Monday, December 24, 2007

A Norton Christmas Eve

We're still mixing it up from year to year with our Christmas Eve traditions, except for three sure things: the reading of Luke's account of the birth of Jesus; eggnog with nutmeg; and singing. Tonight we added in viewing The Nativity Story, singing Silent Night with some carefully held candles, hanging our next-to-last Jesse tree ornament, and, strangely, wrestling with Dad (can't you just see their children years from now? "Dad, why do we always wrestle on Christmas Eve?" "I don't know, son, that's just always what our family has done.").

Here are some quote highlights:
"In those days, Cas-car Ah-goose-tus issued a decree...." -- Levi, who sometimes reads the Bible passages a bit too quickly.

Eric (with his annual "trick" question): "So, who was Jesus' father?"
Levi/Delaney/Jesse/Sara: "Joseph!"
Eric: "No. "
Delaney: "Daniel?"

Merry Christmas everyone! May God's grace and mercy be renewed to you tomorrow, and every, morning.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Fruit of (their) Labors

In the spring, we tilled the soil. Then, we made our hills, and planted the young plants.

In the summer, we watered (and watered, and watered -- remember summer?) and weeded and watched out for the waves of beetles.

In the fall, we waited, and waited. Tomatoes were picked, the zucchini had finally ended, but still, we waited. Finally, the time was right (we hoped). We dug, and dug and dug some more. We hauled them all inside, and then...we had to wait again. They cured.

Finally, last week, we gave thanks for our harvest, and ate.

"Mom, you have to take a picture of me eating our sweet potatoes!" Levi said. All he added was a little brown sugar.
Those of you who know our family know that I do not have the green thumb (understatement). My brother grows things. My sister was born with a love of animals, which I also do not possess. I, however, have managed to learn to write about it all. Since we may never be able to grow sweet potatoes again successfully, I thought I had better report it now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

There's nothing like a good, hearty song

Go ahead, play the game: can you "Spot the Nortons"? Bonus points if you can guess their personalities! (This is at their homeschool choir concert)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Snow Days, revisited*

6:15 a.m. -- "Mom! Dad! It's snow! It's snow! Can we go out in the snow today?"

8-11 a.m. -- "Do you think we can go out? Is Dad ready to go out? I can't wait to go out!! Do you have the hot chocolate ready, mom? Can we go out yet? Now? How about now?"

11:02 a.m. -- Extricate snow boots and snowsuits from upstairs closet.

11:03 - 11:15 -- Determine if there are appropriate sizes and matching boots for all children.

11:15 - 11:35 -- Wrestle five children into extra shirts, snowsuits, boots, gloves (grrrrr), mittens, hats.

11:36 a.m. -- Wrestle two children out of snowsuits because they forgot to go to the bathroom. Other children: "I'm hot."

11:40 -- Dad, sweating profusely, heads outside with those who are ready while mom finishes up the stragglers who want a hat/mittens/scarf like their siblings instead of the one they are wearing. Tough luck.

11:45 a.m. -- Stomping, footprints, snow angels, shoveling, in the snow! Mom heads out as far as the garage to take obligatory first snow pictures. Heads in to make lunch.

11: 50 a.m. -- First steps heard on garage stairs. Delaney. "I'm not coming in because I have to go to the bathroom mom. I'm just checking to see if you started the hot chocolate."

12:30 p.m. -- First two head in for lunch and aforementioned hot cocoa. That has to be a record!

12:40 p.m. -- Rest of crew follow, stripping snow and related clothing throughout the kitchen.

1 p.m. -- Lunch done, kids scatter, parents collapse.

* I know that as the parent, snow days are not going to be quite the fun they were as when I was a kid, but homeschooling really throws an extra wrench in the whole thing. Let's see, wake up, it's snowing hard, all the local schools close....and there's our living room, still full of books to be read and math to be done. I know, we can certainly call it a "snow day", but you know it's not the same. I find myself living vicariously on those days through the school closing ticker at the bottom of the TV news. In fact, our children have only seen the morning news when it is snowing outside and I turn on the TV to see if any family members' school has a delay or closing that day. It's strange, the things that are harder to let go of. Cafeterias and mounds of fill-in-the-blanks homework? See 'ya. Snow days? May the school closing list live on forever.

Monday, December 3, 2007

They're on a roll

Even though we've been home for a week, the kids have not let up in making us laugh with the things they say. I'm going to keep up with recording these gems on here -- Eric and I will have them to remember, and maybe those who are still reading can enjoy them with us.

This week's winner:

Set-up: Levi and I are cleaning up after breakfast. I am distracted and half-listening.

Levi (looking out window): Mom, I think we should make our own maple syrup.
Me: Umm...I don't think we have maple trees? Do we?
Levi: Yes we do -- they're right out there, mom!
Me: But, um, we'd have to tap them and run the lines and do all the boiling...
Levi: We could do that, mom, it wouldn't be that hard.
Me (still trying to figure out how to get out of this): Ummm....(lightbulb in head finally goes on)...Oh! Levi, but we don't have the right kind of maple tree. It has to be a sugar maple.
Levi (pauses for about 2 seconds): Well, we could just do sugar-free!