Monday, June 29, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, July 29, 2015

Outside my window...  it's hot.  I was out on errands with Tate at nine this morning and it was already 81F.  Hot.  And humid.  Because we had lightning last night, with a little tiny bit of rain.

Hearing...  the birds.  With the long hours of daylight, they start singing at about 4:15am.
Ask me how I know.

Pondering...  I make plenty of mistakes, but I've done some things right.
Took Tate shopping today because he starts his new job this week.
He needs solid-color brown or black shoes, and some nice khaki shorts (not the cargo shorts he normally wears.)
He's so easy to please!  Found three pairs of nice shorts at Value Village, and everything was half-price.
Twelve bucks.
Then had to kill time at Walmart until Big Five opened and he found a pair of brown shoes there that he liked on clearance.  They only had one pair.  His size.
Nine bucks.
Ran over to Big Five because they had (sport) shorts on sale, and he also found a pair of shoes he'll use for school, about twenty bucks.
I don't make him choose the cheapest things we find.
He just doesn't crave the fancy stuff or the name brands.
Frankly, the nine dollar Walmart shoes may not last long, especially when the weather starts getting wet again, but we'll see.

Praying...  for Wyatt to get that UPS job!

Thankful...  we can go cool off in the lake when it gets hot!

Wearing...  navy shorts, blue tank top, and flip flops.

Creating...  clearing up the clutter so I can start sewing!

Reading...  Voddie Baucham's Joseph and the Gospel of Many Colors.

Looking forward to...  a clean office/craft room!

In the kitchen...  I think we'd better BBQ tonight, because I won't want to cook inside!

Around the house...  just waiting for the new windows to come and then it's going to be chaos.
The boys and I moved some things from the living room to the dining room, and pushed most of the living room stuff away from the wall with the broken window, but we'll probably need even more room to work.  Hmmmmm...

The Mother Load...  all the clutter in this room!  ARRRRGH!
* Find Tate's actual Social Security Card (not just a photocopy) for his orientation
* Do some laundry
* Pack a little box to send SE Asia :D
* Go with Wyatt to meet with an advisor at the CC
* Marinate some chicken to grill tonight
* Have Gunnar take his jump-through-the-hoop annual test
* Try not to melt, because...

Noticing that...  it's good to have all three boys home :D

Something fun to share...  my cousin is going to be a grandpa next month.
Yesterday my mom, my aunt, another cousin's wife and I went to the baby shower.

We just missed getting stuck on the freeway for HOURS behind an overturned semi.  Actually I guess it went right off the road, through a guard rail and down a bank sometime in the night, but they had to block the whole freeway to get two wreckers in place to drag that thing back up onto the road during the daytime, and then tow it backwards along the freeway to an exit.  Eight hours later they were still cleaning up the mess, because guess what the truck was carrying?

Fish.  I heard it was salmon, which would just be a tragedy.
But in nearly 90-degree heat, can you imagine the smell?
Glad I don't live in that neighborhood!

But we noticed the traffic backing up before we got on, and were able to get around it fairly easily, and made it to the baby shower with no problem.
They're having a girl, and I already had this on hand and ready to go...

It's nearly identical to one that Rebecca bought for her little grand-baby!  (Who's not such a baby anymore!)  So we've got one on each coast :D

One of my favorite things...  I know I shouldn't, at least not very often, but I do love an icy cold vanilla coke.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Gunnar's last violin lesson (of the school year) tomorrow, and I must remember to GO!  Because it's hard to keep track of the days, especially since I missed church yesterday to go to the baby shower.

A peek into my world...  

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Virga, Laundry, the Lake and a PSA

I had great intentions of being Very Productive on Saturday, and that went well through the morning.

I'll have you know that it was so hot, I did EIGHT loads of laundry.
(I know, I know, hold your applause.)
It was so hot I could hang one load of laundry and find it just about dry when the next load was done.
Meanwhile, I looked up and saw this:

In case you don't recognize those clouds, they're Virga.  Basically it's raining, way up there, but the rain is evaporating before it hits the ground.

