Outside my window... a dusting of snow! Not enough to play in, much to the boys' disappointment, but enough to look pretty.
I am thinking... we are finally on Christmas break. The kids' Christmas program last night made it seem official, somehow :D
I am thankful for... Grampa Grasshopper, outside in this cold weather, working on forms to pour concrete steps up to Kerry's office. (Remember the hole Kerry had made last summer? Yah. We're looking forward to NOT having an obstacle course in and out of the garage...) Also, Kerry has some work - yay! And Christmas is only five days away. Woo-hoo!
I am praying for... attitudes.
I am creating... just a couple more little secrets.
I am going... to stay home, do a little sewing, a little baking... ho hum.
I am hoping... well, the boys are hoping for a white Christmas.
I am hearing... Grampa Grasshopper sawing and hammering, the washer and the dryer both going, and the boys doing something with Legos.
I am remembering... warm summer days at the lake.
From the learning rooms... silence. We are taking a break :D The boys have done some cleaning chores this morning and now get free time.
From the kitchen... hmm, what to make for dinner? Maybe some sweet and sour chicken.
Around the house... I haven't posted pics of our Christmassy house, because it looks a lot like last year. It always does. Lots of lights. Lots of candles. And a REAL tree :D
On my mind... just a couple things I want to make. Oh how I love finding easy tutorials online!
Noticing that... though I've been preparing the boys for months to be content with a "smaller" Christmas this year, there are a lot of presents under the tree...
Pondering these words...
Do not be afraid!
I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David
a Savior has been born to you;
He is Christ the Lord!
One of my favorite things... the way angels preface every message with, Don't panic!
Because, clearly, they realize that their 'visitee' is about to.
A few plans for the rest of the week... hoping to have some friends over, if we can get ahold of them. Looking forward to Christmas Eve here, and then the candle-light Christmas Eve service at church. Christmas morning here, and then up to my parents', just 10 minutes away.
Here is a picture I am sharing...
Christmas elves, heading out around the neighborhood :D
We are in the throes of our version of winter, here in the Pacific Northwest - weeks on end of temps in the 30s and 40s, ridiculously short hours of daylight, made even shorter by the heavy clouds and incessant rain. With the occasional addition (this morning) of variety, in the form of thunder, lightning, and pounding hail, so loud that even Tate could hear it. Awesome.
And if there's one thing I hate more than going all over town in those lovely conditions, it's doing it with hordes and throngs and multitudes of soggy and irritable people. (There's a reason they call it the Shopping Maul...)
So hurray for homeschooling, and hurray for a husband who works out of the home (well, the garage, but he's here anyway), and hurray for boys that are old enough and responsible enough that I can give them a pile of independent work, a kitchen timer, and leave. (Work for an hour, play for a half hour. Lather, rinse, repeat.) And go do my shopping while most folks are at work, or getting their kids to school.
Sure they would have gotten more done if I had been here, but I got more done, shopping without them. And - you know - shopping for them. So having them along would've cramped my style. Because they're way past falling for the old tambourine evasion.
I'm sure they've had a lot (a LOT) of Lego time today. I'm sure it has some educational value. Although all I can hear through the closed door of the family room is Wyatt saying Constipated! over and over, and laughing maniacally. (And my mom was just the other day commenting on how mature he's getting...)
So, in other words, it's a basically normal day, here in the Testosterzone.
Outside my window... fog. Which probably means a clear sky above it, and - possibly - the first glimpse of that long-lost shiny yellow orb.
I am thinking... less than two weeks until Christmas (!) and what is left to do...
I am thankful for... Kerry has some work (!), the absolutely joyful funeral/memorial service yesterday, and our local police... strange happenings in the neighborhood last night.
I am praying for... a bloggy friend's son's surgery tomorrow, work to continue to come in,
and the boys (in general).
I am wearing... not-leaving-the-house sweats.
I am creating... still some Christmas secrets, but less, as I realize I really don't like sewing with a deadline. Hmmm, creative options?
I am going... still hoping to get Christmas cards out early this week... might be a pipe dream. Couple more Christmas gifts to find, and lots of cookie-making :D
I am reading... between books (myself), reading Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze to the boys.
I am hoping... to get over this cold! (Feeling better, but not all the way better...)
I am hearing... the furnace, the washer, the dryer, and clickety tappity.
I am remembering... people we hope to have over. Christmas is a time of hospitality.
From the learning rooms... converting metric/standard measurements, French Indochina, sit/set, rise/raise, lie/lay, identifying prime numbers, bene/bon (root words), simple machines (physics), and the last emperor of China.
From the kitchen... thawing some pork for dinner, made molasses cookies last night, and the cupboards are full to over-flowing from recent Costco run.
Around the house... Christmas everywhere :D The last big thing was the boys' tree, with all their own ornaments on it. But I think the wreath is still sitting on a chair in the dining room. Nobody uses the front door!
