Archive for December, 2008

white christmas

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Christmas was spent at home this year, just like the last few years. My mom arrived on Christmas Eve. She could only stay until after Christmas dinner, but the girls enjoyed every minute they had with their Grandma. Mike picked up Matt Larson in Chicago on Christmas Eve, so he could also spend a few days of holiday cheer with us. He brought his Pug dog, Joey. Joey is very cute and sweet.

Nothing too exciting about our Christmas day. The girls were thrilled with all the gifts they got which included Barbie “Razor” scooters, princess dresses, lots of clothes, accessories/characters for their dollhouse, and Wall-E the Movie. Grandma also got them each a duffle bag that is also an animal, dinosaur eggs that hatch and grow, and a smore/hot chocolate set which came with mugs and all the fixins’. The girls have already sampled some hot chocolate with their new mugs. We also placed the dinosaur eggs in water and have been watching them hatch. They are now all hatched and are growing daily. Annie must be very excited about her pet dinosaur because her Sunday school teacher came up to me yesterday to ask how the dinosaur is doing.

The week before Christmas we took the girls to get a present for each other. They each picked out a Barbie doll. We instructed the girls not to tell each other what they got, but Mimi couldn’t contain her excitement and revealed the “surprise” to Annie as soon as she saw her. “Annie, we got you a Barbie girl!” Oh well, it was still fun to see them open the presents whether they knew they were getting them or not.

Displaying their princess dresses from Grandma. They have been wearing these daily.

The girls’ presents to each other.

Annie immediately recognized the scooter. Mimi was a little more confused until it got put together. We’ve been letting them ride them around the house since it’s a bit too cold outside.

Speaking of going outside we got even more snow while away in SD which meant we had about 18 or more inches on the ground. While making Christmas dinner Mike decided to make a snow ramp for the girls to sled off. After dinner the girls tested out the new ramp. It worked out perfectly since our yard is kind of sloped down away from our house. The girls were able to sled all the way from the patio to the corn field. Unfortunately, we had a heat wave the next day, and most of the snow melted. At least the girls one day of snow fun in our backyard. Don’t fret, I’m sure we’ll get more snow before we know it.

Here are a couple of videos of the girls in sledding action. The first one is of Mimi. No, that isn’t some exotic bird in the background. It’s Joey going crazy because he didn’t get to be outside for all the fun.

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Here are both of the girls sledding together.
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The girls were sad to see Matt and Joey go. I’m so bad because I forgot to get a picture of my mom. Her visit was so rapid that I totally spaced it.

westward bound

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Mike used cutting trees as an excuse to head west to visit a couple of friends in South Dakota. It turns out the weather was just a bit too cold and windy to get much of the intended goal done. The plan was to start driving as soon as Mike returned home from work on Friday. Fortunately, Mike was allowed to leave a couple of hours early due to the snow. Unfortunately, he arrived home to a driveway with about 8 inches of snow even though he had shoveled it before work that morning. The girls and I (well, just I while the girls played) attempted to shovel the driveway midday, but the snow was wet and heavy. I only got about 1/4 of the path completed.

So we finally got all packed up and de-stranded from the home and started to head out of town. The goal was to arrive at Mike’s mom’s house around bedtime and get up the next morning to travel the rest of the way to South Dakota. However, we received a phone call from our first host warning us if we waited until the next morning, then there was a good chance we’d get stranded because of the heavy winds and snow drifts. Mike and I had a minute-meeting and decided to just go the whole way that night. We did make a pit stop at Mike’s mom’s which was a nice break. We made it to the Arnold’s in SD around 1:30 a.m.

The next day was as predicted and was very windy and ccccoooold. Mike still did the tree job he intended to do, but the rest of stayed inside the whole day. The Arnolds now have 3 boys, two of which are about Annie and Mimi’s ages, so they played great together. Shannon and I chatted, did a quick photo shoot with the kids, and made some butter fingers. Even if I didn’t get the grand tour of Watertown (this was Mike’s hope), we still had fun just hanging out with the Arnolds for a day.

The kids had a blast together. It was sad to for them to say their good-byes.

