Friday, March 30, 2012

Smile When You Sing

Our first concert is tonight, and it reminded me of a story I have for you.  A true story.  Only the name has been changed, to protect the flatulent.

I started singing in the church choir when I was in middle school, in the late '70s.  You remember the days of church choirs?  We had irridescent, peacock blue choir robes that covered us from head to knee (which isn't such a bad thing when you see what some "worship team" members come up with), and funny reversible collars (yellow or white) around our necks.

We'd file in, to the front of the church.  Sometimes we'd sing some kind of brief call to worship at the beginning and sometimes not, but we'd sit in pews up on the platform, off to the side of the pulpit, until we sang our "anthem".  Because when you sing it, it's a song, but when the choir sings it, it's an anthem... why???  And then we'd go down to our seats.  Unless it was Easter, or Christmas and the church was packed with visitors.

And of course, sitting up there in front of the church, we had to behave ourselves.  I mean, everybody could see us.

There was one little problem.  The sweet old lady who sat next to me.  She was probably just about exactly what you're imagining - permed hair (probably dyed, but I'd never have asked), a modest dress, sensible shoes, thick glasses, thick ankles, and a big smile.  I always liked her.  So what's the problem?

This dear woman - let's call her Pearl - had a very active gastrointestinal system.  A very noisy system, that took on a life of its own every Sunday morning.  And Pearl, I can only assume, had some degree of age-related hearing loss.  In short, she made all manner of interesting and unusual noises which she herself appeared not to be able to hear.

But I could.

Long before the choir sang, Pearl's gut was warming up.  It would start out quietly with a few modest gurgles as the pastor opened in prayer.  Then, as he gave the announcements, it would grow to a rolling, echo-y rumble.  I would sit, trying to keep a poker face, wondering to myself if it were possible that no one else could hear it?  Perhaps the people in the first or second pew?  Certainly the other choir members?  But nobody gave any indication.  I had to soldier on, stoically.  Alone.

I'd sneak a glance to my left.  Pearl sat gazing over the congregation, with the same placid smile on her face as always.  If she couldn't hear herself, couldn't she feel anything?  I mean, the pew was practically shaking!  Well, maybe that was me, trying valiantly to hold in the laughter.

And then - the grand finale, her digestive tract had been building up to.  I've never heard anything like it, outside of cartoon sound effects.  And how can I describe it?

While all was quiet, and the pastor was praying...

Pearl went off like a spring.  A very, very loud spring.

Bo-yo-yo-yo-yoing!   Bo-yo-yo-yo-yoing!  Bo-yo-yo-yo-yoing!

Nearly every Sunday, Pearl's intestines cut loose with a gaseous, internal Hallelujah Chorus.

And all God's people said... Amen.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Wiser Derby

We go to a small, country church and we love it.  It's not flashy.  It's not famous.  And it's definitely not contemporvant.

And even without a lot of structured programs to keep us busy, we manage to have a lot of fun along the way.  ;D

Witness last week's Pinewood Derby.  The kids had a chance to make a car at the twice-a-month boys' and girls' club, but the competition was thrown open to anyone who wanted to join.  Clearly, some people take this a lot more seriously than others, and the cars reflected the owners' personalities and interests.

Jane, our pastor's wife, put herself in the driver's seat, surrounded by flowers.  And that's Pastor Bert's car, with the Air Force jet lifting off.  He's a former pilot.  And there's Gunnar's tank in the middle.  He put a lot of thought and work into that turret and barrel.  The paint colors had to be mixed Just Right.

Kerry resurrected a car he "helped" one of the older boys make, back in AWANA - the red car in space 41.  Sadly, it didn't even finish either of its races... that was a first.

Wyatt raced his school bus. (He was banking on the fact that nobody is supposed to pass a bus, right?)  And Tate brought his BNSF engine out of retirement.  Both very cool.

I love the canoe, too, manned by two men who paddle together in the annual Ski-to-Sea Relay.

Of course, the big event was the race, and we didn't win, place, or show, but the boys handled it maturely.  Actually, I loved that the two fastest cars were about the lowest "tech" cars there, made by two sisters.

