"If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." — E.B. White

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What's under *your* tree?


I pray it was a good one and you found everything you wanted
 under the tree...

The Farmer told Santa NO MORE PONIES (for a bit)
 I got my sweet new horse "Bear With Me" in Nov. so I'm as happy as a kid with a pony.
Too bad I'm a lot older and tore my calf muscle trying to run n jump like a kid at the Carrollton hunter pace.
Oh well, it's on the mend and I had a blessed Christmas just snuggling with all the 2 & 4 legged critters I call family!
The Kindle Fires were a huge hit

Wishing you all a bit of silliness this season!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Am I the only one?

I adore everything about Christmas
in theory.
In practice it's not much fun.
There. I. said. it.
I snarl at my kids for singing carols (everything) too loud.
I gripe about all surfaces the table being buried under piles of gifts n wrappings.
I crave PEACE and quiet.
I recognize the situation and tell my children that I'm sorry I'm so tired and actually FEEL very BLESSED to HAVE so MANY for whom I want to express LOVE & appreciation...
but really, It's ALL just TOO MUCH for me.
Am I alone????

Our house is actually *very* small.
It becomes submerged in Christmas crap things.

I want less things more thought.

This helped.

so did our evening at the Kennedy Center  listening to beautiful music with my son on my lap and husband n daughter either side...
Followed by a wonderful evening catching up with my city family.

 Just wish these guys were with us...

I actually surrendered and slowed my baking and handed out a few of these instead.
I must say, they were very well received!

I even scaled back on my decor when I pulled out my vintage suitcase full of Christmas kitsch.

But I must admit that our Elf's antics are still a highlight of the season!
A purely fun family tradition.
Clayton made Jack's buck into Rudolf

He spelled out "Be good, xoxo Clayton" but letters were too soon gobbled

Clayton made a snowman n brought cocoa in Elf mugs

Clayton wanted to be a satr

He wants to be in on the music making too!

From the first time I heard this more than 20 years ago in church, I've held these words as a reminder for the season...

“Lord, let not our souls be busy inns that have no room for thee or thine,
But quiet homes of prayer and praise, where thou mayest find fit company,
Where the needful cares of life are wisely ordered and put away,
And wide, sweet spaces kept for thee; where holy thoughts pass up and down
And fervent longings watch and wait thy coming.”
- Julian of Norwich (1340-1426)

I printed this out to remind me where to focus

This WILL be my focus in the New Year.

So... ???

Wishing you all more JoY and PeAcE!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Where's the line to see Jesus? video Merry Christmas

I stood in too many lines Thursday after volunteering at school, then running to physical therapy for my torn calf muscle, then stop after stop, only to come home to horses that had somehow torn down much fencing. I thank God for my supportive husband and kids and clients who all pitched in.
In the morning the kids dressed up for their Christmas sing a long, ate their Santa waffles and packed their Holly Jolly candies for exchange and poppyseed breads for staff. We loaded up to join them and surprise Sarah with treats for her class to celebrate her big TEN birthday that falls over break. Pinterest is my enemy. I try too many cute ideas and execute them all poorly!

 I did this for breakfast but this isn't my photo

And kids assembled something not as cute as these from tipjunkie.com
Have a Holly Jolly Christmas tags w Jolly Rancher candies

The Farmer scores BIG for helping me bake n wrap n assemble all my projects like this one!
"Donut You think 10 is terrific?" tags  attach to a hoho and donut (makes #10)
The kids enjoyed their Rudolf sandwiches
Later we all loaded up once more to attend the wonderful Christmas party with our friends in Carrollton Hounds. It was so much fun that they had to gently nudge us out the door and we carried on in the parking area! Kids in bed after midnight and more lessons, baking and celebrating today!
  I think I'll watch this video one more time...

Wishing you all peace and joy in the reason for the season!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A new little Bundle of JoY!

Wow, what a week!
We got the best Christmas blessing possible ~
We have a new family member!!!!
Meet gorgeous Aden!

I'm an Aunt and my kids are thrillled to have a cousin!
We are a small family; I have my younger brother and The Farmer was an only child.

Isn't this adorable how the nurses in Vienna encouraged my brother to swaddle his son under his shirt? 
What an awesome way for baby n daddy to bond!
Dear mommy Casey was still wrapping up her C-section at this point. 

I can't wait for February when we get to meet him in Switzerland!
Or the day everybody is together for Thanksgiving...

This year's Thanksgiving was fairly tame and too small, although we did have spunky JoJo challenging the kids to arm wrestling and sit ups in honor of Casey's family (last year they added so much fun)
Sadly I can't find those pics!

Not nearly as exciting but closer at hand, we have another little bundle of fun.
Clayton our Elf returned Dec 1st. with lots of elf goodies n powdered donuts.

I thought that it was sweet that he brought both kids an elf stuffie since they can't touch him.

 Clayton even got in on the anticipation of Aden's arrival!

He read Sarah's American Girl The Christmas Story and set up the nativity for us!

He brought us a copy of "Elf" and filled their cups w/sugar!

He's also been seeking out snow...

 He helped stack firewood.

And, of course, caused his own kind of mischief!

Reindeer Poop (misspelled) in the cereal jar!

The day before Clayton arrived we cut our tree.

There was lots of silliness as the kids were "whipped" to pull faster! 

The day of Clayton's arrival party we also went to Carrollton's Hunter Pace and won ~
blue ribbons in the family division! Huge progress as this year we ALL galloped and jumped!

