Saturday, December 28, 2013

DD #24 Silent Night....

I think I love Christmas Eve more than the 25th.. It is the night we actually have a celebration and it includes a great meal, games, and silent reflection.  Our tradition has been that I cook a  Prime Rib and put together a baked potato bar.  Everyone does everything else in terms of side dishes and desserts.

My house it tiny.  And this year, the Hawaii Bowl (football) was interfering with our festivities since I don't have satellite TV.  And the guest list grew. So, the party was moved to the Maxwell's, the folks who we have been celebrating Christmas Eve with for years....and the ones where I go for our Red Neck Thanksgiving (aka we blow stuff up before dinner).   Just now we do it at my place or theirs.  In total?  There were 17 people.  Usually at my house there are 8. 

So, Christmas Eve day was a whirlwind.  I had to intercept a box being held hostage at the local post office in Haines that G.G. sent.  It's beyond me why people wait until the freaking last minute to send gifts (that would be me)!  Our post office has hours that do not allow me to go in before or after I leave or come home for work, since I commute.  Good thing I had Dec. 24th off!

My friend Lori and I spent the day prepping and shopping and we purchased a cute little mascot for the festivities. A gnome.  He had photo ops along the day.  Made it quite fun!  I will share his journey in a separate post.

After leaving our friends and coming home, the night was clear and beautiful.  Our part of the neighborhood is all lit up with lights and it is so festive.

I crawled into bed, said a prayer of thanks for all this beauty and love, and snuggled into the most beautiful and Holy of Nights.  The Silent Night.

Our Christmas Card Display

Love the message on the eggnog carton!  Do you see me?

Just one more day. Two bottles of wine and gloves from my secret santa

Mexican Hot Cocoa on the stove - another tradition

Mexican Hot Cocoa.  Remember when it was wrapped in paper?

Even Rosie has a Christmas Stocking! Thanks to Sami

All ready to take to the Maxwell's!  3:45 pm.. Game is at 5pm

Our Destination: Home of the Maxwell's

Inside the Maxwell House

Watching the Hawaii Bowl:  Boise State v.s. Oregon State. Oregon won!

Jarrod Maxwell Carve's the roast beast (Prime Rib)

Baked potato bar and then some (no the mustard is not my idea, it's for the meat)

Monday, December 23, 2013

DD # 23: Monday.. Two more Days!

Fa la la la la!  Yes, In my kitchen.  Hanging off the ceiling fan

A few more packages under the tree

Only 2 more days!  Today's cup is gold.
The Eve, of Christmas Eve. 

 Last night my friends the Binghams (Jake, Wendy, Roper, Dallee Jo, Range and Brand) all came over to surprise us and sing a Christmas Song.. Silent Night!  The kid's dad arrived at the same time, so Sami and Jake missed the singing.  Dick never made it to Portland.  He left, on Friday, and called yesterday morning to get the kids.  I told him we were going shopping and that I didn't think he would be back until Sunday evening (message from the kids).  His truck broke down near Arlington Friday evening.  The tow truck would not bring him over the mountain, only to Pendleton. (Big storm, interstate got closed for a bit, etc.)  He actually got home at 3pm on Saturday.

I am going to work today.  It would be a great day to take off, but I am taking tomorrow off to prep for the evening's festivities.  I still have to go grocery shopping, buy a little gift for Rosie the kitty (apparently I slipped up by NOT having a Christmas stocking for her - kids said so) and try and intercept boxes sent via the US Postal Service from Mountain View, CA.  They don't deliver to my house, so I have to go to the post office in town, which is closed by the time I get home from work, or when I leave for work. 

GG said she sent a box 3day shipping, 'over a week ago' and it has not arrived.  Avis' box said 'GG is sending Jake's gifts' - they went in on it together, so right now there are no Jake presents under the tree.  The good news is Jake and Sami got to go shopping yesterday and get their big gift - I-Phones.  So I am thinking there are no hurt feelings or disappointments - just the baggage I carry and need to let go of.  Oh, the letting go. 

