Monday, March 23, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, March 23, 2015

Outside my window...  everything is spring-soggy from the rain in the night, and the moist air better carries the smell of blossoming trees from the neighbor's yard.

Hearing...  crows (ravens? blackbirds?) whatever they are, croaking from behind the house, otherwise quiet - Tate and Gunnar are doing their schoolwork.

Pondering...  we had a fabulous weekend, celebrating my parents' 50th anniversary.  

My sister went all out and made and decorated a fabulous chocolate/caramel cake.
(I went out to Costco and bought a cheesecake ;D )

We had fun having them cut it - something they didn't get to do at their own wedding.
By the time they got through the receiving line, their cake was GONE.

Not this time :D

Praying...  Wyatt has finals this week and is not feeling completely confident about his pre-calc skills, Kerry is meeting with a couple about a project (house design) today - could be more work :D, and we continue to pray for our missionary friends in Myanmar and the Solomon Islands.

Thankful...  for many things, but here's a kind of funny/sweet one.  I'm so thankful the boys are mature enough now that I don't give a second thought to their behavior at events like lunch at a nice restaurant or hosting an open house (like this weekend for my parents).  It seems not so long ago that events like that required lots of coaching before-hand and close supervision throughout to make sure everyone behaved appropriately, and now it's hardly a blip on my radar.

I really don't care if they use the salad fork for the entree, but it's fabulous that the boys and their cousins all get along so well and pitch in to help, too :D

Going...  to the last choir rehearsal tonight - concerts this weekend.  I enjoy doing it, but I'm looking forward to not having Monday night plans for awhile!

Looking forward to...  spring break!  Wyatt has next week off, and Tate and Gunnar have the following week (after Easter).

In the kitchen...  lots of yummy leftovers from the weekend - pulled pork and rice to make wraps, seven-layer dip and tortilla chips, yam-peanut soup, homemade bread, desserts... woo-hoo :D

in the learning rooms...  Gunnar is already done for the day, and Tate is working diligently at his studies.  I think he's dissecting something today.  After lunch. ;D

Around the house...  forsythia and tulips - bright yellow!

The Mother Load...  I really wasn't thinking ahead past the weekend - not that it was a huge burden, but it was the priority!  Now I'm making plans for spring break, bwa ha ha.  Plans for me and the minions.

Noticing that...  I'm not the only one seeing the changes in Gunnar - getting taller and his voice is getting deeper.  Whew.

Something to remember for later...  while that may not look like good restaurant behavior...

Gunnar had been showing her his tongue-rolling skills and she was trying to imitate him.
And keeping a little-one happily occupied IS good restaurant behavior :D

Something fun to share...  one of the most fun things about the weekend was a surprise for my parents.  They knew we were having lunch out for family and then an open house for their friends, but they didn't know we had a special guest coming...

... my Japanese sister, Chinami.
We hosted her as an exchange student in 1976 and have loved her ever since.
She lives in the SF area now with her family and was able to join us for the weekend.

She's a joy to be with :D

A favorite quote for today...
A party without a cake is just a meeting.
- Julia Child

One of my favorite things...  

the cousins, all together.

A peek into my world...  

When I count my blessings,
they all have a first and last name.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

First Clothes-line Day, March 18


I love the smell the laundry gets,
hung out in the fresh air to dry :D 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Maewyn Succat

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

You're welcome ;D

Monday, March 16, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today... Monday, March 16, 2015

Outside my window...  see the pics above?  We never got any snow this year.  I give up.  But it's not as "springy" yet as the second pic.  Glad to be headed that direction, though.  Yesterday was so dark and rainy (a perfect day to be inside), and now today is bright and sunny again... at least for the moment.  Spring is very changeable.  We'll take what we can get - like these beautiful blossoms up the street ;D

Hearing...  listening to Vivaldi's Concerto for Mandolin in C Major.

Pondering...  what in the world?  It wasn't even a full moon or anything, but the kiddos in my Sunday school class we're just about bouncing off the walls yesterday!  What's up with that?

Praying...  for the boys in their schoolwork, for everyone to stay well, to flow smoothly through the week's work, for our friends in Myanmar and the Solomon Islands, and - as always -  work for Kerry, Wyatt, and Tate.

