Copyright (c) 2011-2013, Chase Your Dreams

All rights reserved

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Excitement

The house is filled with sights and sounds of the season.

Excitement is building as we prepare for Christmas Day!

Pathways are lit with twinkling snowflakes;

Nutcrackers are standing guard;

Angels are sounding the alarm.

"Mommy, how many more sleeps before Christmas Morning?"

"Not many, my babies!  Not many at all!"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

The Bear Went Over The Mountain,

The Bear Went Over The Mountain,

The Bear Went Over The Mountaaaaaaaaaaain......

To See What He Could See!

This song was bellowing from the back seats;  following hubby and I all the way up the mountain side;  all the way to the very highest elevations where you will find the Christmas tree farms!  The tunes were sung with gusto and bravado because two little girls were excited and looking forward to our annual kickoff to Christmas!

I was prepared this year - parkas, snow boots, mittens, hats, scarfs, three layers of sweaters and a flask of hot chocolate just in case!  You never know if the promises made on websites are for reals!

But what do you know;  the bright blue sky that greeted us as Santa pulled a few candies from his bag when we rolled through the gates of the farm, were not bitterly cold at all.  It was actually so pleasant we had to peel off several layers of clothing by the time we climbed off the tractor pulled hayride taking us round to a field dotted with trees as far as the eye can see.  

Walking row upon row of Christmas trees until we find "The One" on the day after Thanksgiving is as much a tradition in the run up to our Christmas as turkey and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day.   We chose a beautiful fraser fir complete with a pink bow on top!  Fudge thoroughly enjoyed that special touch!   By the time we meandered down the mountain back to the barn we found our tree baled and labeled, leaning against a wall - all ready to go!  Wow!  10 out of 10 for service!

But first there were hot chocolate to sip while watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas" story; there were horse rides to take and Christmas crafts to make.  By the time we left we were ready for a very late, early afternoon lunch!

Now this gorgeous tree is the centerpiece of our great room and it fills our home with the beautiful aroma of a winter wonderland.  It's needles are soft and fragrant to the touch and it's branches from which the ornaments dangle are strong and sturdy.  Every time I walk past it,  I see a little girl rearranging bows and crystals on it.  It is at the epicenter of the Christmas excitement in our home!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

The Holidays.

Initially it was like losing a loved one.  Something my husband were all too familiar with, losing both his parents and his only brother by the time he was 30 years old.

Caramel's Placemat

I would wake up all confused not knowing where I am. That first minute or two of every day I spent working through the realization that I'm not in my bed at home, but thousands of miles away in a whole different country before I rolled off the airbed to start my day.  I felt destitute.  I felt thrown away;  uprooted!  Disjointed.  The fact that we still had to buy furniture and there were no pictures hanging on the walls, made it even harder.

Fudge's Placemat. She is so thankful for that pie!
(I took out our last name in the picture!)

Holidays are meant to be spent with family and loved ones.  Not an easy feat when you are living halfway around the world in a different hemisphere surrounded by people celebrating holidays we've never heard of before; speaking English with a funny twang while snow drifts in on Christmas day and I cannot even figure out how to get the fireplace started.

But a few years later the girls arrived and this terrible hole in my heart was filled with all kinds of possibilities.  Not only was it something that could be;  it had to be.  Because the wonderful thing about newborn babies are that they don't care.  They don't care what baggage you carry around or what fears or sorrows fill your heart.  They need you for everything and they take you just the way you are!  You ARE their everything!  In their eyes you are perfect!  It's like a good old swift kick in the butt.  Which, if I'm honest with myself, I sometimes need!

On Our Porch

Everything that became part and parcel of their life and their culture were, and still are, our responsibility to teach them.  Being the line leader in their life has been a tremendous privilege, fun and in one word plain simply "Awesome!"   I will take these days gladly knowing once they spread their wings to leave our nest I want to believe and know I did my best. 

On this Thanksgiving Day twelve years after getting off that plane with two bags of clothing and no idea what's lying ahead, I feel tremendous gratitude for my family in South Africa and my upbringing;  the values my parents taught me.  It follows me everywhere I go.  Without it I think I would've been lost.

Our Camelias are blooming

I'm thankful for hubby that stuck with me through thick and thin.  Goodness knows we've had huge ups and huge downs!  The day I met him I felt I knew him;  like he has always been there and always will be.  The missing piece that completed the picture.  I loved him from the very first time I looked at his smiling face next to me, helping me get that silly, old car started!  He IS the love of my life!

