Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Molasses, Boys, Bunnies, and a Baby

Do you ever have days you feel like you're moving through molasses?  Like time goes by but nothing gets done?  Or is it just me?

We have a guest this week.  Well, for a few hours a day this week.

Her mom is teaching a drama camp and so this happy little two-months-old face is smiling at me.  And at Gunnar, who is - as usual - doting on the baby.

Wyatt called from flight encampment last night.  He sounds wonderful.  Completely in his element.  

Apparently he'll be taking a test this evening - the Pre-Solo Written Test - which must be passed in order to solo.  He sounded positive, not cocky, but confident.  Like he has expanded to fill the space.  I'm so glad he's doing this.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

The bunnies are growing.  They get cuter every day.  We call the biggest one George.

Hard to tell these two apart unless they're side by side.  I think this one is Zander (Alexander).

And last but not least, little Louis.  He was so much smaller than the others we weren't sure he'd thrive, but he's doing just fine.  Still smaller, but catching up.

Can you tell that Louis is smaller than his brothers?  I love how you can hold all three of them in one hand... but not for long.

Concentrated cuteness.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, July 29, 2013

Outside my window...  cooler and cloudy this morning, which is fine.  Makes it easier to get stuff done when I'm not feeling guilty about being inside!

Hearing...  two very obnoxious crows bickering over some dubious "treat" they've discovered in the (roof) gutter outside my window.

Pondering...  I find myself wondering what Wyatt is doing throughout the day.  He's called a couple of times and given us updates.  LOTS of studying!  And lots of flying :D  Yesterday he had the first flight, at six a.m. !

Praying...  that all goes well with him, for work for Kerry, and that Tate has a good day today.  Some folks from church hired him for the day to help pressure wash a huge parking lot.  He'll really work all day long.

Thankful...  oh so very thankful to be home in my own bed.  We were camping for the weekend and I have to admit I love the comforts of home... particularly the plumbing, so conveniently close (as opposed to trekking across a campground in the middle of the night) ;D

Wearing...  capri jeans, blue t-shirt, socks and crocs.

Creating...  tweaking our school plans for the next year.

Going...  blessedly nowhere, except perhaps to pick Tate up at 5.

Reading...  Make Way for Lucia: The Complete Lucia, by E. F. Benson.  Hilarious.  Completely petty and trivial and deliciously funny.

Looking forward to...  all of Wyatt's tales from Desert Eagle.

In the kitchen...  I have a feeling Tate will come home ravenous, so I'm going o make up a crock-pot of soup and some homemade bread.  He's at that bottomless-pit-teenage-boy stage anyway, but then to go and work hard all day long... yep.  Bet he'll be famished.

Around the house...  oh boy, it's just not fair.  You come home from a little "vacation" and then have all the putting away and washing up to do!

The Mother Load...  I'll be watching a friend's little two-month-old for a few hours over the next three days, so I'll be sticking close to home... and there's plenty to do!  Need to figure out how to get what could potentially cover four years of history/social studies into three years for Tate.  Must finish cutting and piecing the quilt top so I can get it to the quilter.  And the flower beds need some attention...

Noticing that...  the house is so much quieter when there are just two boys instead of three - and it doesn't really matter which one is away.  The whole dynamic just changes.  And don't ask me why Wyatt was giving that look.  I just pulled these off their facebook page!

Something to remember for later...  I dropped Tate off at the jobsite this morning and when I left he was happily unloading equipment from the truck with a huge smile on his face.  That boy loves to work.  Well, yes, he loves to work.  And he loves earning MONEY. ;D

One of my favorite things...   boys getting along with each other.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  watching little Faye, prepping for the next school year, and cuddling the baby bunnies... more pics soon.  They are SO CUTE!

A peek into my son's world...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wednesday Brain Dump

1.  Up with the birds (5:30am) to get Wyatt off to...

Desert Eagle Flight Encampment.  If you're on facebook, they may be posting pics over the next week and a half.  (I snagged these photos from last year's posts.)  He was SO EXCITED!  I know, he doesn't show it as much now that he's seventeen and all that, but I know he was pumped.

He'll be studying and flying and studying and flying and studying and flying...

... and may even get to solo before his graduation on the 4th.

