For today, May 28, 2013 Outside my window... rain, rain, and more rain. No kidding. Ooooo, and the temp is all the way up to 60F, so - you know - break out the shorts and tank tops (see my eyes rolling?)
Hearing... mostly quiet. Wyatt studying, Gunnar and Tate done for the day and doing... ???
Pondering... my sister just called, coming home from California today. We were to pick her up at the airport at the oh-so-convenient time of 6:40pm, but that is not to be. Now it's looking more like an 11:45 arrival. This is probably a job for Super-Kerry, the night owl.
Praying... for Wyatt to finish his work (!), for Tate to graciously accept responsibility for a mistake he made (involving an iron, a red plastic bag, and Wyatt's former BDU pants... oops), and for Gunnar to for-the-love-of-Mike just stop talking for a few blessed minutes. Thankful... for our weekly Bible study - thankful for the Chapel ladies that have been meeting to study Proverbs and thankful that we're winding down for the summer, thankful that the boys are still happily reliving their Disney trip, thankful that Wyatt and Tate enjoyed several hours of volunteer community service this weekend (with the Ski-to-Sea race on the river Sunday, and the Festival of Flags, a Memorial Day observance) in spite of nearly non-stop rain, and very thankful for the last three (make that two) Lindor chocolate truffles I have hoarded since Mother's Day.
Wearing... layers, my friends, layers. It's cool and wet. Gray jeans, white T, navy blue pull-over.
Going... to regret the pizza we had for lunch. Ugh.
Reading...The Hobbit, aloud, with Tate and Gunnar :D
Looking forward to... weeks with less in them?
In the kitchen... leftovers for dinner, which is a relief.
In the learning rooms... we "officially" have three weeks left of homeschool, counting this one. But really, it's tapering off. If Wyatt stays on target, he'll finish his Biology course this week. Then he'll finish his World History the next week, and just have a bit of reading to do the final week. Tate and Gunnar are in a similar situation. Both have finished all their language work for the year, we are wrapping up our study of the Eastern Hemisphere (finishing the last three books simultaneously, and just a timeline left to fill in), and they are both winding up their science for the year. They both started new math books mid-year, so we'll just come to a natural stopping place with those. *sigh* :D
Around the house... gracious, I'm afraid to look. Had it all pretty tidy (while the boys were gone) and then they came home and we had the baby for five days. She went home Wednesday, but came back Saturday and Sunday! I had Gunnar to help with her while the older boys were flat-out busy with CAP stuff. As mentioned, they were out in the rain for two days straight, and there is STUFF hanging on chairs to dry all over down there. Looks like a yard sale. *shudder*
The Mother Load... I'm completely ignoring that today. Oh, girls, (males, avert your eyes), you know how one or two days a month you'd really like to just curl up on the couch with a hot drink, (maybe a hot pad too,) and a good book and ignore the world? Yah. That would be today. So, whatever it is, it can wait.
A favorite quote for today...
"I don't feel very much like Pooh today," said Pooh.
"There there," said Piglet. "I'll bring you tea and honey until you do."
One of my favorite things... the day after you don't feel well.
A few plans for the rest of the week... CAP in a few minutes, then - because I'm an idiot and all day long I've felt like it's Monday when clearly it's Tuesday - I get to reschedule Wyatt's orthodontist appointment and Wyatt's doctor appointment, because I totally and completely forgot we were doing that today (yes, apparently I've become one of those people. Clearly I need a secretary.) And then later this week I go to my last Bible study. The last one for now, anyway. Hoping to resume again in the fall. The boys may or may not be in a parade this Saturday (CAP color guard is marching, with or without the squadron?)
So. Yesterday was an ordinary spring day in western Washington.
The boys are getting settled back into the groove. Everyone is caught up on their school work. The laundry is in a manageable state. With the holiday weekend coming, my calendar is full-ish, but not terrifying. And my parents picked up Naomi on Wednesday, to take her back down to my brother's place, near Seattle, so I'm enjoying the freedom of not having to be so vigilant all the livelong day.
