Monday, January 30, 2012

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, January 30, 2012

Outside my window...  not raining at the moment, but everything is wet and soggy - normal, in other words.  Busy squirrels in the trees.  Our neighbor feeds them peanuts all year round, so they're really quite spoiled! 

I am thinking...  Mondays are a fresh start. 

I am thankful for...  the "appliance fairy" (who doesn't want attention) who gifted us with a new microwave to replace our broken one.  Thank you! 

I am praying for...  friends in the Solomon Islands, peace between the boys, and work for Kerry. 

I am wearing...  wait for it... wait for it... blue jeans, t-shirt, purple sweater, wool socks, and slippers!  Woo-hoo!

I am going...  to call the boys and get going on school work. 

I am reading...  starting Calico Bush with Tate and Gunnar. 

I am hoping...  to have a "calmer" week. 

I am hearing...  the furnace and the laundry :D

I am remembering...  our vacation, last fall.  Fun times.  

From the learning rooms...  Wyatt - Civil War, multiplying and dividing polynomials, meteorology; Tate - Daniel Boone, area and volume, dating the earth (um, trying to determine its age, I mean); Gunnar - Daniel Boone, dividing with two-digit numbers, and mollusks.

From the kitchen...  thawing some hamburger to make a Mexican-ish casserole for dinner.

Around the house...  I'm putting away all my winter-y, snow things.  Which almost guarantees that we'll get more snow.  Except that the boys want it so badly.

Something I want to remember later...  how hard Tate works.

On my mind...  Thursday's appointment with the CI team!

Noticing that...  oh how I love clean surfaces ;D

Pondering these words...  What doesn't kill you will certainly leave a big mess for you to clean up.  Rebecca

One of my favorite things...  Boys doing school work with good attitudes :D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Wow.  Not so much, compared to last week!  CAP every Tuesday evening for Wyatt and Tate, then - of course - the appointment at Children's (!!!), and then Super/Souper Bowl Sunday at my parents'.

Here is a picture I am sharing...

It's January.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Good grief.  What a week this had been!  Especially in contrast with the lovely, leisurely stay-home-all-week-in-the-snow we just had.  *Sigh*

Sunday - church, which is a good thing :D

Monday - Kerry and Gunnar to Boys' Club, which is also good, but changes our schedule (we all eat our "big meal" together at midday, meaning I need to make something while I'm schooling...)

Tuesday - Wyatt and Tate to CAP, and Kerry to a Creation class, also means "big meal" at lunch.

Wednesday - Wyatt and Tate to youth group.  More about this in a minute.

Thursday - breathe in and out.

Friday - PTO day (yay!) and Wyatt and Tate had CAP activity.  Their squadron met up with another squadron for dinner out (I think Subway) and went to see Redtails, the movie about the Tuskegee Airmen.  All thumbs up from the boys :D

Saturday - today was supposed to be all relaxing, but the CAP group has been called into duty.  A local fallen Marine is being brought home today, and they're going out in Dress Blues to participate in some sort of Honor Guard.  (Any military folks out there, forgive me if I'm not using the correct terms.)

Sunday - back to church, and begin again...

Actually, next week should be a bit milder, as the Boys' Club and the youth group only meet every other week, which is fine by me.

I'm just thrilled they got the youth group up and running again.  the Chapel isn't a highly program-driven church, which is a good thing.  I'm as thankful for what the youth group isn't  (a high-octane, three-ring circus), as for what it is - a low-key, every-other-week, dinner, devotions, and games sort of thing.

So low-key, in fact, that the married couple that leads it didn't actually know it was meeting this week, and didn't show up.  Oops.  But no problem.  The gracious hosts jumped in to pinch-hit and everyone had a good time, even the neighbor boy we brought - who realized during the ride home that he had just missed an orchestra concert.  His orchestra concert.  Oops, again.

 We take turns feeding and hosting the group, perhaps fittingly labeled None the Wiser (a pun on our chapel's name).  Our church families are pretty far-flung around the county, which makes just getting there a bit of an adventure.  I don't know about where you live, but finding a house for the first time in the dark (on these short winter days) and on unlit county roads may not be as easy as you think it is.

