Sunday, December 31, 2006

Daddy's singing, feeling loved, cookie cutters

  1. My dad is the best tenor I know. I love to hear him sing. He sang "O Holy Night" this morning at church. He was going to sing it at the Christmas Eve service last week, but he was in the hospital, so he sang it today instead. It was really a blessing for me to be there this morning to hear him sing.

  2. My brother and sister read my blogs, which makes me feel very loved. (And because of all the raving I've done lately about Joyeux Noel, they gave me that DVD for Christmas. (Also, they were extremely impressed with the AM/FM radio we have in the van, so they gave me an MP3 player with an adapter for the van. Very cool.)) Thank you both. I'm so blessed to have you for friends.

  3. My mom gave all of us girls new cookie cutters: the state of Tennessee, the state of Nebraska, an acorn, and a horse. Maybe my mom has been reading my blogs, too, about all the cookie baking at our house.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Time at Mom and Dad's house

  1. Watching the girls put together a jigsaw puzzle with my younger brother. It was fun to watch their interactions.

  2. I got to spend a lot of time with Daddy today. He had to get some platelets this morning, and there was a lot of time to talk while we were waiting and while the IV was running.

  3. Mom and Dad had all 11 of us at dinner: Mom, Dad, my younger brother, my older brother, his wife, his daughter, my three girls, my husband, and me.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Three new Christmas CDs

  1. Let It Be Christmas by Alan Jackson

  2. The First Noel by Steve Green

  3. Acapella Christmas by The Cathedral Quartet

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Scrapbook day, thankfulness, being a judge

  1. The girls and I had a really lovely scrapbook day. We split the pictures four ways from our last trip to the National Zoo. It was a nice time to be together and to remember a fun day.

  2. I finally remembered to have everyone write down what they are thankful for in my Thanksgiving book. I started it last year in Luxembourg, and I want to continue it, but I kept forgetting during the times when we were all together. It was interesting to read what we were thankful for last year---just having our furniture with us was a big deal. We have a lot to be thankful for now.

  3. Today we had our first (and hopefully last) archery and cudgel tournament (inspired by my oldest studying Robin Hood in school). My husband shot an arrow into the side of the garage, but at least he didn't break any windows. I got to be the judge since I'm still not really cleared to walk on grass after my broken leg.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wordless Wednesday #7

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Clean rooms, 100% liquid-center chocolate-covered cherries, mailing cards

  1. All the kids are upstairs cleaning their rooms. I hear the sounds of three different radios playing three different songs.

  2. I made a quick run to the grocery store today for more milk, and I found my husband's favorite kind of Christmas candy.

  3. I mailed 31 Christmas cards today.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Three Awesome Gifts

  1. My oldest daughter. She has a very sweet spirit, and is very sensitive to the people around her. She's absolutely brilliant, and incredibly creative in lots of different ways. She's so like me in many ways: she likes to read and do math and do geeky things on the computer, and we're both the oldest child and the oldest daughter.

  2. My middlest daughter. She can be very quiet, but one look can speak volumes. She's quick-witted and always thinking. She'll tell you that she's everyone's favorite. She's so like me in many ways: she loves purple the best, a whiner, a smarty pants, loves watching movies, and she works hard at anything she sets her mind to.

  3. My youngest daughter. She's fun-loving and playful, generally easy-going and cheerful, making friends easily. She's very intelligent and has a contagious smile. She's so like me in many ways: she loves to talk, loves to sing, loves learning languages, loves to give hugs or just snuggle, and loves spending time with people.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Carols, deer, Christmas letters

  1. Singing an hour's worth of Christmas songs this morning with the girls.

  2. Lots of deer in the back pasture today.

  3. Getting lots of Christmas letters written.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


  1. The sun is shining through all the south and west windows, warming up the house.

  2. My husband is in the forest cutting up wood for our wood stove, for warming up the house next week.

  3. The kids are baking more Christmas cookies, which also warms up the house.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Letters from friends, cross-stitch marathon, Tennessee sunlight hours

  1. Christmas letters from good friends. I got Christmas cards today from two of my college friends, Dana and Jamie, and from my dear friend Andra. The kids got letters today from two of their very good friends from church back in Virginia (part of the demon sisters and troublemakers clubs). It's so nice to get mail. Maybe tomorrow I can finish sending my Christmas cards.

  2. I spent almost all day doing cross-stitch and watching movies in French. I'm almost finished with my latest cross-stitch project. It was a nice, relaxing day for me as the kids worked to finish up school before Christmas/New Year break.

  3. We had over 9 and a half hours of sunlight today during the shortest day of the year. After only 8 hours a day last year in Luxembourg, I'm very happy with my 9 hours and 42 minutes.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Magic Easy Erasing pads, three-layered baking racks, getting ready

  1. Scotch-Brite Easy Erasing Pad. Wendy, a lady I met at church, told me about her experiences with Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser, and I was tempted to by one, but I couldn't find them at the store. Then later, I saw the Scotch-Brite sponges that said on the package, "Compare to Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser." I bought a pack of two. It really is like magic.

