Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas time in 2010

Yesterday afternoon I'd planned to pick up some face powder at Macy's in the mall and while there, find out why my cell phone wasn't ringing. But when we spied the backed up traffic entering the mall, we decided to brave Kohl's, Target and Lowe's instead. My sweet husband bought me a lovely necklace (that I got to help pick out!) at Kohl's. Target sold us wine-bottle sized bags for our Artmil customers' rolled up gift calendars. At Lowe's, I bought my tool-loving husband a new level (that he got to help pick out!) He found one that also came with a free ratchet!

In the evening, we spent a relaxed four hours over at Craig and Martha's with the whole Miller Clan, minus 12. The 30 of us ate delicious soups, meats, dips and goodies while we chatted around with one another. Then people started passing out gifts. There are three new family units as of this year, and Claire made gifts for everyone as well! Jen showed ultrasound photos of their baby girl, due in May. We gave out boxes of old photos, gleaned from Grandma's albums, to each of the 5 main branch families, along with aromatic wax-dipped pine cones and altered domino ornaments ordered from Tracy's Miller Manor Designs. Baby Jack is adorable at 6 months. He eyed the antics of Arthur and Will, ready for sure to join in next year! Claire played piano selections in the living room for her visiting Grandma. Mark brought in his newly bought Gretsch guitar for all to see. Alan and Kathy invited any to join them at the theatre at 10 pm to watch True Grit.

Today, Christmas Eve, Annie called this morning to say they were buying paint to paint their living room at that very moment! After breakfast, Dennis and I had a wonderful hours-long conversation about how to hone our business and personal lives to better suit the direction God is taking us. After a quick lunch, we outsmarted mall traffic by parking at Vista School and walking over! Powder bought and cell phone remedied, we walked by a store that Dennis thought we should check out. An hour later, we walked out with six lovely new garments for me. Then we found Arthur his first pair of Rockports before heading back to our car at Vista.

Tomorrow we plan to open gifts in the morning and play Arthur's new games with him. Arthur and Dennis are each getting new basketballs so I imagine they'll try those out if it isn't raining. We plan to make cabbage rolls for dinner sometime, and Skype with Paul, Annie, Keith, Bethany, Evangeline, K2, Zach, Kaley, Keziah and Zion altogether at 5 pm. Perhaps we'll even take some pictures to add to this post!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Miller home school, circa 1992

Here are Keith, Zach, Paul and Annie studiously working around the kitchen table on Stanford Street in Springfield, Missouri in January, 1992. I found this photo among all the stuff I am going through to weed out and organize so I can once again know where what is! I've found a good amount of educational paraphernalia I'd be glad to pass on should anyone speak up. Stuff like a collection of various prints of art for art appreciation, a set of 64 prints of US Presidents and world leaders, five sets of 10 cards (10'' x 10") of pictures of: organs of the body, musical instruments, great inventors, birds, and insects with ten facts about each picture on the back of each card.

Arthur decorates for Christmas

On Friday, a package for Arthur came in the mail, a wrapped Christmas gift. I put it on the sideboard and told Arthur it would go under the tree so he could open it on Christmas. On Saturday, he decided it was time to bring in the tree and communicated that fact! The tree was out in the garage, under a huge yellow plastic bag.

Dennis and I figured out a spot to put it, and then he and Arthur brought it in. Since the lights were still on it, I located the end tucked in the branches and Arthur plugged it in. Back out in the garage, Dennis handed down the boxes of decorations to Arthur, who brought them in. I found the tree skirt and let him choose which side to show. Dennis put on some very old Christmas records while Arthur went to town!

First thing, he set out the ceramic Nativity set on the lesser used kitchen counter near the microwave. Absolutely a new spot for it, but we didn't see why not to keep it there. With very little help and just a smidge of direction, in several mini-sessions he hung plenty of ornaments on the tree. (I rearranged a few later on to fill in some bare spots). In between ornament hanging sessions, he hung the straw wreath on the front door and the nine green and red stockings alternately on their hooks over the fireplace. He set out the "Best Christmas Pageant Ever" angel of the Lord, the pine and roses centerpiece, the woven basket with JOY blocks and the ceramic snow covered house in different spots in the dining, kitchen, living and family rooms. In just a few hours, it was done!

