Wednesday, December 17, 2014

FNAR, Random Thoughts the Week Before Christmas

Easiest Nativity ever?  I think I need something like this...

I have this fantasy that I'm a really organized, on-top-of-things person.

Maybe, on my better days that's true.  But this week?  I don't think I've ever felt so scattered.  I think my cluttered office is contributing to a cluttered mind, y'know?  I just about had it all cleaned up and then I needed to sew something, and out came the sewing machine and bits of fabric, and scissors and cutting mats, etc.  And then I needed to wrap something and out came the tissue paper, and rolls of wrap, and ribbons and bows and tags and tape, etc.  And I'm not done with our Christmas cards, so there sits the cards, the letters, stamps, addresses, pens, etc.

It's the "etc." that kills me ;D

And how is it possible that there are four more loads of laundry to fold?  Wait.  I know how.  I can just see my mom disapproving, because she can go a week on one pair of pants and two or three shirts.  But she's not a hormonal teen-age boy.  (What is it about adolescents boys and that funky aroma?)  We should all be thankful they're NOT going a week on one pair of jeans and three t-shirts.

And speaking of those boys... we attended the CAP "Dining Out" last night.  More on that later.  But could someone please explain to me how it came to be a military tradition to drink disgusting looking "swamp water" punch out of a toilet?!  I know, I know, they could tell me, but they they'd probably have to shoot me.  At least I didn't have to drink it!

Also, why is it that I will go spend good money to buy nice soap dispensers for the kitchen, kind of like this...

and think that I'm really stylin'.  But they will break after a couple of months.  Meanwhile, I'll buy cheap soap for a buck, like this...

toss it in the boys' bathroom, where it gets (*ahem*) heavy use (you know, like the equivalent of three gorillas using it), and we will keep refilling it and the dumb container will last for years.  YEARS, I tell you.  But the pretty one?  No.

In another part of my brain...  the author of a quilt blog I like to read posed an interesting question.  When you make (sew) a gift for someone, how much do you tailor it to the recipient's likes/colors etc., and how much of "you" do you put into it?  Interesting comments.  It can be hard to work on something you don't personally like, but (IMHO) ultimately it's a gift.  If you ask for their preferences you ought to listen.  Fresh in my mind because I was at the fabric store with a pregnant friend today :D

And here you see how scattered I am... from Nativities to laundry to quilts to drinking from a toilet.  Good grief.  Meanwhile, we're hosting a neighborhood Christmas party on Saturday, and I have NOT ONE CHRISTMAS COOKIE MADE.  This is a crisis, in the eyes of the boys, and must be rectified immediately.   Working on that...

But I did do a really cool science experiment with Tate yesterday.  We extracted DNA from split peas.  For real.  We felt so awesomely science-y.  Thank you, Apologia.  It's important to have these little moments of success when everything seems to be spinning out of control.

So, I'll end with this.  I'm hanging onto this motto.  Reminds me of one of my grandmas.  She was definitely in this tribe.

Six more days until Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, December 15, 2014.

Outside my window...  still dark and quiet, clear and cold again.  Tate has already left for the bus.

Hearing...  Yo Yo Ma and Friends, Songs of Joy and Peace.  How many ways can they play Dona Nobis Pacem?  (I like them all.)

Pondering...  did a little sewing project yesterday, and maybe you'll understand this and maybe you won't.  Had to make a little (one inch wide) tube, several inches long, and invert it.  And there has got to be a better way!  Because that was twenty minutes of feeling like I was trying to turn a belly button inside out.  Good grief.

Praying...  next week is Christmas!  I think I'm ready... need to double-check my lists ;/D  And so much fun between now and then  :D

Thankful...  Kerry continues to have work (woo-hoo!), Wyatt is working like a one-armed paper hanger, and I've done most of my shopping online - for the win ;D

Wearing...  my Grubs - Gunnar and I will go walking as soon as the sun comes up.

Creating...  fun, cute project I can't show yet.

Going...  gotta crank out the schoolwork with Gunnar.  We both want to finish the week early and Tuesday is our crazy disrupted day.  Gunnar has his violin lesson, his babysitting job, and - of course - there's CAP.

Looking forward to...  taking a couple weeks off school - not that it's miserable, but you know... everybody likes a break :D

In the kitchen...  hmm, my freezers are stuffed full, but what to have for dinner?  Probably something with venison - Tate's deer came back from the butcher and I bet we have over 40 pounds of meat :D

In the learning rooms...  Gunnar is writing a research paper on Giant Otters, we're coming down the homestretch on his Pre-Algebra, and I need to help Tate review for a Biology exam.  Also - not really school, but... Tate wants me to help him study for his written test to get his Learner's Permit - driving!!!

