Sunday - Today Ben went to help out a friend who moved into the area from out of state the same month we did. They (family of 6) have been staying in a one bedroom apartment over a garage on their new homestead property. The wife is expecting #5 in February and they are rushing to get the garage below remodeled before the baby comes. This is so reminiscent of what we were doing just before our baby came last year! :-) It is coming together quickly and even though Ben is back to work now, he is offering help where he can. They will be adding a living room, kitchen, bedroom, bath/laundry downstairs in the 2 car garage space, and converting the upstairs to be two bedrooms and a bath. These are exciting times!
Monday - We all got to outside and play today. We went out right after breakfast. Everyone was so excited, everyone except for Eliana in the beginning. We thought she was going to be the first one to come in...but as it turned out...she found out she really really liked it and was the LAST one to go in! We have a nice hill in out backyard to sled on. It was a good time. Chazaq was actually the first one to go in. He hadn't had his morning nap, and his rubber boots and mittens kept coming off. He did have the little snow suit Milly sent us, which was wonderful...he lasted longer than I expected. Naomi surprised me too...because when it comes to physical activity she is usually "all about it" she is naturally athletic and loves the excitement of physical play...but she kind of "phoned it in" for the sledding this time. All of the kids did good with waiting for their turns...we only had 2 sleds that worked well. We were able to double up ...but it still meant a good deal of waiting... Our plastic sled wasn't sliding right and we had two swim kickboards we would try...but they didn't work either. :-)
The perfect end to the day: As I was reading a long awaited email from my friend Heather, in PA since she got back from Israel...I was so excited to reconnect her after so long.... than we got a surprise visit from our friends that just had a baby girl last Sunday!!!! We have not been able to visit with them for months (for a whole host of reasons)...so it was SO GOOOOOOD to see them. Ahhh we are blessed with good friends...i am so thankful! And if that wasn't enough....we just opened a big ol' box they had wrapped up and given us... it was stuffed full of vacuum packed organic grass fed beef from their farm! YES! Here is a photo of Bric (the papa) letting Eliana hold their 10 day old baby (yet to be officially named).
Thursday - Today will be a hard one to ever forget. Accidentally, the "booster" to the woodstove was left open and unattended...leaving a neverending supply of oxygen to feed the freshly loaded firebox. In no time, the temperature went from the comfy average of 200 degrees up PAST THE MAX temp of 500, into the 600 degree range. The thermometer cycled back around for a second spin and read 100 for we think it was at 600 degrees, and the glass temperature gauge cover popped off and flew across the living room. That was the first sign that something was wrong. The stove pipe changed all kinds of funky colors, and the cast iron chimney base glowed a dark orange and close to red with heat. Quickly, the chimney began to fill with the scary tinkling sounds of creosote falling from the top and filling up the base. By the time we shut down all fuel, it still took 6 hours for the temperature to drop to cool off enough for us clean out chimney from all the creosote that piled up. (This could cause a dangerous chimney fire if it is let alone.) Other than the permanent rainbow colors on our formally shiny stainless stovepipe, the stove itself passed its first overheating test(and hopefully last!). Many lessons were also learned by the human fire-tenders that day. I am very happy we spend the time really fireproofing the walls and floor around the stove, just for such an occasion.