I snowed last night. This morning on the radio they said we averaged 2" across Middle Tennessee. The last time we got any measurable snow it was under an inch--and that was 8 years ago!
After dinner I got up and looked out the window to check the temperature--and lo and behold it was snowing! I was so shocked I called the family to see it. Even though it was almost bed time, we got the kids bundled up and let them play in the fluffy white stuff for a while.
It's all melting now. As the sun rises it hits new parts of the trees and the little pieces of ice on each branch slip and fall to the earth. At first I thought it was hail. That shows you how unaccustomed I am to this kind of weather. I let the kids go and play in the snow after breakfast, but they kept running in and out and whining abut something or other. I think Perry wanted me to build him a snow man, but I really didn't want to go out in the cold. Daisy would have been happy if only Perry would have stayed out there with her. The door got opened (and left open) too many times so I told them they had to stay in. They don't want to take their jackets off though. I think they're hoping I'll relent.
If I can get my act together in time I plan to send this picture out with Christmas cards. But just in case I don't, you can at least enjoy it here :)
After much deliberation on whether or not we should, we decided we would in fact celebrate Advent. Believe it or not I was really proud of the candles and wreath I came up with. I bought some taper candles (gosh I had forgotten how fragile those things are--especially in little hands). Then I bought five brass candle holders from Good Will. Next I cut some holly branches and berries from our bush and constructed a wreath to fit around the candles.
The problems came when I tried to put them all together. The candles wouldn't actually fit into the holders. We had to melt them quite a bit in order to get them to even rest in their slots. Almost any movement of the table sends them crashing. It's a wonder they're still mostly intact. When I unwrapped the white candle from its cellophane, I noticed that it was broken, even though I took great pains to make sure I bought unbroken candles. Now, in case you are unfamiliar with Advent, the white candle is supposed to be the Christ candle. In other words, it's the most special of all! David tried to melt it back together, but in doing so put black marks on it that we couldn't get off unless we scratched them off and I was afraid we'd re-brake it if we tried that. So we just left it. But then just yesterday it got knocked over one time too many times and re-broke anyway. David just cut it off at the break and trimmed a new wick for me. I think it will work fine--even though it's now shorter than the other candles.
Also, as you can probably see from the picture, Calvin got a hold of one of the candles and bit into it. So it might look a little shabby, but I'm still proud of it.
The kids seem to be enjoying our Advent celebrations. We've been lighting the correct candles on the correct Sunday nights, at dinner. Then, after dinner we enjoy dessert (something of a rarity) and David reads the Advent verses and we sing an Advent hymn. David and I have been enjoying it too. One of the interesting things our pastor said on the first Sunday of Advent is that the holiday is celebrated in order for us to prepare our hearts to celebrate Christmas--Christ's original coming. However, it is also supposed to remind us to prepare our hearts and lives for his second coming. I love how it all ties in together!
Yesterday while driving home from church we saw a sign that said the road would be closed at 1:45 for the Smyrna Christmas Parade. We had no idea there was even going to be a parade! It was then about 1:00 and we had just enough time to devise a plan... We had split a loaf of bread 5 ways, or so, on the ride home. So when we got home and Daisy was asleep and Calvin close to it, we put them down. David looked up exactly where the parade would be while Perry and I ate a muffin and an apple. Then I loaded Perry up in the double stroller, the other side holding a folding chair for myself, and we walked to Smyrna's little downtown area--not too far away. David and the other two stayed home and napped :)
It was really fun to share the experience with Perry. Followed by the fire department's color guard, came the mayor on a golf cart throwing candy to all the children. Next came all the town councilmen following suit. There was the local high school marching band, and it was all I could do not to cry as it went by. I love marching bands, but didn't realize I loved them that much. Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones. Ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars went by with their lights flashing and occasionally turning on their loud sirens. Since the only Nissan factory in the US is located here in Smyrna, they brought out what must have been an example of each of their cars. Local businesses and boy and girl scout troups and churches made up the bulk of what was left. My favorite was a truck pulling a trailer, as most of them were, owned by a chimney-sweep company. Walking beside the vehicle were four people, two on each side, clad in black with chimney sweep brushes slung over their shoulders and black smudges on their faces--smiling and waiving to the crowd. On the trailer were four chimneys of varying sizes and styles constructed of who knows what, each smoking, and a woman dressed up as Mary Poppins. Speakers on the trailer played "Chim-Chimney."
After a while I noticed a police car driving down the road with its lights flashing, honking its horn and trying to zoom around the the cars in front of it. With all the children occasionally running into the street to gather up the candy, I was a little puzzled at the policeman's actions. A little while after that we saw an ambulance and then a small fire truck do the same thing. My first thought was that someone driving a vehicle in the parade hit one of the children. I hope not, though. I can't find out any information on it, though, so it was probably just some accident somewhere completely unconnected with the parade and the service vehicles thought this was the fastest rout to take, even though it was right through the middle of the parade.
I made Alton Brown's Paradise Macaroons cookie recipe on Saturday. They are amazing! I think they taste just like those Mound candies (you know, Almond Joys without the almonds). David thinks they taste better :) Actually, I literally can't remember the last time he raved this much about something I cooked. The recipe calls for only 2 oz. of sweetened condensed milk. I turned the rest of the milk into dulce de leche. Since the can was already open, I just filled the crockpot up with water until it was just below the can. For Thanksgiving I made a Chocolate Pecan Pumpkin Pie that I sort of came up with after reading a couple of recipes. It turned out very well (if I do say so myself). I think I'll make the bottom part of it again minus the pecans--so sort of a chocolate pie, and after it has cooled, put the dulce de leche on top with a drizzle of chocolate on top to make a sort of chocolate caramel pie. But with all the sweets in the house right now, I'll just freeze it for a special occasion in the future.
And there you have it, more than you ever wanted to know about our recent lives!