The rain let up long enough for the grass to get (mostly) dry, so I sent the boys over to mow the last of the neighbors' lawns for this week. Tate and Gunnar had finished their parts, but Wyatt was still there working on his when we heard the thunder. Loud. And close. And again. Wyatt had the good sense to leave the lawn unfinished, and stow the mower. I heard the screen door bang behind him just as the downpour started.
And I sat here, thinking of the folks in Oklahoma, and thankful that - for us - thunderstorms are more entertainment than threat. We don't get the tornadoes the midwest endures. We don't get hurricanes, like the southeast. Or blizzards, like the northeast. Or crazy heat, like the southwest.
I didn't want to be smug, but I was feeling pretty thankful that we live in such a boring gentle place, you know?
Then I looked at the news. (Photos shamelessly lifted from news sites.)
Yah. That's the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River. I couldn't tell you how many times I've driven over this bridge. My parents were over it twice, taking the baby home. (I-5 is The Interstate, around here. Runs from Canada to San Diego. The only N/S freeway west of the Cascade Mountains.)
Miraculously, no one was killed. Three people in two vehicles went into the water and were rescued. There's a very cold and shivery looking guy on top of the little red car, a man standing in the pick-up, and I think his wife is out of sight, inside the cab. She was hurt, but they kept her at the Skagit hospital so I'm guessing she isn't too seriously hurt. (No slight to the local hospital, but if she was really bad off she'd have been airlifted to Seattle.)
Amazing. I'm thanking God my parents weren't on the bridge at the wrong time, that it happened in daylight - making rescue easier, and that no one was killed.
The photo looks so calm, you can't tell how much current is pushing through there, with all the rain and snowmelt this time of year. Or how very, very cold the water is.
So we give thanks. It could have been so much worse.
Right now the biggest problem is going to be the Memorial Weekend traffic trying to get around that mess!
Five days. Only five days since the boys came home, Naomi came to stay, and I last posted.
Feels like a month. Or more.
This is my life - one dad juggling jobs, one mom juggling kids, three boys running on an adrenaline high from four flights (a big deal to those of us who aren't used to jet-setting around) and three days at Disney theme parks (pics coming soon), trying to get caught up on schoolwork and lawn-mowing jobs and laundry, and a 10-month old baby who can crawl now (hello! mobile!) who came and stayed for five days.
Good thing she's so cute :D
Also a good thing I had such good helpers. Gunnar is my number-one assistant with the baby, while the older boys picked up the slack in many other ways.
Gunnar just cannot get enough of the baby. I tell him that God is preparing him to be a very good daddy someday. He does just about everything but change poopy diapers, (clearly he still has some ground to cover,) but in the mean time...
He feeds the baby.
reads her stories in the morning, (so I can take a shower!)
entertains the baby (if you can't tell from the picture, let me assure you that she was enjoying this),
and obligingly props her up for pictures, even when she's much more interested in the shoes I dug out of the boys' old stuff, than in having her picture taken.
And - yes - I know that babies don't need shoes.
But this baby has a habit of pulling off her socks and either dropping them (somewhere?)
or chewing on them until they're soggy pulp,
so shoes keep her socks on, her feet warm, and - bonus! - she's cute ;D
Gunnar also pushed the stroller, which she loved.
Sometimes it's hard to tell (in the pictures) if she's screaming or laughing.
Especially when she wrinkles her nose up and makes funny breathing noises.
We call it "Herbie Face". But that's an inside joke in our family.
Anyway, she was being silly not angry. :D
And very intrigued by...
sheep! Which Gunnar lured right over in front of her with fresh grass.
Because, you know,
the grass is always greener...
She spent a lot of time in the bath, because she loves it so much. And I hoped the warm, steamy air would help clear up the crud in her lungs. She has a mucky cough.
