Monday, September 15, 2014

Grasshopper Days


Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, September 15, 2014

Outside my window...  a beautiful, sunny autumn morning, with fall colors beginning to show in our neighborhood.  *happy sigh*

Hearing...  birds chirping and Kerry talking to himself in his office.

Pondering...  I should send one of the boys over to the garden to pick tomatoes.  Again.

Praying...  our pastor's mom died this week - it wasn't unexpected, but it's still a loss.  Also, Wyatt starts classes tomorrow.  He's over at the college picking up his books today and scouting out where all his classes will be held, so he'll be more comfortable tomorrow.  Praying that he continues to grow in self-discipline.

Thankful...  hallelujah for the book-loan program!  The CC is loaning him the texts for all three classes (saving us HUNDREDS of dollars) - all we had to buy was a solutions book for pre-calc, and we found it used :D

Wearing...  shorts, t-shirt, and flip-flops.  Forecast for today says... 80F.  Sheesh!

Going...  to take a shower.  Gunnar and I had our walk this morning and I came home dripping with sweat.  (TMI?)

Reading...  Preparing Your Teens for College, by Alex (Alec?) Chediak.  About half-way through and so far, two thumbs up.  Of course, I'm not going on the assumption that all our teens are headed for college, but the principles are good no matter where they're headed.

Looking forward to...  the ladies from our church are invited to join the ladies from another church (that our church planted) on their annual retreat up at the Firs Chalet... just a stone's throw from where this photo was taken.

My mom and her cousin and spouse, visiting from So. Cal.

Yes, you can take this photo from the road.  And it's even more beautiful when the lake (aptly named Picture Lake, but officially Highwood Lake) is perfectly calm and more fall colors are showing.  But heck, it's beautiful all the time! That's Mt. Shuksan in the background, the ninth tallest mountain in the state (9131 feet, I had to check), and I climbed it once.  Long before children ;D


Anyway, I haven't decided yet if I'll go on the retreat, but is sure sounds appealing!

In the kitchen...  leftover turkey dinner tonight!  And of course, there's this...


Ya gotta love Dave Barry.

In the learning rooms...  Gunnar and I have decided it's the most efficient to do math and science (his most difficult subjects) first, which we did.  Then we break for a walk, and come back for language and history.  Tate should be rolling in the driveway any minute now.  He's been riding his bike to school with the good weather :D  He's very focused, and will undoubtedly settle right in to finish any homework he has for the school and then complete his homeschool work.

Around the house...  my houseplants go live outside for the summer, but I just brought them back in.  It's still nice, but the nights are getting kind of cool. AND... I brought some pumpkins over from the garden and put them out on the porch :D

The Mother Load...  my main goal this week is ROUTINE!  As in, find it.  Get in the groove.

Noticing that...  what is it with little, yippy dogs?  How do their owners not HEAR them?

A favorite quote for today...  from Spurgeon, called That is Dying

I'm standing on the seashore.  A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.  She's an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.  And then I hear someone at my side saying, "There, she's gone."

Gone where?  Gone from my sight, that is all.  She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side.  And just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination.  Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There, she's gone," there are other eyes watching her coming, and there are other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

And that is dying.

One of my favorite things...  after spending Saturday cooking turkey and Sunday cleaning two ovens (mine and my neighbors... long story), we came home from church yesterday and...
... had pizza delivered :D  Thanks, honey!

A Bible verse...  Psalm 19:1-2, our Sunday School memory verses,

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

A few plans for the next week...  well the good news is that Sunday School went a lot better, now that I'm preparing for the age group I actually have!  (Funny how that works ;D)  But it will go even better if I put something in the crock pot before I leave for church, because I can guarantee you that I'll still come home tired, and we won't be ordering out for pizza on a weekly basis.

A peek into my world...  or my yard.  Same thing.

Love my dogwood tree :D


Saturday, September 13, 2014

I Have No Photo For Today...

... which is probably a good thing.

First, I'm exhausted.
Second, there was a lot of smoke.
But no fire, so don't worry.

