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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Favorite Books Read in 2014

This year I tallied up 33 books read, which is probably about half (and then some!) of what I had read in previous years.  It would be safe to say that since acquiring the sixth child the reading has suffered. ;o) And even though nursing affords me some "down time" and does tend to be when I will pick up a book, sometimes I just don't find myself with enough brain cells present to actually focus and comprehend what I am reading.  Those are my excuses. ;o)  But there were a few favorites among the 33 and I thought I would share them in the event anybody is looking for a good read to start off the year.


This was my favorite.
The writing was just beautiful.  The cover is lovely.  It is a WW2 story.  I will admit some disappointment with the end . . . just that I would have liked to see it end in a different manner. But still it remains this year's fave. 
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This book was about the Civil War, particularly Yankee POWs at Andersonville.  I knew nothing about Andersonville prior to reading it (therefore I learned a whole bunch!) and it was just a really good story. (I am so good at book reports . . .) ;o)
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Fascinating story about a mom and her amazing Autistic son.
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This one is about a book store owner and his favorite books (and so much more). I believe there was some language (so, be forewarned if you decide to read it).
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So, there you have it, my four favorites of the year.  One book I read that I really did not enjoy was "The Light Between Two Oceans." It was the "One Book One Lincoln" book this year.  It wasn't that it was badly written, but it was easy to slip into "What would I have done had it been me?" It just kind of left me feeling "icky." 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

December 21-27

(I have had some picture updating to do . . . but in order to keep everything all neat and tidy, I did some backdating, so the other two weeks I was missing are on here, you just might have to scroll a bit) 

On this stage stand five of my children, the only one I can point out is a little shepherd in the first row, red plaid shirt peeking out under his robe (Owen).  He stands next to his cousin Drew in the blue head-dress.
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 The rainbow cake "innards." I couldn't locate my nine inch cake pans and had to use eight inch, which I am sure contributed to the height. ;o)
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 FINALLY, FINALLY a lovely lazy day at home for ALL of us. We decorated cookies, Josh did a borax snowflake craft with them, we dined on free steak (given to Josh by one of his wrestlers). It was a good day.
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 A quiet Christmas Eve at Grandpa and Grandma's house.  (And I did remember a picture!!).
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 And a quiet Christmas morning (and subsequent day!) at our house.  Due to illness we postponed the big Cooley Christmas an extra day and in the end it was nice to stay home.  I didn't get out of my pajamas until 2:00 in the afternoon.  It was fabulous!!
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I think this picture neatly sums up August's thoughts on the end of the year Tolkien traditions going on at our house. ;o)
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The Hansmeyer Christmas--a good portion of the participants awaiting present opening.
My brother Louie and his wife were in Florida, but otherwise we were all able to gather and finish out the December celebrating. Now to wrap up 2014 . . . ;o)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy 5th Owen!!!

I am slipping in here--before your day is officially over--to write your birthday post.
It has been quite the year, for me, for your daddy, and of course you too.
Since you turned four your uncle died, you became a big brother, you moved to a new home . . .
We have had conversations, just you and I, and I know that little head is thinking.
Randomly you will come up and tell me, "I miss Uncle Dan. He was a nice guy."
You will tell me you miss Arapahoe. So I KNOW your little self "gets it."
You lost your "baby of the family" status.  And while you love your little brother to pieces, I know you miss the one-on-one time we had, and I miss it too.  It is still there, just not like it used to be. I think of all these things as your turn five today.
God gave me you so I could see what your daddy was like as a little boy.
You are FULL of energy.
You love to do things with people one-on-one.
Your attention bank is always "empty" and no matter how much time anybody spends with you, you are always in need of more--ready to go again, read it again , again, again, again!
You love imaginative play.
You want to do it all--you are full of passion for every new thing or idea that comes your way.
I love that.
You are silly.
You are serious.
You are a helper.
You are sweet.
(and yes, in typical little brother style you are maddening . . . you mess with stuff, you hide people's things under your bed . . .very similar to stories I have heard about a certain daddy of yours)
Sugar has adverse affects on you.
But works great for bribery. . .
You are starting to read and can write a good many letters on your own.
You were making me a Christmas gift just tonight and had written "MOMM" all over it.
And also, you told me you cleaned my kitchen today (well, you swept it, but I will take what I can get). ;o)
I love that your little heart thinks of me in such sweet ways.
You requested homemade pizza and a rainbow cake for your birthday.
And because I love you I made you this towering six layer cake.
Five finger for five years of you!
We love you so much buddy and are so happy to have you a part of our big Cooley crew.
Our prayer for you, always and ever is that your heart will belong to Jesus and that you grow to be a follower of Him.
I can't wait for new adventures with you!!
Happiest day Owen Joshua!!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December 14-20