1. That's my story. The boys have been gone all week and I've been charting out our next school year, and
OH MY WORD
it's gonna be a doozy! Especially for Wyatt. That boy is going to work next year, like he's never worked before.
2. Back when I was in school we called the tough classes solids. Don't ask me why. It's not like the other ones are liquids. Or gases. I don't remember what we called them (I know, be still my heart, you're hanging on every word, aren't you?) At any rate, Wyatt is going to have a load of solids.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that he's decided to double up on math next year, at the high school. Yay, Wyatt. I'm glad he's motivated. And really, he hasn't had too much math homework this year, which bodes well for next year, because he's taking his second year of Algebra simultaneously with geometry. (Better him than me.) He'll also have English and second year Spanish at the high school. Then he gets to come home and do Chemistry (and let me tell you, Apologia's Chemistry is no walk in the park), and a half-year split of economics and US Government.
Yah. Pray for him. If he makes it through all that, Running Start will be a breeze. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)
3. Tate and Gunnar... well, they'll be busy too, but it's just a little step up from this year. Nothing to shock their systems.
4. Homeschooling just keeps changing. One look at my bookshelves and closets convinced me that IT'S TIME. Time to participate as a seller at the annual homeschool recycle sale. I'm cleaning out a lot of the little-kid stuff we're done with. Though it's a little sad, you know? Life was a lot simpler when studying history meant cutting out and assembling a cardboard model of a Viking longboat :D Now we're doing a lot more reading.
And scheduling? Well, when the boys were little(r) we could kind of fly by the seat of our pants a lot more, but as they've gotten older our days and weeks (and years!) have had more structure to them. Oh, we still have the flexibility of taking a week off for Disneyland :D, but I'm mapping the course a lot more specifically than I used to.
The biggest chore has been planning Gunnar's science for next year. By his choice, we've done three of the primary Apologia courses in a row (Biology - Flying Creatures, Swimming Creatures, and Land Animals) and he has loved it. LOVED it. But I - if not Gunnar - could use a change.
He has his heart set on Chemistry. And I have my heart set on not buying any new curriculum, so we're improvising. Somebody asked me what I'm going to do for his year of Chemistry, which will take a while to explain, so I think I'll put it in a separate post. Okay? Great.
5. The house is quiet. Very quiet. You know what happens when three active boys are gone all week? Well, for one thing, I haven't done much laundry. And Kerry and I have actually eaten out three times. That's more than we usually eat out in a month. We've watched some movies together, and - for extra fun! - mowed the lawn at the church, since the boys weren't here to do it.
And thank you very much, genius boys, for leaving the new weed-whacker completely empty of string. (Which we didn't notice until we were all the way out at the chapel.) I guess you'll just have some extra weed-whacking to do next week. Grrrrr.
6. This quiet house is about to get a lot noisier. Not only are the boys coming home this evening, we're also acquiring an extra for a few days. My brother is bringing Naomi up to stay :D Oh boy is Gunnar going to be surprised! (And since she sleeps in the room with the computer, don't expect any updates for awhile.)
7. So that's the news around the Grasshopper house :D And what's new with you?
For today, May 13, 2013 Outside my window... clouds, heavy with rain. Everything got a good watering yesterday. (I told you May was a tease ;D )
Hearing... a quiet house. Wyatt is at school this morning, but the boys have the week off of homeschool, so Tate and Gunnar are probably melting their brains in front of a screen somewhere.
Pondering... priorities for the next few days :D
Praying... for safety and FUN for the boys and my parents!
Thankful... for a wonderful Mothers' Day yesterday with my family.
Wearing... jeans, white t-shirt, slippers - it's cool again. (The weather, not my attire. Though jeans and a white t-shirt are classic, right? Help me out here, I'm fashion-challenged!)
Creating... more plans than I'll have time to accomplish, undoubtedly. *sigh*
Going... to pick up Wyatt (in about an hour) and help the boys pack.
Reading... just finished Fannie Flag's Standing in the Rainbow -a fun read.