The next morning we headed even farther west to spend a couple of days with the Knutsons, Matt and Jenny. It was some crazy driving out there with snow drifts as high as our truck. We made it though with only a couple of delays. The Knutsons also have 3 boys with two close in age to Annie and Mimi. They also have a huge playroom with a trampoline in the middle. Can you just imagine the pure excitement the girls felt? Even Mike and I had a few jumps. Lucy even had a buddy, a German wire-haired pointer named Willy. They had a blast. I helped Jenny make Roman shades while Matt and Mike cruised around town and attempted some hunting. The tree work was going to be impossible, so they just spent the time goofing around. The second day there was much nicer, and Jenny gave me a quick tour of their town. The kids also got to go sledding. In the afternoon Mike snuck away to try to shoot a deer. His luck was with him because he wasn’t up in the deer stand for more than 15 minutes before he shot one. Sadly, we just weren’t going to have time to deal with all that, so Mike donated the deer to one of Matt’s friends.

Annie’s first time sledding.

Check out Annie feeding their baby. This is good to know should there ever be a Thing #3 added to the Hawley brood.

Lucy and Willy wrestling. Willy had this jump and spin move that really impressed Lucy.

Jenny was giving Lucy a chiropratic adjustment. Willy got a little jealous.

We got up not bright and early and started our trek home. Of course, the roads were slick and snowy, so we had to take it slow and easy. Many cars/trucks/semis were down in the ditches on our way home. Thankfully, we made it home at a reasonable hour. Thanks to the Arnolds and Knutsons for opening their homes to us and dealing with our crazy kids. We had a wonderful time and hope to do it again when it’s about 70 degrees warmer.

We hope every is having a safe and merry Christmas so far. I’ll be posting pictures tomorrow.

pink noses and plumbing

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Well, school was cancelled today due to the foot (so far) of snow out there. Mike got up early this morning to shovel, but it didn’t make a dent in what was to come after. The shovel was left outside and only about half of it was sticking up out of the white stuff. The girls were giddy to get a chance to frolic out there, so I finally got them and myself all geared up. I attempted continue the driveway job, but I only got about a quarter of the way before my poor legs started burning from frostbite. My arms and hands are still shaking.

I didn’t want to attempt to take the camera outside since the snow is still falling, but here are the girls with their pink noses and cheeks.

This is a bit of an optical illusion, but see how the neighbor’s van parked in the street looks like it’s halfway buried by snow.

Annie had her holiday program at school on Tuesday night; only the kindergarten classes participated. We didn’t get there early enough and had to sit in the way back. These were the best pictures I could get. I did get a video of Annie’s speaking part. Her class was in charge of Kwanzaa, and her line was “We light our 6th candle for creativity. We will try to listen to our imagination and find ways to make things better.” Why do I know those lines so well, you ask? I’ve only been practicing them with Annie since before Thanksgiving. She did really well though. Mimi was supposed to have her program today at school, but they rescheduled it for Monday. Sadly, we’ll be out of town and unable to attend.

Since we’ll be having a couple of guests visiting us for Christmas time, we figured it was probably a good idea to repair the guest room bathtub which had completely lost it’s water pressure. Mike decided he wanted to attempt the project himself. Unfortunately, the hallway wall had to be cut out in order to get at the pipes and such. Surprisingly, Mike was able to fix the problem. We just need to put everything back together now.

Before the project began.

Right before Mike cut open the wall.

The old set up minus the faucet and tub handle.

The old valve/piping system.

After the project. Not quite all put back together.
New tub handle. Faucet needs a little more work before install.

New valve/pipe system. Notice the burn marks where Mike had to solder. We used an old Baker’s Square pie tin as a heat shield. I was sorry to see it get all cut up because we’ve had it since we first got married.

Once Mike gets home from work we’re heading out of town for South Dakota. Wish us luck!

cold and busy

Monday, December 15th, 2008

This winter has come with a fierceness of which I wasn’t prepared. I knew we lived in a windy spot being close to Lake Michigan and having a cornfield as the backyard, but I didn’t realize how much that would affect the winter around us. Today is 5 degrees outside. Although the wind chill makes it feel like -14 degrees. Annie said to me this morning as I was walking her to the bus stop over the thick layer of ice covering EVERYTHING that she doesn’t like this weather and wants to move back to our old house. Sorry, Annie, you’re stuck here for another 2.5 years.

The garage door motor decided to stop working a few days ago, so that means we’ve been parking my van in the driveway ever since. This morning I was greeted with a nice layer of ice completely shielding my van. I started it at 8:05 a.m., and it was still too frozen to drive Mimi to school at 8:30 a.m. I attempted to scrape the windows, but my efforts were futile. Plus, the driver-side sliding door got stuck slightly open which means the van will refuse to drive with any sliding doors ajar. We finally left the house at 8:50 a.m. and got to school 45 minutes late. What made the day even better was that I quickly discovered that Mimi was snack girl today. I had to drive to the store and back to get snacks for Mimi’s class. So much for going to the gym today.

