Tuesday, November 30, 2010

{Advent} Cold Front!

A north wind has come down, bringing chilly, chilly weather to Bricktown! It's so cold that the townsfolf have all disappeared into their houses!
Alex checks the weather on the internet to see what's going on, while Erich notices the sky looks really dark and grey!
 Klauss and Bruce also notice the darkening sky outside. Good thing they have Riza, who has started a nice warm fire in the fireplace!
 Main Street is suprisingly empty for Bricktown. It's usually full of its' lively residents! Tonight, only the Minifig family is out. John points out the halo around the moon. What can that mean? I think they had better call Alex, and see what the weather report says!
What do YOU think is blowing into Bricktown? It's so odd to have anything other than sunny, fabulous weather here!
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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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Goodbye, November...

The end of November finds me a bit melancholy. The smooth transition from fall to winter's harsh weather is always a foretelling of the cold. I'll miss the colorful leaves that fall in the cool autumn winds, the walks down the street, hand in hand with my little ones, listening to the crunch, crunch of dried leaves and laughter when the wind would circle leaves around us, like it was twirling a scarf round and round us, making our own little space, hugged tightly with spinning, swirling leaves.
I'll miss handprint turkeys and the smell of damp earth from the fall rains. The excitement of jeans, jackets, and warm sweatshirts, fresh from the dryer. The first fire of the season, a suprise from my husband because he knows how long I longed for it.
I'll miss Evan collecting leaves, Emma bringing acorns home from the bus stop.
But most of all, I'll miss you, just as you are, this day, this moment. I can never go back. November 2010 is over. Did you make the most of every day? Did you tell them you loved them?
Goodbye, November.
I'll miss you, in all your splendor.
And thankful for your visit.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

{Advent} A New Beginning!

Welcome back to Bricktown! There's some exciting news bustling through busy Main Street! The Minifigs have sold their home to a military family stationed overseas! This means that they can go ahead with their plans to build on their lot at the end of the block. Alex takes John & Heidi on a final walk-about on the lot, pointing out the key aspects of the new home, even talking about putting in a small goldfish pond out front for the kids to enjoy! What wonderful news! 
 When the Minifig kids told Erich about the new house, he was so excited because they would be right next door! (He had always wanted to make a tin can telephone with a neighbor from the windows, like in the "old days" before texting and walkie talkies)
All three of them are very curious about the new family that will be moving in soon! It was said that they have two children as well! I wonder what they'll be like...
It's a good thing that Klauss will be moving on to neighboring city, Duplopia, with his tree lot, because the construction crew will be arriving any day now to start clearing out the lot and adding utilities!
Poor Bruce is very sad about his friend leaving, though, and may head back to their hometown, Lego City, where he has family for the holidays, and where Klauss will return to after the season ends.
 I guess you had better stop by and buy your Christmas Sausages before he goes!
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

{Advent} In Preparation for the Advent Calendar...

Remember last year's "Littlest Pet Shop" advent calendar? Of course you do, you had to sing along every day for 25 days, right? (wink wink)
This year, we saved up enough to buy the LEGO advent calendar!
So, in preparation for the big (daily) event, you need to get a little background on our goings on in Bricktown, Legoland...

