"Children come into this world with fresh eyes to see all that is beautiful, embrace all that is joyful, and love unconditionally with open hearts and minds."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Giving Thanks

Today is Sunday… and it feels good. After a wonderful busy Thanksgiving, I can finally sit down and think about everything that I am thankful for this year.
I’m thankful for God, who loves, guides and protects me each and every day.
I am thankful for my husband the most patient man in the world, who loves me unconditionally despite my many faults.
I am thankful for Sydney so loving and kind.
I am thankful for hugs and kisses with gentle words of "I love you"
I am thankful for Sophia's smile that melts my heart.
I am thankful for Sophia’s singing that makes me smile.
I am thankful for my family’s love and daily encouragement.
I am thankful for parents who are always there for me.
I am thankful for the good health of my family.
I am thankful for weekends.
I am thankful for my daughters who love to laugh and dance.
I am thankful for the flexibility of my job and Bob’s business allowing more time together at home as a family.
I am thankful for my husband’s fortitude - watching our daughters Monday through Friday while I’m only steps away in my office…. his consistent discipline, daily guidance and teaching are evident in our girls.
I am thankful for my wonderful in-laws.
I am thankful for my sister-in-law who is also my best friend.
I am thankful for my friends and extended family, who love me even when weeks may go by between talks or get-togethers.
I am thankful for time-outs.
I am thankful for God’s grace and forgiveness.
I am thankful for my sister Linda who takes Sydney for entire weekends so I can spend time with Sophia.
I am thankful for coffee lattes (and hot tea).
I am thankful for my job.
I am thankful for my boss and his wonderful wife.
I am thankful for our home and everything God had given us.
I am thankful for scrapbooking, the time it gives me to reminisce and capture our family memories and the time spent with Becky, friends and other Moms.
I am thankful for warm weather and bright sunshine.
I am thankful for family vacations and downtime away from work.
I am thankful for the values instilled by my parents that I can pass on to my children.
I am thankful for a Mom who listens to my ramblings.
I am thankful for pizza night.
I am thankful for cameras and video cameras that capture memories while my memory goes.
I am thankful for a Mom who gives unconditionally to her family, no questions asked.
I am thankful for quiet beaches, large oceans and beautiful sunsets.
I am thankful for the Internet – I am thankful that I can accomplish a lot in little time without leaving my home or calling an expert. I am thankful that it allows me to spend more time at home then on the road traveling to meet with my accounts AND I am thankful that I can share the many happenings in our lives across the miles with our family and friends.
I am thankful for President Bush and the beautiful country that we live.
I am thankful for fancy sit-down restaurants and take-out restaurants.
I am thankful for washers, dryers and dishwashers.
I am thankful for Breyers Ice Cream
I am thankful for Dark Chocolate
I am thankful for daughters who run to you screaming “Mommy” as you walk in the door after being gone for a week or only 30 minutes.
I am thankful for the many little blessings in my life that continue to happen each and every day.
and I am thankful for Thanksgiving so I can share thanks with those I love.

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is one day, out of the year, that I cook for my in-laws, Jan & Denny (Bob's Mom and Step Dad). There is a little anxiety on my part because all year long we enjoy Jan's wonderful gourmet cooking so it puts the pressure on me to come up with something half as good. Plus, I love to try new recipes so it's hard to narrow down the menu and not want to cook everything that sounds good.

This year, I went with a traditional Thanksgiving menu (with a slight twist here and there). It turned out to be the best tasting and easiest Thanksgiving meal so far. The turkey is always a fresh ~20lb turkey that I brine for at least 24 hours (trick to having a moist 20lb turkey). I always have an appetizer cheese plate from
Downtown Cheese with a few savory cheeses. I also cheat on a few items that I pick up at Williams Sonoma that save a lot of time. I couldn't make them any better even if I tried... these items include turkey gravy base, brine solution and bread chunks to use in the stuffing.

This year we enjoyed fresh herb-butter turkey,
thanksgiving stuffing, goat cheese mash potatoes, sweet potato crunch casserole, roasted green beans with sage butter, whiskey-glazed carrots and maple-orange cranberry relish with jalapeño.

Sydney and Sophia loved the Holiday preparation from the shopping to preparing the food the evening before. Sydney especially was a huge little helper in the kitchen. She helped make the cranberry relish, the stuffing and the pies.

I can't forget to thank my awesome husband... he did all the grocery shopping, picked up the turkey & cheese in Ardmore and surprised me with some beautiful dark purple calla lilies (my favorite!).

Here are a few pics of our wonderful day of family and feast....