But honestly, I think the bigger show was going on outside.  A front was moving in, after a few spring-like days, and made for an incredible sunset.

Looking west...

And east, toward Mt. Baker.

Enjoy the view and imagine the *ahem* fresh, farm air... this is dairy country.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

That's My Boy

Gunnar and I are learning about crustaceans this week.  Today, his zoology book showed us pictures of two crabs, very like these.

It explained that female crabs (which lay eggs) have a wider abdomen, thus, the crab on the top is the female.

Gunnar seemed disappointed.  He had thought the crab on the bottom was the female.


It's cleaner.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Secrets of the Universe

In the school room, I watch one of the boys reach into the bucket for a pencil.
He pulls one out, looks at the tip - dull - and puts it back.  Then repeats the process.  And again.  With a look of growing disgust.

Um, son?  There's a process here you're missing.  It's a fairly simple one.  It goes like this:

 If you want the pencils to be sharp, then

you have to sharpen them.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, March 26, 2012

Outside my window...  see the picture above?  False advertising.  We had a brief run of warm, sunny days, that actually felt very springy.  I think we even hit 60F and I bet half the people in our county just broke out their lawn mowers for the first time this weekend.  But now... back to clouds and rain.  *sigh*

I am thinking...  just feeling kind of blah.  Not bad, just blah.  Dull.  Looking forward to taking next week off!  Well, mostly off.  Wyatt has some work to do (only where he's fallen behind - I'm not piling on), and Tate may work ahead a bit, anticipating missing some time when he has his surgery, but I'm really not worried about it. 

And thinking about next week - Holy Week - a good time to relax and reflect.  So much better than just "Spring Break".

I am thankful for...  the work Kerry has, that all the boys are healthy, and that we have a warm, dry house on these dark rainy days.

I am praying for... more work, the whole CI process, a productive week, harmony in the house.

I am creating...  plans for next week ;D

I am reading...  Moccasin Trail, with the boys.  Looking forward to more time to read for me.

I am hearing...  Tate ironing his CAP uniform, the furnace blowing, and rain dripping.

From the learning rooms...  10:39, and Tate is already finished for the day, having begun before seven.  Let's see, he's learning about cold and warm fronts, frontier missionaries, using adjectives to improve his writing, and algebraic sentences (ie "the sum of three times a number and the opposite of seven is twenty," means 3N + (-7) = 20. 

Wyatt is reading a biography of Cameron Townsend, free verse poetry about a girl and her family in the Dust Bowl years, and that time in history, he's also graphing quadratic equations, learning more (pre)physics - mass/acceleration/force/vectors/etc. and identifying simple vs. complex vs. compound vs. complex/compound sentences. 

Gunnar, on the other hand, just aced his math test, is also learning about frontier missionaries, is practicing the use of the comma, and is about to launch into a two-week study of crustaceans, and is raising sea monkeys.  Wish us luck.

From the kitchen...  hmmm, maybe chicken sandwiches for lunch, since we won't all be together for dinner, due to choir practice. 

Around the house...  the usual piles of books (just found that overdue library book!), as well as LEGO, and several "cars" from Saturday's Pinewood Derby, put on by our church.  I use the word "cars" loosely, as the boys raced a school bus (Wyatt), a tank (Gunnar), and a BNSF locomotive (Tate).  No trophies here, but lots of fun. :D

Something I want to remember later...  how much Gunnar enjoys using words like "hence" and "thus".

On my mind...  all the reading I want to do!

Noticing that...  arrrgh, are polynomial equations part of the sanctification process???

Pondering these words...  Darth Vader, kilt, bagpipe, unicycle.  Bet you thought you'd never see those words connected.  Check HERE.  Go ahead.  I'll wait.  Now wasn't that worth it?  Just a little weirdness for your Monday.

One of my favorite things...  undercooked brownies, still warm from the oven.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  choir practice tonight, CAP tomorrow, concerts Friday and Saturday, and then - bang - it's Palm Sunday, and the beginning of Holy Week.

Here is a picture I am sharing...

I got nothing... but this National Geographic photo I'm using for my 'wallpaper'.

