Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chicago for Thanksgiving

We are headed here for Thanksgiving:

We are so excited because although Chicago is beautiful at the holidays, we are really going to see this:

Yes, my sister is expecting #3!  Doesn't she look darling?  We each have two kids, exactly the same ages, but she went rogue on this pregnancy.  She always has to outdo me! Oh well.  I can't wait to hold her baby next summer.  Especially since her babies look like this:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Traditions Old and New

I love traditions.  I think it is because I like things to be the same.  People tease me about that a little.

Here are a few things that are new and old around here for the holidays this year.

We did the Thankfulness Tree again.  It was wonderful to count our blessings each night in November at the dinner table.  I was struck that every night I wanted to name the same few things.  I don't think that means that I don't have a lot of things and people to be thankful for, I just really love a few of them a lot!  The PKs wrote down their cousins almost every night because we are going to see them soon.  So about half of the leaves say, "Puffs and Sammy." Feel free to click here "Thankfulness Tree" to see last year's tree and get the full story.

A new tradition this year is the advent wreath.  I grew up with this, so it isn't new to me.  In fact, this is the exact wreath we used in my family growing up.  My mom gave it to me last year.  Either because I am the most reformed theology/homeschool daughter she has, or because I mentioned it.  It had the same candles she last used in the box so I just used them.  I wonder what year she last used the wreath.  If you remember mom, write it in the comments.

Another first for us is doing Operation Christmas Child.  What a great experience this was.  The girls were old enough to understand what it was all about.  I let them watch a video about it. Jane kept asking why some kids wouldn't have Christmas presents.  If you think about it, that is a pretty deep question, one that I still wrestle with myself.  We printed out a list of suggested gifts and I pretty much let them choose the items for the boxes.  I just walked around the store behind them sort of sniffing and wiping my nose because it was so precious.  If you want to tear up too, here is a little video link about Operation Christmas Child:  Operation Christmas Child.

I have been searching for a Christ-centered Nativity calendar for awhile.  I finally broke down and bought this one custom-made on this year.  This actually isn't ours.  Ours only has a nativity scene, not a Christmas tree.  And ours is blank because we haven't started yet.  But otherwise it is the same. You add a piece of the nativity every day of December until you put baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve.

Lastly, I really lucked out helping Gram get ready for a yard sale last summer.  She said I could have these vintage Christmas ornaments she didn't want anymore and we are going to decorate our tree with them tonight.  I LOVE vintage stuff.  I will try to get some pictures when it is all done.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Thankfully, PD is not a complete sports nut.  He does like college football though, and he watches all the
Ohio State Football games.  PK2 will watch with him now sometimes.

He sometimes has to go hunt down a place to watch the game since we don't have cable.  

This fall during halftime of the game every Saturday, he has started playing football with the girls.

It is pretty funny.

Football 2009 from Political family on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dental Dilemma

This is a beautiful picture of my beautiful PK1.  Try to fix it in your mind because what I am about to show you is disturbing:

PK1 has a expensive somewhat rare condition where her baby teeth do not fall out on their own.  Her grown up teeth are coming in behind the baby teeth.

Weird..I know.  This is disturbing on many levels.  Money, hassle, stress.  I know though, that in the large scheme of things, it isn't that big of a deal.

We thought she was going to have to have a couple teeth pulled last week.  We were all mentally and financially prepared.  When we went in though, the doctor said that we could give it another six months to try to wiggle those bad boys out.  

I was relieved and disappointed at the same time.  We have been wiggling those teeth for almost a year now and I was kind of ready to have the whole thing over with.  But if I didn't have to spend the money and I didn't have to put PK1 through a bad dental experience, I wasn't going to insist.  So instead she got a regular check up and cleaning.  And PK2 got her first check up and cleaning.

She really felt like big stuff.

I left $250 dollars lighter in my wallet.  That is ok, I didn't want a new light fixture in the dining room and that J Crew sweater was only so-so.  As long as we have good dental hygiene.  Now back to that wiggling.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall Art Projects

My friends and family all kow that I am not crafty or artsy.  This is an understatement. I am not good at, nor do I enjoy, arts and crafts.  But kids love painting and crafts and I wouldn't want to pass on my prejudices so one of my goals this year was to be more adventurous with art stuff around here.  PK1 does have an art class every week, but I decided to supplement it a little bit at home. So with a lot of prayer and a paper bag for me to breath into and a few coupons for carry out pizza, I have gotten a little outside my comfort zone this fall.