We had a lot on the agenda today.  Here's what I wanted done:
1.  Screens off all the windows, washed, and stored in the garage.
2.  Everything out of the shed and put back (including the picnic table, so it won't rot over the winter) in an organized manner so that I can get at my gardening bench.
3.  Finish the rock wall / Samaria project.

Samaria?  I know, it makes no sense.  But what can I say, I have three boys.  When they were little, they played an endless game with plastic dinosaurs, army men, and little glass rocks which they referred to as "Jewel Pets".  Kerry calls one corner of our property The Black Forest because it gets little sunlight.  That's where the boys set up their alternate universe, called Dino-opolis.  And yes, it was as awesome as it sounds.  Half the neighbor kids were involved and it went on for years.  Years, I tell you.  When the dinos wanted more space, they expanded into another corner of the yard, which the boys called "Some Area".  Hence, SAMARIA.

But I digress.  Samaria, in fact, is where I want a fire-pit.  It's also the space Kerry has used as a dumping ground for rocks for the rock wall as well as anything that needs to be hauled away for the last several years.  See the issue?  So as long as we have the little tractor borrowed... besides finishing the rock wall (mostly done) we want to level that space.  Only, one of us wants it a lot more level than others of us, who are content with less level.

Meanwhile, Gunnar had homeschool work to finish (and there was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth), which took a good part of the morning.  But NEXT week... NEXT week we're going to be on schedule.  Right?

So, as the day progressed, the screens were off the window and washed.  Not sure if they're stored properly, but the are in the garage.  The shed has been emptied and refilled.  Some progress has been made in Samaria.  And Gunnar finished his schoolwork.

And then there was the turkey.  Lo, the enormous turkey.

I thawed it out, hoping to cook it Wednesday (dentist appointments), or Thursday (errands, lab work, grocery shopping), or Friday (working in the garden), and really needed to get that bird cooked today.  And I'm not kidding when I call it an enormous bird.  Over twenty-seven pounds.  It barely fit in my roaster, but I shoved it in the oven at quarter after one and figured I'd cook it until about 6:30.

Giving me lots of time to work on my Sunday School lesson.  Because, as I mentioned, I have a little adapting to do.  So there I was, upstairs in command central, listening to Bach's Magnificat and happily tearing construction paper into little pieces for a collage project, when Wyatt poked his head in and said that he thought the turkey was "boiling over".  Well, Wyatt is prone to be a wee bit paranoid about things like crumbs smoking in the bottom of the toaster, so I wasn't too alarmed but I thought I'd better go check.

Good golly, Miss Molly, he was too right!

That turkey produced a lot of lovely drippings.  So much so that there was no room for them in the roasting pan (with the twenty-seven pound bird) and the whole thing was dripping all over the bottom of the oven!  And you know what that means... SMOKE.

Both the front and back doors were already open, so I turned the fan to High and flung open the kitchen window... which promptly sucked all the smoke the fan was venting outside right back into the kitchen.  Yikes!  I turned the oven off, set the bird up on the stove top, closed the kitchen window, and yelled to Gunnar to bring down a box fan from one of the bedrooms.

In the meantime, Tate saw smoke coming out the side of the house (from the kitchen vent) and came inside to help.  Seeing the kitchen filled with smoke, he flung open the kitchen window, drawing more smoke back into the kitchen!

All we needed was a little tiny car full of clowns to make the moment perfect, right?

I'm surprised none of the neighbors called the fire department.  But all's well that ends well.

We got the kitchen aired out, siphoned off about half the juices, and took the turkey over to my neighbors' to finish cooking (God bless them, I'll be taking them some meat and gravy tomorrow).  Heaven knows I don't dare turn my oven on again until I clean it!

While it was cooking next door, I...
 - sprayed our oven with oven cleaner
 - washed up what I could
 - made Tate's dreams come true by making Cake Batter Truffles, and hid them in the fridge

So there we were, eating turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy... at 7:30 pm.  A bit later than we usually eat, but my boys will take turkey any hour of the day ;D

And that's the tale I have to tell to you.

