Saturday, November 28, 2015


... was wonderful :D

With Wyatt and Tate working like crazy this week, they weren't as available as they have been in the past...

Aren't they cute?  I think that was 2011.

but they did their part when they could, and Gunnar was an extra big help :D

Earlier in the week we had some stormy weather - even got some snow in the hills just above us.

I had the work spread over a few days... some cleaning on Monday,
and then a lot of cooking on Tuesday:
the mashed potatoes,
two apple pies,
and Old Tom.

I had to get a picture, since he looked so good!
But I love getting all the meat off the carcass,
and getting everything all cleaned up and ready to go.
So much easier to do it ahead, without a house full of people!

And we did have a house full, with fifteen family members and a couple of friends besides.

Hmmm, my sister looks like the food doesn't meet with her approval!

Most years I put two long tables end-to-end so we can all be together,
but this year - with more people - it worked better to separate the tables.
(Only by a few feet - we're still together!)

Tried to get a family photo, but my camera just isn't focusing sharply.  Rats.
But we're all here!

 Wyatt and Tate both had Thanksgiving AND Friday off, and planned a movie day with Uncle Dave,
then spent the evening with Kerry's brother (Uncle Patrick) and family playing computer games and watching another movie.  (I think there was someone there who had never seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and that needed to be remedied, because OF COURSE.

All of which gave me a whole, lovely, quiet day with the house to myself.
And you know what that means?
Christmas music and Christmas decorations!
No tree yet - a little early, since we get a live one,
but maybe next weekend :D

27 days until Christmas ;D

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thursday Brain Dump


There are some days, you just say, 


1.  Weather.  In case you've heard in the news about all the wind, rain, and flooding in Washington, we're fine.  We even have power.  Of course, it flickered several times, meaning we had to reset everything (more than once), but no problem.

2.  Gunnar was out hunting today and got skunked again.  They saw nothing.  Not even does.  Gunnar, of course, takes this quite personally.  It's a bit hard not to when you go up in the hills (where it's legal to hunt) and see nothing, but this guy hangs around (in the city limits) in your yard.

3.  House "fluffing".  Since Wyatt was at school, Tate was at school, and Gunnar was hunting most of the day, I had a lot of time, so I did something good:

I'm so happy about my flannel sheets that it's not even 5pm and I'm already thinking about going to bed!  Can't though, because I'll have to pick up Tate from work, and Kerry too.  Let me tell you that story...

4.  Kerry drove down to Seattle last night because he's going to a seminar all day today (continuing ed, for his architecture license).  Anyway, he decided to go down last night and stay at my cousin's, because traffic.  Seattle traffic is the stuff of nightmares.  Anyway, the phone rang about 10:20 last night, and that's not usually good, YKWIM?  The car died.  (Kerry drives a 26-year old Toyota 4Runner).  DIED, he said.

Well, actually he was able to limp to my cousin's house, with no headlights, no windshield wipers, and the battery light was on.  (Alternator?)  So he started strategizing about getting the car to a mechanic down there, how long that would all take, etc.  Mind you, all of this is two hours from where we live.


For several years my parents have gotten us Triple A for Christmas.  We've never had to use it, but with all of us driving older vehicles (and Tate an I making multiple trips to Seattle Children's) it's all about peace of mind, right?  And now... NOW...  now is the payoff :D

They buy us the "Plus" plan because it includes 100 Miles of towing.  So I jumped on Google maps and here's the fun part.  You know how far it is from my cousin's house to our mechanic, here at home?  99.4 miles.  And the tow truck driver will let Kerry ride with him, so we won't even have to pay for a Greyhound ticket :D

Of course, we still have to fix the car.... but I'm so thankful I'm giggling :D

5.  Tate doesn't have to work on Thanksgiving.  There was no guarantee of that, as this is grocery stores' busiest time of the year, so we're not taking that for granted.  Wyatt will get his schedule tonight.  Hoping he'll be off as well.... :D

6.  35 Days until Christmas.  You're welcome.

