Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent Day Four

Day Four of Advent's ornament is the 3 Wise Men.
"In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."  Genesis 12:3b

I got this ornament earlier this year - it is hand carved.  I thought it was really pretty.
Today was really busy.  I spent part of the morning helping the Garden club get ready for the holiday bazaar.  It was really fun.  It is a great group of ladies.  They always have me laughing - especially the older ladies.  They all have a great sense of humor and I love how they tease each other.  And the arrangements they make are beautiful.  I was in charge of bows.  That is what I could handle.   They felt otherwise, which was sweet, but I declined and stuck to bows.

I volunteers, as always on Wednesday, in Finley's class and taught braille after leaving the lovely Garden Club ladies.  Then this afternoon I picked the kids up early and took them to get their flu shots.  2 out of 3 were really good.  I will give you one guess who was freaked out.  Yes - that would be Finley.  But in the end, she sat still, and all the kids now have their flu shots.

We ran errands, took the kids to McDonalds as a treat for getting a shot today, and now we are home wrapping some Christmas presents.

Tonight I pulled a tick off Cainan at bath time tonight.  He was surprisingly brave.  I think we caught it early, so we will just have to watch him.  The ticks are so bad here in the North East.  I still pull them off Scooby - even though he is treated.

This weekend is our Holiday Bazaar in our town here in Massachusetts.  We are ready, I think.  We haven't ever had a table there before, so it is hard to know what to expect.  But we are hoping to make some money for our Foundation and continue to get the word out about Finley and our RDH12 Fund for Sight.

Also this weekend in Connellsville is the annual Holiday Cookie Sale in town.  West Side Jewelry is hosting the Finley's Fighters/RDH12 Fund for Sight table, so please stop by if you are in town.  All profit from the sale goes to our RDH12 Fund for Sight.  All cookies are homemade by our family and friends, so they are going to be fantastic and delicious.  We appreciate your support!
 And last, but not least, Arlington took a picture of Mat and I so I thought I would post it.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advent Day Three

Today's ornament is Noah's Ark.
This was probably the easiest ornament to find.  Hallmark does a Noah's Ark ornament every year, and I thought this years was really cute.

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ"  Romans 6:23

Our Apple ornament for day two showed up today to replaced chewed up red plastic apple.  so we took it's picture.
It is a find from Etsy - it is a Cedar Apple and it smelled really good.
Today was puppy school.  Scooby did really well.  I thought he was the best behaved, but I may be a little partial.  But he did great.  He didn't eat any other dogs.  He didn't bark (not that he really barks anyway), he played nice with others, and he did all the commands he was supposed to do.  It was great.  I had given him a bath before he went, so he was extra soft and poofy for bonus cute points.  It worked.

Finley's teacher of the vision impaired emailed me today to ask me something, but she started her email like this:

"Hi Jennifer!  I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.  Finley told me she didn't have turkey but she killed a pig for her dinner"

Uh.....great.  Here is what really went down on Thanksgiving.  We don't eat Turkey's gross.  We eat ham.  Finley asked where ham comes from and we told her pigs.  Somehow that turned into us slaughtering a pig in our backyard and roasting it in our kitchen for good measure.

She's special.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Advent Day Two

Today's Advent Jesse Tree ornament is an apple.
 This is a temporary apple - I have actually ordered a nicer one, but it didn't arrive in time.  Plus - Scooby found this apple and the side you don't see is in shreds.  Ah puppyhood.

