Friday, December 31, 2010

Bush Cousins Visit

Melissa (from Arizona) and Laura (from Pennsylvania) dropped in yesterday for a quick visit. We took them over to Cold Saturday farm for the horse feeding. Melissa even cleaned one of Coco's'  hooves.

Coco posed nicely with Melissa, but turned to take a look at Laura during their photo shot.

After dinner we caught up on the family and played some word games, during which John and Ed each enjoyed a lucky streak. They couldn't possibly have actually been more skilled with vocabulary than the Bush girls!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New York for the Day

We went to New York City yesterday. We left about noon and still had time to stop off in Winfield, New Jersey to show the girls the house Ed was raised in. After a whirlwind tour of Rahway and Linden, we were off to the big city.

There was a significant amount of snow left over from the two feet New Yok received on Sunday and Monday.  We think it may have contributed to the difficulty in driving in the big city. Ed, however, found it no different than driving in Denver or Baltimore, with the exception of more people honking at him!

We arrived in plenty of time for dinner before going to see The Lion King. Brittany, John and Amanda knew the movie by heart, but resisted the urge to sing along as did some of the less cultured people sitting around us!

The costumes were unbelievably creative! I could watch those stilt giraffes all day, especially if they were accompanied by a singing baboon!

Ed and I took turns driving home afterwards. I had the last shift, which ended when we got home at 2:30 a.m. The Disney serenade by Brittany, Amanda and John was great entertainment to keep me awake on the drive home.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


We couldn't have picked a colder day to walk around Annapolis, but we found refuge in the state capitol building where we admired the Christmas tree with ornaments made of recycled materials (garbage). I posed with Amanda, Brittany and John (Brittany's boyfriend).

After parking the car, Ed caught up with us in time to warm up a little before we moved on through downtown Annapolis. If you go to the Naval Academy, be sure to bring an ID, or they'll make you wait outside the gates (like they did Brittany). Amanda kept Brittany company. They sat dejectedly on a porch stoop by the car in the frigid cold while Ed and I took John on a brisk tour through the Academy.

We finished up by seeing the Lights on the Bay at Sandy Point State Park. It was great, as you just drive around in the warmth of your car, enjoying the lights while listening to your favorite Christmas music--Whistling Prairie, of course!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Host of Cardinals

Ed captured this picture of the tree in our backyard filled with cardinals. You can see six red ones, but there are also 3 brown ones hidden in the branches. One of the benefits of winter is that you can actually see the birds again!

We enjoyed another skiff of snow today. After church we recorded a few songs for next years Christmas album. We did another version of We Three Kings. It is our most often recorded song, as we have other versions of it on three previous albums! We must love that song!

Christmas Day

We had a peaceful Christmas day. It snowed just enough to discourage us from going outside and getting the newspaper. Amanda, who looks so peaceful here, spent some time terrorizing the poor dog with her new dijeradoo.

Brittany played some lovely Christmas carols for us on her new hammered Dulcimer.

The dog finished dismembering her second Santa toy. Poor Coda had a rough day, sensing that something was up and it couldn't be good. She spent a good portion of the day skulking around the house.

Ed spent a good portion of his Christmas setting up electronics items for himself as well as me. It's the gift that just keeps on giving!

The highlight of our day was talking to Crystal in El Salvador. She was transferred a few days before Christmas to Ciudad Real, back near her first assignment in Chalchuapa.

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve we were lucky to have Miss Carol come over for dinner. It was our first Christmas away from my sisters in Colorado, and it was nice having company to fill the void. We heard Verlene and Paul made prime rib for Barbara and her family! We had to settle for ham and a really good lava cake for dessert. We read the Christmas story and sang songs in the appropriate places. We didn't act out the nativity. I guess we'll have to wait for grandchildren before we dust off the donkey costume again!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Birthday Dinner

We celebrated my birthday (which is not till Saturday) last night by going out to dinner at Baldwin Station in old town Sykesville. This is the restaurant Ed and I ate at the day after we made the offer on our house. We haven't been back, as it's pretty pricey, but we decided to splurge for my birthday! Amanda had the duck, Ed the game hen, Brittany the New York Strip steak, and I had filet mignon. We topped it all off by sharing a birthday lava cake with ice cream!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Snowy Walk

We went for a walk on the fire road today. It was Amanda's first time on the road, after living here for 6 months! It's a good sign that her foot is finally starting to heal from her operation in July! 

We sat on a log and taped a little program for Crystal. We called it "Logging on." It was pretty funny, with Amanda talking with a funny accent the entire time.

A log had fallen across the road, but Amanda moved it out of the way for us. You can either believe that, or that maybe we just walked around it.

I really dressed warm for the walk, and lived to regret it. It was cold when we were out shopping earlier, but it either warmed up, or walking helped heat me up! We came home to a hot bowl of soup and some sausage bread! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

DC Temple Lights

Brittany and I went to the Washington DC temple tonight to see the beautiful Christmas lights. The also had a nice outdoor nativity scene.

Ed spent the evening parking cars. It was pretty cold out, but they gave him a cool orange vest and a red flashlight, so it was lots of fun.

While they were outside we went in and listened to a Christmas program by a singing group and saw a display of nativity scenes.

We also enjoyed the Christmas trees inside the visitors centers. We found dolls from Bolivia, El Salvador, Botswana and Germany on them!

Black Eyed Family Christmas

The Black Eyed Susans invited their families over to hear our Christmas program last night. What a great audience! They were insatiable, demanding an encore, which we were pleased to give them. We had some really great treats (food) afterwards, many of which ended up staying at our house after everyone left. Hooray for holiday weight gain! 

Later, Kaylene asked Amanda to sing O Holy Night, which coincidentally, she had just sung for her ward Christmas party. Luckily, Brittany is home now, and was able to accompany her. It brought a tear to more than one eye! 