2.  There are enough boys in my living room (mine as well as neighbors) right now that you wouldn't know one was missing.  They're playing some kind of game (Risk? Axis and Allies?) and probably trying to take over the world.  Boys.

3.  I've been watering some of my plants, and I'm not going to sneak around in spite of my moonbat enviro-mad neighbor.  This is the Pacific North West, for crying out loud.

I know in some areas of the country (and the world) fresh water is precious and hard to come by and must be conserved carefully.  I get that.  But we're not there.  The "greenies" around here want everyone to buy huge, ugly, black plastic rain tanks to put beside our houses, and catch rain from the gutters.


That sounds all environmentally responsible and great doesn't it?  But here... we get about nine months of rain.  The tank fills up in about a day or two and then is worthless.  Nobody needs to water anything.

Then we get about three consecutive dry months.  You empty the tank in July and then it sits there (UGLY!) and empty until October.

Meanwhile, God has provided (in our area) a wonderful way to store all that glorious precipation:  SNOW.  The high mountains are covered with snow from about October until June.  The warm spring and summer weather melts the snow, and gravity brings it right down to us.

I'm watering my flowers.

4.  Gunnar got the Sunburn Itch from H*ll last week.  He's definitely my most dramatic child, and prone to tell me Every Single Little Thing that has ever hurt, so I take his reactions with a grain of salt.  But this was different.  Two days after getting a sunburn he started to itch and nearly lost his mind.  It was epically horrible.  I finally got a brain flash that he might be having some kind of histamine flare (where did that come from?), gave him Benadryl and ice packs, and got him calmed down enough to be distracted by something on Netflix until he conked out.  Thank you very much, Top Gear.

Oh well.  Sleeping between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m. is definitely overrated.  Said no one ever.

Having done belated internet "research", have now realized he was NOT exaggerating.  Adults have been stark raving mad over the SIFH; some have even gone to the ER.  One blogger who described his experience and invited others to share their stores had over 750 comments, and still going.

Better restock the Benadryl...

5.  The summer is flying by and I have a birthday party to plan.  Kerry is turning fifty.  Yes, 


A half a century.  So I'm planning a party.  And I'm borrowing a trick from my favorite newly-weds.  I'm sending out invitations without telling anyone where the party is.  

RSVP and I'll give you directions. ;D

6.   Brisket.  I bought a beef brisket on a good sale.  Suggestions for the best way to cook it?  Am leaning toward the crock-pot with sauce of ketchup plus onion soup mix.  You?

7.  I saved the best for last... baby bunnies!  How quickly (not even 48 hours old) they've gone from tiny naked hippos...


to adorable, very slightly fuzzy balls of cuteness.

Holland Lop Baby #1

Holland Lop Baby #2

And Holland Lop Baby #3

If I had to guess right now, I'd say they're all males and that two will be gray (like Uncle Podger) and one will be mixed white and gray (like Polly).  The third one was smaller from birth and is still smaller, but warm and lively so we hope he'll thrive.  

We brought Polly out of the nest and Tate held her while we let this baby try to take an extra feed mid-afternoon.  He certainly knew what to do and appeared to be suckling energetically, but it's hard to tell if her milk let down and he got anything.  Unlike humans, rabbits only nurse their babies a couple of times a day, so they've got to be efficient little eaters.  Hope he can get his share.  For now, he's warm and wiggly, so all signs are good :D

Monday, July 22, 2013

Happy Birth Day!

I bet you had no idea the boys would be so excited about today's birth.

Oh, you thought I meant the royals?  Nah...  I mean, good for them, but whatever.  The really exciting news is right in our own backyard.

Uncle Podger and Polly (formerly known as Napoleon Bunny-parte) are pleased to announce...

the arrival of three warm, wiggly baby bunnies.  (They look kind of like little hippos.)  Number four didn't make it, but these ones sure look lively!

And with that, we'll leave the mother in privacy...

... with the full moon rising above her.

We've been joking that since the bunnies were born the same day as the royal baby, they ought to be named after British kings and queens.  Oh, you've got your Edwards, Charles, Williams, and Henrys, and your Elizabeths and Annes.  But how about Matilda (from the 1100s)?  Or for a boy, Knute?

Oh no, this one is perfect...  Harold Harefoot!

