Sunday, October 31, 2010

Coincidence? I Think Not...

There are times I'm glad to be wrong, and yesterday was one of them.

Although I'm a big fan of "let's keep this simple", I had some concerns about the wisdom of planning Gunnar's team's end-of-season party for immediately following the game.  At the field.  But it worked out great.  Sure it was a bit chilly, but not raining or blowing.  Thank you, Lord!

In an eight-week soccer season we only had one Saturday we got rained on.  Which is why I love fall soccer a million times more than spring soccer.  And now we're DONE.  All my little chicks are back in the nest.  The days are getting shorter and darker, and I'm looking forward to lots of cozy evenings, reading together before bed.

On the way home I joked to the boys, "Now that soccer is done, let the monsoons come!  I don't care!"

And guess what happened last night... the wind came up, the rain poured down, and I lay in bed under my down comforter and giggled.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010



... is finished!

Well, okay, nearly finished.

The bottom drawer is sticking a bit and needs some strategic sanding.

But doesn't it look great?

I love the creamy antique white, and the way the knobs and pulls sparkle.

Turned into quite a family project.
And by family I mean, mostly Kerry.

I did most of the stripping (multiple nasty coats of gray-blue, pink, purple, etc.),
the boys - Wyatt mostly - helped with the sanding,
(part of his growing acquaintance with manual labor),
but when it came to the painting...

I balked.

Kerry did it  :D

He's much more finicky than I am so I knew,
number one -
it would look better,
and number two -
he would be happier in the long run.

Maybe not-so-happy to be on the receiving end
of that punt in the short run,
(though mostly gracious about it),
but happier with the end result.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Definition of a Great Evening

I was out late last night at Messiah rehearsal and the boys were already asleep when I got home.  Gunnar came in for a quick snuggle this morning.

How did your rehearsal go, Mama?  

Great!  How did your evening go?

Great!  The Spam was past it's expirin' date!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Simple Woman 10-25-10

For Today, October 25, 2010

Outside my window...  clouds, wind, rain - a typical October day in the PNW.
The recent wind is stripping the trees of their leaves, and somehow they all seem to end up at my backdoor.  I think it's a scientific phenomenon that should be studied.  Perhaps I could get a large research grant... probably not.  *sigh*

I am thinking...  am I pushing Wyatt too hard?  Not challenging him enough?

I am thankful for...  our pastor was back in the pulpit yesterday.
He's been recovering from surgery and we have missed him.

I am praying for...  the rest of our day.

I am wearing...  jeans, green sweater, warm socks, hair in pony-tail.
I know, I know.  The fashion mags are just beating a path to my door...

I am creating...  plans for Tate's and Gramma Grasshopper's birthday party, in a couple weeks.

I am going...  to resist turning the heat up, to make a cup of something warm,
and to get going on our schoolwork.

I am hoping...  to see Wyatt muster up more self-motivation,
to rise to the challenges of his life.

I am hearing...  the boys talking calmly (!!!), Wyatt strumming a guitar,
and wind in the trees outside my window.

I am remembering...  a project I started last summer that is (thankfully!)
being finished by Kerry.  Pics soon, I hope!

From the learning rooms...  Pedro II of Brazil, expanded notation, looking for an empty spool to make a hovercraft for physics, a new list of spelling words, the muslim Turkish massacre of the Armenian Christians, ratios, and pronouns.

From the kitchen...  HA!  I get the night off because I have rehearsal tonight.
Kerry will be cooking.  I suspect Spam will be on the menu.

Around the house...  the boys have Podger in for a few minutes, nothing is cooking for tonight but I have meat thawed for meatballs tomorrow, and we have lots of pretty lights up.  As the days get shorter and darker I love having candles and special lights.
And, yes, I burn my candles :o)

On my mind...  how quickly Christmas is coming, and I don't want to wait until the last minute to get organized.  Especially with gift giving, what with our budget this year...

Noticing that... all my boys are growing, but Wyatt seems to be changing from a boy to a (young) man, right before my eyes.

Look at last Thanksgiving

and recently.

They grow so fast!

Pondering these words...  

When your mind wanders, where does it go?

Our pastor said that, yesterday.
Sounds kind of funny at first, but the intent, from Romans 8:5.
is to have our minds set on what the Spirit desires.

One of my favorite things...  boys praying for good attitudes and to be diligent workers.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Messiah rehearsal, 
soccer (the last week!), school, and a funeral.
I just found out that my great-aunt died yesterday.
And I'm thinking that she fell into good hands :o)

Here is a picture I am sharing...  

