Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Day!

We've lived here for 6 years in June...and this is the first time we've seen real snow!! There's been a big storm coming through the southern states, so it's been dumping snow on lots of places that don't normally see any! Our normal snow each year is just snow blowing in the air, but not really landing or sticking. I think it has done that once per winter since we've been here. Back home it would be like a heavy frost or something:-) Not today!

Yesterday morning (Friday) a state of emergency was enacted for the state of VA. The military was activated to prepare to drive around in humvee's and help people in accidents etc...this was at least 18 hrs before the snow started to fall, lol. Over reaction? Maybe just a little! The hazard around here is that there are no snow plows. So no way to plow or spread salt/ that can make driving crazy. Basically you should just stay home in my opinion, it's only a day or with everything closed down...where do you really need to go anyway?

Last night we were at a birthday party and headed home around 10:30...perfect weather! When we woke up this morning, we saw this:

The kids were elated! We had to bundle up and go play in the snow at 8:30 in the morning!

We don't have any snow pants...and only 1 pair of hand me down snow boots, that we're a little too big still, but they worked! Brooks had to wear his shoes.

Our house, covered in snow:-)

It's pretty deep. I think we are expecting possibly over a foot of snow by the end. Right now when I put my hand in the snow it comes up to my palm, so that is a couple of inches already at least.

We don't own a snow shovel...never had need of one before! Brian took my kitchen broom out to dust off the car. He is going to venture a mile down the road to get to the bank. We'll see what he says about the roads when he returns!

Making snow angels

They LOVED it!

Trying to un-bury the tree. I think the poor tree is dead.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Arts & Crafts

Some 'beautiful' crafts created by the kids!

Brooks & Jack playing Play-doh

He is very proud of his paper with lots of cuts in it

Kenna made these wonderful little...things...I have no idea what they are supposed to give to her friends. There is lots of glue on there! They are having fun using the fancy scissors (they call them squirrely-whirrly scissors) they got from Jillaine for Christmas.

My New Maid

Some pictures of my new dishwasher, installed, and working! (on Jan's been 5 years since I've had this luxury!)

And my Christmas present, a new sink and faucet!! for the countertop, I know! One improvement at a time:-)

To install the dishwasher, two of the lower cabinets had to be cut out...losing valuable cabinet space (I really don't have much!). So some kitchen reorganization was in order! Brian and his family started on this (trying to find places to put things) while I was still in Canada. I am still trying to tweak it all and figure out what works best. Beside the fridge is this wire rack, acting as a pantry of sorts, holding some appliances, and lots of canned goods etc. Although neat, it was looking cluttery due to the variety of cans and boxes etc just out in the open, so I draped a tablecloth over it, and it looks much better! The tablecloth does not reach the floor though, so I will have to do something a little better/nicer, but this works for a temporary fix!

The ladder bookshelf had been against the wall where the pantry now it had to find another home. I think I like it here. The walls in the livingroom and kitchen are all painted now, again thanks to Brian's family doing this while I was in Canada. The wires to the tv are still not hidden in the wall...another project for Brian to work on :-)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Amazing Grace & Because He Lives - Video

I think this will be the last music video I will upload. After some prodding, Logan plays us a song!

Amazing Grace & Because He Lives - by Logan Kennedy

Red Wing

This poem is written by Suzanne Gaither Jennings

Red Wing

The minute we get in the car and you are all buckled up, the first words out of your mouth are, “lets listen to Red Wing”. Red Wing is the first song on the first side of a collection of dulcimer mountain music we bought at Grandma’s store. I always think it’s funny that you became fixed on that one particular tune on that particular tape when there are so many high-tech Mickey Mouse marketers vying for your attention.

Then it hits me, the intro, the first verse moving happily into the chorus, “Oh the moon shines so bright on pretty Red Wing”. It’s a story of a lovely Indian maiden, the words spill from my mouth from a source somewhere far away. Suddenly, she is standing there before me and I am singing with her a song I have not heard since I was in grade school. I see her silvery hair, her long, thin fingers, the sag in her satin cheeks. I remember her broken soprano voice singing to me a song she heard as a girl in the Ozark mountains, “Oh the moon shines tonight on little Red Wing”. I look over at you bobbing right and left in your seat and you look almost as if you could jump down and dance an Irish jig with out ever having to be taught.

Watching you makes me wonder about the substances that run through our veins, and I can’t help but think that somewhere down the road you may develop a distaste for all of us. You may load up a car and move away to some distant city, you may leave this little town and never look back. You may vow never to do certain things you grew up watching all of us do. You may wash the Indiana dirt from your face, put on new clothes, eat exotic food and drink the sweet nectar from a thousand unfamiliar ports of call. You may fine tune your ears to appreciate the music of a cultured and refined society.

