Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jingle Jingle Jingle!

Here's wishing everyone a VERY Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years!

We had a wonderful time this Christmas... lots of great food, great times with family, and even a smidgin' of the white stuff to cover the brown turf of Missouri to make the holiday pretty! Cannot complain about a single thing and we still have a week of our holiday break to go.

My best gift was the Kindle that Ed got me! As an avid reader, I know it will help me further feed my addiction to books! I already have 5 lined up waiting on it for me to read! More photos to come soon... check back in a day or two, my Michigan grandkids arrive tomorrow and I want to put ALL of their pics on my blog!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pre-Holiday Blessings & My Girls: a Mama's Joy.

It has been an incredibly exciting week for us! Well, actually more for our kids which as those of you who are parents know makes it equally exciting for the parents! Our daughters have had major blessings come their way and it has left us all so excited, happy, and (of course) proud that we feel like we got our Christmas gifts early this year. So if you don't mind, I'd like to share.

Our eldest daughter, Gretchen, was surprised by a HUGE promotion at her company, Concordia Publishing House. She has been made the Director of Public Relations and Corporate Communications for the company. Just slightly less than 2 years ago she began working at CPH so this is a great vote of confidence by her company in her abilities to do what she does for them! The job comes with some obvious new benefits (a bigger desk chair among them, we hear) and wider responsibilities, but she has a great team of folks working with her so we know she will be wonderful at her expanded role for CPH!

Next, our younger daughter, Katrina, has been quietly working on her first novel throughout the past year. In August she informed the family that she was going to "go for it" and seek getting it published. This week saw exciting developments in that adventure... she has a literary agent now working for her! Her book got some great feedback from several agencies but she has now chosen a very prominent New York based firm to work with her in marketing her novel. So in the new year we could actually get to see her work in stores with a cover on it! This is a dream come true for her and is especially exciting to both of us who have taught her English over the years and seen her talent and voice develop! Now, don't ask me the million dollar question as to what the book's about or if I liked it, because in typical Katrina-fashion she's been very quiet and private about it. None of us in the family have had the privilege to read it yet... but are told that once it "has a cover" we'll get a chance to read it. All I know is that it's Young-Adult Fiction genre and involves the great lakes plus the mythical creatures of mermaids... (not certain how many). My students are waiting with baited breath for a chance to read one of their fellow LHS alumni in print. So stay tuned in the New Year for more about my girls!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Come Ye Thankful People Come... They Came!

Come, ye thankful people, come....
Raise the song of harvest home,

All be safely gathered in....
Ere the winter storms begin.

God, Our Maker, doth provide...
For our wants to be supplied.
Come to God's own Temple come...
Raise the song of Harvest Home!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Good Use of Leaves

I am not a fan of leaf raking... that said, there is ONE sort of leaf raking I AM a HUGE fan of... it's the sort of raking that leads to photos such as these. Enjoy these, and then go find a toddler tyke or several of them and RAKE up some fun!
Syd shows real potential as a leaf raker!

She buried herself this deep without ANY help from her grandma!
Like I said, she has GREAT potential as a leaf lover and raker!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Happy Halloween and then some!

Halloween was this past weekend and we got to enjoy watching our grandkids celebrate it. While we didn't get to see Kate's threesome in person, she kept us posted via her blog which we watched throughout the process of pumpkin shopping, carving, costumes and the like.

The Harrmann gang of three is ready to score some candy!

Rhylah contemplates her next stop!

Here in Missouri we tagged along with Sydney a.k.a. Tinkerbell as she experienced her first real Halloween. (really can't count last year when she didn't get to yell trick-or-treat or anything similar!) She had a blast! You could see from the bounce in her step and the excited squeals that she just KNEW this was a special night.
Can you tell Syd's just a LITTLE excited?

An extra treat was having Leon's mom in town from Colorado for the weekend. So the two grannies got to go larking about the neighborhood with their own little Disney character leading the way. It was wonderful fun!
As we set out you can see the bonfire is ready and we ended the evening with white chili and pumpkin bread by the fireside. Yum! Here goes Carol and Gretchen (dressed as a cat and Mama Tink ... yours truly did not go in character garb, didn't know it was expected of a granny!)