Kerry drove them a couple weeks ago, but somehow forgot the directions I'd written for him.  And his cel phone.  But no worries!  The Border Patrol helped him find the house after they finished questioning him.  (Apparently his erratic driving and frequent stops along a road just a hundred yards or so from Canada looked a bit suspicious.)

This week I drove.  Stayed to visit with the aforementioned gracious hosts, (since driving home would give me just enough time to say "hi" and then turn around to go get them, 20+ miles away.)  Had a nice chat with my friend.  Then as the group was breaking up, the phone rang.  One of the moms was looking for her three kids.  Yes, they'd come straight from school to youth group, were just leaving, and should be home soon.  She hadn't known where they were.  I think this is only the fifth time the group has met, and she didn't realize it was a youth group night.  Thought they might've gone into a ditch (we have huge ditches here... rain, y'know) and wrecked the car.  There's still some snow out in the county, and she and her husband had been driving various routes between their home and school for hours, looking for them.  Finally, the Sheriff asked her, "Well, it is a Wednesday evening.  Could they be at a youth group activity?"


So, low-key is good, but I'm not sure that

Local Law Enforcement involved in 40% of our activities!

is exactly the motto we're looking for.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

You Guys Are Awesome

Thanks so much for all your kind and hopeful words!  I'm still kind of amazed at the network of friends and acquaintances I've found through the interwebs ;D  It's really encouraging to hear from some of you with implants yourself, or kids with implants.  Thanks for sharing your journeys. 

Also, I'm kind of amazed at how long I've had this blog going, and how much the boys have changed! One of them just looked over my shoulder, saw this picture, chuckled, and said,

The Cone Age.

Yup.  Late 2007 or early 2008, they started creating Dino-opolis in the back yard.  Haven't seen much of that lately, but every once in awhile it has a brief resurgence.

Early 2008 they also began building their bubba shack treehouse.  Kerry doesn't love it, but i think it's great.

Not sure when these were taken.  Probably about the time I started calling this place

The Testoster-zone.

They do clean up pretty well, though apparently I didn't realize how much taller Wyatt had gotten since he'd last worn those pants.  Yes, in fact, we are geeky homeschoolers.

Or course, they're pretty much always a bit goofy.  You know...

zero to crazy in under five seconds.

We've put a few miles on, yah?

And it's a lot more fun sharing all this stuff when I'm not just talking to myself.

Thanks for coming along for the ride :D

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So, About Tate...

2002 was kind of a crazy year.  Although, with three little boys, what year wasn't?  But that was kind of a banner year.

Kerry kicked it off with a raging case of shingles, and then (unrelated) lost his job.  I had recovered from an (unplanned) caesarean, tried to keep three boybarians age five-and-under civilized enough that Kerry could work out of our living room (then attic, then mudroom, and finally garage - oh joy!), and was holding my own in the testosterzone.  Wyatt had just turned six and was about to start Kindergarten.  Gunnar had just turned one and was walking. 

And Tate was three and a half, and we finally realized he couldn't hear very well.   

Joy to the whirled.

Sometime between his birth and Gunnar's they began screening newborns for hearing loss at our local hospital, so Tate missed that.  His speech development was age-appropriate.  And his huge, blue-green eyes were taking everything in.  Of course, he had more hearing then.  Also, I'm kind of militant about look-at-me-when-I'm-talking-to-you, which probably helped. 

But mostly, Tate just works so hard.

In fact, we might have gone on a lot longer if I hadn't tried to put him on the phone with someone and noticed the confusion on his face.  I could hear the person from a few feet away, and I watched Tate as he looked blankly at the phone and said, "Start talking."


Which means that hearing aids have been part of our life for nearly ten years now.

Look how little he was!  What a cutie!  And those huge, huge eyes.  We called him Tater-bug, and Sweet (po) Tater.

We took an extended-family vacation to Oregon while he was still adjusting to the barrage of sound.

Being a toddler at the beach, he had quite a bit of time with his HAs safely in the house.  He couldn't handle wearing them all the time at first anyway.  Too much noise.  Too much to process.  But he quickly adjusted.

We all did.  Heck, HAs became cool.  Gunnar had to have his own...

... made from genuine pipe cleaners.

But as Tate has grown, and lost more hearing, and more hearing, and gone from two HAs to one, and continued to lose hearing...

his HA just isn't cutting it any more.