But do not be surprised, my son, if every now and then you get hungry for deep dish macaroni and cheese or fried green tomatoes or homemade chocolate pie. Don’t be alarmed when your hands have a yearning to feel the smoothness of a good piece of pine. Don’t be upset if on some sunny spring day you get the urge to plant some beans and cucumber plants. Never fear when your pale blue eyes wander happily over a path of Xenias or Marigolds. Don’t be afraid if the strain of southern gospel music or the hammering of a dulcimer catches your ear and deep inside you somewhere begins a fluttering that you never knew existed and it rises up into your throat with a pulse so strong it brings you to tears.

My sweet boy, with your Bostor blonde hair and your blue sickle eyes, you with your Hartwell sense of justice and your Gaither sense of humour. You with your slender Jennings body and your Smith reserve. You, my son, are but a cell in the connective tissue of life. Like it or not, we all dance to the tunes we know.

Christmas in VA - Video

Before we left for Canada, we had Christmas a few days early with Brian's parents and sister (visiting from NY). His sister Ann (attending Moody Bible Ins. in Chicago) could not travel home for Christmas this year, so we opened gifts via Skype so she could participate in the fun. The kids have never used skype/webcams before, but they really took to the technology as though she was really there. You can see they keep holding things up to the screen so she can see. Too cute!

Drums, Piano & Dance Moves - Video

Here is a short clip of more family music with my brothers and Dad. *If* there were ever a way to win your way into heaven, it would have to be this: Allow your children to play drums in your livingroom. lol. My poor mother! It is very loud in there, somehow on the video, it doesn't really sound that bad, but it's pretty much too loud to concentrate. Brooks was all into "the drums" in theory, but once they got going, he got scared of how loud it was. The piano portion is Logan just making it up as he goes...the piano at the Holiday house was an electric piano (imitation baby grande type of thing), the whole thing would shake violently as he would play! Anyway, I guess Brooks was touching some of the buttons, and turned on a drum beat, so Logan took it from there. There are various people during the video inspecting the piano, trying to figure out how Brooks did that...they didn't know how!

Kaden - drums
Dad (Dave) - electric guitar
Davis - bass guitar
Logan - piano

Friday, January 22, 2010

Christmas Music - Video

My brother Logan arranged this Christmas music montage for all the younger kids to play along too, at their various skill levels. They did such a good job! It was past Christmas, and they claimed to be out of practice, but I think they do really well for the little 'family' performance. (Please excuse the various stages of was still pretty early in the morning!...glad I was holding the camera and not on it!)

So proud of my brothers and sisters! Here they are! Featuring: Logan - piano; Janessa - violin; Jillaine - harp; Lehman - cello.

Canada, Remembered

How many airplanes did we take to get to Grandma's?
Kenna: 3
Brooks: 20
Kenna: no Brooks, actually we only went on 3.
Actually, we went on 8 for the whole trip

What was your favourite part of the airplane ride?
Kenna: passing out the drinks.
Brooks: Treats!

Which house do you like better, the Little House, or the Holiday house?
Brooks: the wittle house and the kitties, and dogs.

What was your favourite thing to do in Canada?
Brooks: Play leopards and kitties
Kenna: K is for kitties. I was holding them. Remember when I was holding Popcorn (a cat) in Janessa's book? That was so fun

What instrument do you like best?
Kenna: cello
Brooks: hoy-p (harp)
Mom: Which one do you want to play when you get older?
Brooks: da piano
Kenna: when I grow up I will do the dishes.

Where does Grandpa work?
Brooks: Peace Windows
Mom: what does he do there?
Brooks: dey work there.
Where does Kaden work?
Brooks: da Botta Depot (bottle)

Which was your favourite room to sleep in at the Holiday House?
Kenna: I think I like the pink room
Brooks: I wike da blue one, I wike to sweep with Ness.

What do we buy at Superstore?
Brooks: Candy!! and penguins and jellybeans

What is your favourite chore at Grandma's?
Brooks: I clean the baffrooms and my fishtank

Did you like to go in the snow?
Brooks: I touched da snow.
Mom: is it hot or cold?
Brooks: it's cold Ma, it's just cold.
Kenna: I like playing in the snow and making snow angels, but I'm still learning how to do snow angels.

What happened to your chin in Canada?
Brooks: I got hit by de stay-ah's (stairs)
Then what happened?
Brooks: Then I got to da doctors, and get stitches. That's whats happening.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Our Trip Home

We were scheduled to leave on the 15th, which was actually an extended stay from our original return date of the 10th...because of the mechanical failure and delays in getting to AB, Air Canada (who has great customer service by the way), extended our trip for no additional costs or fees. So we boarded the plane on the 15th, and were ready to go...I handed out gum in preparation for take off...and then, the dreaded announcement, mechanical failure. AGAIN! With the next available flights out being the 16th, with an overnight stay in Montreal until the 17th.