When Barbie goes to the Model Railroad Show...

(And, no, my boys were not responsible!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Post That Began As A Comment

I really do think that I write better comments than posts sometimes.  Something I read strikes a chord in me and the words start pouring out.  And that's the trouble... they pour out.  And it's really too much to leave as a comment on someone else's blog.  Especially when I'm likely to be going off on a tangent they didn't intend.  And I don't want to hijack their message, you know?  So I think I should write about it here, but that's somehow more intimidating.  As if when I write something it's somehow set in stone.

But it's not.

I've heard that it's common for women to process their thoughts by talking about them.  You?  Yes, me.  Or, in this case, by writing about them.  So my disclaimer is that when I put something out there, it's not necessarily my final conclusion.  It's in process.    The beta version, if you will.

With that long preamble out of the way...

I was reading my friend Jena's blog recently.  She's leading a women's Bible study.  I don't know if it's on a book of the Bible, or some kind of published study, or what.  But the issue is that many of the women are having trouble believing that God loves women as much as men.  You can read her posts HERE and HERE, along with the comments. 

Her question was, "Does God, at His heart, think of women as any less than men?"

I'm inferring that that's exactly how these women feel - that they are somehow less than men in God's sight.  And why do they think that?

1.  Some women have been messed up (to put it mildly) by the men in their lives.  At the least confused, and at the worst abused by their fathers and/or other men.  We get that.  We understand how that warps one's view of God.  They need love and grace and restoration.  They need to know God's love for them.  And they deeply need to know the truth.

2.  Some women are caught up in the world's perspective, and a good many of them are church women.  But our culture is pervasive and we're like fish who don't know they're wet.  We're more influenced by our culture than we begin to realize.  The antidote is to saturate our minds with God's Word, yah?  And there are also helpful books.  I particularly like Nancy Leigh Demoss' Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free.

Those are probably the biggest and most common reasons for women to doubt God's love, in my opinion.  But I think there's another more subtle problem.

(And Jena, don't think for a moment I'm implying you're guilty of this - my zany, clever, creative, hedge-hog friend!)

3.  Some women are involved with churches (or other religious groups) that are fighting the culture so hard, they've reacted by swinging the pendulum way over to the other side.  They're entangled in a bunch of extraneous restrictions and expectations.  They're burdened with a role that has little or nothing to do with Biblical womanhood.  And it's like an itchy suit that doesn't fit, and they want out of it.

Which I understand all too well.

I was in a church that was heading down that path, and had I stayed I don't know how my faith would have survived.  There was always a not-so-subtle current floating around that said, "If you were really doing God's best, you would... "

Because really godly women sewed their own clothing (mostly jumpers), ground their own wheat for their own homemade bread, had soft wispy voices, long hair, and long skirts, read Jane Austen, liked tea parties, and harp music, and knitted or crocheted.  And - of course - courted, married, and had a full quiver of children.

Other women need not apply.

Now, there's not a thing wrong with sewing clothes, grinding wheat, drinking tea, yadda yadda yadda.  But that is NOT the definition of Biblical womanhood.  And trying to squeeze all Christian women into that mold is wrong, wrong, WRONG.

Some wise, godly, Christian women are exuberant and outgoing.  And (*gasp!*) even outdoorsy, or mechanically inclined.  Some wise, godly, Christian women would rather make furniture than crochet.  Would rather read P. J. O'Rourke than Bodie Thoene.  And would actually rather go to a BBQ or go camping or to the dentist, than to a tea party.

I got an invitation recently to a Mother-Daughter Tea.  (Someone didn't get the memo that I have three boys...)  The invitation addressed the ladies first, and concluded with this:

And if you're a little lady, bring your doll and practice mothering in the doll corner, or color paper dolls and color sheets. Then join other girls around the harp and lift your silvery voices in song...

In your frilly dress, white tights, and patent Mary Janes, no doubt.

Now you may be thinking, "Oh, how lovely!" And good for you.  Have at it.

But I can tell you, as a child I would have suffocated in that atmosphere.  And quite possibly even now.

And I have to wonder if some of these women are struggling with being loved and accepted by God because they don't fit the mold.

I know Jena wasn't asking why women feel God loves them less than men, but I think it's worth asking that first.  Because which ever (if any) of those categories we fit, we all need God's truth.  But some women need more tenderness, some need their thinking challenged, and some just need to be set free.