I host dinner at my place on Christmas Eve.  Prime Rib, baked potato bar, etc.  Friends. Games.  It's a wonderful time for us.  I invited three more people this year.  Not sure where they will sit!

It's about 32 degrees outside and the weather is going to be snowy, rainy, yucky. 

Have a beautiful day, everyone! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

DD #22: The 4th Sunday in Advent... December 22nd

(Note:  To skip the narrative and go straight to photos... scroll on down!)

Ahhhhh.... Sunday.

I had a rough night last night.

I had to meet the kids school bus at midnight.  In North Powder, which is 7 miles from here.  Which means, I had to stay up past my bedtime (anywhere from 8pm to 9pmish), and drive with acceptable clothes on (which means, not slipping into my ever so cozy jammies and crawling into bed, which is what I WANTED to do).

So, after coming home after a Holiday party at friends (I was the only single person there) where the only people I knew were the hosts, I laid on the couch in my uncomfortable clothes with Rosie the kittie and waited for the kids to communicate with me on where they were and when they would be home.  This went on from about 10pm on.  Their basketball games were in Jordan Valley, 4 hours away, and apparently the entire town had absolutely no cell service - which explains the 'call me when you get there' silence.  And, the 'call me when you are leaving' silence.  And the chat with the bus barn leader, on a Saturday night, about 'when can I expect my kids home?' call. It's a small town.  We do this sort of thing.

Anyway, all the above resulted in this morning's slow moving body.

But, both kids and home safe and sound, and all the basketball games were won by our school.
Jake is now sitting on the couch watching episodes of Myth Busters... after spilling a little bit of cereal and milk on the couch.

Sami is still in bed.. a good place for her.  She needs her beauty sleep.  She was VERY grumpy last night.  Think I will let her sleep until noon!  In truth I think she was upset that I picked them up.  She sent me a message  'I think Tyler is taking us home'.  I texted back and said 'to my house?  Let me know for sure'.  I thought she was talking about neighbors by the ranch.  Why the heck would they drive to my house?  I did not get a message back from her.  I texted Jake and asked 'am I picking you up in NP' and he said yes.  

Turns out it was the wrong Tyler.  The Tyler Sami was talking about is a cute senior who is our basketball star and was the Homecoming King (football star, too).  He offered to give Sami and Jake a ride home, but alas, something was lost in the whole translation to me.

And well, her mommy showed up. How embarrassing.

Today's line up?  Taking the kids to town to get their big Christmas gift.  Smart Phones.  Yep.  This is what they want and rather than spend money on piles of things they don't, we are taking the plunge.

Oh.. maybe some sledding on inner tubes, too.

Here are photos from my play day on Saturday.  Snowshoeing with a gal pal up Pine Creek.

We were the first to break trail!

Taking a break!

Snow shoeing snacks

Appetizer for Christmas Party - fresh mozzarella cheese,  sour dough bread, and two types of olives

the end of the trail

Little ol' me!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

DD # 21: YES!!!!! The Winter Solstice is today! Saturday...

I have lots of catching up to do.... and need to get moving to get the kids to the school to catch a bus to Jordan Valley for basketball games.

They both played last night and both teams won their games.  Sami did two jump shots!  Yahoo!  And she did great and stealing the ball.

Jake?  He got body slammed, ended up on his back seeing stars with a hurt right leg and his teeth hurt.  He got up, stumbled back into the game and played until the buzzer rang.  Holy crap.  He was stunned and it was obvious.  Lots of dads came up to him afterward to check on him and tell him he did great.

Snow?  BOATLOADS!  Big storm yesterday.

I am going to go play in the snow today with a girlfriend while the kids travel.  We are going to snoeshoe.

And I have a holiday party tonight.  Yippee!!

And the kids dad will not be home until Sunday night.  I just found out from Jake.  Um.. good thing I didn't make any plans, eh????

OK.. gotta run!
Snow covered trash can, Saturday morning

My typical attire when outside in the yard, includes my jammies!

