Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

HO HO HO..... and Merry Christmas.
Our celebration was held on Saturday, December 19th here at our house. It's not always easy to get our crowd together.....but we did it!

There were 16 of us that night........from 5 1/2 months to 94!

OK.... so I have to show off the youngest member, Wyatt:

(In chronological order that would be Wyatt, Katelyn,  Landon, Carson, Ethan, Lauren, Stephanie, Andrew, Brian, Sarah, Walter, Pam, TK, Ron, Meme Hamilton, Gigi Sharpley) Phewwww......

We know how to be serious, but laughter and talking at the same time seem more likely to happen when we are in the same place, especially at the dining room table.  
Every year we draw names(adults). Following is what Santa's Helper emails to each of us:

"The gift exchange will work the same as it has in the past. Just send me your Christmas list by e-mail, or snail mail, I'll print it out or write it on a card, put it in a blank envelope, shuffle them up and mail them back out. If you don't want anything specific, just let me know and I'll write "surprise me" on your list. Remember that the limit is $50!!
Please send me your list by Monday, November 23rd and I'll try my best to get them in the mail before Thanksgiving, that way everybody will have time to shop.
Let me know if you have any questions...can't wait to see everybody."

"Santa's helper" stuffs our lists of suggestions in an envelop and mails each of us one of these:

It was simply a magical evening!
The noise, the music, the funny faces, the surprises, the food, the wrapping paper.....and the love.

 Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

TK and Ron

Walter, Stephanie, Ethan, Carson
Brian, Sarah, Landon, Katelyn

Lauren, Andrew, Wyatt

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14, 2015 Please Pass THE CARD...

Please pass THE CARD.
Happy Birthday, TK. Love Dot

It's not about the presents.
It's not about the birthday.
It's really not about the person (well maybe a little).
It's all about THE CARD.
Everyone in our family knows about THE CARD.
It's just a simple birthday CARD.
But, it is almost sacred.
I'm pretty sure one family member purchased a safe, to accomondate  THE CARD.
And I'm thinking that this person also made a copy of THE CARD, in case of a fire.
Our funny family tradition started in 2006.
Oh the stories and near catastrophes of misplacing  THE CARD.
There are currently10 adults involved in this exchange. You'd think it wouldn't be so difficult to keep up with THE CARD. HA! We celebrate birthdays in February, March, April, May, July, August, and December.
You'd think that we would no longer be surprised when it was our turn to receive the CARD. HA!

The following was written by Lauren, our youngest daughter, August 6, 2009 (3 years after the tradition began):

The CARD:  A Family Tradition
Anyone in my immediate family knows about the card. However, for those of you who don't, this is the story of the card.
This new "family tradition" started about 3 years ago around my mom's birthday. My dad's mom gave my mom a simple pretty birthday card for her birthday. Apparently, my dad hadn't gotten mom a birthday card yet, so he just took the card that my grandmother had given to my mom, crossed out my grandmothers' note and signature, and signed his own note and name and simply "recycled" the card. From then on, whenever anyone from my family has a birthday, they have the pleasure of receiving the card. It is then their responsibility to keep the card until the next person's birthday and then pass the card onto the next person. And thus, the tradition of the card was born.
This year marked the 3rd time that I have given the card to my mom as my birthday is before hers. The card lived on our refrigerator from May through July and it is now time to part with the card yet again. As I put the second paper insert into the card because we have once again run out of room to write, it is really neat to look at where the card has been and the birthday notes that are written within it. Hopefully tradition of the card will continue for many years to come. And God help the person who misplaces it. this is the story of the card

December is a busy month. We have 3 members who have birthdays this month....Walter (Dec8th), Stephanie (Dec12th), and Andrew(Dec 16th). 
THE CARD is now in route to the last recipient for December. While we appreciate all of the lovely Christmas cards this time of year, heaven help the post master general, if this thing is lost.
It's all about THE CARD, you know!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A walk in the woods

There's nothing quite like a walk in the woods.... on a Wednesday afternoon, in December!
Weather temperatures are unusually warm.
It feels great to soak in the outdoors. The sun on my face is soothing. Sunglasses required!

