Part 3 – Winter wear

Both boys were anticipating a snowy winter and asked me to knit them new hats – yes – at 18 and 14, they wanted their mom to knit new hats. Of course I jumped right on that.

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The middle son picked one that was patriotic and colorful and it went together easily. Here is ravelry link: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Theflock/hat-for-eli

Then the younger son wanted one. He has a love of polar bears, so I surprised him with this:

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Details at Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Theflock/polar-chullo

And just in the nick of time – the epic snow came the next day!

Part 2 – Silly stuff about snow

There were some silly things about snow as well. In an early dusting, I got lots of loving messages.

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IMG_0754This last one you may have to click on to get big enough to read the message I found at the pond…

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IMG_0728And a loving one from the man about the place while we were on a walk.

IMG_0767.JPG (2)In the south, the joke is always that when snow is forecast, whether it comes or not, regardless of amount expected, everyone rushes out to buy milk and bread and toilet paper. But at our store, there seemed to be a rush on bananas. Who knows?

IMG_0751 IMG_0752 IMG_0735 IMG_0734Then the middle son always tests the thickness of the ice – he cuts out big slabs from the pond and amazes us with these icy chunks…I always love when there are frozen bubbles – but I also love when it freezes clear.

IMG_0721And then there was the intense cold that came after the snow, creating a crusty surface where we could walk without hardly leaving footprints – no sinking into the now here, even though it was about 8 inches deep!

Part 1 – Epic Snow

Snowball candle outside dining room window...

Snowball candle outside dining room window…

For the southern United States, we had quite the winter. We had a couple of weeks where we went to school for 1/2 a day and then didn’t see students for a week. Then another 1/2 day, and another week off. We even had a Saturday make-up day that got cancelled due to “inclement weather”.

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The boys had a great deal of fun with the snow. It was easy to pack – there were snow forts and snowmen and giant hay bale style rolls of snow.

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IMG_0800This is the middle son inside the snow fort made by rolling enormous hay bale rolls of snow and then forming them into a 4 sided shape.

IMG_0794This was more fun with snow – as the middle son, soon to be college bound, used his car and his creativity and a bit of red food color to create this gruesome snowman scene…

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But the best part of these 2 weeks is that I just let go – I let go of grading papers and marking Mathematics IA’s – I stopped writing lessons – and I just enjoyed what is probably the last time Eli and Cooper will ever get snowed in together. It was great snow for playing, and that is what we all did.

IMG_0779IMG_0778IMG_0792We had time for lovely walks in the woods and by our pond – covered in ice and snow. We had time for cups of tea and days in pajamas and sleeping in past 7. It was the best time – even if we do have to go to school 20 minutes longer every day for 3 plus months to make up the time – it was worth it. Thanks 2015 snow – you were the best ever!IMG_0798

IMG_0809.JPG (2)Boosting younger brother onto snow roll…

IMG_0814.JPG (2)The man about the place on a giant snow roll….

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And of course, at some point, the rolls fall over… sooo very heavy, this snow!

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Out with the old, and in with the older….

Well, where did December go?

My grandmother lives far away in another state, as do my parents. And all are very fragile at the moment. So the man about the place had to go on a spur of the moment trip to my grandmother’s cottage and move out some of her things because it is looking more and more likely that she will need more full time care. At 93, she is showing signs of needing someone else to help organize her affairs, so he will be returning at the end of next week – this time by airplane at the end of a previously scheduled business trip and not towing a Uhaul behind him. I will remain here giving final exams and making sure my boys get to their basketball games and such.

So I had to organize much of the holidays on my own while the trip was being made. Family was hosted, food was cooked, presents bought and given and made….some things went by the wayside due to shortage of time – but noone noticed I don’t think, so I call that successful.

And then there was the task of sorting through the stuff that made the cross country trip.

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What do you keep? What do you discard? How do you make these decisions with pieces of family history?For me, it came down to whether or not I could use it.

Some things have serious sentimental attachment, and it is okay to keep a certain amount of those things if there is room to store it. I had room for Sunday Go to Meeting gloves – women still wore them when I was small, and I even had them at Easter early on. So I kept the gloves.

P1190182And then there were the bedspreads My great grandfather’s sister was named Vera. And she crocheted until she died – I have often heard it said that everyone knew the minute she couldn’t crochet anymore, she would die, and apparently that is what she did. She and her husband had a turkey farm, where my mother was terrorized by being surrounded by a flock of turkeys when she was about 3. In any case, Aunty Vera had crocheted a bedspread for my grandmother as a wedding gift in 1938. And now, I will care for it. That much time and effort and love put into anything deserves to be preserved.

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At some point Vera gave my grandmother a second bedspread – so I now have 2 beautiful works of art.

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This second one has dozens of tiny baubles on it. When I was born, Vera and her husband Henry sent my mother a tiny ID bracelet for me – has my name on it – and maybe I even met them as an infant. But other than that knowledge  and some ancient photos, I can only imagine their life on a turkey/poultry farm in the 30s and 40s and 50s. Family history.

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There are tons of photos, and ancient letters. I am keeping those that I know something about. Many are photos other family members sent to my great grandmother – new baby photos, and Christmas photos – that then became my grandmothers when great grandma died. So now I am sending them on, back to those families – time to pass them on to their children who are mostly now grown and starting their own families.

P1190162And then there are the projects. My grandmother was a crafty, artistic person. There are dozens and dozens of patterns and oodles of art supplies and fabrics. I have had to be ruthless about this stuff. Most of it is so dated, and not my style. So we have sent it on to people we hope can use it, or given it to GoodWill. But there were a few things I kept. I found a set of placemats and napkins someone was embroidering.

P1190191Do not know how old these are… I assume my grandmother was the one to hem the linen and embroider them all.. and everyone single one of them was completed, except 1.

P1190166One last placemat needed the three strands of gold thread couched on it. A 15 minute job at best was all that stood between a craft project and a useful article. I know all too well how something gets set aside just needing button holes, or a hem, or the ends sewn in. Well, I took 15 min and completed the last one. I can use these – although not sure the embroidery thread is colorfast, or how long the gold thread will hold up. But I will use them and honor the work that went into making them. P1190163

And I will vow this summer to finish projects and cull  my own stash to make sure no one else will have to finish my work someday – although frankly, I found it oddly enjoyable and didn’t mind a bit. Sorting through boxes, finding hidden treasures and tripping down memory lane was a nice way to spend the holidays.

P1190184Childhood Christmases of my own – reading with my grandparents…sigh.

Holidays arriving…

This year, with 4 preps, and more work than I can handle, the holidays feel like they are coming at my like a bullet train.

We eat with family out of town on Thanksgiving proper - but I always come home and make another full turkey dinner - with cheap turkey bought the day after Thanksgiving - so we can have leftovers!

We eat with family out of town on Thanksgiving proper – but I always come home and make another full turkey dinner – with cheap turkey bought the day after Thanksgiving – so we can have leftovers!

Thanksgiving – lovely, but a blur. Birthday – yes I am now 48 – was also lovely – treated to dinner at Sake Bomb, lots of lovely gifts, students singing happy birthday, lots of facebook greetings – but a blur.

Now the tree is up. The Advent wreath was made. The boys hung up outside lights – and that is as prepared as we are. No cards, no gifts, no meals or teacher gifts even planned. YIKES!

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Somehow – we will get to the important day with the most important stuff done. But I miss those years when it was more leisurely – sigh.

Cranberry curd tartlets in pecan shells - with a little whip cream, these were quite the treat at Thanksgiving!

Cranberry curd tartlets in pecan shells – with a little whip cream, these were quite the treat at Thanksgiving!