Thankful...  for a fun time with friends this weekend, pies for Pi Day, and I started estimating what fabric I need for the next quilt... just some navy blue, I have everything else.  I think ;D

Wearing...  my walking-with-Gunnar "grubs" - about to shower and put on civilized clothes, you know... blue jeans, a t-shirt, and the purple sweater I picked up at Value Village recently - love it :D

Creating...  HA!  Not because of St. Patrick's Day, but about to start an Irish Chain.

Going...  to rehearsal tonight - just two more and then the concerts, and then a break.

Looking forward to...  enjoying celebrating my parents this weekend :D

In the kitchen...  I made a huge batch of stew this weekend and there's enough leftover to have for dinner tonight (easy, since I have rehearsal), and then the boys have CAP on Tuesday, so I'm taking it easy until Wednesday :D  The boys want me to make more homemade bread.  It's not that hard, it just takes so long to rise that I forget to get it going in time.  They LOVE challah bread.

In the learning rooms...  Tate works so independently that I often lose track of what he's doing until it's time to review for a test with him - he does so well!  Gunnar is converting standard-to-metric and metric-to-standard measurements, leading up to WW1 in World History, and learning about digestion in science.  We did a great (gross) experiment this morning with chewed up saltines (comparing physical digestion with chemical digestion).  Cool ;D

Around the house...  my neighbor gave me some forsythia - so bright and cheery!  But I don't think it will last long indoors.  I'll enjoy it while I can.

The Mother Load...  it's not overwhelming, but I have quite a few ducks to keep in a row this week, mostly party-related! Guests, flowers, special dessert, etc.  All fun things, plus the usual round of homeschool, CAP, music lessons, etc.

Noticing that...  while Gunnar and I were walking this morning we saw a couple of woodpeckers.  These two were easy to find because they were making so much noise!  One was on top of a metal streetlight, and the other was on a metal chimney cap, drumming away!  No, they're not stupid.  They know the difference between that and wood (where they find bugs to eat), but they also drum to claim territory and to attract mates, and - you know - it's spring...

Boy were they LOUD!  I wonder what it sounded like inside the house, with one drumming on the metal chimney cap!

 A favorite quote for today...  If you always tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
 -Mark Twain

One of my favorite things...  spring's explosion of life!

A devotional thought...  apparently President Harry Truman carried this prayer (which he wrote when he was baptized) in his wallet.

Almighty and Everlasting God,
Creator of Heaven, Earth, and the Universe:
Help me to be, think,
to act what is right,
because it is right;
make me truthful,
honest and honorable in all things;
make me intellectually honest
for the sake of right and honor
and without thought of reward to me.
Give me the ability to be charitable, forgiving,
and patient with my fellow men -
help me to understand their motives
and their shortcomings -
even as Thou understandeth mine!

A peek into my world...  by my back door...

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Brain Dump

1.  I couldn't wait for Spring Break.

You know, when the minions work for me every day until lunch and we get a ton of stuff done.  Because that's my idea of vacation ;D  And besides, it was their room that needed attention - the dust bunnies, the clutter, the detritus of three teenage boys.  It was time to take off the flannels and give everything a clean start.

It was a mini-blitz.

Gunnar's area looks 'busy' because of his bulletin board, but it's all tidy and clean.
Of course, it will all look better when we get the clean sheets on and the beds made, but still...

Tate's corner also looks clean and tidy, especially since we got his second set of antlers hung, and all his CAP awards filed in his notebook.

Wyatt's area, on the other hand, still has disaster looming over it.  He was at school while we cleaned (and does he thank us? No...) and his area only looks this tidy because...

... we carefully piled all his clutter into this box.

Can you see the size of that?!  It's nearly as big as a large laundry basket, and it's full of....
what exactly?


2.  Gunnar and I went for a walk around the duck pond.  

Sometimes he's grumpy about me cruelly forcing him to get fresh air and exercise...

... but that usually doesn't last long, and then he perk up and chatters to me the whole time.

The.  Whole.  Time.

And he notices things that are fun, like this CROCODILE in the DUCK POND!

Doesn't it look like a crocodile?
The ducks are even FLEEING FOR THEIR LIVES!
Or coming to beg for a handout.  Take your pick.

