Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas on the farm

We had the great privilege of spending Christmas weekend in southwestern Pennsylvania at my Aunt Traci & Uncle Jack's farm. We arrived Saturday afternoon and Bobby was whisked off to Hunting Hills where he got to enjoy shooting some birds. Meanwhile the ladies went to a candlelight service at a little country church. Then we all met up for dinner that evening. Sunday was nice and relaxing, and I was excited about getting to see the Steelers play, but the game was a major disappointment. Monday morning was a blast, more family & friends arrived, we had a delicious brunch and opened a bountiful amount of presents! Then we left the farm, drove two hours north to New Castle to exchange more presents and visit my mom's side of the family. The bad part was getting to bed late and waking up at 5:00 am (yes, that's 4:00 central time) to fly back to St Louis so that I could go to work... but hey, let's not focus on the negative! Here are some pictures from the weekend:

Bobby and his birds

The Hammond family Christmas photo

One of my favorite presents this year - my mom had my wedding gown preserved. Only to be taken out of the box when I have a daughter to try it on someday. Or if I have a mid-life crisis and get determined to fit back in it!

And this picture is just to prove that we really were on a farm... Pattycake the Pig, running up the steps because it's feedin' time! Isn't she adorable?!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Party Season

'Tis the season for parties & open houses, and fortunately other people have been hosting them so I haven't had to! True, I do love entertaining, but it really is nice when we can go to other people's houses and enjoy their clean, inviting homes and eat all of their food.

This past Saturday, our neighbors that live on the other side of our ceiling, Currie & Abby, had a fun little gathering. Unfortunately though, only one picture was taken all night, but it's a good one!

Here is Jessica, me, Abby & Joy - all seminary wives. Jess and her husband, BJ, don't live in Atherton yet, but they hope to soon.

Last week we got to go to another party. Technically it wasn't a "Christmas" party, it was actually a going-away party for our dear friends, the Zellners. We are very sad to say good-bye to them. Eric & I worked together at my first job here in St Louis - while I was running errands & doing laundry all day, he got to do all the cleaning - lucky guy! It was great to get to know him, his wife, Susan, and their two precious girls, Olivia & Emma Frances, well over the past 3 1/2 years. Wow, has it been that long?!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

18 days until Christmas

We put our Christmas tree up this past weekend and I wanted to show it off.

Here is our Nativity - notice, the wise men are far away.

Bunny's favorite winter activity is to wreck havoc on the tree skirt so I tried to capture that for all to see. Whenever we start playing with her, she goes directly to the tree skirt and won't play until we come over there.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Winter Storm Hits the Midwest

I really thought I would not make it home from work last night. Give me a foot or two of snow and I can plow right through it, even in my little Altima, but hit us with sleet and freezing rain and two inches of ice, and I'm a wreck (fortunately not literally). My new work hours are 11-8:30 and the sleet began around 9 am, I made it to work just fine, but my drive home last night (fortunately they let me leave at 6:15) was hazardous, to say the least! There was a layer of ice, snow drifts and slush all over the roads, and the lane markers were completely invisible. Every little movement I made, even at 15 mph, my tires were sliding all over the place, and my 9-mile commute took me over an hour - and I drive on some really major roads!

Beyond my experience, here are some highlights of the storm's impact on St Louis:
  • 500,000 customers are without power
  • one of the major highways here (I-70) was shut down for awhile
  • Metrolink (train) was inoperable this morning
  • more than 1000 travelers stranded in Lambert Airport

Thankfully the sleet stopped sometime during the night and we woke up this morning to a winter wonderland! We were "supposed" to get 6-10 inches of snow, but only got 1-2. Normally I would be disappointed about that, but since there was 2 inches of ice underneath, I was happy with just a little more than a dusting this time. I am grateful now for the pretty sunshine that has come out and given us a relief from the precipitation so that the road crews can catch up and keep my roadways clear!