Around the house...  beautiful Nativities, candles, lights, and the Christmas tree :D

The Mother Load...  still some wrapping to do but there are a couple more things still coming.  What little Christmas baking I've done has been eaten and the boys are BEGGING for Christmas cookies and dipped pretzels.  Also, must make several pounds of meatballs for our Christmas party and Wyatt's (work) potluck.  And the house needs some cleaning-love.

Noticing that...  I almost had my office tidy, and then... I needed to wrap something, and sew something, and... well, you know.

Something to remember for later...  Naomi loves all her boys (especially Gunnar ;D ) but when she wants a story read?  She goes to...

Tate.  Grandma gave her one Christmas gift early - her own copy of Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Something fun to share...  had a really fun time Friday night in Seattle seeing The Nutcracker.

A favorite quote for today...  I've said it before, and I'll say it again...  (NO, that's not the quote!)...

When I do stuff,
Stuff gets done.

Ready, set, go.

One of my favorite things...  having a good time with my family :D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  get as much done today as possible, because...
* Monday - homeschool, help set up for tomorrow's event
* Tuesday - homeschool, violin lesson (Gunnar), babysit (Gunnar), CAP annual "Dining Out" - which is a banquet and awards ceremony.
* Wednesday and Thursday - homeschool, get stuff done (!)
* Friday - dinner at friends'
* Saturday - neighborhood party here
* Sunday - church, kids' Christmas program

A peek into my world... 

Wyatt, Kerry, Tate, me, Aunty Tami, and Gunnar at The Nutcracker

We may be in the second balcony, but we're front row!  So much fun :D

Monday, December 8, 2014

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, December 8, 2014

Outside my window...  wind blowing through the trees.  It's interesting how different it sounds now that all the leaves are off.

Hearing...  Gunnar finishing in the shower.

Pondering...  what Christmas shopping is left to do... secrets :D

Praying...  for our daily days, for Wyatt to balance work/sleep/use-of-time, for Tate to continue to do well at school, and for Gunnar and me to get through our homeschool work when there are so many distractions right now!  Like Christmas shopping this morning :D

Thankful...  we got through a busy weekend of two Messiah performances as well as Tuba Christmas, and then started getting ready for the children's Christmas program at church.  So thankful that is a VERY low key event, although with preschoolers to "wrangle", it might be a bit of a circus for me!

Wearing...  jeans, white T, blue sweater, slippers.  After a week or so of really chilly days (down in the teens) it's in the 60's today - go figure!

Going...  to work hard at science and history with Gunnar.

Looking forward to...  taking the boys to the Nutcracker this Friday!  The Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle does a very unique version - sets and costumes by Maurice Sendak (think Where the Wild Things Are) and it's lots of fun.  This is the last year they'll be doing it - at least, doing it that way - and we wanted the boys to experience it.

In the kitchen...  had the first taste of Tate's venison last night, and it was good :D  Although, it was pretty heavily seasoned for taco salad, so we'll have a truer taste-test later.

In the learning rooms...  the boys put up a Christmas tree in the school room - so cheery!  But it's a real effort right now to concentrate on school with all the Christmas thoughts swirling in my mind.

Around the house...  we got our tree up this weekend and it's a bit of a Charlie Brown tree.  I prefer to go out to the tree farm and cut our own but this year... we just had to expedite.  We're having the youth group here for a Christmas party on Wednesday and I wanted it done before then!

The Mother Load...  a little more Christmas shopping/planning (stockings???) and I haven't made a single cookie yet.  Kerry and I need to have a "calendar summit" and make sure we're tracking together for the rest of the month.  We like to have a neighborhood open-house-potluck kind of thing - better get that organized!

Noticing that...  how can my boys possibly wear shoes THAT BIG???

Something to remember for later...  Gunnar is such a chatter-box!  Mostly I enjoy it but there are moments I just look at him and say, "TOO.  MANY.  WORDS."

Something fun to share...  nope!  Can't tell my Christmas secrets :D

A favorite quote... 
  How long does a goldsmith keep gold in the fire?
Until He can see His face in it.

One of my favorite things...  Lindor milk chocolate and sea salt truffles.  *Happy sigh*

A few plans for the rest of the week... NOT going to rehearsal tonight :D  Gunnar has a violin lesson tomorrow and he babysits, so Tuesday is our (happily) disrupted day.  The youth group is coming here on Wednesday.  Friday is Nutcracker.  And Saturday is Christmas with lots of my dad's side of the family.  Big potluck.  No gifts.  Easy and fun.