On top of all this it has been non-stop activity around here. We literally had something going on every single night last week. For Christmas, I just want to relax and watch some movies with my husband.

Mike was at it again this weekend. He canned 8 jars of baked beans with his pressure cooker. Fortunately, the missing part has been replaced and made for a much safer cooking environment. Onxy was brought out for the occasion, and Mike added a nice touch to the outfit. See for yourself. Please, someone, help me.

now back to our regularly scheduled program

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Dear Loyal Visitors of the Hawley Focus,

I’m truly sorry for the confusion this website may have caused this weekend/part of today. It was entirely my fault as I let the bills go unpaid until it was too late. I kept meaning to pay them, but I’d always find something else to do. However, when I saw some strange chick splashed across the page and links for Hawley Real Estate, Hawley, PA, David Hawley(?), and other Hawley related websites, then I knew there was trouble. The bills are now paid, and the site has been re-instated.

Again, sorry for the mishap. I did get some emails and phone calls regarding the lack of focus on the hawleys this weekend. No, Mike and I are not in trouble. No, we did not change our last name to Gambolputty. And, no, we are not fleeing the country to hide from the FBI, CIA, NSA, SEC, IRS, FTC, NASA, DEA, HUD, FCC, EPA, FDIC, USDA, OSHA, SSA, DOT, FDA, ATF or the USPS. Thank you for your concern though.

Dedicated Owners of Hawley Focus

In other news, on Wednesday I had the pleasure of co-oping at Mimi’s school not realizing that the field trip for that day wasn’t until 12 noon. So I got to be with Mimi at school from 8:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. We did have fun though and got to see an adorable play at the local Catholic high school called, “Surf’s Up Santa”. Mimi was in awe from start to finish. The basic premise of the story was that the local surf shop was going to be demolished in order to build condos. So the surf shop groupies/workers asked Santa for his help. I’m sure you can guess the rest.

Just a little video of the girls skating, so you can see their progress. They really are coming along nicely. Aren’t they cute?

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I forgot to post these sooner. While in MN Mike took the girls to his mom’s neighborhood pond to walk on the ice. I think it was their first time. Lucy’s an expert though and did her figure skating routine.

And one last thing. Mike made a huge pot of pheasant soup with alphabet noodles and canned most of it resulting in about 8 jars. When it got time to pressure cook the jars Mike noticed his pressure cooker was missing a crucial piece which aided in the pressurizing. He was able to rig it up with tongs, some metal clip thingy, and a bullet casing. Mike was quite pleased with himself.

we’re baaack!

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

As much as I love to visit family, it’s always nice to be back home.

Today I’m finally getting things unpacked and getting back to my regular duties. We had a lovely time with Mike’s mom, siblings, and the cousins on Thanksgiving. There was more than enough food to feed the entire city of Excelsior, and everyone got to take lots of leftovers. Sadly, I was lazy and didn’t take one single picture from the day (or any days for that matter). You can head on over to Shoebox Princess’ site to see some of those. I got to spend a full day with two of Mike’s sisters, Sara and Jessie. We mostly just hung out giggling and eating, but a little stamping got done, too. It was a really fun time. Since we’re closer now to Mike’s family and can visit more often, we made the effort to see more friends this time. Hopefully, we’ll be able to catch up with other friends on future visits.

On Saturday morning, Uncle Jake cooked a spectacular breakfast for us. I wish I had a live-in chef. Afterward we headed over to Anut Dorothy’s house to pay a visit. We were not able to attend the funeral for Uncle Tom (Dorothy’s husband), so it was nice that we could at least spend a little time with Dorothy before leaving town. The last part of our day was spent with the Evans Family. We did a family photo shoot in a cute part of their town. I took their pictures, and then Sara did our family pictures. I’m pleased with so many of them. It will be hard to choose some for the Christmas card. I’ll just show a few here. Then see below about a slideshow of all the images.

The Evans.

The Hawleys. Yes, I only did some funkier stuff with our pics because I didn’t want to scare Sara.

I had a nifty slideshow embedded directly to here, but Sara says it’s not working for her. So here’s the direct link which also has much larger images:

We headed out of town on Sunday. While Mike and I were packing things up the girls got to frolic out in the snow because it snowed a few inches. Brother Dave was generous enough to play along with Mike and give him some oil for his “project”, and we ate lunch at one of his hip and delicious restaurants. I had the butternut squash raviolis. I asked Mike if he thought Dave would give us the recipe for it because it was AWESOME.