Saturday, December 25, 2010

What is better than being in an outdoor hot tub, watching the skiers fly past, not a care in the world except that you are starting to get hungry and what is for dinner anyway?

Better is being in the hot tub, watching the skiers fly past, not a care in the world because you know what is for dinner while the snow is falling on your head and shoulders.

Better Than?

Is there anything better than a snowy white Christmas morning, surrounded by people you love, a fire raging in the fireplace, the stockings bulging with goodies from Santa, feeling the love and miracle of the birth of Christ and rejoicing at the blessings in your life?

Perhaps not.  But if there were something better, I think it would be three little girls in tutus.
 Oh wait, or how about three really cute little girls in three really pretty dresses who really didn't want to get their picture taken?

No. No, you're right. There is nothing better than that first thing.  Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Uncle Jeff

Meet my sister's husband, Jeff. Around here he's known as Uncle Jeff, or the more popular "The Bean's Own Daddy".  He's a charmer, no doubt about that.  Last time I wrote about him on my blog it resulted in a couple of awkward misunderstandings, but we finally cleared that up and he and I are thick as thieves now.  I think. I hope.  So, eh, this time I'm just going to let the pictures do the talking.

 One baby loves him.
 Two babies love him.
Three babies love him.

Oh who am I kidding? We all love the Bean's Own Daddy.  (That's not awkward, is it?)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sleigh Ride

Just hear those sleigh bills jingling, ring ting tingling too.
Come on it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you!
Outside the snow is falling and friends are calling "yoo hoo"
...we're riding in a wonderland of snow
Let's take the road before us and sing a chorus or two
Giddyap Giddyap Giddyap it's grand.... just holding your hand
Our cheeks are nice and rosy but comfy cozy are we.
We're snuggled up together like two birds of a feather would be.

Come on it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.
(lyrics from the Carpenter song, "Sleigh Ride"... I changed them slightly.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jolly Old St. Nick

We had the Annual Rose Family Gingerbread House Making Party this past weekend.  Prepare to be awed by our awesomeness.
Let's start with the Parnell's house. A job well done, wouldn't you say? What's that in the corner you ask? Let's take a closer look.
Well, this little piece had excellent craftsmanship that's for sure. But to be honest, I don't think it was ever very clear what exactly it is. 
We've got a little snowy one on one going here.  My money's on the yellow guy.  He looks like he's got hops.
Here you see Devin and Hallie's house.  She did a remarkable job putting together a well constructed, fully functional candy home.  You can see the window air conditioning unit there, protruding from the back.  The icicles were carefully applied by Devin, and the roof was a collaborative effort between the two.  Devin used all M&M's, but Hallie spiced it up a bit with four Trix.  Moving on...
 This little guy is ready for some sledding action, with his buddies waiting for him at the bottom.  I think he's in for a wild ride, how about you?
 And oh, wait a minute... what is this? What is this? Is that Santa Claus I see?  Looks like he is making an early arrival here folks... and what does he have in his sack for the Rose Family?

Ho ho ho, Thank you Santa Claus.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Inside "Jokes"

If you don't understand why I'm posting a picture of my fridge, read this.
If you don't understand why I'm posting an upside down picture of my fridge, well... that's because it was an accident and I'm too lazy to fix it.
 If you don't understand why I'm posting a picture of our foam nativity that is our yearly tree topper, read this.  If you still don't understand, read my comment in the comment section.

These pictures of Hallie's hair are in response to Anna, who asked if I had ever done French braid pigtails in Hallie's hair. I never had, Anna. Until this morning, in your honor. But my sister called while I was just starting the second side, and for some reason I only collected hair from the left, and so one braid looked French, and one braid looked very Swedish. My sister said she wanted pictures. Here, pictures.

And Hanna really just didn't want to get left out. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thanksgiving is Long Gone.

Devin likes a mostly empty fridge.  He's a minimalist.  I suppose I have adopted some of that attitude, and I also feel a certain amount of pleasure in using up leftovers and seeing the shelf space open up.  Devin gets stressed when the fridge is full, because too many leftovers mean that that something might not get eaten, which means that something might get... thrown away. And that's wasteful.  My mom gets stressed out when she comes to visit wondering what she is going to eat.  A mostly empty fridge does take some getting used to, but once you become a believer there's no going back.

Thanksgiving was a while ago.  We all enjoyed delicious feasts of turkey and pumpkin pie, and in our household every scrap of leftover food was eaten.  Except for some pumpkin pie filling that had to be baked in a ramekin, some frosting, some Redi-whip, and some of my sweet potato topping.  These random items sat in the fridge, day by day, as Thanksgiving moved ever farther on our calendars and in our memories.

Today was fast Sunday. For various reasons it was my first time fasting in a year and seven months.  I was not used to going hungry, to say the least.  After church I told Devin that I had to bake something in the kitchen or I was going to go crazy and start gnawing on the kitchen chairs. 

It was a perfect storm.  There were random ingredients in the fridge that were crying out to be used somehow, and there was my need to be in the kitchen making food, the surest way of distracting yourself from how hungry you are.  So, in the bowl went some shortening.  Then some sugar. Then you know it - we tossed that pumpkin pie, the frosting, the sweet potato topping, added the Redi-whip for good measure, and let the mixer fly!  We added one egg, and off she went again, whirling and twirling.  We poured in a little vanilla extract, just because I love it so, and some baking soda.  Whirl! Twirl!  Stop!  We looked it over carefully, and added four dumps of flour.  Actually, Hallie helped with that part.  Then cautiously we stirred some more... it still looked wet and so Hallie dumped in two more small helpings of flour.  Mixing again, and it's time to preheat the oven!  375 degrees, and get that dough on the cookie sheet! Hallie helped with this too.