We noticed something about the ducks...

Usually there's a big flock of them paddling around the pond, but today...

all pairs.

Three pairs in this next photo - can you see them all?

They were busy making nests under the cattails.

On the opposite side of the pond from you-know-who.

Just to be safe.

3.  And this is why we don't walk in the woods on very windy days.

4.  It seems like time to start a new project.

This fabric has been waiting for years, I'm ashamed to say.

It was going to be curtains for my bedroom, but I used something else

I've been thinking of trying this woven Irish Chain, but it seems too busy of a pattern to use a print.

So maybe this.

 The lighter blue will be the blueberry print, but I think I'll switch the navy (looks black in the photo) and the white.

I think.

Or maybe I'll do something totally different.
Sometimes it takes me forever to commit to a plan and then
cut the fabric.

As if lives hung in the balance.

4.  I love going to the boys' music lessons and listening in :D

I love the concentration...

and the fun of figuring something out.

5.  There were deer in our yard again.

And it's not the first time this season.
They're baaaaaaaack.

6.  The boys had an inspection last week at CAP.

Boys being boys, they much prefer their BDUs (camo),
but I like their Dress Blues :D

Ahhhh :D

7.  Yes.  We have green grass.

Not a single flake of snow this year.
I think Maine got our share - sorry Rebecca!

Have a great weekend, my friends :D

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Is It Spring?

Gunnar and I spend a lot of time in the school room, and the windowsills are often full of our ongoing science experiments.  I brought this little plant up to demonstrate heliotropism (how the leaves will turn to face the sun) and then left it, because why not?

A friend of ours in Wenatchee pinched a start of this from the famous Ohme Gardens.  Kerry has always been kind of amazed that this very elegant and proper lady would pinch a plant (!) and when we were over visiting one year, he asked her for a cutting.  It's a ground cover - I think a kind of Creeping Jenny - and I have a patch of it in my flowerbed.

One year I thought I ought to bring a bit of it in for the winter, because what if it got too cold and killed it off?  But take a good look...

Do you think the plant knows it's spring?
Look how it's trying to propagate!

And speaking of spring...

flowering red currant :D

Monday, March 9, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, March 9, 2015.

Outside my window...  sunny :D  Very spring-like.  Though the dogwood trees are not leafing out yet - still just twigs.  But it's coming.

Hearing...  Tate practicing piano.  He's already surpassing my expectations, but he's only two months into lessons and for-the-love-of-Mike-would-you-please-count!  There is ONE PIECE he's learning right now that's driving me to the Cliffs of Insanity.  It's in 3/4 timing and has several measures with a quarter-note-four-eighth-notes pattern.  And he keeps playing it as quarter-note-triplet-quarter-note.  And I will go to him, make him stop, and tell him to count it out. And then he plays it correctly for about 30 seconds, until he slips into the triplets again.  Arrrrrgh.  SLOW-DOWN-AND-COUNT!

Pondering...  he's really doing well, he's really doing well, he's really doing well.  Really.

Thankful...  for the flexibility of homeschooling.  My mom called me today shortly after I'd picked up Tate from the high school to ask if she could borrow Tate and Gunnar for some manual labor.  YES.  Yes, absolutely.  Boys need hard work more than they need desk work sometimes.  Actually, a lot of the time.

Creating...  my neighbor asked me to come over on Saturday to help her make a tote bag.  She's actually a much more experienced sew-er (not a "sewer") than I am and she can read patterns, but this isn't a traditional cut out the pieces, pin it to your fabric, sort of thing she's used to.  (It's a great pattern from Monica Solario-Snow of Happy Zombie, and you can find it here.)  I've already made it a few times, and modified the measurements to make different sizes, so I was actually able to teach HER something - quite a role reversal :D

Going...  to stay home tonight.  (I mean, I'm skipping rehearsal this week.)

Looking forward to...  someday we will have no debt.  Someday.  And that will be glorious.

In the kitchen...  thawing some elk meat for dinner - we've eaten nearly all of Tate's deer (just a little bit of sausage in the freezer).  And I need to think about what to make this weekend.  We're having company for dinner Saturday - a local family whose daughter is going to get a CI soon.  I'm not a fancy entertainer, but- you know - company.

