Friday, December 31, 2010

I just un-decorated...

and I haven't even written about the reason for the decorating. So here goes...
Christmas Eve - We all went to the 3:30 service at church. Of course Bryan had to be at the 5:30 one also so we went home and prepared some delicious food for the evening. We make all sorts of appetizers and watch "Muppet's Christmas Carol". 
It's tradition.
 Here we are..all the girls that Bryan has to live with. This was as normal as I could get Bobbi and Jayme to be, they were up to their usual face making in photos. Actually, they look quite good!
And p.s. - WHY do I always look like an Amazon when standing in a photo with my girls? 
 Ha Ha, Bryan's face! 
Jayme is telling me "No, eating photos."
Good night, go to bed, wake's Christmas morning!
Because it was also a Saturday, Bryan had to prepare for church that evening so we had already decided to put off opening our presents until Sunday afternoon. But we did open our stockings and have our traditional Christmas breakfast of cinnamon rolls and eggs and bacon. And lots of coffee.
 Ashley warned us she would be taking lots of pictures.
 Yes, we wrap all the stuff we put in the stockings. 
I always have, it just makes it last longer.
 The man!
 Oh, hello.
I am totally into Legos and as Jayme shares this love with me and a love of Harry Potter, I put a little Harry Potter Lego set in her stocking.
We had invited Dad and Mom out for lunch as well as Ferne. Also Lindsey and Jill, friends of the girls, who had no Christmas plans. We ate soup and rolls.
 Lindsey loves cats, notice the creepy cat blanket on her I gave her a little (tiny!) cat puzzle. She and Jayme got right to putting it together.
The girls played a game of Quelf. Literally, one of the funniest games I have ever played.
We hung out and watched "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince". It was a really nice day.
Good night, go to bed, wake's Sunday.
Off we went to church.
We came home ate a simple lunch and Bryan rested for awhile. Then we opened our presents.
 Bryan, opening his Keurig coffee maker for his office from the girls.
 Bobbi made Ashley a book with lots of notes and pictures from her friends and family. It caused some tears for all of us.
We used my new multi colored Fiesta dishes for our Christmas supper. Yum.
 Jayme being thrilled to get a new Ipod that can hold all the songs in the world...
 Ashley thrilled that she finally got a "poloroid" camera (really a Fujifilm Instax). We decided it looked like a "Who" camera. 
Bobbi in her new chair. 
We had a wonderful weekend of Christmas celebrating.
Last night we had our Clark family Christmas with Bruce and Cheryl, their kids and Grandma Ferne. Everyone came out here for supper and we had a good time laughing and talking. Bobbi had to be at a wedding rehearsal so she couldn't join us. We missed her. Then the Husker game was on...Congrats to the Huskies not the Huskers...and here we are at this morning un-decorating the house. I admit I shed a few tears while putting Ashley's ornaments in her box. 12 days will pass quickly. I wish everyone of you a very wonderful and peaceful new year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas Eve!

I just wanted to say that. I am so excited to go to the service tonight. All of us (Jim, Corey, Ashley and I) have worked a ton on the set stuff and I can't wait to see the magic of the work of all the other people, lighting, music and drama, added to it. I am always amazed every year at the culmination of all the hard work and the magic and wonder that it brings to all the people that attend. I wish you all joy and peace and wonder. Take time to enjoy the season and the people you have to share it with. 
Merry Christmas

December 21, 2010...

On Tuesday Ashley and I left the house 3:30 a.m. and headed to Omaha to catch the 6:30 flight to Chicago. We were headed there to pick up her Visa from the Spanish Consulate. We were at Midway Airport by about 7:45 and in our shuttle by 8:00 or so. The shuttle dropped us off at the Consulate at about 8:55 and we headed up to get her visa. By 9:30 we were done with the largest purpose of our trip and had until 4:15 to just enjoy walking around Chicago shopping and experiencing the holidays, 
Chicago style. 
 Of course we went to Starbucks. Did you think we wouldn't? We may not eat Chicago style pizza anytime we are there but we do frequent the Starbucks that are on every corner.
 There it is. In and done. What a relief, but I will miss her.
We ate lunch here. We had a window seat looking out over Michigan Ave. It was picture perfect. 
The shuttle picked us up at Water Tower Place and we headed back to Midway. And there we sat waiting for delayed flights, changing gates and finally getting out of there 1 and 1/4 hours later than planned. We pulled into the garage, after driving home from Omaha, at 1:00 a.m. So the shortest day of the year turned into the longest day of the year but it was a good one. We had so much fun. 
Don't tell Bryan, but I think I am beginning to love Chicago.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Technically, we should call them Graham Cracker Houses...

