Something So Big

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Homemade Gifts

I've said it before:  God created us to create.
We like to make things, whether they are artsy-craftsy, culinary delights, clothing, woodworking, brass, written works of art.  Here is a small sampling of creative gifts that came out of our household this holiday season...
#1 - Candy cane Name on a Ribbon - shown here right after the candy cane pieces had melted together in the oven....Wynne glued this onto a ribbon and gave it to her teacher for Christmas!  (I bet he never got another one like it;)
 Mark was trying to get these done for the Engelke Christmas, but they didn't dry in time.  Barnboard lamp, crosses, and candleholder.  The candleholder made its way into the Siegert family Christmas Bingo game!
 This reminds me of the breadbox I grew up with, but it's actually an electronic device "holding center / charging station".  It's awesome, isn't it?
 One more look at Grandpa/Dad Buddy Bears.  These little guys are waiting for hats;)

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.--Isaiah 43:19

More Christmases!

The Siegert family Christmases were held on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.  Ally enjoyed catching up with her godson Ryker!
 Lauren & Payton know where the toys are at Aunt Sara & Uncle Glenn's house.
 Glenn's bar was a favorite spot
Greg, Ryan, Paula, Joey
 The newest family addition, Harper Grace, was all smiles with Uncle Doug.  Maybe it was his ugly Christmas sweater!
 Glenn & Sara's basement is HUGE, great for this family get-together!
 Plenty of cousins games going on...
Kierta, Jonah, & Mady

clockwise Wynne, Brooke, Kierta, Jonah, Maddie (Paige in front)
 Shae and Paige are some of the "big kids" now...weird!  They are very good at keeping their little cousins occupied.
Shae & Brock (almost 3)
 Aunt Sara loves to hold the babies.  Payton loves babies, too!
 Glenn & Sara hosted a really fun Bingo game.  We had all kinds of little gifts for the kids to win!  The biggest was Uncle Glenn's big-money giveaway...lucky little Lauren was the winner!
 Godparents/godchildren gifts were I am with my cute little Mady Boots;)
 Uncle Mark gave Tage a new Lego set.  Off he goes to build it!
 Oh no; Doug has our camera! (Thank goodness; he changed out of his woman's sweater vest.)
 Time for family pictures!  We haven't done this on Mark's side for quite a while.  Took a while to get a good one...Wynne can't keep focused!
 Glenn and Sara's family: Trevin, Brooke, and Taylor
 Doug & Paula and their lovely little girls: Payton (the baby, almost 3!), Mady (6), and Lauren (4)
 Jamey and Jackie, Alana (6), Jonah (8), and Harper (7 months) - Greg &Marin's baby was napping when we took these...maybe next year...
 Jan and her kids: Jamey, Mark, Doug; Greg, Sara, Jan, Ryan, & Joey
 The goofy picture that almost got dangerous.!!
Happy New Year ! and Merry Christmas, Grandpa!
Joey, Kierta, Brooke, Jackie, Harper & Jonah
 Manicures?! Mady, Paige, Brock, and Taylor
 Watching the BADGERS BEAT AUBURN in the Outback Bowl! What a game (especially the last few minutes)!!
 Sorry I can't figure out how to rotate this picture - but you can see the neat bench that Joey made (with IH milkcans) for his dad.
 Everyone fights for a chair or couch seat in Grandpa's living room....
Doug, Payton, Greg, Mark, Cy 
 ...except for the grandkids, who would much rather jump on Grandpa's bed! Naughty monkeys.
Alana, Kierta, Wynne, Lauren, & Brooke
 An unusual occurrence in 2015: Jamey & Doug beat Glenn & Mark in euchre!?
 Brock's thinking, "This is the life:  my own chair and a big bowl of puppy chow.  Right Grandpa?"
 Uncle Joey and two little elves!
Cy, Tage, Joe, & Brock

