Catching up…

I just realized I never shared our Christmas and Winter Solstice pictures.  I took a mini break right after the New Year and have a lot to catch up on.  As much as I love words and writing down thoughts, I don’t feel like sharing them unless I have photos too.  My camera has been noticeably absent lately and my hands are itching to take pictures.

Yearly staircase photo at the lake.  This was the best one we snapped.

Yearly staircase photo at the lake. This was the best one we snapped on our camera.  These are the great-grandchildren.  

Waiting for all the presents to be passed out on Christmas Eve.

Waiting for all the gifts to be passed out on Christmas Eve.

We fit in a couple of places on Christmas Eve. This is at my grandparents house.

We fit in a couple of places on Christmas Eve. This is at my grandparents house.

Darth Vader and Blackburn

Darth Vader meet Blackburn…Blackburn meet Darth Vader

Georgie watched over the presents back at our house Christmas morning.

Georgie watched over the gifts back at our house Christmas morning.
Captain America visited us.

Captain America visited us.

The big gifts for them this year were, remote control truck, Barbie dream house and a polaroid camera.   Yes, we are that family that has the Netflix fake fireplace playing in the background.

The big gifts for them this year were a remote control truck, Barbie dream house and a Polaroid camera. Yes, we are that family that has the Netflix fake fireplace playing in the background.

Enjoying the fire...smoke follows beauty.

Enjoying the fire…smoke follows beauty.

Solstice fire.

Winter Solstice 

It was  great to see family that we hadn’t seen since last Christmas Eve, letting the kids play with cousins and catching up with family and friends.  It is a long day, then once home Ben and I always have some finishing touches before we can go to bed and Vita tends to get up before 5:00 a.m. Christmas morning.  We convinced her to sleep with us for a couple more hours and she held out until about 7:00 a.m before waking us all up to open the gifts.

Jingle Bell Run

On Saturday morning Ben and the girls ran the 5K Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis.  Despite a cold and rainy run they had a lot of fun and managed to run a great race.  This was the girls’ first 5K race.  Vita Rose’s time was 32:25 and Isabella’s was 37:17.  I was so proud of them.  They ran at their own pace and ran individual races.  Unfortunately I missed the photo of Isabella crossing the finish line.  I snapped the photo and my screen said media card full.  I was furious!  I usually always delete the photos from the card after I back them up on the computer, turns out I grabbed a really old card and it was pretty full.  I am hoping that once the race day photos are available I can order one of Isabella.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIsabella said she would run this race next year.  Vita prefers warmer races and has to think about running this one again!  Thanks to grandma and grandpa for coming down and supporting the girls in their race, for bringing the awesome elf hats (which Blackburn is still wearing out in public) and for treating us to lunch at Maggiano’s Little Italy after the race.

This week…

On Monday we met with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s ADHD Center.  The visit was just for Ben and I and I think it went well.  We received more information and we set up an appointment for Isabella next week. This is just to confirm the diagnosis and weigh all of our options going forward.

I received this lovely Rookwood Pottery ornament at work.  The Cardinal is my favorite bird.

photo-1I finished one of the small scarves I was working on, now its time to start the other.  I knit late at night while watching movies.  I watched the new Fast and Furious 6 while making the last one.

The rest of this week has consisted of us trying to stay warm.  Despite the freezing temps the kids have managed to squeeze in time outside before dinner every night.  They have become experts at making snowballs in the dark.  We received our heat bill for the month today and I am still cringing.  We had to move the thermostat from its usual position of 65 to 70 in order for the house to feel remotely warm.  I may have to have everyone add another layer and turn that puppy back down.

I had this amazing brownie at work yesterday…just wanted to share.

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This weekend the girls will run the 5k Jingle Bell Run.  The forecast is calling for rain, snow and frigid temperatures.  They don’t seem intimidated by the weather, after all they have jingle bells and elf hats to wear.

