Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More Snow!

Who would have believed that we would experience MORE snow in December this year!?  And who would have thought we would get almost 2 feet!  Crazy!  In true Hines form, though, we missed it.  The last significant snow was Presidents' Day weekend in 2003...which was the weekend that Philip and I took a cruise to the Bahamas.  We were clueless and didn't even know it was supposed to snow.  We found out by happening to pass a TV on the cruise ship with a news show talking about all the snow in DC!  We arrived back in VA to find out car nearly buried at Dulles Airport.  Of course we were not prepared for this!  Philip was working on digging us out with his hands when two guys came by in a truck looking for people to dig out.  What a blessing!

So, anyway, where were we for the Blizzard of '09?  Philip and I had made plans to get away for the weekend to Lancaster, PA.  We decided to go ahead with our plans, despite the prediction of snow.  We took the boys to Philip's parents and headed on to Lancaster.  By the next morning, we were snowed in.  Fortunately, we were staying at a really nice place and had brought some movies with us!  And fortunately, we had brought food for lunch with us and breakfast was provided.  They also had a billiards room on site.  And who knew I was a pool shark?  LOL.  Seriously though, I am not sure that I had ever played a game of pool in my life.  So, in a few short hours I went from being completely awful to really not that bad.
So, we had a great time, despite the roughly 10" of snow.  We safely made it back for the boys and then came home.  We were figuring on finding our driveway and house buried...and that's what we found! Fortunately, this time we were prepared.  Philip had brought a shovel in the trunk and started digging us IN when we got home! 

Service with a smile!

This is as far as he got before Andrew and I were too cold to wait any longer.  So, we just walked through the rest to get into the house!

Caleb was pretty thrilled about all the snow.  It's really too bad we didn't get to really enjoy it.  We left just a day and a half later for NC and weren't able to get out and play in it that day.

The view of our deck.  This was a LOT of snow!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Not As OK As I Thought

Grief is an interesting thing.  What amazes me most about it is how it can sneak up on you almost unawares.  And how you can "feel" fine, and then be overcome by tears the next minute.  My baby was due on Tuesday, but he probably would have been born in the last few days.  I really am at peace with losing him, and if you receive a copy of our Christmas letter in the next week or so, you'll see how God has used his precious, short life in my life in amazing ways.  YET, this weekend, I am on the verge of tears.  Deep ones.  Not just the little little ones.  I am doing my best not to suppress them when they come, because I've done that before and I have learned that suppressing grief doesn't help you deal with it.

Also coming out of nowhere this weekend are hormones.  Close your eyes if you're a male, but I don't usually experience PMS.  But this weekend, I am just full of sticklers. How's that for diplomatic? :)  Just not myself.  Not that I am mad about it, but it's kind of a cruel thing of my body to make me go through this right at the time when I would have been experiencing joy over what my body had done.  Maybe that's why it's putting me through this.  Perhaps it's my body's way of grieving our loss. 

So, if you see me in the next few days.  Watch out...I might cry.  But just let me, ok?  I need to.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cookie Decorating!

We hosted a cookie decorating party again this year.  It was a blast!  It was so funny to watch the kids with their first few cookies.  It was kind of a sprinkle dump fest!  However, after all the other kids left, Caleb and Joshua decided to decorate more cookies and really did a nice job.  They even used my icing bags to pipe around the edges.  I was surprised how well they did with that, even Joshua.  Maybe I have a future cake decorator on my hands. :)



Andrew was thrilled to get to eat a cookie!

The finished product!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

St. Nicholas Day

This year we celebrated St. Nicholas Day for the first time.  We don't include Santa in our Christmas traditions, even though the boys know who he is....or isn't, as the case may be.  Anyway, we wanted to incorporate the traditional elements, without confusing what we're really celebrating.  And so, enter St. Nicholas Day.  If you don't know about the origins of St. Nicholas, you can read about it here, particularly in the Legends and Folklore section.  The bottom line is that he was a real man who anonymously gave to those in need.  So, we decided to follow the tradition of putting our shoes on the hearth (or outside the door) on the night of the 5th and on the 6th we all opened our stockings.  It was a fun way to make Christmas seem longer.  And I appreciated having something to celebrate early in the month.

The traditional gifts for St. Nicholas Day are nuts, fruit, candy and/or a small gift.  

Here are some pics!




Saturday, December 5, 2009

The First Snow!

On Saturday, December 5th, we got about 6" of snow.  No one believed that it would actually happen because we usually don't get much of anything when snow is predicted.  The boys were so thrilled with the snow.  They were especially thrilled because this year they were able to go sledding.  They first sledded on the hill on our court, then ventured out later to the "Sledding Hill" a few minutes' walk away.  They had a blast!  It was a perfect day.  I made potato soup for lunch.  Then while on the big hill the boys ran into some friends of ours who came over for hot chocolate and cookies.  Then we made Christmas cookies and spent the rest of the day relaxing by the fire. It was delightful!  If only all snow days could be so perfect!

Andrew's first snow fun:

Sledding by the house:

Getting ready to go down the big hill with the Klabundes and Miss Morgan!

And a wipe out!

 Christmas Cookie Fun!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Reston Town Center Fun

Recently, we had a beautiful, warm December day, so I decided to take the boys to Reston Town Center.  Our primary goal was to see the Gingerbread House display in the Reston Hyatt lobby.  But, since the weather was perfect that day, the boys also enjoyed playing in the fountain, looking at the Christmas tree, watching the ice rink be zambonied (is that a word?  Do you know I once worked with someone from the Zamboni family?), and enjoying some sweet snacks.

Here are a few pictures from the morning.

Half of the display:

The other half:

My Favorite Building:

Snacks at Panera. 

Three Boys at the Fountain: