Saturday, December 30, 2006
Of weddings and wishes
Our "wedding guest" Andrew Stroud.
The newlyweds ~ Mr. & Mrs. Curtis Going
Their "get-away" vehicle. (At least I think it was. The words "Just Married" were on the back! :-)
It has been a fun weekend here in the South! It was great to have Andy in our home. The wedding was beautiful and, of course, I shed some tears. The boys had some cute comments/questions concerning the festivities. When the strains of a Bach melody reached Ethan's ears, he gazed upward and announced, "I didn't know Baby Einstein was here!" :-) Seth also wondered if Curtis would answer his phone while on his "honeycomb."
I wanted to end this year by wishing all of you a happy beginning to the next! I love it when a new year arrives! I am always full of anticipation about what wonderful things will happen, how many new people I will meet, the memories I will make, and I usually have a whole list of "resolutions." How about you? Plan on improving anything? :-)
Happy New Year!

  posted at 5:52 PM  

Friday, December 29, 2006
Pictures and Plans
Mission accomplished, and I love it!!!!!! How about you?
The previous artwork my sister left as she was touching up the white by the ceiling.
Here is a pic with the brown/yellow/tan, a little bit of orange in the distance from the boys' room and their tree with a tipsy star. :-)
This was my "big" Christmas gift from Troy. I was so shocked and happy that I almost cried. I wanted one terribly but never dreamed I would get it. This clock is quite large and looks wonderful on this wall! Thanks, Troy, you have no idea how much I craved this!!!!

I am finished with the last of my big painting projects, and I am so relieved! Troy was able to help me on the high part in the living room. I had forgotten how nice it is to have someone paint with you! Now, all I have left is a little bit of "touch up" in a few corners and finish some white trim. I will not finish it before the 31st because I have been sensible for once and spent more time relaxing and spending moments with my family. I am also expecting an overnight guest tonight, will attend a wedding tomorrow and am having two families over here Sunday evening. Consequently, lots to prepare, so I really should go! I plan to post a before/after view of the kitchen (after I do my dishes) so you can see how it all looks. I will also try to get a good picture at the wedding of Curtis Going and Jennifer Hester tomorrow. (For all of you GBS folk.)

Have a great Friday evening!