Ron and I live on a mountain.
The walk to the intersection of our street is 1/2 mile (ish).
Just past the stop sign, on the right, there is a short cut-through walk to the Roanoke Mountain Campground.

The path is clear, though side-by-side walking. Some people feel more comfortable with walking sticks, as it is not paved. Walkers and runners use this 4 mile one-way loop road frequently.

You never know WHO you will see!

Oh wait...... here comes our son, Walter, running towards us! Small world....and a nice rest stop for us OLDER, SLOWER people!(He runs. We walk.)

You never know WHAT you will see.

Looks like someone decorated their own tree!

Looks like someone had made a teepee fort!

Leaving the campground area, and crossing the street, we start on another loop, known as the Chesnut Ridge Trail<----click on this to read all about the trail! 
"The trail is on the Blue Ridge parkway and one of the Roanoke Valley's most popular trails."
One of the nicest features of this trail is the solitude.....whether it be summer, fall, winter, or spring.
The winter months are great for viewing the lay of the land.

I'm back home... refreshed, relaxed, and NAILED IT on my fitbit! (11019 steps = 4.79 miles)

A walk in the woods.....anyday.... is a good day !

Saturday, December 5, 2015

December 5, 2015 The stockings were hung.....

The year was 1975.
Ron and I had been married for 5 years.
Ron's Mom, Dot Sharpley, had lovingly hand-knitted 2 Christmas stockings, for us to hang on our fireplace mantle.

Our family increased. Dot would graciously knit another stocking. Soon our mantle was loaded with 5 stockings.
Dot never put away her knitting needles.
When Walter, Sarah, and Lauren were married, their mates (Stephanie, Brian, and Andrew) were given Christmas stockings.
Each couple was also given "one extra stocking" for whenever their family grew in number. (I think the stockings may have been used for pets as well as children!)

How sweet! 
One minor detail.... NOT ENOUGH STOCKINGS! 
Regretfully, Dot is no longer able to see to knit. Her voice, however, still rings in my ear: "TK, you really should learn to do this. It's easy, and I know that one day you will need more." 
Nah...I didn't listen to her.
Shame on me!
Phew........After searching through that one closet, stuffed with memoribilia, I found her instructions........(seriously? I'm suppose to follow this?) She'd completed 11 stockings, using this same pattern.

Looking at the instructions alone, is O.V.E.R.W.H.E.L.M.I.N.G. The needles, the yarn, the jewels, the names, weaving the different colors, counting the stitches, knit, purl, knit, purl, increase, decease. What in the world is "slip, k and pass"? and "pass the slipped st over the knitted st."? and "pass through 2nd st of front needle as if to p but leave st on needle"?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

This pattern was a "vintage" pattern. Thank goodness for google. 

Today I ordered a new set of instructions, and will be calling out for help from a few of my friends that can guide me through this next adventure.......... But not until 2016. 

I'll gladly take all of the help I can get! 
Our mantle looks a little skimpy this year, with just 2 stockings....that are hung by the chimney with care.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Elf Fails to Move, Presumed Dead

It was a sad scene in Concord, New Hampshire this Friday as 7 year-old Bailey Norman and his 4 year-old sister Samantha laid to rest their Elf on the Shelf.

“Sparkle hadn’t moved in three days. It was time,” sniffled Bailey.
During the backyard ceremony, young Samantha touched the small crowd of mourners with a soulful rendition of The Wheels on the Bus.
“You’re the angels’ Elf on the Shelf, now. Peace out, Sparkle,” whispered Bailey as he threw a handful of mini marshmallows on the casket. Sparkle was buried in a plot adjacent to the family’s late hamster, Churro, and six fallen goldfish.
A candy cane vigil is scheduled for Saturday night at 5pm. Guests are asked to wear red and white, Sparkle’s favorite colors.

Our hearts are with the children. ♥