I called the boys out to see because the clouds looked so weird, and not a drop hit the ground.
Load #4 and #5 were safe.

The clouds passed right over and the sun shone.

And shone and shone until I called my parents and asked if we could come to the lake, because - people - it was 88F in the shade.

And I know you southerners have more stamina for heat than we do, and you can laugh all you want (and you probably should) because - no kidding - our local news feeds are posting instructions for "How to Cool Your House" (because no AC) and "First Aid for Heat Stroke" and "RED FLAG RED FLAG RED FLAG - County-Wide Burn Ban" like nobody here can remember last year's wildfires.

So we went to the lake, and I didn't bring my camera, but it looked about like it did last time we went.
And I'm posting all these photos here because just looking at them makes me feel cooler,
hallelujah and amen.

And one last thing, a little Public Service Announcement because it's actually cloudy at the moment:

Lightening is the opposite of darkening (think Michael Jackson)

Lightning is that bolt of electricity in the sky.

That will be all.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


I blame the broken window.

I'm a little bit frugal.  I'm not as good at it as my parents, who can take themselves on a two-week cruise to Hawaii, but my mom still shops for most of her clothes at Value Village.  Anyway, I pinch my pennies.  But (mixing metaphors) when the dam breaks...

Of course, we needed to order a new window (actually three windows) to replace this:

And that's not cheap.

Then, you know, it's summer.  And if June is any indication, it's going to be a hot one.  Supposed to be 87F today, which for us Pacific Northwesterners is like the temperature of the sun.  And the way to beat the heat is to go to the lake.  I like to swim.  Not just dangle my feet in, but actually swim.  And I needed a bathing suit.  And it needs to cover everything it ought to cover, and hold everything in, YKWIM?  Ka-ching.

Clearly, that is not me!
Also not me. ;D

And then the sandals...

I'm forty-nine years old, and these

just don't cut it any more.  By the end of the day, let's just say I don't have Happy Feet.  So a pair of these are on the way :D

Bet you can guess what my favorite colors are!

But those were just cracks in the dam ;D

Last night I bought plane tickets to go turn some online friends into IRL friends!  I'm finally going to meet the Choates, who are home on furlough from the Solomon Islands, and the Hibbards, who recently moved to a new pastorate just 45 minutes from the Choates.  I'm sure they didn't do that just for my convenience ;D but it's all working together nicely!  So I'm going to Arkansas, and I'm taking Tate with me :D  (Wyatt just got a new bike, and Gunnar and I are going on a camping trip, so it all sort of balances.  Whatever.)

I'm so excited!

And speaking of Tate, he got a job!  He just got hired by a grocery store nearby and starts work next week.  Well done, Tate!  Wyatt is still waiting to hear back from UPS, and we have high hopes about that.

And now, I'm going to make up for spending all that money (ha!) by having a very productive day.  I'm about to throw the 4th load of laundry in, and then go do some weeding.  At least for now, in the cool morning ;D

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Do you ever have days go by, and you think to yourself, How could that all be just one day? because it seems like at least three?

Or maybe I'm the only one.

Yesterday was like that.  And it wasn't bad, just a series of actions and reactions.

1.  Gunnar and I went for our morning walk, which means I huff and puff up and down the hills and through the woods, while he talks my ears off.  It's a stream of consciousness.
* the day before was terrible, practically a waste-land, because he couldn't get some computer game to work
* that means Tate broke it (because it obviously couldn't be a problem like the server being overloaded with kids that just got out of school or anything like that)
* but hurray because now the game is working and life is worth living again
* do I think he will pass his mile run later in the afternoon?
* because he needs to pass it to promote (I knew that)
* isn't it great how much Naomi loved the little swimming pool Grandpa and Grandma gave her?
* could I believe that she splashed him (No!  Imagine that!  A toddler in a swimming pool?!  The nerve!)
* he would really like to go to Disneyland again
* it's too bad he probably won't be babysitting Sammy next school year
* I really need to plan a get-together with Sammy's family.  SOON.
* do I think he will pass his mile run?
* Naomi sure loved her little house we fixed up for her
* he would like to go back to Cascade Falcon (CAP's boot camp) as staff next year, probably to work in "DFAC" (dining facility)
* he "needs" to make some money (because he spends it pretty regularly)
* but he really doesn't like mowing lawns
* wouldn't it be fun to take Naomi to Disneyland?
* being homeschooled is awesome because he's been done for awhile and local schools just finished yesterday
* do I think he will pass his mile run?
* our family "needs" to go to Hawaii (right, I'll get right on that...)
* am I going to do any laundry, because he's about out of socks (maybe if he put away the laundry I already washed and folded...)
* it would be fun to go to the ocean again (he means the Oregon coast)
* he would like a glass of chocolate milk to reward himself for going on a walk
* do I think he will pass his mile run?
And so on.