On my mind... prioritizing...
Noticing that... we are almost, almost, to the shortest day of the year. *sigh*
One of my favorite things... coming home from the funeral yesterday to find the boys, full of testosterone and bluster, and armed with random items from the garage, ready to defend themselves from the unknown. (Kerry was home with them, by the way.)
A few plans for the rest of the week... I have grand hopes (delusions?) of having a full and productive school week. This may not happen. And it will be my fault if it doesn't ;D We'd like to have another family or two over for dinner and/or evening. Saturday we get together with my dad's side of the family - lots of food and fun, no gifts. Then Sunday evening is the kids' Christmas program at church. I know I've mentioned before how much I appreciate how low-key it is. (They rehearsed the first time, yesterday.) I have a shepherd (Gunnar), a wise man (Tate), and HerodtheKing (Wyatt).
Here is a picture I am sharing...
Last year's program.
All my boys are visible, if you know where to look.
And grandparents that like to have their grandsons around :D
While the boys whooped it up with Grampa (shooting the .22 at spinach cans, apparently) and Gramma (playing games and watching videos), I sniffed and sneezed my way through eight (eight, I tell ya!) stores, checking items off my list. Although I was feeling very pathetic last night, I actually had more energy today than I had dared to hope. The grace of God, my friends.
Okay, here's a little "Grasshopper Family" story. You know how families have code words? Well, we had tambourine. If one of them would ask me what I got Gramma for Christmas? A tambourine! Uncle Dave? A tambourine! And, no, we don't come from a long line of gypsies, but c'mon... we all know how well kids keep secrets.
Thankfully, those days have (mostly?) passed. But just in case one of my boys would actually read my blog (doubtful, but possible), I'm telling you my good news in code.
I was looking for, among other things, a very specific tambourine that one of my little grasshoppers is pining for. And, to my shock and dismay, struck out at the first SIX stores. (Really? Can it be that popular?) But finally, at store number seven, a roaming vendor pitching new windows (hello, we remodeled the whole house just five years ago, and our windows are fine, thank you very much... or thag you very buch), found me that tambourine! There were only two left. Apparently it's a "limited edition".
But, even better, I had a great gift idea for all three boys. (A tambourine!) I'll tell ya after Christmas. Anyway, I was prepared to spend up to $20 each. But - ta daaaa - found just what I wanted (okay, a little smaller than I wanted, but really fine), on sale for $5 each.
And, I got home with enough of the afternoon left to get most of the tambourines wrapped and under the tree. I'm not done, but there's light at the end of the tunnel ;D
It's 3pm. We're done with school for the week. Hallelujah.
I've been looking forward to the boys' PTO day tomorrow, hoping to get more Christmas prep done. Like, shopping for the boys without them with me. But my body is apparently going on strike. The cold that the boys have been passing around for a couple of weeks has apparently caught up with me. Fabulous. ( /sarcasm )
Let me just say this. It's miserable not to be able to breathe through your nose. At all.
And poor Tate! It's hard enough for him to hear and comprehend as it is, but I had to give him a spelling test today and he had no idea what I was saying half the time! He can't distinguish m from n anyway. And now my m's sound like b's. Lovely. So making sounds like baking. (Or braking. Or breaking. Whatever.)
Outside my window... the rain has stopped, but everything is shiny and wet. The light wind is bringing more clouds.
I am thinking... making a list, checking it twice...
I am thankful for... money to pay this month's bills, boys playing quietly, and the smell of fir floating through the house. Ahhhhh :D
I am praying for... more work for Kerry.
I am wearing... jeans, t-shirt, Christmas shirt (just a blue shirt with a Christmas tree on the pocket), two pairs of socks, and slippers.
I am creating... still not telling :D
I am going... to get through today's school work, read to the boys, and decorate the tree!
I am reading...The Shadow Spinner, by Susan Fletcher, to the boys. Kind of an odd pick (for boys), involving Sharhazad (of the 2001 tales) and a harem, but very adventurous. They're liking it. Also read The Penderwicks (also about girls, but reasonably appealing to boys), The Land I Lost (Vietnam), and When My Name Was Keoko (about the Japanese occupation of Korea). And I think they've all just read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
I am hoping... as always, to get three times as much stuff done as is humanly possible. *sigh*
I am hearing... silence. Should I be worried?
I am remembering... something I must order online today...
From the learning rooms... measurement conversions (standard/metric), the messy Balkan history leading up to WWI, prepositional phrases as adverbs and adjectives, division, mater/pater, Korea and Japan and Manchuria, and writing paragraphs.
From the kitchen... hmmm, must think of a good idea. Probably with hamburger. (eyes roll)
Around the house... Christmas! Once I get the tree decorated we can get the last two storage totes back to the garage, and then everything will look/feel so much better :D
On my mind... Pearl Harbor Day, today.
