Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Blessings

Christmas was especially meaningful this year after our close call Christmas Eve. We were all still really shaken but very grateful to be surrounded with the blessings of family. My poor mom even managed to play a few games and watch "Brave" with us as she drifted in and out due to her pain medicine. 

I thought I would post our favorite presents that we were blessed with from each other and from family and friends. Aunt Abby and Uncle Nathan gave Josiah a youth-sized chanter for learning to play bagpipes, along with a wonderful chanter case that Abby hand-made. Very thoughtful gift.

They also gave Hailey this beautiful blue dress. I can't wait to see this on her with her hair all done up pretty. Blue looks gorgeous with her red hair.


Josiah was so excited, he bought Hailey a pink toy rifle. She loves anything pink camo. As she was opening it, "She said "Whatever it is, I hope its pink!". She got her wish! Josiah bought one for himself and wrapped it up and put it under the tree so they could open it together and be able to play together. Cracked me up ;)

 Josiah was super jazzed to get this battery operated Nerf gun from one of our good friends.
Hailey was excited when she opened up her very own pink bow from those same friends. 

Josiah wanted this microscope set so bad and received it from his Nana and Papa. I love how animated my kids get when they open gifts.

Michael and I got Hailey a pink fishing pole that has lights that flash on it. 

Mom and Larry with some new carpentry tools. It'll be awhile before she's able to use these unfortunately. Mom did a great job of staying cheerful for the kids despite being in so much pain because of her broken collarbone from the accident the day before.

 I think this was Hailey's favorite gift. It is a hair and make up doll. You scored, Dad and Diana!
I wanted some cute rain boots and Michael did a great job picking out some pink plaid boots for me.

Michael received a small gun vault that can be located next to the bed so his handgun is handy, but not accessible to the kids.

I gave Michael some nice leather Highland Boots to go with his kilt. These will keep his legs warmer!


Mom and Larry gave Hailey this wonderful tea set that we have already put to good use.

She insisted on a Christmas Tea Party which Josiah is always game for.

Even Larry Pop joined in. What a good grandpa. Hailey is telling him he doesn't have to drink with his pinkie up because he is a man.


We found some Little House on the Prairie Paper Dolls for Hailey. It took me two hours to cut these out and she played with them for 5 minutes. Thankfully she just played with them again today. That made me feel little better after all my hard labor on her behalf, LOL

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I will soon be posting about our Hogmanay (Scottish New Year) Celebration, complete with homemade haggis. We try it tonight! I will let you all know how it was.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Season Traditions

I'm determined not to let our Christmas Eve accident overshadow all the fun we had before that event took place. I wanted to do a little post about our busy, yet fun pre-Christmas weekend. We were able to go to the English Country Christmas Dance with my mom and step-dad. Mom's dancing days are over for awhile, what with her broken collarbone and all, so it was a good thing she had so much fun that night. We participated in a potluck and contra dancing as well as some English country dancing (the kind of dancing you see in Jane Austin movies). It was fun being in a full skirt, but my petticoat was causing a build up of static electricity and I would shock every dancer that came my way. I was an electrifying dancer that night!

Hailey was so excited because she got her very own tartan in our clan colors.   We gave it to her early so she could wear it that night. She is standing next to her artwork that she painted at the Art Center. She drew a pic of our family. Can you tell which one is her, LOL?
I made this fun centerpiece at MOPS out of fresh greenery and holly. It was a really easy craft and smelled sooo good!

In between all our activities, I snapped this pic of Josiah reading "The Long Winter" surrounded by an animated angel, a rapping reindeer and another reindeer in a jail cell because he ran over Grandma.

We made it out to the Living Nativity where "Clyde the Camel" greeted us. 

The Temple.

Mary and baby Jesus.

Josiah got to help card wool and then spin it in the Town of Bethlehem. My step-dad Larry, just gave us an antique spinning wheel. Michael needs to do a little repair to it and then I want to start learning how to spin my own yard.

The kids posed in front of the Christmas tree before their Christmas program at church.

Hailey is showing off the angel she bought at the AWANA's Spark's store with her Sparky bucks.

The church Christmas program was so cute. As you can guess our kids were hams. Not a shy bone in their bodies. 