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way".  Isaiah 53:6

In other news:
Finley had a much better piano lesson today.  She has turned a corner in her daily practice as well - has figured out the notes on the piano, and is getting the idea a little quicker that what she is playing is a song.  Victory.  She was pretty proud of herself tonight.  I was proud of her too.  Next Monday is her first Christmas concert where she will sit next to a kid playing "Silent Night" and play a C and a G on the piano :)  Cute.
 We have finished decorating the house inside and out.  All that is left is the tree.  We get a live tree each year, so we like to wait another week or two so that it doesn't dry out before Christmas.  The kids are excited about finding a new tree farm to cut our tree down this year.
 Scooby has discovered ice cubes.  It is pretty cute to watch.  One fell on the floor today and for about 10 minutes he wasn't sure what to make of it and pawed at it before finally eating it.  He has also discovered he can climb the stairs and will follow us every once in awhile into the upstairs.  We aren't allowing him upstairs for now because he is still being trained, but it is cute to watch him go up the steps.  He is not so great at getting back down.
Tomorrow is puppy school......with the puppy.  I am looking forward to see him interact with the other dogs.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Advent Jesse Tree

Last year, I read a few blogs where the people were doing Jesse Advent Trees.  I thought it would be a great tradition to start with our family.  The Advent Jesse Tree seeks to tell the story of God's redemptive plan for the world thought 25 symbols from the Old and New Testament.  The symbols trace the heritage of Jesus Christ from the beginning of creation.

So, throughout the year, we have been collecting ornaments that go along with the book.
The book tells you what ornament to buy/make, and then we went on a hunt.  I was able to find most of them online (mostly on Etsy - they make some beautiful home made ornaments) and a few we made.

So today is the first day of Advent.  We hung our first ornament today.  The first ornament is a globe.
 This first symbol takes us back to Christ's pre-existence before all of creation. The first chapter in the book is called "The Light in Creation".  The have a children's devotion in the book that we read and talked about and then we hung the first ornament on the tree.
You will notice our tree has red and silver bulbs on it.  I got this 6 foot Christmas tree last year after Christmas for like $5.  It is perfect for our advent tree, but it is a bit big for 25 ornaments, only.  So - we added a little color. :)

Each day I will share the bulb we are putting on the tree and the name of the Devotion.  I think it is a great way to mix the excitement with Christmas with the true meaning we celebrate as Christians.  And Arlington, especially, loves the stories and the idea.  So it has been fun.

"In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."  Genesis 1:1

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Muppet Movie - by Arlington part one

The movie started with a Toy Story commercial of "Small Fry".  The Small Fry was a little buzz toy at a take out restaurant for display.  He wanted to get played with.  He saw a big Buzz.  When the big Buzz was in the ball pit, Small Fry pulled him under the balls and traded himself with the big buzz.  When they went home, Small Fry climbed out of the bag and began singing and roller skating.  While the big Buzz was sitting in a toy meeting for lost toys that were never played with.  Big Buzz talked with those toys and did a small skit of a toy getting played with and then lost.  While he was doing that, he escaped.  At home Woody and the gang were wondering what happened to the real buzz and asked Small Fry what had happened.  They wanted to know what they should do with Small Fry.  The big Buzz turned up and said "I don't know".  Everyone yelled "Buzz!".  Buzz knew exactly where to put Small Fry.  Small Fry was happy with the lost toys who were never played with.  the end.

The Muppets Movie:

It started with a Muppet named Walter and his brother.  Walter and his brother, Gary, loved to play together.  Gary always grew a couple of inches each year, but Walter stayed the same.  Gary and Walter were watching TV one day when they saw the movie called Muppets.  They watched it every night until Gary was much older.  The next morning, Gary was getting ready to go on a date with his girlfriend.  They were going to Hollywood.  Walter asked Gary to bring him back stuff from the Muppets.  Gary said he couldn't do it though.  Walter sighed.  Then Gary said that "I don't have to because we are all going".  He meant he, his girlfriend, and Walter.  Walter almost fainted.  Later that day, Walter and Gary went out all dressed in suits and were singing.  Then they made it to a school.  Gary's girlfriend was a teacher at that school.  Gary said to his girlfriend that he was ready to go and Walter was waiting outside.  So when Gary went to check on Walter, Mary (Gary's girlfriend) sang a song about how sad she was because Gary never paid any attention to her, really.  It looked like it was raining.  At the end of the song, you saw that it was just a garden guy spraying the window with his hose.