  posted at 4:29 PM  

Wednesday, December 27, 2006
100th Post
Here it is - my 100th post! This blog has been fun for me, and I hope you have enjoyed it as well! I decided to copy an idea I gathered from another blog and list 100 things about myself that you might not know. Let's see if I can summon the interesting ones from my memory.
The "Real" Martha:
(These will not be chronologically stated.)
1. Was born in Cincinnati.
2. Have lived in ten different houses or apartments.
3. In 1996, I was in Paris.
4. Have ridden an elephant.
5. Dislike coffee. (Sorry, Angie!)
6. Dislike Mexican and Chinese food, seafood. . .
7. Desire to take my children on many mission trips.
8. Do not mind a good argument or discussion.
9. Love to ride horses.
10. Visited Canada twice.
11. Love to read.
12. Started playing the piano at the age of seven.
13. Played the violin for several years. (Thought I was too busy and quit.)
14. Do not know the meaning of the word "bored."
15. Love to cross-stitch.
16. Terrified at the thought of going to the moon. (Wouldn't do it for a large sum of money!)
17. Am not scared of snakes.
18. Terrified of bugs that "crunch" when you step on them!
19. Mildly frostbit my hands and feet as a teen. (Was "too cool" to wear sensible clothing!)
20. Get motion sickness easily.
21. Was born with a fractured collar bone.
22. Broke my right collar bone at the age of two. (My earliest memory.)
23. Have had four surgical procedures in the last six years.
24. Never had a sibling fight with David (youngest brother).
25. Am the second born of five children.
26. Dislike doing bulletin boards and running children's Christmas programs. (Love watching them though! :-)
27. Love to clean.
28. Thrive on organization.
29. Start most days with a list.
30. Least favorite duty is dishes!
31. Only brand loyal to Melaleuca.
32. Love Pampered Chef, Tupperware, cast iron skillets. . .
33. Walked on the Missouri River when it was frozen. (Would never do that now!!!).
34. Love giving money to missions and needy people.
35. Have no time for romance novels.
36. Would have a Pottery Barn house if I could afford it.
37. Did a lot of fishing as a girl and young teen.
38. Love to ride bikes.
39. Clean my car every week - as weather permits.
41. Scared to ski.
42. Love to sled.
43. Make an idiot of myself ice~skating!
44. Love garage sales, thrift stores, flea markets. . .
45. Did not like chocolate until Ethan was born.
46. Start Christmas shopping in January.
47. Attended eight different schools K-12.
48. During my senior year, I received an award for "Outstanding Academic Achievement."
49. Had a 4.0 GPA in college.
50. Suffered a head injury in my middle teens. (Basketball backboard & goal fell and whacked me on the head.)
51. Loved living in South Dakota.
52. Can name any NBA team if you say a state or city.
52. Learned the game of basketball so that I can have an intelligent conversation about the sport. (Did that just for you, Honey:-)
53. Love to watch baseball and basketball.
54. Have no clue about soccer or football.
55. Got lost on the Missouri River with my dad and older brother. (Boats had even been sent looking for us.)
56. Can hardly stand to touch raw chicken.
57. Raw beef does not bother me.
58. Love to do crafts and projects.
59. Dislike painting walls. (As if you didn't know! :-)
60. Lorie Line and Martha Miller are my favorite female pianists.
61. Disliked the name "Martha" until several years ago. (Thought it was an "old lady's name.")
62. Try to smile at everyone who has eye contact with me.
63. Started playing the piano in church around the age of nine or ten.
64. Once I was so nervous at the piano, my right leg kept coming up and bumping the piano! :-) Unfortunately it was not to the time of the music!
65. Received a gold cup from the National Federation of Music.
66. Ridden in several helicopters, many trains, countless planes. . .
67. Too scared to ride in a hot air balloon.
68. Love homeschooling.
69. Have been to at least 26 states.
70. Once attended a funeral (Nathaniel Joslin's) and a wedding (Leland & Rowana Lindahl's) in the same day. (Roller coaster of emotions.)
71. Had the nickname "Catfish" as a girl. (I fell in a river, and my grandpa said I came out smelling like one.)
72. At the age of seven or eight and just having moved to SD, I got separated from my parents while playing at a park. I assumed they forgot about me and went out to eat, so I walked a mile back home and hid in the bushes every time I saw a police car. Hours later after my weeping mother discovered me, I was informed the police were searching all over town and were getting ready to drag the Missouri River.
73. Was planning on doing legal work with an organization like CLA or Homeschool Legal Defense, but then. . . There was a serious relationship with a guy named Troy. (I decided to make my future children my career.)
74. Am easily amused and often have to stifle laughter.
75. Favorite color is pink.
76. Loved to attend school.
77. Had a knack for getting my classmates to laugh while keeping a straight face myself. (I upset a teacher or two.)
78. Think Stewart Walton has some of the most unique decor ideas.
79. "Martha Stewart" and Janelle Manley are probably the only two people who truly know my decorating tastes. (Troy does, too.)
80. Love baskets and trunks.
81. Abhor clutter.
82. Love to get up early.
83. My feet are sssssssoooooo ticklish; don't even come near them!
84. Love to have people comb out my hair.
85. The first vehicle I drove was a suburban.
86. Have been hit twice by drivers not stopping at signs.
87. Plan on owning a white baby grand in the next decade.
88. Went on a short term mission trip that changed my life.
89. Love to bring happiness and cheer to people.
90. Love Vera Bradley bags since Nancy introduced me to them. (Nancy, should I ask for the Java Blue for my birthday next month? :-)
91. Tend to be optimistic and see the cup "half-full."
92. Never played Monopoly and never care to do so.
93. Love word games. (Boggle, Scrabble, Balderdash)
94. Dearly loved Ronald Reagan and cried bucketloads when he died. (Saw him in person at Fountain Square.)
95. Always wanted to see Princess Diana in person.
96. Love to take walks and hikes.
97. My first job was at a Right to Life office.
98. Love to blog!
99. Love flowers.
100. Never get weary of hearing my boys say, "I love you, Mommy!"
101. I am not a good proofreader of my own work! :-)