7.  Stay spectacular :D

Monday, November 16, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, November 16, 2015

Outside my window...  4pm, rainy, it's already getting dark, and the wind is picking up.  Tate is already at work and Wyatt goes later.  Not a fun evening to be chasing carts across the lot!

Hearing...  the wind moaning through the trees.

Pondering...  I'm gearing myself up to go to rehearsal tonight.  Not that I dread it!  But I'm a homebody, especially in this weather.

Praying...  my mom will be flying home tomorrow (visiting a cousin in California), and she wasn't feeling well last night.  Praying she'll have smooth sailing coming home :D

Thankful...  for a packed full freezer.  Gunnar and I made a Costco run this morning.  I like to stock up early because it kind of drives me nuts to go in there leading up to Christmas.  Sensory overload, and just So Many People.

And I'm thankful for my goofy Sunday school kids (see yesterday's post) and the funny things they say.

Wearing...  jeans, turtle-neck, thick cardigan, warm socks.  I was so cold last night I couldn't sleep.  Had to go heat up my rice bag to get warm.  I think it's time for the flannel sheets :D

Creating...  Now that the new window is done, I wanted to shorten the curtains that go on it.  BTW, Kerry would like you all to know that when he and the boys tidied the garage on Saturday, they found the curtain rod and all the little ring/clip things :D  Anyway, I didn't like the floor-length curtains on the new window, when the other ones in the room are short.  But Oh. My. Word.  I could've just bought new ones for fifty bucks (I checked) and saved myself the aggravation.  The curtains are sheer, so the material wasn't stretchy (or I probably wouldn't even have tried!) but it was thin and slippery.  In other words, a pain in the backside to sew.  Arrrrgh.  And, though I used one of the shorter ones as a template, the ones I hemmed are shorter.  Well, I think the curtain rod is hung higher AND the window/sill is a little deeper than the other ones.  It looks a little goofy.  I may switch them around in a way to complicated to bother explaining and see if that helps.  Or maybe not. I'm sure I can live with it ;D

Going...  yes, I'm going to rehearsal tonight.

Reading...  Little Britches, by Ralph Moody.  Love those books :D

Looking forward to... having Thanksgiving here :D  I bought a twenty-four pound turkey.  Yes, I did.

In the kitchen...  we all ate dinner for lunch, since two of the boys work this evening.  Everyone can fend for themselves for dinner; it's "festival dinner" :D

In the learning rooms...  Gunnar and I took advantage of our homeschool flexibility to run some errands this morning (bank, jewelry store - ring check-up, Costco, Wal-mart) and are having a very reduced school day.  Gunnar will likely miss a day or two later this week for the late buck hunt as well.  I don't schedule any homeschool work for the week of Thanksgiving, so I'm not stressing about getting it all done - we can tie up any loose ends next week.

Around the house...  lots of candles at the ready, with all this wind!

The Mother Load...  I need to make my pre-Thanksgiving prep list, so I'm not rushed to get everything ready.  We have a "tradition" of cooking the turkey a day or two ahead and getting it all off the bone.  Sure, you don't have that Norman Rockwell-style Presentation of the Bird, but if you reheat it with a little herbed butter drizzled on, and the skin draped over it, it tastes just as good :D  Then the oven is freed up for other things, and all the messy work is already done!  I'll have the turkey, the gravy, and the potatoes all done ahead, and just needing to be heated.  Win-win.

A favorite quote for the day...

Don't believe everything you think.

A Bible verse...

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked:
who can know it?
Jeremiah 17:9

One of my favorite things...  when I come home, weary of shopping, and the boys jump right up to help unload without complaining :D

A peek into Kerry's world...

Kerry went out to the garage to get something, and found something he wasn't looking for.
Something unpleasant.

Look closer, if you're not squeamish...

Yes.  It's a dead rat, that looks to have been in a fight (blood on it).