When Gary, Walter, and Mary were all waiting for the bus, the people that they got to sing with them were still singing when they got on the bus.  The bus drove away and one of the people said "they're gone" and they all dropped to the ground.  (ha ha ha)

When they were at Hollywood, they took a taxi to where the Muppets played their show.  They took a tour of their studio.  The tour guide went to Kermit's office first and said "this is Kermit's office, it is really nice inside".  Walter smiled really big.  Then the tour guide said "you better visit it some time" and then moved on.  And Walter fainted.  Gary woke him up soon, though.  Gary moved on, but Walter went into Kermit's office and looked around.  Then the door knob slowly creaked and then 4 muppets entered the door with a man.  The man told a lie to the older muppets.  He said we are going to turn this place into a museum of the muppets.  Walter was hearing this from under the table.  When the two old muppets left, the man said that they were just going to tear the place down and get all the oil under it.  He said he could smell the oil in the ground.  Then he said to his worker muppers, "maniacal laugh", "maniacal laugh", and they other two laughed maniacally.

When they all left, Walter ran as fast as he could, screaming.  He wouldn't stop screaming.  When they rode in the taxi, he still screamed.  When they were on the bus, everyone was looking at them because Walter was screaming.  Finally they got him to settle down and he told them the whole story.

When they got off the bus, they ran to the car and drove around to see where Kermit could be.  When Gary was starting to give up, Walter said no, and Mary cut in and said "I think I found the place".  The gates had Kermit and Miss Piggy on it.  And Walter said, "throw me over" and Mary said "I think that is an electric fence".  But then Walter said "throw me over" and Gary said "oh, okay".  So Gary threw Walter and it was an electric fence.  From behind, just as Walter was about to say throw me over again, Kermit showed up.  And Kermit said to them, "can I do anything for you?" and Walter fainted.  (thud).  Kermit asked if he was okay and Gary said yes.  They brought him inside.

When he woke up, he was on a comfy couch in Kermit's living room and Kermit said "what's the problem".  Walter told him about the man but didn't tell the story yet.  And Kermit said "he said he was going to make that place into a museum".  Walter told him that it was a lie and that they were going to tear it down for the oil.  Kermit believed Walter.  All the sudden 80's the Robot burst in and asked if they wanted soda.  Kermit said "not now".  And then 80's the Robot started beeping and asked if they wanted soda.  Kermit yelled at him, and the robot turned around and bumped into the wall three times before he got out.  Then bumped into the trash can.

The next day, Kermit, 80's the Robot, and Gary, Mary, Walter went on a trip to find the other muppets.  When they were at the first stop where Fozzie the Bear worked.  Walter fainted again because Fozzie had started another band called the Moopets.  When they were done singing their song, no one clapped.  Except for Kermit, Walter, Gary, and Mary.  On Fozzie's break, Kermit went to him and said "Fozzie!".  Fozzie wasn't looked and said "Kermit!"  They started talking and the rest of Fozzie's band came to talk to them, so Fozzie let's talk more privately.  When they went to his dressing room, it was outside, and it started to rain.  Fozzie said "get the cushions!"  The got Fozzie back and then they went to Gonzo.   Gonzo owned Gonzo's Plumbing. Gonzo gave them 30 seconds to talk to him and Fozzie kept interrupting Kermit and saying to Kermit "don't forget about the man who is doing the oil".  And when the 30 seconds were up Kermit said "we are trying to get the band back together to save the studio.  Would you like to be part of it?"  Gonzo said "no - that is my final answer".  Walter says "I was one of your biggest fans, I loved how you shot yourself out of the cannon".

To be continued..........(she has to go to bed - it took her too long)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

This year, I did not go shopping early in the morning like I usually do.  Mat and I were able to find just about everything we needed on line, and the little odds and ends can be gotten any time. 