  posted at 7:19 PM  

Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Christmas fun and games
~ Charming snapshot of Steve being a "chicken" during a round of Guesstures. (I hope he never starts a blog and posts a picture of me being a "beaver!" :-) ~
~Seth was acting out "crawling." ~
~Playing Taboo.~
~Seth enjoyed relaxing in the little recliner and holding Adrianna. (At this point, she was trying to hop down, and he was attempting to hold her still for the picture.)~
~Ethan and Luke~
Steve and Angie Oliver were very gracious and invited us to spend part of Christmas in their home. They served a wonderful meal with desserts to follow. The afternoon also included some fun games! After all, is Christmas really Christmas without games?! As you can see, I was very kind and included some nice snapshots of Steve. Troy and Angie were fortunate because I was usually on one of their teams which prohibited me from "framing" them.
What a fun day! Thank you, Steve and Angie, for adding to our Christmas!

  posted at 10:21 AM  

A Tale of Christmas Gifts. . .
~ Ethan & his Chronicles of Narnia set~
~Seth and his "real" basketball from Aunt Joanna~
~A stocking "must have" for Ethan - Oreo cookies~
~Seth's favorite - NBA Live 2006 & new controller~
~One of my favorites - Seth had the idea of getting me pink carnations because they are my favorite.~
We had a great Christmas this year! The boys actually stayed in bed until around 8:15. (Their tired parents were very grateful! :-) After waking, we had Christmas devotions and let the kids open their piles. They had a whopping amount since my two younger sisters went a little wild with shopping this year.
I am notorious for finding surprises ahead of time - much to the frustration of my family, but Troy completely shocked me this year! Due to a statement from Ethan, I almost discovered it, and I am so glad I didn't. Troy bought me something that I was craving to have but never dreamed of getting. So, when it is in its rightful place, I will post a picture.
I hope your holiday was joyous, and I look forward to reading your posts!

  posted at 9:56 AM  

Saturday, December 23, 2006
Countdown. . .
~ My Willow Tree nativity~
I love Willow Tree creations! Someday I hope to have the entire manger scene collection.
~ The boys and their countdown charts~
At bedtime, the boys get pretty excited to turn on the trees in their room, and it is time to knock another day off the countdown charts. They take turns making an "X" on one chart and cutting a link off the other. I also tried to snap this picture in a way that you could see the angel at the top. When attaching their manger scene to the door, Seth really wanted it up there.
I hope the weekend has started as a pleasant one for you and your kin! We are ready for Christmas (Troy still has to wrap his gifts to me.) and are planning on painting today. Any help? :-) Ugh! I do not like painting. (I am sure you have never heard me say that!) I am determined to have this done by the 31st!
Sunday will be busy with church, practicing music, and dinner with John and Cathy Parker. On Monday, we will have our Christmas together, and if the boys have any choice in the matter. . .it will be early!!! Ethan is so excited, and he told me I "just can't imagine!" Around noon, we will be heading to Steve and Angie Oliver's house for some dinner with fun and games to follow! I am looking forward to a blessed Christmas, and my prayer is that you will have one as well.
Merry Christmas!