Noticing that... the days are so very, very short. Still dark at 8am, and dusk by 4pm.
Pondering these words...God and sinners reconciled.
One of my favorite things... the wonderful, spicy, citrus-y, fir smell of Christmas tree,
all through the house.
A few plans for the rest of the week... no more evening rehearsals! When the days are dark like this, I'd much rather just stay home. But... must make a Costco "stock-up" run, and must do a bit more Christmas shopping.
I feel like I've been in a whirlwind, the last week or so.
When I was younger it seemed like everything worked itself up to fever pitch right before and up until Christmas. And then "they" (whoever "they" are) realized that was a scheduling problem, and shifted it all to the first week of December.
Or maybe it's just me...
After traveling to Oregon and back, we jumped into a busy homeschool week, plus decorating the house, and had a wonderful visit from our friends, home for the holidays from Zambia, and finally got to meet their adopted daughter. Then the weekend...
I had the first Messiah performance Friday night. Went wonderfully. The place was absolutely packed and we didn't make any egregious mistakes. I know I missed an entrance, but I'd rather that than come in where I shouldn't!
And then Saturday... was it just yesterday?
* Kerry's Tuba Christmas, in the morning, had more tuba players than ever before! I didn't get a count, but looked like nearly fifty. That's a lot of oom-pah!
* Second performance of Messiah in the afternoon - not quite SRO, like the night before, but still pretty packed. And, again, went well. Especially considering we're a bunch of amateurs. Farmers, janitors, doctors, students, and seniors (some over 80!), all volunteers.
* The Dutch farming community near us has a Lighted Christmas Parade each year, and this was our first year to go. Fun! Cold, windy fun. Lots of horses, tractors, and farm equipment. Loved the big green lighted tractors with giant antlers pulling a sleigh... get it? The (rein) Deere? And the kids loved the people throwing candy. Win-win.
* That was followed by a Christmas party at our friends' house :D Hot drinks (just the thing after a cold, cold parade), treats, and lots of friends. And LOTS of kids. And everyone got along, which is double-plus-win. (Um, I mean the kids all got along, without getting wild and crazy and all sugared up, which is always possible. Of course the grown-ups all got along.)
* And about 8:45, sitting in Cutzi's very cozy, warm, and festive living room, I was just done. My flannel sheets were calling to me, like Homer's Sirens, and we had to call it a night. There may be pictures later, but right now I'm just too pooped. But it's the good kind of tired. ;D
Outside my window... a few tiny patches of snow left, where the boys had piled and packed it, but the yard has its "winter look" - the grass has been squished down flat by the snow and everything looks green or brown and dormant. Just the evergreens look nice.
I am thinking... that I would like to cancel school for the day and do some Christmas planning (and maybe shopping?) but that probably isn't a good plan. Especially since we took the whole week of Thanksgiving off. But maybe tomorrow...
I am thankful for... safe travels for all of us over the holiday (especially since we drove down to Oregon right after the "big" snowstorm), family to get together with, family that likes to get together, the fun time we had, and how very good it is to be back home :D
I am praying for... our focus, coming up on Christmas.
I am wearing... blue jeans, layered shirts, blue/white/green patterned sweater, wool socks... it's just barely above freezing here.
I am creating... can't tell!
I am going... to get school going in a few minutes, to go by the store today for some candy for these, and to our last Messiah rehearsal tonight.
I am reading... just skimmed through Honey for a Woman's Heart, and have a fresh list of possibilities!
I am hoping... no snow until after next weekend (too much going on!)
I am hearing... the boys working in the garage, the dryer tumbling, and a bit of wind.
I am remembering... all my growing up years we had Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house - which is this house, that I now live in. And my brother, sister, cousin and I always sat at "the kids' table". Didn't matter how old we got... we were at the kids' table.
From the learning rooms... decimals, percents and fractions, experiments with gravity, the Boxer Rebellion, cap/cape/capital/captain/capitulate/decapitate/recapitulate/capricious/etc. and memorizing Luke 2:1-20.
From the kitchen... a bit bare, after being gone, need to go by the grocery store. But tonight... tomato soup and "cheesy pleasy" (grilled cheese sandwiches).
Around the house... before we left we cleaned and tidied, so we are ready to launch Christmas!
On my mind... a busy week, my Christmas shopping yet-to-do, and a very musical weekend to come.
Noticing that... the snow is lower on the hills than I would like it, when I have so much to do!
Pondering these words...A comfortable house is a great source of happiness. It ranks immediately after health and a good conscience.
One of my favorite things... about homeschooling, is all the snuggles I get from my "students"!
A few plans for the rest of the week...
four days of school, rehearsal,
decorating the house (!),
preparing the candy strips and wrapping the books,
Friday night Messiah,
Saturday morning Tuba Christmas,
Saturday afternoon Messiah,
Saturday evening lighted Christmas parade,
Sunday church, and
maybe get our tree?