Whew!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Brain Dump

 Well.

1.  I could be frustrated that we're not exactly "in the groove" of our normal home-school routine, or I could be thankful for the flexibility that home-schooling allows us.  I'll take Option 2.  Because this week... yah.

Wyatt and I spent Monday over at the community college, attending orientation.  And can I just tell you that I felt like ...


...thank you very much, Gary Larson.  By the time we got home, well, no home-school (Gunnar) was accomplished.  

2.  Tuesday I had a check-up right in the middle of the day, breaking our momentum.  But here's the funny thing.  I'm not used to being at the doctor's office by myself; I'm usually escorting one of the boys.  And I can well remember the days of trying to keep them occupied in the waiting room until we got called back.  So when a mom walked in with two little girls (one about three and one in a stroller, probably a year and a half?) I had sympathy.  The girls were behaving nicely, but the mom was trying to get a bunch of paperwork filled out and the little one kept throwing her toys overboard (out of the stroller) and grabbing at the papers.  So I started making faces at her.  And playing peek-a-boo behind a magazine.  And making the little *pop* sound with my finger in my cheek.  The little one in the stroller would stare at me, start to laugh, and then look away - like she couldn't believe a stranger was behaving like that.  Then the nurse called me back, and as I left the room the little one burst into tears!  Well, it's nice to be appreciated, I guess ;D

Looking south-east, just after take-off.

3.  Meanwhile, Kerry got to go flying again.  He did a little job for a client who is preparing to be a missionary pilot.  Doesn't have much money, but there are some perks...  he took Kerry up on Tuesday and I think he may take Wyatt up soon.  And what beautiful fall weather for it!

We live near this lake.  And see the houses way off in the distance, up on the hill?
That one on top reflecting the sunlight is my parents' place.
Yes, they have an amazing view.

4.  Wednesday the boys all had dental check-ups.  And isn't that just as much fun as a barrel of monkeys.  Said no one ever.  But it's all fine.  One boy had one cavity (so sad), but LOOK, I told them... Wyatt is 18, Tate is nearly 16, and Gunnar is 13.  Between them, they've had FOUR cavities, total.  On average, that's less than one cavity for each ten years.  I think they're doing fine.

The house I grew up in is dead center in this photo - with the flat, boxy-looking garage roof.

5.  Thursday I was up early and off to the lab for (routine) bloodwork - all is well.  And Kerry and the boys went to a friend's for one last hurrah at the lake.

Our house :D

6.  Gunnar and I went to the grocery store today.  I know, that's hardly big news.  But I forgot my list, so we just winged it.  Got home.  Found the list.  Remembered all but one thing.  So, you know, I'm bragging a little ;D  Because when you're forty-eight that's something to celebrate.

The marina and the site of the former Georgia-Pacific Pulp and Paper mill, where my dad worked for 40+ years, and I spent three summers in college.  Hard work.  Good money.  Unofficial motto: We work ours off to keep yours clean.  Always classy.

7.  Suddenly a couple of keys on my keyboard are sticking.  Could it possibly be heavy-handed teenage boys?  Possibly?

Looking toward Anacortes.

8.  My cousin dropped in for a surprise visit.  Well, a surprise to us, anyway.  He lives in Texas but was bringing his daughter up to get her settled into university in Seattle.  But here's the funny tidbit:  He's a nurse-anesthetist (anesthesiologist).  He got his training through the Army and served for eight years (including two deployments to the Mid-East) before going into private practice.  He is a TOUGH GUY, and he works in a surgical setting.  But you know what he told me?  When he has to get his own blood drawn, he passes out.  I love that he told me that.

Evening over the San Juans - and very hazy.


9.  Sunday is coming.  This time I'll be preschool-ready.

Ferry approaching Anacortes...


... and docking.