Looking forward to... all the fun the boys will have!
In the kitchen... hmmm, must think of something they love for their last night at home. Probably some kind of chicken.
In the learning rooms... *crickets* We're taking the week off of homeschool. Wyatt still has to go to school today and tomorrow morning, but we'll be picking him up at the HS tomorrow and going straight to the airport.
Around the house... mostly picked up from Mother's Day, but still some dishes to put away, and helium balloons floating around. Along with the three mothers present, we celebrated my niece/cousin's 11th birthday - fun!
The Mother Load... oh boy, I have big plans for the next few days involving my
* Bible Study (Proverbs)
* Sunday school lesson (wrapping up Ephesians)
* Wyatt's paperwork for flight encampment
* sorting things to sell
* simple school prep for the next four weeks
* more in-depth planning for the next YEAR
* and I'm sure there's more...
Noticing that... you should see the PILE of (mostly homeschool) stuff I'm hoping to sell at the homeschool recycle sale next month. Yah.
Something to remember for later... Gunnar and his teeth! He leaves them until they're sort of dangling (being pushed out by the teeth coming in beneath them) and then works and works and works to get them out. (I think he's a little bit afraid it will hurt.) But he got another molar out last night and was quite proud of himself.
Something fun to share... on our walks, Gunnar and I are enjoying how everything is greening up. I mean, this is the Evergreen state, and - yes - it's green all year. But it's a different green. From November to March or April everything is sort of dark green and brown. Drab. But almost overnight - BING! - everything is fresh and green and growing. You've never seen so much chlorophyll ;D
With little pops of vibrant color - like this salmonberry blossom.
A favorite quote for today...
Giving money and power to government is like
giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
P. J. O'Rourke
One of my favorite things... Lindor milk chocolates.
May is such a tease, here in the PNW (Pacific northwest, y'know.) We'll get a couple of weeks, maybe even a whole month of warm, sunny weather. People go nuts. A little too nuts. (Attention, tweeny shopper in Kohl's last week: the fact that the thermometer rose above 70F does not qualify this as BIKINI weather. Please put on the shirt your mom keeps handing you.)
The warm weather does mean that everything with chlorophyll is putting on a show. Like my pink dogwood. What a change just a couple of days makes!
See my sun chair, on the little patio? Yes. That's where I go to get my daily dose of Vitamin D, with a side of peace and quiet. And if the breeze is blowing, even a little...
... see my neighbor's white lilac? I can sit in my chair with the aroma of lilac wafting over me. Bliss :D
I have my own lilac...
... still in recovery from when we excavated to level our driveway. It just started blooming again last year, so I don't dare pick any yet, but it's coming along. And it's a double lilac, see?
It's over by the ugly side of the garage, next to the mystery tree. I don't know what it is, but it sure leafs out a lot later than everything else.
It's worth it, though, because in the fall, it's gorgeous :D
But back to spring.
This is one of my favorite sights,
laundry on the line.
Gramma Grasshopper would be proud - I bought the boys new socks today. Because, yes, we are those geeky homeschoolers your mother warned you about. Absolute fashion disasters. The boys have not internalized The Rule about socks, yet.
Long pants, long socks. Shorts (short pants), short socks.
But the time has come. They will wear their short socks to Disneyland and they will like it.
We're going a little nuts this week. No surprise there, right? Especially given that the boys will be IN DISNEYLAND a week from today, (as Gunnar has reminded me about 47 times since breakfast). I'm holding out a vain hope that perhaps, with a few days free of their exuberance and activities, my brain will clear up. But then again, maybe not.