For those of you who've asked, yes, we are very open to signing.  I've tried to keep him exposed to it, through the years.  I'd love to learn - it's a fascinating language.

But Tate himself prefers to be oral/aural.

So we're off on a new adventure.

Next Thursday we have our first couple of appointments with the CI team at Seattle Children's to look into implanting Tate.

Excited?  Absolutely!

Nervous?  You bet.

Pray for us, okay?

When A Bad Thing Can Be A Good Thing

All things considered, this year is not exactly off to a smashing start.  I hope I'm not discovering a theme here, because - oh, let me see - guess what's not working, so far?

It may sound like I'm whining, but I'm not.  Actually, it's so ridiculous it's kind of funny.  Kind of.

*  The microwave oven finally gave up, and we had to throw it out.  I didn't think I used it very much, but apparently I did.  And in other news, guess what?  I'm not the first person to ask Uncle Google if you can cook microwave popcorn any other way.  (It's the big things in life, people.  Try to keep your perspective.)  Supposedly you can.  I'll let you know.  So we are microwave-less.  Boo-hoo.

*  The cordless phone.  I thought it might be solved with the new phone line, but that was just wishful thinking.  The crackling persists.  And it holds a charge for a whopping three or four minutes.  Yes, I could just buy another battery (cheaper), but with the other issues... looks like we need a new phone.  Fabulous.

*  The dishwasher started leaking out onto the floor.  Okay, fine, we can wash by hand.  Whatever.

*  Then the kitchen sink and three bathroom sinks quit draining.  Now that couldn't wait.  We had to call a plumber.  On a Saturday.  No kidding, just a couple of days after I finally got the Visa bill paid off.  Crud.  He was a chatty fellow.  Has a degree in chemistry.  But, as I pointed out to the boys, when you need a plumber you need a plumber.  And that was our Occupational Ed for the month.

The good news was that unclogging the drain seems to have fixed the dishwasher "leak" (do you think it just might leak if it wasn't draining right?), but the bad news is that right after the plumber left, the boys managed to clog two of the toilets.  (I fixed one and Kerry fixed one.)

*  The warning light is on in the van again.  I'm hoping it's just that the gas cap might not be on tight enough, since it's just the yellow warning light not the red you're-about-to-start-hemorrhaging-money light.  Lah-di-dah-di-dah...

*  Then there are the ridiculous little things, like four lightbulbs burned out, three flashlights out of batteries, two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree.

*  And my printer.  Which is probably just out of ink, which it uses at a ridiculous pace and I can't buy more right now.

But the good news about that is related to Gunnar's science notebook/journal.  (Huh?)  There are lots of places for him to draw the things we're studying - which happen to be aquatic animals right now.  And you know, it's hard being the youngest, and feeling like your older brothers can do everything better than you.  And then sometimes you don't really want to bother trying.  So we both got kind of lazy, and I was letting him print out a lot of pictures from the internet and glue them in.

Which probably explains the ink problem.  Genius, I know.  But which is also why I'm in no hurry to replace the ink cartridge (or to tell him, if I do), because he's drawing more, and getting better at it, and getting more confident!.  Sweet!

Coincidentally, in history Tate and Gunnar and I were reading about the whaling that went on back in colonial times and they drew these.  It's supposed to appear that you are looking through a telescope and seeing a whale in the distance, but as their pictures came out a little big (and I didn't have the heart to crop them) it gave a sort of unintended 3D effect. 

I love Tate's Moby Dick reference, and the dramatic action in Gunnar's picture.  Tate was (jealous?) swift to point out that giant squids aren't found near the surface and only live in deep, deep water.  But Gunnar was quick on the draw.  Whales need to breathe, don't they?  So he dragged it to the surface to eat.

You tell him, Giz.

And now, with the wind literally howling around the house, I'm off to light a few candles.  Wouldn't surprise me if the power went out next.

And how's your day going?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, January 23, 2012

Outside my window...  rain.  And more rain.  It's a good day to.... stay home! 

I am thinking...  do you ever find yourself looking at your family and thinking, Good grief!  Do all these people need to eat?  Again?  Already?!  Yes.  Apparently they do.