A peek into my world...  

Actually, NOT my world, but I want to do this!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, December 1, 2014
Outside my window...  brrrr.  See yesterday's photos.  Actually, it's about ten degrees warmer - mid 20's instead of mid teens, so, you know, practically balmy.  *eyes roll*

Hearing...  Gunnar in the shower, the furnace blowing (thank the Lord for central heating :D), but no wind today- yay :D

Pondering...  you know what tonight is?  And I don't mean Monday Night Football.  The last Messiah rehearsal.  And there was much rejoicing.  Love doing it, then love when it's done.

Praying...  Wyatt is having a very challenging week.  It's finals week at college AND things are heating up at UPS.  He had to be at work at 2am this morning, and I assume that will continue.  Also praying for NO snow (the boys don't like when I say that) while we have some special events to be driving to - like Messiah concerts later this week.  And next week we're taking the boys to Seattle to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker.  It's really special - all the sets and costumes were designed by Maurice Sendak (think Where the Wild Things Are).  And it's the last year they're doing it (after maybe 32 seasons?  Is that right?)  Anyway, I'm really looking forward to it!  Gunnar said, "Oh Mom, wouldn't it be fun if it snowed that day?"

Child of mine.  Are you MAD???  NO, that would NOT be fun to drive to Seattle in the snow on a Friday, thank-you-very-much.  It can snow AFTER THAT.

So *ahem* in case you're wondering...  The photo above is from another year.  We have no snow at this point.  Nor do we have that large fir tree in the right of the photo.  I really need to update my "winter" photo.  Because, you know, the fate of the world is hanging on it.  Or not.

Where was I...

Thankful...  Kerry has been working steadily.  Hallelujah.  Also, since the chapel kids will be prepping for their Christmas program I have no Sunday school prep for the next three weeks.  Not that it's a terribly onerous task, (I enjoy it!) but it's a good time of year to have a break :D

Wearing...  my grubs.  I like that.  It sounds kind of official, like scrubs, which would make the things I'm wearing sort of a uniform, rather than just old clothes.  My grubs.  Because Gunnar and I will go for a walk in awhile and I'll get all sweaty.  Then there will be a shower, followed by acceptable-for-being-seen-in-public clothing.  Which will undoubtedly involve lots of layers, like denim, and a sweater.  Because BRRRR.

Creating...  nothing I can show just yet.

Going...  for a walk with Gunnar soon.  The sun is up so I keep hoping it will warm up a bit.  Maybe?

Looking forward to...  no more Monday evening rehearsals.  I do enjoy them, but it will be good not to have to go out.  It's not like I'm phobic about it or anything, but there's something about leaving home in the evening when it's already dark... it just feels wrong.  I'm a home-body.

In the kitchen...  we had Thanksgiving Dinner: The Sequel last night, and now I'm down to just a bit of leftover turkey.  Don't think I'm complaining.  This household LOVES turkey.  Maybe turkey taquitos tonight?  Or turkey pot pie?

In the learning rooms...  I'm going to make Tate and Gunnar each a master list of schoolwork-to-be-completed before Christmas break.  I think they'll both want to work ahead and get done early.  Tate is highly self-motivated and often finishes early.  Gunnar is usually more of a do-today's-work-today kind of guy.  But around the holidays?  He wants to get school out of the way and move on to Christmas!

Around the house..  we're about half decorated.  The boys helped me clean and move furniture and we have a nice empty spot waiting for a Christmas tree.  The question is when we'll get out to GET it.  Maybe soon, with this nice clear weather - much more fun than tromping in the mud and bringing a dripping wet tree into the house!

The Mother Load...  if you're done with your Christmas shopping, just don't tell me, okay?  I'm hoping to do most of the rest of mine online or in my craft room ;D  I need to finish decorating (decide what to use and what to store or get rid of).  Tate wants help studying for his (written) driver's permit test.  I promised Wyatt I'd make biscuits and gravy for him to have before work in the morning.  And laundry, and cleaning, and tidying, and....  *sigh*


Something fun to share...  first the not-so-fun part: my everyday pair of Danskos finally fell apart.  (Shed a quiet tear with me for my blue Danskos, all right?  Moving on...)  If you don't know Danskos, they're kind of spendy.  But oh-so-good for your feet and pretty long-lasting.  I think I've been wearing that pair for about five years.  So (here's the fun part) I talked with Kerry and ordered a new pair.  But which to choose?  I was leaning toward these:

because... classic, classy, go-with-lots-of-things.  But also, not on sale.  Boo-hoo.