Update from Jena, HERE.

FRIENDS:  I appreciate all your comments.  This morning there were 15 waiting and I realized that some were duplicates - or nearly duplicates.  Because I have comment moderation on, you may not realize it will be posted eventually?  Or sometimes it may tell you your comment is too long, but it actually is accepting it anyway.  If I got multiple same/similar comments from the same person I have tried to publish the most representative one.

BUT, if I inadvertently deleted what you wanted to say, I'm sorry!  Leave it again and I'll post it.

Thanks for your patience.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

First Quilt Ever

And now, for a moment of humility, I give you - my first quilt ever.

I made it for Gunnar, out of scraps left over from making a bunch of boppy-type nursing pillows.

Clearly, my ambition far exceeded my skill.
I had no idea I should pin the material before sewing.  (Duh.)
Or that the yellow with the blue flowers - a knit - would be impossible to work with.
The corners don't line up.
The lines aren't straight.
The binding is just the backing, folded over and sewn together.
And it's not even quilted.
It was tied at the corners, but most of the ties have fallen out.

I'm tempted to take it apart and try to fix it, but I won't.
It is what it is.
And Gunnar still loves it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hunting Practice

Tate had hoped to hunt this fall, but we missed the cut-off for hunter safety classes, so no license this year.  (Oops.  Bad mom.)  It probably didn't help that Grampa Grasshopper recently had a very successful caribou hunt up in northern Quebec.  (Yes, you're allowed two.)  We're enjoying the benefits of that :D

But, while Tate can't hunt this year, he can go along with Grampa Grasshopper and watch and learn.  And when Grampa called Wednesday morning to see if Tate could get free from school it only took a second to say, "YES!"   Here they are, setting off, Wednesday afternoon, looking for deer.

No luck this time, but maybe next time.... ?

(And for any of you squeamish about hunters shooting the cute wild animals... You can be a vegetarian if you like, but we're not.  Wild animals are leaner and healthier and hormone-free.  And if you think about it, shooting them is much more humane than either the way farm animals usually die, or the wild animals die in the wild.  They starve.  They freeze.  Or they're prey.)

Do You Memorize?

We do.  Not as much as I would like, but we do.

Kerry and I have both memorized (some of) the Navigator's TMS.  The boys all memorized verses in AWANA.  We've learned verses for Sunday school, and ones I've picked for homeschool.  And verses to go to sleep by.  We recited them at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We chanted them, we even sang them (to tunes like I've been workin' on the railroad or Ten Little Indians... I know, we're weird).  Whatever works.

But really, I like memorizing passages rather than isolated verses from here and there.  Somehow they hold together better in my mind.  And that doesn't lend itself well to singing.

And that's okay, because I have a little trick.  Long ago, a friend taught me this.  Are you ready?

Copy out the first letter of each word in the passage you're working on.  It's your cheat-sheet.  Enough to give you a hint without giving it away.  And enough to keep you from skipping a phrase or flipping the word order.

Simple, yah?  And oh how it helps these distracted and overworked brain cells!  Trust me on this one.

So I think of our bedtime verse from long ago, Psalm 4:8, and it looks like this:
I w l d a s i p, f y a, O L, m m d i s. 

And now - be still my geeky heart - there's even a web tool to do it for you.  (You know, in case it's too tedious copying out the first letter of a bunch of words.)  Here's what you do.   Go to a site like Bible Gateway and copy out the text you want to memorize.  Then go HERE and paste it in the box.  Then click "convert", and wa-WAH, print it out and get to memorizing!

Oh.  You might want to take the verse numbers out.  Or not.  Whatever.  I do, because it's hard to tell a number 1 from a capital I or a lower case l and it confuses me.  Which is, sadly, all too easy.

I put in Philippians 1, which we memorized last year, and got this:

P a T, s o C J,
      T a t s i C J a P, t w t o a d:

 G a p t y f G o F a t L J C.

 I t m G e t I r y.  I a m p f a o y, I a p w j  b o y p i t g f t f d u n,  b c o t, t h w b a g w i y w c i o t c u t d o C J.

 I i r f m t f t w a a o y, s I h y i m h; f w I a i c o d a c t g, a o y s i G's g w m.  G c t h I l f a o y w t a o C J.

 A t i m p: t y l m a m a m i k a d o i, s t y m b a t d w i b a m b p a b u t d o C, f w t f o r t c t J C—t t g a p o G.