On Saturday night we had the 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Battle at the Kroeker's. Last year it was on my birthday and their son had just gotten married that day. Kathy was having the family that was around over after the reception and they were going to build gingerbread houses so they included me in that group. Then this year we decided to have another party like that. So begins a tradition. 
Abby and I were partners. 
Not sure why Hunter is cross eyed in this picture but then he is a 7 year old
 Beau just got up on a chair and started eating all the candy and pretzels and crackers he could grab. So, apparently, did Tyler!
 Kathy and Doug
Dave - Gingerbread Fail Award 
(Last year he made a Trailer House, which was hilarious)
 Abby - Most creative with the leftovers Award
 Season - Most improved from last year and just plain adorable little village in a tornado Award. 
(Last year her house fell down as soon as she started and looked like it got hit by a tornado so...)
 Me - Never deviate from the log cabin Award.
 (Obviously, last year I made a log cabin also. This year I added a fire pit, stream, thanks to Abby's ideas, and chair.)
 Kathy - Very Traditional cute little house Award 
(Last year her little house was smaller.)
AND the winner is...
 Doug - Most amazing Memorial Stadium out of Graham Crackers Award! 
(Last year he had to leave as soon as we got to their house because Clay forgot his suitcase for their honeymoon and Doug had to run it to them in Grand Island or somewhere along I-80. That is now a family joke!)
Tyler had to leave to work Security at church so he didn't get to finish his factory he was building.
My thanks to Doug and Kathy for being willing to let us make a huge mess in their dining room.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Open House...Check...

Last night was our 4th Annual Clark Christmas Open House for all the church staff. (100+ people) Of course not everyone comes because this is a busy time of year for everyone but we had a huge turnout of staff and their families. Fortunately, I sort of have it down to a science. No one looks at the floor and things get spilled so why mop? One chore off the list...check. Everything looks best by low light and candlelight excessive dusting...check. Serve a few really good favorite appetizers instead of lots of assorted ones...check. Cook ahead and reheat!...check. Have a daughter who cleans for a living come out visit you that afternoon and volunteer to vacuum and dust...check! Close the door to my office to hide the suitcases and boxes of Ashley's stuff and the presents that aren't finished...check. See, it's super easy to host a party. And I do enjoy it. We did go through 2 gallons of Hot Chocolate, 3 gallons of Hot Spiced Cider, 2 pots of coffee, 130 bite sized riblets, 150 bacon wrapped chicken bites, 2 batches of Spinach and Artichoke dip, 3 bags of tortilla chips, 4 boxes of crackers, 250 pieces of cheese, 100 pieces of summer sausage, 3 bags of grapes, 100 chocolate chip cookies, 150 sugar cookies, 50 gingersnaps and a partridge in a pear tree. This morning I only found one spot on the kitchen floor that is sticky! Yay, no mopping today either. 
Look how cute Jayme, my helper elf, is!
I took one picture of the early crowd and then didn't really  have time to pick up the camera after that.
See what I mean? No one even sees the floor! 
We partied from 6-10.
Next thing to check off the list...stage setting for Christmas Eve service. AND go...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's December 15th already...

I am supposed to be getting ready for our staff open house that is this Friday evening. But yesterday I did some prep on the food and cleaned up the basement some, then looked at Ashley and said "I don't feel like cooking and cleaning, I feeling like seeing if Jayme and Bobbi want to come out tonight for soup and making Christmas cookies. I feel like making a mess, not cleaning." So she sent them a text and the party was planned. By the way, yesterday she got a call from the Spanish Consulate that her Visa was ready to be picked up. Perhaps that was what brought me up short. It made me think, and that is why I decided that the house is fine, the food will get done and we need to have some fun. 
Bryan had a board meeting so he joined us at about 9.

 There were a few accidents. Ashley kept breaking cookies.
The lovely result of all the fun.
"Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!" - Jane Austen

Goose Update...then I will stop about them...maybe...

On Sunday morning the geese were making a horrible noise, we could tell that it had changed from the normal honking noise. Ashley and I looked out and they were in tight little groups on the pond. Then we saw a huge bald eagle flying around over the groups.
 That's him in the middle of this picture. Unfortunately that tree is about 200 yards from our house so I zoomed in as far as my little camera would and got that shot. As long as he sat there the geese kept up the noise. There were so many. Then when Bryan got home later from church he shot the shotgun several times over near them to scare them off. They went. 
Yesterday this guy was wandering around on the pond looking for food.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Not sure but it looks like...

they are playing DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE!
That is what it looks like to me.
(This is the 1000s of Canada Geese and ducks that decided our pond is far enough to the south. I would encourage them to rethink that.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

I like this view...

Today I took down the window treatment that has been on this window for 10 years...yes, folks you heard me correctly. Just lazy about window treatments, I guess. Anyway, I also washed all my main floor windows inside and out (fortunately it was a decent day) that probably hadn't been done in awhile...then I put up some ribbons that I had done in the dining room last year because I don't have anything to replace what I took down. But this looks nice and Christmasy. I cleaned the office...(should have taken a before and after) last night Bryan said it was a scary place. That was true.
And I like this view...the dogs asleep on the couch by the tree.
This is the view I DO NOT like...Every time I walk down the basement stairs I see all the suitcases waiting for Ashley to pack to move to Spain. January 11 is just too close. 
I should probably go finish putting away all the things that are piled on the table from my cleaning frenzy. Clean up the cleaning mess...another view I wish to avoid.