So my mom picked us back up from the airport for another day. We decided to keep it a secret from my Dad (a taste of his own medicine!), and when he came home from work, he was very surprised!!

Brooks, explaining that our plane was broken

We hid in the livingroom and surprised him when he came into the kitchen. He was speechless! He thought we were almost home by that time.

Our luggage by the frontdoor, so he wouldn't see it when coming in through the garage.


Doing chores at the Holiday house!

Brooks loves his Peace Windows hat (which is technically Brian's...not that we would dare try to steal it from him now!). He wears it all the time now that we are home and says he wants to work there with Davis. I told him he could when he grows up:-) Last night he wanted to wear the hat to church, as well as have his hair spiked. He couldn't understand how the two were not compatible. We convinced him to go with the spiky hair, for church:-)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


They loved going to the little house, because they got to play with all the animals. It might be considered closer to torture in the eyes of the poor cats & kittens:-)

Crafty Things

I made a few crafts while I was there. This is my mom's Christmas present from us. I made it there, so I could try to match it to their home, and also, I didn't want to fly with the frame, so we bought it there. I was really happy with how it turned out. It will hang in their office, off the kitchen area.

My mom gave us girls wooden easels for Christmas (like you would display a picture frame on). I made this on chipboard to go in my livingroom. I stole the basic idea from a Stampin' Up catalog, but mine turned out even better I think! Here is a sample...the butterflies and flowers are not glued down yet, as I need it unassembled to travel home (hence it's a little crooked/uneven). I am so happy with it, I think it's one of the prettiest things I have ever made. Can't wait to get it assembled and show it off on my bookshelf!

Holiday House & Little House

Well, we were expecting a vacation with my family, in their home...boy were we surprised when we arrived! It was fairly late, and we'd been up since 4am with traveling, so I didn't look great...we were met at the airport by the entire gang, and started for 'home'. After making a few twisty turns through town, I realized I didn't recognize anything here...normally it's a straight shot down the road for about 3o minutes...this wasn't the right way...I turned to the girls and asked where are we going? Just then we pulled in, I thought, GREAT. It's a party or something to meet all their friends and I look like crap:-) Much to our surprise, we discovered that this is where we would be staying. Wow! My family is house sitting for some friends that left town (for warmer climates & travel) for the winter. They kept it a surprise from us, and we were definitely surprised! It was very nice to have so much space, given the amount of people there, and they also have hi-speed internet, cable, and massive televisions. One projector type system's screen takes up an entire wall...and actually made me a bit dizzy until I got used to it. Like being up front at the theater! It was awesome!

The Holiday House. We stayed in the room with the little balcony over the garage.

The Little House (as it was dubbed, the Little House on the Prairie, by Kenna). This is where they really/usually live! We made a couple trips back to feed animals, and start on a bathroom remodel, and the kids loved it there! Notice the more 15 passanger big blue van that had been our trademark growing up...and now no more minivan (dubbed the suffocator, or the black lung, due to a problem with the would blow dust on your face, it was pretty funny). The family vehicle is now an 8 psg Acadia. The kids say "Acadia" to the tune of Activia from the commercials:-)

The skating rink, on the pond at the Holiday House

When fog freezes on the trees, it's called hoar frost. It's very beautiful. We never had this in Ontario growing up.

More hoar frost


Brooks, who is almost perpetually due for a haircut (man it grows fast!), got one while we were there.

Uncle Davis and Brooks, with matching 'spiky' hair

Does he want his hair fuzzy like Uncle Jared? Nah. It feels cool though.

Musical Talent?

Of course my family is way into music! I will be uploading some videos once I have them edited. Anyway, the kids really took to the various instruments and loved trying to play along. Kenna has declared herself a "cello-er", and Brooks likes the "hoy-p"(harp). Lol. No, we will not let him play the harp when he gets older, no worries! He is also into the rock star thing, so maybe he will settle for the guitar:-)

Jilliane & Brooks, practicing

Lehman, teaching Kenna how to do the bow part. I'm sure there is a technical name for it, but I don't know what it is! (I'm not a cello-er:-)

Brooks & Grandpa

More Vacation Relaxing do you spell that? A first for my kids, and they loved 'em!

Brooksie loves his Grandpa!

We had a fondue on New Years (for 13 years and up only), there were 5 fondue pots going I think! There were a lot people in the house, as family friends also joined the party (they have 4 young kids). It was delicious!! We sure had a lot of good food while there!

Chillin', watching a movie

I think this was a gun magazine of Brents:-)