Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Behind the Moon

Did you ever see the movie Apollo 13?  There's a bit where the astronauts - who are in a precarious position - have to orbit around the moon in order to use its gravitational pull to "slingshot" them back to earth.  Right before they go behind the moon, and out of radio contact with earth, one of the astronauts says to Houston, "See you on the other side." 

Kind of how I feel when we have Naomi here for a few days.  We love it, but I do feel disconnected from my "normal".  I know if we had a toddler around full time, we'd adapt to a new normal, but since she's only here for a visit, we put a lot on hold.

I mean, look at that face...  wouldn't you? :D

I tell Gunnar that God is preparing him to be an AWESOME dad, 
because he is so helpful with Naomi.
Actually he's great with kids in general, but the two of them have a special bond.

There was lots of playing in the bath,
(especially after playing in the mud puddles)...

... trying to slide on this slope by the stairs...

... snuggling with Gunnar and trying to talk him out of his watch,
(I know it's not a great pic of her, but I love how she's so completely relaxed in his arms)...

... watching people and animals go by...
(though she thought the deer were goats, and wanted to hug them... ???)

... and lots and lots of going to the park...

... actually, FOUR parks...

... because somebody could swing all day long.

She loved to take a pile of books over to the bottom step
(a just-her-size seat) by the window and 
I'd offer to read to her, and sometimes she would accept,
but often she'd say, 
" 'self."

She was pretty excited about her very own little doughnut
at our favorite bakery.
Pink! With sprinkles!

Then, yesterday it was time to watch at the window for Daddy...

... and what a happy reunion that was!

So now we're sliding back into our normal groove.
Well, as normal as things ever get around here.

And looking forward to the next visit :D

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ah. Maz. Ing.

I just had an entire (short) conversation with Tate about his schoolwork right before he went to bed.  He had some questions about his reading and when he needed to finish certain things.  We cleared it up.

As we finished, I looked more closely at him and realized - no CI.  He'd already taken it off for bed.

He was lip-reading the whole time.

He is amazing.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday Brain Dump

The week is flying by.  

1.  I had my interview-that-was-more-like-an-audition on Tuesday evening - teaching a sample class for adults.  We'll have to see what pans out.  

In our county we have LOTS of homeschoolers.  Some families want to continue homeschooling, but as their kids get older, they have one or two subjects they either don't fell confident in, or don't enjoy teaching, or (?) For whatever reason, they want to "sub out" that subject to someone else.

Technically, that's tutoring.  But if you group a few tutors together, with a few students each, it's a sort-of-kind-of-almost-but-not-exactly a school.  Usually four to ten students per teacher.  Group tutoring.  Not accredited.  Not under the control or supervision of the government, so free to teach from a Biblical perspective.

Some of my friends' kids attend ZLO and I've always heard great things, but we've never taken any classes there.  But they're looking for more teachers, so I've offered to teach the science that I'll be doing with Gunnar next year.  Hence, the sample lesson.

If they approve me, well... then we'll just have to see if any students sign up.  I'm kind of ambivalent.  It's very comfortable to just stay home, work though Apologia's General Science with Gunnar, and stay in my comfort zone.  But Gunnar would really enjoy the interaction with the other kids and it would probably be a good challenge for me.

Whether my style of teaching is a good fit for other homeschool families remains to be seen!

2.  Our neighbors continue their quest to kill their lawn.  No, I"m not joking.
I'm thrilled at the way they've attacked the ivy - it really opens things up!

But wait, there's more...

They've spread truckload after truckload
of rocks, gravel, bark, and dirt over the grass.

On the one hand, it's THEIR YARD and I'm happy for them to do whatever they want on THEIR PROPERTY.  As I'd like to be left alone to do whatever I want on my property.  (Like cut down a tree that threatens the house, for instance.)

But on the other hand, it irks me that my tax dollars are paying for their yard work.

Yah.  The environmental-overkill liberals in our town are using our tax money to PAY homeowners to kill their lawns.

Because grass is EVIL.

I get that too much phosphorus getting in the lake is a bad thing.
But guess how many times I've fertilized my lawn.


Yah, zero.
You don't have to make sense to make legislation.

3.  With our cloudy spring skies we've had some dramatic sunsets.

The light was so warm and golden it looks kind of fall-ish,
but I took these just last Saturday.

4.  Gunnar requested I take photos of this bumblebee.

You can actually eat the flowers of this Oregon Grape if you like tart flavors!