Instead, this morning we got up and hit Amazon's lightening deals and online specials.  We had muffins and pumpkin bread for breakfast.  Finley has found a new love for Curious George games on the computer and is learning to use the mouse.
She can work the computer quite well - she is slow and careful, but she is getting the hang of it.

We did do a little shopping today, but not until late morning.  Our wonderful neighbors Ron and Mary babysat Scooby for us so that we could do a few shopping errands and go to a movie with the kids.  We saw the Muppet Movie.  We all enjoyed it.  The theater was packed, of course, which makes it more fun.  Lots of laughter.  The movie was quite long for a kids movie, so we headed home after that to pick up Scooby.
 A full day.  Tomorrow we hope to put out the outside Christmas decorations.  Hard to believe the Thanksgiving holiday is half way over already.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Today, like everyday, we remember how thankful we are for everything we have.  We have healthy, happiness, a roof over our heads, very little worries, lots of love.  Finley still has her sight - a daily thanks we give to God.  Our kids want for nothing.  Most days are filled with nothing but laughter and fun.

Today we remember those who are not so lucky.  We talk to our kids about how lucky we are and how we can (and will) help those who are less fortunate.  It is nice for our children to remember that there are children who are not so lucky - a concept they find hard to believe. 

Another great year.  Another long list of reasons to be thankful.  We hope that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

Enjoy the pictures from our last few days.

Arlington is asking for a few puzzles for Christmas, so we broke out a 1000 piece puzzle for her to work on and she had a great time
Mat was able to pull our crab apple tree back into standing position.  We hope it survives the winter.  Stupid storm knocked it over.

Arlington is babysitting her class pet - Furball - this week.  We have to take her picture with him in different places.  Here, he is hiding:
 Turkey Trot this morning!  It was 30 degrees for the race, but we had so many layers on, and walked pretty fast - we were definitely warm enough.  We walked for Alternative House - a house for abused women and children.  And for our donation we got a race shirt and an apple pie.  It was great.  There were over 1000 (yes I mean 1000) walkers/runners there this morning.

After the Turkey Trot and watching the parade, Arlington got back to work on her puzzle.

 Our Thanksgiving table.  We had ham, potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, corn, stuffing, and - of course - Apple pie.

Scooby even got a chance to have some ham for Thanksgiving.  He was really excited.  Although - it made him really thirsty and he had to go out to be about 55 times after dinner.

Arlington was showing Finley how to play Curious George on the computer.  Arlington was really patient with her - showing her how to move the mouse and stayed with Finley for as long as she wanted to play.  She is a great big sister.
 THE PUZZLE Is FINISHED!  She did it.  She was so proud.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pictures tomorrow

Today was full of errands and nothing fun to take pictures of.  I apologize.  Tomorrow we are walking a Turkey Trot 5K and I will take pictures there.

Today Mat was off from work so we took an advantage of doing some shopping together without the kids.  It was nice.  We actually did a little Christmas shopping.  We don't usually do much before Thanksgiving, but we have many nieces and nephews, so we did get started.

The kids had a half day of school, so this afternoon we played games and played with the dog.  It was raining this afternoon, so we couldn't be outside, but we stayed will entertained.

We went out to eat this evening (along with the rest of the world) and finished our Thanksgiving day grocery shopping (along with the rest of the world).  Tonight we are watching "Bad Teacher" (just Mat and I) and it is....okay.  Not great.

I can't believe tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  We will be at the Turkey trot early in the morning and then back to watch the parade.  In the afternoon we will probably start to pull out the Christmas decorations.  Looking forward to a fun day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Puppy School without the puppy

Tonight was the first class of puppy school.  I signed Scooby (and myself) up for Puppy Kindergarten because I know he needs it.  And I need it because I already have three children.  And a husband.  I don't need a crazy animal to add to our circus.

