December 27, 2012

Whiteout notes

It's true that it is snowing and snowing and snowing here!  We are to have a "whiteout" until tomorrow- quite accurate since outside currently looks like a big white blur.  Champ is working all this week at Straton resort and while it is a skier's paradise, I kinda wish he could have stayed home today with us; safe and sound, another mug of hot chocolate to fill.

How to stay cozy while he is away?  By looking back on some Christmas memories, of course.

Bear got a tent and a guitar for Christmas: he promptly began to play country songs for the crowd and eventually hunkered down on Christmas night to sleep fireside in his tent. 

Holiday lights are hard to come by in Vermont, but not in Pennsylvania!  This house was seriously spectacular.
   That guitar has not left Bear's side.

And then there are the outtakes.  The hysterical, infuriating, endearing outtakes.  The biggest memory makers of them all because they capture moments perfectly; much better than the polished version I will hang on my wall.  

{Christmas Eve: Tomten porridge, milk and cookies for Santa, the tree}

 {Christmas 2012: presents, manger, dinner}

December 21, 2012

Of peppermint and fire

I thought fire might get your attention.  We had a winter storm earlier in the week (and again today) which caused the power to go out.  Champ was at work and I was "working" with all my little friends.  The house was rapidly getting cold, so I cranked the woodstove and then borrowed one of Bear's Christmas gift crafts to ignite a fire in our upstairs fireplace. It worked most excellently.  Friends!  Family!  Be excited as you will soon be receiving a firestarter stick of your very own!

 We've been busy creating, and festing, and Christmasing as the days barrel toward someone's very important birthday.  Bear has his present ready and waiting to lay in the manger and I've been loading boxes and tins with all our other homespun delights.  Here's a great place to thank M&M for allowing us to borrow their roof top car carrier so that we can haul all these so called delights to Pennsylvania.  I should also mention this brings our total up to TWO carriers attached to that roof.

There have been pre school concerts, and visitors, and a few sneak peeks at Santa.  Also, late late nights spent baking and preparing while curious little hands sleep.  I can't seem to get enough of these peppermint meringues this year which is why batches of 24 end up more like a dozen when all is said and done.

Enjoy these next few days to come.  Savor any family that might be surrounding you, hug those children extra tight.  Christmas is still full of wonder and hope, I think we just need to look for it a little harder this year.  


May your holiday season deliver bucketfuls of hope and love.


December 19, 2012

walking past Tomten hollow

A week like this bring my gratitude for the woods surrounding our house in to full focus.  I can tumble my boys (human and canine) out the kitchen door and into the forest with only as much effort as it takes to wrangle on Bear's pair of boots.  

Our woods walk is guaranteed to begin with a check on the Tomten.  It is 100% certain to swing by a water source: our pond, the swamp, a secret babbling creek far off to the right, past the white ash with a trunk twisted like licorice.

We hardly ever bring loud voices, or even much conversation, to the woods.  I have yet to haul my camera any deeper in to our walk than to Tomten hollow and Bear rarely carries any of his usual appendages (helmets, tools, Playmobil...).  The stripping away when we enter these woods is unintentional, yet no matter how the decision is made, it works.  We all walk among the pines: thinking, exploring, pausing, not needing any of our homespun routine save for the walk itself.

And oh how I need these walks

especially during a week such as this.  This is where I awkwardly stop for today.  Nothing magical in my writing no smooth as stone ending, just a sharing of how I am dealing with the weight of the week while balancing the seasonal Christmas flurry.  Where are your "woods"?  How are you balancing it all?

December 16, 2012

In remembrance

I came to this space and then turned away.  Again and again I tried to come and write, but really there are no words to fully express the shock felt by the Sandy Hook shootings.

Our heads all spin; we weave our questions; we play the "what if" game and it is all so meaningless and guilt-riddled to me because tonight I tucked my sons in to bed.  Tonight I know all my friends with whom I used to teach kindergarten are alive and well.  There are no words for those feeling either- the heavy ridiculousness of using Sandy Hook to review gratitude for my own life while others grieve with an intensity that no living soul should 
ever feel.

Let those small sweet children and brave brave women ever be remembered and cherished. 

December 13, 2012

Montessori Huckle Mumble

I keep passing by the computer: wanting to type, not having time to blog, thinking no one has time to read what I write anyway, wishing to document Huckle's important arrival...  it all just keeps swirling around and I have yet to do something about it beside glare crossly at my computer once in a while.  It is so love/hate with her.  