2.  We remembered to go to his violin lesson.  His teacher offered to continue his lessons through the summer, and that sounds wonderful, except for one thing.  Without the routine of our school week, there is no way we will actually remember to GO on Tuesdays, because what day is it?  We like our routine, and when we're out of it, all bets are off.  So we're finishing out the month of June, and then taking July and August off.  Which means I need to remember one more time.  Wish me luck.

3.  The mile run, and getting everyone there.  This took a flurry of emails between the squadron commander and the three cadets needing to be tested.  Two of the three are mine - Gunnar and Tate - and you'd think they could communicate in the house, but this was all through email.  The other cadet needed a ride.  No problem.  She would take a city bus that passes about a mile from our house and we'd run over to get her, and take her to the track for the test.  Except the city bus went right by her and didn't stop.  Tate and I waited, and waited... Fortunately Wyatt was at home.  She called.  He ran out to pick her up and came to meet us, and we all got to the test on time.

She was somewhat "handicapped", in that she'd chased the bus for about half a mile on foot, then had to run back home to call, but she's a runner and passed easily, with Tate right on her heels.

Gunnar, however, needs to shave some time off his mile.  About a minute and a half, actually, so I'm not sure how that's going to work, but we'll practice.  But the good news is, before we started walking regularly, he couldn't run the whole mile and had to run-walk-run-walk-run-walk etc.  This time, he ran the whole way.  Okay, jogged.  Whatever.  He kept going, didn't stop, and finished his mile, and that's a victory.

4.  Meanwhile, Wyatt had his interview at UPS.  And we're all eagerly watching the phone, hoping he'll get called back to work.

5.  Tate got called for an interview at our local grocery store.  That's this afternoon - pray for him!

6.  All the boys went to CAP and Tate passed his interview with the Review Board, which means he'll promote and become an officer!  This is a Big Deal in the CAP world.  He'll be getting his Billy Mitchell Award, which is kind of like the Eagle Scout for BSA, but better ;D

7.  In the midst of all the running all over, I got a good start on planning the next school year.  And I'll tell you what, Tate is going to have a busy year.

He'll be taking two math classes (Algebra 2 and Geometry) as well as second-year Spanish at the high school, and at home he'll be doing Chemistry (for which I've offered to hire a tutor, because it's TOUGH!), American government, Economics, as well as reading a few books I'm compiling.  AND he's hoping to have a job.  AND continue with CAP.  And - of course - be faithful at church, and spend time with his FAMILY.

It makes my head spin, just to think of it.

8.  And totally randomly, doesn't this look like something fun to do at the beach?  Maybe a Christmas card in the making?

Anyway, I'm hoping today makes a little more sense!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Year Eight - DONE!

As always, my annual disclaimer...

For most of you, this post will definitely fall into the category of over-sharing.
For me, this is record-keeping.  If you're interested in the nitty-gritty details of
What We Do For Homeschool, here's your fix.  If not?
Nothing to see here - move along ;D

As I look back over our years of homeschooling, I'm a little bit sad that we're past the days of field trips to the fire department, collecting spider webs, picking apart owl pellets, and mummifying chickens.  On the other hand, watching the boys grow up is pretty sweet :D

For the first year, I'm only homeschooling TWO.

Wyatt  just wrapped up his first year at the community college.

