Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wanted: Computer Generated Friends

Yesterday was a Big Day for the adult Grasshoppers...  I had a chance to meet a bloggy friend (or, as Tate says "a computer generated friend") IN REAL LIFE.  The fabulous Rebecca, who blogs at High Maintenance Aspirations, flew all the way across the country with her husband Paul for vacation.  

Could I come down to Seattle to get together?  *Ahem*

Could wild horses drag me away?

Welcome to Seattle - it's raining.  And I decided to bring my good camera.  Therefore pics are somewhat random.  And by random, I mean, I didn't want to get my camera wet, so I didn't take very many.  Except inside.  Like at Starbucks.  And since there's a Starbucks on nearly every block in Seattle (It's possible I'm exaggerating, but not much) we ducked into one down in Pioneer Square.

I think we needed a break - at least a sensory break - after three galleries.  My favorite was Glasshouse Studio.  Not only was the store a visual feast...  

... you could watch the artists working in the back.  We'll have to bring the boys by sometime.

Wouldn't it be fun to bring home a few of those for the yard?  Oh... I kid... (ka-ching!)

But hey... the Chihuly exhibit probably runs about twenty bucks, and here you can look all you want for free :D  They were really friendly, didn't mind us taking pictures, and when Rebecca chose some pieces to buy and they were all made by the same guy who was ringing her up I think it worked to both of their advantage!

The patient and long-suffering husbands :D  And, PS, Kerry is holding a bag, because I saw something small, and dropped some broad hints about Mother's Day :D

We spent more time walking around Pioneer Square,

... observing building details (Kerry)

... and enjoying Seattle's trademark rain...

But mostly we just wanted to hang out.  Which mostly meant laughing.  And talking.  And laughing some more :D

So I'll tell you a story about going out to dinner.  Apparently it's Seattle Restaurant Week, which means that participating restaurants have a fixed price menu - you choose an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert, and it's the same price everywhere.  Fabulous!  And Paul and Rebecca insisted on treating us, which was double-fabulous :D

But we had to decide where to go.  We'd thought of eating at their hotel, because the smells wafting out of the restaurant were oh-so-enticing (nobody was actually drooling but it was close).  Bad luck, they were booked until eight.  And I confess, I'm so not a night owl, especially with the drive home afterwards.  So we asked the concierge to point us somewhere nearby.

Well, good grief, Rebecca and I were having a great time, joking, batting ideas around, and the concierge wasn't exactly icy, yet not entering into the fun.  Y'know?  But we made our choice and he called and booked us a reservation.  Great.  Thank you.  He very cautiously described the place as "offbeat" and "funky".  Okay, granted he seemed a bit formal (stodgy?) but this being Seattle we both kind of wondered if by "funky" he meant "disturbing".

Not so.  We had a great time at Icon Grill.

And the concierge may have liked us better than he let on, because he apparently called and added an extra appetizer to our dinner.

Then when it got added to the bill we wondered if we had been right the first time ;D  But our waiter sorted it out.   Out waiter, Edward.

If you ever find yourself in Seattle with an overwhelming desire to eat somewhere a concierge would describe as "offbeat and funky", get yourself down to the Icon Grill and make sure you ask for Edward.

Edward was very personable.  He sat right down and visited awhile.  Rebecca asked if he minded us taking his photo.  And apparently he gets that a lot - he told us - because he looks like Zachary Quinto.  So there you go.

When she said she'd put his photo on her blog he brought her a card with his email, so she could send him a link.

It occurred to me later that he might have thought maybe we were really foodies, with fancy food blogs and even fancier photography, and with heaps of readers hanging on our every word.

I hope he's not disappointed.

If I'm a food blogger, then major FAIL.  Because I have zero pictures of our food, which was delicious.  As evidence, I give you this:

You can tell it was good because all the dishes are scraped clean ;D

But I digest...

Meanwhile, while the minions are old enough (and trustworthy enough to leave home alone, Grandpa and Grandma Grasshopper took them out to dinner while we were gone.  And Grandma even brought them a movie to watch.  So a good time was had by all.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, April 14, 2014  

Outside my window...  frost on the ground, clear skies, birds chirping, and the sun just peeking over the hills - looks like a gorgeous day!  Which means Wyatt rides his bike to school (and I don't have to go get him) and I'll feel guilty if I don't work in the yard.  Especially since rain is forecast for the rest of the week.

Hearing...  Wyatt and Gunnar in the kitchen, Tate in the shower, robins and chickadees.

Pondering...  a former pastor took his life over the weekend, leaving a wife and two little kids.  While I wasn't particularly close to them, I can't get it out of my mind.  Of course I'm praying for her and the kids, but I'm SO MAD at him.  For doing that to them.