Two Happy Cats

We've been spending the last several days with extended family.  Last weekend was the Engelke Christmas gathering, this year at Deer Valley Lodge.  Brian organizes this, and we moved from the MP hotel to Barneveld this year to be able to keep our "gathering room" with its food table, TV, tables, etc.  Our family is too big to gather without having a large gathering place!  I'll explain the blog title "Two Happy Cats" in just a bit.  It'll make sense;)
Crystal had emailed me a few months ago asking for the list of things Dad/Grandpa always said.  We compiled them at his funeral, I mentioned some in his eulogy, and we call them "Govisms".  Anyway, look at  the cool coasters she made with them (from flooring tile samples)!  What a special gift.

The kids love to have lots of room to play with their cousins, including these two 8-year-olds.
Eddie Lacy/Garrison & Wynne, 3rd graders getting too darn big!!
The cousin exchange is always neat because they sit in a big circle and go one-at-a-time.  Wynne picked out some Fisher Price farm toys for 2-year-old Emerson.  I think she liked them:)
Shae and Paige had Joseph and Logan's names.  We bought handmade wooden toys for them (Logan's was a big truck to which we added Matchbox cars).  Joseph lives on a farm, so we thought he would appreciate the pick-up truck and farm animals.  Shae did a great job painting them!
After their gift exchange, it was time for the annual laser tag game.  Thank goodness we were in their basement nowhere near the hotel's sleeping rooms!!
Christopher photobombs the laser tag game
Aunt Sonja and Uncle Brad help Tim and Maryellen's girls play "Trouble" - Annamae (3), Addie (5), and Elsie (6)!
 See that window behind Deb, Mom, and Dan?  We were at just below ground level, so if you slid that window open, you could set your beverages out on the back parking lot to keep cold...or whatever else you wanted to keep cold (like, say, a pan full of homemade pasties that you were planning to give away as a gift).  Now, remember that window as I'll explain its significance in just a bit....

Finally it was time for the adult gift exhange.  We play a take-away type game where you can steal a gift only once per round, but there can be up to 3 steals per round.  It gets quite entertaining.
Looking around the circle at the anxious gift-giver/getters!
I was so happy that my niece Lacey was excited to open the gift I brought...a Grandpa/Dad Bear :) Mom let us each take some of Dad's clothes from his closet, and I commissioned a doll-clothing maker (Pat, you are AMAZING!) to turn his shirts into little  teddy bear shirts.  I bought the bears at Dollar Tree.  Then I asked her to try and make leather vests and berets, if she could.  How do you think she did?  Isn't it adorable?!! And just small enough for Lacey to take on the plane back to CA with her the next day!
I gave one of these bears to my mom, brothers, and sisters.  Here's the poem I wrote to go with him:
I'm not your ordinary bear;
Look closely and you'll see...
My shirt's been worn by someone 
Who shares Eternity!
So when you need to laugh or cry,

Or need some hope or love,
Remember that, "This, too, shall pass," 
Says my buddy who's up above!

Makeshift nail spa on the hotel floor...Claire, Wynne, & Ally (was it midnight yet, girls?). We lose track of time in a room like this!
The next morning, guess who wanted to go back into the waterpark?
That's right - little Wynne Bear;)
Brad's grandkids were in there, bright and early, too!

Smile, Bailey, Catherine, and Shae!
It was another whirlwind night-morning at the Engelke Christmas!

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the TWO HAPPY CATS!  I forgot to take a picture, I was so lost laughing in the moment.....
Brian and Kaleb had set their beer and pan of pasty/venison sausage wrapped in foil out on the back parking lot (outside of that window, remember?).  We came to find out that there were two stray cats wandering around outside the hotel.  When it was time to bring in Kaleb's gift for the exhange, half of the sausage and all of the pasties were gone....a feast for two homeless felines!
It probably doesn't sound funny; guess you had to be there;)
Oh well, at least we made 2 cats' day!