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, July 22, 2013

Outside my window...  cool today, but I love the breeze and - once again - the laundry flapping on the line :D

Hearing...  the boys mowing and weed-whacking up at the neighbor's, leaves rustling in the dogwood, and now - overpowering everything, at 90 decibels - the washer spinning.  Good heavens, we were told last fall that our washer wasn't long for this world, and I thought I might be getting a new one for Christmas.  But by the grace of God, it's still limping along.  Just loud, REALLY loud.

Pondering...  my seventeen year old is packing up to leave for Desert Eagle Flight Encampment this week, can you believe it?  They'll be flying Cessnas (I think he said 182s?) and he may even get to SOLO.  I guess I'm ready for this!

Sunglasses are surely necessary for flying ;D

Praying...  for Wyatt, for my friend's preemie - home and doing well, and for work for Kerry.

Thankful...  for ordinary moments like this.  Wyatt is showing them a couple of scenes he's filmed.  He's making a stop-motion Lego movie, with his brothers' help.

Wearing...  Wyatt asked for a larger back-pack, and my folks' mentioned that they had a few and would pass along a good, used one to him.  Little did I know it would be MY old Kelty!  Still going strong after 30+ years.  I think it looks good on him ;D

Creating...  looking for motivation!  Actually, I have a quilt cut out and about half-pieced, but sewing loses its appeal in warm weather.  Part of it is the PNW mentality.  We have so much rain, cloudy weather, and darkness through the fall and winter that we feel guilty being inside when the sun shines.

Going...  to get lunch on the table as soon as the boys finish mowing.

Reading...  um... I have two or three books I'm mid-way through and need to finish!

Looking forward to...  enjoying the six weeks of summer we have left :D

In the kitchen...  leftovers from yesterday's party, and thinking of what to make for our last family meal together before Wyatt goes.

In the learning rooms...  * crickets *

Around the house...  Gunnar is just now old enough to join CAP, but not able to participate in any of the big summer events that his brothers are doing, so he's spending more time at home with me, and I'm enjoying it :D

The Mother Load...  the office.  Must deal with it.  Again.

Something to remember for later...  for the last few years Tate has been kind of self-conscious about smiling for pictures.  If he thinks about it too much he gets a kind of goofy grin, so he's been smiling with his mouth shut.  But if you can catch him in a candid shot, he has a great smile.  Grandma took this photo (and the others in this post) and showed it to him.

His response?  I think I've finally mastered the art of smiling with my mouth open.

Yep, I think he's got it :D

Something fun to share...  Not to mention that glorious dimple AND a set of teeth that may be the ONLY ones in the family not to need extensive orthodontia.

A favorite quote for today...   No rest for the wicked, and the righteous don't need none.

One of my favorite things...  somebody flirting with me at lunch :D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  getting Wyatt packed up and off to flight encampment, maybe another day at the lake or two :D

A peek into my world...  the infamous farting lemur birthday card, bound to have a long place in family history.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summertime, And The Livin' Is Easy...

I've said it before, but some of the best days really aren't very blog-worthy ;D

In between chores and mowing jobs, the boys roam the neighborhood in a pack with their friends.
I putter around the house and yard.  (Sadly, no motivation to quilt when it's hot, though.)
Kerry works when he has work and does projects when he doesn't... a mixed blessing, for sure.

And, of course, we go to the lake.

I'm still amazed with Tate's technology - that he can swim AND hear.  An unmixed blessing :D

The awesome headband is because sometimes when he jumps in, the force of the water overcomes the strength of the magnet and sweeps the transmitter right off his head.

So thankful the boys have good friends to hang around with.

Wyatt would love to have a paddle-board, but this old wind-surfer will do.

Goof balls :D  By late afternoon, clouds were forming with a forecast of thunderstorms, but we'd had our fill by then.

And today?

Wyatt and Tate are volunteering at the Heritage Flight Museum (and possibly getting to fly, not sure, but a plane has been flying right over the house repeatedly).  Gunnar is at one (slip-n-slide) or the other (pool) of the neighbors' houses, and I'm on my third load of laundry.  Because I love laundry that's dried on the line.  *happy sigh*

And tomorrow we celebrate Wyatt's birthday - 17!!!  I asked him what he wanted for his birthday dinner, and he said as long as I was making raspberry pie, nothing else mattered.  But then he reconsidered.  His gourmet request was... chili dogs.  Alrighty, then :D

But it reminded me that long ago I'd meant to post the recipe.  So let me whet your appetite...

