It was close to 70° today, but a week ago it was a little different. Two small snows in a row made for a little snow playing. And when you only get a little snow, you can only make a little snow
But despite the lack of depth, the girls enjoyed some time outside.
We were just on the edge of a lot more: just east of here they got almost a foot.
The girls have also had the paints out, experimenting with drips and splatters.
A couple of weeks ago, our sign blew down at church in some high winds. For a few days we were the Wellness Studio, as that was the name of the business before we moved into the building. We got that sign down and are in the process of getting a new one. So for now we are nameless, but that gives us a chance to get a bigger sign and change the lettering a little.
We are all in the thick of school. Lauren has her first debate of the semester tomorrow. And we are in that part of biology where we are cutting open dead animals: a worm and a crayfish so far. A frog and sheep heart are on the agenda. Rebekah competes in science fair next Tuesday and has mock trial coming up later in the spring where they are competing against another group from Asheville.
Lauren is taking a college visit next Friday to Lee University. She really has no intention of attending school there, but some friends are going, so she is going along for the experience. We have to start deciding where to visit in earnest pretty soon. The spring will sneak away if we don’t.
But the biggest news of all…
Blue Bell has finally made it to NC!
Actually, they have been all year as far as Lauren and I are concerned as her English class is British Literature. One of the families in Lauren’s class hosted a British dinner on Sunday. Everyone brought their favorite (?) British meal (after looking up recipes on the internet). From Herby Toad in the Hole to Bangers and Mash to Bubble and Squeak to scones (we know what those are, right?) it was a great meal. We also played some games based on the novels we read this year. Then we finished off the evening watching Jane Eyre.
Jenna has been back at school for a week and a half. We got a letter in the mail today saying she had made the President’s List for last semester. Unfortunately, there was no money attached to that honor.
It has snowed the last two Sundays, but no more than a dusting. Tomorrow is another chance and then Saturday as well. After a warm December, it has finally turned cold. The morning started out at 12°, and if it got above freezing today, it didn’t by much. One good snow and I’ll be ready for summer again.
We spent—thanks to our church—a couple of days in Asheville: a Christmas Biltmore tour and some post-Christmas shopping for the girls (after procuring some swimming goggles, I no longer had a dog in the shopping hunt, but I did manage to finish my favorite novel—Wuthering Heights—while they shopped).
But the first afternoon we were there, we visited the Grove Park Inn to view the winners of the National Gingerbread Competition.
There were categories for children, youth, teens, and adults and the top ten from each category were on display. Supposedly, everything had to be edible; we weren’t allowed to taste any of them.
Some of the constructions by category are below.
Children: Winner plus two other top tens.
Youth: Winner plus two other top tens.
Teen: Winner plus two other top tens.
Adult: some top tens.
And the winner (which was hard to photograph well as it was behind glass):
The Biltmore visit included no pictures—none allowed inside and it was a driving rain storm at our arrival and departure. But it was an enjoyable tour, the best part was the giant—wonderfully smelling—tree in the main dining room.
We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that you have a Blessed New Year.
No, that doesn’t mean we’re against Christmas. It does mean that our youth group’s Christmas party was a contra-dancing Christmas party. It was a fun time. I forgot my camera, and my phone takes lousy pictures, but…
A pre-dance, white elephant gift exchange.
A lot of this same group also gathered last night to go see the new Star Wars movie. We were a little underwhelmed, but it was also a fun evening. Tomorrow the girls are going to a birthday party, Monday is tamale making day, Tuesday we are having a game night with some friends.
We are joining another church for our Christmas Eve service this year, so I have one less thing to plan. I am thankful for their offer and am looking forward to it. Unlike five years ago, no snow is forecast for Christmas. In fact, it’s supposed to be in the 60s with a chance of rain. Oh, well.
Jenna is home! We left to get her Sunday after church. We enjoyed a nice dinner with her and our nieces who also go to school in Mississippi just a few miles from Jenna. They will be spending next semester in Spain.
Jenna had her last final Monday morning (and finished the semester with all A’s), and we got home that night. It’s good to have everyone back under the same roof for a few weeks. And now that Jenna is home, the tree is up:
Our church blessed us with a trip to see the Biltmore all decorated for Christmas. We are looking forward to that the Sunday after Christmas. In the meantime there are homeschool parties, church parties, and a Star Wars movie. The two younger girls have a little school to finish up, but we had our last class of the semester on Tuesday. It has been a good semester with lots learned. Next semester will see Rebekah doing Mock Trial and a science fair in addition to everything else. Lauren will be as busy as ever, but she is looking forward to music history next semester and a trip to the Atlanta Symphony.
And finally, a good friend from church thought this might make a good Christmas card for us; I’m not sure it will make it in any Christmas cards though!
Jenna is supposed to get home tomorrow if all goes well. It’s been too long. Two friends are coming home with her, so we’ll have a full house for the week. Thankfully there’s a little bit of color left on the hill for her to see:
Swimming has been going well so far. I’ve logged 8 miles since the middle of October. I’m up to a little less than half a mile in 30 minutes. I think 30 minutes will be my limit, though I’m pretty sure I can increase the distance as I get in better shape. The water has been consistently at 80° and the temperature under the dome varies from upper 60s to lower 70s. It’s a little chilly at first, but it doesn’t take long before I’m glad it’s not any warmer.
School is winding down for the semester for everyone—finals are approaching for all the girls with a short reprieve for Thanksgiving. Lauren got her ACT scores back and matched her sister on her first go with a 32. Her PSAT scores should come back in a couple of weeks. All of their hard work has certainly paid off. Unlike Jenna, however, Lauren is much less sure of where she wants to end up in a year and a half. But like Jenna, we think she’ll be able to choose almost any place she wants to go.
We hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are thankful to God for our friends and family and the blessings of life both here and into eternity.
Last Thursday, the hill across the way looked about like it did in the picture from the last post. Friday morning, when we left for a field trip to the art museum in Atlanta, it was foggy, and the hill was hidden from view. We didn’t get back from Atlanta until dark, so we didn’t see it then either. Saturday morning we woke up to a completely different view. It seems that someone painted the hill overnight, and not just the hill but the whole county. This has definitely been one of the prettiest falls since we’ve been here. And as always, the camera just won’t do it justice. I don’t know if it is because it has been mostly overcast all week or not.
This was last Wednesday:
This was three and four days later:
Again, the picture looks really nothing like the hill actually looks. Not sure why.
The museum trip was fun. The kids had to pick a piece of art and write a formal critique. They will present those in class in a few weeks. This is the piece Lauren is writing on.
One of our favorites was this marble statue which has the appearance of an actual veil.
Last night, we canned 5 quarts of apple sauce. Dana and a friend had gone down to the apple orchard in north Georgia and came back with a bushel of apples. She’s already made a couple of batches of apples sauce that we’ve eaten, but last night we finally cleared off the counter of apples and added some jars to the cabinets.
Lauren and the other high school kids from church who play together have a busy month ahead. Lauren and the girl who sings are leading worship for a women’s retreat next weekend. The whole band is helping to lead worship for the community Thanksgiving service in Andrews as well as a revival for another church in a couple of weeks. And they are leading worship for us this Sunday.
And now less than a month before Jenna is home.