Yesterday we got a call remind us about puppy school but to please not bring the puppy.  Say what?  No - the first class was only for owners.  I thought it was weird, but once I was there, it made sense.  The class last an hour and tonight we talked about all the things we were going to work on and we need to make a list of habits we want to se go bye-bye.  (I could name about 100.  All involving chewing).

So next Tuesday - Scooby and I will go to class with 3 other dogs - a baby lab, a baby poodle, a baby boxer.  Should be interesting.  We are the only mutt.  Goody.

Speaking of Scooby - he is getting big.  He is 3 months old now.  We are still working on some basic commands.  He has sit, really well.  And when we are inside, he comes when we call him.  Outside - he comes to us......eventually.  But he doesn't wander far.  He can sit on the porch, unleashed, for hours and just watch the world go by.  He likes to be near us.  He has decreased the demand barking for attention he thought was a good idea.  A couple times of ignoring him, he got the idea.  He is learning to stay.  He needs a hair cut already - I can barely see his eyes.  His favorite game is rolling in the leaves.  He is a great dog.  But he is still a puppy and he likes to chew on everything.  This class will be just what we need.  And the best part?  You can keep going with class after class until you get the end result you are looking for.  I am all for that.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Oh Finley

First of all - let's talk about what she is wearing in this picture.
I was out running errands, and I come home to find that Mat had let Finley dress herself.  Doesn't she look pretty?  She is wearing all of her favorites.  A purple skirt.  Her orange sparkly shirt.  Skeleton socks.  And her white shoes that are a 1/2 size too small but she refuses to let me give them away.

These pictures just tell it all about Finley's personality.  She stands up for what she wants every.single.time.  Just because her favorites don't match each other in the slightest, she is still going to wear them all at once because SHE WANTS TO.
This personality is going to serve her well some day.  She isn't going to let people push her around.  But for now?  At 5 years old and this head strong?  She has Mat and I realing.  We have a lot of trouble finding things to "threaten" her with to make her behave.  Nothing seems to phase her - at least that is the show she puts on.
Tonight at Piano lessons she decided she wasn't really in the mood.  The piano teacher was sweet and told me we are going to "have lessons like this", but I just sighed heavy because again - this is Finley.  I talked to her the whole way to the lesson about how she was going to try her best and she would get two chapters read to her in her book tonight instead of one.  "yes yes" she said.  But we get there, and she is a mess.  Because she decided before she got in the door that tonight was not going to be the night she wanted to do her piano lesson.

Arlington was so easy.  She still is in a lot of ways.  At least when it comes to discipline.  Arlington wants to please.  She gets pleasure out of following the rules.  And Cainan - well, we all know our little old man at heart is a rule follower.  So to have this "free spirit" (especially when Mat and I are both first borns and not like her at.all.) is a challenge beyond anything I have ever experienced.

Thank goodness she is cute.

Disclaimer - yes - a few pictures above are pictures of Finley on the treadmill.  She is going about .00000001 miles an hour - she wanted to try it out.  She was on there about 10 seconds.  No we do not make our children walk the treadmill.   Although........  just kidding.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christmas Photoshoot 2011

We are a little early on Christmas pictures this year, but today's weather was so beautiful, we had to take advantage for our outdoor shots.  For the last 3 years, we have found a wooded spot and taken the kid's pictures for Christmas.  While I missed the covered bridge from the forest near Salem, we have a great trail right around the corner from our house that worked just as well.

As always, we took about 300 photos and the ones I am posting here are still not up to my standards.  It is not the kid's fault.  Okay - it is not Arlington and Cainan's fault (Finley never cooperates).  My camera is at least 6 years old and has taken over 50,000 photos.  It is begging for retirement.  The setting and the flash just don't work as well as they used to, and there for, the photos don't come out as well.

Anyway - here are the final products.  I should have posted all the "bloopers" so you could see my pain (Finley) and suffering (Finley) to get even these.  We aren't sure which we will use in the final round, and they will still have to messed with a bit to fix the lighting, but here you go.  Enjoy!