Then our little girls arrived.  My heart's ability to love and my sense of gratitude doubled that beautiful, bright, blue spring day they came.  They changed our lives forever!  Many days they will tell me how much they love me and I will hold their tiny little bodies while inhaling their loveliness and find myself speechless while staring into those beautiful, innocent faces.  The only thing coming out of my mouth a feeble attempt at expressing my feelings: " I love you sooooooooo  much!!!!"

Even though I can thank many other people in my life;  I thank God every day for these wonderful people.  On this Thanksgiving day I truly feel thankful and blessed to know them all and to share my life with them.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Leaf Piles

Those leaves are coming down in droves!

So the kids have been raking piles of it and leaf fights have become the national pastime in our household!

Watching them run around the yard arms thrown towards the heavens; so happy; 100% living in the moment!  I love it.

The only way I can tear them away from all the fun is with a promise of some hot chocolate!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fall, How We Love Thee

Leaf Peeping on the East Coast should be a "must see" on any bucket list.

The brilliant, sun dappled colors against turquoise skies. 

Crunching leaves underfoot!

Soon we will be raking together piles of it but until then we are enjoying the canopies of color surrounding our home.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Every morning, en route to school, the girls and I witness the most beautiful sunrises.

The sights and sounds are never quite the same, but the beauty of it all always takes my breath away!

Live and Love...Out Loud

Halloween Fun

Four little people rocked the monster mash musical cushions and "pin the tail"!'

Little hands eagerly grabbed cupcakes, fruit and ghostly candy molds from brightly colored Halloween party paper plates.

The joy, delight and innocence they bring into our lives are immeasurable!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hot Air Balloon Festival

They are beautiful.

Awe Inspiring.

Floating without sound, except for the odd hiss coming from the burners to keep them afloat.

Imagination runs wild and the child within feels alive and well.  Its nice to know it is still in there buried under layers and layers of adult responsibilities.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Late Afternoon Fix

I almost threw the SUV on its side turning left on short notice when I saw the sign.

The girls and I were on our way home from attending a field trip at a nature museum in the city with fellow kindergartners.  We were tired;  I was unable to buy the beautiful mums at the farmers market found a few blocks down the street because I never carry any cash on me and did I mention we were tired?  We all needed a late afternoon fix and the flowers were not going to happen!

It was agreed we wanted some pumpkin ice cream sold at Trader Joe's!  And only Trader Joe's!  In my opinion they listened way to good to the ads running in between Mozart's Symphony nr. 5 and Grieg's Piano Concerto in a minor.

And what do you know there it was;  like a sign from above.  Did I hear angels sing?

As we roamed the aisles, spiced apple cider, a leg of lamb, some brie and a few other necessities found its way into the cart and finally "Eureka"!  Good thing we came when we did because they were running low and when you take a bite you will understand why!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Signs of Fall

More and more signs of fall are showing up in the neighborhood!

Soon our backyard will be filled with the brightest and most beautiful shades of crimson and golden yellows.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Carving

We went back and forth about what we want to do with the pumpkins but ultimately the girls' choice reigned.  They wanted to carve their pumpkins.  And they knew exactly what needs to be done!  "First, we have to take out all the seeds Mommy!"

So I cut the holes in the top of the pumpkins and happily handed it over to them.  "There you go girls!  Have fun!"

I've never heard the words "Eew!" and "Yuck!" as many times as I heard it coming from the deck while they were pulling fistfuls of pulp and seeds from the pumpkins' interiors.  But secretly I think Fudge really liked it.  Squishing that pulpy mush just a little bit longer than needed.  Rubbing her hands together in a weird, gratifying kind of way!   Throwing an "Eew!" or "Yuck!" out there just to look like she's "normal"!  He-he!

Put it this way I would be concerned if she is my surgeon one day;  concerned in a scary "Frankensteinish" kind of way!   She might be rearranging a few other organs while performing a heart transplant thinking "It would be interesting to see what impact this will have on her well being!  Woo-ha-ha!"

They stenciled on the pictures they picked and then the saws were put to work.  This is where daddy started to step in and help a bit; always so concerned his girls are going to cut a finger off or something terrible like that!

But they did a lot of cutting themselves and poked pieces of pumpkin out accompanied by shrill shrieks of excitement as they witnessed their creations take shape.  A few bent and broken saws and drills later........Voila!

When they finally had the opportunity to admire their handiwork on the front porch they became super excited knowing Halloween is just around the corner!