Monday, December 31, 2012

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, December 31, 2012

Outside my window...  the snow is above us, but down here?  Lots of brown.  And it's cold, just above freezing.

Hearing...  the timer, reminding me to go check my ham and bean soup.

Thinking...  cannot believe how 2012 has flown, and so many changes for us!  Wyatt going to public school part-time and driving, Gunnar growing like crazy, Tate's implant (!!!) and the improvement in his hearing, and a new niece!  Lots of fun :D

Praying...  friends with health issues, a neighbor who just lost her husband, and for good family relationships and growth in 2013.

Thankful...  for good neighborhood friends, coming here tonight to celebrate.

Wearing...  blue jeans, warm stripey socks, white t-shirt, and a purple sweater (yay for Value Village).

Creating...  plans for the last couple days of break.

Going...  to get our next school week organized - to get us back 'in the groove'.

Reading...  Shepherding A Child's Heart.  I gave it to my brother for Christmas and decided I was due for a re-read too.

Looking forward to...  two trips to Children's Hospital in the next two weeks - Tate is (finally!) getting a new hearing aid, for his right ear.  Hallelujah.

In the kitchen...  our neighbors gave us a ham for Christmas (woo-hoo!) and I cooked down the bone for broth last night, and the soup is bubbling away now.

In the learning rooms...  silence :D  We all had a great break.

Around the house...  
bye bye, Christmas...

... hello winter :D

The boys, of course, are hoping for snow, but you can probably guess what's in the forecast...

The Mother Load...  oh boy.  I've been neglecting a few things...  like balancing the checkbook, really deep-cleaning upstairs, mailing a couple of not-quite-Christmas gifts, hemming some pants for Gunnar, letting down some pants for Wyatt and Tate, and hauling another load off to consignment and Goodwill.  The closet is over-flowing!

Noticing that...   Gunnar and I went for a walk this morning, through the woods behind our house.  The trails are popular and we often see joggers or other walkers.  Today we noticed on the far-back trail, someone has decorated four little Christmas trees - lovely :D

Something fun to share... 

I think she might be Gunnar's favorite Christmas 'present'!

A favorite quote for today... 

When you do stuff, stuff gets done.

One of my favorite things...  bright light, coming in the windows.

A Bible verse...  from the header, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.  3 John 1:4

A few plans for the rest of the week...  we're having a little party tonight - all the usual suspects, having company for lunch tomorrow, launching back into school on Wednesday (along with a visit to the orthodontist), and down to Seattle on Thursday to see Tate's HA audiologist (he has a whole separate team for his CI).  Lots to juggle...

A peek into my world...  there may not be any snow outside, but it's wintery inside!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hobbity Good News

I know, I know, I should be posting Christmas pics and telling you what a wonderful day it was... and it was.  Wonderful, I mean ;D

But right now I'm all excited to tell you about going to see The Hobbit.  No, I'm not going to tell you about the plot, or what's true to the book or added... you can figure that out for yourself.  (We thought it was great!)

No, what I'm all geeked out about is the new Regal Cinema in town and their closed caption glasses!  You can read about them here and here, if you're interested in more detail.

When we arrived at the theater, we checked out two pairs of these.  Tate already wears glasses, so we were glad these were designed big enough to fit right over the top of his.  Our theater also provided a strap, to hang the little control unit around your neck.

They had to program it to receive the right channel for our specific theater and show-time, which took a couple of minutes, but we'd come early, so no problem.  If you want to try them out, I'd recommend allowing a few extra minutes to get set up.  Once in the theater, none of the previews had any captions, but then, I can't remember if they did when we went to the old-style captioned movies.  Anyway, it didn't bother Tate.  (Especially since most of the previews were DISGUSTING, but I digress...)

I don't know why the guy in the photo's glasses look dark - they were completely clear, and new, so clean and unscratched.  I forgot they were there.  When the movie started, the captions appeared in neon green, right before our eyes!  It's hard to tell from the picture, but we could 'aim' the captions higher or lower by tilting the lenses.  The control box allowed us to do a little bit of focusing of the subtitles, and to make them brighter or dimmer.  Amazing!

Actually, no matter which direction I turned my head, I saw captions, which was kind of funny.  I thought about going out to the bathroom with the glasses on, to see if I could keep tracking the movie... but I didn't.

About three quarters of the way through the movie mine stopped working.  Uh-oh.  It's a looooong movie, maybe the battery?  Right away I checked with Tate, and his were working fine.  Turns out the cord between my glasses and the control box had wiggled loose and come unplugged.  I was able to replace it, no problem.  We checked out two pairs, one for Tate and one for the rest of us to try, just to see what it was like.  I'm guessing the plug came loose because we were handing them back and forth and it got jostled, but no worries.