There.  That feels kind of springy :o)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Yet Another Friday Brain Dump

 Well.  It has been quite a week.  A week where I said Well a lot.  And several other things not fit for publication.

1.  Last Saturday I woke up and looked out my bedroom window at this.

Just in case, you know, the weather might be different on the other side of the house, I walked over and checked.

Normally... well, there is no normally.  Most days, at any rate, I wouldn't care, but Wyatt and Tate had been waiting a long time for their CAP O-Flights.  Good thing they're patient, because it was completely socked in.  But...

2.  Lo and behold, the afternoon was a different story.  Thankfully, I had insisted they take cameras with them just in case.  You see, one Saturday a month they volunteer at the Heritage Flight Museum, so they were going there, either way.  Wyatt, who actually got to fly over our house - I heard them buzzing us - being a genius fifteen-year-old, left his camera in Kerry's 4Runner, but Tate diligently remembered.

Ta daaaa!

Taking off...

Over the bay

Back over the airport

A county park we like to visit

Out over the bay and islands

Of course, boys being boys, it did not occur to either of them to ask someone else to take a photo of them with the pilot, or with the airplane, or...

3.  Of my babies actually flying the airplane.  Which, yes, they got to do!  They informed me it was much easier than driving a car, since there's not much pesky traffic to deal with.  Also, they left the more complicated bits, like taking off and landing, to the actual licensed pilot, which was a good decision by all involved.  Still, they flew!  They really flew!

4.  Tuesday, Tate had decisions to make.  As reported below, he has chosen his CI.  We had a really interesting appointment.  I had no idea there were so many options and "doo-hickeys" (not the actual technical term) to choose from.  We also pled our case again, for trying to move the surgery date sooner.  And I think some of you were praying, because...

5.  I got an email the very next day, offering us May 30!!!
Yes, we're just a wee bit excited!

6.  And distracted.  Two ladies - friends of a mutual friend - who were both implanted as adults, dropped by on Wednesday to talk with Tate - answer any questions, chat, etc.  And while we were visiting, I was less-than-attentive to the bean soup I'd left bubbling away in the kitchen.

7.  And the bean soup burned.  And let me just tell you - that is a smell you'll thank me you missed.  Not only did I ruin the my new soup pot (the one I got, to replace the one I ruined when corn burned to the bottom of it... Julia Childs, I'm not), but the whole house smelled like an ashtray.  A very old, dirty ashtray.

8.  Which was just fabulous, since the church youth group was coming for dinner.  Thankfully I had also made a big pot of potato soup, that was safe, in the crock-pot, and there was plenty for every one.  We just banished the burned soup (to deal with later), lit a bunch of candles and pretended the house didn't smell like a chain-smoker had been living here.

9.  Then, in an effort to get rid of the lingering smell, the next morning I hand-washed all the furnace filters, cutting my finger in the process.  Yah.  Genius.

10.  And in all the hubbub, I managed to completely forget my parents' anniversary.  Which was Tuesday.  The day Tate and I were in Seattle, and Grandma Grasshopper was picking up her new car.  (New car smell!  That's as close as I'll get to it!)  But good grief... forty-seven years, and I FORGOT!

Happy Anniversary!!!

The boys wanted to take them to Coldstone, to celebrate.  And I still forgot.

11.  Late last night, Gunnar came out of the garage and a rat ran right over his foot.  A rat!  Ewwwww.  I had a discussion with the boys about cleaning up really well under and around the rabbit cage, so there's nothing to draw unwanted rodents.  Tate suggested that the rat was probably attracted by the remnants of the bean soup (still outside... I despair) but rats are actually known to be intelligent, thus ruling out the attraction-by-burned-soup theory.  Nice try, but you still have to clean up around the rabbits.

12.  Well, I think I'm on empty.  So it's time to close.  And what are you doing, still here, reading, anyway?!  ;D

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Well, Tate has had a busy day.  A big day.  We drove to Seattle for his "device consult". 

Tate is thirteen.  Not an adult yet, but not a kid, either.  Old enough to have a say.  And Children's has been fabulous about this.  All the professionals we've met with have dealt directly with him, but not in a way that raised my hackles... always respectful of me and grandpa and grandma, who have both accompanied us to visits recently.