Like that new coffee cup?  I have a new set of four:  2 red, 2 gold. from my Secret Santa, along with new slippers and some new smart wool sox and new gloves!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

DD #19 Thursday

It smells like snow outside:)

The weather service has been threatening a big storm but it hasn't hit.. yet.

It would be 'real funny' if it hit tonight and stranded me elsewhere... I am actually meeting my Secret Santa in Pendleton tonight after work for dinner, an hour in the other direction!  He lives in Washington so we are meeting in the middle.  Yes, I am excited.  It's fun to feel like a kid.  The best part is he does too,  and shares that with me..  Not going to get ahead of myself, but well, it's working.

Kids?  Today is their Secret Santa day.  They wrapped their gifts last night.  Oh, and we ran out paper so today I will try and get my stuff together during lunch!  Yeah, last minute.

Colorado, Missouri, Washington and California.  Be on the Look Out!!!

Today's bit of fairy dust?  Left little sweet treats at the kitchen table with breakfast.  And right now Sami has Christmas Music playing on her Ipod nice and loud..

I have created a mini elf!  Love this....

Have a GREAT day! Only 6 more days!
Sneak Peak of the 2014 Calendar!  You have to rip it open right away!

The Hood!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DD # 18.... Wednesday... 7 More Days!!!!

Good morning......

I love this time of year.... I have the Christmas Tree lit morning and night.  Love those white lights and all the ornaments...

The little propane heater is kicking out heat and has the ambiance of a real fire - flames.

This Saturday will be the shortest day of the year.. and then?  Each day they will get longer until we have light again.  I think I'll keep my outdoor lights on until Groundhogs Day... the official 'I can See!' day.

We only have one present under the tree.  And it's not even a Christmas Present.  It's a birthday present for Sami.  My mom Pat cracks me up.  She sent the birthday gift, way ahead of schedule, but not Christmas.  Sami is confused.  Well, so is Jake and so am I!

I can't see the moon this morning.  Too much fog.

Tonight I will wrap the out of town gifts and send them off tomorrow.  That is my plan!  I am surprised at how quick these days have all flown by.....

An antique ornament I bought last year

One of the mini trees.  Jake's room..

The Reason for the Season.  This sits right in front of the TV.  A reminder for all

DD # 17 - Tuesday

Trying to capture the morning full moon

The five fingered icicyle outside my 'office' window

Morning Moon

Catching the moon set

frosty tree limbs
Today is the full moon.  What a sight this morning and last night and tonight!  I love seeing it over snow and over the mountains and lighting up the sky on an evening drive.....

It's Tuesday.  Kids have basketball practice, as usual... I made dinner between 'pick ups'.  Tonight we had lamb chops, a wild rice blend and some green thing cooked in butter and garlic.  Oh yeah, brussell sprouts!  For the life of me I could not remember the name!

I don't cook  like that every night.  Maybe once or twice a week.  When I am by myself?  Oh, chips, or some other fast thing...  Bad girl.

Today at lunch was our Christmas Program at Rotary. We hired a caterer, had the La Grande High School Choir sing beautiful Christmas songs (Ava Maria, and others of that caliber), and  it was decorated, etc. What a beautiful luncheon.  I love Christmas!!!!!!!!!

When the kids came home tonight they both discovered mini trees in their rooms and they were both surprised.  It's just part of my decor. Little fake trees.  They each get one in their room so they have their own trees.. Been doing this for years.  They love them.  And they saw the decorated tree.

This morning?  Texts from Sami that we forgot to shop for the secret Santa gifts for school on Thursday.  We, eh?  Does she have a mouse in her pocket?

Yeah, so I went shopping in between the Christmas program and a doc appt. Lucky me.  TWO doctors appointments this week!  Just usual maintenance, no worries..