N I w y t k, b, t w h h t m h r s t a t g.  A a r, i h b c t t w p g a t e e t I a i c f C.  B o m c, m o t b i t L h b e t s t w o G m c a f.

 I i t t s p C o o e a r, b o o o g. T l d s i l, k t I a p h f t d o t g. T f p C o o s a, n s, s t t c s u t f m w I a i c. B w d i m? T i t i t i e w, w f f m o t, C i p. A b o t I r.

   Y, a I w c t r, f I k t t y p a t h g b t S o J C, w h h t m w t o f m d.  I e e a h t I w i n w b a, b w h s c s t n a a C w b e i m b, w b l o b d.  F t m, t l i C a t d i g.  I I a t g o l i t b, t w m f l f m. Y w s I c? I d n k!  I a t b t t: I d t d a b w C, w i b b f;  b i i m n f y t I r i t b.  C o t, I k t I w r, a I w c w a o y f y p a j i t f,  s t t m b w y a y j i C J w o o a o m.

  W h, c y i a m w o t g o C. T, w I c a s y o o h a y i m a, I w k t y s f i o s, c a o m f t f o t g w b f i a w b t w o y. T i a s t t t t w b d, b t y w b s—a t b G.  F i h b g t y o b o C n o t b o h, b a t s f h,  s y a g t t s s y s I h, a n h t I s h.

Which, I know, looks like Gaelic, or Welsh, or Icelandic or something.  But trust me, it works.  I look at the paragraph at the bottom and can remember, Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ...

It works!

Now, here's another trick from the same friend.  In your Bible, highlight the verses you've memorized.  I don't write in my Bible.  Some do, I don't.  But I do highlight my verses.  It's one part reward, and three parts the pleasure of coming across them - like meeting old friends - in my reading.  Give it a try :D

Thursday, October 21, 2010

On Comments and Blogging and Issues

You may have noticed that mine isn't a big "issues" blog.  Call it Motherhood Amnesia* if you want, but I just don't have the time and brain space to keep up.  I'm hopelessly out of fashion, unaware of who is "in" this year month week minute, and don't follow major league sports.  You saw what happened to our last TV.  I don't know who dances with stars, who America idolizes today, or what Bear Grylls is eating.  And reality shows?  If I wanted to see a bunch of arrogant, self-absorbed pin heads with delusions of grandeur pretending to like each other I could watch C-SPAN on youtube.

But I don't.  Between keeping the house, raising the boys, teaching the boys, and trying to keep our ship afloat, along with my sanity (an iffy proposition, at best,) I let a lot go.

I read about it on your blogs!

And here's the funny thing, you'll write something that stirs me up (in a good way) and I start to leave a comment, and as I write I realize that I do still think things, but maybe they have to be provoked out of me.

Sometimes I think I write better comments than blog posts.

So you might get some posts that seem kind of, well, random.  Because instead of leaving a ridiculously long comment on someone else's blog, I'll just put it here and see what you all think.  OK?  OK.

* That temporary condition of being so absorbed in the taming raising of your kids that other things get put on the back burner.  Sometimes for years.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Grand and Stately Figure

Tate loves to set up "arranges" of his plastic soldiers,
often related to events we're studying in history,
or things he has read, or just imagined.
Here is his description, in his own words.

This is a birds' eye view of a fortress that I made.

A recon mission is coming out to save other people (soldiers) who are coming into the fort.

There are people everywhere, including in rooms I made, all along the walls.
These people are either manning gun ports, taking a rest, or re-loading weapons.

This is one of the many different sections of the wall, packed full of soldiers ready to fire on command.

Another view of yet more soldiers milling about.
They look like they're either manning gun ports or catching a quick break to eat some lunch.

One of three towers, filled with sharp-shooters up at a higher elevation for a better vantage point.

Inside a room at the rear of the fort, commanders take counsel together while someone shouts orders to the officers.  There's a white figure you can barely see, at the right.  Three of the men are commanders.  One is actually supposed to be Santa Anna and another is Lafayette, but I pretend they're other people.  The third commander isn't actually a known person, but I chose him as one of the commanders because he was a grand and stately figure.  (He was also a one-of-a-kind person who looked a lot like a commander.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Snakes in the Grass

In school this morning Tate was assigned to write a poem.
He didn't think it would go well.
He was wrong.

Tate being Tate, this is what I got :D

Snakes in the Grass

Little snakes in the grass
Slither quickly, slither fast.
Should an eagle get you
You would be the past.