And then I saw these:

and HELLO FUN NEW SHOES!  I don't think they're actually quite that bright in real life, but if they are? GREAT!  And on sale!  (Still spendy, but about thirty bucks cheaper than the others.)  And should arrive tomorrow :D  So my Christmas is coming early.

A favorite quote for today... 
O ye heights of heaven adore Him
Angel hosts His praises sing
Powers, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King
Let no tongue on earth be silent
Every voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.

One of my favorite things...  Christmas lights :D

A few plans for the rest of the day...  see Mother Load, above.

A peek into my day... 

Gunnar and I will be on the lookout, on our walk today!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Well, A Brain Dump, And Then Some

It's 6:30pm and it feels like it should be bedtime.  You've had days like that too?  And it's been a good day, just packed.  Like the entire last week.  Hence, no posting.  Because I need to live life more than I need to record it.  *sigh*  But since we last talked...  it's gotten cold, here.

Wyatt continues to get up early in the morning to go to work.  And this week?  The crucible.  Not only are things going to be crazy-busy at UPS, but it's final's week at college.  I get tired just thinking about it.

Joanna, if you're reading, I think our low was 16F.  Yah.

Gunnar started violin lessons, and there was much rejoicing.  He started out with plucking.  I assume that's to get him accustomed to some very basic music reading and left hand/finger placement before adding in the complication of a bow.  But I'm very glad to find a friendly (and affordable!) teacher just ten minutes from our house.

Tate is itching to get his learner's permit, but has a bit more studying to do.  He'll have to pass the written test to get the permit, since we're not enrolling him in a driving school.  Also, we're anxiously awaiting a call from the butcher when his (deer) meat is ready.

We had some of our favorite friends over for dinner and heard a story about two guys, two mountain bikes, and a king cobra that has put Thailand on my no-way-not-ever-no-thank-you list.  *shudder*

We hosted Thanksgiving and I took not one single photo.  I think Kerry did, so maybe I'll see about that eventually.  But he insists on taking photos while people are eating, so those ones are usually pretty awful.  But the day was fun - fourteen people here for family, food, and a fun project.  I'll get pics of that in daylight.  (Sand + rocks + green paint + white pens.  Guesses?  Not Christmassy.)

Meanwhile, I think a bomb went off in my office.  Had to clear off the craft table to take downstairs for Thanksgiving and I need some time to find my equilibrium here again.  But first, I have three boys who believe that Christmas needs to appear downstairs ASAP.  And they're willing to help, but there are some things I just need to do myself.  Which is why it's only half-done, and the dining room table looks like a Christmas store exploded.

Because today?  Apparently I need a new battery for the clock in my Sunday school room.  When I first started teaching I was a bit concerned because sometimes the adult class tends to run long, and we're done before they are.  Well.  Unless your clock stops and you keep the kids busy for a really long time because you think you shouldn't let them go for another ten minutes.  And the adult class has long been done by the time you straggle upstairs.  Oops.  Wyatt was anxious to get home because he has so much studying to do.  

And then this afternoon was our local Sing Along Messiah.  Lots of us from the choir go for the fun of it, and for an extra practice.  And it was a ton of fun except for one thing.  The volunteer orchestra was fabulous BUT (probably due to it being so cold outside and the change in temp coming in) they really needed another opportunity to tune to each other after the first song or two.  In spite of that, they sounded amazing, especially given they'd had zero practice.

Rushed home from that to get yummy leftover turkey dinner into the oven, help the boys strip their beds, put on flannel sheets (!!!), get the first load of laundry running, and eat dinner by 5 so Wyatt could go to bed.  Because - you know - 2am start time at work.

And now I'd better get the flannels on my own bed, because it's starting to sound awfully appealing at the end of this good, long day.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Outside my window...  after several days of cold, clear skies, the clouds are rolling in and we're expecting rain.  Which would be normal for this time of year.

Hearing...  the dryer tumbling and a fairly quiet house.  Gunnar is doing some reading (for homeschool), Wyatt is studying, and Tate has finished and headed to a neighbor's house.

