We have a pretty big house...I think it's about 3300 sq feet, but I could be wrong. It's like a double split level...four stories, but more like two split levels on top of each other. It originated as a small country school; our dear friend LaMae went to kindergarden here more than 70 years ago. It was empty for a long time then my in-laws bought it with a quit claim deed for the mission group they worked for and established a church here. It was empty again for awhile, then another group started meeting here, added on, did lots of work to it. All I know is I enjoy our house, but it can be a pain keeping clean with two small children, especially when you live on a dirt road on top of the natural messiness of kids!
Anyway, because of the size, we don't heat most of the house during the winter months -- we heat the majority of our living area downstairs (bathroom and kitchen/living area), our bedroom, and the kids' bedroom. We have a storage heater at the entrance way that is on low to keep things a tad warm as you walk in...along with countering the cold air coming in from the front door that doesn't seal as well as it should. And our temps have been COLD lately! It's been so cold that as I was making Christmas cookies last week, I often "refrigerated" the cookie dough on the steps leading upstairs instead of in the fridge. I canned the last of my stuff today -- another huge batch (35 quarts, 11 pints) of chicken soup since we've already gone through most of the 27 quarts I canned just last month! I started canning yesterday but didn't finish...so I stored my big pot of soup by the front door to keep cold overnight...and that did the trick!
Did I mention it's been cold here? And we got another big snow storm today? Tony figures we've gotten about 30 inches in about the last month or so. I'm actually excited that on Friday we'll be having a "heat" wave...it's supposed to get to about 20 or so! And today was the first time in weeks, I think, that we went above 0! Did I mention it's been cold here (come visit, Anna! I'm sure Daddy would love to bring you!)?
Lately, my kids have been fascinated by their gender-specific parts. Susanna has decided she doesn't like hers because it looks all smooshed and yucky but Luke's looks really silly (time for separate baths, do ya think?). Last week during our small group Bible study, we had no one to watch the kids, and had extra kids there from couples singing in the Cantata who were practicing during our study. I stayed in with the nine rugrats, and Luke decided out of the blue to inform me and everyone else (including the two little girls in the room beside Susanna) that his gender-specific part hurt....I quickly tried to change the subject, but four of the other little boys chimed in with the same comment. Did I mention that they know the proper names and use those names to anyone who will listen to them? No, I don't over react; I often just try to ignore what they are saying or comment appropriately.
The other day Luke got mad at Susanna and told her "Go out to the steps! I will be there in a minute." She headed out, stating firmly "I don't want a spanking!" Luke soon followed and Tony overheard a discussion between them about her behavior. A couple minutes later, they came in together, she all happy because "I didn't get a spanking!" And he better be glad that she didn't!
She came in our room earlier today as I was starting to go through the mess that has taken over since this summer (mainly paperwork for the farm, our personal things, Watkins, Greenstar, and even some old AWANA stuff). She brought a fair collection of "toys" with her then proceeded to leave them in the middle of the room to go back downstairs to play. So I gathered everything up, put them in a small box, and set them at the top of the stairs. A few hours later, she came back up to get her princesses and asked where they were. I told her I'd put them in a box by the steps, and she informed me, finger wagging "I am vewy angwy of you, Mama!" Startled, I asked why, and she replied, "You hided my things!" Good thing I didn't "hided" her things in the garbage as I was tempted to do......
I love my hubby. I've mentioned that before, but this awesome man got me two particular things this past week that made me VERY happy -- a beautiful poinsetta (after a not-so-subtle hint from me and a demand from my SIL Beth -- but men often don't even get not-so-subtle hints, so I was proud that he did!), and a HOUR LONG massage gift certificate from my chiropractor's office! Wow! (Okay, that was a subtle hint, too, and while I kinda expected the poinsetta, I did NOT expect the gift certificate.) These are big things for my love to do for me, and I really appreciate it. This, in amongst helping with the kiddies more than usual (he's able to do seed orders and other things while playing with them) so I could catch up on other things.
Christmas cookies are baked. Canning is done. Maybe I'll finally get time to jot a Christmas letter...and maybe we'll get our family Christmas picture taken before Christmas, although I suspect it'll be at Mark and Beth's on Friday when we have our formal Carter gathering. So, if you've not gotten our letter yet, that's why. And the letter will go out to most people electronically, which I hate doing but Tony's asked me to do this year -- to me, I don't like the idea because we have super slow dial up, and even the simplest of Christmas letters that we've been receiving that way take 10-30 minutes to download. There have even been a few that have had to been deleted from the server because the size was too big for us to receive.
And yes, I've been playing with the kids, stopping what I'm doing (usually) to give kisses, and even had them finger-paint before bath time tonight (okay, Tony supervised, but I took pictures, which I'll post at another time).
We're having Tony's oldest brother and his family (minus son Andrew who is in Iraq for another month) for brunch on Friday. I'm planning on making a yummy breakfast casserole (recipe on Marie's site -- Make and Takes -- today), fresh scones and clotted cream with home made CARTER strawberry jam and Greenstar's cherry preserves, pop up pancakes (also on Marie's site), and ambrosia...probably do chilled pineapple juice, maybe with some ginger-ale, and hot spiced tea, of course! If you lived closer, maybe I'd invite you (and notice I didn't mention the time so those who DO live closer can't come...maybe another time!). It'll be just our family for Christmas dinner, then the next two days will be crazy busy with Carter activities. Sunday is the Christmas program (yes, I'm carefully watching the weather and praying that we'll FINALLY have it -- even though it'll be two weeks since our last practice!), and a brunch with my mother-in-law on Monday -- she's part of our church's mission circle, and I'm honored to usually attend brunch with them each year. This year, I think most if not all of her daughters-in-law will be joining her.
(and yes, Chuck, I promise I AM taking it easy and not over doing it! -- and Brownie, I'd go mad if I wasn't keeping busy some how!)