And I know, tender, gentler hearts than mine will say that we need to be compassionate and gracious, and that we can't imagine how much he must have been suffering.

And that is true.

But I can't help thinking that if we focused more on the shock, horror, misery and grief suicide leaves behind and less on the woe of the one who caused it... if we treated that person less like a victim...  it might remove just a little piece of what attracts people to suicide.

for that family,
for our friend from the chapel going through chemo this week,
and for Wyatt and chemistry.  grrrrrrrrrr

for one more sunny day,
for the camaraderie of Saturday's work party at the chapel and all we got accomplished,
for good health in the family,
and friendly neighbors to sit and visit with.

Wearing...  capri jeans, a short-sleeve t-shirt, and a blue sweater... cold now, warm later - I hope.

Going...  staying home :D

Reading...  Age of Opportunity, by Paul David Tripp.

Looking forward to...  Easter!

In the kitchen...  thawing a pound of ground elk.  We'll probably have Taco Salad for dinner, unless something else inspires me.  (You know, from the 1,000,000 Things to Make With a Pound of Hamburger repertoire...)

In the learning rooms...  juggling the master schedule to accommodate boys who are jumping ahead in some areas and boys who have fallen behind in others.  And maybe arranging for some chemistry tutoring.  It's a tough subject!

Around the house...  thing I need to decide what to do with.  We did a great job cleaning over spring break, and got rid of a LOT, but there are still a few decisions...

The Mother Load... 
* need to wrap up the cleaning blitz in my office, which was the staging area and thus not yet cleaned and tidied
* divide some bulbs before they start growing (quick!)
* get the window and door screens back on
* figure out what to do with the kitchen floor.

I love my kitchen floor.  It's real linoleum - not vinyl.  It's durable.  It doesn't crack, like vinyl will, if you drop a can (guilty) on it.  And it can be quickly mopped.  But every so often - at least once a year - it should be stripped and waxed.  We used to have a guy who would come and do it for eighty bucks, but he got out of the business.  So I've been limping along with good ol' Mop N Glo, which gives a "soft" shine, like this.

Okay, but not fabulous.

When I paid "the guy" to come do it, my floor looked like this, with a hard glassy finish.

Doesn't that just sing?  *Happy sigh*

But I have to find a new Floor Guy.  And the first one I called just gave me his bid - $475.
Well THAT stopped the music in a hurry.
I'll keep looking, but meanwhile, I think I'm stuck with Mop N Glo.

Noticing that...  Hey!  Total lunar eclipse tonight!  Your google is as good as mine as far as finding out the actual time for your area.  I think it will be about 11-midnight out here on the west coast, but I'm double checking.

Something to remember for later...  Gunnar and I have been out for a walk.  Every single time we go for a walk he talks my ear off, which is fine.  Right now it's all about three things:
1.  Easter, because his cousin will be there and have her first Easter egg hunt.
2.  The few days his cousin will be staying with us in the following week.
3.  His upcoming (13-year-old) trip to Disneyland.
And the details of his favorite rides.
Over.  And over.  And over again.

Then something new occurred to him.
"Mom, what will you do while I'm gone?"
Because, in shocking news, the world will continue to spin for the rest of us.  ;D

And the sad thing is, while he's in Disneyland, Wyatt has to have his wisdom teeth out, so let me tell you, it will be

fun times at the Grasshopper house!

A favorite quote for the day... 

You can't get a cup of tea big enough
or a book long enough
to suit me.
C.S. Lewis

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Holy Week is a busy week - GOOD busy.

Monday - homeschool
Tuesday - homeschool, babysit (Gunnar), meeting about a teaching possibility, CAP
Wednesday - homeschool, meet a bloggy friend in Seattle (happy squeal!)
Thursday - homeschool, Maundy Thursday soup and bread potluck
*** soup-potluck tip: bring a muffin tin and sample several kinds! ***
Friday - homeschool (anyone not finished with the week's work), Tenebrae/Good Friday service
Saturday - breathe...
Sunday - sunrise service, Easter service, Easter brunch potluck, Easter at my parents with the whole family.
Probably followed by a long nap ;D

A peek into my world...  since I had church potlucks on my mind...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Brain Dump


1.  This week has not been as fabulously productive as last week.  But I suppose I should count homeschool.  That counts for a lot, right?  Tate and Gunnar got through all their reading and work - three cheers for them.  Wyatt, however, still has chemistry and economics to wrap up.  And it's not like I can really help him with the chemistry.  But I can make jokes.

2.  Tate and I went to the 504 meeting.  As far as I can tell it went well.  Of course, the people in the meeting are not the same people who will be his teachers.  And from what I hear, it's a bit harder to get follow-through on the high school level than it was back in elementary, where he was with the same teacher all day.  It's not that the HS teachers are somehow bad, and don't want to help.  But they probably see 150+ students a day, and they won't remember what Tate needs.  I'll be keeping a close eye on that, which probably means interrogating questioning Tate every day about school.  So that will be fun.  