    I wish I had taken a "before" picture of my bath tub. When we first moved into the house, the tub wasn't really very clean, and I scrubbed and scrubbed, but I couldn't get the gunk off the bottom of the tub or off the grab bar in the tub, and I needed the grab bar because of my broken leg, and I was constantly being disgusted. Then my husband was taking showers after working at a break pad factory, and the bottom of the tub was black with break pad dust. So he stopped that, but that dust stuck to the gunk in the bottom of the tub, and I still couldn't get the bottom of the tub clean. Until the magic easy erasing pad. It was amazing. I had tried Soft Scrub. I had tried all kinds of multi-purpose cleaners. They would only make the tiniest dents in the gunk, and only with lots of elbow grease on my part. And now it's clean. Really clean.

    There are nasty hard-water stains inside my commode, too, and when the magic easy eraser is almost ready to be thrown away, then I'm going to use it on the toilet bowl before I throw it away. It cleaned up hard-water problems in the tub, the brake pad dust, and strange blue stains on the floor. It really is like magic.

    OK, so I'm gushing, but this is really exciting news.

  2. Martha Stewart's three-layered baking racks. I'm not a huge fan of Martha Stewart, though I don't hate her guts either. But my mom gave me some Martha Stewart backing racks for cooling cookies, and I love them. I never had enough room for a full batch of cookies, and the racks I had took up so much space. Now we have more room for cookies, and they stack, so it takes up less space on the counter or the table. So cool.

  3. The kids are doing some present wrapping today. After yesterday's baking, and yesterday's present wrapping, and the grocery shopping last night for the weekend, I feel like we're in pretty good shape for Christmas, and not in too bad of shape for the January birthdays. I ordered something for my parents, too, and had it shipped to their house, and I think the timing on that worked out well also. It's all coming together.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wordless Wednesday #6

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Piano/organ practice, Latin singing, new reading book

  1. The girls are practicing their piano like crazy, and then when they are finished, they practice the organ. It's been a long time since all three girls have been so motivated to practice.

  2. The girls and I have been working on Christmas songs for our Latin lessons for the past two months. It's really nice to hear them sing together in harmony and in Latin. Beautiful!

  3. I'm taking a break from my usual reading to read a book along with my husband so we can talk about it. It's been a very long time since we've read the same book together. We read A Time to Kill back before the movie came out. (The book is better than the movie.) Now we're reading The English Patient. We'll check out the movie, too, when we're finished with the book.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Shorts and t-shirt, close-up deer, bacon

  1. Being outside this morning at about 9:00 in shorts and a t-shirt and being so comfortable with the temperature that it took me a little while to realize that it's almost the first day of winter and I shouldn't be outside in just shorts and a t-shirt.

  2. Being outside this morning, and hearing something in the woods, and realizing that it was a deer, just about the time that she realized that I was outside. We were only about 20 feet apart before she took off deeper into the forest.

  3. The smell of bacon frying.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

More cookies for sharing, warm weather, It's Christmas Time

  1. Christmas tree cookies, enough to share with friends and teachers and church.

  2. A really nice, warm day, and a great time for the girls to ride their bikes and play hide and seek.

  3. My City on a Hill: It's Christmas Time CD, and especially the song "Manger Throne" sung by Third Day and Julie Miller.

Manger Throne

What kind of King would leave His throne
In heaven to make this earth his home?
While men seek fame and great renown
In lowliness our King comes down.

Jesus, Jesus, precious One,
How we thank You that You've come.
Jesus, Jesus, precious One,
A manger throne for God's own Son.

You left the sound of angels' praise
To come for men with unkind ways.
And by this Baby's helplessness,
the power of nations is laid to rest.


What kind of King would come so small,
From glory to a humble stall?
That dirty manger is my heart, too,
I'll make it a royal throne for You.


My heart is a throne for God's own Son.
My heart is a throne for God's own Son.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Knitting machine, cookies, and Davy Crockett

  1. My middlest daughter started on a shawl less than a week ago, and she has been a knitting machine all week.

  2. My youngest daughter and I baked cookies this afternoon. Tons of fun.

  3. My brother bought a hat when he was in Houston. I don't know if you can see it clearly in the picture, but it has a quote from that great Tennessean, Davy Crockett: "You may all go to Hell and I will go to Texas."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Finished the New Testament, my grandpa's organ, switching switches

  1. My youngest daughter finished reading the New Testament, a requirement for a special three-year project she's been working on. She's the first one in her class to finish the reading. We're all very excited.