10.  Gunnar has selective memory.  As in, never mind the 5:30 wake-ups for PT, the constant drilling, the barracks inspections, and the constant exhaustion from the yelling-and-running-every-waking-hour... encampment was the Most Fun Ever and he wishes he could go back.  Yah.  I told him it's kind of like child-birth and family road-trips... 

You only remember the good parts.

One of the many oil-tankers coming and going.

11.  And... I'm running out of steam.  Good thing it's Friday ;D  Enjoy your weekend!

Just south of town.

The approach to the airport - right over the freeway and onto the runway.
That's made for some exciting/surprising moments on the freeway ;D

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Grasshopper Days... or a Brain Dump


Grasshopper Days

For today, Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Sort of.  Because I really thought I was going to pull it together and post over the weekend, because so much was going on, but it just didn't happen.  I just sort of threw some things in here to sort out later.  You ever do that?  Or just me?

Outside my window...  heavy equipment working in two or three places around the neighborhood.  Everyone is suddenly in a rush to finish their projects because of the w@tershed n@zis.  As much as I love our neighborhood and MOST of our neighbors, the moonbat crazy liberals here are trying really hard to create a culture of ratting out your neighbors if you even suspect they might be doing something that might conflict with the ridiculously restrictive w@tershed regulations.  Like not having more than a certain number of square feet of exposed DIRT from the beginning of October until the end of May.  Because we all know how terrifyingly toxic DIRT is.  *eyes roll*

Hearing...  the aforementioned heavy equipment.  Lovely.

Pondering...  fortunately we are (I think?) finished with the rock wall portion of the project...





... and need to complete the leveling of the place above the rock wall.  To keep from being fined (because DIRT!), after we scatter grass seed around we'll need to cover it all with straw.  Not a big deal, and cheap.

Praying...  that Tate will speak up for himself at school when needed - the teachers all met with us and seem willing to work with him, but they'll forget things, and they can't hear what Tate hears... the teacher can't hear that his necktie is rubbing against the microphone and making a scratchy sound, or the teacher forgets to turn off the mic when he's talking quietly with another student, etc.

Thankful...  Wyatt and I had a good time at the WCC orientation yesterday.  And look!  He won a prize!  Just by asking a question!  Totally made his day, and made him very popular with his table group ;D


Wearing...  blue capris and a light blue t-shirt.  Kind of cool today.

Going...  to have a check-up today (oh joy).

Looking forward to...  fall colors :D

In the kitchen...  it's pizza day (and there was much rejoicing).

In the learning rooms...  Oh.  My.  Word.  Gunnar got to bed at a decent time, but he is languishing today.  Trying to keep him moving is like pushing rope up hill.  *sigh*

Around the house...  books, books, and more books.  And some sunflower garlands on the windows :D

The Mother Load...  yikes, the list is growing.  Hoping for a productive weekend with the minions - should be good weather!  We need to:
* finish the flat area above the rock wall (dirt, grass seed, straw)
* remove, wash, and store all the window screens
* take everything out of the "garden" shed and store the picnic table and the lawn furniture (fit it all back in)
* work in the garden
* deal with the tomatoes... All. The. Tomatoes.
* get rid of the grapevine - it's pulling its supports away from the garage wall and doesn't produce useful grapes for us... just a lot of purple bird poop on the cars and driveway
* and I'm sure there's more!

Noticing that...  the boybarians all had jobs last weekend, which is a great thing.  Wyatt and Tate are doing some yard work for an elderly neighbor, and Gunnar had a babysitting job Saturday (seven hours) and Sunday afternoon (3 1/2 hours) watching six year old twins - he did great!  I love it when they have WORK!

Something to remember...  I'm not allergic, but I have a little phobia about bees/wasps/etc.


Something fun to share...  for the boys.


A favorite quote...  NOT for my friends at Wiser Lake, but memories from before...

Worship leaders, if you keep making that face when you sing, it will stay like that in heaven.

                        - the Church Curmudgeon

One of my favorite things...  crossing things off my list!