Tate - Grade 9

As I've mentioned in earlier years, I've kind of "red-shirted" the boys so they'll hit Running Start older.  At home, Tate is a 10th grader, but on paper he's officially a 9th grader.

He attended public high school as a part-time student, and looks to be getting straight A's in English, Algebra, and Spanish.  Well done, Tate!  Especially the Spanish.  We weren't sure how it would go, trying to learn a foreign language with hearing loss.  With English, if he misses a few sounds here and there, his brain knows what to fill in, but with Spanish... well, he did great!

At home...

Tate completed a one-year overview of World History, an introduction to Logic with The Fallacy Detective, and a year of Biology (with labs) along with reading and summarizing Jay Wile's Reasonable Faith and Duane Gish's Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No!

Tate also started taking piano lessons after Christmas and is doing really well.  That was another thing that was really experimental, given his bionic hearing.  We just had no idea if he could hear the difference between notes that are close on the scale.  But Tate is one determined young man.  Where there's a will, there's a way, and he's doing great!  The next step is to get our piano tuned and repaired (one note won't play), but we're putting that off until after we finish the window-replacement project (ugh!) because that will affect the piano.

Tate is such a self-motivated guy that I had very little to do with his schooling this year.  I helped him by scheduling his work - distributing it mostly evenly through the school year, and I would help him to review at the end of chapters/modules to prepare for tests.  He's a stellar, straight-A student :D

Gunnar - Grade 7

Gunnar is also a good student and does a great job, he's just not quite as excited about it as Tate is. ;D

He finished his first year in Jay Wile's Apologia science courses - Exploring Creation with General Science.  I was happy to discover that they now produce a student notebook.  That really helped us organize our note-taking and labs.  I REALLY liked using it.


Gunnar has been off-cycle with his math from the beginning.  (Kindergarten math was too easy, so we jumped into 1st grade math mid-year.)  This year, he finished Saxon's Pre-Algebra, and completed Lial's Basic College Mathematics.  It covers a lot of the same ground, but I like to do it for three reasons,
* it's good review, and I want the boys to be really solid before they start Algebra
* after several years of Saxon, it's good to be exposed to the way other people present math concepts
* working with familiar concepts helped the boys transition to doing their math more independently

We do a real hodgepodge of things for language, as you see below.

I like the Italic handwriting style.  Not sure if it really "took" with any of the boys, but at least they can all keyboard well.  We've been using Daily Grams for years - a nice little nugget each day.  Since Wordly Wise has 20 chapters, and Vocabulary from Classical Roots has 16, they fill up a 36-week school year nicely!  The Red Hot Root Words were good, but kind of tedious.  Have I ever told you how much Gunnar LOOOOVES creative writing? No?  There's a good reason for that.  But I make him do it anyway, hence the Writing Strands.  And we use A Beka's Language C to make sure we cover all our bases.  It's pretty corny, but solid.  Whew!

Gunnar is loving the Sonlight History cores, and just finished a two-year overview of World History.  Mostly he loves reading, and Sonlight does a LOT of reading!

It was fun to re-visit Susan Bauer's Story of the World, which forms the "spine" of this history series.

Here are the two years together...

Gunnar began violin lessons in November and is doing wonderfully!  We were able to "upgrade" him to a full-size violin of a better quality for his birthday, and he looks forward to resuming lessons in September.

We may not have made any models of Viking boats, or dyed t-shirts with cabbage (stinky!), or taken any field trips to see people make cheese, but we've had a good year :D

Well done, boys!

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, June 22

Outside my window...  a whole lot of daylight.  Yesterday was the longest day of the year - the solstice (and I'm using that word in the astronomical sense, not some airy-fairy mystical thing, y'know?)  That means we had over seventeen and a half hours of daylight.  No kidding.

Hearing...  Gunnar practicing his violin :D

Pondering...  I just don't know how to feel about the fact that I'm actually hoping for rain.  Because that makes no sense at all to a mossy, rust-covered western-Washingtonian.