5.  Speaking of Gunnar...  someone didn't want to get up yesterday morning.
CAP nights are kind of late.

6.  My boys - who call these things "dumb cars" - found this hilarious.

7.  Gunnar is entering his Disneyland countdown.  Less than two months until his big trip!

8.  But more immediately exciting...  Naomi, aka Cindy-Lou-Who,
is coming for a visit.

Glad to have her.
Also, anticipating that my free time will be severely reduced.

Blogging will resume when life gets back to normal.


Oh, I crack myself up.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter and Grasshopper Days

Grassshopper Days

For today, Monday, April 21, 2014.

Outside my window...  cool, but not raining :D  We'll be able to see snow in the hills for weeks yet, but spring is trying mightily to break through.  The one (and only) tulip the deer haven't eaten is blooming over by the garage.


Hearing...  Tate coughing.  He's fighting off a cold.  I told him the good news is it surely will have run its course before surgery.

Pondering...  what a lovely, lovely weekend we had.

Praying...  the usual... work for Kerry (he has some, just praying it keeps coming!), encouragement and comfort and healing for our friend from church, looking ahead to Tate's surgery and recovery, and to finish the school year strong.

Thankful...  so thankful for my family!  What a blessing to have a family that enjoys being together!   (Yes, we drive each other nuts sometimes, but we love each other.)  And for my church family.  The Maundy Thursday service may be my favorite of the year.  (With the possible exception of the children's Christmas program, because who can resist tinsel angels and bath-robed shepherds?)

On Maundy Thursday we gather for a soup and bread potluck - so simple, and so delicious - and a time of fellowship.  We sing a few songs.  Pastor Bert speaks for a few minutes.  And we have communion - like the first communion at the last supper.

And we sang this song - Oh How Good It Is, which just summed things up perfectly.

Oh, how good it is when the family of God
Dwells together in spirit, in faith, and unity.
Where the bonds of peace, of acceptance and love
Are the fruits of His presence here among us.

 - Chorus -
So with one voice we'll sing to the Lord;
And with one heart we'll live out His Word.
Till the whole earth sees the Redeemer has come
For He dwells in the presence of His people.

Oh, how good it is on this journey we share,
To rejoice with the happy and weep with those who mourn.
For the weak find strength, the afflicted find grace,
When we offer the blessing of belonging.

 - Chorus -

Oh, how good it is to embrace His command
To prefer one another, forgive as He forgives.
When we live as one, we all share in the love
Of the Son with the Father and the Spirit.

Wearing... jeans, t-shirt, blue sweater, blue crocs (slippers).  Ooo!  Faaancy.

Creating...  a lesson plan.  I have to teach a lesson tomorrow night to "audition" for potentially teaching a science class next year.

Reading...  still working my way through Age of Opportunity but not having much free time!

Learning...  I'm about to have less free time - we'll be watching Naomi for a few days over the weekend.

Looking forward to...  spending calm time with her.  Our family Easter gathering was a great time, but "calm" does not describe it.

In the kitchen...  ummm... maybe sloppy joes.

Around the house...  time to take a look at things through toddler eyes... I'm thinking a few things need to head for higher ground.

The Mother Load...  about to be put completely on hold.

Something fun to share...  Gunnar is loving CAP, but has been "on hold" for promoting, the obstacle being the PT test.  He just could NOT pass the running portion.  And last week he did it!  We're so happy for him!  He'll have no trouble with the written exams, and should be able to pass the drill test soon.  Woo-hoo!

A favorite quote for today...  the song lyrics above :D

One of my favorite things...  walks with Gunnar.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  homeschooling, CAP, Gunnar's baby-sitting job, and preparing for Naomi.  She's old enough (almost two) that I'm not moving/child-proofing everything.  But I don't want to have too many "no's" to tempt her.  We want to have fun :D

A peek into my world...  Naomi's first Easter egg hunt.

The eggs weren't so much hidden as scattered.

She was quite concerned about the dirt stuck to the first egg and wanted to clean it off before proceeding with the hunt.

Gunnar shows Naomi the little M&M's inside the eggs.  Aha!

Naomi was intrigued by the bubbles Grandma was blowing.