He got up early before the meeting and made Brown Sugar Muffins (aka Poo Poo Balls at our house), which were a big hit.  I didn't get a picture of them (mom fail), but I have a picture from Pi Day, so here you go.

Which reminds me...

3.  Do you think our oven has a hot corner?  Check out the Dutch Baby...

4.  My brother and I have been talking parenting.  I don't want to be one of those parents who's always wishing to be in another stage, but I do kind of miss...

...  I mean, weren't they all cute?!

5.  And speaking of the boys... why, why, why do they do this?  They wanted to rent a movie tonight and they came to me, asking me to give them all change BEFORE they went to the store.  What am I, a bank?  

Hello, genius children,
it is the cashier's JOB at the STORE to make change
for you when you buy (or rent) something.
You do not need me to give you change
so you can give the store the exact amount.  

How have they not figured this out yet?

6.  Not.  My.  Kids.

7.  Saturday tomorrow!  And supposed to be good weather, which means work, work, work.  Work party at the chapel, yard work for an elderly couple, and probably working at home, too.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Walk In The Park

A walk in the park.
That's what this parenting gig is not.

Oh, don't get me wrong.
There's no crisis.
The boys are all doing fine.

Don't be intimidated by our culture's
shockingly low expectations for teenagers.

We're really enjoying these years.

But it's still not easy.
My mind is always spinning.

Even while I'm out on a lovely spring walk with Gunnar :D

A pink magnolia - probably not what southerners think of when they hear "magnolia" though.

Wyatt is winding down his second year at the high school,
and it's gone pretty well.
Better than I'd even hoped.
The math in particular has been a godsend.
He has come alive to math these last two years.

Gunnar calls this huge maple a "fort".

And next year he'll be off to the community college.
And - we all hope - working at a job.
But he doesn't have a car.
Or a license, yet.
The insurance rates for boys his age are insane.


Which means he has to look for a job
geographically pretty darn close to home,
as he'll either be borrowing one of our cars,
riding his bike (an iffy proposition with
the notorious PNW rain),
or depending on me for rides.
He can ride the city bus to school.

Gunnar loves this wide apple tree in the sheep pasture.

Gunnar doesn't concern me as much just yet.
But he's on the verge of adolescence.
And I have to give myself a pep-talk,
you know...

Yes, I can do this one more time.

This cedar branch has hung so low it's putting out roots.

Because the early part of adolescence is also insane.
I think their hormones are carbonated, or something.
I don't mean they're girl-crazy,
just crazy-crazy. 

At least for Wyatt and Tate, anyway.
It was like they were just on the verge of boiling.
All. The. Time.

I wonder whose nest that is?

I don't mean they were angry all the time.
It's hard to explain.
It's as if everything was exaggerated.
They were about to boil over with

... energy.

That's it.  Energy.

So many blossoms - it looks like a cloud.

Right now, it's Tate that's on my mind the most.

His surgery is scheduled for four weeks from today.
I'm not worried or anxious,
there's just a lot to manage.

Oooo, skunk cabbage.  Gross.  Pretty, but stinky.

Organize our homeschool schedule around his surgery and recovery.
Schedule all his follow-up appointments,
and there are LOTS of them.
Schedule his therapy appointments over the summer.
Try to keep him away from anyone sick,
right before the surgery.

Gunnar loves the way new trees grow from old stumps.

And that will be tricky,
since we're going to be watching my niece
for the better part of a week.
We love her dearly :D
but I can't remember seeing her without a runny nose. :o(

And after the surgery...

This old cedar stump is really breaking down,
but the hemlock roots are holding it together.
Sort of.

..we have to really watch the incision,
and keep it clean to avoid infection.
Because an infection right next to your brain would be

kind of bad.

And he can't do anything that would jar his head
for a few weeks.

He's a fifteen year old boy!

Usually they grow from old cedars,
but this one is growing out of an old Douglas Fir.
Wish me luck.

No, don't wish us luck,
pray for us :D

Love, love, love this pink magnolia.
I'm not a pink girl.  No pink in my house.
But I like pink in nature, where God put it.

Also, on the Tate-front,
he and I are meeting with school officials tomorrow
to write his 504,
to address his need for accommodation.

Because he is deaf.

And he compensates so well,
that nearly everyone overestimates what he can actually hear.
But that could be a whole post by itself.

We're writing a 504...

Because Tate will be at the high school next fall.


I know it's only part time.
But still.

One in high school,
and one in college.

So you can see why my mind is spinning!

If I could get rid of one plant from our climate zone,
it would be the this one.
Stinging nettles are definitely part of the curse.