Praying...  Wyatt has a job interview tomorrow with UPS.  We're very hopeful that he'll get hired back on, and praying to that end.  He's housesitting right now (has been for over a week and doesn't finish until Sunday) and it just doesn't seem right not having him here.  Though I've noticed he does show up pretty regularly for meals ;D

Thankful...  for my big, crazy family and the times we spend together :D

Going...  well, I want to go visit some friends in Arkansas, but I'm having trouble reconciling myself to flying into "Bill and Hillary Clinton Airport".  Errrrgh.  That just seems wrong.

Reading...  the Miss Julia books.  Have you ever?  Miss Julia is "a southern lady of a certain age" that finds herself in all kinds of situations you wouldn't expect.  I just love the author's voice.  In one episode, Miss Julia is trying (successfully, of course) to coax a charitable donation out of an eccentric old coot.

"Hah!" he yelled, springing back in the chair again,
his legs spraddled out so that one slipper went flying,
landing on Ronnie, who passed gas in surprise.

I ignored the faux pas,
as any well-bred lady would under the circumstances.
Lillian looked as if she were about to pass out,
but then she was closer to the dog.

Looking forward to...  all the projects I imagine I'll get done with All The Free Time over summer break.  (Why does that never work out the way I think it will?)

In the kitchen...  I have no idea, yet, but BBQing is always a good option ;D

In the learning rooms...  we are done, done, done, so very done.  But I need to do my yearly wrap-up, so I remember what we actually did.  Coming soon...

Around the house...  this is the summer we're finally going to fix the living room window.  The new window (actually, it's three windows, because The Code) is/are ordered, and then chaos will ensue.  We'll have to remove the old one, which is huge, build up some new framing (the bottom of the new window/s will be higher), put the new one in, add new siding, trim, finish off the inside, etc.  You know, while we're living in the house.  

Doesn't that sound fun?

And you know all these sunny days I've been talking about?  My cynical side wonders if we're going to get back all the rain we've been missing about the time we tear the house open.

Because, why not?

The Mother Load...  
* document this school year
* plan next school year
* find out what Tate's schedule is next year
(so I can plan what he'll do at home...)
* help Wyatt apply for insurance in his own name because he'll be 19
* go through the annual exercise of showing our eligibility for insurance, once again
(because oh-the-joys-of-being-self-employed)
* write Tate's transcript
* order Gunnar's end-of-year jump-through-the-hoops test
* have him take the end-of-year jump-through-the-hoops test
* post several items on craigslist
* make the boys clean out the garden shed
* get Kerry and the boys to clean out the garage
(that, or call Hoarders)
* sort/photograph the boys' school "save boxes"
(what to really save and what to document in digital photos because nobody will probably ever care)
* clean and organize the family room closet - where the "save boxes" are
* get photos of Zodiac trip from Tate's teacher
* start (semi-secret) sewing project
* reschedule two dentist appointments and a mammogram
*weed the flowerbeds around the house (not excited)
* replant not-exactly-thriving bushes from pots into ground
* plant beautiful blue delphinium Kerry got me and somehow protect it from the long-legged-rats (aka deer)

* get Tate's and Gunnar's hunter safety cards laminated
* sort out insurance for Tate's Neptune (waterproof) processor that just went off warranty (ouch)
* figure out if there's any way we can plan some kind of little family vacation this summer
(working around the whole replace-the-window project)

It's just more fun than a barrel of monkeys around here.

Something funny to share...  Kerry (who may or may not listen to too much talk radio during the day) has adopted a "the sky is falling" mindset and has been saving things in the garage.  Yesterday he (jokingly?) accused the boys and me of hiding the dryer lint from him - disposing of it where he couldn't find it.

Um, did you notice I've been drying the laundry on the line for a couple of months now?

One of my favorite things...  ice cream, and more ice cream.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  gee.  See "Mother Load" above.  *sigh*

A peek into my world...  snoozing on a branch, right out my window, with his tail blowing in the breeze...

Saturday, June 20, 2015

And Then June Happened

Is it a little weird that my husband, who lives right here in the same house with me, has been checking up on me, to see if I've posted here lately?  Because how could anything happen in my life that the man who sleeps right next to me doesn't already know about?  So honey, this is for you.  And for any of the rest of you who wonder what's going on in the Grasshopper House.