Cindy-Lou-Who, anyone

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wanted: Computer Generated Friends

Yesterday was a Big Day for the adult Grasshoppers...  I had a chance to meet a bloggy friend (or, as Tate says "a computer generated friend") IN REAL LIFE.  The fabulous Rebecca, who blogs at High Maintenance Aspirations, flew all the way across the country with her husband Paul for vacation.  

Could I come down to Seattle to get together?  *Ahem*

Could wild horses drag me away?

Welcome to Seattle - it's raining.  And I decided to bring my good camera.  Therefore pics are somewhat random.  And by random, I mean, I didn't want to get my camera wet, so I didn't take very many.  Except inside.  Like at Starbucks.  And since there's a Starbucks on nearly every block in Seattle (It's possible I'm exaggerating, but not much) we ducked into one down in Pioneer Square.

I think we needed a break - at least a sensory break - after three galleries.  My favorite was Glasshouse Studio.  Not only was the store a visual feast...  

... you could watch the artists working in the back.  We'll have to bring the boys by sometime.

Wouldn't it be fun to bring home a few of those for the yard?  Oh... I kid... (ka-ching!)

But hey... the Chihuly exhibit probably runs about twenty bucks, and here you can look all you want for free :D  They were really friendly, didn't mind us taking pictures, and when Rebecca chose some pieces to buy and they were all made by the same guy who was ringing her up I think it worked to both of their advantage!

The patient and long-suffering husbands :D  And, PS, Kerry is holding a bag, because I saw something small, and dropped some broad hints about Mother's Day :D

We spent more time walking around Pioneer Square,

... observing building details (Kerry)

... and enjoying Seattle's trademark rain...

But mostly we just wanted to hang out.  Which mostly meant laughing.  And talking.  And laughing some more :D

So I'll tell you a story about going out to dinner.  Apparently it's Seattle Restaurant Week, which means that participating restaurants have a fixed price menu - you choose an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert, and it's the same price everywhere.  Fabulous!  And Paul and Rebecca insisted on treating us, which was double-fabulous :D

But we had to decide where to go.  We'd thought of eating at their hotel, because the smells wafting out of the restaurant were oh-so-enticing (nobody was actually drooling but it was close).  Bad luck, they were booked until eight.  And I confess, I'm so not a night owl, especially with the drive home afterwards.  So we asked the concierge to point us somewhere nearby.

Well, good grief, Rebecca and I were having a great time, joking, batting ideas around, and the concierge wasn't exactly icy, yet not entering into the fun.  Y'know?  But we made our choice and he called and booked us a reservation.  Great.  Thank you.  He very cautiously described the place as "offbeat" and "funky".  Okay, granted he seemed a bit formal (stodgy?) but this being Seattle we both kind of wondered if by "funky" he meant "disturbing".

Not so.  We had a great time at Icon Grill.

And the concierge may have liked us better than he let on, because he apparently called and added an extra appetizer to our dinner.

Then when it got added to the bill we wondered if we had been right the first time ;D  But our waiter sorted it out.   Out waiter, Edward.

If you ever find yourself in Seattle with an overwhelming desire to eat somewhere a concierge would describe as "offbeat and funky", get yourself down to the Icon Grill and make sure you ask for Edward.

Edward was very personable.  He sat right down and visited awhile.  Rebecca asked if he minded us taking his photo.  And apparently he gets that a lot - he told us - because he looks like Zachary Quinto.  So there you go.

When she said she'd put his photo on her blog he brought her a card with his email, so she could send him a link.

It occurred to me later that he might have thought maybe we were really foodies, with fancy food blogs and even fancier photography, and with heaps of readers hanging on our every word.

I hope he's not disappointed.

If I'm a food blogger, then major FAIL.  Because I have zero pictures of our food, which was delicious.  As evidence, I give you this:

You can tell it was good because all the dishes are scraped clean ;D

But I digest...

Meanwhile, while the minions are old enough (and trustworthy enough to leave home alone, Grandpa and Grandma Grasshopper took them out to dinner while we were gone.  And Grandma even brought them a movie to watch.  So a good time was had by all.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, April 14, 2014  

Outside my window...  frost on the ground, clear skies, birds chirping, and the sun just peeking over the hills - looks like a gorgeous day!  Which means Wyatt rides his bike to school (and I don't have to go get him) and I'll feel guilty if I don't work in the yard.  Especially since rain is forecast for the rest of the week.

Hearing...  Wyatt and Gunnar in the kitchen, Tate in the shower, robins and chickadees.