Overall, to be honest, the subtitles that are projected onto the movie screen are easier to read.  And for a kid like Tate, with glasses, a hearing aid, and a cochlear implant, it was a LOT of gear on his head, for three hours.  But, balance that with the fact that we can go to any showing.  We aren't restricted to some odd-hour, weekday showing just to catch the captioning, and...


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve...

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a king,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Tea, Friends, and Busy-ness

I think I get just as excited for Christmas as my kids do :D  I love the anticipation and the activities. I love candles, and carols and cookies.  And - no - I wasn't trying to think of "c" words, it just came out that way.  But, like nearly everyone else, I have to fight back the tendency to let myself get overbooked, overcomplicated, and overwhelmed.

But some invitations aren't a burden - these friends, they restore your soul.

My friend, Danyale, invited me to come have some Christmas tea.

You all know I'm not a prissy, raised-pinky, girly-girl.  No fear of that, though ;D

Danyale - and her home - are warm and inviting.

She and her SIL Hosanna, had prepared a beautiful and delicious welcome.

But I think the table looks even better with these kind faces around it :D
(Can you guess which three are expecting?!)

We talked, we sang, we prayed, we feasted...

... and had our Christmas tea, with our sisters in the Lord.

* Happy sigh. *

And as I headed home through farms and fields, the snow began falling on the flocks of snow geese.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Grasshopper Days 12-17-12

Grasshopper Days

For today, December 17, 2012  

Outside my window...  the snow is creeping lower down the hills, but not quite to our house.  Of course, tomorrow snow flurries are forecast, and tomorrow Tate has two appointments at Children's Hospital in Seattle.  Oh joy...

Hearing...  the boys, mostly quiet, but taking a break to talk amongst themselves; the dryer tumbling, and the furnace blowing.

Thinking...  what a blessing it is to have all my boys comfortably under my roof, safe, and secure.

Praying...  for the families in Connecticut whose children didn't come home.

Thankful...  for the promise that someday - in that day - things will be better.  Our advent devotions this weekend came from Isaiah 11.  I could barely get the words out.

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him-
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord-
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord...

... with righteousness he will judge... with justice...
... with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them...

... They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples;
the nations will rally to him,
and his place of rest will be glorious.

In that day...

Creating...  making plans for a Christmas open house this Saturday :D

Going...  my goal is to not leave the house for the entire day. for probably the first time this month.  Wish me luck ;D

Reading...  advent devotions and Christmas stories :D

Looking forward to...  lots of friends dropping by on Saturday - I hope!

In the kitchen...  oh yah!  No rehearsal tonight, so I'll need to think of something.  Maybe chicken, and the left-over green bean casserole - yum.

In the learning rooms...  Wyatt is home (no public school this week), but all the boys are getting caught up on some homeschool work.  Tate is finishing a chapter review (archaeology/paleontology/geology - the formation of rock strata) in preparation for a test tomorrow or Wednesday.  Wyatt is working on his World History (Machiavelli!).  And Gunnar is dissecting an owl pellet and trying to reconstruct a rodent.

Around the house...  must get some photos of all the festive, Christmassy goodness ;D  It's so dark outside this time of year, even at midday.

Noticing that...  the pile is creeping back, onto my desk...

Something to remember for later...  we're still doing the tradition of unwrapping a Christmas book each night, though the boys' schedules are a bit complicated and sometimes we get behind.  But all my boys (even at 11, 14, and 16!) still like to sit together and read stories aloud, like Worried Arthur and The Red Ranger Came Calling.  And now they do some of the reading.  Wyatt in particular has a very expressive reading voice :D

A favorite quote for today...
No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found

Joy to the World

One of my favorite things...  all of us home, together :D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  down to Seattle for Tate's appointments tomorrow, sending Christmas cards, baking cookies, reading our Advent devotions together, and singing carols :D

A peek into my world...  Do you know how hard it is to get a picture of a baby, who is absolutely intent on getting her feet into her mouth?!  Crazy hard.  Good thing I had such a great assistant - Gunnar :D

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas!

I love reading all your cards and letters, and wish we could see all of you in person, but realistically... I can barely keep my head on straight some weeks.  Any of you who are in the area are invited over for a Christmas Open House next Saturday, the 22nd., between 1 and 5.  I'll have hot and cold drinks, and treats.  Feel free to bring some cookies to share, and join us if you can.  You know what we say...  come, or we'll talk about you ;D  

We've had a big year - lots of change and growth in the house.  My boys are turning into young men, and it's a bit bittersweet, but mostly a joy to watch.  Just to catch you up, Wyatt is 16, Tate is 14, and Gunnar is 11.  How is that possible?!  I wish you could see more of them - but wait - you can!  Check the blog (here) for news and photos.  Click the button that says "home" to see what's current, or look at the dates along the right to see the past ;D

Wyatt and Tate have been thriving in the Civil Air Patrol, earning promotions, flying, working with local Search and Rescue, and graduating from a grueling week of Basic Encampment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Gunnar, who will join when he turns twelve, has been taking on new responsibilities at home.