Tate is old enough.  Ultimately it's his body, his hearing, his decision.   But here's the thing.

Sometimes it's really hard for him to make decisions. 

I think it's partly a second-child thing, and partly just who he is.  He really wants to please the ones he loves and respects.  Like me.

So, bonus!  There's no bad choice here!  There are three companies approved in the US for cochlear implants, and they're all good.  We had narrowed it down to two, (with a strong front-runner) before today, and I wondered how Tate would do, or if he would "punt".

He did great.

He had good questions.  We discussed them.  He weighed the options.  He made his choice, and...

Advanced Bionics, here we come!

If you're wondering... here's the part that will be implanted behind his left ear.  The little thread-like projection is the electrode array that will slide into his cochlea.

And this is the Harmony Processor, that is worn BTE (behind the ear) like a hearing aid.  He chose the dark one.  I think he likes the "tech" look of it.
But if he thought he was done making decisions... he was just beginning.  There are so many choices!  First, which set of colors to customize the processor and the part that sticks to the magnet?  (If you count from the left, he chose the group of #5-#8.)

But wait, we're not finished... he's also getting...

... if you guessed a Swiss Army knife, look again...

... this is his second processor, the Neptune, which also has an array of color choices

Tate went with black, lime green, and the darker blue.

The Neptune really 'sealed the deal' for him.  It's fully waterproof.  Get that?

He can swim with it.

That may not seem like a big deal, but think about it for a minute.  Any time he swims, he is very nearly completely deaf. 

He can't hear anyone calling him, wanting to play with him, or warning him of danger.  

I know, you don't hear much when you're actually swimming - you know, underwater.  But it's not just that.  It's all the time at the beach, around the water, hanging out and goofing around with friends.  And it's not just swimming.  It's squirt gun battles with the neighbors.  SAR-EX's in the rain.  Heck, anything in the rain.  I mean, this is the Pacific Northwest, the land of "liquid sunshine"... ha ha ha.

So now we wait.

His scheduled surgery date is... July 11.  I hadn't wanted to share that, because it seems too far away.  Actually, we're really hoping they'll bump him up.  Talked with the doc about that today (she's the head of the program, but not one of the surgeons.)  She seemed surprised he was scheduled so far out too.  Asked if we were committed to the surgeon we were assigned.

I like the guy and don't want to step on any toes, but... no.  We'll take "first available".  They're looking for a cancellation.  They could call us at any time and say, "Come tomorrow."  And that would be fine.  Tate is cool as a cucumber.

I'm hoping and praying he can move up, because here's the thing.  He really wants to go to the CAP Basic Encampment in August.  It's like a week of Boot Camp, and he really, really wants to go.  (I know, I know, what could be more fun than living in barracks, eating MREs, and sweating your heart out with a bunch of other cadets? ... really.)  Yah, in the big picture, which is more important?  The CI, of course.  But to a thirteen year old boy, the whole grueling military experience is like heaven on earth.  And if he's recovering from CI surgery (which can affect your vestibular system) and supposed to be in the process of mapping appointments... well, that may not all work out so well.

So, by all means, feel free to pray with us that his surgery gets moved up!

In the meantime, we're kind of giddy, to be honest.  I mean, pinch me.  His ear, that has been deaf for almost six years, will hear again.  I have to admit to being your basic tech neanderthal, but I'm absolutely overjoyed at the technology available to us - to Tate - today.

I'll let you know if we hear anything!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Grasshopper Days


Grasshopper Days

For today, March 19, 2012

Outside my window...  the sun is trying to burn through the clouds, but it's still quite cold and breezy.

I am thinking...  I keep thinking I should change the picture to a spring view, but we keep getting snow - more on Saturday and Sunday.  Really?!

I am praying for...  looking at our options for the next school year, praying about Tate's CI surgery, and work for Kerry.

I am wearing...  jeans, black t-shirt, black sweater, wool socks.  Trying to decide if I should cut my hair or let it grow.  It's at a yucky stage.

