Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Time With Little Max

Visiting with little Max is always a highlight of Soren's time in Michigan. And now that Grandpa has outfitted Max with his very own little wagon, it is even more of an adventure!

Unfortunately, all the snow had melted by the time we no sleigh rides this year. Ah well, I guess that give us something to look forward to for next Christmas!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Seeing Grandpa = Haircut Time!

Oh my! Could it really be time for a haircut?

The final result:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Caped Crusaders

Auntie Amanda totally scored on the perfect gift for three-year old boys this year: their very own superhero capes and masks!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Cleaning up Before Our Trip

Since it is always nice to come home to a clean house after vacation, we spent a little time cleaning today before we left...

How's that for attention to detail while vaccuuming?!

The End of the Gingerbread House

At long last, the gingerbread house bid it's final "Merry Christmas." After spending a month hearing Soren ask to eat it, it is actually a relief to have it gone. Who says month-old cookies and candy aren't tasty?! We're on the way out to Michigan tomorrow though, so while he enjoyed a day of gluttony most of it actually ended up in the trash can.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bill and Becca Make Liars Out of Us

Well, as you've read on this blog, we've been trapped here at home. Today we got the welcome thaw and the tremendous gift of a non-icy road. Thanks Santa. Let me tell you, we were out of this house so fast it woulda made your head spin!

But, first, let me make the case that we were actually stuck here.

1) We have not had a trash pick up in two weeks. Our garbage can, now garbage cans, have been sitting at the end of our driveway for nearly two weeks. No sign of the garbage man.

2) We only get the newspaper on weekends. But this weekend we didn't get any delivery.

3) Peter's Christmas gift was scheduled to be delivered yesterday by UPS. While I diligently tracked the delivery progress online, I wasn't too surprised when the following message appeared: "Adverse weather conditions. Package progress will continue when weather conditions allow."

4) Soren has learned to fear ice as a result of falling one too many times while he and Peter were out shovelling the road.

5) On (at least) Monday, our city's public works department was "urging people to stay off the streets."

6) We know someone who tried to drive up our road last night with a 4WD truck, with chains on, and he ended up spinning out perpendicular to the direction he was trying to go. He turned back.

Convinced? Me too. Or rather, I was convinced. Until last night.

Soren was in bed. Peter and I were settling in for another evening at home when we heard a *gasp* knock on the door. Peter jumped into manly mode and ran to the door ready to either a) defend our territory against rogue intruders, or b) help out a neighbor in need. But it turned out to be c) take delivery of some candied popcorn hand delivered from our friends Bill and Becca who live in town and drove out to our house to spread some Christmas cheer.


Peter was so stunned to see a vehicle in our driveway (and SUV, I should point out) that he fears he was less than gracious in receiving said gift.

Sheesh. We're outted as wimps by some candied popcorn. I'm definitely ordering that Subaru. Until it is delivered we'll be happily munching this yummy treat - thanks Becca and Bill!

Christmas Stockings

The stockings were hung in the hallway with care...
But Soren was so excited that he could finally eat the gingerbread house that he dashed right past them!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It is All About the Build-up

Tomorrow is Christmas at our house. No, no need for you to check the date, or wonder if you are reading much later after I originally posted it. Tomorrow, December 24, 2008 is Christmas.

If you'll recall, we shifted Soren's birthday to meet our party schedule too, and since he really doesn't check the calendar regularly we feel quite confidant that we can slip this one by him. But you see, we really need Christmas. Really. We need Christmas to get here and we're not going to wait one more day. If we're all alone in our house on the hill, I figure we have the power to declare any holiday that we want. And then spend these house-bound days playing with ALL NEW TOYS! (Why didn't I think of this earlier?!)

So, tomorrow is Christmas.

And let me tell you, we are excited!

Today, we did a fabulous project in preparation for Christmas tomorrow. We made a book of The Night Before Christmas. We diligently colored, cut, and glued and stapled a wonderful creation. While we were making it we talked about how exciting this story was, how it was all about Santa Claus, and what a special story it was, and how thrilling it would be to read it. And you know what? It was! By the time we actually read it, there was such a legend attached to it that it could only be wonderful. We read it over and over. And Soren even requested it instead of the usual Thomas The Tank Engine bedtime story. And that really says something.

And then, the last game we played before bedtime - his request - was "Santa Claus." I had to pretend I was a boy sleeping. He was Santa Claus and he came in and filled my stocking for me. He loved it.

So, tomorrow at 6 a.m. sharp (yes, he's still abiding by the clock in his room) I expect to see a wide-eyed little boy climbing in my bed to ask if we can go check the stockings.

Christmas totally rocks.


I'm working from home today. So, I've closed the door to the office and let Peter and Soren amuse themselves in the rest of the house. Out of the corner of my eye I just noticed something go by the deck outside. I looked down and this is what I saw:

That is Peter pulling his big wheelbarrow, Soren pulling his little wheelbarrow (in the second picture he's dumped his wheelbarrow into Peter's) and his sled. They are heading in the direction of the hills to the north. Any guesses on what in the world they have planned?