And.... planning something fun for Thursday night. Santa is going to meet me for dinner. Oh I am one lucky girl!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

DD #15: The Third Sunday in Advent


I got up early to hit the road.  The kids were still in bed.  I kissed them both goodbye and snuck out into the morning sunshine.  Their dad picks them up Sunday mornings.  The kids could sleep until 10 am and let a gorgeous day just slip on by. Oh to be young again.  Their dad doesn't show up until 11am.  Half the day is gone.   Sundays are my days... and this one had me on pins and needles, nervous, and excited.  And, as it turned out, for good reason. 

Goodies for the kids

Only 10 more days!

Still working on cards

Favorite decor

I started decorating the tree all my myself.  Leaving the rest for the kids. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

DD #14. Saturday.

What a day.  It warmed up into the 30 somethings.  Right now at 7pm it is 28 degrees.

Today?  A house full of teens.  Sami has a girlfriend over, and Jake also has a friend over.  the girls were funny.  They got all dressed up and then went outside to take photos.  I swear that girl Sami is going to be a professional photographer. Later I drove Sami and her girlfriend into Baker to watch a movie, and I went to one of my friends  until the move was done.

Jake and his friend are playing Magic the Gathering.  It's a card game.  Jake used to be 'alone' playing this game.  Turns out there are a whole group of kids at his school that play.  The school superintendent brought in a collection of cards.  It's awesome.  Turns out the game was invented my a math teacher to teach kids how to be better at math. It's awesome. 

Today was also another day in the kitchen. 
kale, squash, lamb stew, and brownies  Now we have food for days!

DD #13: Friday the 13th!

Is it me, or is this month December flying by?  Seriously.. only 11 days until Christmas?  ELEVEN!

I still have to wrap and package and ship gifts  (Note to self:  Buy more wrapping paper and tape!)
And finish my Christmas Cards
And decorate the tree
And put up some more indoor decor

But I am NOT stressed!  Nope.  I am in a happy cozy little place right now.  Meaning, my inner place or space. 

I am still trying to figure out what else to get the kids.  I bought us each all day ski passes, four each.
And Sami already got a pair of cowboy boots (zebra striped and very sparkly) and Jake got a new black cowboy hat.

They both want a smart phone.  So do I!  But not sure I can really afford the expense. I paid for all three of our current phones, and I pay for all three of our phone plans.  I also do not have regular TV.  We do the streaming thing through Roku.  I miss my live sports and the emmies and grammies and country music awards.    So at times I am tempted to get satellite TV.  Or slippers.  I need new slippers... whatever.

Right Now?  
It's Saturday morning.  9:21 am.  Sami is still in bed, and Jake is on the couch fighting a cold. 
I am in my jammies.  It is an overcast white day outside.  And, I am in no hurry to go anywhere. I woke to snow yesterday morning and when I drove home at night it was starting to ice up.  I saw later there was black ice everywhere over the mountain and a few accidents. So glad I got through safe and sound. 

Morning space: Coffee, favorite Christmas Cup, ME Calendar, and a bell from the wreath sent from Pat Mom a few years ago

And this year's Christmas Card! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

DD #12 Thursday

Today is Thursday... I am falling behind on my December Daily!

Kids are grumpy this am.
Sami wanted to be woken up early so she could curl her hair. I didn't wake her until 6am.  And boy is she grouchy.  She should have gotten up at 5:30am.

Jake is in the shower.  He complained about it being cold.  Heck!  This is the warmest it's been in a week!

 I almost left without them yesterday.  Too much sass.  Jake was asked to go start the car.  It took him forever to get out the door.  Hello!  The idea is to let it run so it warms up while we are puttering around!  I'll try again today. And see if he can figure out the defrost - turn fan on, turn up temp.  Sami doesn't like to get out of bed until the last minute and then makes us wait while she is putting on her makeup.  Me?  I get irritated.  Count.  Breath. Thank God I have two kids that can do these things, unless those who are unhealthy or taking their last breath or have left this planet. Blessings.....

Rosie the kittie was hiding most of the night because of the ceiling fans.  She hates them.  She then found me in bed, and stuck to me like glue. At 5:00 am she did her usual 'slap face' game.  My fury alarm clock.

The weather?  16 degrees. Should be another snappy brisk day.