Until eventually I find myself here with an alotted 10 minutes- let's see what I can accomplish:

  another reason not at the computer: snuggling a grumpy Ace.

I have a bunch of Montessori stuff to share, but really, who cares about that right at this very moment?  I'll get to it in the new year, except for gingerbread.  G-men deserve their piece right now, don't you think?

 We recently had a little fun with those yummy little cookies.  It's such a great story for kiddos Bear's age (pre-school) with it's repetitive text and fairy tale like charm.  We read many different versions of the story including Jan Brett's Gingerbread Baby which ends with a twist (no, a DIFFERENT kind of twist!) and Flossie and the Fox by Patricia McKissack which has no gingerbread man in it, but is a great study of the fox.  I had some felt characters left over from my teaching days so we used them for story retells and I pulled out our awesome two-sided floor puzzle of the Gingerbread Baby.  The icing on the cookie?  I set up a station with gingerbread (play)dough and cookie cutters, rolling pin, cookie tray etc.  You could make the dough from any of your favorite recipes, the magic happens when you sprinkle some cinnamon into the mix.  Yeah, yeah I KNOW that's not ginger, but it makes for a yummy smelling, Christmas cookie playdough.  Rest assured, we bake  quite enough gingerbread around these parts that he will not be confused by a little cinnamon in his "gingerbread man" play dough.

          See?  Just look at that transfer of knowledge.

Puppies and babies don't really sit still.

 It's a rare moment when I can snap a not so blurry picture of Huckle and Ace.  But I've been following that dog around a lot- attempting to snap some true pictures, hoping you'll fall in love with him just as we are.  He's trying so very hard even as his size, his breed, his scars, work against him.  How easy it must be for fluffy golden retriever puppies.  That is not to say I have anything against young and bubbly Labradoodles, it just makes me smitten with my own misfit puppy all the more.


 I really will cut it with all the dog pics and posts soon, but come on, he's new!!  And I think he's down right cute.

December 10, 2012

The thickest puppy neck I've ever seen


 Huckle is settling into his forever home as skillfully as he photo bombs nearly 75% of the pictures I take.
 (Ace trying out a Rudolph nose AFTER Huckle made his cameo)

 It's been smooth and wonderful, especially as I observe Trot and Huckle beginning to bond in a most brotherly kind of way.  Dogs, like babies, know so many things that I do not and I can't help but peek around corners wishing to gain a tidbit of magical knowledge.


Today I was able to sneak and capture some grainy proof of Trot licking Huckle's cheeks which are a little war torn from his journey here.  It went on for a good 10 minutes and my heart swelled; this was a good sign, a very good sign.  

These remaining days until Christmas will never be as calm and peaceful as I'd like them to be, but even in the midst of holiday flurry (yes, I'll call it flurry because at times it is for me.  Sad, but true) I have no regrets that Huckle came into our lives during this busy, active season when there is already quite a bit of commotion and a big lumbering puppy only adds to it.  How lucky we are that he found us when he did; I smile to know I mean that with all my heart.  

December 03, 2012


And just like that, our life has changed.  Trot has a new little (as in 1 year old just like Ace) brother.  A pit bull as well, he is a gorgeous "blue" with a sparkling personality to match his good looks.  Bear christened him "Huckle" (this link has a bit of naughty words, but the pictures are spot on) upon his arrival and he's been living up to it: eager, easy going, and happy would all be great adjectives to describe our Huckle.

It's been a commotion at times, but not in the way some would assume two male pit bulls create.  Indeed, I'm willing to bet all my favorite cast iron pans that Huckle will soon turn some folks in to pit bull supporters, just as Trot, George, and Sterling have done before him.  I also recognize that I am a dog lover.  A dog truster. And I come equipted with years of experience working at a dog academy.  You might be worried for us; I'm glad as we can always use extra prayers and besides, I'd be lying if I didn't admit I had to meditate on my pounding heart as I anticipated their official introduction.  BUT the meet and greet time came, I acted professionally and the dogs acted swimmingly.  See?  Your prayers are already working.  Thank you and I pinky swear promise that we are all acting on the side of caution.  Let it also be known how cherished Trot is.  I am so very proud of how he is adjusting to this new version of life.  It's been quite a while since he's had another sibling dog around!  Now is a time of bonding for us all.  I trust my God that Huckle came into our lives for a reason.  

Everything you don't see in this video is what I love about it: no posturing, no growling no vicious biting.  Just happy play between two canines.
Trot and Huckle from tj moment on Vimeo.

 *Special thanks to my brother-in-law for once again helping us to rescue a perfect fit for our family!
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