Friday, December 31, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas

We had a very enjoyable Christmas, with plenty of good food, fun, and fellowship, and the chance to spend some extra time remembering God's great plan of salvation.

Our annual reenactment of the Christmas story.

Peter trying out his big brothering skills...

...Or maybe not!

Christmas Eve supper.

All ready for Christmas dinner!

The cooks with their respective creations.

Seth's special food request this year was fried ice cream.  He froze balls of ice cream, and then dipped each ball in beaten egg and crushed frosted flakes.  Then he refroze the balls to keep the ice cream from melting.

When we were ready to serve, he put the balls in hot oil to fry for a few seconds until the coating was crispy but the ice cream hadn't had time to melt.  Every step of the process was over very quickly since they all had to be done without letting the ice cream melt!

The delicious finished product!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

December Newsletter

Glory to God! A Savior is Born! Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

From Laura, 11 … Earlier this month we went to a performance of Messiah. The four soloists were bass, tenor, counter-tenor, and soprano. Counter-tenor was sung by a man! There were two cellos, one bass, and a bunch of violins. At the back of the stage was the choir consisting of 22 persons. It was so interesting to go to a performance like that because the gospel was clearly given through the singing. Even if people are thinking about the true meaning of Christmas, they’re probably not thinking about Christ’s death and resurrection also. The Bible verses sung in Messiah are not only about Christ’s birth, but quite a few of them have to do with His death.

From Becca, 14 … Last month I had the new experience of staying in a cabin. It was very rustic and cozy. We got to have a fire inside and drink hot chocolate on a cold morning. We sat around cracking pecans and playing games. We also went on an adventure into the woods without a path looking for a rock face that would be good for rappelling. It was a great trip.

From Seth, 17 … Recently Papa showed us around his workplace. I had been in his office a few weeks ago, and I remember a few other times when we had visited the facility, but this visit was much more in-depth than other visits I really remember. Since it was a late Saturday afternoon, there wasn’t anything going on in the shop or out on the test rig, so we got to get really close to them. Probably the two most interesting parts were the 3-D printer and the test rig. The 3-D printer was a box about as big as a refrigerator, and it had a little nozzle that slowly formed melted plastic into models of oil tool parts. Some interesting things about the test rig were the zip line used to escape the rig in case of fire and the pistons that can move the entire structure (maybe 120 feet tall) over a few feet to a different test hole. There are two holes they use, one of which is 2000 feet deep. I enjoyed seeing where Papa works and hearing him talk about all the different processes and tools.

From Anna, 20 … I read that a study done recently showed that people who are not religiously affiliated are more likely to show strong brand loyalty. I thought it was an interesting example of how most people want to be loyal to something. If it’s not a religion, it may be a sports team, a clothing brand, or a car model.

From John, 26 … A couple of weeks ago I welcomed a new guest into my house. He's a father of six from Minnesota who got a job in Houston and moved down here to start working. He will be staying at my house until he can sell his house in Minnesota and move his family down here. He's been great so far, and I'm very happy to have someone else in the house.

About Ray, Katie, and Peter … Ray has been surprisingly busy in what is typically a slow time for real estate. Katie is faring well in the beginning of her middle trimester of pregnancy. At 14 months Peter keeps them on their toes; he’s a busy little toddler. Though he doesn’t talk yet, he has a wide range of facial expressions that usually give strong clues about what he’s thinking about.

From Judith … I finished the valances for our dining/resource room and am happy with how they turned out. I had something very particular in mind which is why I made them. I knew I wouldn’t find pre-made valances to suit me. The dark red floral corduroy material really brought the room to life with just the right amount of color. The colors in the material match the colors in an art print we bought and framed for the same space. The picture and the window dressings have made this space, in which I spend most of my waking hours, much more pleasant and inviting.

From Gerald … It has been a real treat to have autumn colors in Houston this year. I know this seems late to those of you in northern climates, but we have seen some beautiful leaves the past few weeks. This time of year is normally quite drab; the usual pattern is for leaves to gradually turn brown and drop off, to be replaced by the new green ones in a month or so. I guess we must have had cold weather at just the right time and for the right duration this year to trigger the reds and yellows we have been enjoying. Houston is such a great place to live!

Our Love, Gerald, Judith, John, Anna, Seth, Becca, and Laura

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Quote for the Day

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. 
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.

~ G. K. Chesterton

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Cabin Getaway

While Grandma was here, we took the opportunity to go spend two nights at Bastrop State Park.  We were not camping though; this time the Pedersens went up-scale and stayed in cabins!

The cabins were all built in the 1930's by the CCC.  They had a cozy, rustic feel, with wood floor and wall paneling, wooden bedsteads, and the original iron door hardware.

This was my room for our stay.  I fell in love with it at first sight!  It would be unpleasantly small for long-term, but for a two-day get-away its coziness was perfect.

Most of our time there was too warm to really enjoy a fire indoors, but we pretended anyway.  The last morning we were there, though, it cooled off considerably and it felt wonderful to sit by the fire sipping hot chocolate and shelling pecans.

Indoors, we spent our time eating, playing games, visiting, and doing family worship.

Peter "playing" chess.

On our first afternoon there, we went on a brief orienteering expedition.  There was a post in a gully just a few minutes' walk from our cabin, so we thought we'd better go find it.  We did so successfully, and trooped back to our cabins feeling like real ourdoorsmen.

We also went hiking, and came across a big beetle to show Peter.

The next morning we stayed close to the cabins.

Playing RV golf.

Peter thought those balls looked like great fun.

We also walked down to the lake nearby.

Peter being allowed to play in the water to a certain point!

Seth tried making a raft.  It floated fine...

...until he put weight on it.

That afternoon, we went on an adventure.  According to our orienteering map, there was a significant rock face in the park, which we thought would be good for rappelling, but there were no trails that went there directly.  We found a point along the road from which we thought that we could make it the rock face without too much difficulty, so we drove there and then plunged into the forest armed with map and compass.

The rock face was quite satisfactory.  We had tried rappelling once before, but that time it was on a cliff that was barely tall enough.  Once we had gotten started, we were done.  This one was much better.

On our way home, we stopped at what we thought was a pecan factory.  As it turned out, there weren't any operations to see, but they did have some equipment we could look at.  They also had a gift shop with a staggeringly huge nutcracker collection displayed.

These old hand-carved nutcrackers were some of our favorites.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Arboretum

Ray and Katie had visited the Arboretum this summer, and we thought it sounded like something we would enjoy, so we went out to do that while Grandma was here.

Many plants were dormant at this time of year, but there were still many interesting and beautiful plants.

A papaya tree.

A pitcher plant.

This flower was about five inches in diameter.

Giant bamboo.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Visit from Grandma

My grandma from Colorado came down and spent almost two weeks with us over Thanksgiving.  We all enjoyed the chance to spend time together, visiting and doing various activities.  Here are some random snapshots of our time.

Making sock puppets.

We put on a short play while she was here, featuring Brer Wolf and Brer Fox in their futile attempts to catch Brer Rabbit for dinner.

Snapping green beans for Thanksgiving dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Becca and Laura decided to dress up for the occasion.

Planting a cactus garden.

Great-grandma enjoying time with Peter.

Building puzzles.

Giving Peter a haircut-- he's now a very spiffy-looking young fellow!

Decorating gingerbread houses.

Having a tea party.

Grandma's birthday was the day after she left, so we threw a party for her while she was still here.