This cute little house lies on the edge of Bricktown, a small town on the edge of one of Legoland's penninsulas. It's already got its Christmas lights up! The home belongs to the Minifig family, who love their little town, popualtion of 7. Well....permanant population, that is...
John Minifig is an engineer for a large firm in a city about an hour away. Luckily, he can do a lot of consulting via phone from home several days a week. This keeps his wife, Heidi happy because she misses him when he's away all day! Heidi is the photograher of the town, and is constantly snapping photos of all the goings on for the town paper and sometimes, even gets her photos published in big city papers like Legoland Times, and Lego City Gazette! Oh, look! Here she is now, camera in hand!
John and Heidi have two children. Emma is their sweet, smart daughter, who is the town baby and pet sitter. She's the "big sister" of all the (3) kids in Bricktown, and usually has her nose in a book when she's not riding her bike with little brother Evan. Evan is the youngest Minifig of the family. He is an outdoor boy, always playing outside with the animals and neighbors of Bricktown. He loves riding his bike, and is hoping for a new skateboard from Santa this year, so he can "board" with his friend down the street.
The Minifig home is modest and cute. It has two floors and is the only home with a garage. This is because John has a beautiful red BMW M6 convertable that he likes to protect from the salty sea air (though usually the kids' bikes and such seem to create enough space that the garage is full to the brim, and it must park outside.  
The Minifigs live next door to this bright yellow beach house. It is owned by someone who lives in the big city, but is far from vacant! A lot of times, visitors come to the seaside for a weekend or vendors come for the season, and rent out the yellow bed-and-breakfast, run by Riza Alexander, who is famous for her pancake balls! People come from all over just to stay over for breakfast! Usually, you'll find her next door, though...
One of the vendors in Bricktown is staying there now! His name is Bruce, the "BBQ man". He loves the house because it has the best outdoor grill to prepare his turkey legs and other goods for the day, as he peddles up and down main street with his cart.
The yellow house is the only one with a real, working fireplace. It's always nice to smell the firewood burning on chilly nights when the cool sea air blows in!
The bedrooms are large and upstairs, and the windows and balcony make the house sunny and gorgeous all day long!
There's another vendor in Bricktown this season who is staying at the yellow brick house. He is Bruce's dear friend, Klauss. He is renting this lot at the end of the street from the Minifigs to use as a Christmas tree lot! He sure loves to decorate! Just look at his lovely tree farm!
He must be loading up a tree for someone! How wonderful!
The house between the tree farm and the yellow brick house is the newest home in town. It was built by the resident architect, Alexander. With its three stories, it is more than big enough to house him and his little brother, Erich. Alex, being a well-known architect all over the land, must have things up to code, even though, in Bricktown, they don't enforce the codes like they do in the big city where he works! Look closely, and you'll see that the sidewalk is pristine and handicap accessable, his home houses the only fire hydrant in town, as well as the lone streetlamp and emergency call box. His house is the only one with his house number displayed in front, in case the ambulance should need to find their house!
Originally, he had built the house here to be closer to his sister, Heidi, but rumors have it that he and Riza have become quite close!
Alex likes to cook out on his grill. Riza loves sausages and hot dogs, and Alex makes them just as she likes! She likes to lay out on his fancy lawn chair from Bricker Image. Erich is really laid back and fun! Little Evan really looks up to him, and he is the reason that Evan wants a skateboard! Erich even erected a tree fort for the Minifig children to play in! Erich gets everywhere via his board! (And he LOVES the sidewalk!)
The brothers' home is the most modern house in town. Not only do they have a flat screen, wall-mounted TV, but also a big sink and oven!
They also have the town's only computer! Heidi comes over quite a bit to email her photos, but most people don't really use the internet here. And how about that couch! Shiny black brickskin! Whew! Bricker Image must make a lot of money off him! :)
The third floor is predominantly Erich's lair. He usually only goes inside when it's time to sleep, but loves his warm little bed and likes to have the view of the entire town right outside his window!
There now. You have met the residents of Bricktown, and I trust you'll be visiting again soon, since everyday in December will bring new excitement for the town!
(And maybe a few days before! Wink wink!)
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The First Sunday of Advent

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.
This year is Emma's first year to read the scriptures and light the advent candle tonight, this first Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of hope.

Happy Sunday!
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanks and Giving

Thanksgiving 2010 has come and gone, and it was a success!
I had great help from Em, she did a lot of the pie making on her own! (Too bad she doesn't like pumpkin pie).
 The turkey was perfect, as usual, and big enough for us all, but not big enough to have to eat turkey for a month! ;)
 Spaghetti squash, Stuffing, Rice, Green Bean Casserole...
 Sweet Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Berry Salad, and Croissants...plus party favor boxes by Emma. :)
It was a feast of feasts, and we filled up to the brim!
(With pumpkin pie to top it off!)
Thank you, Daddy, Kurt, and Erich, for blessing us with your company on this day of giving thanks, and blessings to all of you, near and far, who we love and miss, every day.
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Bank on it!

