Thursday, December 30, 2010

Down in the Holler....

The snow melted!

It's sweatshirt weather again!  This alone is cause for celebration!

(And Jamie and Thad are done with the flu!

Yes, it hit them in the night Sunday night and they contended with it for two days.  We are holding our breath, hoping we don't get it.  But, we are so glad we were here to watch Levi while they were so sick.  Jamie lost 6.5 pounds in less than 48 hours, poor thing!)

So we are getting out a little.  Outside!  Yes!  Today it was the holler.

Yes, we went to the holler.  Up the road just apiece.

We went on a little hike.

To a place of beauty and solitude.  And green things.  

Yes, green.

Green is a novelty to us Michiganders in December.  We can become enthralled by it and try to memorize it so we can hold onto it for the next....six....months.

And flowing water isn't something we'll see all pooled up in the middle of January, either, so we try to savor that when we can, too.

I call this the peek a boo rock.  The holes were made by the falling water in the soft sandstone.  We brought this deserving item of beauty home with us.

Don't ask me what is going on here....but I thought you might appreciate my (daughter's) wellies, and how special it is to me to be able to wear them in DECEMBER!!

Luke had a bunch of fun and he shot a good number of these pictures.  It thrills me to no end for him to enjoy taking pictures.

I thought you might enjoy a hike today.  

That's why I brought you along, to see the sights.

And the weird twisted tree trunks.

And the beautiful waterfall, I wish you could hear it, too.

Helloooooo down there!  Sometimes, I wish I knew how to yodel.

Just take BIG steps, down, down, down, rock by rock. 

It's slippery, don't fall!

It's well worth the work, though!

It never hurts to get a little mud on the tires...every once in a while, it's what makes the world go around.

And darn it, we never did need to use four wheel drive, I kind of like doing that.  Am I weird?  (Don't answer that!)  Or does this strange anomaly just come from having a dad and some brothers who liked to get stuck in the mud for the fun of it? 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A New Beginning!


Levi is now six months old!

So, I have had four days now with this adorable little boy that I am blessed to call my grandson.  Needless to say I am drunk with love for this precious little man.  

The first night we were here, I got to rock him to sleep and I looked over at my husband, who was looking over at me, and I teared up.   Then he teared up.  What a mess we are.  

But how we love this child--we are just crazy about him.  What a blessing it is to live to see your grandchild and what a blessing to be able to spend some time with him when he lives so far away.  (The reason I am so aware of what a blessing it is to live to see a grandchild, is because I have two in-laws who died young, they never lived to see theirs...)

We aren't the only ones who love this little bebe....his parents do, too.  Since Levi was born, Jamie and Thad have wrestled with whether she should go back to work, and after taking the maximum amount of time allowed for maternity leave--she did return to her job.


But it got harder and harder each day.  For one, Jamie's job was in a high-stress environment.  It was a good job and one for which she was able to use her college education, but it was a long commute, almost an hour each way.  

She asked her boss for the ability to work from home and researched how to make it possible.  He said no.

She tried a sitter in her hometown but couldn't stand being so far away from her little newborn boy all day long....which turned out to be eleven hours a day.

She found a very nice daycare ten or fifteen minutes from work and visited him each day on her lunch hour.  But still it hurt so bad to leave him there--her heart was with him and no longer with her work.
She and her husband recently decided that she would take the leap of faith it took to give up a well-paying job in these tough economic times to become a stay at home mom and do the work of her heart: to be Levi's mommy.

It wasn't done without planning:  they have no debt and they worked to build up a rainy day fund.  
So, her last day of work was the day before Christmas eve.  

She is now Levi's full-time mommy.

I have to say that we are so proud of them for their very hard work in being able to make it possible for her to stay home in the first place--and for the tough choice it sometimes can be be to do the right thing, when it's really the hard thing.  Most people would tell her she is nuts to give up what she had.  She doesn't think so and followed her heart.

I don't think they'll ever be sorry.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's Christmas in Dixie...

Christmas in Dixie...
We arrived safely, and as always, thank the Lord for traveling mercies.  We got in the house and little Levi took one look at us and started crying right away, he's at that age (six months) where new faces are startling.  Not that our faces are new, but he hasn't seen us in a couple of months except on SKYPE!

Pretty soon, the tears were dry and Papa and Nana were taking turns and kissing those sweet little cheeks and getting lots of hugging and playing and plenty of snuggling and then it was time for cereal, a bath, and rocking him to sleep!  (I did the honors!)  

Then together Jamie and I did some baking and preparing for Christmas dinner.

This morning we woke up to this beautiful, thick heavy snow, and it's still coming down!  Right now I'd say there are at least 3.5 inches on the ground!  The most here in a long, long time and "It's Christmas in Dixie, snowin' in the pines"!

We had a snowman built by the men and then while Levi was napping, we all went out for a walk and Lem grabbed the camera (yes, he took most of these photos!) snapped a bunch of gorgeous pictures.  Snow is beautiful anywhere and anytime, but especially on Christmas, and even more in the mountains!