Sydney & Sophia always willing to help with the
They also sat on Santa's lap! Picture is on the blog post below.

Me and my proud little helper!!

Sydney and Sophia wanted to sit at the
"pretty" table for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning....

20lb brine-turkey with no basting.. instead I
cover the breast with foil the entire
cooking time (plus a lot of herb-butter rubbed under the skin)

Bob Carving the turkey

Family! that's what it's all about... and a
great feast together!
Sophia and Aunt BeckyGMa and Sydney - ahhhh....

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Heavenly Father, on Thanksgiving Day

We bow our hearts to You and pray.

We give You thanks for all You've done

Especially for the gift of Jesus, Your Son.

For beauty in nature, Your glory we see

For joy and health, friends and family,

For daily provision, Your mercy and care

These are the blessings You graciously share.

So today we offer this response of praise

With a promise to follow You all of our days.

-Mary Fairchild

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tis the season to be Tearful...

One day, we hope to have a Santa picture without tears...

First Snow of the Season

On Friday, Sydney woke up at the crack of dawn after seeing the snow laying on the ground before going to bed the night before. We went sledding EARLY before the sun came up to warm and melt the snow away...

Downhill run video below!!....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dancing with our stars

Something about winding down at night gets Sydney and Sophia wound up. The transformation begins from getting naked and changing into Pj's while running up and down the hallway dancing. Sydney has gone from "she likes to move it, move it" to imitating the moves of the dancers on TV (they call her style "artistic" with a little bit of "walk like a crab").
We are still trying to figure out Sophia's style... she likes to screech, twirl and run around is circles... kind of like the Looney Toons Tasmanian Devil (the more I think about it, she's a lot like TAZ minus the big appetite).
I couldn't help but record a little of the dancing the other night while watching Dancing with the Stars... doing the Tango (my favorite) and the Quickstep.
Enjoy Sydney & Sophia's "dance" video below. I'm sure there will be more to come in the future... Be sure to pause the "IPOD" music player on the right before playing the video.

Missing Summer already....

The past couple days have been dreary... we've begun our winter hibernation, rarely leaving the house except to go to the grocery store (plus a few work trips for me and archery hunting for Bob). Today, we are missing the outdoor activities that we do as a family all summer long...
Feeding the ducks & eating ice cream at Suloman's Milk.... 

Goofing off with Daddy in the pool....

Grilling and eating Bob's yummy burgers on the deck....
and Mommy's fresh berry yogurt parfaits...
Relaxing outside after dinner with a nice glass of wine...
while the girls ride their bikes or run ramped on the deck before bath time....

Summer weekends with family and friends....

.... and did I mention great, fresh food!... all summer long...

a simple summer routine that we love, miss and look forward to.
I hope to make the best of the cold months... it's not all dreary--we are looking forward to the Christmas season and a few good snowfalls (and spring to come quickly!).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Dad

My Dad is 70 years old. He is retired from PECO, but still works full-time at Utilx... He is on the road from Sunday night through Friday afternoon. I'm not sure how he does it.
Sydney adores her Grandpop. She loves to sit on his lap and give him hugs around his neck. We try to visit Grandpop and Grandmom as often as possible on the weekend. These past couple months, he has helped quell Sydney's fear of animals. I've posted some pics below of her petting and feeding the animals.

Sydney and Grandpop visiting Megan in the barn.... she likes to buy and feed Megan & Maude dog bone treats

We went to feed the horses - David, Goliath and Rita- some Spiced Ginger Snap Cookies (btw, after eating these all my life, I just found out that these cookies are made in Skippack where my parents live... who knew?)

Sydney is sitting on David's back (the small horsey! HA HA)
I was trying to take these pics while holding Sophia. I couldn't put Miss Phia down on the ground.... she is so tiny, Goliath would have eaten her for lunch or crushed her with his hoof. By the time I had the camera ready, Sydney wanted off the horse immediately because he started to move.

David & Goliath are reaching for more cookies..... Sydney knows how to hold her hand VERY FLAT (although Goliath is so big that your entire hand ends up in his lower lip pocket....)

I love this pic of Sydney feeding a cookie to the Donkey... look at her face and sucked in stomach. She is trying to be so brave!.....

Sydney is big enough to go for a ride in the Gator with Grandpop.... while Grandmom is yelling "you better go slow!!!" (My Mom says that my Dad drives like a crazy man when he takes her out... and that she comes back with scratches all over her legs.)

My Dad looks like he is having a great time with his grandkids in these next two pics!

look how happy after her ride...

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