I am creating...  nothing.  Feeling very blah and uninspired.

I am going...  ?  Really.  Uninspired.

I am reading...  Moccasin Trail with the boys.

I am hoping...  it's time to come out of hibernation.

I am hearing...  a jet going over, the furnace coming on, and quiet from the laundry room, which means I should throw another load in.

I am remembering...  how little the boys were when we moved to this house (2, 4, and 7), and how they used to climb up the doorframes like little monkeys.

From the learning rooms...  Wyatt - radicals in equations (and fractions), early 1900's, force and motion, and the eight parts of speech/language; Tate - jet streams and El Nino, properties of equations, the Oregon Trail, and subject/verb agreement; Gunnar - cnidarians, angles and polygons, the Oregon Trail, and analyzing non-fiction.

From the kitchen...  made a big taco salad for lunch and I'm off the hook for dinner, as Wyatt and I have choir practice tonight.  ;D

Around the house...  blankets, everywhere.  It's still so chilly, we all like pulling a blanket around us when we sit down to read or study or watch something.

Something I want to remember for later...  how serious the boys are about ironing their CAP uniforms.  Very serious. 

On my mind...  you know, some days it's like driving on ice with bald tires.  I just don't feel like I'm getting any mental traction.  *sigh*  Not enough sleep?

Noticing that...  ahhh, the days are getting longer.  More daylight :D  I'm such a homebody.  It's hard to leave the house and go somewhere once it gets dark.  It's not a fear... I don't mind driving in the dark.  It just seems like once it gets dark, it's time to stay home.  Now, at least, when we're leaving for rehearsals it's still light out, and I like that.

Pondering these words...  Light travels faster than sound.  Which is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

One of my favorite things...  daylight ;D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Wyatt and I have choir practice tonight, Wyatt and Tate have CAP tomorrow, Wednesday youth group is here (time to break out the crock pots), also tomorrow Tate and I are going to Seattle for his "device consult" - he gets to pick which CI he wants.  (I think I know... the water-proof one - the Neptune!), and a church potluck and Pinewood Derby on Saturday.  Gunnar has a tank.  Tate has a BNSF engine, and Wyatt has a school bus.  They weren't exactly concerned with aerodynamics, y'know?

Here is a picture I am sharing...

 My dad took this, right off his front porch.  She was bedded down, covered with snow just a moment before, but in the time it took to get the camera, she stood and shook the snow off.  Still, a beautiful picture, yah?

Which First Time

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Brain Dump

Yes, it's time for another round-up of randomness, on a windy and wet morning.

1.  Yes, we celebrated Pi Day.  Not properly, at 1:59 in the morning, but in the evening.  Had Grandpa and Grandma Grasshopper join us for a dinner of turkey pot pie, and a cherry cobbler (it's a kind of pie, right?) for dessert.  Yum :D

2.  Yes, we are still surrounded by snow.  Not here at the house, but in the hills all around the lake.  Spring, anyone?

3.  All is well here, at La Casa de Mentia, though I think the boys are getting a bit stir crazy.  Have I mentioned that it has been raining?  A lot?  I'm a home-body and I can look out the windows (streaming with water) and honestly say,
 It's a perfect day! 

to stay home with a hot drink and a good book.  And school work, of course, always the school work.

4.  Snow, wind, rain, sunshine, hail... yes, you can have it all, in one day in the Pacific Northwest.

5.  We are just two weeks from our Easter concerts.  I'm glad Wyatt has joined in.  He's even talked about doing Messiah with us this Christmas.  And - three cheers for Value Village - I got him his black concert clothes (long-sleeve dress shirt, really nice pants - I think they're wool, and a belt) for about sixteen bucks.  He can use his CAP "dress blues" uniform shoes (which are black).  Whew!

6.  Kerry has a bit of work lined up, at least for a few weeks.  Hear my sigh of relief?  And I think we get to skip a house payment, since we "restructured" the loan.  (I guess that's like refinancing, without all the fees.)