Bake, and just when I am at my breaking point and hungrily eying the kitchen chair it is time to eat!  Ah, delicious Thanksgiving Leftover cookies.  (I also had leftover turkey soup, and cornbread, Mom.)

Would you like the recipe?

Leftover Thanksgiving Cookies
pumpkin pie (without crust)
sweet potato topping
vanilla extract
baking soda
6 dumpings of flour

Oven: 375.  Bake eight to ten minutes.  Delicious!

Would you like pictures?

Farewell, Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Time it took to figure out what everyone should wear, and getting that person into the appropriate outfit: 30 minutes
Time it took to get hair looking picture-ready: 10 minutes
Time it took to recharge the battery when we discovered it was dead: 2 hours
Time it took to get the camera set up. This involved a chair on the couch and some aluminum foil: 15 minutes
Time it took to abandon that plan and just put the camera on the table: 10 minutes
Time it took to actually get a Christmas picture worth keeping: 30 seconds
Total time it took for everything to be ready and actually happen: 2 days

 Unbelievable, no?

 Have I told you lately how much I love these faces?

Friday, November 26, 2010


It is nearing the end of November and there is a bitter chill in the air.  My yard looks like this now, and I try not to feel sad about my little backyard friends, exposed without their leaves, shivering in the cold, harsh Nebraska wind.

 The marigolds fought a brave fight, continuing to bloom against all odds, but they too eventually bowed to nature's course and went to sleep.

But these! They grow just out my kitchen window, and there they are day after day looking so chipper and resolute that they brighten up my world.  Yet I know that one cold morning soon they too will admit defeat and slip away into hibernation with all the rest.

When that dark and gloomy morning comes I will try not to focus on the loss of my cheerful little friends, but rather to focus on the anticipation of seeing them again come next spring.  It helps to have something to look forward to, doesn't it?
She brightens up my world every day too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Can I Be Glamorous, Please?

There are days, or rather moments in days when I feel the passing of time and recognize that it has left its mark on me.

I know that I am not old yet, but there are times when the child inside me cries out, and the teenager whines and the young adult just looks perplexed - "When did maturity, respectability, responsibility - when did they come knocking at our door, and why did we let them in?"

It is in those moments, the quiet ones where I acknowledge and accept the passing of time as a natural and beautiful thing that I know I have invited time in, to sit down and have a nice cup of cocoa with me as I contemplate where I have been, what I am doing, and where I am going.  Unfortunately, time is occasionally rude and forceful, pushing its way into my life like an overeager cop with a search warrant.

And so, to the perplexed young adult, the whining teen, and the crying child inside me who are horrified by the invasion of time, and refuse to move peacefully along with it, I say:

Remember when you turned on the radio and were confused because you didn't know, understand, or like most of the music, wondering where the good tunes had gone?

Remember when you tried to go shopping for clothes, but couldn't find anything that looked "good", wondering what they had done with all the nice, normal, fashionable* clothes?

Remember when you stopped understanding technology - five years ago?

Remember when you were rearended by a texting teenager and you found yourself shaking your fist at the sky, and grumbling about "Kids Today..." - the universal battle cry of people lamenting the changes in the world from the time of their own youth?

And so for now, the voices inside me that still feel like the high school senior on top of the world have settled down once more, accepting their fate, as middle aged mom moves into the spotlight.

I know that someday she will join the baffled chorus inside as the cue will come for grandma to take the stage.  What will I be then, do you suppose?  Grouchy? Grumpy? Gloomy? Dare I hope to hold out for glamorous Grandma?  I think all the voices inside could be satisfied, if we had that to look forward to as our time goes by.

*I never was fashionable.

AND can I still do this, when I am the glamorous grandma?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Part 2: Hanna

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

This is the season of life for Hanna right now:

A time for constant movement.
Because who has time to sit still?

A time for heart melting smiles.
Can you see why I call her my "Sunshine Sparkles"? A silly nickname, I agree - but fitting, don't you think?

A time for eating.
 In Hanna's world it's always time for eating.  And it's all good.

Tune in later to see the the season of Devin's life right now.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Part 1: Hallie

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
This is the season Hallie is in right now:

A time for braided hair.
This is the first time Hallie has ever let me braid her hair like this. It is the first time I have ever done a braid like this, on anyone's head. Maybe she somehow knew that, and that was the reason for her reluctance?  Anyhow, I don't know what kind of braid it is. At first I thought it was not a French braid, then I thought it was, and now I'm just not sure either way.  Help.

A time for a very first hair cut.
I cut off four inches of my baby's hair.  Four inches.  It took her almost three years to grow that hair. It won't take that long to grow back, will it?  This hair cut was the day after the big braid. I am hoping I don't have to wait three years for it to be long enough for me to braid again.

A time for learning with friends.
At the University the school of Animal Science opened up the arena for a day and let the kids come look and pet some animals: lamb, pigs, horse, cow and calf, steers, some mice.  Hallie loves getting together with these buddies and learning new things each week.

A time for not sitting close to a boy.
While he is a remarkably handsome young fellow, I was happy that she was not concerned about sitting any closer to him.  I was even happier that she didn't have a flower to try and offer him.  Phew.

Tune in later to see the what seasons Hanna is in right now.