Friday, December 30, 2011

December Wine Club

Finally getting to the December Wine Club selections! This month was all reds, a blend, a merlot and a pinot noir. I opened the Renwood Barbera 2008 the other night. Very nice, smooth and kind of fruity. Due mentioned it would be perfect for book club which I agree with as I think it would be popular with almost anyone. I enjoyed it in my new stemless wine glasses I got from Pier 1, with a Christmas gift card from my Dad.

The Merlot (which I haven't opened yet) is Italian, Barone Fini, and from Sue: "Flavors of rich, ripe cherries & plums ... balanced wine with a long velvety finish ..." Looking forward to trying this one as it's been awhile since I've had a Merlot.

The third wine is a Babich Pinot Noir, a New Zealand winery, and from the Marlborough vinyard. Sue recommends this one with roasted duck, which I have never tried to even make before. However, I do have a receipe for roasted duck in my new Alton Brown cookbook, so perhaps this is a good reason to try both! The website mentions that the wine could sit for upto 5 years, so this one may sit in my "cellar" for a while. One of the main reasons I wanted to join the wine club is to build up my cellar. This also will give me time to build up my confidence to try to make duck!

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2011 In Review

1. What did you do in 2011 that you've never done before? Maggie started Kindergarten!
2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I did not make any resolutions last year. This year, I would like to make Sundays social media free – basically, no playing on my Droid on Sundays. I’m also planning to get some walks/stairs in at least once a week at work. I’ll be sure to do a resolution update!
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? We had some births in our church family and extended family this year.
4. Did anyone close to you die? We unexpectedly lost Otis in May.
5. What places did you visit? We went to Minneapolis for cousin Zac & Katie’s wedding where Maggie was the flower girl (with stops in Wilmot, Redfield & Watertown along the way). We went to Deer Lodge, MT to visit Great-Grandma Lucille. And of course, our annual trip to Luccock, which no summer would be complete without.
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? A family vacation, that doesn’t involve visiting family, but does involve leaving Montana.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory and why? June 5, 2011, when Jessie was baptized.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Giving up satellite/cable TV
9. What was your biggest failure? Honestly, I don’t think I had any large failures. 2011 was a year with some ups and downs for us as a family. I am still enjoying my career. I was able to do some Bible studies and grow closer to some friends here in Billings. Our summer was rough with Rocky working Saturdays, but now that he’s been home and is almost done with his doctorate, I think it has been a worthwhile change.
10. Did you suffer any illness or injury? 2011 was another year of health in our family.
11. What was the best thing you bought? A membership to a wine club at Simply Wine!
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Jessie, as she has spent the last year turning from a baby into a toddler. Curious about everything. Maggie, as she has become a big kid. She’s in Kindergarten, loving most of it.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? No one’s. We have 2 good kids, 2 good dogs, and I have a wonderful husband.
14. Where did most of your money go? Where it always goes: taxes, the house, and daycare.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Getting a puppy!
16. What song will remind you of 2011? Billy Joel’s You May Be Right (but it was worth it to get a puppy!)
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a. happier or sadder? Compared to last year, about the same. 2011 was a pretty good year.
b. thinner or fatter? Thinner! So much so, I lost my wedding rings!
c. richer or poorer? Technically, poorer. Rocky quit his job in early September. While the Lord has provided for us in the last 4 months as he has searched for other employment & taught part-time, I can’t lie and say it wasn’t stressful or a challenge in these new roles.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Dancing! Jessie and Maggie are definitely getting us up and dancing more, even if it’s just during the movie credits!
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Watching TV. But I am a TV/movie person. I do love to have the TV on, even for background noise. I am happy that we have done more playing and wrestling as a family, now that Jessie is big enough to hold her own!
20. How did you spend Christmas in 2011? As a family. It was a wonderful Christmas! We also visited the North Pole!
21. Did you fall in love in 2011? Every year, I think I do fall in love again with my husband (aww)
22. What was your favorite TV program? We still like “Community”, “Big Bang Theory”, “Modern Family”
23. What did you do for your birthday? Went out to eat with my family. It was a quiet birthday. May have to plan a party for next year’s milestone.
24. What was the best book you read? I don’t think I read a book for me this year, but I always enjoy reading to my girls. I think the best is when Maggie reads to me.
25. What did you want and get? Some special time with my girl friends. Family time in our backyard.
26. What did you want and not get? A new bra! (though that’s my fault for not just going out and getting one!)
27. What was your favorite film? Rocky & I went to the final Harry Potter movie. We went to see “Captain America” at the drive in, and discovered Jessie was not ready for a full length movie! Rocky & I took Maggie to see The Muppets over Christmas break and I think we all enjoyed it.
28. Did you make some new friends? We had several new families join our church and our Sunday School/small group.
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A satisfying career for my husband. It was a challenging summer and it’s been difficult to watch him struggle in a position that didn’t really challenge him for the past few years. I am praying the Lord will bring him the right career move soon.
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? Casual, comfortable.
31. What kept you sane? Wine.
32. What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? My Jessie :)
33. What political issue stirred you the most? Healthcare Reform. On this issue, I am, apparently, a socialist.
34. Who do you miss? My babies – they aren’t babies anymore!
35. What valuable life lesson did you learn? Mostly just this reminder: Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Isaiah 9:6, Luke 2:13-14

For unto us a child is born, a son is given.  And the government will be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God! Glory to God in the Highest. and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men.”

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It is sometime hard to remember the true meaning of Christmas in the midst of the hustle and bustle of shopping for presents, filling stockings & the space under the tree.  It’s one of the reasons I feel the need to go to Christmas Eve services.  At our church, it is a wonderful service of the story of Jesus’ birth from scripture and the old wonderful carols straight from the Hymnal.  Songs my heart can sing without a second thought.

