Monday, March 26, 2012

A Snow Day

We enjoyed a few snow days this winter, never more than a couple of inches, but beautiful and fun for the kids.  We made snow ice cream one day :)  This day Bard had off and we bundled up and went for a walk through our village. 

Jackson hanging out on the gate while waiting for the rest of us.


The manor across the road from us.  This is just part of the entire complex.  I’m sure they’ll be having us over for tea any day on!


I love the stone walls that are everywhere throughout the Cotswolds.  One day we talked to some workers that were reconstructing  a part of one and we learned that they don’t use any kind of mortar.  The stones are just stacked on top of each other.  They said they usually last that way for 80 years before they need repair, depending on their location.  The ones nearer to roads that get a lot of traffic, especially lorries (trucks), start to lean from the vibrations of the vehicles as they pass.  There is a lot of moss everywhere here, even on the roofs.  I thought the snow topped moss was so pretty.  This is the wall across from our house that shield the Manor from us commoners :)


The beginning of every walk always starts out with much enthusiasm as the boys find their weapons.  


Oh my, don’t you just love those tiny foot prints!  Emerson was trying to walk in Bard’s footsteps.  Luckily, there is so little traffic through the village we usually just tromp through the street.

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The soldiers marching down the road with guns on their shoulders :)


I love this combination of human and pheasant prints!!


Jackson was trying to see over the neighbors “fence” to check out their awesome snowman.


I was quite impressed that they were able to build such an awesome snowman out of just a few inches of snow!


Kate posing for me … Jackson, not so much :)

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Mathis in the amazing hat Sheila knit for him.  He loves it because I always insist on him wearing a hat and this one he can roll up so it’s not so warm and I’m still happy that most of his head is covered :)


This is the road leading out of our village (you can see the late summer version in the blog header). 


Camera settings weren’t quite right, but Kate loved it anyway :)  I’m wearing Bard’s coat because it fits so well over my stomach and is very warm!


It amazes me how much fun the kids have throwing themselves down into snow banks and getting soaking wet.



Is that not the cutest smile ever??  Emerson’s, of course!


Our attempt at a self portrait of the two of us.  We have about ten more just like this.  Well, one of them has my eye in it :)



On the way back, the little kids start to wear out and there’s a lot of prodding involved in getting them back home.


  Mathis however is still raring to go .. . here he is going the long way around which involves running down this hill and back up through the sheep pasture.

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Meanwhile, Bard is keeping the boys pace up by holding their hands.  Otherwise, they’d both be collapsed in the snow together.


Mathis still happy as can be, enjoying a roll in the snow.


The boys momentarily break from the whining to play in the melting snow.



Bard is know dragging the boys up the hill and back home.  Our road is just to the left … it’s really the only side road in the village.  Straight ahead is one of two village churches and to the left is another building belonging to the Manor.


The aftermath …


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Birthday Boys

We celebrated Mathis’ 7th birthday in January, the same day we heard the baby’s heartbeat.  An exciting day all around!  Mom’s birthday box was filled with all the makings for a great party, which was a huge blessing, since I wasn’t exactly on top of things like birthday party decorations! 


Since our visit to the Birmingham Christmas Market, Bard had been craving bratwurst and convinced Mathis it would be a great birthday dinner.  Yum!  The birthday boy himself … I’m sure we cut his hair sometime shortly after this!


We covered the table with white paper and Mathis spent a couple of hours decorating it.  Turned out to be a great idea and has been in great demand since :)


The centerpiece … I wish you could appreciate the details of the battle going on in the drawing.  


Each plate was designated :)


Things dads do that make kids laugh and spit their milk out  …


Chocolate cake with Nutella for icing (and dueling pirates) … not fancy, but certainly yummy!



The highlight of the night (not captured by camera) was when Jackson took the number seven candle and snuck behind my chair to take a big bite out of it.  Not what he expected :)

Don’t you love how Kate is holding his head still for the picture :)


Fun, fun … for inquiring minds, the chalkboard we used for Sword Club at church.  We just took it off the wall and popped it into the back of the van.  Then it hung back up on the wall with that on it for a couple of weeks :)

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Doesn’t he have the sweetest smile :)

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Jackson’s birthday was just a few weeks later, but he threw up the night before so we decided not to tell him it was his special day.  We’d been talking about his birthday approaching and we were sure the big kids would remember, but somehow it worked out that they didn’t.  Bard and I felt like we were sneaking around all day, but we knew it would be more disappointing for him to know and not be able to celebrate, so we pushed it back another week.

We started the night off with glow sticks outside … lots of fun!  It wasn’t easy capturing the kids in motion.  It pretty much went like this … here one second …


gone the next :)



The lighting was so nice we decided to try me and the kids … they were still in glow stick mode, not sure where the birthday boy was!


The awesome cake made by a friend from church :)



Opening Mathis’ present (can you tell Jackson has turned away from Mathis to keep him from opening it himself?)


helpers :)


Trader Joe’s cookies and milk … thank you, Walls!!  He took the ABC cookies y’all sent to some friends house and was so proud to share his birthday cookies.  These we had squirreled away in the freezer from Christmas.


playing with Kate’s horse that she re-gifted to him :)