Quickly now
There is need to rush!

An eagle swoops
An eagle dives,
Quickly, slither for your lives!

Talons gleam
Little snakes scream
And dive for the brush.
All in a rush
the eagle flies away -
nothing but thorns today.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Because You Asked...

Cutzi asked what we're doing leading up to Reformation/All Saints' Day.  Here it is...

We've been using a couple of devotional books by Ann Hibbard for three years now.  Not my bloggy friend Ann Hibbard, a different one!  I think I've mentioned the Christmas book before.  She's written others (Easter, etc.) but I just have these two.

IMHO... we like these.  They're not deep, theological study, but a brief look into the lives of saints, martyrs, church fathers, and missionaries who have gone before us.  We'll spend ten to twenty minutes reading through the lesson, talking about the questions, and looking up the scriptures.  There is a small craft you can include and a hymn to sing, as well.  (We always sing the Christmas carols, but aren't familiar with all the hymns in this book, so often we just read the words.)

Each book includes two years' worth of devotions related to each holiday - in this case, for the ten days leading up to Reformation/All Saints' Day and Thanksgiving Day.  We start a little earlier, since we do them along with homeschool, and not on the weekends.  Preschoolers will be interested - especially if you include the craft  -  but I'd say they're intended for elementary and middle school age kids, with some extra questions to extend the lesson to adults and older kids.  We're on our third year, and after twice through we'll definitely move on to something else, but a bit of repetition is a good thing :D

The Reformation/All Saints' Day devotions focus on church fathers and martyrs (first year) and great missionaries (second year), while the Thanksgiving devotions look at Elijah and Elisha (first year) and our spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus (second year).  So this year we'll read about Polycarp, Perpetua, Athanasius, Ambrose, John Chrysostom, Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John and Charles Wesley, and John Knox.

She also includes ideas for an All Saints' Day party (alternative to Halloween) and family worship to include in your Thanksgiving celebration.

Again, not a deep, theological study, right?  But a good resource of ideas to turn our thoughts toward God, and to be encouraged by the lives and examples of those who have gone before us.  And very inexpensive on Amazon :D

Simple Woman 10-18-10

For today... October 18, 2010

Outside my window...  frost on the grass and roofs, leaves turning red-orange-yellow-brown, not a cloud in the clear blue sky, and busy, busy squirrels.

I am thinking...  how much I love these clear, crisp fall days.

I am thankful for...  good friends, a nearly perfect Sunday yesterday, and hot cocoa with a touch of salted caramel.  Oh my.

I am praying for...  a friend making fresh changes in her life.

I am wearing...  jeans, navy t-shirt, sage green sweater, socks and slippers.

I am creating...  order from chaos.  My office is nearly clean.  Ready to start projects...

I am going...  to be busy this week.  I hope, finishing a project I began in the summer.

I am reading...  Journey to the River Sea, by Eva Ibbotson, with the boys, and enjoying it.  Set in 1910, Maia - an orphan - is sent from London, England to live with distant relatives in Manaus, Brazil.  Things don't go quite as planned.  Apparently this author has written several other books about witches and ghosts, though there is none of that in this book - the only one of hers I've read.  In fact, this one has a bit of a Roald Dahl feel to it :D

I am hoping...  my dad will come with me to Messiah practice.

I am hearing...  silence.  That will be short-lived.  I can guarantee.

I am remembering...  two years ago, having my tonsils out.  UGH.  But no strep throat since then, so it was worth it!

From the learning rooms...  Monday always looks so daunting - so much to do in a week!
But somehow we get through it.  Mostly.
We're starting a special series of devotions on saints, leading up to All Saints' Day / Reformation Day.
This year we'll study ten church fathers and martyrs.

Around the house... more fall decorations making their way out.
And pumpkin spice candles.  Ahhhhhh.

On my mind...  prioritizing time, space, and activities.

Noticing that...  the boys have been very helpful the last week or so.

Pondering these words...
For He is not a God of confusion and disorder, but of peace and order...

One of my favorite things...  days like yesterday.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  school, soccer, school, soccer, and Messiah rehearsal.

Here is a picture I am sharing...

Seen on the way to church...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Free and Unsolicited Advice On Finding Your Groove

Let's just say, for instance, that you had a really wacky day yesterday

And you're trying to get your boys re-oriented toward school, and a normal schedule.  You know... trying to find your groove.