In this one, you cut leaves out of paper towel and draw veins on them.  It is supposed to teach about the veins and about texture.  Then you paint the leaves in fall colors and glue them on a paper you have painted blue.

For this one, I just sat down to paint with them and started blending these colors and they decided to copy me.  This, I have found, is actually a really good techinique.  Better than saying..."make something like this."  If I was buying one of these in a store, I would pick PK2's version.  It is the bottom right:

This one was not fun because you the mom had to cut up all these little pieces for the leaves.  But I loved the contrast of the dark tree trunk, light paper and colorful leaves.  This was a first time the PKs used rubber cement and that was a bit of a trip.  They did cut out their trunk themselves, after I traced it, and glued all the leaves by scattering them on top of the rubber cement.

This one was the most ambitious, but we did really enjoy it.  First we read the book Leaf Man.

Then we went for a walk and chose some leaves.  It was a really good year for leaves with lots of vivid colors. I suggested they get lots of different colors and sizes and shapes.  Then we came home and started making a Leaf Man.  PK2 used so much glue.  I had to take really deep breaths and remind myself that glue only costs fifty cents.

PK1 wanted to write Leaf Man and that turned out pretty cute too.  PK2 went with a leaf lady.  I helped PK2 a little, but not PK1.  (As though she would even let me.)

The surprise with this one was that when you bring leaves in from outside and dump a bag of them on your kitchen table, you end up with a lot of dirt/mud on your white tile floor.  Who knew that leaves were not pre-washed.  There was quite a bit of clean up.  All in all, I give myself and "A" for effort and "B" for patience.  Not sure if Christmas crafts are in our future, get back to me at Valentines.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Papa's Patio

Gram has wanted a patio on the back of the house for awhile now and Papa decided this was the year.  Here is the before picture:

It was a HUGE project.  They thought it took a long time (two months), but I thought it went lickety-split when you consider what a big project it was.  They had to order a ton of dirt and sand and stones delivered.

They even had to rent some big machines:

Speaking of big machines, doesn't PD look manly doing all that manly work!

I think it was all worth it though.  We went over to christen it the other night and Gram was really excited. They bought a fire pit and we made smores:

Here are the after pictures:

Doesn't it look professional?  The colors and design are just perfect for the house.  I love it that PD inherited all these great do-it-yourself skills from his dad.  I will have to think of a project for our house next.  We haven't had a big one in awhile.  

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Olentangy Indian Caverns

I really didn't know what to expect when our friends asked us to go with them to Olentangy Indian Caverns.

But it was a beautiful day and we had a coupon so we went.

When we bought our tickets the lady said, "Be Careful."  I was thinking..."Be careful of WHAT?"

But it turned out to be these really deep dark, cold, wet caverns.  I think I had cavern confused with cave.

PK2 and I were a little nervous on all the steps.  But we got acclimated and it turned out to be really fascinating.

There is evidence that the Wyandotte Indians used these caverns as a haven from the weather and from their enemies, the Delaware Indians. One of the large rooms contains "Council Rock", used by the Wyandotte's for tribal ceremonies.

Of course, the best part of any of these little field trips, is hanging out with our buddies:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Election Night 2009: The PKs Party Republican-Style

I love election night, but I REALLY love election night when PD isn't running someone's campaign.  He did have to make a couple of appearances though and we decided it would be easier to take the PKs with us to make the rounds this year.

First we went to a party for Issue 2, "Ohioans for Livestock Care."  This is an issue PD has spent some time on this year.

PK1 took this picture of us. I look EXACTLY like my mother.

The PKs were impressed to see Jeopardy on this giant TV. To see our history with Jeopardy click here Jeopardy:

First PD took us around to meet some people, then we sat down and colored and watched the results while he visited some more.  The girls loved ordering whatever they wanted to drink and eat and everyone loved seeing them there.

Then we went to the Athletic Club for another event.  PK2 said in the car on the way, "Are we going to go to another election mommy?"

But pretty soon the girls started hanging on PD like this:

So we hightailed it outta there.  On the way home we stopped at the grocery store and let the kids get some snacks and PD got me some sushi in a plastic container.  Is it ok to eat sushi from a grocery store?  I did not get sick.  We slept in this morning (well not PD) and then laid around reading all day.

Oh and for the record, we are very excited that New Jersey and Virginia have brand spanking new Republican Governors for FOUR years!  Here in Columbus though, the results were not as great.  Hardly any of my people or issues went the way I wanted them to.  Oh well, next year will be the one that really counts.

Click here to view last year's election posts: Election Night 1  and Election Night 2