As I prepared to prepare the Thanksgiving feast, the kids were kept busy with paint and ceramic piggy banks.
Can you believe I got them for a dollar?! Yep. Dollar Tree has the sets for a dollar each. The bank, shiny paint, and a brush.
 Evan got a train (of course)
 ...and Emma had a butterfly.

 The completed banks:

Emma has now been "charging" me for helping set the table and other chores she usually does free-of-charge, to fill hers up.
Ha ha! 
Little entrepreneur! 
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

So Thankful...

On this cold, cold Thanksgiving morning, I am smelling the pumpkin pies, and cooking the turkey, and I decided to look back on all our Thanksgivings. It amazed me at how much emotion is connected to a photo, a memory, a feeling.
Our first Thanksgiving in 2003 was Emma's first. We had dinner at my Dad's house that year. My mom had put up a tree, Joey was back from the middle east, and Kurt came home from Chicago with his friend, Belinda. It was exciting. I remember buying Emma baby food jars of sweet potatoes, turkey, and green beans, even though I knew my dad would be feeding her bits of "real food".
I am so thankful for my family.
 The Thanksgiving of 2004 was spent in southern California. We had moved to Sunnyvale that year and drove down to my Uncle Paul's house for a couple days before taking Emma and Niecey to Disneyland for the first time. My brother, Alex, drove up tp meet us as well, and Uncle Paul took us all up in his plane for rides. Emma fell in love with my cousins, Nick & Danielle, and it was REALLY nice to see them all - it had been years.
I am so thankful for transportation, telephone, and internet, all of which keep us in touch with loved ones so far away.
 In 2005, I cooked my very first Thanksgiving meal. We were living in our tiny little house in Sunnyvale, california. Our friends had just moved here from japan, and we invited them over for a new taste of American traditional Thanksgiving. I was SO nervous about things not turning out right, but everything turned out absolutely PERFECT! I was SO proud of myself. My mom watched on a webcam, and encouraged me the whole time.
I'm so thankful for opportunities presented to us, and for the opportunities we can give to others, in turn.

 2006 was probably the hardest Thanksgiving I had ever had. With the very recent loss of our son, I really didn't feel very thankful, though looking back I shake my head and tisk tisk at how much I really DID have to be thankful for. My baby brother came out from Oklahoma, and my big brother came down from Seattle. (He had just bought a new car!). It was so hard to forget that I had planned another little baby to sit at our table that year, his stocking already hung on the chimney, but my brothers helped me remember that I was truly blessed. I was so loved.
I am so thankful for love, undying, never ending, even silent and unspoken. I am thankful for the short time we had with Eli, and I am thankful that he is happy now, perfect, and waiting to see us again.
 In 2007 we had moved back to Oklahoma, and in our new home, which I was in love with (and still am!). I had a new table, gorgeous and strong, and it had room enough for us all to eat together.
The two older brothers couldn't make it this year. Alex was working hard in San Diego and Kurt was in Japan, but everyone else made it for the first Thanksgiving I hosted here at "home".
I am so thankful for my husband, who provides us with so much, and asks for so little in return.

 This photo just makes me smile from ear to ear. A TRUE family portrait :)
 We had our largest Thanksgiving dinner in 2008. John's parents joined us, as well as my (now) brother-in-law, Levi. I cooked, but my dad hosted it at his new cabin, which was the absolute most GORGEOUS setting EVER for Thanksgiving!
I am so thankful for growing families!
 Last year, we were back at our house with my dad and two of my brothers. It was unforgettable because Kurt had brought back from Japan all sorts of Japanese sodas that we all tried. It was so much fun! One was pink and sparkly and called "Love Mode Ginger". It sure was pretty, but not so great tasting ;/
Evan had his last high chair Thanksgiving that year.
I'm so thankful for safe travels for everyone.
 Love Mode Ginger! Ha ha!
This year will include the same guests as last year, and I can't WAIT to see what is in store for us today!
I am so thankful for all I have, all I am.
I hope you are, too. And if you cannot think of anything to be thankful for, just be thankful for what you DON'T have. There are so many out there suffering in ways we can only imagine.
Blessings upon you all, and
Happy Thanksgiving!
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