I am thankful for...  just found out that my brother and his wife are having.... a girl! 

I am praying for... work.  Work would be good.

I am wearing... my soft, cozy sweats tempted me, but I went all-out and pulled on some jeans and a sweater.  (eyes rolling)

I am creating... cutting up perfectly good pieces of fabric into little pieces, and sewing them back together again.

I am going...  to plan some meals ahead.

I am reading...  old Quick Cooking magazines, looking for new ideas.  To modify. 

I am hoping...  for a peaceful, productive week.

I am hearing...  my good friends, Mrs. Washer and Mr. Dryer.

I am remembering...  my Nana was the queen of pies.  You know the Crisco/vinegar pie crust recipe?  Do you use this?  It's easy to make, but I can never make it go as far as she did.  I can get a pie and a half.  She could get two pies AND a crust pie, with sugar cinnamon.  How did she do that?

From the learning rooms...  I tweaked our schedule a bit over the weekend - figuring out what we ought to make up and what we can just drop (from missing three days last week).  Tate and Gunnar are easy, but Wyatt... not so much.  He has more work to start with, and then he takes longer to do it.  How can I light a fire under his bohonkus?

From the kitchen...  what?  another meal?  again?  That's how I feel after I've cooked all weekend.  But - good news - my parents came over for turkey dinner on Saturday, we had leftovers on Sunday, and now I have four turkey pot pies in the freezer (!!!!) and meat for baked turkey taquitos.  :D

And guess what?  I'll never make pies as good as Nana's pies, but I almost got four pies (top and bottom crust) out of a double patch of crust.  (I had a little clump of dough left over from making apple pie on Saturday that I threw in too, and that made the difference.)

Also, I remembered something I used to do, and had forgotten:

I rolled the dough between two layers of wax paper. 

You can get it a lot thinner and still be able to pick it up and get it into the pie dish.  Wa-wah!

Around the house...  still enjoying my winter decorations.    Though I nearly wrung Wyatt's neck.  I walked into the living room to find him

assembling a model airplane 

at this table

with Superglue.   

What gives?  Do they lose their minds when they turn fifteen?  When will it come back?

Something I want to remember later...  the boys take notes in church, which they turn in to Pastor Bert.  Tate usually draws pictures on his.  Good thing the pastor is ex-military.

On my mind...  the next quilt.

Noticing that...  I got my office all tidy, and then started quilting.  Need to beat back the mess with a stick before it breeds.

Pondering these words...   Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.  Frank Leahy

One of my favorite things...  a clean kitchen.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  hmmm.  Monday night Boys' Club for Gunnar, Tuesday night CAP for Wyatt and Tate, then Wednesday night youthgroup for Wyatt and Tate, and Friday night movie (with their CAP group) for Wyatt and Tate.  They're all going to see (I forget the name) the movie about the Tuskegee Airmen.  But the stinking rotten theater doesn't have captioning.  They ought to let Tate in free.

Oh, and then Saturday is a potluck and game night at the chapel.

And Kerry complains that we don't have company enough.  You know.  Because our social life is so lacking.

Here is a picture I am sharing...   my parents got a bit more snow than we did... about 14 inches!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What A Difference A Day Makes

Especially when that day brings this... rain.  Snow is kind of funny (for those of you who don't live with it.)  Even when the temp rises, it can hang around for awhile.  It's white and reflects heat, y'know?  But throw in a little rain, and it goes pretty fast.

And we had some funny weather.  I looked out the window of my office/craft room and saw this.  Can you tell what's happening?

Take a closer look, with a darker background...

... it's sunny, and snowing!

We live in a basin, surrounding a large lake.  Seems like no matter what the weather pattern is on the large scale, our weather always seems to come at us from the lake.  Something about the way the wind swirls around, I guess.  So I took a look in that direction from another window.  Ahhhh.  Looks ominous, yah?

Yep.  More snow.  And boy did it get dark when those thick clouds rolled in.  But that's okay.  I love watching lights come on around the lake.

But the thermometer was rising, and the icicles out my bedroom window were dripping.

I thought you might like seeing the progression of the snow melting.
It's sad, though ;D

Here's the winter wonderland, all snowy, clean, white and bright.

Ah, still snowy, but the road is looking gray and mushy as the weather begins to warm.  And the snow has begun to drop from the trees.