2. Mother's Day
My sister and I took our mom out for Mothers' Day yesterday. And - yes - I do realize that Mothers' Day is actually Sunday. Turns out my sister had an idea, back before Christmas, that we buy tickets to take my mom to see Beauty and the Beast (live, Broadway show). Turns out that my mom, being the generous mom that she is, (and knowing how broke I am) offered to take us out to dinner, before the show. Which we all enjoyed. (The dinner AND the show.) Of course, there were lots of kids at the show, especially little girls, and double-especially little girls dressed up like princesses. Which reminded me how thankful I am to be a mother to three BOYS, because while all the little princesses were very cute, I'm very aware that "girly-girl" is not my native language. And the show itself was fun. Gaston was perfect. What an over-cooked ham!
And for the ACTUAL Mother's Day, we'll be hosting the family here for lunch, and celebrating a birthday as well.
3. Mowing, mowing, and more mowing.
The boys are up to FOUR lawns now, and very thankful for that. It's quite a juggling act, between homeschooling, CAP, Wyatt's job at the motocross, and whatever else. Things will lighten up considerably when we wrap up school for the summer, but in the meantime...
We needed a weed-whacker, since the one we had was pathetic and powerless. Rechargeable battery? Yah, right. That thing never worked for more than a few minutes before it would poop out, at its best. And lately? More like a few seconds. One of the neighbors has a nice electric one, but it took three adults, two teen-age boys, and two clothes-pins to reload the string on the spool. So when we went to buy a new one (a GAS one - woo-hoo!) I told the guy at the shop that he had to show all of us (the three boys and me) how the string worked, and we all had to be able to do it before we left.
"Oh, ma'am, this is the easiest thing there is," he grinned.
Yah, charm will get you nowhere. Prove it.
And he was right. Easy squeezy.
Minutes later we were off to the church to mow, when teenage hormones came into play. (Lord have mercy if you have teenage boys, because you can't tell them anything.)
The lawn at the church has not been mowed yet, so it is long, thick, and wet underneath. Wyatt started weed-whacking around the fence and Tate fired up the mower. I suggested he raise it up as high as it goes for the first mow, but I am obviously an idiot. Why on earth would he want to do that?
After the mower died about thirty times in the first ten minutes (and he had not even gone once around), he grudgingly consented to let Wyatt help him raise it up.
When it died again, he brought it over on the concrete to restart it, but he couldn't get it going. I suggested he check the gas, but - again - I obviously have the IQ of algae, there's plenty of gas in there.
After he nearly jerked the rip cord right out of the engine I banished him to the car, filled it up with gas, and continued mowing where he'd left off.
But then when I had to restart it (after talking to Gunnar about kicking out the mole hills) the little plastic bracket that holds the cord broke, and that was the end of mowing for the day. Of course, when I suggested to Tate that if he hadn't yanked it so hard in frustration it might not have broken, I was informed that it broke because it is old and a piece of junk.
4. The Chicken.
My friend Ann had a great description of stress that I'm borrowing. It's like a giant chicken, sitting on your head, and pecking at you all the time. Ugh! Too true. It's the Mother Load gone bad!
Maybe while the boys are gone I can kill the chicken ;D
5. Bible Study tonight.
We are studying Proverbs and it couldn't be more timely. Especially this week's lesson on Wealth and Poverty. Debt is bondage, my friends, bondage. Ugh.
6. The pink dogwood.
It is glorious, right now, and I must go take a picture before I forget. And, yes, I am saying the PINK dogwood is glorious, even though pink (along with brown) is my least favorite color. And I don't HATE pink. It's fine, out in nature, where God put it. Just not in my house. And the tree? Really, it's not too pink, but kind of coral. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
7. And lastly, about standard of living and quality of life.
Don't confuse the two.
Yah, I get it that there is definitely some overlap, but the two are not the same. And maybe, just maybe, if your pursuit of a higher standard of living is MAKING YOUR FAMILY SICK, it might be time to think about the quality of life you're actually achieving.
Outside my window... in shocking news, yesterday's weather forecast:
I'm tempted to just cancel school for the whole week and add another week on in June, when it will be raining again. May is such a tease here in the PNW! May tricks you into thinking summer is here, and then... Junuary comes back with a vengeance.