We think it's just about the best raspberry pie in the entire world.  And for the best pie you need the best berries... PNW berries.  Oh yes, this is berry heaven.  (That's our county - berries and dairies - but I digress.)  Oh sure, you can buy your California berries all year long.  But they're imposters, weakly flavored copies of the real thing.  Our berries take no prisoners.  They'll make your taste buds jump up and dance.  Of course, there is a downside.  They've got a shelf-life of about ten minutes before they'd better be eaten, frozen, cooked into jam, or made into something.  (And I've discovered something new!  I'm making shrub, but I'll tell you about that another day.)  Anyway...

Julie's Raspberry Pie

(This recipe makes two.  You'll thank me later.)

* Two pie crusts, we like graham cracker best.  Chocolate works just fine :D
* Fresh raspberries - two to three little boxes for each pie (depends on your crust).
Rinse and drain the berries and put them gently in the pie crusts.  Don't fill the crusts, but be generous.

*  4 Tb corn starch
*  2 C sugar (or a bit less, depends on your berries)
Mix in a sauce pan so it doesn't clump, then add,
*  3 C water
Cook until almost boiling, then add
*  1 lg pack of raspberry jello (works fine with sugar-free)
Pour over your berries and refrigerate until firm - about three hours.  You'll want
*  Cool whip or whipping cream to go on top.

I make ours a day ahead, but it doesn't keep long.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Grasshopper Days

 Grasshopper Days

For today, July 15, 2013

Outside my window...  good thing it's warm and breezy, because the clothesline is fully loaded.

Hearing...  crows.  Or ravens.  Whatever.  Their croaking is... annoying. 

Pondering...  for Gunnar's b'day I promised him a zoo membership and... promise fulfilled :D  Gramma Grasshopper came along and we took Gunnar and Naomi to the Woodland Park Zoo (Seattle) on Wednesday.  I'm scattering some pictures along the way :D

Gunnar was very excited to hear that the jaguars have three cubs, so we headed there first.  Cute, cute, cute!
But not in the picture - that's the mom.

Praying...  work for Kerry would be really, really good.

Peacocks roam freely around the zoo.  Very impressive.

Thankful...  just heard that my friends got to bring their preemie baby home, four weeks after she delivered (seven weeks early).  Doing so well!  Hallelujah!

Naomi really couldn't see many of the animals, but the penguins put on a great show right in front of her :D

Wearing...  blue shorts and a white tank top.  Supposed to be warm today (mid 80s), but I'm thankful for the nice breeze.

Baby sloth bears, nursing.

Going...  nowhere today, I hope!

Gunnar's favorite animal was out - the snow leopard.

Reading...  the Mitford series, by Jan Karon.

So glad we saw him in the morning as he went into hiding later in the day.

Looking forward to...  probably spending some time at the lake this week.

Time to get out and crawl around in the grass.  We were on a bit of a slope and it was fun to see her figure out how to manage that.

In the kitchen...  marinating some Chinese BBQ pork, maybe for tonight.

She wanted something out of the basket... love those little crab legs!

In the learning rooms...  temporarily made into a nursery for when Naomi visits.

Success!  (I'm holding the stroller so it won't roll.)

Around the house...  our focus is outside!  But Tate has some picking up to do.

Content with her toy and her grandma :D

The Mother Load...  oh, yah, I'd better check that ;D  Keepin' the fridge full and the laundry empty.

Another, later, get-out-and-crawl break.  She LOVES for Gunnar to "chase" her.

Noticing that...  the house is so much quieter when Tate is gone.  But I sure missed him!  He was gone all week at the Arlington Fly-In.  (CAP and the Canadian RCAC cadets camp out for the week and volunteer - basically run the show :D )  I just picked him (and all his dirty laundry) up yesterday.  We were six, then five, then four, and now six again.  Feels right :D

Those eyes...

One of my favorite things...  those big, blue eyes :D

She gives Gunnar love-pats.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Gunnar is over the moon.  This is the week he can finally GO to CAP with his brothers.  Amazing.  I'd like to check in on my friends with the preemie, but they probably don't want visitors just yet.  And with some warmer temps on the forecast, the lake is looking pretty good!

A peek into my world...  in the back with Gunnar, on the way home from the zoo, just before she konked out.