Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

Outside my window...  still cloudy, but a bit brighter.  It was soooo dark this morning - thick, heavy clouds that promised (and delivered) rain.  You just never know with spring.  Yesterday it was sunny and seventy... SEVENTY!  But today?  Not so much.

Yes.  April 25.  In Washington.  On the way to Leavenworth for a rafting adventure.  Not here at my house.

Hearing...  a very quiet house.  Wyatt is at the college, Tate is downstairs shining his boots (inspection tonight), and Gunnar is finishing his math.  Little Sammy - the boy Gunnar babysits - is sleeping in the boys' bedroom.  He's so good - Gunnar has no trouble getting him down for a nap.

At Steven's Pass

Pondering...  as the weather warms up and the layers come off, the topic of modesty always seems to bubble up.  I read an interesting thought on modesty in an apologetics book (not where I would've looked for that) by Mary Jo Sharp.  She said,  Modesty is encouraged in Christian scriptures, but it is less about preventing sin and more about not overshadowing the inward virtue and good works of one who has been transformed in nature to do what is good and right.  She referenced 1 Timothy 2:9 and 1 Peter 3:4.  It reminds me of a friend's attitude.  As she was getting dressed to go somewhere, her little girls were trying to talk her into more make-up, bright red lipstick, something like that.  Her response was that too much of that makes it hard for people to see Jesus.  Amen.

Praying...  we have friends adjusting to being parents (yippee!), but the "big issue" right now is that we have a house full of sick.  I mean, I have to be thankful in that we're struggling with yucky colds probably made worse by an overabundance of pollen, rather than something terrifying or life-threatening, but still... we're pretty tired of all the coughing.  Wyatt missed school yesterday and this morning (but made it to his afternoon class), and Tate is just a coughing machine.  The doc gave us some new things to try, so we're hoping and praying for improvement.

I have no idea.  Wyatt?

Thankful...  for over-all good health (really!), for a fun time rafting last weekend with the youth group, for two new babies - one adopted and one born to friends on Sunday, and for my good friend Ginny who stayed for a visit this afternoon :D

Wearing...  blue jeans, blue short-sleeve sweater, socks and slippers.  Okay?  Okay.

Our mighty group of rafters

Going...  to meet with some friends from church (moms) for a Bible study tonight.  Well, calling it a Bible study is kind of a stretch, but it's fellowship and encouragement :D

Ready to launch - Wyatt and Gunnar in the middle boat, Tate in another boat out of sight.

Reading...  I've been using Dan Phillips' God's Wisdom in Proverbs as a reference book, but am determined to finish ALL of it.  And if that made it sound like an unpleasant chore, far from it!  If you're looking for a great exposition on Proverbs, look no further.  Deep enough for the serious academic theologian, but accessible to the rest of us as well.

Tate is in the smaller boat to the right, and the other boys are in the boat to the left.

Looking forward to...  possibly another Naomi visit soon?

Notice the sunny, blue sky?  What a gift from God, because the water is snow-melt.

In the kitchen...  there are some leftovers in the fridge (yay!) and I don't need to cook any dinner tonight.  On CAP nights the boys are gone at normal dinner time so we have a big lunch.  Today?  Pizza!

In the learning rooms...  in spite of having his violin lesson AND his babysitting job, Gunnar got all his school work done today.  Tate always works diligently.  And Wyatt... I have no idea.  He missed his morning class because he didn't want to cough and blow his nose all the way through a 2+ hour class, but made it to his math class (test tomorrow, I think.)

Had to portage around a dam.

Around the house...  tissues, tissues, tissues.  *sigh*

At a calm place on the river - so thankful for the sunshine!

 The Mother Load...  didn't we just clean this house?  How did it get so dusty and dirty already???
At least the boys' bathroom is clean.  When Wyatt (finally!) finished his painting job I had the boys scour it, aaaaaand then the toilet got clogged.  Ew.  You'll thank me not to go into any further detail than to say that all the usual methods to clear it failed, and Kerry had to bring in The Snake.  Double ew, and then more cleaning.

You'd think the whole trip was calm and flat.
Kerry had to stow his camera under his wet suit
and PADDLE through the rapids, so no pictures of that.