You might decide to give them a "fun" project to work together on, such as finding the answers to questions like these:

1.  In what South American country have hydrolyte geodes been found?
2.  How did Georgius Agricola further the study of geometry?
3.  How did the ancient Egyptians use geometry?
4.  Where is the geographic center of North America?
5.  Who developed ideas that contradicted Ptolemy's geocentric model of the universe?
6.  What famous subterranean tourist site is located in New Mexico?
7.  Where were Nebuchadnezzar's famous terraced gardens built?
8.  Where is John F. Kennedy interred?
9.  Name three Mediterranean countries:
10.  Describe the terrain of Switzerland.

And, once they'd exhausted their own knowledge and reference books, you might offer to help them google up the rest of the information.

That might work, right?

And you might notice that google thinks it's so smart lately.  When you start typing in your key words, it starts suggesting what it thinks you might want.

And when you want to know Where is...  Well, before you even have time to ask for the geographic center of anything, your smart-aleck 14 year-old pounces with glee on the mouse, because google apparently thinks everyone wants to know Where is Chuck Norris.

Try it.  Just type in Where is and see what you get.  I dare ya.

And where is Chuck Norris?

Well, if google doesn't treat you the same, you can click here to find out.

Then you can shovel your kids up off the floor, where they've collapsed in fits of laughter, and try to make them do math.

Yah.  That'll work.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Was That Really Just One Day?

Because, really, it has seemed like two or three.

I'm just sayin'.

Everything was discombobulated.  Not bad, just half a bubble off level, like us.

We didn't have our normal routine going on because Gunnar was invited to a birthday party this morning, from 9:30 to 11:30.  You know, with a bunch of weird, unsocialized homeschoolers, like us.  Who had the run of the model train museum, and got to 'drive' all the model trains, and how cool is that?! (Um, I'm kidding about the weird part.  You knew that, right?)

But even before that, I was on the phone with a good friend.  Her older son (about Wyatt's age) had some suspiciously familiar symptoms... and so we had his younger brother here for much of the day while the older brother had his appendix out. (Which was fun for the boys, and no trouble at all.)

And let me tell you, when I took the younger brother in to the hospital this evening to see his older brother come out of surgery I kept running into people... first the surgeon who removed Tate's appendix came by.  And did a double-take.  I assured her that my boys were all fine and I was here with friends.  Then I repeated that conversation with two of the surgery nurses and two of the Peds nurses.  Yes, thank you, I'm just visiting this time.  And oh-so-happy to be going home to my own bed and my own healthy boys.  Thank you, Lord.

Oh, but let me back up... you know what Kerry's first words to me were this morning, at 6:30AM

"Uh, you know I have a meeting at 9:30, right?"   

Right.  Because I'm psychotic psychic.  And this meeting matters because, you see, Kerry's office is not-to-be-seen by anyone that isn't closely related, so client meetings happen around the dining room table.  Yah.

And a good morning to you, too!

Had to call a quick, family blitz.  Hallelujah the boys are used to this, and actually very helpful.  In about 30 minutes we got all the stinky garbage and recycling out, (it had piled up in the mudroom because it was so windy the last couple of nights), got the dishwasher loaded up and running, vacuumed the living room and dining room, dusted, swept and mopped the kitchen and mudroom, packed up the 1000-piece puzzle (that had about 20 pieces left to complete - darn it!), picked up guitars and several piles of books from around the living room and dining room, and just had time to do a quick swipe around the bathroom.  Whew.

Then we did what school we could, had a brief celebratory visit by Gramma Grasshopper (whose stress fracture has healed and she can say goodbye to the wheelchair - WOOT!), got Gunnar to and from soccer practice, got the bills paid and in the mail (just a couple days late...), and I'm probably missing something.  Or a few things, more likely.  But there you have it.

Was that really just one day?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Simple Woman 10-11-10

For Today... October 11, 2010

Outside my window...  sunshine breaking through morning mist, leaves turning slowly, and squirrels busily hiding nuts.

I am thinking...  Happy Columbus Day!

I am thankful for...  family, restful Sundays, and turkey dinners.

I am praying for...  three people who are healing, work for Kerry, and wisdom to challenge the boys in good ways.

I am wearing...  well, duh.

I am going...  to do school with the boys, though the public schools are on holiday, so we can have our Friday off.

I am reading...  other Simple Woman daybooks - click the link above.

I am hoping...  for inspiration.

I am hearing...  the stellar jays and the squirrels scolding each other.  It's all about peanuts.

