Sunday, December 27, 2009

A White Christmas

When we flew to Illinois a few weeks ago, we were hoping for a 'white Christmas'. The first morning, I put on boots over my pajamas and ran outside to take pictures of the dusting of snow on the ground. Then, the snow melted and we got rain for a few days. At the last minute, Christmas day, while we were in Northern Illinois, it began snowing. Big, fluffy flakes that came down at a slant because of the wind, and kept coming all night and the following day. It is amazing pristine beauty to look at, especially when it settles on the trees and gives everything a look of peace.

We went out for a walk to savor the snow with my brother Jeff and his fiancée, Rebecca. We had to borrow some boots and scarves from Grandpa, and then set out to walk 'over town' in the new-fallen snow. Up past the Methodist church, down main street, peering in the shop windows and appreciating the beauty, history, and 'quaint-ness' of a small rural town. We walked by the house where my great-uncle lived, from the time he was a boy until he died last year at 92. We walked to the small park that I remember going to as a child with cousins. We kicked up the snow, made snow angels, tried to really 'experience' the snow, since we can't take it with us to Africa! I even shoveled some of the driveway, just for the fun of it. :)

Jeff, demonstrating the way to make a snow angel
without leaving any 'tracks' up to your angel.

Jeff and Rebecca, simulating a fierce snow-storm under the tree

Bob, the human snow-plow, wanting the full experience.

My attempt at shoveling--the first time in a few years!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Our week at the farm

A couple of weeks ago we had the rare pleasure of spending a whole week outside of major cities, enjoying some great time with family. It was so refreshing both to be in the country and get to reconnect with people who we don't get to see very often. We followed Tiffany and Dylan around our first morning, impressed at how a 2-year old knows the routine of feeding the donkeys and the dogs, letting out the sheep and ducks.

We took a couple of short hikes through the woods, with a spectacular view of Mt. Shasta. We woke up to the incredible sounds of donkeys braying. It sounds remarkably like a large truck honking, in my opinion! We were in the kitchen one day, and heard the honest phrase "llama on the loose!". How often do you hear that??
We enjoyed the slower pace of life, the conversations, enjoying the community. We were especially impressed by the community gardens and the new arboretum that Bob's sister has been involved in. One highlight of the week was the Thanksgiving parade, an amazing show of community support that was really inspiring!

And, of course, we built things. Restaurants, sky-scrapers, zoos, buildings to be painted, anything that a young active imagination with a penchant for construction could come up with. It was great fun, and we're so grateful for those every-day moments to reconnect with the people we love!
One more rare experience from the week was our first attempt at making a pie. We even made and rolled the crusts from scratch! I think we have quite a way to improve before it will really be picture-worthy, but it was a great attempt, and delicious! We even used Tiffany's home-grown apples, which probably helped!