We all rejoiced in Arthur's pro-activity, his skill, energy and perseverance, that the Christmas decorating was done (so painlessly!) and how positive and family-unifying the time had been. We praised the Lord for all his help in this task, which is so often so daunting for me. Arthur's gift-in-the-mail now sits under the tree, waiting for others to join it!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Snow at Thanksgiving

So many good pictures! We hadn't planned on snow, but it was beautiful and very enjoyed by everyone who could bear the cold

Friday, December 3, 2010

Over the River and Through the Woods . . .

That old song about overcoming wintery obstacles to make it to Grandma's house was one of the themes of our recent Thanksgiving family reunion. As ten family members around the country made their way to join the three of us at home in Washington, mild fall temperatures gave way to arctic cold, much snow and icy roads for the whole week we were together.

Sunday, Nov. 21. Keith and Bethany fly in from Phoenix with Evangeline and K2. We stop for Mexican food on the way to our house. Book reading is big with both E and K2 so we do a lot of it. Keith and Bethany have taken one week of vacation out of only two for the year from their apartment ministry to come be with the family.

Monday, Nov. 22. We all wake up to total snow cover and wonder how Zach and Kaley will be able to drive down from Spokane after they land in the evening, flying in from Louisiana. Chris and Bethany take Evangeline to Highland Health Foods to pick up almond flour to make yummy chocolate chip cookies and to Costco for salmon, scrumptious fuji's and a bag of avocados. Keith moves his family across the street to stay at neighbor Dave's basement just before bedtime.

Tuesday, Nov. 23 At 12:30 am, Zach and Kaley arrive from their elongated drive through blinding snow flurries down from Spokane. Zion hasn't slept well on the journey but Keziah has fared better. She goes to sleep on the hide-a-bed in the living room one night until Auntie Annie arrives to share the outside room with her. Zion sleeps with his folks in the guest room. After a few hours of sleep, the four grandchildren get to re-meet one another and share the books, toys and cats. The dads take them out, bundled up, to slide down the snow on the driveway.

When Evangeline comes in, she is cold so Grami promises to make her some warm juice. This becomes an instant tradition, requested after every snowy outing, with Keziah joining in.
Grami's note: I didn't get any more about the days written yet and still have trouble finding the pictures I want to include but here is one that captures the fun and energy of one evening dancing to the music!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Arthur joins the gym

We took Arthur to the gym tonight. The fine trainer there, Victor, had said Arthur could join even before he turns 16 with parental supervision. We waited till after our family visiting us at Thanksgiving was over and till Dennis recovered from the flu enough to work out again.

Arthur has always been attracted to the exercise machines in stores so we knew he would be up for this. He wore his gray sweat pants that are just like his Dad's along with his new white Nike's.

The treadmill was his first endeavor, which he held onto and leaned toward as he loudly ran. Next up, he really found his stride on the elliptical, where he could go hard and fast until he periodically needed to slow down to recoup a little. Then we showed him every machine or exercise we do except lifting the dumbbell bar. I kept his weights below the amounts I use and he seemed to do fine on all but one. The five pound weights you raise over your head in each hand (I'm up to 8 pounds each now!) were more than he could handle, though he was fine curling them to his shoulder. He'll get stronger quickly I'm sure.

Victor has us coming in this Saturday morning at 9:00 to give Arthur a workout plan on paper like we have and to show him and us how to use the stationary bikes and other machines we don't currently use. Dennis will also get his plan updated and I may as well. It is such a blessing to have a trainer at all and Victor is very good as well as very pleasant and kind.

We are so thankful the Fitness Center has permitted us to include Arthur in our workouts! This enables us to do it as a family instead of one at a time at different times with Arthur still needing to exercise. We plan to work out in the mornings so that Dennis can be in the office by 9:00 am, which means we'll leave for the gym by 7:00. We can praise the Lord together all the way over and back, or something else just as good and as fun.