The most impressive thing was that Josiah actually kept his hands to himself even though his little sister was standing right in front of him! I'm was so worried at first when I saw them standing next to each other, but he did so well and never pulled her curls once ;)


Hailey looked so cute singing her "oooo's", especially when she closed her eyes.

Singing the adorable Christmas song, "I'm Gonna Wrap Up Myself For Christmas".

It was fun to have my mom and step-dad, Larry, there as well as some of our really good friends there supporting our kids. What a fun weekend!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

T'was the Nightmare Before Christmas When We Were All in the Truck...

Our Christmas Eve quickly went from "Best Day Ever" to "Worst Day Ever" in our kids' eyes. We invited some good friends of ours, and took my mom and step-dad, Larry, with us up to the mountains were we had a really fun day of snowmobiling and 4-wheeling in the snow, despite getting various vehicles stuck several times.Hailey and her friend, Hannah, being pulled behind the snowmobile on the inner tube.

Hailey with our friend's dog, Grady.

Pulling the kids on the sled behind the four-wheeler.

We built a fire and roasted sausage dogs and s'mores. These are our awesome friends, Cora and Tony, who really helped save the day later. Love these people!

Mom and Larry had so much fun on the snowmobile. It was Larry's first time on one and Mom hadn't been on one in 25+ years.

Cora is riding behind me as we pull the kidlets on the sled. We loaded up at dark and started home. It had been snowing all day and they had just grated the road. Needless to say it was extremely slick. We should have chained up. We got about a mile down the road and hit our first big corner. We were going slow, but it wasn't slow enough. The ATV trailer slipped and pushed us right into the ditch. It was a deeper ditch than we anticipated, and we ended up vertical on our side.  

This is the first time I've ever been in a wreck in my 37 years, not even a fender-bender. I was in the front sitting between Larry and Michael. Mom was in the back between Hailey and Josiah. All of us in the front were OK, but Mom broke her collarbone on Josiah's car seat. Josiah's part of the truck got it worst. His window shattered and so did the back window. We are so thankful he only cut his elbow (we were able to butterfly bandage it back together). We are still getting glass out of his car seat.  

It was really tricky getting out because the passenger doors were so heavy and the truck cab is big. I had to stand on the steering wheel and get pulled out by friends. Michael got Josiah out the back window into our friend's waiting arms. They held the extremely heavy doors in a really awkward position in order for the rest of us to get out. Mom's shoulder was incapacitated so it was really tricky getting her out. And it was a LONG drop to the bottom of the ditch.

By a miracle, we were able to get cellphone service and call another friend to come get us because there weren't enough seats for us all to get off the mountain. The tow truck even refused to come that night. We are only 5 miles from home, but there are some extremely steep miles still ahead of us. Praise God we all managed to get down the hill even though there was some sliding involved. The men decided to go back up that night and they were able to pull Michael's truck out of the ditch and he was able to drive it home (they were all chained up by this point). 

To say were were shaken up is an understatement. I felt so bad for the kids, even though they were OK. It was so scary.

After a night of tossing and turning, I awoke Christmas morning to this sight in our driveway. I fell to my knees in gratitude to our God, our Helper our Protector. It could have been so much worse. Josiah was in the back seat. No wonder the window shattered.

Praise God the snowmobile was tied down securely. It stayed in the back and didn't penetrate the cab. 

The cab and bed are destroyed, but the frame looks like it might be OK. We only had liability insurance on it since it was over 10 years old. Big mistake. Now we are out of truck. Michael says he will drive it like this back and forth to work until we can save up for another used truck. This is just metal. We can replace "things", we can't replace people. I praised God as I filled out that accident report and didn't have to write "deceased" on that paperwork.

God woke me up early Christmas morning with an urge to do my regular bible study. I'm currently working on a Beth Moore study called, "Stepping Up" about the Psalms of Ascension. It happened to be on Psalm 124 that day. It is a Psalm that gives you permission to entertain the "What ifs". I realized the "What ifs are what make me grateful for the "What is". 