A few plans for the rest of the week...  I'm teaching Sunday School this year.  Now that my boys are all getting older I'm not so done in by the end of the week.  And doesn't it sound fun to work with the younger kids?  Somehow I got the idea I would have a little class of Kindergarteners to second graders - school-age kids, emerging readers.  But I must not have listened closely, because what I actually have is age 3 - 8, heavy on the preschoolers.  That's all fine and it will work out, but I have a little re-planning to do!  Of the eight kids that came this week, I have two girls and six boys - WIGGLE WIGGLE WIGGLE!

A peek into my world...  well, only in the broad sense of "world"!  Gunnar pointed out this photo to me, of a volcano in Iceland.  He thought it looked like something from Lord of the Rings - like Sauron in Mordor.


Happily, around HERE looks more like...


... this view from the boys' window last night.  I knew I couldn't hand-hold it still enough, but Tate thought it was so beautiful he begged me to try. The moon is nearly full and was reflecting off the lake.  Meanwhile, a car drove by, under the orange streetlight.  Kind of cool :D

Friday, September 5, 2014

Button Up

I'm not sure I have an original idea in my head, some days, but I sure love other people's great ideas! I love to read quilting blogs because there are such amazingly creative people out there.  One of them is Allison Farris (a fellow Washingtonian, I believe) who blogs at Cluck Cluck Sew.  Earlier this year she posted a quilt that caught my eye, as so many of hers do.  I love her frequent use of white with bright colors, and I wanted to make one that was similar.  But for whom?

Well wouldn't you know it, not too long after that we heard good news... another chapel baby was on the way.  And the mama, who wanted to be surprised (boy/girl) told me she likes blue, green, and yellow.  I think she mentioned gray as well, but with all the cloudy, rainy days we get... well... I stuck with the brighter colors.  And ta-daaa!  She had a boy!  We'll be celebrating with them on Saturday, and I'll be bringing this - my version of Button Up, with a soft flannel backing.




Babies, very considerately, give several months' notice of their impending arrival, so I had plenty of time to work on this in the cooler months ;D


 Now that summer is winding down, I pulled out my sewing machine to make a couple of accessories.  Bibs are quick and simple, and I liked to have several on hand during the little years.  My boys weren't only messy eaters, at times they were droolers (aren't they all?) and I liked to pop a bib on them if we were heading anywhere remotely special, so at least we could arrive with their shirts dry.

This one is pretty small and backed with a thin flannel.


And then I got an idea... a Mickey bib!


Rest assured, the buttons are on REALLY tight, and even if the baby ever got them off, I'm pretty sure they're too big to choke on.  This one got the Gunnar stamp of approval.  If I'd been quicker I could've gotten a photo of him modeling it, but I think he would've died of embarrassment.  And we couldn't have that, now could we?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rock Wall

Much like my end-of-the-school-year post, this may be waaaay over-sharing for some of you, but I wanted to document how much work Kerry and the boys are getting done on the driveway rock-wall.

Kerry has wanted to do this for YEARS, while I've been ambivalent.
(A little concerned about building a rock wall right next to where inexperienced teen drivers will be backing out in our vehicles... YKWIM?)  But it's really coming along and looking nice.  And will look even better (eventually) when we plant a few things.

We're not finished yet, but here is the progression of the wall at one end...






And along the middle...





And at the far end, next to the road...





All three of the boys have been helping.  Wyatt is getting really good at maneuvering the little tractor around, bring rocks to place, and loads of fill dirt for behind the wall.  Tate loads rocks in the tractor bucket, shovels dirt and gravel, and helps lift the rocks into place.  And Gunnar...


... pounds little rocks into holes, and...


... picks through the fill dirt to remove clumps of organic material (root wads, weeds, etc.) that would decompose and settle if left.


Reminds me of a verse from Proverbs...

Where no oxen are, the crib is clean;
but much increase comes by the strength of the ox.

I'm looking forward to the project being finished, in part because it's such a mess!
But LO, what a lot of work these young (and old ;D) men are accomplishing!