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Friday, December 31, 2010

Ten is a big responsibility

Lila turned 10 on December 23rd!

She had a hoard of gifts that she opened prior to her friends coming over for her dinner party.  She wanted to open them before they got there because she felt bad that she received so many gifts and her friends may not have had so many.  I thought that was rather sweet and it took me a while catch my breath.  I'm glad that she recognizes that not everyone is as well off as others and that she is concerned about it.

After the girls arrived, we had dinner- Pizza, crab rangoons and fresh veggies and dip.  This was Lila's meal request!  Then Lila opened her presents from her friends.

Afterwards, as is traditional, we made gingerbread creations. Each child gets a blog of mollasses cookie dough and they make what they want with it.  Out come the imaginations and the sprinkles!  Of course, as parents showed up I was still pulling cookies out of the oven so some came in and had cake.  This was the beginning of the holiday chaos.  Now I am late getting home for lunch so alas, have to leave the high speed internet connection at the library....more another day.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


And so the wheel turns yet again to winter...tonight the longest night of the year.  We celebrate by burning the Yule log from sunset to sunrise to beat back the night and symbolically call forth the sun.
I'm beat though.  I thought I'd try to stay up last night to catch the full lunar eclipse...the next one that coincides with the winter solstice won't be for another 400 years so it was now or never....but at 12:30 still no movement.  Fortunately I awoke around 3:45 and the moon very conveniently was outside our bedroom window.  I nudged Will awake (I think, or he woke up because I was making the bed wiggle moving around to get a good look) and we admired the amber moon glow of the full eclipse. Verra cool.  So tonight, we shared a bottle of spiced wine warmed on the stove that was a birthday gift from a friend and wrapped some gifts for the kids, and Lila's birthday presents.  I hear the siren call of sleep now.  I'd like to read a few more pages of the Princess Bride, but would only be to bounce the spine of the book on the floor for naught.

Friday, December 17, 2010


School musical program yesterday culminated with this....a total surprise to everyone but Sam and the principal!  He was directing the rest of the kids in the choir.  Will have more pictures later....

Monday, December 13, 2010

We're Famous!

Well probably only if you listen to Northern Michigan University (NMU) Public Radio, and if you happened to be listening last Thursday morning.

When we first moved to the Upper Peninsula, after having Lila, Will used to go for long walks.  L-o-n-g walks that lasted for miles and took hours.  Will pushed Lila in her jogging stroller over all sorts of terrain....once they even stared eye to eye with a bobcat!  Any-who, one day when Will was pushing Lila, Ruthette stopped and asked us all to their annual fourth of July picnic.  Long story short, we have been friends with Doug & Ruthette (otherwise known as Dougette) since that fateful day ten years ago.  Dougette have two children, Rachel and Laurel.  Laurel is a junior at NMU majoring in art, and Rachel (who graduated with a BA and MA from NMU) is an adjunct professor in english at NMU.  We have watched them grow from young girls into young adults, and have spent every Christmas Eve at their house these ten not-so-long years.

As I mentioned, Rachel is an english major and is renowned for her mastering of the short story.  NMU annually around the holidays invites people to submit their "Holiday Remembrances" (click here).  This year Rachel submitted a lovely short story of her cherished memories from her growings up at Dougettes, way out in the boonies in the UP (she works in the big city of Marquette).  Since we have been a fixture at their family Christmas Eve's the past decade we were included in the story.  It isn't a story about us, but a story about the holiday traditions of a family we love.  Maybe in that way it shows how we have become a part of their family and they of ours. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Da Tree

Traditionally, our Christmas/Yule/Winter Solstice Tree is bought on the weekend of my Birthday.  So, last weekend we traipsed to Anderson's Tree Farm in Newberry to select one lucky fir tree to sacrifice itself to decorate our home.  Not a bad way to celebrate a Birthday!
Every year Lila is on the searh for the biggest and best tree.
Sam is just into having fun and getting as wet as possible...
...and he always looks like he is up to something!
 Duncan mostly stayed on the sled.  He realized that I could pull him faster when the other two were off the sled looking at trees so I spent most of my time slinging him around.
Photo op at the end of the trip, Friday Evening.
Saturday morning Will brought in the tree to defrost before decorating.  Will is approximately five feet ten inches tall so you can see that Lila got her way on the size of the tree.  Actually, the one she REALLY wanted was too big to fit into our tree holder.  It was also probably 12-14 feet tall!  This lovely Caanan fir is nine-ish feet tall.
Next went on the ornaments.  Well, technically the lights went on first.  We sent the kids out of the room while we were doing the lights because it is a time of utmost concentration and frustration and the questions about "when will we be able to put the ornaments on?  Are you done yet?  What is taking so long?" are not very welcome or constructive!

Ginger the cat was very interested in the proceedings and sat over the tree while it was being decorated.  He has removed low  hanging ornaments but so far hasn't climbed the tree.  That did happen to us once a few years ago (different cat) and the tree came crashing down, ornaments smashed, etc...  We have learned to tie the tree to a few strategic spots on the logs.
The weekend culminated in a lovely dinner party on Sunday- Will cooked Thai for me, we had a tiny keg of "Bell's Best Brown Ale" and only one of our guests ended up in the ditch (on the way to the party)!  AND goat hooves were trimmed and sheep coats changed!  A very productive weekend. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Three Fires

Around Thanksgiving time, the students and staff at Three Lakes Academy had a harvest gathering called "The Three Fires". The Three Fires are meant to represent the three Manistique Lakes that surround the community of Curtis, and perhaps invoke an indigenous peoples flavor to the gathering.

There were three bonfires set up on the lawn of the Academy, at each point of the triangle.  There were tables set up on the lawn with homemade placemats taped to the tables.  It was COLD so the fires were a welcome treat.

 Will was "Keeper of the Flame" and he ran from fire to fire to light them, signifying the start of the feast.

Interestingly, that day was marked also by a Detroit Lions vs. Patriots game.  There were many comments on Will's hat that day that floated over our heads until we found this out.  The Patriots "whooped butt", but that may not be saying much given the status of the Lions.

The kids each wrote a "legend of the Three Fires".  Three of the stories were to be chosen to be read at the ceremony.  Lila's was one of the three stories read, and hers was a legend of a Native American girl who was captured by pilgrims (read settlers here) in Copper Harbor.  The story was about how she was chosen to be a sacrifice to the Fire God and how she willingly endured this sacrifice for the greater good of nature and her people.  I feared that it was too Grimm grim to be chosen, but the school administrator shows pluck and good taste!  (That is him holding the megaphone).
The event culminated in a meal of beef stew (made with donations from everyones garden and farm), home made muffins and cornbread, and a dessert of cranberry Jello- Cranberries harvested from the shore of Lake Superior.  It was a lovely gathering, though the wind was howling (and the placemats didn't stay on the tables because the tape was too cold) and it was COLD (did I already mention that?)!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It is Winter.

A few wintery photos taken this week.  I have been remiss on posting- will catch up soon!   We did not find the wee spotted mouse....
 The best time to see a black dog is in the snow!

 Waters can't bear to look...
 The woolies like their new snug barn!
 Fancy says it is safer outside....the goats are in the barn.
Isn't it cute???