  posted at 12:04 PM  

Friday, December 22, 2006
Christmas in school
Art project ~ Button Christmas trees
Candy cane cookies
Lollipop Christmas cookies
We are having lots of fun adding Christmas to our homeschooling schedule. We had a "Christmas Party" and set up the trees/decorations the day after Thanksgiving. (Chipping away at those 180 days! :-) Twice I exchanged P.E. with cookie bakes. (I consumed large amounts of yummy dough!) Troy was not in classes during the second one and was able to help. Seth was so excited to have him baking with us.
In Art class, the boys made button Christmas trees, and Seth made a sand art bell. I love hanging their little projects around the house. Kids' artwork is so adorable!

  posted at 10:25 AM  

Thursday, December 21, 2006
"Magic" Tree
~ Step 1= add water~
~ Step 2 = wait~
~Hours later~
We have added another "tree" to the Sherwood Forest in our home. (Am I hearing gasps from the "one tree" gallery? Ahem. . .Les and Carrie? :-) This one was in the form of an experiment, and it came from Grandma Sampson. (She is wonderful at sending all sorts of fun things for homeschool.) Sorry the photo quality is not the best. I had the camera on every setting, but it would not focus.

  posted at 10:20 PM  

Wednesday, December 20, 2006
BMV Flashback

We are really enjoying Troy's semester break! Yesterday he was able to join us on our weekly library trip, and due to warm weather, we added lunch at the lake. (It was at "my spot.")

Troy was Seth's "teacher" yesterday and part of today, which is freeing me up to ensure the completion of the painting and projects before December 31st.

It also frees me up for more one on one with Ethan which included another "castle" being built today. I spent extra time on it, and Ethan was thrilled with the results. As I was tapping the finishing touches, I "heard" a Playmobil man say (in a fake adult voice), "Let's go to the license plate place!" The poor boy (Ethan) probably thinks it is normal for people to make six trips to the BMV and turn it into a two week process! :-)

  posted at 4:37 PM  

Tuesday, December 19, 2006
"Colored" carpet
Yes, you only thought you knew what colored carpet is!!! Seth was in his room and decided to "color" the carpet and make it pretty for me. Excuse me?!!! "Make it pretty?" Okay. . .that's a new one! Thankfully my trusty Melaleuca cleaners got it out in no time at all. I did make Seth do the initial scrubbing. After watching me, his comment was, "Wow, Mommy, you are good at scrubbing!" "Thanks, Seth. I really wanted to show off my ability." (Insert annoyed cough.)
When Troy arrived home from work, he had a hard time believing Seth was the culprit. "That sounds like something Ethan would do." "I know, but it was Seth. As far as I can remember, we never had trouble with him and crayons, so I was not pro-active enough to warn against carpet coloring." I thought I had seen a lot with cars being driven through toilet water and "Cheez-its" being fed to the fan, but this tops those!

So that I will not leave a "colored" image of Seth in your mind, allow me to include the note I found the day we set up the trees. He had also taken a plastic strap that held part of my new tree together to make the heart.

  posted at 4:34 PM  

Monday, December 18, 2006
Busiest time of the year!
Andrew Graham ~ costumed for the cantata and keeping his lines "handy." You need to maximize this picture to "appreciate" his hard work! The best part was that his first words happened to be, "We were educated men. . ."
They just couldn't memorize! Ha. :-)

Seth singing away in the kids' choir.
Our little buddy ~ Stevie Russo. (He kept smiling after the picture was taken!) I had the privilege of babysitting him last Wednesday. He is so cuddly, and we had a blast. The boys were disappointed when he had to go home.
At the church's Christmas dinner. (Seth's fruit punch produced some charming lips!)

Whew! It has been a crazy weekend, but all the dinners, programs and cantata happen to be completed! I really enjoyed being the pianist after I made it through the first ten measures. (Those always have me a little nervous.)

Having spent so much time on other things, you can imagine the state of my house. . .my poor house. . .sad house. . . There are mounds of laundry to fold, stacks of things needing to find their proper place and a restaurant amount of dishes that need tending. . . It is a good thing that I like to clean!