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Quick knits

I am excited to be knitting scarves for two little girls. I made my friend’s oldest daughter a scarf a couple of years ago for her birthday and recently saw her wearing it. It made me so happy to know it was keeping her warm while she was sledding. I spoke with my friend and offered to make them new scarves before Christmas. The oldest requested red, green and purple and the other little one requested pinks and blues. I started one tonight and hope to finish soon. My kids have now informed me that they want new scarves too. I see lots of colorful yarn in my future.

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Big Tree Plantation

On Friday we went to the Big Tree Plantation in Morrow, Ohio to cut down our Christmas tree. This has been a nice tradition that Ben and I started before the kids were even born. We got a late start this year (I’m really not a morning person) and paid dearly for our tardiness. The farm was packed with people. We actually had to wait for a saw and sled. We looked at short trees, tall trees, fat trees and skinny trees. One tree had a top like Cindy Lou Hoo’s hair in The Grinch. I wanted this tree but all three kids said no. Eventually we chose a tall and skinny tree and Ben chopped it down. We had time to kill before the tree was brought back to the barn so we visited the gift shop, saw some animals and the kids started their usual bickering about who said what and who touched who.

Once home it took no time for the lights and ornaments to cover the tree and the stockings to be hung on the mantle. So far no ornament casualties. Everyday more handmade cards, art and mysterious envelopes appear under the tree.

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The kids thought this looked liked grandpa.

THE KIDS THOUGHT THIS LOOKED LIKED GRANDPA.

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Book 3: Say Hello to the Snowy Animals.

A neat book that rhymes and has touch and feel animals. All the animals are ones that live in snowy locations. This was a gift from their uncle in 2008 and is a quick, fun read.

A book a day

For December the kids and I have decided to read a Christmas or winter book every night. We gathered them all up and will take turns choosing, then we will share here. Tonight’s pick was made by Isabella. She picked the Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear. I love these stories from my childhood. The kids enjoyed it and we all agreed that it would be so cool to live in the tree house. What are some of your favorite December books? Feel free to join in.

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Christmas Day

We drove home from visiting family Christmas Eve night, we burnt our Christmas lists then tucked the kids into bed.  After leaving Santa a snack and taking care of last-minute details, Ben and I dragged ourselves to bed.  The kids were up by 6:30 and ready to open presents.  Their big combined gift this year was a Wii.  I must admit it is fun to play, but I enjoy watching the kids play more.  I love watching them attempt Just Dance 4…the dance moves these kids have are out of control.  Ben’s parents arrived and joined us for lunch.  We had spaghetti, meatballs and salad.  Dessert was christmas cookies, pie and reindeer chow.

This boy loves marbles.

This boy loves marbles.

Vita's new bike.  Blackburn and Isabella both have fairly new bikes and it was time for Vita to have her own.

Vita’s new bike. Blackburn and Isabella both have fairly new bikes and it was time for Vita to have one of her own.  She was very excited.

Santa received their lists and all three had Wii listed at the top, followed closely by a request that it be placed in their room.  Santa granted the Wii but it is in front room not anyone's bedroom.

Santa received their lists and all three had Wii listed at the top, followed closely by a request that it be placed in their room. Santa granted the Wii but it is in the front room – not anyone’s bedroom.

If you just gasped when you read the above-caption then you are familiar with the green room/front room/quiet room…the room without television, radio – the room that is calm and quiet and mainly mine…yep that’s where the Wii is now.  I will selfishly admit that the main reason I hesitated to get a Wii was because of placement.  Having a tv and game system in any of the kids’ rooms was an absolute no.  I did not want it in the dining room, Ben needs to sleep in the evenings before work so our bedroom was out of the question, which only left the green room.  I’m adjusting and I have plans to turn the unfinished attic part of the third floor into an art room/quiet room, in the future.

Decorating gluten free christmas cookies and house with grandma.

Decorating gluten-free christmas cookies and a candy house with grandma.

Vita’s finished masterpiece cookies.   Tomorrow I will show you some additions to my owl collection and show you my gift to Ben.  Also I have some snow pictures to share.  We finally got snow and I went a little camera crazy!