  2. Last weekend we picked up the organ that my grandfather left to me when he passed away. My parents have been taking care of it for me. Today we moved it into the living room, and the girls had a great time trying out all the settings (stops). My oldest daughter is trying out my old organ books and working out some of her piano pieces for the organ also.

  3. My husband switched around the light switches for me today. I realize that if I explain myself, I will be demonstrating my obsessive compulsiveness, but the switches were really getting on my nerves. I feel that if you have two switches to the same light (such as and overhead light with switches at two different doors to the same room), then if both switches are off, the light should be off. (This means that if both switches are on, the lights will also be off, but that's just the price one has to pay.) The previous owners of this house felt that if both switches were on, then the lights should be on, which meant that if I wanted the lights off, then the switches couldn't match. OK, I know it all sounds very weird, but it was driving me crazy. I mentioned to my husband that I needed his dad to come visit us again so that he could turn some of the switches for me, and my husband decided that he would do it instead. (My father-in-law has helped me before in switching around light switches, like when you have three switches together that work for lights in some order, then the switches should be in the same order as the lights. My father-in-law understands these things.) So now I can switch off all the switches in the house at night, and all the lights will be off. Hooray!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A day with only my youngest, lemony goodness, new monitor

  1. A day with my youngest to just have fun and do something special, out of the house.

  2. Crest Whitening Expressions Lemon Ice toothpaste.

  3. A new computer monitor. (I can see what I type again.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wordless Wednesday #5

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dennis Haysbert's voice, herds of turkeys, a solid Tuesday

  1. Dennis Haysbert's voice---I love to listen to that man speak. (We've been watching 24 Season 2.)
  2. I saw at least 40 turkeys in our back pasture this afternoon.
  3. After a weekend and a Monday off from school, and a late start this morning, we were able to finish strong and get a lot accomplished today.

Monday, December 11, 2006

McKay's, Christmas shopping, new toothbrush

  1. McKay's Used Books on Papermill Road in Knoxville. I got $30 in store credit that I used to buy literature books for the girls and some Christmas presents, while at the same time getting rid of a dozen books that were just junking up my house.
  2. Shopping with the girls at a mall in Knoxville. They found a lot of good gifts for each other and for my husband.
  3. The feel of a new toothbrush on your gums and teeth. It had been so long for me that I had forgotten how nice it could feel.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Church with Daddy, playing with my niece, drawing horses

  1. Seeing how excited and happy my dad was to be going to his church after so many Sundays away getting chemo treatments in Houston. It was also nice to be at a church where they were actually singing Christmas hymns in December.
  2. My girls are really good at playing with their little niece. I think that sometimes it can be difficult to keep her entertained when she's at Grandma and Grandpa's house, but my girls try really hard to make their cousin happy, especially my youngest daughter and my middlest daughter.
  3. My oldest daughter was teaching my niece how to draw a horse, and it was really amazing! My niece is 5, and she's not a big fan of sitting still or of being quiet, and she was almost hypnotized by the art lesson, just sitting still and watching and learning, and then making her own picture of a Pegasus.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Our 15-passenger van, teamwork, late night talks

  1. Cruise control on the van, and space for the girls and for me to stretch out and be comfortable.
  2. Working together with my brother to fix a problem on my parents' computer. It felt good to be a part of a team. I love my brother. He's brilliant! We also had a team of four (my brother and my sister and my oldest and me) that loaded an organ and its leslie into my van. Not an easy task. Thank you all!
  3. A late night talk with my oldest daughter. She'd had a bad dream earlier, and we talked about that, but we also talked about why we were in Luxembourg, and what we had learned while we were there. I think she wanted some encouragement after a bad dream, but she ended up encouraging me. She's brilliant!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Weekend Away

I'm off to see my folks for the weekend with the girls. I'll get caught up when I get back late on Monday.


Turkeys versus squirrels, Christmas music, sunshine warmth

  1. We saw the young turkeys chasing a squirrel. I like turkeys and I don't like squirrels. It was quite amusing. My husband counted over 40 turkeys walking through our yard this morning.
  2. I have all my CD's organized, and all my Christmas CD's sitting in one red box that is easily accessible. And I ripped them all to my computer for listening while I work. Playing right now: "When the Baby Grew Up" by Kathy Mattea.
  3. The sunshine is coming through the office and living room windows. I've noticed the house stays significantly warmer on sunny days. I love warm. I love sunshine.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

First snow, free bread, toast tongs

  1. Our first snow of the season---just a few flakes, which keeps me happy, but it's snow, and that makes the kids happy.
  2. Free bagels and English muffins at the post office.
  3. Pampered Chef "toast tongs" are wonderful for getting hot English muffins out of the toaster.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Wordless Wednesday #4 (St. Nicholas Day)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Fun t-shirt, pastoral visit, "Goes to Lux!"