Gotta get our Vitamin D while we can, you know!
Hearing... a very persistent robin.
Pondering... once again, a very busy week with lots to keep organized, lots of guests, and many mouths to feed!
Praying... to keep my head on straight this week!
Thanking... one of my four pregnant friends delivered a girl on Saturday evening, and Mom and Baby are doing fine. We take that for granted in this day of modern medicine, and we shouldn't.
Also thankful that after finally burning the Old Lumpy Futon (seen here in *ahem* better days...)
... we had a nice, if empty, guest room (aka family room.) I borrowed an airbed from my folks for our wedding guests last week. (Aren't they cute? They've only been married about five months.)
Kerry seemed to think I was crazy to burn the old futon before we had a replacement, but it made the room so much nicer (ie more spacious) for guests.
And so much less comfortable for TV watching.... (ulterior motive?)
Either way, I knew that with a little patience, craigslist would come through for me. And VOILA! (Or, in Grasshopper-speak, WA-WAH!) Our "new" fifty buck couch. It has a few scratched spots (cat, maybe?) but it passed the smell test. Literally. I'm kind of picky about odors. And by "kind of" I mean extremely.
Don't know and don't care if it's real leather. Probably not. The important thing is that it's "wipe-clean-able." If it smells faintly of baby shampoo, well, that's a good thing, and the result of my efforts in the driveway before it came inside. ;D
Wearing... capris and a tank top!
Creating... not this, but isn't it gorgeous?! Amazing effect, and it's a perfectly flat quilt, made by women in Romania. I got the photo from the blog of the woman named Geta who designed it, HERE. She's a genius.
Going... to take the boys out to the church to mow the lawn there. Another job :D
Reading... about to start Standing in the Rainbow, by Fannie Flagg. Kerry picked it up for me from the free table at the library.
Learning... more about Proverbs!
Looking forward to... the boys being away for a few days NEXT WEEK! It's like a vacation at home! I have great plans to get the next school year mapped out and a bunch of other organizational tasks done. Woo-hoo! Fun for them (Disneyland!) and fun for me (beat back entropy!)
In the kitchen... I'm cheating tonight. I told the boys we'd go mow at the church late in the afternoon and I'd treat them to a dollar-menu dinner out :D
In the learning rooms... counting down the days...
Around the house... light, light, light. The days are getting long and the sun is shining and I am loving all the LIGHT!
The Mother Load... oh boy. Don't ask. It's merciless.
Noticing that... the $%^&* deer are at it again. Time to start stinking up the yard before bed... (Liquid Fence).
Something to remember for later... a visit from Naomi, and her first bite of ice cream. She liked it. A LOT. She did that open-mouth-little-bird thing, accompanied by some impressive vocalization (FEED ME, SEYMOUR!) to get the message across to her dad ;D
Something fun to share... though we see her so rarely, she seemed to recognize Gunnar. She always lights up when she sees him.
A favorite quote for today...
There cannot be a crisis next week.
My schedule is already full.
One of my favorite things... Gunnar gets her grinning, and Grandpa takes great pictures :D
A few plans for the rest of the week...
* Monday - we'll head out to the church to mow (and it'll be a real job the first time, as the grass is pretty high)
* Tuesday - the boys have CAP, and my sister and I are taking my mom to a musical - Beauty and the Beast - for Mother's Day. And Mom, being the gracious mom she is, is taking us to dinner first :D
* Wednesday - we're hosting the youth-group here for dinner and the evening, but I have Bible Study, so I'll be making all the food ahead, and then leaving it to Kerry to manage the group (he agreed to this ahead of time...) And they're a GREAT group of kids. Young adults. Whatever. :D
* Thursday - Wyatt works
* Friday and Saturday, prep for...
* Sunday - Mother's Day lunch here (12 of us) and celebrating my cousin's daughter's b'day. I almost said "my niece" because that's really the way the relationship functions.
A peek into my world yard... my pink dogwood is blooming :D