Right now there are tons of annoying pop up ads on my computer thanks to Sami.  She downloaded some crap and it is infesting my computer.  Things like 'update needed' bla bla bla.  I am not falling for it.  She is in for it.

13 Days until Christmas!!!!!  Crazy, eh?
I better get things wrapped and mailed this weekend.
I keep taking my Christmas Cards to work.. and they keep coming home.

Grapefruit season!

1/2 box of grapefruit and 1/2 box of oranges.  should last us until late January.  It's our breakfast starter

2 weeks until Christmas!  (Well, yesterday there was!)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DD #9 & #10: Monday & Tuesday

It's a bit warmer now.  Right now it's 18 degrees in Haines, at 8:00 pm.  We will take it!

I did not post last night.  I actually stayed over in La Grande: My work team went out to shop for our family (gifts) and then we went out to dinner, and I had a 7am meeting this morning, so, I stayed over.

Had GREAT news yesterday.  The three grants that I authored last month, with the crazy November 22nd deadline, all got funded at some level!  Yahoo!  Brought in about $450,000 to my company.  Yep.  $350,000 on one grant (asked for around $380,000), $78,000 on another (asked for $100,000) and $5,000 on the third (fully funded).  We still have others we are waiting to hear on.

So, been on cloud 9.

And, one of the grants is for my emergency preparedness program.  I get to to to Atlanta, Georgia for a conference!  Woo hoo! In April!  Should be wonderful!!!!!!   (The downside is Sami will be coming home from Greece, so I won't see her until after I get back). 

And, today our box of oranges and grapefruits arrived. It's a December tradition.  A fundraiser for work mate's kid's school.  Love them!

OK.. gotta run to the school and pick up Sami from basketball practice.

Dinner is leftover Grandma's chicken soup... yum!

(Written Tuesday night.. Posted Wed. morning)

The morning commute on Monday.  This is my view after coming down off the mountain.  Mt. Emily. La Grande is at the base of this baby.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

DD#8: Sunday.. VERY COLD!

Um.. we woke to MINUS 17 degrees.. Holy crud that is cold.  So cold, I had the house heater set to 70 and it only got up to about 62 at 3 am. When I got up at 6 am I turned on the backup heaters, and actually did get the house up to 70, eventually around 11 or so.

I was prepared for this.  I had the heat tape plugged in (outside plug to tape around pipe nearest wall).
And, the faucets dripped all night.
And, I capped the outer faucet so it would not freeze up.

And, I made my Grandma's chicken soup.  Comfort food.  I actually started it instead of breakfast, because it was nice to heat up the house.  I also had the oven on warm for the heck of it.  And I was drinking a pot of coffee (I drank the whole thing by myself - a first) and needed something substantial in my stomach. 

Sundays are usually my 'alone' days.  Dick comes and gets the kids in the morning and I then go about my day doing the things I need to get caught up on, or spend time with friends, and I try to go to church.  Today was a church day.

When it was time to leave at 12:30 pm for church, my car had a moment.  The digital readout said 'test' and it did all sorts of weird things - in terms of the digital readings. So, I turned it off and on again.  I let it run for quite some time, and then hit the road.  Everything seemed just fine.

And, when I got home around 3:30 I then got ready to go catch the rest of my 49'rs WIN the game against the Seattle Seahawks!  YIPPEE!  I am surrounded by Seahawk fans and it was GREAT for my team to win! 

And that caps a Sunday.. Oh except for a story I have to share.
One of my girlfriends said 'a man' wanted to know if she could give him my phone number.
I called her to find out who, etc. etc.  Turns out he used to attend the same church.
So, I told her, if he came to church, then he could ask me himself (I might have been a little sassy about it).
Well, he showed up!

Here are photos from the day....
Inside of one of the windows

Morning view

Um.. yeah.. these are on my house

A different angle of my icicles

and a cozy little house in one of the trees

Prepping Grandma's Chicken Soup

My kitchen work area - Christmas Cards, and Grandma's Cookbook:)