So if he was the loser...        where is the Alpha Rat?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

In Sunday School This Morning

One of my littles proudly held up his project - a heart, filled with letters, running in several directions.

He asked me:

What does this say?

Good question.  I use my fall-back:

I don't know, you tell me what it says.

He shrugged:

I can't read yet.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Window... Wa-WAH!

The Window.

That has taken on a life of its own....

In October of 2013, Gunnar came to me with a worried expression on his face.
Because of this.
The huge living room window had developed a crack.

And, no, I don't think it was the boys' doing.
More likely age and gravity.

We marked it with a Sharpie so we could see if it was growing.

Turns out, there was really no question.

Within a week the crack went all the way from bottom to top...

... and Kerry did this:

To protect us (good decision).
Because we had to live with it for TWO YEARS.

NO, it's not meant to resemble a Christmas tree,
and, NO, it's not modern art.


But finally, this summer...

Kerry pulled the wall apart,
and we hired a friend from church,
and we got the window out.

Good thing it was August, because what a mess!

Well, we had lots of fresh air ;D

And dust, and mess, and broken glass, and tools and clutter and noise.

All my favorite things... NOT.


We're leaving this behind.

The guy from our church was quick to get the work done -
he had the old window out,
new gyp-board up inside,
and the exterior all trimmed out and weathered in
very quickly.

But Kerry had another guy in mind to do the interior trim.
I know he had some family stuff to deal with,
but still....
he seemed very unmotivated to get over here and actually

It boggles my mind,
because when he finally came he did a great job
and finished the whole thing in about half a day.
So why did it take three months to get to it?
Things I'll never understand...

Of course, then all the trim needed painting.
And the only person around here who paints is Kerry.
(Ask me why ;D)

With that FINALLY done,
I could clean, and clean, and clean.

I debated even putting out any fall decorations.
And friends, I love fall.
I love the whole cozy inside-with-hot-tea-and-a-book-and-a-candle,
and more candles, and colored leaves,
and did I mention candles?
Why, yes, I think I did.

But it all seemed like too much work to make it all happen
and then take it down again to decorate for Christmas.

But we're hosting Thanksgiving.
And I couldn't stop myself ;D

So here's a peek around my house.
And by "my house", I mean the living room and dining room,
because that's all I can vouch for.

Looking into the dining room from the living room.

The other side of the dining room (no lights on in the kitchen, sorry.)

I like my bowl of lights.
They look like some kind of extra-terrestrial fruit or something!

Kerry bought himself a Christmas present in Algodones.
I'm sure the interlocking Escher-ness of it appealed to him.

I like a little bit of happy clutter on the dining room table.

Looking back into the living room...
I love leaf garlands with lights in them :D

From the other side...

Another view of the living room.

You know what's great about having a fake-leather couch?
When your husband gets paint on it in five places,
if you're lucky, you can rub it right off.

And now,
the moment you've all been waiting for...


They're in.
They're trimmed.
They're gorgeous.
And they're CLEAN.
No smudges and no water vapor between the layers.

There's just one catch.

Did you notice what's missing?

I'll give you a hint.
The other windows look kind of like this.

Notice something different?

No curtains.

I'm going to hem them up because they don't need to be so long anymore.
But that's not the only thing.

Notice the "curtain rod"?

It's a piece of conduit.

Kerry took the real curtain rod,
with the decorative things on the ends,
and all the little ring/clip things
out to the garage "for safe keeping",
and can't find them. 

 I'm scheduling a garage clean-out for Saturday.

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, November 9, 2015

Outside my window...  it's 4:30 in the afternoon, and already we're losing the sun - down over the hill to the west of us.

Hearing...  a quiet house.  Gunnar is reading, Wyatt is on his computer, Kerry is in his office, and Tate is at work.  Just me and the laundry ;D

Pondering...  where, oh where, is the curtain rod for the living room window?  Kerry took it out to the garage when he needed to remove the inside of the wall (big window project) and now he can't find it.  The rod itself is not a big deal, but there were all the little rings with clips that are missing with it.