Pondering...  a former pastor took his life over the weekend, leaving a wife and two little kids.  While I wasn't particularly close to them, I can't get it out of my mind.  Of course I'm praying for her and the kids, but I'm SO MAD at him.  For doing that to them.

And I know, tender, gentler hearts than mine will say that we need to be compassionate and gracious, and that we can't imagine how much he must have been suffering.

And that is true.

But I can't help thinking that if we focused more on the shock, horror, misery and grief suicide leaves behind and less on the woe of the one who caused it... if we treated that person less like a victim...  it might remove just a little piece of what attracts people to suicide.

for that family,
for our friend from the chapel going through chemo this week,
and for Wyatt and chemistry.  grrrrrrrrrr

for one more sunny day,
for the camaraderie of Saturday's work party at the chapel and all we got accomplished,
for good health in the family,
and friendly neighbors to sit and visit with.

Wearing...  capri jeans, a short-sleeve t-shirt, and a blue sweater... cold now, warm later - I hope.

Going...  staying home :D

Reading...  Age of Opportunity, by Paul David Tripp.

Looking forward to...  Easter!

In the kitchen...  thawing a pound of ground elk.  We'll probably have Taco Salad for dinner, unless something else inspires me.  (You know, from the 1,000,000 Things to Make With a Pound of Hamburger repertoire...)

In the learning rooms...  juggling the master schedule to accommodate boys who are jumping ahead in some areas and boys who have fallen behind in others.  And maybe arranging for some chemistry tutoring.  It's a tough subject!

Around the house...  thing I need to decide what to do with.  We did a great job cleaning over spring break, and got rid of a LOT, but there are still a few decisions...

The Mother Load...
* need to wrap up the cleaning blitz in my office, which was the staging area and thus not yet cleaned and tidied
* divide some bulbs before they start growing (quick!)
* get the window and door screens back on
* figure out what to do with the kitchen floor.

I love my kitchen floor.  It's real linoleum - not vinyl.  It's durable.  It doesn't crack, like vinyl will, if you drop a can (guilty) on it.  And it can be quickly mopped.  But every so often - at least once a year - it should be stripped and waxed.  We used to have a guy who would come and do it for eighty bucks, but he got out of the business.  So I've been limping along with good ol' Mop N Glo, which gives a "soft" shine, like this.

Okay, but not fabulous.

When I paid "the guy" to come do it, my floor looked like this, with a hard glassy finish.

Doesn't that just sing?  *Happy sigh*

But I have to find a new Floor Guy.  And the first one I called just gave me his bid - $475.
Well THAT stopped the music in a hurry.
I'll keep looking, but meanwhile, I think I'm stuck with Mop N Glo.

Noticing that...  Hey!  Total lunar eclipse tonight!  Your google is as good as mine as far as finding out the actual time for your area.  I think it will be about 11-midnight out here on the west coast, but I'm double checking.

Something to remember for later...  Gunnar and I have been out for a walk.  Every single time we go for a walk he talks my ear off, which is fine.  Right now it's all about three things:
1.  Easter, because his cousin will be there and have her first Easter egg hunt.
2.  The few days his cousin will be staying with us in the following week.
3.  His upcoming (13-year-old) trip to Disneyland.
And the details of his favorite rides.
Over.  And over.  And over again.

Then something new occurred to him.
"Mom, what will you do while I'm gone?"
Because, in shocking news, the world will continue to spin for the rest of us.  ;D

And the sad thing is, while he's in Disneyland, Wyatt has to have his wisdom teeth out, so let me tell you, it will be

fun times at the Grasshopper house!

A favorite quote for the day...

You can't get a cup of tea big enough
or a book long enough
to suit me.
C.S. Lewis

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Holy Week is a busy week - GOOD busy.

Monday - homeschool
Tuesday - homeschool, babysit (Gunnar), meeting about a teaching possibility, CAP
Wednesday - homeschool, meet a bloggy friend in Seattle (happy squeal!)
Thursday - homeschool, Maundy Thursday soup and bread potluck
*** soup-potluck tip: bring a muffin tin and sample several kinds! ***
Friday - homeschool (anyone not finished with the week's work), Tenebrae/Good Friday service
Saturday - breathe...
Sunday - sunrise service, Easter service, Easter brunch potluck, Easter at my parents with the whole family.
Probably followed by a long nap ;D

A peek into my world...  since I had church potlucks on my mind...