Tuesday, December 20

Got your Christmas On?

I think... maybe... we do. Maybe. Then I read blogs of interior designers, and I realize... my theme is sort of a rustic, 'manger' theme. I leap from the chair, high five the startled children, and whoop around the house, yelling, "We have a THEME, folks! We're good!"
Jacob's Den Christmas party was Friday, here at the house. We had several stations set up around the living area - garland making, paper crafts, leathercraft, cookie baking, and cookie decorating. 13 children, 3 adults, 500 square feet. Go! They made the cookies (and decorated and ate them in one fell swoop), made leather gifts for their families, and garlands and ornaments for their trees at home.

That was pretty awesome. But I have *great* parents who pitch in, and roll with it, and bring their fantastic suggestions to the table. They rock. And their kids? Their kids are so freakishly wonderful and amazing... :sigh: One Mom surveyed the activity, and all the children working, interacting, and playing. Smiling and wide-eyed, she turned to me and said, "You know, I wouldn't even attempt this with just any group!" Every adult youth leader should have this kind of a setup.
Zorak's company Christmas luncheon was Wednesday, and I got to slip off to join him for that. Then we did a little present searching before heading home. It was nice just to hold hands, stroll along in the crisp winter air, and talk about nothing in particular and everything in general. This year, with the master bath now being a functional bath, and the basement slowly becoming a functional game room, we had to come up with somewhere else to store unwrapped presents. So we got creative and borrowed the boys' foot lockers. One in each car, so no matter who picks up something, it goes straight into the foot locker. That has worked out quite nicely.

And so, that was last week. Lovely Christmastime.
Kiss those babies!

Monday, December 12

Another 10 Miles

(Argh! Blogger informed me, after I'd uploaded the post, that it no longer supports Firefox for the upload-from-Picasa function in Picasa. So, now I understand where random pictures disappeared. Carrying on...)

We took another ride this weekend. (Just realized I hadn't blogged about the previous ride. Last weekend, James and John began the rides required for completing the Cycling Merit Badge for Scouts. They'll have to plan and complete seven rides: two 10-mile, two 15-mile, two 25-mile, and one 50-mile. This weekend was their second 10-mile ride.) This merit badge may kill me, but the boys are learning a *lot*. They were up, dressed, had their gear packed and their bikes ready to load before Zorak and I had even thought to wonder if there was coffee. If I'd thought about punting (and I'm not saying I did, but yeah, I had), their enthusiasm and willingness to do a little thinking for themselves shamed me out of bed and into motion.
 Did I mention this badge may kill me? Yeah. We rode the Richard Martin trail, which is really not all that *hard*, except that, well, it's hard if you're old and out of shape. Or just a weenie. It's uphill both ways, I kid you not. The downhill portions aren't downhill enough to be able to coast and get that feeling of just cruising downhill, and the uphill portions aren't steep - but they are loonnnggg. So long.
Jacob hung with us like the champ that he is. Even when his deraillier dorked up and he was stuck in sixth gear. Even when the cold got to his nose and made it run, and made his eyes water. Even though he's grown about three feet since his birthday, and we'd already gone a couple of miles before I realized we needed to raise his seat. He never gave up, and he really didn't complain, at all. Again, if I'd considered whining, I quickly realized I had no wiggle room, there.
The scenery was beautiful. The few dogs we saw were mostly friendly. (One small dog with a Napoleon complex chased James down and nipped at his heels, but he was easily deterred.) We saw some neat places - a covered bridge, an old church, and some relic railroad cars. In all, it was a great day with the boys. And at the end, they could take a victory lap. (Or just sit there and raise their arms a bit.) Plus, Zorak had packed pie and milk in a cooler for us, so we got to sit on the trailer and watch the little Elkmont Christmas Parade while we chatted with the folks parked beside us and admired their horses.

Kiss those babies! ~Dy

Sunday, December 4

What's This? It's Christmas!

Our wee town Christmas Parade was yesterday. This was our 7th parade, and the first time we haven't been absolutely freezing. We took hot chocolate and peppermint bark, anyway. (And consumed it, anyway.) But it was so nice, we couldn't resist stopping by the park on our way back to the car.

One of our chairs gave up the ghost on our last campout. Of course, I forgot about it until we pulled it out of its sleeve yesterday. D'oh! But we had rope, and we had a Boy Scout, so we had a solution. It held! I was pretty impressed. (Also, I need to learn lashing.)

Jacob's Pack decorated the float themselves. They did such a great job. It was supposed to be "Scenes of Scouting", and that's just what it looked like, with the fishing, camping, archery, and boyish enthusiasm. They got 2nd Place in the judging, and the boys beamed all the way to the end of the route.

And we'd meant to put out the Christmas decorations this weekend. But our tree - oh, that poor tree. Two years ago, we lost a third of the lights on it. No amount of fuse/bulb changing could remedy the problem. We threw on extra strands and called it good. Last year, the stand broke. We made one out of wood, and called it good. This year, the wooden stand is MIA, and most of the lights (on the tree and the strands) don't work. Not to be deterred, the kids grabbed an axe and headed to the woods to find a tree. They found one. They got it down. They hauled it back. I'm going to love it because they picked it, and they worked together. (And nobody lost an appendage in the cutting of the tree!)

It's definitely beginning to look (a little) like Christmas!
Kiss those babies!