I love the holidays!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Visiting Teaching Christmas Luncheon

June and I celebrated Christmas with our visiting teaching ladies on Friday. Carol, Mary and Barb were all able to come for Sausage and Bay Scallop Soup and Spinach salad. We finished it off with pineapple upside down cake. It was enjoyable just to relax and visit for a few hours! Good food and good company! I'm grateful to be a visiting teacher and to have such a great companion!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Coda's First Snow

We had a bit of snow last week, but nothing you could get your nose into! Coda loved the several inches we had yesterday! It was lots of fun watching her rollicking in the snow!

Ed got out the snow blower last night, but might have had better luck getting out of the driveway this morning if there had been less ice and more snow!

Black Eyed Susan Christmas

The Black Eyed Susans played their first full length gig yesterday at the South Carroll Senior Center. We had a little snow, which deterred a few people, but we had a nice crowd who were stranded at the center till the CATS bus showed up.

Only one of our planned preschoolers showed up because of the snow, but Isabelle was a showstopper and carried her part alone.

The highlight of our program was Silver Bells, because it was sung in tune, and the Bell Ringers played in the correct places (although possibly not the correct bells)! The audience even sang along on the chorus, which was great.

We went over to Chili's afterwards to decompress and wait till Carroll County sent out the snow plows. I'm so lucky to have such great friends!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Piano Woman

Sing me a song, I'm the piano woman! I played the piano for an hour and a half last night at Turf Valley Golf Resort. My friend, Carrie works there and asked if I could play Christmas songs during the appetizers portion of their employee dinner. She promised a delicious meal afterwards. I enjoyed playing, and the meal was just as tasty as advertised! My lips are still watering as I think about the coconut shrimp! I played so well that they also gave me a coupon for a free night's stay at the hotel!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ward Christmas Party

We lit up the gym with festive lights Saturday night in preparation for our Ward Christmas party.  The decorations were beautiful and the food was delicious and plentiful. The menu was: 

Spinach Craisin Salad with Poppy Seed dressing, 
Green Beans Almandine, 
Coconut Rice, 
Red and green jello, 
Kalua Pork, 
Hawaiin Rolls with butter, and 
Candy Cane Cupcakes. We served family style and even the servers got to sit and eat! 

We had some great entertainment from around the world (or at least around the ward). A few of the groups that participated were: The Stanger family, who did Stille Nacht,

Joanie Halsey's quintet from school did God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
The Black Eyed Susans (who hate it when I call them Twisted Sisters!) sang Fum, Fum Fum with Pat-a-Pan. Notice, Kaylene is gamely improvising on the shoebox! Someone forgot to bring her bodhran!

The most beautifully costumed performers were the Nigerians (Sisters Iroanya and Okereke and friends), who did two songs AND a dance!

How Do You Spell Relief?

P-R-O-P-A-N-E! Our tank was down to 5% before the delivery truck magically appeared on Saturday. We were afraid we'd be out of propane by Sunday. I think in the future we won't let the tank get down to the "recommended" 20% before we call for a refill! 

We've had a cold couple of days. It snowed a little on Friday and the streets froze up instantly! It was so slick that I had to abandon my car about 2 miles from home and start walking. A friendly neighbor in a pickup truck gave me a ride part way home! Ed took me out later Friday night to pick up my car and he got Amanda's car stuck in the ice. Fortunately, after about 15 minutes the salt trucks drove by, dumping a load of salt beside him, and we made it home safely! We're learning a little about Maryland winter weather! Watch out for it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bag Ladies

Christmas came early for the Black Eyed Susans! Carrie (2nd from right) made us all tote bags for our music. They are so incredibly beautiful! Now we look like a real band!

They have pockets on the front as well as the back! And look at the embroidery! I'm glad we have a quilter in the band!

The opposite side says, "Well behaved women rarely make history!" We're on our way to history next week as we have our first gig at the senior center! (I hope the ladies behave themselves!)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Will Work for Eggs

Amanda and I have been helping out at Miss Carol's farm a little more lately, as Lennie has been pretty sick. I've learned how to clean hooves! This stylized photo of me was the best Amanda could do in the dark morning light at the stable this morning. We take Coda down to help out. She's good with the horses, but we're afraid she might tip Miss Carol over with one of her love jumps! I like the cool rakes you use to clean up the poop! The right tool for the right job!

When we finish feeding the horses we let the chickens out. We're flush in big brown eggs!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bead Service

The Relief Society Service auction was just a great excuse to get to do all the things you wanted to do, anyway. My friend, Helen, auctioned off a jewelry making session, which I was lucky enough to win. It came complete with hugs from her daughters and lots of chatting. I even made a watch band, which I'm very proud of.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Dismembered Santa

We have been amazed at how sturdy dog toys are! Coda has tugged and pulled on them, and they just don't rip. Unfortunately, that was not the case with this Santa from Walmart. She loves it to death, but, sadly, the construction left a little bit to be desired. She took all his appendages off the first day. Despite his sorry state we can't get Coda to give him up! There are little pieces of stuffing all over the place. I guess he'll have to mysteriously disappear when she's not looking!

New Boots and Relief Society

Amanda and I went missionary shoe shopping yesterday. It was a very successful shopping trip in which Amanda got two great pairs of shoes for her mission, and I got a pair of black boots. I've been looking for a new pair of boots for about 5 years now, and was so happy to get them that I wore them to Relief Society last night. They were the perfect footwear for a cold, Baltimore evening out.

We had a lovely meal last night, as well as a slide show and a program that included music and dance. When is the last time you've had dancing girls at Relief Society? I loved it.! These are the ladies at my table, starting on the left--Nancy, Charlotte, Maria, Mary, Iffy, Diane and Sue.