Oh, and while I was at it, I FINALLY got a shot of Gret and Leon's new house in
its ALL FINISHED version... pretty, huh?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Harvest: Nortons, Friends, Tractors and FUN!

The final weekend of harvest was this weekend... and we hauled 60 lugs of Nortons off the 11 rows in the vineyard. (that's 2,100 lbs for those of you who don't think in lugs). Thanks to some help from great friends and neighbors we had them all off the vine and crushed by 4:30 on Saturday afternoon. It was a windy and cool day.. more like November than October, but the fun of talking and laughing in the vineyard made the work go quickly.

Our daughter Gretchen and granddaughter Sydney spent the weekend out at the farm with us too. That made for some sweet photos too! Enjoy... oh, and maybe sip a glass of wine while you do it.

Sydney discusses her theories of how the tractor works.

Sydney and I took a walk in the meadow. Notice our matching
grey hoodies... it was definitely hoodie weather!

That's a million dollar grin on that girl!
Norton grapes going into the crusher.

Here's how they look coming out of the crusher... or the squisher as one of our neighbor's kids calls it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Life in Two Places - and Love from a Toddler

Having a rather strange week this week... it's fermentation time out at the vineyard, so we're commuting in to school from there... and checking on the house every so often. Fortunately we have great neighbors who keep a watchful eye on things for us.. but it feels weird to have your life split between two places. The 45 minute commute each a.m. is not so bad... I get a lot of papers graded or napping done, depending on how tired I am. By the way, we're offline at the vineyard which explains why I am not on here as much lately.

As the wine simmers (yes, it actually bubbles as it ferments) it smells very yeasty - sort of like when you mix bread dough. Things are going well so far and next year's vintages should be good ones.

Our kids are now in ensconced in their new home. We stopped over to see them last night and Sydney let out a whoop and a squeal as we came in the door... and then she dashed into our arms grinning like crazy. It felt SO amazing to be loved that much by a little person! Gret said she's been asking for us each morning but seeing her last night so happy just made my heart go all mushy!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Waiting, waiting, and more waiting...

After an entire summer of smooth sailing on their new home build, our kids are hanging in "loan limbo" and dealing with closing hassles. NOT fun, not at all! And NONE of it is any of their fault which is even MORE frustrating.

Last Thursday's originally scheduled closing was bumped back to today due to a computer snafu at the Lender's office. Today they appeared to have all the ducks in line and signed on the dotted lines but got no keys until their checks all were wired from the the Title Company to the Lender... the clock ticked, it continued to tick, and the end of the working day arrived... but no confirmation of the final wire of money. SO.... maybe tomorrow will be the big day... a week late and on an inconvenient date for almost everyone involved, but at least by this time tomorrow they may have the keys in their hands!

What a dismal way to experience the uncomfortable truth that there are times when NOTHING is within your realm of control... and house closings appear to be one of those times!

Meanwhile, our nest remains joyously (if somewhat frustratedly) full... the chicks want to fly but they need a place to land!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunflowers and other Goldens

We've had a gorgeous weekend of unseasonably cool weather here. It's been so wonderful to have the windows open and sleep to songs of the crickets floating in on the breeze! Yesterday we headed off to the vineyard and spent a lovely day bottling wine, visiting with our customers who more and more seem like friends, and walking the dogs. We had Bailey with us as his family is in Colorado, and the dog was in doggie paradise.
We roamed around the fields and he sniffed EVERYTHING his nose could find to sniff. He romped and bounced and just had a marvelous time! It was so joyous that it made you think, he's been waiting in the house for days and days to do something like this... it was just delightful to watch him. After he got his fill of sniffing and such, he laid down in the grass, where I was able to do a photoshoot of him. I got some really awesome shots of our grandpuppy. (Chas told me he wasn't jealous since he's always getting his photo taken.)
So what you see here is one happy canine... watching the sunset from the front lawn of his family's vineyard. Contentment!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fun with Friends Who will Work for Wine!

