Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Pictures, Installment Numero Uno

Tyler and Aunt Sally

Jeff and Aunt Sal

James reading the Christmas story with Chappy...this was one of my favorite parts of Christmas.  Every year, we read the Christmas story from the book of Luke. Grandpa used to read it, then Dad, and when my brother was old enough he did it too. Now that James can read, he got to participate. He read a few verses all by himself!

Tyler checking out his new play mat

James was quite thrilled to get a Wild West play set. It has kept him occupied for hours already.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bonus Photo (Don't View While Drinking Coffee)

Ninja Scissors

My hair has been driving me crazy. Absolutely nuts! Sometimes I get a wild hair (ha, ha) and think I will try growing it out. Sometimes I just don't feel like finding a place to get my hair cut and actually going to get it done. And I think that I still have some hair dressers distrust due to a serious hack job I got in high school. It was so bad, my short 'layers' were more like bad bangs that could only be corralled by a Pebbles-inspired pony tail. Visiting a new hair dresser is like playing Russian Roulette with your follicles. But alas, I was at my wits end. Ready to pull a Britney Spears and shave my head. I was going to call and make an appointment when Jeff said 'I'll cut your hair.' I said 'YEAH RIGHT!!' But he was serious. And if there is anything I know about Jeffrey, it is a) he will research the heck out of it, and b) he has a bit of the old OCD that would ensure that my hair (hopefully) came out looking presentable, instead of like I'd lost a fight with the weed whacker. I also figured I could always go somewhere and get it fixed should things head south. So, I said OK. After going on a YouTube bender, Jeff felt he had watched a sufficient number of tutorials and read about enough methods that he was ready to get started. He showed me an article on 'Hair Cutting for Dummies' entitled 'The Five Minute Haircut' which immediately made me rethink my decision. In the end, I decided regardless of the end result, the experience was bound to be amusing. And it was. There we were, in the bathroom at about 9:30 at night, trying out some internet tutorial on my hair. It worked, and my hair passed the test. Several people at church the next day came up and told me they loved my new hair cut. Everyone got a chuckle after they found out who cut it. Jeff has decided to change his name to Geoffrey and go into business. Now taking appointments! :)

P.S. I will post about Christmas soon. I had this written but forgot to post. Oi!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Christmas Par-tay

Last night was Jeff's Christmas party. This year, we weren't going to go for a few reasons, but Jeff was told by the BIG cheese that he should 'strongly reconsider' coming. So he did, and we went. And I was right! Jeff got an award, and not just any award. He was given the award which is basically 'employee of the year' type thing. Each year, they give it to one person who has made great achievements for the company. This year, because the company has grown so much (over 50 new employees this year just in Marlton) they decided to give it to 2 people. The award is really quite an honor. The owner of the company spoke about how the recipient of the award stood out due to their initiative and hard work, etc.. And then they announced Jeff's name! It was pretty awesome! He now has a fancy framed certificate and an even fancier watch. If it were me, I would be afraid to wear it. 

The party was nice. In fact, it was the nicest party so far, and that is saying something because it is always very fancy. To give you an idea of the caliber of the place, note that the bar was made entirely of ice and had the company name carved in front of the ice pillars. They served lemon sorbet in between courses to cleanse the palate, and the butter was served in flower shaped pats on plant leaves. The dessert bar was outrageous.  There was the dessert drink bar, which included all your dessert-themed adult beverages, along with root beer floats, hot chocolate, etc.. There was a chocolate fountain, with all manner of dunkables. There was a waffle bar, pancakes, crepes, cheesecakes, creme brulee and about a zillion little tarts and truffles and cake balls and layer cakes. The think that cracked me up the most was the table that had comfort foods on it. There were little triangles of PB and J, crusts removed, and cookies with glasses of milk. I don't know about you, but there is nothing I want more after polishing off a plate of ginger glazed salmon with pickled ginger rice than a PB and J sandwich. Or not. It was a nice touch though. If you couldn't find something there to make you happy, well then, you must not have a pulse.

And you wanna know something funny? I made myself a fascinator clip using my very own chicken feathers. It looks huge in this picture but its not really that big. I used some feathers from my sister, and threw in my own too. For one, I think they were pretty, and two...I know that people see me and think 'oh, there's Jeff's wife...the one with the chickens!' In fact, last year, one person told me that she thought I would look more 'farm-ish'. So, it was incredibly funny to me when two of Jeff's coworkers came up and started talking to me about the chickens, and how I 'slaughter' them and they could never do that, etc, etc. I refrained from telling them that I had feathers in my hair from the very chicken that is now residing in my freezer. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