Twinkle Twinkle

One of the items that I have been missing this year is a topper for our Christmas tree. Soren and I looked for one the last time we were able to go Christmas shopping. But not knowing that we were about to get trapped at home, we were really picky in hopes of finding the perfect angel or star for the top of our tree.

Fast forward about 10 days where we now know we're spending Christmas here and still have no tree topper. Nordstrom came in handy, but not quite in the traditional way...did you ever notice how nice and shiny their gift boxes are?!

So, here's the before shot:
And, voila!, the after shot!

Monday, December 22, 2008

You Have Got to be Kidding Me!

Last night we finally got the promised warming temperatures. Such an optimistic drip, drip, drip sound outside. Lovely. Occasionally rumbling as a huge sheet of ice would go sliding down the roof. Ahhhh. I could almost taste the freedom...

And then, bam!, the temperature dropped 10 degrees this morning and it started snowing again! Seriously, WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?!
I had to get a shot of Peter's beloved plant hanging out in a lounge chair. Poor Peter was quite worried about all the damage the weight of the ice was causing to them. So, he did what he could to make them more comfortable.
So, no work again for me today. But that isn't the worst of it. We've been busy watching the local airport weather...but then tuning in to Chicago and Michigan airport weather - yikes! United is already offering to rebook anyone planning on flying through those areas Tuesday or Wednesday because they are now about to be hit by a big storm. Sigh. So we have rescheduled. We won't make it there in time for Christmas, but we'll stay a few days longer than we'd planned. Keeping my fingers crossed that Mother Nature doesn't derail this new plan!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ice, Ice, Ice and More Ice

Does anyone else see a problem being sick of winter when today is The Very First Day of Winter?
The predicted 40-degree ice-melting, balmy weather didn't materialize today. Well, it materialized for everyone to the south of us, just not for us! We weren't quite as creative in our activities today as we were yesterday. It was mostly a quest to see how many hours of TV would it take before Soren's brain exploded. (It appears to be that it is more than 2.5 hours.)
The worry now is becoming the fate of the below items:
We're scheduled to fly to Michigan on Tuesday morning. Most of the flights out were cancelled today, and the forecast isn't looking better any time soon. Our flight is scheduled at the crack of dawn, so we're planning to drive up tomorrow in order to catch our early Tuesday flight. Hm. Wish us luck!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Diary of a Homebound Family

This is what we woke up to this morning:
And, since I resisted the urge to order a studded-tire Subaru to have delivered this morning, it was quickly clear that we wouldn't be going anywhere today.
While I was momentarily lamenting the fact that I couldn't get out to finish my Christmas shopping, I actually realized that I have all my Christmas shopping finished! So, I decided to just embrace this whole stranded in the wilderness concept. Ok, we aren't exactly in the wilderness, but that just sounds more romantic, don't you think?
We started off the day with apple sausages, and crunchy french toast:
Peter and Soren headed out to sweep off the deck. Why exactly? Well, you'll soon see that the question why doesn't often come into the mind of the housebound. Kind of like mountain climbers, they swept it because it was there.

Of course, it is always only a matter of time before snow sweeping turns into snow throwing...
And when neighbors see that other neighbors are out it isn't too long until people are stopping by to chat...
After the sweeping we put on a few concerts in the family room. I play a mean kazoo. And yeah, I worked hard on that smeared mascara look. Much more "rock star" don't you think?
Soren ripped open a few Christmas cards that I'd set aside for him. He absolutely loves opening them and will spend several minutes looking at the picture on the front.
Once the cheeks were thawed from the deck sweeping, we all headed out for some more snow action.
Though Peter's idea of "snow action" is much different than mine and Soren's. Yes, he is actually shoveling our road!
Apparently the testoterone builds up rapidly in housebound men, because one neighbor got his truck out just to see if he could drive on the roads. This quickly led to Peter saying "pull me!"
Meanwhile, Soren was doing some creative snow planning himself...
Once he arrived at the job site (me pulling him and wheelbarrow down the road to where Dad had shovelled himself) Soren quickly got to work too.
Although we might need to put chains on his wheelbarrow tire next time.
After all the snow fun we came in for the requisite hot chocolate and left over french toast in front of the wood stove.
Which was also a convenient spot to be sure the rising bread was warm enough...
Sending Soren off for a small break,....
...I whipped up a batch of cheesy cream of broccoli soup from the broccoli we froze this summer from Peter's garden. Yum!Then we cut up some pomegranates for dessert!
Fresh bread with warm soup on a cold winter day - what could be better?!
Soren's buddy, Maddy from next door came over for a brief - but very welcome! - visit this afternoon.
Then we made some no-bake cookies...
Which of course, led to endless negotiations of "how many bites" of non-sugary food he had to eat before he could eat a cookie.
We also tried to make some Zeusse Babbellaars, a traditional Dutch candy. Hm, not sure what happened there. The taste is good, but they didn't really set up thick enough to be hard candies. It is more like peanut brittle without the peanuts. Tasty, but strange.
And then of coure, there's nothing like a bath to kill an hour and a half at the end of the day.

It was above freezing for most of the day, so there was significant thawing. And the weather report from in town listed raining all day. More rain and warm temps predicted for tomorrow and Monday. I think we'll try to make a run to town tomorrow.