Spent a delight weekend just past with good friends from Ft. Wayne. We were together earlier this summer in Indiana to celebrate their daughter's wedding and decided we had to get together again before the summer was over. That weekend coincided with the bottling of our 2008 Seyval out at Rolling Meadows! We spent the day filling, corking, labeling and sealing the new vintage into its bottles and then we had a really nice lunch provided by Gret and Leon who came out to the vineyard to enjoy the afternoon. Two customers made the day an all around success! This new wine is a winner... but sharing it with old friends made it even better!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Less than a month to go!

Front view.

They have set the date... Sept. 3rd... and by that date the kids will have their new home. Here's a photo update on how things are going. It's really pretty! We love it and are SO happy for them.

Living room fireplace.

Looking from the kitchen entry area toward the sunroom and the living room.

Sitting on the almost finished stairway.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Summer Sunday with Girls in Blue

Sydney and Rhylah peek around the tree looking for grandma.
(that's our secret method for getting them to stay together for a photo!)

Today is the final day of Michigan grandkids' visit... and we are sure going to miss them. After church this morning, we went outside to have Uncle Nate get some shots of the two in the dresses I made them. The results were lots of silly shots where one girl would walk away or poke the other with a twig found in the grass. But thanks to Nathan, I was able to have a few that were real gems!!! (some other time I'll post the outtakes too!) Here's to the last Sunday of summer vacation. I go back to school and preps for Aug. 12th tomorrow!

Don't you just love girls in ponytails?

Blue ribbons, blue dress, BLUE EYES! Rhy is a stunner!

I snapped this one of Gret and Syd as we were wrapping up the shoot. Too cute!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Baseball in St. Lou! - the Kid Version

Baseball and summer meet at a classic spot... St. Louis! We took the grandkids to a Cardinal game last night. First ever for Rhy, first since infancy for Ash, and first for Gabe since he became a true fan of the game! We had the best time! Rode down on the Metrolink, fun going.. very crowded returning.. but all part of the grand adventure!

Food such as hotdogs, juice boxes, and of course, COTTON CANDY, was consumed by all present... well, I am not sure Papa ate any cotton candy. The Cards cooperated by beating the Houston Astros 4-3.

Gabriel kept score throughout the entire game and his dreams of playing in the "big leagues" got even bigger as he watched Albert Pujols, Rick Ankiel, and Yadier Molina do their stuff. His eyes were HUGE the whole evening.

No one got crabby, no one complained, no one got lost- not even grandma! We were all up very late but came home happy! What a fun time!

Funniest/most ironic moment? Less than 5 minutes after Papa took the boys on a bathroom expedition, a Cardinal hit the only Home Run of the game which always triggers fireworks and great whooping from the fans. Our boys.. well, let's just say they only "heard" it from the facilities. Good thing the Cards won so we (or some of us) got to see fireworks twice!

Dream big, little man!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Time for a little Magic!

Ash is all business while working in the water area!

The whole Harrmann gang interacts with an exhibit
based on their favorite book, Goodnight Moon!

Today's adventure involved the Magic House a fabulous place of exploration and adventure in Kirkwood, MO. The place is simply amazing... kids can explore science, careers, imagination, and creativity and so much more. It is one of the most popular places to take kids in St. Louis. We even ran into 3 of our students chaperoning a group of kids from St. Charles while we were there! Asher was in his element, virtually EVERYTHING was geared for the 3-5 set, although we found plenty for Gabriel and Rhylah to explore and enjoy as well.

Rhylah is absolutely entranced by the fish...she'd have stayed right here all morning if we'd let her.

Rhylah loved the fish, the tot lot, and water toys. Ash did it all (as you can see from the photos)
Gabe found anything that involved climbing to be totally cool.The place was packed with kids, but everyone got along quite nicely, taking turns and smiling with joy at one another. I don't think I heard even one kid crying the whole time I was there... although Ed says he may have seen a couple.
Ash tried out his car repair skills.....

... and his construction engineering skills.....

... and his cobbler skills! I think he has potential in all three!

The hardest part of going to the Magic House is getting your kids to leave... ours left quite politely. We followed the visit with Happy Meals and the day was complete. Then home for naps... ahh... sleeping munchkins, every mom's (and grandmom's) secret joy!
The boys climb off the 3 story tall beanstalk, high five their mom, and head for lunch!