This morning my Bible study went down to Kensington to bring a Christmas brunch and speak to the ladies there. We were quite the bunch, all meeting in the parking lot of a preschool in the burbs, and caravan-ing down to the city in a parade of mini-vans. We were hauling our kids and our pretty breakfast foods. For those of you who don't know, Kensington is what is considered one of the worst parts of Philly as far as crime, poverty, etc. It is a different world down there. We met in a row house next to the church, which the pastor there described as a former 'shooting gallery' aka drug house. I can't really think about that too much or it freaks me out. The place was completely packed with almost 30 women. We each got up and talked about our favorite Christmas traditions. As I was preparing for my part of the talk, I kept thinking about how many privileges we take for granted. I talked about our activity-oriented advent calendar, where we do things like 'drive around and see the lights' and 'go outside and look at the stars.' I assume that many of the women there don't have cars. They may walk or take the bus, train, subway, etc.. And I am not sure if it is safe to go out at night and stand around gazing up at the stars. It is a different world down there, to be sure. The other thing I have noticed in my visits down there is that when there is food, they eat like it is their only meal of the day. I imagine for some of them it might be, or at the very least, the best food they have access to. The thing I loved the most about going down there (besides I got to feed people ;) is that everyone was so interactive. When I talked, people talked back to me, and gave me uh-huh's and Amen's. It was fun. During the breakfast, a few people from our church watched our kids for us. When I picked them up, the lady told me that my kids were so cute and sweet, and that her goal was to keep Tyler from needing stitches while he was in there. She has never been around Tyler before, but she has his number! :)

As a side note: Guess what?!?! Jeff passed the FE exam! Woo!!!!!!

Sunday, December 09, 2012


Katie has two favorite songs: "You Are My Sunshine" and "Oh, My Darling (Katie Grace)". Every night, she asks me to sing them to her over and over. Lately, she has been singing along with me. She knows all the words and it is so sweet. She can also a few verses of Amazing Grace pretty well. The other night when we sang it, she asked why we didn't sing about 'snares,' so we had to sing that verse too!

Friday, December 07, 2012

Pictures and Ramblings (Technically: Rantings)

The last couple times we have been near Target, Tyler has pointed in the direction of the Devil's Lair, also known as Toys R Us. At first, I thought he wanted to go because it bright and colorful. But he started talking about wanting to go there to buy 'Thomas' trains. What?! I really can't remember when, if ever, he has been there. It has to have been at least a year ago, if not more. I really HATE toy stores. While I have fond memories of standing in the aisles of KB Toys in Mesa Mall trying to figure out how to spend my piggy bank stash, I have yet to take my kids to a toy store for kicks. Go ahead, call CPS, but the whole commercialism of toys, and the gimme-gimme-gimme, I have to have it! thing makes me feel a bit hostile. Here at ye olde Groves homestead, our kids play with sticks and rocks. They do have toys too, lest you think I am a total scrooge. I just am not a fan of a LOT of toys. Or toys with batteries. Or toys that only do one thing. Or Tickle Me anything. Anyway, all this rant to the heck does Tyler know what Toys R Us is?! Did someone take him there without my knowing?! I think I would rather him hanging out in a smoky pool hall than the Devil's Lair! I ended up telling him that we will only go there if he gets Christmas money, at which point he can buy himself whatever he can afford. Until then, you can find us sharking the regulars at the pool hall. 

Here's my little sunshine hanging the fragile ornaments. She is such a great helper! There were a few ornaments that didn't have hangers, and she asked 'is this one that needs to perch?' 

The boys snuggling before school

A dress I made for myself and finally got a picture of.

Tyler making Christmas cookies

James hard at work

Katie showing off her creation

Tyler got a knife and added a butt to his gingerbread man. Boys! And it actually looked very realistic after baking.

The doll I made for Katie for Christmas. I can't wait for her to open it! I had so much fun making it. 

Monday, December 03, 2012

Surprise Visitor

This morning on the way back from the bus stop, I heard two women in the neighborhood talking about a dog running in the street. My first thought was that it was one of the dogs from the farm house across the street, because their dogs ALWAYS get out. However, the lady said she had found a yard that had a kennel and looked like the dog's home. I walked past her and saw my neighbor, out looking for his dog. I told him that I thought the lady had put the dog in the wrong yard. This particular dog is nearly blind and can't find its way home. In fact, my neighbor says that if the dog gets outside, the only way he can find his way back is if he finds the sidewalk and follows it to the door. We parted ways so he could go look for the dog. When I got home I heard the chickens hollering up a storm. They were really being obnoxious, and not in the normal 'hey, look at me! I laid an egg!' sort of way. I went out and shushed them. That was when I saw Mugsy, sitting forlornly next to the chicken run. It all made sense. The lady must have seen the kids' pallet fort and mistook it for a kennel. She put the dog in the yard, and he followed the patio thinking he would get to his front door. When he didn't, he just sat there dazed and confused. He heard me coming and started running toward me. He ran right into my stone edging because he didn't see it. I managed to get him home and explain to the neighbor what happened. At least we got a good laugh out of it. I don't think the chickens were amused.