Sunday, November 30, 2014

Well, A Brain Dump, And Then Some

It's 6:30pm and it feels like it should be bedtime.  You've had days like that too?  And it's been a good day, just packed.  Like the entire last week.  Hence, no posting.  Because I need to live life more than I need to record it.  *sigh*  But since we last talked...  it's gotten cold, here.

Wyatt continues to get up early in the morning to go to work.  And this week?  The crucible.  Not only are things going to be crazy-busy at UPS, but it's final's week at college.  I get tired just thinking about it.

Joanna, if you're reading, I think our low was 16F.  Yah.

Gunnar started violin lessons, and there was much rejoicing.  He started out with plucking.  I assume that's to get him accustomed to some very basic music reading and left hand/finger placement before adding in the complication of a bow.  But I'm very glad to find a friendly (and affordable!) teacher just ten minutes from our house.

Tate is itching to get his learner's permit, but has a bit more studying to do.  He'll have to pass the written test to get the permit, since we're not enrolling him in a driving school.  Also, we're anxiously awaiting a call from the butcher when his (deer) meat is ready.

We had some of our favorite friends over for dinner and heard a story about two guys, two mountain bikes, and a king cobra that has put Thailand on my no-way-not-ever-no-thank-you list.  *shudder*

We hosted Thanksgiving and I took not one single photo.  I think Kerry did, so maybe I'll see about that eventually.  But he insists on taking photos while people are eating, so those ones are usually pretty awful.  But the day was fun - fourteen people here for family, food, and a fun project.  I'll get pics of that in daylight.  (Sand + rocks + green paint + white pens.  Guesses?  Not Christmassy.)

Meanwhile, I think a bomb went off in my office.  Had to clear off the craft table to take downstairs for Thanksgiving and I need some time to find my equilibrium here again.  But first, I have three boys who believe that Christmas needs to appear downstairs ASAP.  And they're willing to help, but there are some things I just need to do myself.  Which is why it's only half-done, and the dining room table looks like a Christmas store exploded.

Because today?  Apparently I need a new battery for the clock in my Sunday school room.  When I first started teaching I was a bit concerned because sometimes the adult class tends to run long, and we're done before they are.  Well.  Unless your clock stops and you keep the kids busy for a really long time because you think you shouldn't let them go for another ten minutes.  And the adult class has long been done by the time you straggle upstairs.  Oops.  Wyatt was anxious to get home because he has so much studying to do.  

And then this afternoon was our local Sing Along Messiah.  Lots of us from the choir go for the fun of it, and for an extra practice.  And it was a ton of fun except for one thing.  The volunteer orchestra was fabulous BUT (probably due to it being so cold outside and the change in temp coming in) they really needed another opportunity to tune to each other after the first song or two.  In spite of that, they sounded amazing, especially given they'd had zero practice.

Rushed home from that to get yummy leftover turkey dinner into the oven, help the boys strip their beds, put on flannel sheets (!!!), get the first load of laundry running, and eat dinner by 5 so Wyatt could go to bed.  Because - you know - 2am start time at work.

And now I'd better get the flannels on my own bed, because it's starting to sound awfully appealing at the end of this good, long day.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Outside my window...  after several days of cold, clear skies, the clouds are rolling in and we're expecting rain.  Which would be normal for this time of year.

Hearing...  the dryer tumbling and a fairly quiet house.  Gunnar is doing some reading (for homeschool), Wyatt is studying, and Tate has finished and headed to a neighbor's house.

Pondering...  November is usually so soggy, I've really enjoyed these clear days, in spite of the cold! Nearly all the leaves are off the trees, and the boys and I did some raking and cleaning yesterday.  One of our trees drops huge, heavy, thick leaves and they were all over the new grass we planted above the rock wall.  I told the boys they didn't have to get them all, but the grass would surely die if we left them. They did a good job :D

Thankful...  for getting all those leaves raked up while they're DRY rather than wet and soggy. :D
We've had some strange weather this fall, including TWO tornadoes - very rare for our state!  One was actually a waterspout.  The second was on land and did some property damage, but I don't think anyone was hurt.

We're also VERY thankful for Wyatt's job at UPS.  He's got a really heavy load right now between school and work (25-30 hours a week, in the wee hours of the morning), but he's handling it.  (Oh to be eighteen and have that kind of energy and stamina!)  We're really proud of him.

Wearing...  blue jeans, t-shirt, navy long sleeve sweater.  Still pretty chilly, but the clouds are warming it up a bit.

Creating...  Christmas gifts and a couple of baby gifts - pics later :D

Going...  to take the boys to youth-group tonight.  Except Wyatt.  Who goes to bed at about 6pm.

Reading...  a Francine Rivers novel my mom loaned me.  A Mother's Hope.

Looking forward to...  the holidays - we LOVE this time of year :D

In the kitchen...  hmmm, need a plan for dinner!