I'll tell you what.

The end of school, the beginning of summer (even though most years we don't really count it as summer until the 4th of July, but this year has been warm and dry instead of June-uary, so it really seems like it), and then...

June Birthdays and Father's Day.

Because this is what happens in my family, and I'll give you a hint:
it's like Christmas.

First off, we have four dads (in order of becoming fathers) :

#1.  My dad, aka Grandpa Grasshopper :D

2.  Kerry - Grasshopper Dad
(who happened to be sitting right next to me and therefore managed NOT to get in any pictures today, so this is from last year's birthday.  But guess what: at our age, you don't look much different from year to year ;D)

3.   My cousin's husband, Mike

4.  My brother, Dave, dad to Naomi

So, yes, four dads to honor.

And if that wasn't enough, we have seven birthdays.
Yes, I said SEVEN.

Hmmm... oldest to youngest?

1.  My dad, again!

 2.  Me :D

The boys made me another very colorful card...
check out the fabulous grasshopper details!

3.  My cousin, Ryan,
who ended up with the special and traditional family heirloom...

When the boys were little, and couldn't keep a secret to save their lives,
they would always ask me what was in that present I was wrapping for someone.
Since I couldn't very well say, "We're giving Grandma that red sweater she wanted"
because the first thing they would do is say something they thought was clever but would give it away,
I always told them,

"It's a tambourine."

So one year Grandma bought one, wrapped it up, and it's been making the rounds ever since.

4.  My cousin's daughter Mikayla, (on the left).
My cousin's girls - if you want to be proper - are my first cousins, once removed.
But they're kind of more like nieces.
And this one turned sweet sixteen :D

5.  Gunnar - my BABY - turned 14.
He is not quite shaving, but convinced he will be before Christmas ;D

6.  My other "niece", Raelynn, turned 13.


7.  And last-but-not-least, Naomi is turning 3.
She was absolutely thrilled to get a bigger swimming pool from Grandpa and Grandma.

She spent a LOT of the afternoon in the pool!

When Naomi was visiting us a few weeks ago, she was already talking about her upcoming birthday.
"I'm almost three and I will have a birthday party and I will have cake and presents and will you come to my party?"

Wouldn't miss it for the world.

When I asked her what she wanted, she told me a playhouse.  Well, I thought she meant something for the yard, which is out of my budget for sure, but later she clarified, "A little house with people in it."
Ah, a dollhouse.

My grandpa made a dollhouse for my mom and aunt when they were little - about seventy years ago - and it's been passed down and down, and my cousin had it in her garage.  So Gunnar and I have been busy lately!

We found this little family, and wrapped it up.
She was pretty happy to open it, but - you know - the family needed a place to live...

This is the house as I remember it from when I was little.  I think that blue paint was from an upstairs guest room in my grandparents' house.  The pink was the trim from their bedroom, as well as the bathroom.  He'd cut the arch between the dining room and living room, to match the arch in the real house.

Here's the real arch, which I apparently only photograph at Christmas.

Anyway, the house has a collection of antique furniture.  And by "antique" I mean, it looks like it's styled after the 30s and 40s.  Because most of it is from the 30s and 40s.  Unfortunately, several of the pieces are broken, and all of them are that old, brittle plastic, so we're not passing those on to Naomi.

Also, please note the FABULOUS and GROOVY carpeting that was added in the 70s, when my cousin was a little girl!

Anyway... Gunnar and I decided that the house needed a makeover.
New paint, new flooring, new curtains.
So this is what we did...

Yep.  It's as bright as it looks,
and Naomi was thrilled :D 

And I just have to tell you, as much as I love blue, I think this cheery yellow kitchen with the polka dot curtains is my favorite room of the house :D

She moved her little family right in!

Maybe we can furnish her house for Christmas, or her next b'day :D

So that's part of what's been keeping us so busy lately!

And since tomorrow is Father's Day and I've promised to make a big breakfast (which I usually only do for dinner) I need to go to bed.  Hope yours is great.