Pondering...  November is usually so soggy, I've really enjoyed these clear days, in spite of the cold! Nearly all the leaves are off the trees, and the boys and I did some raking and cleaning yesterday.  One of our trees drops huge, heavy, thick leaves and they were all over the new grass we planted above the rock wall.  I told the boys they didn't have to get them all, but the grass would surely die if we left them. They did a good job :D

Thankful...  for getting all those leaves raked up while they're DRY rather than wet and soggy. :D
We've had some strange weather this fall, including TWO tornadoes - very rare for our state!  One was actually a waterspout.  The second was on land and did some property damage, but I don't think anyone was hurt.

We're also VERY thankful for Wyatt's job at UPS.  He's got a really heavy load right now between school and work (25-30 hours a week, in the wee hours of the morning), but he's handling it.  (Oh to be eighteen and have that kind of energy and stamina!)  We're really proud of him.

Wearing...  blue jeans, t-shirt, navy long sleeve sweater.  Still pretty chilly, but the clouds are warming it up a bit.

Creating...  Christmas gifts and a couple of baby gifts - pics later :D

Going...  to take the boys to youth-group tonight.  Except Wyatt.  Who goes to bed at about 6pm.

Reading...  a Francine Rivers novel my mom loaned me.  A Mother's Hope.

Looking forward to...  the holidays - we LOVE this time of year :D

In the kitchen...  hmmm, need a plan for dinner!

In the learning rooms...  our schedule was a bit disrupted last week, so we're kind of playing catch-up.  No big deal though, as the boys are hard workers AND I don't schedule any homeschool work for the whole week of Thanksgiving.  I'm hosting and I want some prep time, and it's a good strategy for us for homeschool to build in some lag time.

Around the house...  very fall-ish :D  I am NOT tired of pumpkin spice candles :D

The Mother Load...  mostly revolves around Thanksgiving right now.  Some house cleaning to do, and a lot of food prep.  I make as much ahead as I can - potatoes, sweet potatoes... I even cook the turkey and make the gravy ahead.

Noticing that...  some Tuesday nights, after CAP, the boys like to go to Dairy Queen with the other cadets.  I don't mind - I like for them to have the chance to socialize with a nice bunch like that.  But OH MY WORD is Gunnar grumpy the next day!  I think he must be in another growth spurt because boy does he need his rest!

Something fun to share...  Naomi (my niece) was up over the weekend and had her first tractor ride with Grandpa Grasshopper.

Way up in the bucket (with Daddy)

And in the cab, with Grandpa

She was pretty excited to tell about it!

A favorite quote for today...  No one ever said life was fair.  Just eventful.  - Carol Burnett

One of my favorite things...  taking a warm rice bag to bed on a cold night :D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  I get to go to the eye doctor!  Oh boy!  I lost a contact (bummer) and then realized that my eyes have changed and I need a new prescription before they re-order it.  So I'm stuck with my glasses (also the old prescription) for awhile.  Then (Friday) the boys are going to the CAP Aerospace Fun Night - a (supervised) overnight full of fun activities.  Wyatt wants to go.  But since he usually goes to bed around the time the thing starts, I'm not sure how much fun he'll be having.  I'm going to a brunch for ladies at my church on Saturday (fun :D) and then we're having friends to dinner.  (TO dinner, not FOR dinner.  What kind of people do you think we are?)

A peak into my world...  compliments of the boys...

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Tate had a big day :D

Grandpa says he made the shot from about 270 yards - that's some good shooting!

Well done, Tate!
Best 16th birthday present ever ;D

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Washington Pass Overlook

While we were headed east at the beginning of our getaway, we stopped to take lots of photos at the pass... you know, mountains, larches, etc.

And I love the rock.  How it looks so fluid.  Well, you know, it was once.

And then there was this cliff.

It looked to be at about the same elevation as the pass itself, though far above the highway on this side, and I wondered if anyone had cut a trail out to it.

Well, as a matter of fact, there's more than a trail.  There's a wonderful little park here called the Washington Pass Overlook.

So glad we stopped!

It's the kind of place where you'd expect to see Julie Andrews come bounding out from behind a tree singing, y'know?

But more alpine.

And cold.  It was misting lightly and I thought I saw a few snowflakes,
but that may have been wishful thinking ;D

It's so impressive to see the mountains up that close and personal.
And with so little effort!  If you go that way, you really should stop.

And you'll feel quite safe - sturdy railing and all.

Yep.  That's right on the edge of that cliff from the first photo.

I'm always amazed at how hardy the alpine plants are.
They'll burst into life with the slightest encouragement
and only a tiny patch of soil.

Love the stone work that is part of the trail :D

And the absolutely vibrant moss clinging to the twisted trees.

And just above us?  Snow. 

Now this made me feel all Christmassy - you?