In the learning rooms...  our schedule was a bit disrupted last week, so we're kind of playing catch-up.  No big deal though, as the boys are hard workers AND I don't schedule any homeschool work for the whole week of Thanksgiving.  I'm hosting and I want some prep time, and it's a good strategy for us for homeschool to build in some lag time.

Around the house...  very fall-ish :D  I am NOT tired of pumpkin spice candles :D

The Mother Load...  mostly revolves around Thanksgiving right now.  Some house cleaning to do, and a lot of food prep.  I make as much ahead as I can - potatoes, sweet potatoes... I even cook the turkey and make the gravy ahead.

Noticing that...  some Tuesday nights, after CAP, the boys like to go to Dairy Queen with the other cadets.  I don't mind - I like for them to have the chance to socialize with a nice bunch like that.  But OH MY WORD is Gunnar grumpy the next day!  I think he must be in another growth spurt because boy does he need his rest!

Something fun to share...  Naomi (my niece) was up over the weekend and had her first tractor ride with Grandpa Grasshopper.

Way up in the bucket (with Daddy)

And in the cab, with Grandpa

She was pretty excited to tell about it!

A favorite quote for today...  No one ever said life was fair.  Just eventful.  - Carol Burnett

One of my favorite things...  taking a warm rice bag to bed on a cold night :D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  I get to go to the eye doctor!  Oh boy!  I lost a contact (bummer) and then realized that my eyes have changed and I need a new prescription before they re-order it.  So I'm stuck with my glasses (also the old prescription) for awhile.  Then (Friday) the boys are going to the CAP Aerospace Fun Night - a (supervised) overnight full of fun activities.  Wyatt wants to go.  But since he usually goes to bed around the time the thing starts, I'm not sure how much fun he'll be having.  I'm going to a brunch for ladies at my church on Saturday (fun :D) and then we're having friends to dinner.  (TO dinner, not FOR dinner.  What kind of people do you think we are?)

A peak into my world...  compliments of the boys...

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Tate had a big day :D

Grandpa says he made the shot from about 270 yards - that's some good shooting!

Well done, Tate!
Best 16th birthday present ever ;D

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Washington Pass Overlook

While we were headed east at the beginning of our getaway, we stopped to take lots of photos at the pass... you know, mountains, larches, etc.

And I love the rock.  How it looks so fluid.  Well, you know, it was once.

And then there was this cliff.

It looked to be at about the same elevation as the pass itself, though far above the highway on this side, and I wondered if anyone had cut a trail out to it.

Well, as a matter of fact, there's more than a trail.  There's a wonderful little park here called the Washington Pass Overlook.

So glad we stopped!

It's the kind of place where you'd expect to see Julie Andrews come bounding out from behind a tree singing, y'know?

But more alpine.

And cold.  It was misting lightly and I thought I saw a few snowflakes,
but that may have been wishful thinking ;D

It's so impressive to see the mountains up that close and personal.
And with so little effort!  If you go that way, you really should stop.

And you'll feel quite safe - sturdy railing and all.

Yep.  That's right on the edge of that cliff from the first photo.

I'm always amazed at how hardy the alpine plants are.
They'll burst into life with the slightest encouragement
and only a tiny patch of soil.

Love the stone work that is part of the trail :D

And the absolutely vibrant moss clinging to the twisted trees.

And just above us?  Snow. 

Now this made me feel all Christmassy - you?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Coming Home

Coming back over the pass we were really IN the clouds and Kerry likes clouds and mist.

Some of it felt very Lord-of-the-Rings-ish to me - like these could be the Misty Mountains ;D

And of course, we saw fresh snow - more than had been there when we started the trip.

Remember when I commented that this looks like a pretty place to live?
I mean, who wouldn't like that backdrop behind their place?

Well, not far down the highway is the site of the Oso Mudslide.
This is not a route we often take, so we hadn't seen it in person.

That may be the nearest house that survived.

The eerie thing was that it didn't look like a very steep slope -
not one you would've expected to let go like that.

The highway crew were still working to stabilize the area and repair the highway.

Those piles of dirt and gravel are (I assume) covering what used to be a neighborhood.

So in spite of all the beauty and relaxation of the trip,
it was also a view into destruction - with the remnants of the mudslide, the wildfires, and the flooding.

So glad to be home :D

But I have one more place to show you... later ;D

Monday, November 10, 2014

Take Time

Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.
 - Elizabeth Lawrence

Kerry loves the larches (and so do I),
but I came east looking for aspens.

And places like this - love that school-house red with the wrap-around porch.
And right by the river, too - you can see it through the trees.

The day it poured we went for a walk.  The rain let up late in the afternoon and the wetness of everything made the colors even more vibrant. 

A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long.
E. E. Cummings

Everything glowed - even the moss and lichen. 

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
John Muir

Kerry and I both love the cinnamon-red tree trunks over on the eastern side.

And a perfect trail, right along the river.

Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.
Faith Baldwin  

How beautifully leaves grow old.  How full of light and color are their last days.
John Burrough