  1. I darned some small holes in a favorite t-shirt of my oldest child. The t-shirt says, "I like to let my mind wander, but it never comes back." It describers her so well.
  2. A visit from the pastor of the church down the road, just stopping to see how we're getting settled in, and we don't even belong to his church.
  3. When we lived in Virginia and were packing to go to Luxembourg, we had signs up around the house to help us sort between what needed to be packed and what needed to be thrown away. One of those signs made it through the move to Luxembourg and the move back to the States. My husband taped it up on the wall in our basement. I'm not sure why it makes me smile, except that I know I don't have to move to Luxembourg ever again.

Our deer, organization, new blog

  1. We saw several of our antlered and non-antlered deer the past few days. It's nice to know they are still around, now that we're half-way through deer season.
  2. My office is getting significantly more organized, including my scrapbook table and my CD tower. My computer is also getting more organized as I transfer files from my laptop. I found several files I needed both for my papers and for scrapbooking. Hooray!
  3. As part of my organizing efforts, and to keep myself accountable, I set up a new blog at I call the new blog Cath's Counts.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Titans, cross-stitch, walking down the stairs

  1. The Tennessee Titans football team won today 20-17 over the Colts with a 60-yard field goal with only 7 seconds left. (Last week, they beat the New York Giants when Rob Bironas kicked a 49-yard field goal with 6 seconds left.) I generally like Peyton Manning because he played his college ball at the University of Tennessee, but it was really exciting to see the Titans make a great comeback against a great Colts team.
  2. A chance to watch a movie in French and work on cross-stitch this afternoon after the game.
  3. My husband commented on my stair-descending ability. I guess the extra exercises for my ankle are paying off.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Songs of home

Last year living in Luxembourg was difficult during the Christmas season, especially when there are so many Chrsitmas songs that talk about home. These songs have a new meaning for me now that I'm back in the States. Included in the list of beautiful Christmas songs about home is the "Fratenizers' Hymn" from the movie Joyeux Noel. I know this is an unusally long blog for me, but I've listed three songs below.

  1. Christmas Lullaby
    by Amy Grant and Chris Eaton

    Are you far
    Away from home
    This dark and lonely night?
    Tell me what best would help
    To ease your mind.
    Someone to give
    Direction for
    This unfamiliar road?
    Or one who says, "Follow me
    And I will lead you home."

    How beautiful
    How precious
    The Savior of all
    To love so completely
    The loneliest soul.
    How gently
    How tenderly
    He says to one and all,
    "Child, you can follow Me,
    And I will lead you home.
    Trust Me and follow Me,
    And I will lead you home."

    Be near me,
    Lord Jesus,
    I ask Thee to stay
    Close by me forever
    And love me I pray.
    Bless all the
    Dear children
    In Thy tender care,
    And take us to heaven
    To live with Thee there.
    Take us to heaven
    To live with Thee there.

  2. Tender Tennessee Christmas
    by Amy Grant and Gary Chapman

    Come on weather man,
    Give us a forecast snowy white.
    Can't you hear the prayers
    Of every childlike heart tonight?
    Rockies are callin',
    Denver snow fallin'
    Somebody said it's four feet deep,
    But it doesn't matter
    Give me the laughter,
    I'm gonna choose to keep

    Another tender Tennessee Christmas,
    The only Chirstmas for me,
    Where the love circles around us
    Like the gifts around our tree.
    Well I know there's more snow up in Colorado
    Than my roof will ever see,
    But a tender Tennessee Christmas
    Is the only Christmas for me.

  3. Hymne des Fraternises
    (I’m Dreaming of Home)

    I hear the mountain birds
    The sound of rivers singing
    A song I’ve often heard
    It flows through me now
    So clear and so loud
    I stand where I am
    And forever
    I’m dreaming of home
    I feel so alone
    I’m dreaming of home

    It’s carried in the air
    The breeze of early morning
    I see the land so fair
    My heart opens wide
    There’s sadness inside
    I stand where I am
    And forever
    I’m dreaming of home
    I feel so alone
    I’m dreaming of home

    This is no foreign sky
    I see no foreign light
    But far away am I
    From some peaceful land
    I’m longing to stand
    A hand in my hand
    I’m dreaming of home
    I feel so alone
    I’m dreaming of home

Friday, December 01, 2006

Puma on 24, no snow, pear crumblies

  1. Inside family jokes --- during Season 2 of 24, there was some kind of wild cat stalking Kim. Someone said, "Puma in the cravice," and we all start laughing. It's also fun to say, "Catch 24" and "What's funnier than 24?" We love watching 24. It's just so silly.
  2. There is snow all across the Midwest, and heading for the east coast, and though the temperatures dropped here down to the 30s from highs in the 70s yesterday, we didn't get any snow. I love being in Tennessee.
  3. My husband made his famous "Pear Crumblies" for desert for supper tonight.