You know, those little gizmos.  About 20 or 25 of them.  Not cheap to replace!  Where are they?

Praying...  work for Kerry.  This is going to be a "thin" month, with the week off for dental work and the days Kerry spent painting the trim.  Ouch.

Thankful...  the trim IS painted, the dental work IS done, and everybody is healthy :D

And so very thankful today for my Tate, who is SEVENTEEN!  So here's a mini-retrospective of Tate :D

On our Arkansas Adventure

The night he received his Billy Mitchell Award

With Grandpa

Playing soccer - about 10?

Oh my.  That grin.  That dimple.

We always said that Tate worked in dirt like some artists work in oils.

But he cleans up nicely ;D

The first time we turned his first hearing aid ON, age 3 1/2.

At the beach with Grandpa, age 3 1/2.

Be still my heart.  From adorable to toddler to handsome young man :D

Wearing...  jeans, blue sweater, crocs (for slippers).  MAH-ve-lous.

Creating...  Christmas cards.  YES!  Starting early this year, in hopes of creating a more peaceful Advent season.  That counts, right?

Going...  off to rehearsal tonight.

Looking forward to...  getting my living room put back together!  Almost there, but I ran out of steam.  Kerry has been painting (which means priming and mudding and sanding, and strewing tools all over, and moving the furniture into a heap).  And I have to tell you that while I love the finished product, I'm not much of a fan of the process.  (Cliffs of Insanity, anyone?)  I've been dusting and vacuuming for much of the day.  Usually I love decorating for fall.  LOVE IT.  But at this point, it's two weeks to Thanksgiving, and then take it all down and get out Christmas stuff.  Worth it?  Sort of. Of course, I'm hosting Thanksgiving and I want it to look nice!  But I'm thinking more minimal this year.

In the kitchen...  I made chicken sandwiches for lunch today, for Tate :D  And Gunnar and I made modified cookie dough for dessert (no shortening or eggs).  Tate was in heaven ;D  They're all on their own for dinner, as Wyatt and Tate both work this evening (happy b'day, Tate, off to work you go), and I have rehearsal.  Good thing there are lots of left-overs in the fridge :D  It's a "festival-style" dinner ;D

In the learning rooms...  Gunnar, oh, Gunnar.  I mentioned he's getting glasses, right?  (Welcome to the family, kid, you hit the genetic jackpot for bad eyes!)  Well, I know he needs them. BUT... is he milking it just a little?  Trying to get out of some of his schoolwork because it gives him a headache? Because, it wasn't giving him a headache before he knew he needed glasses.  But then this is the kid that broke his arm the day before he started homeschool-kindergarten and I thought he was just whiny about having to write.  *sigh*

Around the house...  taming the chaos.  Woo-hoo!

The Mother Load...  got the bills paid, an appointment canceled, an appointment made, ordered replacement cables for Tate's processors, made a Thanksgiving plan, hemmed three pairs of pants (one for each boy), and started (drum roll, please...) addressing my Christmas cards.  I know, I know.  Shock and awe.

Noticing that...  I need to take new photos of the boys.  They're turning into men, you know?

One of my favorite things...  A CLEAN HOUSE.  Yes, the project has taken its toll on me.  That and a few episodes of "Hoarders" ;D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  oh, mercy.  I need to get Tate to the DMV to renew his learner's permit.  And I need to go to the mall (which I kind of dread) to have my ring "check up".  They re-did the prongs last time, and I Am Not Happy.  They're too huge and they snag on everything.  I've been wearing a "stunt ring" (a stand in, YKWIM?) until I can get mine fixed.  Arrrgh.  (I know.  Really, I know.  First world problem.)

 A peek into my world...  because we had such a dry summer, our fall colors are kind of a non-event this year.  I miss seeing this out my window...