Sunday, January 9, 2022

A Good Year for Books

In 2021 I was one of the 5,757,979 people who participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. 309,972,709 books were pledged to be read. The average was 53 books. I pledged to read 45 and actually read 52 so I was a litle below average. I'm happy to report that most of the books I read were excellent. I thought I'd share a few of my very favorites.
A wonderful book about 2 doctors, one from Nepal and the other from Salt Lake City, who have changed the lives of so many people through the surgeries performed at the Himalayan Cataract Project. I highly recommend this very uplifting book.
For a change of pace book that will make you laugh and cry, try this one. I loved every resilient, resourceful senior citizen in the book. The descriptions of grief and loneliness interspersed with good humor were just so charming.
Perhaps you have to be from a small southern town to love this one like I did. I am from such a town and I could taste and see and smell and feel it! The writing is flowery but added to the flavor of the book.
I was fascinated with how the stories in this book were adapted to become one of my very favorite TV shows.
A book about the pandemic that reminded me of those first days and weeks in March 2020 when we watched the world change. I also had not heard of the vivid dreams that intubated Covid patients experience. So interesting!
This book is about a family's catastrophe and its aftermath. Finn, the main character, is such a wonderfully drawn girl. Her teenaged angst coupled with her love for her family plus her humor make her a total delight and the fact that she is so loveable and relatable add to the heartbreak of the novel. Happy reading in 2022!

Happy 2022! Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from our pajama clad, horn blowing, cider drinking family!

My 'Big' Kids!

Grandkids seem to have taken a lot of my focus over Christmas but I also enjoyed my 'big kids' and what wonderful adults they have grown into and what fantastic partners they have chosen.

I love that they all enjoyed watching their niece and nephew open the gifts they had carefully chosen.
I love watching them be loving and fun parents, always game for a walk or a snowball fight!

I love seeing Mark, who doesn't play games, be willing to participate in our silly Christmas Eve games!

I love watching the bond between brothers.

I love that Mary finally has a sister!

Hot Tub

 When we were living in Portland, our hot tub quit working and during the 3 years we have been back, we just never got around to fixing it.  Matt has worked really hard over the last several months to get it running again plus clean and fill it so that we could enjoy it over the holidays.  Matt has so many talents and such a great ability to problem solve.  He can do almost anything to which he sets his mind.

Johnny, Monica and Isabella enjoyed some quality hot tub time.  Of course, little fish Isabella loved it!

Jackson was quite cautious at first but eventually decided that it was a pretty fun giant bath tub!
While it was really fun to share the water with Jackson and various boats and dinosaurs, I have particularly loved soaking each evening before bed.  Total relaxation!

A White Christmas

Well truthfully we didn't have a white Christmas but we had a white week after Christmas!  Even in my old age I just LOVE the snow but I do admit to  being more cautious as I walk on the snowy sidewalks.

Last year Mary said that Jackson was scared of the snow.  This year he overcame that fear and loved it like I do.  

Snowball fights were fun but with very specific rules.  #1 He could throw at anybody #2 Nobody could throw at him. #3 He could direct us as to exactly who we could hit....usually Mommy!  The boy is a bit bossy!  Runs in our family!

Jackson didn't shy away from all the work that a snow entails. 

From supervising Isabella filling the bird feeders so the 'birdies wouldn't be hungry'... 
To cleaning off Uncle Matt's car....
And helping Grandma shovel.....he participated in it all!
And even shovel by himself.

I can say that he is definitely a snow loving boy now!
And our Bella is a snow princess. Her mantra like mine is, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Saturday, January 8, 2022

A Sweet Christmas

 My dreams of making and decorating cookies and gingerbread houses did come true.  And the experiences were among my 'perfect' moments of Christmas! 

Jackson was my helper for the baking.

Lots of helpers for the decorating....
This may give you some idea of Jackson' favorite part of the process!  Isabella is an old pro now.  I love seeing her concentration.
And this photo confirms what Jackson enjoyed the most..
Over the last years Monica has become an amazing cookie decorator.  I love how she adapts to our holiday traditions.
She also excelled at Gingerbread house decorating!
Jackson was intent on making an elaborate roof top.
Isabella's concentration made for a really darling house.
I love the different colors and styles.
And I love each of these imaginative designers!
Can't forget George when I talk about our 'sweet Christmas'....and not just because he is my sweetie!  He is our chocolate fountain expert.  So yummy when angel food cake or bananas or strawberries or nutter butter cookies, or marshmallows....or our new favorite,  the traditional Lewis family candy cane cookie, are dipped in that rich goodness! 
Delicious and fun!

This post should explain why this is the cup I need to start off the New Year!

Merry and Bright

There is a special magic in Christmas lights!  They do make me merry!

We first enjoyed them at the marvelous light display at the Scentsy Commons.

All smiles from Jackson and Mary
Isabella is at the age where it is next to impossible to get a photo of her without a 'pose'!  I love our little model!
The Rainbow Tunnel was a favorite.

Another night we went to the Garden's Aglow at the Boise botanical gardens.  
We have definitely upped  our 'selfie game'.  A 7 person selfie!  It is a good thing George has long arms!
500,000 lights plus free hot chocolate and cookies!  If you haven't been, I recommend it.
Our own neighborhood was fun too when we went on a 'flashlight hike' to enjoy the many houses with elaborate light displays.  
Our friends win the neighborhood Christmas lights competition every year!   Deservedly so! 
Jackson, who loves all kinds of vehicles, was particularly impressed with the Grinch and his tractor.  Honestly I wasn't a big fan of the tractor in the yard but it certainly entertained Jackson.
Every time we drove by we had to check if the Grinch was awake.  During the day he was always sleeping much to Jackson's disappointment.
The lights helped to make our Christmas 'Merry and Bright'!