Thursday, December 31, 2015

Walk, Work, Welax

Ed and I started out the morning by walking Coda. Ed got a FitBit for Christmas, that is not quite as generous with the step count as mine! But, we both made our 10,000 steps!

We got to work on our music a little earlier today, as we finally had most of the arrangements worked out. That process took a good part of our time the previous few days.

Mabel got passed around to whoever had the singing part in each song. She was so cute!

Reagan came over and took family photos for us. We're hoping to get a new album cover for next year's CD out of it. It was fun having someone else tell us what to do for a change!

This shot of the men in the family is straight out of GQ!

Amanda and Nolan made a spiced pumpkin soup for dinner. It was delicious with crunchies of fried kale and sesame seeds.

We finished up the evening with a bad movie "Queen of Blood." It was okay by me, as I got a birthday hair brushing from John during the movie!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Faux Birtday

We celebrated my birthday yesterday (everything is belated this year) by spending the day making music in the basement.

Afterwards Brittany and John made dinner for us, with a little help from their friends.

The menu was Thai peanut curry on rice with spring rolls with fresh veggies inside. I was surprised the spring rolls were not fried! Much healthier for you, I would think! I was happy because peanut is one of my new favorite flavors!

Crystal cooked up an apple crisp birthday cake for dessert. She put extra crunchies in it just for me!

It was a lovely birthday, made even better by having my family around to share it with me!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Faux Christmas (Crystalmas)

We celebrated Christmas yesterday, three days late. We called it Crystalmas, because she likes to celebrate Christmas right. We read the Christmas story Sunday night and played and sang songs for each other. Then, we woke up (not very early) yesterday to go down and open gifts.

One of our gifts was the opportunity to play with Mabel and make her pose over and over for pictures! She was cute in her cradle with the zebra blanket!

Dad was able to lull her off to sleep in her swaddling blanket. Nothing quite as comforting as holding a sleeping baby!

We fought the traffic to get to the Kennedy Center for the nightly free concert on the Millennium Stage. It turns out the stage is just the end of a big hallway. They had a vaudeville troupe with a Cajun electric cellist performing. I got some new ideas for the band!

Whistling Prairie (along with the rest of the audience) got to perform, as they handed out kazoos to everyone in attendance.

Afterwards we stopped off to see the beautiful National Christmas tree in front of the White House. It was surrounded by trees from every state and territory.

The down side was we didn't get dinner till 10 p.m. We picked up stromboli from Pizza Boli's on the way home.  Mmmm. It was worth the wait!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Warm Sunday in Maryland

After church today we had ham and potatoes for our faux Christmas Eve dinner. We're celebrating Christmas tomorrow morning. John made his special garlic mashed potatoes with lime juice and onion. They were very tasty!

The girls got started on some harmonies for I Saw Three Ships. The musical journey is beginning!

We had just enough time before the sun went down for a walk along the fire road. The out-of-towners were so hot! Some of them wore shorts and shirtsleeves. No wonder, as the temperature was almost 70 degrees. Yay for global warming!

Get Together, Right Now!

Crystal was in charge of dinner yesterday. We made Cubano sandwiches and sweet potato fries. Mmm..

Ed picked up the baby at the airport. We were also happy to see Brittany and John, but mostly Mabel!

After Ed's second trip to the airport to pick up Amanda and Nolan, we were finally all together again!

We ended up the evening teaching Nolan and John how to play tile rummy. Crystal showed us that one very clever person can beat three teams of two with no problem!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Day

Ed and I tried to recreate our first Christmas together. It involved a lot of tile rummy. The box is falling apart now, but the game is as entertaining as ever. Ed found out it is better to be lucky than smart. (I was the lucky one.)

It rained hard all afternoon. It would have been at least a foot of snow if it had been cold enough!

It was a real gully-washer, turning our side and back yards into a stream. Because it was 70 degrees outside we left the back door open to enjoy the pitter-patter on the deck.

Crystal's flight got in about 8 p.m. She was happy to see Coda. Coda was happy to see Crystal, but not happy to sit in the back seat! The view from Mom's lap is much better to take in all the pretty Christmas lights!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Fog, Dog, Log

Ed and I took Coda for a walk in the fog this morning. We're waiting for this afternoon for Crystal to join us, and the rest of the kids come tomorrow.

Poor Coda had to stand in for our kids on Christmas morning. She's saying, "Are you done taking pictures, already?"

Ed and I had fun taking pictures by the lake.

I liked it better when I had control of dangling over the water.

This is the new relaxed Ed, who will be retiring in January, wondering what will the new year bring for the Bushes?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Will Sing for Cookies

The Pearl Strings were paid in kind for our gig this morning at the North Laurel Community Center. It is an adult drop in day care center, and we love them. We played there in May, and they loved us, so asked us back. They were ready for us with cards and cookies this time!

