Archive for December, 2008

I wonder if Santa can find us …

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

This is what happens when you’re on the ball in Vermont and put your outdoor decorations up early in December.

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I had rescued Mary and Joseph in the barn in the second photo.  Baby Jesus was too buried.

Our plow guy had just come about an hour before, and these were the footprints I left in the freshly plowed driveway,

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because it’s still doing this right now:

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The pic on the left shows the drift pile from the plow tonight, and the pic on the right is last year on December 16.

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Not the best comparison, but it gives you an idea.  We’re about on pace with last year. 

We got about 8 inches of snow Friday night, and then the storm today – took us 2.5 hours to drive the normal 1 hour trip home from church, but we didn’t have any real problems.  Just took awhile.  We had about 16 inches on the ground before today, and I’m guessing we’ve gotten at least 8 inches or so this afternoon.  We still don’t know what the totals are going to be, but probably another 4 inches or so tonight.  Joe thought I was joking when I said we’d have to clean the bushes off soon because I couldn’t see out the front window.

Meanwhile, the kids are playing indoors, working together for a few minutes to build a “beautiful” tower.  It involves standing on rickety little folding chairs, so I imagine there will be crying soon, but for now, they’re having a good time.  It’s a good thing, since we’d probably lose them in a snow drift outside.

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And it just gets sillier and sillier …

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

My good friend Trish who adopted Izzy B last year, and who lives near Orlando, set this up for Anna!  Guess we’ll have to visit next year, won’t we?  Can’t have them dedicating the whole park to Anna for a year and not even show up!

More Christmas nonsense

Monday, December 15th, 2008

The very first (of many) Parent-Teacher Conference

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Wednesday evening, we met with Will and Anna’s preschool teacher, Mrs. B., to discuss their progress.  We really didn’t know what to expect, especially about Will.  He still struggles with so many communication issues, and is often behind Anna in so many areas.  Since we know we have a very bright little girl, we’ve not really known what to expect with Will, and don’t always know whether observations we make are results of his orphanage delays and natural language transitions, or just normal little boy things.

Thankfully, according to Mrs. B, most of what we notice is apparently normal little boy.  She rated him pretty much average in all the areas of interest.  She pointed out that he is the best caretaker of tools and supplies in the entire class, and has the ability to focus on tasks of interest to him much better than most of the other children.  The children often have the opportunity to play with a tray of magnets of different shapes and sizes, including little brick-shaped pieces and washers and marbles, etc.  Most of the kids spend their time trying to stick as many pieces together as possible, in whatever orientation they fall.  Will, on the other hand, came running to her to show her his “train” – he had stuck 4 nuts on the bottom of a brick-shaped magnet, and then used something else to create a smokestack on the top.  She was impressed with his creativity. 

We have been hoping that he would progress enough this year to advance to kindergarten with his peers next year, so he will be the same age as others in his class, and he won’t be in the same class as Anna for the rest of their grade school years.   I awaited this conference with nervous anticipation, to hear her assessment of his progress and predictions for next year.  Much to my relief, she told us she thought he would be fine either way, but her honest opinion is that we should plan on sending him on to kindergarten.  He may need some extra individual help once he gets there, but she said she has had far greater reservations about other children, who have gone on to kindergarten and done just fine.  Whew.

Anna, of course, is doing just fine.  She got good marks in every area, and Mrs. B said she is exactly on track socially and intellectually for a 3 year old.  She’ll attend preschool for another year, and then go on to kindergarten. She’ll be a year behind Will, which will be best for both of them.  Mrs. B couldn’t make any suggestions for things we should be pursuing more at home; just continue what we’re doing, reading stories, working puzzles, etc.  Thank heavens for PBS TV programs.

A couple of Anna funnies:  Apparently she really loves to sit at the writing station at school and cut with scissors.  She told Mrs. B that we don’t have scissors at home.  Darned right.  We also don’t have markers, or crayons that can be used anywhere besides the kitchen table. 

