Monday, December 31, 2018

7th Day of Christmas - Hello, 2019!

I started the day by putting a couple of roasts into the Instant Pot. They'd cook all day and I'd add BBQ sauce to the meat before dinner. BBQ Beef sandwiches, potato salad, green salad, chips - a simple dinner with all who are in town. There was also a mountain of munchies and 100+ pigs in a blanket. 

Nolan worked from 0500 - 1300 (1 p.m.). 

Michael worked, busily in the garage

We have had our own unique way of celebrating New Year's Eve for about 7 years. For all the details you can read this post.  The Reader's Digest version is that we plan activities for every hour until midnight. We wrap the clues or instructions in a brown paper bag, and open one each hour.  Things kept changing this year. Usually, everyone is visiting us from out of town and Michael has the day off. This means we start earlier and have  way MORE activities. This time the guys were working and we weren't able to meet until 7 p.m. We realized toddlers may not make it all the way to midnight and so we wanted to get the gift exchange and the Gingerbread Competition done early.  We finally threw out the bags, listed what we wanted to get done, and Michael and I played it by ear. It worked.

Benny isn't feeling well, but he was ready for dinner with "his people." 

Before we got busy on the Gingerbread competition, I wanted to grab a photo of Bre. It may well be her last of this pregnancy. Papa photo bombed. ::snort:: 
Bre - 37 weeks; Michael 58 weeks

 I won't show much of the Gingerbread happenings. It worked well not to reveal which team made which village last year. There was a concern  some were voting out of sheer gender loyalty. I'll post those pictures after the voting is done this year.  Last year the girls had two nursing babes and an 18 month old helping. It was agreed the boys would go with the men this year. We joke the kids were the chaos factor - but they all did incredibly well. And they're totally adorable when they sneak some frosting, or a snowman or two.

Cory had to work this evening. Benny sat in his chair and offered his advice to the male team. 

Gideon is happy to help. 

 Next up was the gift exchange. Things happened fast. As the Gherkins have grown up, the sheer amount of gifts to buy each year became overwhelming for budget-minded folks. This is our 2nd year where each of us drew one name. Some gave extra gifts - and that's ok.  Michael tried to catch a photo of each one opening their gift....but I don't think we got everyone. Here is what we do have.
Auntie K gave Gideon a set of blocks

BreAnne gave Nolan a t-shirt, mad libs, candy and more

Josiah gave Krista an Ulu knife

Izaak gave Josiah a tip up for ice fishing

Auntie K gave Bella a doll - "Anya" 

This little gal loves her daddy! So sweet to watch. 
 Izaak wanted practical gifts. I gave him a gas card and lb of bacon.

Alex had my name and knocked it out of the park. 
I love socks.
 "Home is where YOU are."

Auntie K gave Benny a wood sheet with a zillion kinds of locks on it.

Michael gave Bre a Coca Cola calendar and some coca cola socks.

Krista had Stacia name and wow...she got a couple of Adventures
in Odyssey albums, patterns, yarn.....
 Everyone received a gift...but I don't have any documentation for Alex, Arielle, Jamin and Michael. 

Alex helped Michael bring in one last gift for Bella and Gideon. A toy box. He'll round the corners, add some end pieces, and varnish it before we take it over to them. 

They were impressed! 

Bella shows Benny. 

Papa made them a pirate ship..... LOL 

 The paper began flying in and out of the box...pirates must lob shots. 

Gideon found it was a protected place to play with his new blocks.
 Uncle Jamin is great fun. 

Stacia gave 3 of her projects away. Didn't they turn out darling (the shirts)?  Bre's even fits her baby bump. Well, Larissa is sure to know she is the recipient of the 4th project....but she won't know the pattern.
Group hug! Worth the hours....thankful for the lifeline who saved the project. 

Krista (31), Arielle (21), Stacia (13), BreAnne (33) - we miss Larissa 
 Another hour of working on the Gingerbread followed gifts. We make a time capsule each year. Each person puts something in to represent the year. Usually, we pull out an old year and look at it... BUT it was getting late by now and the kiddos were hanging in there - but ready for us to speed things along. (I usually take photos and share what each person counted - it's a great way to recap the year. We were rushing this year and I didn't think to get photos).

We decided to have our prayer circle at 10:30, rather than waiting for midnight so that BreZaak and kids could go home as necessary.

Before BreZaak left, Bella was happy to try on the hat and blower and pose for us.

Benny is getting tired....

But he's doing better than Uncle Nolan. He missed the countdown - but he is o.k. with that. 

Next year we plan a bonfire and fireworks in the yard. These were our neighbors. Josiah has a vision for making the fireworks great. 

Cory didn't make it home until after the New Year; we fed him a sandwich and gave him his gift. A Cabella gift card from Nolan. 

Hello, 2019!

7th Day of Christmas - Make-up!