We played in front of a roaring fire (on a screen). It was a low key performance for a small but appreciative group! Jen's husband, Jeff, came along and took some pictures for us.

This was the closest he got from a smile out of me!

Jen was especially sparkly! (Pulling out all the stops for Jeff?)

I was proud to see June cozying up to the mic in this picture!

Here is Helen, squeezing out every bit of emotion from her fiddle!

Reagan is the beautiful girl on the end all the boys are swooning over! We keep mace in her bass case for emergencies.

We finished up at Mimi's where we talked about how much we love each other. (A lot.)
And, in one last attempt to make our birthdays the highlight of the season, Reagan and I got some Mimi's crepe cakes, which we shared with the band (and Jeff). A fun day! Now we can get ready for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Birthday Buddies

Reagan and I went out for birthday pedicures today. Her birthday is Christmas Eve and mine is Christmas day, so we decided to celebrate together. We not only got the prettiest red toenails and softest feet, but we also shared a lot of stories about what it's like having a December birthday.

Our pedicurists asked if we were related. We're not mother daughter, but we're definitely soul sisters!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Primary Newscast

The topic for Primary Sharing Time yesterday was the Signs of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

I made a PowerPoint presentation in the form of TV newscast. It included some things that have already happened as well as some things that have not yet happened.

With Ed's help, we were able to superimpose the children over the presentation as they each read a few lines along with the slides.

The children couldn't see themselves while they were speaking, but Ed recorded them and we watched it together after the first run-through.

This is Sophie talking about great storms as a sign of the second coming. My head is on the bottom right of all the Junior Primary. Some of them needed help with reading.

The Senior Primary children were great readers. Jacob even got creative and gestured with his right hand! In this slide we see the gospel is now (in the future) being taught in China!

It was a fun sharing time, but I have to admit that Ed and I heaved a collective sigh afterwards that the computer program worked as expected!

Tubas and Banjos

Ed and I had a big day in Baltimore on Saturday. We started out with a Tuba Christmas in the Inner Harbor. They had an entire orchestra of tubas playing Christmas carols. The audience got to sing along on the second time through. Ed and I were their best singers!

We ate dinner at a restaurant called Family Meal. In the spirit of family dinners, we both ordered the meatloaf, which really hit the spot!

We topped of the day with a Helicon concert at Goucher college. It was a terrific folk music concert than even had an Irish dancer to get the crowd revved up. We loved it. My lips were tired from so much grinning. One of our new favorite songs is "I've Endured." We're going to have to see if Ed and I can learn it together. We have endured.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Star Wars is still...Star Wars

Since the new Star Wars movie is getting such rave reviews, we thought we'd hop over and check it out for ourselves. Ed and I saw it in 3D (not IMAX 3D). We went to the 4:30 showing in Owings Mills, thinking that we might have a chance to get tickets in a less popular theater. We were right. There were only a handful of people in the theater!

I gave it 3 stars. It was pretty good, but still Star Wars. It was like watching the original one all over again, and I never really was a Star Wars fan.

Ed gave it 2.5-3 (out of 4) stars. He thought it was good, but that it suffers from the inability to recreate the magic of the first one.

The big bucket of popcorn got four stars! Ed might have ruined a pair of pants with the movie theater popcorn dripping on them! You pay a steep price for frivolous entertainment!

Springfield Christmas Gig

The Pearl Strings sang at Springfield Hospital yesterday. We love having a captive audience, and the lively group at Springfield is extra fun for us.

Here is our set list:

Blue Grass, White Snow
Winter Wonderland
Virgin Mary
Santa Baby
One Small Child
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Don't Take Down the Mistletoe
Bell that Wouldn’t Jingle
What Are you Doing New Year's Eve
Deck the Halls
Marshmallow World

Holiday Blessing/Jingle Bells

We especially loved the sing along songs and the dancing lady! Okay, we also like playing on a stage. It makes us feel like stars!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Visiting Teaching Luncheon

June and I hosted our annual Christmas visiting teaching luncheon today. It was fun having the people we teach as well as some of the people that visit teach us. It's the visiting teaching circle!

I made Chef John's quiche Lorraine. I was so proud to have made the pie crusts from scratch! The recipe even had a video to go with it. If you want to try it, here it is

June brought dessert and a delicious salad with poppy seed dressing.

By the time we ate June's lemon squares and brownies, as well as Jesse's chocolate mint cookies we were full enough to last us till Christmas, when we might have to let loose again!

Good food and good friends! It doesn't get any better!