Mrs. B sits at the little table and eats snacks with them every day.  She was sitting next to Will, and Anna was at the other end of the table.  All of a sudden, Anna looked at her and said, “My mama is going to be mad at you!”  While she was trying to figure out what Anna was talking about, Will immediately started trying to shove her elbow off the table where she was resting it.  Both Anna and Will knew that elbows are most definitely not allowed on the table while eating is going on.  So, some things are sinking in!

A few photos that I took for some unknown reason.  I think I was amused by Anna the mummy, completely buried under her sheet.  She’s afraid of monsters at the moment, so she has to sleep with the light on, and often has the sheet pulled up over her head.  Not the blanket, mind you.  That would be silly.  Saint Kotcha was protecting her from the bed, and Saint Apollo was watching over her from the crow’s nest (the crib full of stuffed animals).  I took the picture of Will completely in the dark, figuring that Nemesis would be sleeping on his bed as she usually is, but she didn’t happen to be there at the time.

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And here are a couple of pics of our newly organized mud room.  Yes, folks, after only 7 years in this house, I have unpacked the boxes in the mud room and organized things a bit better.  I have the lofty goal of putting radiant heat in the floor and then tiling the floor so we can leave our coats and boots out there in the winter.  I figure another 7 years or so ought to see that job completed.

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It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas!

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Today we have snow on the ground, but it’s only about 10 degrees out and I don’t feel like taking pictures.  It’s been a nasty week.  Monday the high temp was about 0 degrees.  The rest of the week was warmer, but a storm came through Thursday afternoon and evening, and we had freezing rain, then snow (about 6 or 8 inches), then it warmed up a bit and rained again, and then snowed some more.  So we have snow on ice on snow on ice.  Lovely base for the rest of our winter precipitation.  It’s supposed to be warmer again beginning tomorrow, and then into the 40’s next week, but snow +/- rain is forecast for almost every day after Monday.  Guess it’s winter-time here. 

In any case, last weekend we visited the Rocks Estate in Bethlehem briefly (too cold to stay out long) and met up with a couple of our Bernese Mountain Dog friends (mama takes care of these lovely dogs!)

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On the same evening, we had our work Christmas dinner, which the kids attended as usual, and they did very well.  Will sat by and entertained Auntie Nee, and Anna kept Baba under control.

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All on the same weekend, Baba put up our outdoor Christmas lights, and OU beat Missouri handily for the Big XII conference football championship and earned a spot in the NCAA National Championship game on January 8.  Busy weekend.

Second Thanksgiving

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Because one Thanksgiving dinner is never enough, we traveled to Manchester on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to have another celebration at Grammy and Nonno’s house.  Auntie ‘Nee came with us, and Jon and Eileen and Colin were there, as were Lili, Michael, Renata and Sal.  The cousins all had a great time playing together. 

Anna was so excited to give Colin a little fancy flashlight we had picked up at Target.  It lights up with multicolored LEDs and spins when you push a button.  She carried his around for at least a day before we went down.  On Sunday, when she finally got to give it to him, it was a bit anticlimactic because he didn’t know what to do with it.  But, once he figured it out, he wouldn’t put it down the rest of the day.  Pretty cool!

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Anna was a big help cleaning up in the kitchen:


Which necessitated a quick wardrobe change:
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Because Mama didn’t come prepared for a flood!

Thanksgiving Day

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

We invited Grammy and Nonno and Auntie ‘Nee to have Thanksgiving Dinner at our house on the big day.  Everything went beautifully, the food was delicious, and a good time was had by all.  Renee made the stuffing and an apple crisp, and Grammy made the pumpkin pie.  The rest of our goodies were made by me after careful preparation by Omaha Steaks.  What a treat that turned out to be!  No muss, no fuss, and a great variety of wonderful food in just the right amounts.  I can’t recommend that approach enough. 

Here are some shots of the first Thanksgiving celebration of our extended Thanksgiving season:

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Joe got to demonstrate his Wii to his folks, and everyone bowled a frame or two using the motion-sensor controller.  It’s really a cool system if you haven’t seen one.  Video games are totally new to me, but this is quite fun.  I’ve even discovered the Nintendo DS handheld game system for myself, and sometimes several hours get away from me while I’m trying to beat up some ghosts and vampires, or playing word puzzles.  Because I was really running out of other things to do.  Hah.