Our girls are allowed to wear make-up when they turn 13. If they don't ask, we don't push it. Knowing this fact of Gherkin life, Krista and Maria gave Stacia a selection of make-up for her birthday this year. I asked her on her birthday if she wanted to learn how to apply the make-up. She didn't.

She HAS been asking lately. Krista knew it was my goal to "make it happen." She reminded me. Yay! Today, we gave Stacia her first lesson.

Our first discovery is the foundation is too light. We'll pick up a shade darker.  

All done. Very subtle and natural...but it's there. 
Note how much taller baby sister is. ::snort:: 
She's ready for our New Year's Eve celebration. It was fun Krista was home to share in the moment.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

6th Day of Christmas - Church, Dinner, Shopping and Projects

I now know have an idea what the "mighty rushing wind," may have sounded like in Acts 2.   The wind outside was spectacular, but the sound of big loads of snow, rushing off metal roofing, and landing on the ground is powerful.

On the 6th day of Christmas - we got to go to church!  Here's a shot before many folks arrived. Michael looked outside this morning and said if he wasn't preaching he didn't think we'd go. It turns out the roads were not bad - once we got out of our driveway. LOL

 Today's Scavenger Christmas Gift:

We did just that after church. 

Nolan, Stacia and I ran to Freddies. Michael and Krista went on home. At Freddies, we bought a few things for tomorrow night's dinner. It appears  Amazon "Prime" means little at Christmas time if you live in Alaska. I ordered quite a bit ago, and didn't check the option for 2 day shipping. I have Prime. It's supposed to be 2 day shipping.  They didn't even process the order until Dec 27th. I'll have to remember this next year. The Grandblessings gifts will not arrive by New Year's Eve....I bought them each another gift so they'd have something to open.

Michael and Alex shoveled the driveway and brought in wood. Krista made a ton of munchies for tomorrow night.

We wrapped up in blankets and watched Woodlawn. Stacia isn't happy about having to rip out seams, but she is nearing the end of her big project. She'll have it done before the gift exchange.

I decided my project will be one of the Scavenger Hunt Gifts - giving me a few more days to finish. I'm sneaky that way.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

5th Day of Christmas - Bella's First Fish, Projects, Truck Shopping

Krista's goal was sister time with Stacia today. She got up bright and early and took Nolan to work so she could have the car.  Stacia opted for hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls. I suggested Sophia's Cafe and off they went.  They made it early enough to score a roll, this is often not the case. 

Alex, Michael and I headed to Anchorage.

 BreAnne, who has been trained well in the art of blog contributions, sent this photo. 🐽
Is Bella not the cutest little fisher-woman you've seen? 
Izaak was heading out to take Bella on her first ice-fishing/fishing adventure. She was so excited. (We entertained thoughts of stopping at the lake on our way back to the Valley, but they'd limited and left long before we reached the lake).

Meanwhile, in Anchorage, Michael checked out a truck, test drove it, found many points of common ground with the seller, and told him we'd get back to him to take it to a mechanic. We aren't sure if the mechanic will be open on Monday. It may have to wait until Wednesday, the seller understands about businesses and banks being closed until Wednesday.
Air Force Blue
Alex suggested Panda Express, a favorite with the Gherkins. It was nice to be out and about with Alex.  We began to get photos from Josiah while we were at lunch. Izaak sent some later. I have permission to share.

 Such fun!  
Note the auger beside Bella (Grand #1)

Bella's first fish! Look at her! Our little Alaskan. 
Note the size of her catch
A 20 second clip of her catch 

Uncle Cy with Bella and her catch 
Again   - check out the size of her catch
Evidently, Uncle and Daddy, have begun her education on how to get a good fish story. ALWAYS get your picture taken with the biggest catch of the day. 🐽

Josiah said they limited in 34 minutes.  They are catching lake bound King Salmon - about the size of trout? Most are 10 - 12 inches. 

We discovered a recent accident when we stopped for mail. We noted people inside, and went to help. All were fine and someone was on the way to pull them out. They were buried HARD - we weren't going to get them out. 
Sober reminder to drive with care in the winter
 All the kids were were home when we arrived.  Nolan and Krista are reading. The girls bought a couple of pieces of baklava to share.  They had gone shopping at thrift stores to find elements for the Gherkins Annual Gingerbread competition. Stacia is working on projects. They are turning out cute and I'll show more photos when I can. We began the week with 9 projects to complete between us. Four are done - 2 are nearing finish.
Stacia has a blister from cutting. I didn't know that was a thing. 
Michael has spent the afternoon working on more sermon prep. I am finishing up, "The Prodigal Prophet." I decided to order it rather than trying to get everything out of it in one read.  We are finally, finally, nearing the end of left-overs.  Just in time for New Year's Eve dinner. I'm going to try hard NOT to have a lot of left-overs.