In the learning rooms...  when Grandma called, we deferred the rest of today's work to tomorrow.  No worries.  I usually schedule Tate and Gunnar into four days and use Friday for "catch up" anyway.

Around the house...  I finally let go of my Valentine roses, and all the primroses I bought are looking a bit meh - time to plant them outside.

The Mother Load...  I almost have my office cleaned up... it must be time to start a new project ;D

Noticing that...  I looked around the house this morning and thought that Wyatt had gone off to school without his backpack - oh no!  But when I looked closer, it was full of dirty laundry.  Things I Cannot Explain.  (WHY?)

A favorite quote for today... 
O Lord, support us all the day long,
until the shadows lengthen,
and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over,
and our work is done.
Then in Thy mercy grant us a safe lodging,
and a holy rest,
and peace at the last.
 - The Book of Common Prayer

A devotional thought...  if you're interested... our chapel is sharing daily Lenten Devotions here.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  all the usual things (homeschool, CAP, music lessons) and dentist appointments for all the boys.  Fun times.

A peek into my day... 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Outside my window...  cold, clear, and sunny :D  It's a spring teaser, though not really warm yet.  Is winter really done?  Too soon to tell.

Hearing...  gravel crunching as Kerry heads off to a meeting, dishes rattling as Wyatt gets breakfast, and water dripping (Gunnar in the shower).  Tate is already off on his bike to school.

Pondering...  while the boys were at CAP last night, Kerry and I went out to dinner.  He was craving Mexican, and I'm always up for that!  And time to break out of the (two-chicken-enchiladas) rut and order something different.  A combo plate.  Who knew the chalupa would be so enormous it came on a plate as big as a pizza?!  Of course, had I been thinking, I would've divided the plate in half and had a delicious lunch for today.  But, no... We were talking and eating, and eating and talking,  and talking and eating...  and I shared some with Kerry but pretty much ate the whole thing.

You know those Nat Geo photos of boa constrictors that have just eaten a whole cow?
Yah.  I know how they feel.  ;D

Praying...  lots of work for Kerry (and diligence to get it done!), work for Wyatt, even Tate wants a job and I'm kind of dragging my feet.  I don't really want him working regularly outside the home (me driving him...), but it's probably time.  *sigh*

Thankful...  for another sunny day, everyone is still healthy, and I have a nice cup of hot, mint tea.

Going...  for a walk with Gunnar, very shortly.

Reading...  just finished Anna and the King - fascinating!

Looking forward to...  the family and friends gathering for my parents' 50th in just a couple of weeks.

In the kitchen...  um, yah, still full from last night, but have to plan something for dinner.  The boys are bottomless pits ;D  Maybe meatballs.

In the learning rooms...  got to get Gunnar going.  Tuesday is always our "disrupted day" - with his violin lesson and babysitting.  And that's FINE.  We planned it that way.  Just means we need to get cracking today.

Around the house...  so much light coming in :D  Hallelujah.

The Mother Load...  still digging through piles of stuff on my desk - ugh.  And I need to plan my Spring Break list.  Bwa-ha-ha-ha ;D

Noticing that...  I will soon be the shortest in the family.  Maybe I'll measure Gunnar again today.  Last time I looked he'd grown more than an inch since October.

A favorite quote for today... 
Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy.
Peace does not dwell in outward things,
but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly
on Him who has all things safely in His hands.
 - Elisabeth Elliot

I read things like this and I find myself tempted to think, "Well that's easy for HER to say."
But then, it's Elisabeth Elliot.

One of my favorite things...  when we're all home for the evening :D

A Bible verse...  Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in His love He will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  well, we're already half way through!  Gunnar had his violin lesson and babysat yesterday, and all the boys went to CAP.  Today is a "home day" :D  Tomorrow, Tate's piano lesson.  Friday the boys are going to the The Compassion Experience with my sister, and Saturday I get to go to breakfast with women from my church, and we're all going to Game Night / Potluck.

A peek into my world...  the boys have been noticing these in stores ;D

Which definitely means a LOT of walking is in order!  Gunnar and I took a route we hadn't visited for awhile...

... and saw and heard several of these redwing blackbirds.  'Tis the season ;D