Monday, October 13, 2008

Tis the season to . . . blog (or, So much to say . . . )

I could spend the first paragraph or two apologizing for how long it has taken me to blog and giving good excuses and even better reasons why I have not done so sooner.
But I won't.
The last time I wrote was early September.
It is now the middle of December, and the Christmas holidays are literally right around the corner.
We've had a full season, but I'll try to play catch-up for you.
October was a warm month, with temps often reaching the low 80's. Warm breezes would blow over the flat landscapes, bending the grasses, sweeping the sky with white clouds. You could walk outside without chunky layers of clothing, letting the warm air blow through you. The fact that winter is waiting in the wings makes it sweet to be out and about.
I remember growing up in the northeast, where it is cool and the air is crisp with that tell-tale autumn chill by September, and the foliage brightens with each passing minute, it seems.
When I was a little girl, a sweater was necessary on the first day of school, which was always after Labor Day.
In spite of the unseasonably warm temps, fall activities were enjoyed to the fullest, this year.
The boys wrapped up their football (for Isaac) and soccer (for Josiah) seasons. They both played so well and learned so much.
It was fun watching my little men out there, playing their hearts out, loving almost every minute of it.
The last few games were played on gorgeous days, sun shinning in the Saturday morning skies.
Some of the lessons they learned through this experience with sports (Jo's first and Isaac's first with football) were hard, but all of the lessons were good.
I'm so proud of them!! Good job, Isaac and Jo!!!
Our school softball tournament was in late September. We won more games than we ever have in the Junior division!!! It was a fun day!

On October 3rd the grammar school took a trip to the Pumpkin Patch!!
The pumpkin patch is one of my favorite places in the world, and fall isn't really fall until the yearly trip!
The boys and I enjoyed it so much, that we returned with my mom the very next day.
Here are some pics that are worth thousands of words!!

We celebrated Grandparent's Day on October 10th. Having lost both their pop and their gram in recent Octobers, this is a hard holiday for the boys, but MeMe and Grandpa were there to celebrate and join in the festivities. Though we missed those no longer with us, it was a good day to remember them and to make new memories with our loved ones who are here.
The boys went to the university homecoming parade. One of our church outreaches had a float in it.
Halloween was a blast, because Daniel kind of knew what was going on, and boy was he adorable!!! We went trick-or-treating with the Brooks, otherwise known as the cast from The Wizard of Oz. I may consider a family theme for next year. Thanks, Bekah, for the inspiration!! Isaac and Josiah were Star Wars clone troopers and Daniel was a sheriff of the wild west!
We had some beautiful days for horseback riding and time at the ranch.
There were many other days, just any days, fall days, memory days, that the boys had this season:
In November, mom and I took the boys to the Louisburg Cider Mill. We watched as apples were processed into delicious apple cider!! We bought some for the Thanksgiving table, Mom bought me a delectable peach honey that is heavenly on warm biscuits and in tea, and we got some warm apple cider donuts to eat while we listened to folk music and sat on bales of hay. It was a gorgeous day!!
Early November is also when we had our school soccer games! We came in second and third, which was a first for us!!! Both of my boys did not escape unscathed, though. Isaac and Jo both played hard, and Isaac was taken to the grass several times, and smashed in the head with the ball, but he played through. Jo also was injured. He lost his two front teeth!! Not playing soccer, though. Playing on the sidelines with a friend! Don't think we haven't sung the "All I Want for Christmas" song to him!

Thanksgiving was had at our new home, and we celebrated with family and friends from our church. Patti and I cooked and cooked and cooked some more, and we added some dishes to our litany of ol' standbys, like butternut squash puree, baked acorn squash, which may be ol' standbys themselves one day. The weather was perfect, and the kids were able to play outside in the warm Autumn air. Though this house is smaller than our previous homes, it worked well to have a "crowd", and as per usual, people were in and out all day and into the evening.

Apparently, in former lives, my boys were swarthy sailors!!
It was a wonderful day!

The next day, Joe and Josiah went to get a tree from a local tree farm. Patti and I drug out all the trimmings and decorations and set up the Dickens Christmas village passed on from my mom (it was always out when I was a kid) and generally made the house look "Christmassy."

The Monday after Thanksgiving, the older boys and their dad went to the town Christmas parade. They came back with pockets loaded with candy and snacks.

On December 7th, the Junior Choir at the school put on a production of "The Tale of Three Trees", which was directed by Deb Parish and myself. Iassc was a woodcutter and Josiah was a shipbuilder. Our costumes were amazing -- thank you Stephanie!!! The kids did a tremendous job!! I am proud of every one of them.

Also, the week after Thanksgiving, we went full-force ahead working on a seasonal production for our church called "The First Poel: Remastered." Based on a concept we had used once before, the production is a look at the Christmas story from the perspectives of some key people who were there that Divine night, done in slam poetry (for the most part). This year, we added some modern voices, and so, along with Joseph, Mary, Herod, the innkeeper, an angelic being, there also was a "bell ringer", a desperate person, and a harried mall shopper in the mix. It is put on as a dessert theater with a very coffee house feel, as though you are at an open mic poetry reading at your corner "mom-and-pop " coffee house. It is free to the public, and there is a choice of two yummy desserts, which are served, and a coffee bar is available through the evening. Throw in a little Christmas music and mood lighting and the right props and viola!! Poel!! It was so much fun, but a lot of work and time, too. All in all, I am glad that is over!

We are celebrating an abbreviated version of Advent this year. We started a bit late, but it is an introduction, a feeling out, an exploration of how to make it part of our Christmas tradition in this family.
Some updates on Daniel, little man extraordinaire . . . he talks quite a bit for being one and a half!! He is too funny. He calls the phone a "bong" (don't ask -- no one knows why!!), and his bink a "bunk," and pencils are "baubles." He loves to watch Jack's Big Music Show and Blue's Clues. We are about worn out trying to keep up with him!!
Indian in the cupboard!!
That puts us at where we are now! We are home on winter break already (today is the first day) and I am looking forward to the holiday!! Of course I have not one gift purchased yet, but maybe that is okay.
Outside, a thin crust of ice and snow covers everything. It is supposed to warm up, but maybe we will have a white Christmas this year. I sure hope so!!!
On a personal aside, I have missed blogging and recording our adventures and days here for you to share. It has been a busy season, and in many ways, a hard season. Even the hard things have showed us how much we have to be thankful for, however. I hope to be back on a more regular basis!! Thank you for your patience, your encouragement and your continued support!!