Over the Christmas holiday, MD and I were exploring the wood behind our house and clean out some of the brush to make paths. We worked our way all the way back to the ditch on the other side of the wood from our yard (not quite sure if our property extends to the ditch or not) where we made a discovery. I was going along the ditch, which is deeper than the one that runs along the side of our property, and noticed an old, leaf-covered bridge going across the ditch to someone else’s yard. In addition to leaves, some old vines had grown across it (probably honeysuckle or wisteria) and it looked like it hadn’t been used in a number of years.
I started cutting back some of the vines so we could get to the bridge. It was still in good condition, no signs of rotten wood. So we walked across and found it connected us to a house on Walker Street.
Bridge in the Woods
MD and I cleaned off most of the leaves and cut back more of the vines that covered it. While we did that, the cat crossed over and poked around in the neighbors yard to see what she could find.
MD Exploring the Bridge
More recently we were in the woods again and saw a couple of boys who live in the house directly behind ours on the next street. They came and crossed the bridge to join us in our exploration, but they didn’t know anything about the bridge either. So for now it’s builder and purpose remain an mystery.
On Christmas Eve the family got together for a group picture. We ended up taking two different pictures as people arrived at different times. I was so busy checking for a sufficient amount of light, and making sure that nobody was cut off at the edges, that I forgot to check to see if anyone’s face was obscured. Something to remember for next year.
Second family picture
Sam’s family wasn’t supposed to arrive until later, but they got there before the camera was put away, so we were able to include them in a second picture.
First family picture
This Christmas we went up to my parents house to make Christmas cookies with my two Aunts. This has been a tradition in my family for a long time, but for a number of years I let others do the baking. This year I was back to being involved, rolling out and cutting the dough. CDF had mixed up the dough and supervised the baking.
Christmas Sugar Cookies
All the children helped out with the decorating. We used frosting and sprinkles to make many colorful designs. CE decided the frosting was better in her mouth. I’m not sure how many she managed to decorate all the way.
Enjoying the Frosting
This year we went to the 24th annual International Festival held at the Raleigh Convention Center. This was the first time for us and we were looking forward to visiting the booths from Egypt. Unfortunately the information on Egypt was sparse, mainly featuring the Rosetta stone, but the other countries represented made up for it.
There wasn’t much about Egypt
Along one side of the exhibit hall (and half of the next side) they had a row of food vendors, one for each country represented. The strongest smells were wafting out of the Indian and Polish booths, but all of them were serving savory dishes. CDF and MD only tasted a sample from the Vietnamese booth (some sort of beef strip). The Dutch booth had some interesting desserts, but they weren’t offering samples when we passed by. 🙁
We walked through the “bazaar” next. The girls spent time looking at the Russian dolls and Chinese toys. But we didn’t buy anything until we got to the Asian booths. MD got a henna tattoo from the Arab Emirates’ booth and CE got bracelets from an Asian booth. Later on CDF went back and got MD a ring and got a pretty scarf for herself.
Lots of Russian Dolls
After the bazaar were cultural exhibits, booths where one could talk to the someone about the country. We stopped at the ones representing Scotland, France, and Vietnam to learn about how each of their languages developed.
On November 18th we went down to Myrtle Beach for the annual SEDUG conference. The weather was nicer this year and we were able to enjoy the beach more.
Myrtle Beach Hotel
The girls spent one morning on the beach and later on in the day, when it got warmer, they got in the water. It was quite cold, but enjoyed it anyway.
Walking on the Beach
Friday afternoon, once the the conference was over, we went over to another hotel, the Dunes, where we had a reservation for the night. This hotel has an indoor water park, and when we found out they were running winter specials we decided to jump on the chance. Everyone had a lot of fun going down water slides or just floating along in the lazy river.
MD and her cousin spent the most time on the slides. CDF went down one with CE, but they both got soaked at the bottom, so CE decided she would stay in the lazy river. I went down the big twisty slide.
This past week I got out the tricycle for Clo to try. Up until now she has been too short. This time her legs just reach the pedals and she can push them enough to get going.
Yesterday evening she and I went out to the drive way with our bikes to ride together. She rode a little, but ended up pushing her trike around a lot. So I got off mine and snapped some pictures.
Pictures of our new cat. The first after she was awake from a short nap.
Then she decided nothing interesting was going on and went back to sleep.
Napping In the Living Room
On Thursday the girls were being silly in the tub. I gave them some “fun soap,” a foamy soap that comes in various colors, and they were putting it on their faces like clowns.
Playing in the Tub
This past Saturday we went to a cook-out hosted by Emmanuel’s interim pastor’s parents. They have a house down by the Intercoastal Waterway. A thunderstorm had just passed through the area earlier in the afternoon, so it was windier than usual, but the sky was clear and the air was warm. Almost perfect for an afternoon on the water.
Unfortunately I left the backpack with the swimsuits sitting on the floor in the living room at home, so we weren’t able to get in the water. But we did have fun on the boats. Mo went for a long ride in the water way with the Pastor’s daughter and some other young ladies. While she was out on the water, CDF and I got in one of the tandem kayaks and paddled down the inner channel. We all had a great time and worked up an appetite for the burgers that were grilling while we were out.
Back from boating in the waterway
After eating, the girls played fetch with one of the more furrier guests. Laramie (I think that’s how it’s spelled) was a black lab just out of puppy-hood, and full of energy. He enjoyed chasing the tennis ball, and had been diving in the water after another toy earlier. Clo enjoyed tossing the ball and would yell, “go boy,” every time she threw it.
Playing with Laramie
Mo and her friend wanted to go out in a kayak, but there wasn’t an opportunity to take them out. But they worked something out anyway.
Are we going anywhere yet?