From the learning rooms...  ratios, decimals, multiplying by 3and 6 and 9, experiments with motion, Ned Kelly, and words with geo and terra.

From the kitchen...  something new for dinner, caribou, compliments of Grampa Grasshopper.
It is the leanest, reddest meat I've ever seen.  Not a bit of fat.
Good thing the boys don't believe in Santa, you know...
eating a reindeer might not go over well, yah?

Around the house...  breaking out all the fall decorations :D
I like to put out a lot of photos of family and friends as we get near Thanksgiving.

Pondering these words...

When I count my blessings,
they all have a first and last name.

One of my favorite things...  boys that still snuggle with me.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  school, soccer, and Messiah rehearsals.

Here is a picture I am sharing...


Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Solidly Good Day

Last night the wind was howling and the rain coming down in sheets, and I thought,
Here it is.  Fall-to-winter.

But today...

... surprise, surprise.  The sky cleared, the sun shone, and it's my favorite kind of fall day.

We made it to 8:30 church without rushing or drama
(which isn't exactly a sure thing, even at the age our kids are).
Friendly faces, familiar hymns sung in four parts, with enthusiasm,
kids - young and old - taking notes on their 5x7 cards,
the blessing, the Gloria Patri,
and cookies after the service, in the cookie room.

From the first Sunday we visited I've loved the way this church sings.
In part, because of Hilda.
(Click the link, it's a wonderful tribute, written by my friend Emily Gibson.)
Also, I think, because we have no "stage", and no "worship team",
so everybody does their part.
Then we went on to Grampa and Gramma Grasshoppers' house
for Aunty Tami and Uncle Dave's birthday celebration.
Not twins.  Born two years and two days apart.

And everyone was calm and pleasant.
And Gramma Grasshopper had cooked a full-on turkey dinner.
And we were pleasantly stuffed.

And on the way home I sighed and said,
That was a good day.

And Tate said,
A solidly good day.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sons of Thunder

You know how names have meanings?

I think boys should all be named with verbs, y'know what I mean?  Action verbs.  None of those pansy state-of-being verbs.

Yah.  That would be my boys.

Running, jumping, kicking, yelling... you get the picture.

Wyatt and Tate had a 7:30 call time for an 8am game.  Yah.  We were out the door at 7am.  On a Saturday.  (Gunnar's game was a little later... we had to divide and conquer.  He did great :D )

And, no, those pictures weren't taken today.  In the wet and windy darkness of 7am, the camera was the last thing on my mind.

Wyatt and Tate have been having a really tough season.  Their team spans three grades - kids from 11 (Tate) to 14 (Wyatt) - and a vast gulf in ability levels.  Many of the boys have never played together before, and the coach is new to most of them as well.  Lots of frustration.  And lots of 8am games.  And, apparently, some adolescent boys don't like early morning games.  Unlike mine, who were up at five-fifty this morning.  I know not why. 

But today was good.  They played like a team.  And they kept their cool when the other team - older and bigger - fouled them repeatedly.  And Wyatt even kept his cool when he got called on a foul.  (He deserved it ;D )  And, though they lost, they played like champs today.

And Wyatt came home, had a shower, and finished his math from yesterday without any drama.  So that was huge.  Huge.

Between bursts of the carbonated hormones of adolescence, there is hope of coming maturity.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

To Do, Today...

Some days the Mother Load seems enormous.

We had a Special Activity on Monday that began at 8am and didn't end until 11pm, so - you can imagine - we started our school week rather slowly and late.  Um, that's an understatement.  Tuesday felt like pushing a rope uphill.  Through molasses.  There were tears.  There was whining.  There was grumpiness.  There was much unfinished work.  And there were raging, raging hormones.  (The Boy's.  And possibly some of mine.  Just possibly.) 

And by lunch-time Wyatt owed me seventy-five (seventy-five!) sentences,  and I am letting him work off some of them, if he will actually do the work.

And the sun was shining, and we know that can't last long.  And there were leaves to be raked, and apples to be made into applesauce.  And sometimes Real Work is more important than School Work.  (*Gasp!*)  And that's what happened.

So now it's Thursday, but it feels like Wednesday, and I feel like I'm still trying to crawl out from under it all.


And I cooked a turkey yesterday, which is a good thing.  But on turkey days... by the end of the day I'm on Sage Overload, and I think if I get one more whiff of sage my nose might leave my body, to go in search of other aromas, so there will be no turkey leftovers today.  I want to make pies, but it will have to wait a day or two.