On the other side, I have been having lots of fun with the boys as we prepare for Christmas. All of my gifts are wrapped, and all boxes are in the mail. ( I still have a few cards that need to be sent.) Best part - I think the house will be completed by January 1, 2007!

  posted at 6:19 PM  

Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Newest member of the castle. . .

Yes, I know what you are thinking, and no, I am not! :-) Our newest member is a string, oops. . .I mean a "worm." His name is "Heebie." (No, his last name is not "Jeebie.") Ethan is quite enthralled with "Heebie" and takes him all over our house. Heebie has even chatted with me and thinks I am a nice mother. (What a sweet "worm.") I am very fond of these low maintainance pets! Heebie has yet to be initiated with a game of "Crashing Fat Bellies." (Can't imagine it would hurt him.)

  posted at 4:16 PM  

Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The mystery is over!!!
I am pleased to announce that I have pegged the identities of "Plum_flummoxed" and "Martha Stewart." Whew!! I can sleep better now. These ladies had me stumped! I will be kind and keep your identities a secret. :-) Please accept my posting of flowers in your honor. . . You gals are great!!!!!

  posted at 9:10 PM  

Monday, December 11, 2006
Another weekend project. Years ago, I found this print stashed in my grandmother's basement, but she kindly gave it to me. It used to be framed in gold/blue. I painted it with my new living room colors, and "ta da" ~ here is my new piece of art!
Next project was three windows (1 dining room, 2 living room). Okay, these are not my style or desire, but I am determined not to spend a lot of money on a house where I will not live very long!!! These valances were made from my other living room curtains (Look at Sept. posts for Cincinnati apartment), and the great thing is that the material is tubular! So, all I did was flip them sideways and run a rod through the top. They do look nice next to the dining room drapes, so I will not complain. With the price of $0.00 for them, I will not complain about that either!
BJU Christmas tree lighting ~ We attended this on Dec 1, and it was a nice family outing. I have included a before/after shot, but they are not very good. (Sorry.)
It looked so beautiful once the millions of light began to twinkle. There was a big crowd (100,000 attended last year!), and we enjoyed beautiful Christmas music. We went away with Ethan singing, "We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new week."
Christmas project. Here is a sample page of the scrapbook calendar for my grandmother. I did very simple layouts to this, but it was still fun. I can tend to spend an hour per scrapbook page, so I behaved and kept it simple. (Besides the fact I was also making one for my dad, and I had to multiply every process!)
Whew!!!! What a busy and wonderful time! After the cantata performance next Sunday, my life will slow a little. Oh, yes, Sunday morning is the Christmas program with Ethan in attendance. Let's hope and pray he has no paybacks for me.
I remember all too well my first Christmas program. Being a young one, I was in the front row. As the program began to roll, I promptly put an index finger in either side of my mouth, stretched it out as far as possible and began moving my tongue in and out like a snake!!!! My poor mother was in the audience frantically shaking her head and mouthing, "No." I remember thinking she was making a big deal out of nothing! :-) I now believe that God let me keep that memory so I will have patience with Ethan!!!
Last Friday, Seth and I attended our first opera. Thankfully it was in English so I had a clue what was happening. We had a great time with Troy, and he favored us with wonderful seats. Seth's favorite part was when some guys whipped out real swords, and, of course, the sound of steel was thrilling. Poor boy~he needed to live in the days of knights and horses. He has "Robin Hood" written all over him.
Best news, my house is almost finished!!!!!!!!!! Troy said he would help me with the rest of the painting!!! (Can you hear me screaming?!) My goal is to have any wall that will be painted~actually painted, all white trim completed, every curtain hanging, every picture on the wall. . . before the new year. I think it is going to happen!!