And then there's Kerry.
We're so thankful that he does
have work to do right now.

And the good news is that we're keeping all the bills paid.

The not-quite-so-good-news is that
we're keeping all the bills paid,
but there isn't much of anything left over.

Which means,
we're not getting the debt paid off
the way I'd like to be.

And I know,
we're not supposed to worry.
Consider the lilies, and all that.

But this one I would keep...
the trillium.

But I do worry.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I'm dying to try this on the boys.  Think it'll work?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, April 7, 2014

Outside my window...  wet ground (rain in the night), but the forecast of a warm day - maybe mid 60's!  That's 17 or 18 for you metric folks, and warmer than it's been since last September.

Hearing...  a VERY quiet house.  Kerry is working in the garage, Wyatt is gone to school, and Tate and Gunnar are reading.  I'm about to throw in a load of laundry and call them to start (home) school.

Pondering...  one month until Tate's surgery!


Praying...  all will go well with Tate's surgery,
for a friend from church being treated for leukemia,
for friends in the Solomon Islands, with devastating flooding,
for a job for Kerry.

Thankful...  for a VERY productive spring break (!),
for family,
for our church family,
for a refreshing time at church yesterday morning,
for another chapel baby coming this summer,
for lots of (paying) jobs for the boys over break.

Wearing...  black sweats, red and white striped t-shirt,
and - for now - a blue sweater.

Creating...  order from chaos, usually.

Going...   maybe nowhere?
Nowhere would be really nice :D

Reading...  finished Just Do Something by Kevin de Young
(highly recommend it - a breath of fresh air in the
what-is-God's-will-for-me Christian angst),
and reading Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp -
very encouraging words for those raising adolescents.

Looking forward to...  a Naomi visit later this month :D

In the kitchen...

Just kidding.
The boys only wish!

Actually, there's chili in the crockpot for tonight.

In the learning rooms...  getting back into the groove.
Less than ten more weeks!
Okay, maybe more if we delay due to a visiting toddler
and a CI surgery,
but we're coming down the home-stretch
and it feels GREAT!

Around the house...  sparkly clean!
(For the moment, anyway.)

Something to remember for later...  the boys had youthgroup Saturday night,
they had a games and movie night,
and they chose to watch...

One of my favorite things...  the smell of freshly cut grass :D

A Bible verse...  

His divine power had given us
everything we need for a godly life
through our knowledge of Him who called us
by His own glory and goodness.
Through these He has given us
His very great and precious promise...
1 Peter 2:3-...

A few plans for the rest of the week...
homeschool - getting back in the groove,
CAP every Tuesday,
Thursday morning meeting at the school to write a 504 Plan for Tate,
work party at the church on Saturday,
and... ???

A peek into my day...
or at least what strikes us as funny in the grasshopper house :D

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Finale

Oh, I crack myself up.
As if we were done?

Um... only until next weekend.

After working all week, we gave the kids a break today,
but we grown-ups can't stop working.
Especially with the sun almost shining
and the yard getting so shaggy.

Mowing is just INSANE this time of year.
The grass is wet, thick, heavy, and growing like it's on steroids.
Warmer temps, longer days... I guess that is steroids for the lawn.
If that was one of the boys mowing I would've called out the window...

More overlap!

But Kerry can do it his way, even if that means lots of
sort of "popping wheelies" with the mower
to get it to chomp up the big clumps.

And yes, it really is that green.

He also decided we needed a new system
to protect the burning bushes from the deer.

I have strong suspicions that the deer will just handily stick their noses
right under the edges of the netting,
but maybe I'm wrong.

Meanwhile, our neighbors have decided to kill a bunch of their lawn.
I don't care what they do about that, but I'm SO GLAD
they also seem to be trying to kill the ivy on their fence.

Here's an old picture - you can see part of it.

Ivy is evil,
evil, I tell you!
It would like to spread into our yard,
but I pull it up.

And I was busy too...

This flower bed needed some attention.

Better, but I forgot to trim the clematis.
Next time.

And this one, right in the front of the house,
needed some serious TLC.

Much better.
Not done, but better.

I spread out some Siberian iris bulbs
(the purple/blue ones, with yellow inside)
all over where the boys weeded out Shasta daisies.

Up here, too.

The deer have been here.

But they leave my herbs alone.
And look!
My rosemary is blooming.

So, back to the routine tomorrow.
The boys are SO excited...
can you see my eyes rolling?

Maybe if I work them hard enough,
school will seem like a relaxing break...
at least that's my theory ;D

And YOU will get a break
from my endless prattling on
about the chores.

Meanwhile, we're up to the 28th day of Lent
(you don't count Sundays, you know)
and I am up to 26 bags.
I've already taken one load to Goodwill
and the consignment store,
and left a HUGE pile for the recycling truck.

And how's your Sunday going?