Definitely warmer.  Don't know if you can tell, but the snow looks heavier.  Thicker.  It compacts as it melts.  Did you see the raindrops on the window?  The snow is saturated.

Until, finally.... blaaahhhhhh.  At least the roads are clear again.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Brain Dump, And The Boybarians

1.  Blogging is a funny thing.  I started doing this for two reasons: 1) Because I just couldn't keep up with scrapbooks, and 2) so that some of our further-away friends and relatives could see what we're up to.  But turns out, I think very few of my family (hi Mom!) and none of Kerry's actually look here.  But the good news is that I've met such wonderful friends :D  So this is mostly for me, but also for you.

2.  So at random times, things will happen and I'll think I need to blog thatBut now?  As I sit here, looking blankly at the 'puter, I have absolutely no idea what seemed so funny to me at 4:57 AM.  Or why I thought you might find it funny.

3.  Wait.  It's back.  It was Wyatt.  We were watching a nature documentary called Life in the Undergrowth hosted by the googley-eyed-worshiper-at-the-altar-of-evolution, David Attenborough.  (Does he have a shoulder condition?  Because he has very unusual gestures.  But I digress.)   It had something to do with a spider catching a cricket (I was apparently dozing off) and Wyatt burst out laughing.  Apparently he had never heard the word fuzzy used in the same sentence with gladiatorWell.  That makes two of us.

4.  Also, there was something about a light bulb.  But the rest escapes me.

5.  In other news, bummer, the snow is melting.  The boybarians were sad to put the sleds away.  Makes me sad to see the snow dropping off the trees.  Now we have a wet, gloppy mess.  The roads are - as my dad would say - slicker than snot on a door-knob.  But that will pass, and I will miss the brightness of the snow on the ground.  On the other hand...

6.  Yay!  The snow, snow, snow is melting, melting, melting!  And life can return to what passes for normal around here..  I know, it's different for you who live where there is snow every winter, all winter long.  Everybody is used to it and life proceeds normally.

But not here.  Oh, no.  Snow is a Big Deal.  As in, this could be all we get for the winter, so we Must Drop Everything And Go Play In It Right Now.

And we did.  Plenty. In fact, the boys (inspired by Snow Treasure I think), sledded twice down to the local grocery store, via a two-mile trail with about a 300' elevation drop.  Fun times.

And in spite of public schools being closed for an entire week (for six inches of snow) we managed to do some schooling around the edges.  Played to our hearts' content, and we're only two days behind.

Totally worth it.

7.  I'm very ready to get the boybarians back on a schedule.  Nuff said.

8.  Also, I'm totally ready for my house to smell like something other than wet snow boots, found upside down on every heater vent.  Even my Vanilla Sugar Cookie candle is having trouble competing with that.

9.  I did one productive thing while the boys were out sledding.  I made a baby quilt for a friend.  Can't show you yet but I did take pictures.

10.  Lastly, I remembered. 
How many boybarians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
It doesn't matter. 
They'll fight over who goes first.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

... And Snow And Snow

Guess what we woke up to?
More snow.

And there was much rejoicing.  Much colder today.  Wyatt checked the thermometer before breakfast at 24F (-4C), and by the time we ate our pancakes it was 20F (-6C), and still dropping.  But the forecast is for rain tomorrow, so we'll enjoy it while we can :D

Since we live on a Great Sledding Hill, people tend to congregate here.  See the moms, hanging out down in the intersection, making sure the kids and/or the traffic stops?

It's a race to the bottom!

This one - Emily - would rather dig into the bushes than race.

Oh how I love those pink cheeks!

For Tate, it's all about speed.

Wyatt wants air.

No Wyatts were harmed in the taking of these pictures.

Emma and Juliann were happily - if slowly - sliding to the bottom, munching on snowballs.

Yes indeed, Wyatt did go all the way down the hill like that.

I prefer this style.
He looks like Sean Connery doing James Bond.

Gunnar and William wanted to take the tube over the jump.

And they don't mind the chills and spills :D

But check this out... the moms aren't going to let the kids have all the fun!
Linda is in the lead, followed by Susy and the twins, with a grandma and grandson
close on her heels!

Go, Susy, go!