very busy this weekend. While I would like to say all the Christmas decorating and shopping, etc., is what we were working on, that wouldn't be the truth. We did get a little of that done but we also spent some time enjoying life and friends. Friday night we had bowling where we managed to eek out 3 points out of 4. We are in last place. We have never been in last place in all the years we've bowled. I could give you all kinds of explanations as to why we are in last place but it wouldn't change the fact that we are still in last place. Good thing we aren't in it for the money as we won't be taking home much this year I'm afraid. Then Saturday we went to Detroit to the Gem Theater to see a show with 11 other couples. One of our friends arranged it all, the show tickets and dinner at the theater and then back to their place. We saw a show called Forbidden Christmas which is a spoof on Broadway and the cast of only 4 and a piano player did a good job.
Today I was out early shopping a little, then took the dogs up to the high school field for a run. It had been a while since we had been able to do that. Lately it seems to either be raining, too icy or just too darn cold to go out by the time I get home from work. They really enjoyed their frisbee game today but we didn't stay long as it was still quite cold, in the high 20's only. Brrrrrrr!

Scott, Howard and I spent a little time decorating today. Scott put the tree together, Howard put the lights on and I put up the other two small trees; the Snow Baby tree in the foyer and the "nature" tree in the kitchen. I still have to decorate the big tree but I can work on that a little each day after work.
I also gave Charlie a bath today. I know he's growing by leaps and bounds but I didn't really realize how much until I tried to put him in the kitchen sink for his bath! He hardly fits in there anymore and we had water everywhere. Guess I'll have to switch to the tub next time he needs a bath!
Tyler has finals this week so he's been hitting the books all weekend, I'm sure! He will have a few days to enjoy Hawaii before he flys home on the 19th.
Scott also has finals this week and has been studying all weekend also. He has 3 finals this week and then he'll be done until next year. I'm sure they are both getting straight A's, or very close to it! With all the studying they both claim to be doing how could they get anything less?
I'm still working, just going week to week now as no one seems to know how long this gig will go. I guess I'll just keep showing up until they tell me not to!
Howard's still working on the master bathroom. He has finished all the painting but now we need to replace the light fixtures, counter-top and sinks. He's been shopping for those items and comparing prices and materials. It's gonna look great when it's all finished!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Under The Weather

This is what it looks like here lately. Cold, gray, snowy, icy, did I mention cold? It's been really cold!! Plus we even had a little freezing rain in there somewhere. And to top it all off, I'm feeling "under the weather" as well. Just a nasty head cold but it's taking it's toll and I have stayed home from school/work for 2 days now. I think I'll be able to get back there tomorrow though as today was a bit better.

There's not much else to report. The guys finally got our Christmas lights up on the house but we have had nothing but trouble from them! Half of 3 strings went out and when we replaced them, the new strings went out as well. Today I finally bought some "heavy duty" type lights and hopefully they will stay lit.
No decorating going on inside, unfortunately. No Christmas letter written or Christmas cards bought. I think the holiday season has just arrived before I was really ready. I have a few gifts purchased so I guess that's a start!
Tonight is puppy class again. Last week's session wasn't too impressive so hopefully this week will go better. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Puppy 101

Someone started Puppy Classes! Our first class was last night, every Tuesday night for one hour for 6 weeks. The first night in class he was the best behaved puppy there. Another dog owner, having trouble with her rambunctious hound, even pointed to Charlie who was lying quietly at my feet and said "I want that puppy!"

What she didn't know at the time is that the main reason we are taking this "class" is to help Charlie socialize around other dogs and people as he's a little on the shy side. Just wait until he starts feeling comfortable! I probably won't hear that comment again. Although I have to report potty training is going well, he's beginning to "tell" us when he wants to go outside and so far (knock wood) hasn't chewed up anything expensive or precious (like Howard's $100 loafers that Zoe found so attractive 3 years ago when she was a puppy). I'm keeping my fingers crossed and my eyes open! And the best news: he's sleeping through the night! Talk about your progress!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Staining, painting, cleaning and a little shopping

We were so busy this weekend! Howard especially got alot accomplished. He painted the master bedroom and bathroom this weekend. And of course when you paint you have to clean so he did lots of that too. I finished up staining the cabinets in the master bathroom which has taken about a month now. I had to finish up the door faces in the basement and have been waiting for a little sunlight to help me out. Finally on Friday I got some sun and finished up. They aren't perfect but better than they were before. Now the bathroom looks so nice we need a new countertop! Isn't that always the way? You fix one thing up and then the others look old and dingy!
I didn't go out into the crowds on Friday but managed to do a little internet shopping instead, my favorite kind! No crowds, no cold, no long lines, presents delivered right to my front door in just a few days! My kind of shopping!
I also managed to take the dogs for a couple walks and then today we went to the park for some "snow frisbee"!
So, it's back to work and school tomorrow. Howard is looking forward to the rest!

I love this picture!

Isn't this always the way? Little brother wants what big sister has!

And before we know it, he'll be big enough to get it!