Even so, I love the hustle and bustle of Christmas even more now with the girls.  I love Maggie’s utter true belief in Santa – this morning, she was awake before any of us, yet waited in bed, just in case Santa was still in the house.  Her excitement at seeing all the presents under the tree (even though they were there last night). And her pure joy at each and every gift.  Never once did she say “I didn’t get …” Jessie enjoyed “ah-pen” presents and playing with her new toys – a baby doll, a dinosaur and a new refrigerator toy.  Grandma Alana brought lots and lots of gifts, which made Christmas morning last ALL morning.  We even took a breakfast break.

And now, it’s a quiet Christmas afternoon watching Christmas movies, with the windows open. [It’s 60 degrees and NO snow. I’m still dreaming of a white Christmas, though maybe when Grandpa Mike & Grandma Bonnie come.]

Glory to God in the highest and Goodwill towards Men.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Exactly 1 month ago, we put up the Christmas tree.  We went with fake this year, and I’m glad we did.  It was easier to put up and much less of a mess!  It was “fun” trying to keep Jessie away from it, and one of her presents had to be put away until Christmas morning (and we almost forgot about it!)2011-11-25 2011-11-25 001 002 2011-11-25 2011-11-25 001 004 2011-11-25 2011-11-25 001 008 2011-11-25 2011-11-25 001 009

The tree this morning, before anyone else woke up.

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A pre-lit tree with a remote that Jessie could operate was a wonderful purchase and I’m happy I finally relented to get a fake tree.  It looks great, even if most of the ornaments are above toddler height.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Baking Christmas Cookies

A little late in baking cookies this year, but with Grandma driving out on the 23rd we had some time to fill on Christmas Eve and what better way to spend time on Christmas Eve than baking?

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

The North Pole Adventure!

Last weekend, we took the girls on a North Pole Adventure train ride to meet Santa.  It was kind of like “The Polar Express” train ride to the “North Pole.”  The Charlie Russell Chew Choo is a summer time dinner train that the Lewistown Chamber of Commerce utilizes in December to allow kids (and adults) to meet Santa.  We all had a blast!  Maggie was so excited, but got nervous once Santa got on the train, so no family photo with him.  Jessie got very very excited to see Santa once he came out of his house and headed to the train, saying “It-ta! It-ta!” and pointing at Santa.  At one point, she even asked him for shoes (again!)

Our friends the Jenkins came along and we all had a lot of fun, enjoying the start of the Christmas week together in Lewistown.Jessie Maggie_train train01 train06Train03   Train04

It was a beautiful drive to Lewistown as well, though it would have been better with a little bit of snow (it was nice to wait in line for the train in no snow!)


Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Bestest Bug Christmas Pageant EVER!

Maggie’s school Christmas show was this past Thursday, December 15.  She was so 2011-12-15_17-57-52_793excited as she got to be a Lightening Bug, dressed all in yellow (fun to try to find in December!) and got to carry a flashlight. The show was at the high school’s auditorium and she got to be backstage with her friend Ainslie before the show.  Rocky & I took turns entertaining, or trying to entertain, Jessie while we waited for the show to start.  Next year, we’re getting a babysitter for Jessie!

It was an adorable little program and very well done.  All of the kids were different kinds of bugs and ,if I followed the story correctly, the lightening bugs saved the day by  getting the Christmas tree to light after the Termites ate it.

It turned into a long evening and right after the Kindergartens big number, I think Maggie was done.  A big kid took her spot on the riser and she had to be in the front.  The show was at 6:30, and we only had a snack, not supper, before.  After, Maggie told us that she was kind of nervous and that’s why she was upset.  We told her it was okay to be nervous before a show and that Dad gets nervous sometimes before he has to teach a class.

We went to Applebee’s after and Maggie just barely made it through supper without falling asleep!

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

18 Months Old

Jessie is still a little peanut! 22 lbs 2 oz and 33 inches long, she's right along the 25th percentile. But even as a little peanut she is all over the place! She doesn't really walk, but runs EVERYWHERE. She loves to climbs over and on EVERYTHING, including poor Wiconi.

Her vocabulary is really growing. She can identify and say nose, eyes & toes, but also knows ears and hair. She has started her transition into the Toddler Room at daycare and loves it. The drop offs are a lot easier as she likes starting in the toddler room and loves Ms Cheryl & Ms Monica.

The Christmas Tree is a very curious sight to her and most ornaments have been moved up out if her reach.

Jessie loves her big sister and loves to copy whatever Sissy does. She typically calls her Sissy but can also say Maggie. She still loves to give hugs and kisses. It's about the only time she stands still!
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Sunday, December 4, 2011

ZooMontana Fantasy of Lights

Last night, we visited the Zoo to see their annual Fantasy of Lights. You drive through the backside of the zoo to view the displays. My favorite was the tigers. Maggie really wanted to see the Rudolph display which was not part of the drive, but inside the zoo.

After completing the loop, we went inside for hot chocolate, crafts & Santa!! Maggie wasn't sure about visiting with him again, but did sit on his lap so we could get a picture with Jessie. Which ended up including me (we'll get a copy of it on Monday). Later while Maggie was enjoying her hot chocolate Jessie decided to check him out again. She had to show him her shoes and I was able to get a quick photo!

Maggie enjoyed the crafts, but was very excited when we FINALLY went outside so she could see the Rudolph display. One red light led her to him.

It was a nice way to spend a Saturday evening and a kick off to the Holiday Season. This may become an annual event for us.
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