"A vicious battle is being fought over your life. You are not imagining that somthing's going on, and yes, it's more than meets the eye. From heaven's vantage point, your story is exceedingly more exciting than you can conceive-replete with dangers, near misses, and great escapes. As many bruises, scars, and successful hits as the enemy may have given us, as we study this psalm, I want you to celebrate that Satan didn't get all he wanted." - Beth Moore

I began to list the things I was grateful for from the beginning of the accident to the end:

1. We were with friends who are great in a crisis and they were behind us when it happened and were a tremendous help.
2. The kids had a warm vehicle with their friends in it and didn't have to watch on the side of the road while the rest of us were pulled out.
3. That if we were going to wreck that it be on that corner and not the hill with the drop-off we were about to dive off of without any chains!
4. A broken collarbone was the worse injury sustained
5. That we had put Josiah back into his car seat a few weeks ago, after a trial run without it to see if he was big enough. He had complained that it was rubbing against his neck, so we put him back in it. Thank God or he could very well have sustained some terrible head injuries.
6. The truck didn't land on any rocks or a stump or anything else in the ditch that could have penetrated that side of the cab. 
7. The snowmobile was tied down securely and didn't penetrate the cab. The snowmobile only sustained minor injuries as well. Broke the headlight and windshield is all.
8. The four-wheeler was still upright in the trailer, even though the tongue was completely twisted. 
9. The passenger windows didn't break and rain glass all over us.
10. Our friends were able to get us all out safely.
11. Other friends were able to get up the mountain to get us and bring us safely back down
12. Our friends were able to winch the truck out off the ditch and Michael was able to drive it home as the frame wasn't bent.

Yep, the truck is toast. But it is just metal and metal can be replaced. Flesh and blood cannot.  My husband is really struggling with guilt about this, so I would ask that you pray for him. I did not have a very godly response at first, but God has brought me quickly back where I need to be. Again, we all have much to be thankful for!

Psalm 124:7 - 8 (ESV)
"We have escaped like a bird
 from the snare of the fowlers;
 the snare is broken, and we have escaped!
Our help is in the name of the Lord, 
who made heaven and earth!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dec Prairie Primer: "On The Shores of Silver Lake"

"On the Shores of Silver Lake" has kept us quite busy this Christmas season. Despite the crazy schedule, our co-op managed to squeeze in two meetings featuring some "Little House" Christmas activities. The kids are having a ball and are looking forward to seeing their friends each time we get together.

The main Christmas-related activity we did at our first Dec meeting was make wrapping paper by dipping yarn into paint and making stripes. 

Many of our families are of Scottish decent and therefore painted their tartan colors. I thought that was so cute.


I think the kids' favorite activity both meetings was the states and capital "Jeopardy-style" game. Not many had studied at the first meeting, but by the second meeting, there was fierce competition! It was a great way for them to learn and now I know them all, too.

Hailey flashed me a thumbs up after she got an answer right, which in turn gave her team points.

Our presentation for the first meeting was on the human eye, since we had just dissected a sheep's eyeball at home. Fun times ;)

We learned how to waltz and polka. 

The last meeting in December found me attempting to play a brand new Christmas carol out of the "Laura Ingalls Wilder Songbook" called "Merry, Merry Christmas!". I did OK the first two verses, then lost my place, got nervous and bombed the last verse. Of course I went home and played it perfectly. Oh well, we're all learning, including me :) I'm just glad to be playing again.

The trivia questions are always a big hit with the kids.

Our family did a presentation about buffalo wolves.

Making jingle bells.

Hailey's string of jingle bells.

We always have a potluck featuring foods eaten out of the book we are reading that month. It was quite the feast this month!

Starting at the top and going around clock-wise, we had duck (absolutely delicious), under it some buttermilk mashed potatoes, slow-cooked root veggies, homemade rolls, apple pie, canned peaches and mashed turnips. It was all amazing. 

My friends, Cora and Christine, looking lovely in their Christmas aprons.

After lunch or "dinner", we had a guest come by and teach us the "Virginia Reel". Since we had so many little  kids it was more like herding cats. But was still fun. I decided hoop skirts weren't ideal for dancing in a crowd. I was worried about knocking down small children. 

We even had a homeschool dad drop by and dance with his wife. What a guy!


Hailey and Josiah had fun dancing together.

Hailey and I in our hoop skirts. A good time was had by all.

Merry Christmas everyone!

God Bless,
Jackie

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