Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sierra Highlights #8

Wow, when you get out of the habit of blogging it really disappears fast. I can't think of what to say now; this is not at at all typical of me. Or at least, all kinds of blogging ideas come to me when I'm wiping the bathroom counter or fixing lunch, but when I sit down at the laptop all I want to do is play Geo Challenge on Facebook : ). More proximately, I want to beat my husband on Geo Challenge, which is a futile endeavour since every time I pull ahead of him on points, he immediately goes and beats my record. Is there a word for this condition?

So I'll just chat, for now. Maybe it's a good time for a Sierra Highlight?

Recent Events:

  • Liam is home from college -- arrived on Friday.
  • While in town to pick him up, we ventured into Target on the Friday evening before Christmas, and lived to tell about it!
  • While in town, we also did some major and badly needed grocery shopping. Our outdoor freezer and pantry are stuffed now. This qualifies as an event because it is SO nice to settle down for the Christmas break knowing that I have enough provisions to keep getting meals on the table even if we happened to get snowed in -- which seems fairly likely judging from the weather report.
  • Sean also is home for the winter break-- after witnessing a fight on the schoolbus on the way home on Friday. Christmas spirit ;-).

An unusual cold front that has lasted the past week. It has been in the 20's consistently. So our snow from last week has stayed on the ground and even the streets have a layer of packed snow, which is unusual for our area. Reminds me of my days growing up in Alaska, except the temp there was usually much lower than 20.
Family and Liturgical Life

  • Everyone still coughing and sneezing from viruses.
  • Kevin and Brendan cut down one of the many young trees on our lot and it is a BIG one. Yesterday evening after the vigil mass we decorated it. Here's a picture taken from the loft above, with Paddy for scale. It is easily 12 feet tall and makes me feel like I'm a hobbit, or six years old again, or in a hotel lobby, take your choice.

Can you see Liam's classical guitar over at the side?


  • Acedia and Me -- also dipping into a book called Praying with Icons.
  • The kids have been rereading the Harry Potter books.
  • Brendan has taken up reading the Wall Street Journal regularly after Kevin reads it.


We tied up Week 17. I haven't had the focus to do a Week in Review. Partly because we seem to be in one of our rich but scattered learning times, when writing it all out would take forever. I've been trying to dig through old boxes and drawers, discovering and strewing, and so the little ones are discovering lots of treasures they hadn't seen for a long time, if ever. Advent seems like a good time to do that.


  • Sean and Brendan played Madden 2008.
  • Aidan playing with Hot Wheels and a sort of combination storage case/race track.


  • Paddy downstairs, playing. He has his beanie babies down by the tree and is engaged in some game. My childrens' way of interacting with the Christmas tree is to incorporate it into their pretend play.
  • Aidan upstairs, conducting the dialogue for his racing Hot Wheels. I love the way he pretend plays. He did not do it for years, and now he does, bringing in dialogue from his siblings, his dad and me. It is a great developmental step that I never appreciated enough with the other children.
  • Kevin and Brendan talking about the Pats game, which isn't on our TV.
Near Future:

  • Christmas, of course! Vigil Mass and the next day, brunch and celebration with our extended family.
Plans for the Break:

  • Learn Flash programming with Kevin and Liam.
  • Hang around with the family.
  • Read more Herodotus and Plato.
  • Learn to find joy in cleaning the house : ) -- a character struggle of mine right now.
  • Organize all the homeschool-related piles.

  • We seem to be talking about Lord of the Rings a lot.... movie vs book versions.
Grateful for:

  • Time and family.
Kitchen Events:

  • Kieron made some more simply beautiful peanut butter Tollhouse Cookies.
  • I made lemon bread. The middle sank : (.
  • I also made a great chicken pasta yesterday. I cubed chicken breast and simmered it in broth with a bit of white wine, along with some broccoli bits, then made a cream sauce with butter and flour, garlic, whole milk and a bit of sour cream, added some sharp cheddar and parmesan after it had thickened. I could have used some mushrooms or artichoke hearts but we didn't have those. Then we put it on top of linguine, along with garlic bread from Costco. The older kids and the parents had a bit of white wine. I also heated up some regular red spaghetti sauce so the younger kids could have that instead of the white sauce. It felt like a party, especially with the tree sparkling gently in the corner and 2o's type music playing in the background.
Aidan loves this wreath and carries it everywhere.


Faith said...

I feel out of my blogging groove too. And have for months. But I wanted to wish you Merry Christmas, dear Willa. Hope you have a lovely day!

Chari said...

Welcome home, dear Liam!

I wish I could see the tree in is lovely! Our tree came off of our property, too. :)

We miss you all so much.......the pain is excruciating sometimes. :)

I sound like Clare :)

Keep thinking BR/R reunion!

Now, to go get my presents wrapped!! :)

Oh, we have snow and brrrr.....cold, too! That artic front reminded me very quickly, why I LOVE my temperate weather here :) No living in Alaska for ME! ...but, I would love to visit one day!