This years horse parade was cancelled due to weather.
I'd been planning on getting The Farmer to dress up like Santa and have my little pony students dressed like elves...   I still remember the cuteness of last year!

Now we're "snowed in" having gotten about 9" of snow.
The kids are teaching themselves how to snow board!!!

I think I injured a calf muscle at the hunter pace, and then again riding here.
So I'm inside making hot mashes for horses, tending the wood stove and crock pot.

There is much snuggling going on.
Cammo boy with cammo cat!

So it's a good day to shop Amazon and etsy 
for all the family members who bring me so much JoY! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A photo dump to remember our blessings

 So summers long gone n falls fading fast.
Before we rush into the holidaze I wanted to make sure I documented our many blessings.
As we become busier I often neglect blogging, but this is our family journal and we all love looking back at our life events.

We are THANKFUL for these memories.

As is our tradition we begin the celebrations on the last day of school with a summer fun goodie bag and trip to Baughers for ice cream. We were so proud of our kids who had gotten perfect report cards n test results as they closed out the 2012 school year! They'd had my favoritest teachers, Mrs. Luckenbaugh for Kindergarten and Burrows for 3rd grade!

This year we also drove down to buy another new pool on the last day of school as the one we'd bought last year became torn when we tried to cram it in the shed with the bobcat carefully rolled n stored it. This one was a bit bigger too and we could all play together in it!

We knew we'd soon need it for some fantastic (Jack's new word as he can write it himself (and did in a note to teachers describing his summer experiences) family gatherings.

Father's Day 2013

On Father's day we went to deadly, decadent delicious Dutch's Daughter restaurant for brunch. They must buy up all the lump crabmeat that the Chesapeake Bay produces! Their crab soup could be eaten with a fork! It's always nice for my little heathens farm kids to practice up on their best manners too and DD inspires us all.

We went from there to Hanover PA to gather with The Farmer's family for a huge 60th party for his Aunt Mary. It was so nice to catch up with that side of the family! We all took turns holding the newest bitsy baby in the family, Kelsey's darling "Brooke"(and gave her a farm n pony themed gift bag).

The next day we drove across the Bay Bridge to visit our cousins from Seattle and tube!

There may or may not be some serious hero worshiping now!

After that, we cleaned our farm house for the city folk. Remember my posts on various critters in the house? This time there was a TOAD sunning himself in the middle of my living room (ON my vacuum hose)!? And no, a little boy did not bring him inside. I'm guessing he likes our open door policy! (Guess it was slightly less bizarre than the groundhog under Sarah's bed!)

Again we enjoyed too much food much water play with cousins and porch time with Aunts n Uncles.
This was also when we began discussing my baby brother's big news!
***A move to VIENNA and a BABY!!!***
Later we had another goodbye get together.

We also FINALLY got to making hay after a very wet start.

Can't believe that I caught the shot of the bale kicking up into the wagon at sunset!
Then, the poor Farmer's newest tractor had a major sickness right in the middle of the road as he drove equipment between farms. TWICE!
Thank God for the kindness of strangers who helped and/or allowed a tractor to sit in their yard.

This summer was the season of little hay and LOTS of equipment breakdowns.
NOT a blessing for the balance sheets.

In June the kids were excited to attend VBS and see their preschool teacher (and friends).

We still really miss our preschool days but feel blessed to have the best possible school for us where the amazing Principal is also a horse lover and show judge!
Mrs Townsend judging at Lehigh n giving Sarah blues!
 We enjoyed the library's DIG into Reading program (my little boy is now a big reader)!
His favorite books so far have been Farmer Boy, Sounder, My Side of the Mountain, The Boxcar Children and Paddle To the Sea. He likes to read himself the vintage cowboy book "Johny Littlejohn."

Still, he'd rather do this kinda digging as he helped his Daddy fix a broken pipe in a stall.

(I am THANKFUL for a husband who can fix all that breaks in our lives!)

Speaking of my little boy. He's clearly growing up and is now SEVEN!!!

We had our friends the Mosko family over to share the celebrations.

Jack's still climbing, but looking more n more like a young man.

And already having beautiful young lady friends over!
The goat eating watermelon is still the center of attention tho!

The kids have had some fun getaways with both Grandmas.
Camping n fishing at Breezy Point with Nanny was a blast!

And YMCA camp at JoJo's where they loved learning tennis!
We've really enjoyed playing tennis as a family.
Jojo's taken them on many adventures, but rock wall climbing is a favorite!

 We had fun with our Carrollton Hounds friends too - walking hounds, trail riding, and naming puppies in honor of a long time friend, Joe, at a party.

Sarah got her ears pierced AGAIN.
(Last years holes closed before she could wear the treasured horsey ear-rings Mrs. Townsend gave her)

So as school and fall began we've been busy with more horse fun.

Sarah was Champion and Bella Reserve at Country Hill's show
Cleaned, clipped, braided and ready!
Opening Day with Carrollton Hounds

Pony playdate with Powells!

As I write this we're hoping to foxhunt on Thanksgiving morning, before hosting in the evening!
My Wedgwood china reflects our theme!

But most important now we're waiting for Ben and Casey's baby boy to arrive!!!
Clearly Uncle Ben's had great practice and will be a fun Dad!
Ben plays dress up much to kids delight!

I'll sign off as we say every night at Dinner ~
"Thank you God for our food, our farm, our friends and our family."

Blessings to you all this