Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Five Years in the Finishing

Look what book I finished this afternoon, right down to Appendix F!

Mama started reading "The Fellowship of the Ring" as a family read-aloud when Emmi was a baby, but Tori and I were the only ones interested at the time, so after that first book, she told us to just go ahead and enjoy them at our own pace. Which I have finally done. Haha! It's not that I don't read -although I don't read as much as I would like. And it's not that I'm terribly slow, though I might be slower than Tori or Mama. I just have this really weird thing, where, if I wait more than two months to read the sequel to a book, I feel like I have to read the first book over first. It doesn't work out well for a book like one of Tolkien's works. I think at this point I have heard or read "The Fellowship of the Ring" three times ;). And at the same time, I find reading fiction and history books very addicting once I start in, so I try to only read them when I know I have time to enjoy them to my heart's content, which also makes getting through something as thick as this a challenge ;).

But I decided last year that I was going to get through the series. This was partly because Tori has been very firm about the fact that all people who want to call themselves human must read Tolkien (I'm joking... kind of ;) )... and partly due to the fact that when I asked if I could read her "Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien" book, she told me that it was not a book to be read before Lord of the Rings, as he gives plenty of spoilers. I was surprised at how much of the book she had NOT recited to me, given how many late night hours she has spent giving me "must-know" details, haha :).  I liked Théoden and Faramir better in the book, and the hobbits' sass at the end of the book was a highlight, haha! Aragorn's background that wasn't given in the movie was also very important to his character, I think, though I understand it would have taken a lot to get it in. I will say, the series was a wonderful read... but after five years on my reading list, I'm glad to have finished it ;).

Have you heard the term "secondary obsession"? Tori and I heard it a few months ago, and it's gotten frequent use between us since then, haha! This is supposedly where *you* are not obsessed with something because you found it and loved it, but because someone you love found it and loved it and made you love it with them, and now whenever you see something connected with that, you have to comment on/get it, maybe not because you love it, per say, but just because it reminds you of your friend/family and all the good times you've had discussing this thing they love, haha :). I've kind of had that on my mind as I was reading the appendices of this book, haha. If Tori hadn't read it first, and told me some if the neat details he slipped into them, I probably wouldn't have read through them ;).

Monday, January 25, 2016

Snowmen with Character

The snow, the first couple of days, was just WAY too soft and fluffy to build anything out of. But, now that it has stopped coming down, and the sun has started to get to it, it's gotten just wet enough to have fun with! The whole family went out yesterday and spent quite a while making some snowmen :)! Well, except Peter and Josiah... these two just let Bethi pull them around the yard for forever ;). Haha :). Peter did make a snow angel, if that counts?

Tori and I were at the side of the house busy with ours for a while, so we saw the beginnings of each snowman, but didn't watch as they took finished forms. When we were finally done, we walked past all these snow sculptures on the way in, and it was so fun how each one just had loads of character and looked exactly like each person, haha :). Here is Emmi's... one of her trademarks is that she puts bows on e.v.e.r.y. girl she draws, so this was no surprise :). The colorful candy cane (that you can't really see well here, but I promise it's there!) also adds a special touch of Emmi, haha!

Here is Abbi's. The sticks for hair definitely shows off her creative side! It also reminds me of the snowman that Daddy and I made when I was little, and gave hair made out of candy canes. She was named Pippy Longstocking, heehee :). That purple scarf Abbi used has, I think, been used for every snowman she's ever built!

This snowman was started by Bethi... she piled up a bunch of snow and left. Haha! So Mama took over, so it would actually look like something (it was the one closest to the window, haha!). I love that her's looks so similar to Emmi's and yet less dramatic ;).

I think Daddy won for time spent on his! He worked forever on this snowman, built up to the trapeze bar. It's more impressive in real life, he carved a face into it... it kind of looks like a Muppet, haha :).

Andrew worked for a long time on Olaf! He almost gave up, but he persevered and conquered! He's even got a mouth and tooth, if you look close :).

Tori and I worked together to make a Baymax "snowman". When we were talking about how everybody else's snowman looked like that person's personality, I asked Tori what that meant for she and I, haha! I think it says a lot for us as a twosome... sentimental and obsessive ;)?... but not much for either of us alone, haha :).


Friday, January 22, 2016

Triangle Sticks and Icing

This morning, while most of us were slowly and groggily laying in bed and trying to force ourselves to get up ;), Abbi announced that it was snowing! We knew that we were expecting some winter mix today, but had heard that it might be ice, so I wasn't counting on it being any fun. It was coming down in soft, fluffy flakes, though, and continued to do so until late afternoon! Somebody said something about it not being ice pellets, and I don't know how it happened, but Tori asked Emmi if she knew what ice pellets were. Emmi responded that, no she didn't. Abbi piped up, "I do!"

"What are they?", Tori asked.

"They're those triangle things. But they kind of look like sticks, too."

Cue the cricket noises. ;)

Abbi, trying to explain herself: "You know, they hang on the house?...". Ohhhh... Icicles, not ice pellets :)!

So, we started the day off in style with some homemade donuts, and then we got ready to go outside. This can take... way longer than you would ever imagine. But we finally made it out ;). Peter and Josiah lasted about ten minutes, haha! Daddy took his camera down to the lake to get some shots, and Bethi and Andrew and I took the chance to join him :).

It was so pretty down there! The lake was frozen over, and there were a couple of herons walking around on it, it was neat :). The snow was so pretty... I love walking in fresh snow! It always makes me a little sad to mar it, but it's so peaceful and beautiful and cozy feeling :). It was snowing hard enough that you could only see the other side of the lake vaguely, and the white of the clouds, the snow coming down, and the snow on top of the covered dock at the lake were all the exact same color, and it almost looked as if the roof was missing a side.

It did eventually change from snow to ice. Thankfully it was after we got home and sat down with popcorn and hot chocolate to watch a movie :). Peter asked Mama, "Is it really icing out there?". When she replied that, yes, it was, he asked her "So we can eat it?!". Haha, not that kind of icing, Peter!

"The Lord gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow." ~Psalm 147:16-18

*All pics courtesy  of Daddy :).

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Gingerbread Cake

Every year, we bake a gingerbread cake, using Laura Ingalls' famous recipe, as part of our Christmas traditions. Usually we do it on Epiphany, and have a final "Happy Birthday" party for Jesus as we finish up our study on the twelve days of Christmas and remember the visit the wise men paid to Jesus and his parents, but this year we were busy, so we had to put it off. So, tonight, the smell of gingerbread filled the house, along with lots of noise... lots of noise. Haha!

I love traditions, no matter how small. They make the year seem a little more thought out, a little more purposeful. They create memories that build and build as they are added onto. When we cut the cake after singing Happy Birthday to Jesus, several little voices are going to ask if they can have a piece with an M&M in it... our gingerbread cake got a bigger and bigger smile, and more buttons, over the years, until Mama decided to just reduce it to it's original state  and pass out loose M&M's to whoever didn't manage to snag one ;). Somebody (usually Tori) will say, "Hey, remember how Daddy used to read "The Gingerbread Man"?!?!!? Daddy, you should read it again!". And Daddy responds that he doesn't even remember what he used to improvise with, so Tori will have to read it so that everything is remembered. If you thought that the original Gingerbread Man of that book was sassy and provoking, it had nothing on the Gingerbread Man that Daddy created when Tori and I were little, haha! 

The little ones added the M&M's to the cake this year, and I think it came out with quite the little "character" attached, haha :). Tori said it looks like Emmi somehow, heehee :).

Bri :)