  posted at 1:18 PM  

Friday, December 08, 2006
The architect side of me

Pictured is the basic castle structure (Hope you like rain; no roof provided.) with personal train track surrounding the premises. Building and material at a low cost of 2.5 million. Contact if interested. . .
Yes, last evening the "architect" side quickly presented Ethan with a "castle" and "train track" at his request. Being a childhood LEGO lover, I tend to make him magnificent castles that take 30 or more minutes to build. Well, last night being a busy one, he ended up with the short version, but it will still provide hours of fun.
The cutest part was when the "king" and "queen" (standing on the top level of their castle) in high~pitched voices said to me, "Oh, thank you, Mommy. This is a beautiful castle." :-)
I had no clue I had ever given birth to royalty!

  posted at 10:49 AM  

Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Inspiration and frustration!
Weekend project. I spotted this on an old wall hanging and did my own version to fit the boys' bathroom. Be sure to maximize so you can view it better. I used paint (trying to give it a denim look) and poly on the frame and wrote with my left hand to give it the appearance of a child's handwriting.
I wrapped a few gifts to add to the boys' excitement. Once he spotted them, Ethan was thrilled and awarded me with the biggest hug. He will sit by the tree and gaze longingly at them. It is so cute.
Evening view of the trees.
Recently I was hit with a living room curtain inspiration!! The problem arose when I decided to hang curtain rods. Grrrr! Never mind the details!! I will admit that I attacked one of the nails with enough force to scare Goliath! You know how that is supposed to be a 15 minute project? Not here!!! It has turned out to be a second day project. Grrrr~again!
I have also been hit with some inspiration using two old, falling to pieces picture frames and French calligraphy wallpaper! You are "wondering" aren't you?:-) I can sense it. I think that at least "Martha Stewart" and maybe Carrie will enjoy the end result.
Thank you for all the kind tree comments and emails. I do love decorating them after the "inspiration" arrives.
Oh, yes, "Plum_flummoxed" was correct; the window will be turned into a picture frame. It has currently been brushed with paint and poly, and is awaiting its contents. Pictures promised after completion!
Well. . .my "touch up" paint is probably dry, so I am back to the curtains. . .

  posted at 2:51 PM  

Monday, December 04, 2006
2006 Christmas Tree
I love the colors next to the brown wall.
A close-up of the theme
2006 production
"Antennas" as Troy calls them.
Here are the snapshots, but I feel they do not do it justice! I think the garland is what makes the tree come alive. I bought a yard and a half of the material for $1.50 and snipped strips to make it.
As you can see, I go for a more unorthodox tree topper. Troy likes to tease me concerning them. Occasionally as he strolls by the tree he says, "Christmas tree calling home." :-)
"Anonymous" guessed correctly; the stars were made with scrapbooking paper. I found the template for them from a link on another blog. It really helped me create a whole new tree for $6!
I hope all of your decorating is coming along smoothly!

  posted at 9:57 AM  

Saturday, December 02, 2006
Meantime at the castle. . .
One of my projects ~ I am making a living room decoration out of this window. Any guesses as to what it will be?
Okay. . .Okay. . .I like to create different types of Christmas decor.
One of my sewing projects. My friend, Heather Christner, did the letters before I moved. I finally made time to finish the pillows.
Another sewing project ~ a hat/mitten holder. I am not particularly fond of the material colors, but it was what I had on hand.
I'm back!!! Thanks for all the comments; they were fun to read. I am still waiting for "Martha Stewart" to let me know who she really is. (You can go to my profile page and click on the "email" if you want to hold your identity from everyone else.)
Whew! I am wrapping up a busy week of practicing, painting, sewing, organizing and running around making Christmas memories. It was wonderful to wake up early this morning, pop some cinnamon bread in the oven and get up to date on all of your blogs. (Angie, we are a bit kindred with our speeding tickets and numerous trees! :-)
Back to projects. . .I am determined to finish painting the rest of this house, sew and hang curtains and finish decorating before the new year. I want to concentrate on other things in 2007.
Have a great weekend. I will see you in your blogs!

  posted at 9:56 AM  

queen of the castle

Martha C

To all my family and friends, this blog was commenced as a way to keep you informed during my frequent communication lapses. Enjoy reading of our life in this far, far away land called "the South."

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