Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012 is now a memory. All the planning, prepping, stressing, and wrapping are done. Whew. As I have gotten older the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas has gotten shorter, somehow and I believe Thanksgiving was actually early this year.

There is one word that wraps things up nicely for me, been with me my whole life and my Mom claims she has nothing to do with this word...Procrastination! We, us kids, get it from our father and she would be right. No matter how hard I try at times I never seem to finish anything until the very last minute. It wasn't until Dec. 1 or after that I decided to make many of my Christmas presents. Some of them didn't even get finished and so a gift was purchased but for those who did get something I made it was a pleasure to make them. Now if my computer wasn't being stupid today I would have great pictures to show you of the things I made. So, until my husband can solve my computer issue this will be a photo-less post.

My youngest nephew is four and a big fan of Star Wars, so in my searching with Google I found these cute little Star Wars finger puppets. Click here to see their cuteness. I also made him a pillow, here, it is a shield, and I found some monkey fabric and some contrasting fabrics for the other two parts. It turned out very cute and I still know how to sew. I needed my mom to set up the sewing machine as I didn't know how to get to zig-zag from straight stitch but I did okay. Considering I had to make my own pattern, it was a little haphazard but in the end I was pleased with the results.

I also knitted a scarf for my niece, who is 12, of which I didn't take a photo nor of my joke of a gift for my older brother. Being a Dr. Who fan and turning me into one I decided since I now own a stash of felt from my Star Wars gift I decided to make him a felt sonic screwdriver. Similar to this one here, but you can't have sonic screwdriver without a TARDIS, so I made that too but in the form of  knitted dishcloth, here. If you don't know about Dr. Who I highly recommend watching it, find it on Netflix but start with Season 1, 2005. Trust me you will think I am nuts but after a few episodes you just can't help yourself.

Anyway back to Christmas 2012 it was really great. We celebrated with my family over the weekend and had a great time. Food, fun, gifts, and most importantly sledding! It took all I had not to sit myself down on that red plastic sled and fly down the hill but I thought better of it and so I watched the kids fly down the hill and climb back up, time after time. I got tired just watching them climb the hill especially the littlest, four-year-old Kai. Those little legs got tired but he kept at it. I loved watching him and my older nephew, ten-year-old Cooper, go down in the sled together. Cooper was the pilot sitting up right facing forward with his legs outstretched using his arms as his turning force and Kai, face down stretched out in Coop's lap as they flew down the hill. Apparently he didn't want snow in his face. It was so cute and comical, I only wished I would have snapped a picture.

It was such a joy to watch the kids, and to be able to walk back up the hill myself only having to rest because my thigh muscles felt like they were going to  explode but my lungs did just fine.

These are the moments that life is about, watching kids having fun, great conversation and time spent with siblings and loved ones. Even though the gifts are fun to give whether made or purchased. It all comes down to love, family and friends. Those who surround us make our life beautiful and each of those moments spent with them is the greatest gift to receive.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter Wonderland

Here in Minnesota the joke is we have two season, winter and road construction! We have officially entered the winter season. Also if you are a Minnesotan you know that today it could snow and tomorrow it could be 50 degrees, or suddenly below zero, take your pick.

Last year, winter was something to laugh at for anyone who has lived here for years or their whole life they know that last winter was, to say the least, unusual. Unless you are an outdoor winter sport enthusiast or just love cold, damp weather then last year was a perfect winter. The only real problem is we, as in, farmers and crop growers, need the moisture. If last year was your first winter experience, wow you were lucky and no that is not typical. After a dry winter and even drier summer the snow yesterday was much appreciated. It also helps to put one in the holiday spirit when they aren't running around in t-shirts.

Yesterday after the first three inches of snow I decided in the beauty of it all I would take a walk. So I bundled in my multiple layers, hat, scarf, and not so appropriate hand attire, strapped on my Yak Track knockoffs and headed out. It was glorious! As I walked there was the scent of wood burning fireplaces in the air, kids were rolling balls of snow for their snow men and chipping away places for nose, eyes, and mouths. I saw the most creative snowman with a tiny bird house for a hat and evergreen branches for the arms. I also saw a group of kids putting up a whole family of snow people, it made me chuckle. I thought of Calvin and Hobbes, for those who are familiar you get my meaning.

I also saw kids jumping on their sleds and traveling down the smallest of hills for the thrill of winter sledding. In my day those hills would have been a bump, but beggars can't be choosers when you live in town.

With the snow clinging to the trees and the still of the day it was like walking around town in the days when there were no digital toys to play with, no two hundred plus channels to watch, and no xbox or Wii U. To see kids playing, and families working together, or going for walks was like days of yesteryear.

Growing up snow was the best part of any winter, when you are under the age of 16, snow is fantastic. Not only is there a chance of a snow day but there is nothing greater than playing in the snow. It always seemed that we had very few snow days when I was a kid even though we had PLENTY of snow. Back then it was like each snow fall was at least six inches, that was on the slim side.

Growing up on acreage there was a million things we could think of to do. I have memories of my brother and I making cockpits out of a snow bank, each in our seat with controls on both sides. Something tells me it was more my brothers idea and quite likely Star Wars inspired, I loved it. We also had some great hills to go down, or when we were less inclined to walk half a mile we would pile the snow off the back deck and create a run, that went off the back deck, under the clothes line, past the apple tree into what was at one time the garden. Each time down we went a little further. Seriously, as a kid, exercise is disguised as fun!

When we got our first set of tubes for sledding it was the most awesome thing. We could glide over snow like we were riding on butter. Occasionally ending in Sarah having some sort of injury, but well worth it. Of course as usual, I blame my brother. He really was the reason for most of my injuries as a youth, he doesn't recall most of my memories but I swear it to be true.

Our neighbor had a small pond that in my early years we would go down to skate on, I don't remember doing it too often but I do remember the time my dad made it seem as though had fallen with one leg through the ice - that joker. To this day he still get's a thrill out trying to scare/shock you, and he usually succeeds. Don't even ask about his April fools jokes!

I have great, absolutely great memories of winter growing up. Even our little dog Poopsie used to lift up her back legs and walk like an acrobat on only her front paws in the snow. Not only did she think she was a cat but a gymnast too.

So, even though the winter weather is awful for driving in, and then the whole cold factor there is great beauty to be seen and had in the winter. So, pull those twenty year old snow pants out of the closet, slip on your Sorels, or moon boots if you're lucky and go have some fun in the snow. There is nothing more beautiful than a snow angel.