It is magical, this beautiful snow, and so much of it, and it's staying!  

All for Levi's first Christmas!  I think Santa brought it especially for him...!  

All is well since we can see and be with Levi--it's happiness unequaled!


Friday, December 24, 2010

A Merry Christmas to ALL!

From our home....

to yours...

A wish for the merriest of Christmases...

And a happy New Year, too!

Thank you for being my bloggy bloggin' blog buddies, too.


John 1:14:  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

So Beautifully Wrapped...!


Have you ever received a gift that was just way toooo beautifully wrapped to even open and spoil it all?  That was how I felt about this gorgeous gift.


Oh, it was a treat to the eyes, friends-- and I just had to snap a few pictures real quick to show you the handiwork put into this piece of eye candy!


On top was a sweet little repro-vintage card of a Santa, smokin' his pipe comin' on down the old chimney.  (Now, who here likes the smell of a good tobacco smoked from a pipe?  Raise your hand!  For me it brings back memories of Grandpa and an uncle...and their tobacco smelled sweet!)

Tucked into that bag of Santa's is this sweet little Santa hanky!  My word, how cute is THAT?!

The scenes on the wrapping were so sweet, so vintage, and all the glitter in just the right places to make it all look magical and oh, so retro and vintage, a treat for the eyes that was just as happy as could be!

Is this not a beautiful piece of work?  To top it all off, she had wrapped it in true vintage ribbon, bought from a thrift store!  

I am telling you, I wanted to leave it all wrapped and just look at it for a while!  

The contents were just as yummy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Meet Bernie...

I LOVE getting Christmas cards.

I ADORE getting Christmas cards that are pictures.

Those are the kind I send out each year (Except for this year!  Long story...).

But I want to show you the most quaint, unique and exceptional photo Christmas card I've ever received in the mail --it just happened this week.  That is the one pictured above.  Have you ever seen anything cuter?

And that Bernie, isn't he just adorable?

Yes, Bernie is a chicken, and he's red and he's wishing me and my family Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from him and his family!

Bernie lives here.  His family lives up front in their own house.  Bernie and his ladies share this swanky little cottage and the girls are busily making a nice lady named Kim plenty of brown eggs.

My friend Kim --who is also a faithful blog reader-- made a dream of hers come true.  She started by researching;  doing all her homework, then got chickens early this year;  she just loves them.  

Before she ordered them, she found the plans for and then had her builder husband build them the cutest little house ever, complete with a picket fence!

The chickens, under Bernie's watchful eye,  are happy ladies and --really-- who wouldn't be, living in such a cute neighborhood!

Their little yard is a picture, isn't it?

And the girls even sent Kim after a wreath to hang on their gate so their little abode would be extra festive for Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS to Bernie and his family, and especially to my friend, Kim!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Little House on the Prairie: Especially for Little Chickens...

Getting lost in "Little House on the Prairie" books was one of the best pleasures of childhood;  didn't you think so, too?

Then, when I had my own kids, it was our pleasure, to read those loved and familiar stories aloud to our kids.  But for the tiny ones, who may not be ready to sit and listen to "chapter books" as we called them, these picture books are perfect to introduce the little ones to our friends Ma, Pa, Carrie, Mary and Laura.  

These are perfectly illustrated books, in the tradition of Garth Williams....the pictures in these will take you back to the line drawings done by him when little house books were written.  

Illlustrator Rene Graef honors Garth Williams perfectly-- for her drawings are reminiscent of his style, and the colors she used are soft and gentle, just like Laura's story telling.  It's easy for your child to lose his or herself in the illustrations as you snuggle with them and read the words.

Every book in this series starts out with the same familiar sentence:

"Long ago, a little girl named Laura Ingalls lived in a little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters, Mary and Carrie, and their good old bulldog, Jack."

Then, with Laura's own words, we read about the stories of her (and  sometimes Almonzo's) life...chapters from various books shortened up for the youngest ones to listen to and maybe even read themselves when they first start learning.

My collection of these picture books numbers thirteen, and that is all that were made.  I wanted to own them all and bought them when I was homeschooling my youngest son.  I hung onto them and am now getting some for my little grandson, Levi.

They go with fond memories--I love them dearly--SUCH SWEET MEMORIES of many bed times of snuggling my own freshly bathed little blue eyed boy.  I will look forward to reading them again to another little chubby-cheeked boy with even brighter blue eyes than my own babies!

I truly do love these books and that's why I wanted to share them with my blog readers:  moms and grandmas  alike, you may not even have known Laura's books were done and you might know a certain someone who would enjoy these for a gift at Christmastime or for a special birthday.

And just for fun, here's my little grandson, Levi Jack...the one who will inherit these treasures!


The books are available on (here's one of them) and there are a few complete sets on eBay; this set of twelve is currently at a really good price.