 August took an awesome Sunday afternoon nap in his carseat at Grandpa and Grandma's house. I had to pause several times to admire how precious he is. ;o)
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 We made these fun little Christmas tree pictures--some of them painted, some of them colored with markers.  Projects have been kind of low-key this year, but we are still having a good time.
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 Tried out a new recipe for gingerbread cookie bars--they are good!! I halved the cream cheese frosting amount and it still amply covered them.  They would probably be tasty with no frosting as well (recipe found on my "Christmas Baking" Pinterest board).
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My baby turns 7 months!
Big news this month--He crawls!! It began December 6th officially, and now, well, he is EVERYWHERE!
He also will eat anything that gets in his path.
Still no teeth . . .
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And another December 17th freebie for you:  The girls' most awesome "Ugly Christmas Sweaters."
Marissa is modeling a dark green sweater with variegated yarns and oodles of (shatter-proof!) Christmas balls and jingle bells wired to it.
Isabella has an elf duct-taped to her shirt. ;o)
We would like to thank Goodwill for inspiring the creativity and providing us with the resources we needed.
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Why come December, the UPS and Fedex deliverers are my BFFs. ;o)
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No picture for the 19th (but I made up for it by giving you two 17ths, right?)
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We spent the whole weekend at Grandpa/Grandma Cooley's just because life had gotten too busy for the back and forth.  We made some homemade cocoa for some Saturday afternoon fun.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December 7-13

 Kids in Sunday-best gathered by the Christmas tree (in case I forget to do it on Christmas Eve, as is oft the case . . .).
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 We worked on some "Starry Night Manger Scenes" in oil pastel.
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No picture, and I can't even remember why or what we did that day . . . ;o)
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 A December tradition--peppermint popcorn. (Added some chocolate this year). ;o)
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 We did make a little painting on this day, but I didn't get it photographed. I did capture two little boys on the couch with books.  I love Owen's feet just barely hanging off.
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 We made two different kinds of cookies for the church Christmas concert. And of course, there were a few extra for our own sampling. ;o)
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Finished off the week with candy cane milkshakes (but chocolate almond milk with some peppermint extract for the dairy free girl) in celebration of having survived leaving the home at 6:50 and driving myself and the kids to Lincoln for a rehearsal and then back again. I celebrate lots of surviving lately! ;o) I LOVE these!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

November 30-December 6

Three silly boys and one most-likely-teething one.  The tree is up and lit (after just one topple . . .).
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 Kicking off our December activities with the decorating of the tree. I think we had it decorated in 10 minutes.  I have a lot of help! ;o)
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 We made these cool clothespin snowflake ornaments.  In fact I loved how they turned out so much that I have a few more glued together awaiting a paint/glitter job.  Sometimes you find a project on Pinterest which sounds good but fails to work, but these were lovely! (And I skipped the super glue and just did hot glue).
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 Revisiting the orange pomander project of five Christmases ago.  They smell so good!
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 A fun watercolor ornament painting that everybody took to with relish.  I love how they all turned out! It is hard sometimes to find stuff that appeals to a wide age range, this worked well.  In fact Emmett and Owen loved it so much they made a second one. ;o)
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 C.R.A.Z.Y day.
Josh left for his bus route at 6:30 in the morning.
We went to Lincoln, leaving at 8:30 in the morning.
Spent from 10:00-11:20 getting August's 6 month appointment complete and the shots.
Grabbed some lunch.
Ran some errands.
Dropped by my in-laws to just catch a breather.
Stopped by a grocery store.
Went to Jackson's cello rehearsal.
Got home at 7:30.
Had a late snack-styled supper and watched a short Christmas movie (that was the fun activity).
Josh got home from his wrestling meet after midnight.
Fist bump to both of us for surviving.  But sad face that he had to be at school at 7:00 the next morning for another wrestling meet.
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We did our gingerbread houses.  I completely skipped a kit this year and just hot glued graham crackers together.  Jackson wanted a tall one, but everybody else went with a more rectangular shape. Yes, I realize hot glue is cheating. 
No, it does not bother me. ;o)