Wyatt amazes me these days.

He sounds like his uncle Dave sometimes.  We decided to split his time between homeschool and p/t classes at the local high school.  He's sustained the confidence he showed the first morning of school...

... and is currently ranked 7th in his class of 350.  He's also joined me, singing with the Lynden Choral Society, and recently learned and performed nearly all of Handel's Messiah.  He's a bass - who knew??  Also, notice my new view of him, below...

... yep.  He's driving now.  (Shock and awe.)  I love seeing the maturity he's developing.

Tate has probably seen the biggest change of any of us, this year.  As his hearing continued to deteriorate, he made the decision to get a Cochlear Implant.  My mama-heart loved seeing his wonderful maturity (and bravery) in making all the decisions and going through the surgery.

And what a blessing his CI has been already!  He has a water-proof processor, enabling him to hear in and around the water for the first time ever.  He's worked hard, through weeks of therapy, to get full advantage of his new technology - we're so proud of him.

Grandpa took him hunting in Wyoming this fall, and he bagged his first white-tail deer.  We're all enjoying the meat.  I love seeing his hard-working perseverance paying off in so many areas of is life.

Gunnar is my fun-loving, bubbly guy.  He's gotten a few bonus activities this year, since he's too young for some of the things his brothers are doing.  We spent as much time as we could at the lake this summer,

went to the fair (during Encampment week),

and Grandma treated him and Wyatt to a fun weekend at Great Wolf Lodge while Tate was off hunting.  I love seeing his tenderness and compassion to others...

... especially toward his new cousin, Naomi!  We've been happy to have her for a couple of long weekends.

And, as long as we're talking cute... 

... the boys raised bunnies this summer.  Want some?  They'd love to do it again next year ;D

Meanwhile, rejoice with us!  It's Christmas!

For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given, and His name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
the Prince of Peace!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

CAP Dining Out 2012

Yes, once again it was time for the annual Civil Air Patrol Dining Out evening.  (Ironically, Dining Out doesn't mean a restaurant.  Traditionally Dining "In", meant a social dinner just for members, and Dining "Out" includes spouses/family/special friends.)  At any rate, it's the annual formal banquet and awards ceremony, and the boys have been looking forward to this for weeks.

Oh, they're not looking forward to it because it's formal, and they get all spiffed up in their dress blues...

... no, it's because of this, the Grog Bowl.  And yes, it is a toilet.  And yes, they're making punch in it.

This... this... in my boys' eyes, is just about the most wonderful military tradition that exists.

All through dinner, while the cadets are expected to be on their absolute best behavior, they're allowed (and even encouraged) to report any etiquette infractions to "Mr. Vice" (the vice-president of the ceremony) who can order them to ceremonially drink from the Grog Bowl.


... yes, these...

...honorable looking young men (and women, too) absolutely delight in accusing each other of heinous infractions upon the mess...

They're obviously conferring, plotting deeply about who they can report.

These gentlemen were among the first to pay their dues.

If the Grog Bowl begins to be depleted, they can always resort to other punishments, like being made to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,  or I'm a Little Teapot, complete with hand motions.

I'm afraid the Grasshopper boys didn't escape notice.  And their unique punishment?

They had to fly around the room, while making airplane noises, for the entertainment of the distinguished guests ;D

But they didn't mind at all.  In fact, I think they would've felt neglected had they not been accused of something.

We had a great time :D

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Perfect Christmas Tree

Like the dedicated Christmas tree purists that we (some of us) are,
we headed out the first Sunday in December to find the perfect fir for the living room.
One of us, who might remain nameless if he's lucky,
grumbles and complains
and would grab the first scrubby bush he comes to,
throw it on top of the 4Runner,
and hurry home to lunch.

Fortunately, calmer heads prevail ;D

These are my seekers.

I have to admit it felt like more of a challenge this year.
Seems like the trees were trimmed into a narrower-than-usual shape,
and I wanted a big fat one.
So we kept hiking...
all over the tree farm,
through mud and mushrooms,
dodging a few rain showers.

There was even talk about the mythical perfect tree being over there,
up that ridge, under the rainbow...

... but as getting there would've required negotiating this less-than-helpful underpass,
we declined, and continued our search,


The perfect tree!  Okay, perfect for us, anyway :D

While Kerry sawed away at the base of the trunk, I took a moment to look at the boys...

I know I'm kind of biased, but I think they're getting pretty handsome.

Wyatt spelled Kerry at the saw,
just in time to  get in the picture and "steal the glory" ;D

Then, good heavens, where's the 4Runner, anyway?

Funny thing about trees...
they always look so small, out at the tree farm...

... especially all bundled up...

... until...


... the tree pops out of its wrappings,
and it's kind of big...

... and kind of wonderful :D