7.  Wyatt and Tate are going to be busy this weekend...  they have CAP commitments both Saturday and Sunday, which is unusual and not my preference (for them to miss church) but they're taking a special (military) radio class, only offered once every two years.  AND, weather permitting, they may finally get their O-Flights!  That would be awesome, but frankly, right now it's not looking too good.  Lots of wind, rain, and low clouds.  We'll see :o)  If not this month, maybe next month.

8.  It's about time for spring cleaning.  Yay!  Is it weird that I'm excited about that?  Around here, that mostly means having the boys try on everything they own, handing stuff down, and unloading what doesn't fit or we don't need.  Funny thing is, Wyatt and Tate mostly wear the same size.  Wyatt is a bit taller, but Tate is a bit stockier, so Gunnar gets "handy-downs" from both of them.  And they're all growing like dandelions on steroids...

9.  We went to a high school musical last weekend.  Wow.  It had some highs and lows, which I won't detail, other than that the musicians (including Kerry's brother's son) were excellent.
*  I will tell you that I didn't expect to pay FORTY BUCKS to see something my tax dollars already pay for. 
*  I will also tell you I didn't expect twenty high school girls (on stage) to all bend over, raise their skirts, and expose themselves to my three sons and the rest of the audience, leopard-print panties or not. 
*  And I will also tell you that we have weeks worth of practice in editing grammar and writing, courtesy of the six-page program we were provided.  I'd like to think that high schoolers know better than to write things like "She has ran...", or that "awesome" is a (much overused) adjective rather than a noun, and that it just might be considered somewhat inappropriate to refer in print to your adolescent male leads as "sexy". 
*  And I'd really like to think that some sort of teacher or adviser or ADULT might have had similar thoughts, but apparently not.

That will be all.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day

It's Pi Day - go make a pie ;D


Did you know that Pi - 3.14 - backwards, spells pie?  Check it out.

Release your inner math geek!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Feeling Warm and Fuzzy

A good thing happened the night before last.

Kerry burned his toast.  (No, that's not it.)

It set off the smoke alarms.  (No, not so wonderful either.)

All the boys had been in bed for awhile, and the smoke alarm in their room is a special one, for the deaf and hard of hearing.  That means, it's loud enough to wake the (nearly) dead and has a brilliant, flashing strobe.  So, you know, all in all a fabulous way to be awakened.

Knowing it was just burned toast, I headed right up to the bedroom, curious to see if the boys - who can be heavy sleepers - were awake.  Yep, all three of them were up and moving.  We've had a lot of false alarms, so none of them were moving very quickly, but they were up.

Here's the good part.

Wyatt woke up first.  He jumped out of bed, reached over and whacked Tate (who was still sleeping) on the chest, checked to see if Gunnar was awake, and then headed for the door.


Tate is a very sound sleeper.  Don't know if that is related to his hearing loss or not (I was too).  At any rate, the strobe and the screaming alarm had not immediately awakened him.  

But his brother did.

And that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.  Which is a good thing, since it snowed.  Again.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, March 12, 2012

Outside my window...  trees bending and tossing in the wind.  It's been pretty wild here the last couple of days, but - NO - my power didn't go out.  (Yay!)

I am thinking...  something kind of funny, kind of cool happened last night.  I'll tell you later.  Also, would you believe that it snowed here again yesterday?  Didn't stick at our house, but we can see fresh snow up in the hills, and we're supposed to get more tomorrow.  Really???

I am thankful for...  good news in the family, a warm dry house in all this rain, healthy boys, and that we took that big tree out last summer.  With all this wind...

I am praying for...  work for Kerry, a friend's new baby, a smooth week of school work.

I am wearing...  oooo, get ready... blue jeans, black t-shirt, green sweater, wool socks.  A-MAZ-ING.  /sarcasm

I am going...  to fold Mt. Laundry today.  Whoopeee.

I am reading...  Soft Rain, with the boys - about the Cherokee Trail of Tears.

I am hoping...  the weather lightens up a bit.  It's crazy out there!

I am hearing...  well, the wind, of course.  It makes a fascinating sound in the windows... sort of  harmonic.  It's like I can hear a minor chord in the windows.  Weird.  Otherwise, the house is quiet.  Wyatt is doing his Bible study, before starting his school work.  Tate and Gunnar are helping neighbors look for a lost chicken.  (Oh, Hildegarde, where are you?)  Hope they're back soon...