And there are four weeks left of soccer, and I am already getting perky emails about the all-important end-of-the-season party.

While I applaud planning ahead and being frugal, I couldn't help but be boggled at the suggestion that we "just do something at the field, after the last game".  Which falls on October 30th.  (Are they new here?!)  Because by October 30th, anything we do at the field will most likely involve huddling with our backs to the wind and rain, ankle-deep mud, and multiple layers of Gore-tex and polar-fleece.  Or hypothermia, take your pick.

And the bills need to be paid, the kitchen floor needs desperately to be mopped, the boys' beds need fresh sheets, there's work to do in the flower beds before winter, and... I'm sure there's more.

So, among other things, I haven't had much time lately for visiting my favorite blogs.  

And it's 79 days until Christmas.

In case you were wondering.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Simple Woman 10-5-10

For Today, October 5, 2010

Outside my window...  clear blue skies, deep green fir and hemlock, red virginia creeper, green to yellow to red to purple dogwood, and two families of robins very, very busy in the gapevine, raising one last hatching of babies.
 Brrr!  It's 41F!  (That's 5C, for you metric folks.)

I am thinking...   this is exactly the kind of fall day I love :D

I am thankful for...  a fun day yesterday with the boys, my dad back safely (and successfully!) from a hunting trip, and central heating.

I am praying for...  our pastor (recovering from surgery), my mom's leg to heal (stress fracture), and - as always - more work for Kerry.

I am wearing...  blue jeans, dark green sweater, wool socks. slippers.

I am creating...  hmmm.  Must be creating some Christmas presents soon...

I am going...  to get our school day going, momentarily.  We're getting a late start today due to all our fun yesterday, and not getting to bed until 11:30 - definitely NOT our norm!

I am reading...  The 21 Balloons, by William Pene du Bois, with the boys.  Did you read it when you were young?  I always wanted to make the Airy Go-Round!

I am hoping...  for this weather to last!

I am hearing...  the washer tumbling, (do you think my clothes will dry on the line at 41F?), and the boys talking.  

From the learning rooms...  since we didn't do school yesterday, we have the usual Monday Mountain of books.  Let's see... decimals, the Suez Canal, keyboarding, experiments to do with motion, and memorizing Proverbs that deal with friendships.

From the kitchen...  I was going to cook a turkey today, but think I'll do that tomorrow, what with the late start we're getting.  I have three large bowls of apples to cut up and make applesauce.  Dinner?  Hmm, probably something chicken.

Around the house...  need to tidy, as Kerry is meeting clients in the dining room at 3!

On my mind... my sister and brother's birthdays - yesterday and tomorrow.

Noticing that...  how fast the boys are growing.  *sigh*

Pondering these words...  
Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world:
small hands do them because they must,
while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.
 - Tolkien

One of my favorite things...  fall days just like this one.
Have I mentioned that?  ;D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  school and soccer.
And more school.
And more soccer.

Here is a picture I am sharing...

2007?  2008?  Not sure...
I think 2007.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Real Report

 (Referring to Wyatt's day of labor.)

I had intended to give him a full eight-hour work day, but when Aunty Tami invited the boys to spend the night I couldn't pass that up, and reduced it to six.

The Good News:  Wyatt did work from 8am until 2:30 (with a half-hour lunch break), as far as I can tell without complaint.  Well, that alone is huge, HUGE.  He sanded, he cleaned up the muck from the gutters, swept part of the driveway, and worked on digging a trench for Kerry.  And he was much more pleasant to be around.

The Less-Good News:  While he did work the entire time, I wouldn't say he exactly worked hard the whole time.  In fact, had we put Tate on the same jobs I would put good money on twice as much work having been done.

In fact, I let Tate and Gunnar play all morning.  Tate and I did a 700-piece puzzle (which he chose because, well, he loves trains, and because it relates to our history reading about the meeting of the intercontinental rail road at Promontory Point,) and I only "helped" because I enjoy puzzles, not because he needed help.

After lunch the three of us dug potatoes, and pruned, divided, and moved several plants from my sadly neglected flowerbeds.

But the whole thing got me thinking.  Of the obvious.

The boys need more exercise and more work.  There are times I wish we lived out in the county, where I had more meaningful work to give them.  And more space to turn them loose.  But we don't. 

Still, there are plenty of projects around here I can get them onto.

I'm planning...