From the learning rooms...  Wyatt - finding and factoring square roots; the turn of the century and WWI; motion, acceleration and velocity; and the usual round of writing and grammar.  Tate - plugging along through pre-algebra; learning meteorology; and - with Gunnar - reading about "Native American Struggles".  Gunnar - getting a good start on next year's math by working on units of measurement, graphs, charts, etc.; spelling/reading/writing; and a two-week study of Cnidarians.  (No, those are not space aliens.  That's sea anemones, jelly-fish, and corals.)

From the kitchen...  soup and bagels for lunch today.  Maybe I'll start some fresh bread for dinner :D

Around the house...  pretty tidy, due to the in-laws being in town for the weekend.

Something I want to remember later...  oh my word, Gunnar never stops talking!!!  He's just got a lot to say.  And he's smart.  He'll tell you all about the barred owl we saw in the park, the latest Monk episode we watched, the merits of Schleich vs. Safari (very realistic toy plastic animals), the book he's reading (Wesley the Owl), and echinoderms.

On my mind...  how do you "not worry"?

Noticing that...  I know I've said it before, but just how fast the boys are growing and maturing.

One of my favorite things...  hot cocoa on a cold day :D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  choir practice tonight with Wyatt, CAP tomorrow, and - other than school - I think the rest of the week is open.

Sorry, no picture today.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

CAP Update

The boys are really thriving in CAP.  It's funny, I'd never heard of it until another mom blogged about her son's involvement.  They're an Air Force family, so I assumed it was something just for kids on the base.  So glad to be wrong :D 

Both Wyatt and Tate are working hard to earn their promotions, and it's all their own "thing".  They do their own studying, their own practicing, exercising, etc.  There's an interesting dynamic in the group, in that it's not structured around fun activities (sure, they have fun, but that's not the purpose) and it's all volunteer.  They all work.  A lot.  They do hours of community service.  They train with and assist local Search and Rescue.  They help the local Heritage Flight Museum.  They honor Veterans.  Nobody is required to join... to do these things.  They're all there because they want to be.  They want to work hard.  They want to serve.  It's a pretty neat group of people, from what I've seen.

Earlier this year they provided a Color Guard at the homecoming of a local fallen Marine.

That's my Tate, looking very solemn.

That's just part of the group, on a very cold (low 40's) and rainy day.

Wyatt (front right) and Tate (on the left) look a bit cold!

Tate earned his second promotion last month...

... and Wyatt earned his this month, making them both (I believe, and they're not here to ask)...

... Cadet Airmen First Class.

Well done, boys :D

They were also excited to show me something behind the building...

... even Gunnar perked up for that ;D

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Commander's Call

The first CAP meeting of the month is a big deal.  

The boys wear their dress blues (and there is much ironing and shoe-shining), and awards are given.  It took us awhile to figure out the system for promoting, which involves aerospace testing, leadership testing, PT testing, and drill testing (marching and following orders).  To make everything more complicated, the meetings are all held at the armory, which is a big concrete echo chamber.  I don't know how Tate understands a thing anyone says.  I can barely manage it.

As we sat through the Commander's Call (meeting) in the back row, trying valiantly to follow the various speakers, Gunnar got more and more frustrated.  He kept asking me what people were saying and I was only catching half of it anyway and I kept shushing him.

Finally he gritted his teeth and said,

I can't see what they're doing.  
I can't hear what they're saying.  
What am I supposed to do, smell what's happening?

Well, I guess you could try.

I'll have a CAP update tomorrow :D

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Good Morning

It's March 6th.  That means fifteen days until spring, right?  I thought so.  But I woke up to this.  Thought you might like to see...

There wasn't a lot.  But really?  Now???  Yes, apparently now.

And oh, how gorgeous, as the sun came over the hills.

Everything began to glow.

I know, it's kind of redundant.  But I love the swirls the branches of the dogwood make.  It looks like flowing water.

Everything so bright and sparkly.

It was just such a lovely morning, I thought you might like to see what I saw.