Noticing that...  I just love watching Gunnar at his violin lesson - the looks on his face... interest, concentration, discovery... love it.  Sometimes I go to Tate's piano lesson - which I also enjoy - but his back is to me.

I think it's a paddle "high five".

Something fun to share...  if you'd like to go rafting (or backpacking or mountaineering or more) with a group, check out Youth Dynamics Adventures :D

A favorite quote for today... 

The car can fail today and the kids and the dog and the fire detector and the dishwasher and the doctor and the whole free democratic world and its entire economic system but the mercies of God cannot and will not fail and His faithfulness is not merely great - it is unwavering.
 - Ann Voskamp

They're racing.  But Tate's boat  is going backwards, just to add to the challenge.

One of my favorite things...  that the boys had so much fun :D

Gunnar being a "Bow Baby" - that's a good thing.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  hmmm, get everyone healthy?  If I could control that, that would be my plan.  In other words, take it easy and make lots of good food. ;D

Post-rafting exploring in Leavenworth.

A peek into my world...  God was so good to the youth group kids.  They went through snow and rain on the way over and snow and rain on the way back, but the whole time they were rafting?  SUNNY.  It might not have been very warm (look how the kids were dressed afterwards!), but it was SUNNY.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, April 20, 2015

Outside my window...  sunny blue sky, the dogwoods starting to bloom, and laundry hanging on the line.  Ahhhh :D

Hearing...  a quiet house at the moment, both boys home and reading or doing schoolwork.  (Wyatt at the orthodontist.)

Pondering...  Yikes!  What a couple of weeks we've had!  We had a great start to our spring-break-spring-cleaning-BLITZ, and then the colds hit, along with a lot of pollen flying around.  I don't think any of us actually have allergies, but maybe the pollen is exacerbating the cold symptoms.  As we wrapped up our week of spring break, I was starting to feel better but Tate and Gunnar were miserable.  Tate went back to school anyway, but Gunnar took Monday off and then...

Walking up the hill to the park...

Tuesday to Thursday we had a guest ;D  So we ended up having a TWO week spring break.

Praying...  for everyone (Tate especially) to clear up (sinuses), for friends adjusting to a new baby (hallelujah!), and for a friend having surgery Wednesday.

Thankful...  for the new baby!!!  Such an answer to prayer :D  For the sunshine, lifting our spirits.  For laundry drying (for free!) on the line.  For my parents, coming home tomorrow.  And for easy access to health care and OTC meds.  Woo-hoo!

A solitary duck... the only one without a mate?

Wearing...  capri jeans, blue t-shirt, crocs.  And sunglasses ;D

Creating...  hmmm, craft night tomorrow, so I need something to work on.

Do you think she likes the swings?

Going...  to do the things we need to do this week.  It's a good feeling - but more effort - getting back into the groove with homeschool.  Coming down the homestretch, though!

Reading...  just finished Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and have started Every Living Thing, by James Herriot.

Not the bucket swing, the Big Girl swing.

Learning...  If you make five turkey pot-pies when you have a cold, it's kind of hard to tell if they're seasoned right.  (Not my very best work, but the boys don't seem to notice!)

Looking forward to...  Kerry and the boys are all going river rafting on Saturday - they're really excited!

In the kitchen...  why is it that after grocery shopping, it's so hard to think of what to make for dinner?  Maybe it's some kind of food over-load.  Or maybe it was the chicken-salad-on-a-sourdough-bagel lunch ;D

In the learning rooms...  Tate has eight weeks left, and Gunnar nine (thanks to our extra week of break), but he's plotting about how to finish early.  I like that attitude :D

Puzzling out an I Spy book...

Around the house...  oh how I LOOOOVE having the doors and windows open and feeling the fresh breeze blow through the house.  Yes, yes, yes!  I'm getting my fill now as it's supposed to rain later in the week.

The Mother Load...  oh boy. There's a lot we didn't finish in our spring break blitz, and that's okay, but I really want to deep-clean the kitchen.  Things get lost in the back of the cupboards, and the floor?  Well.  In need of some scrubbing.

She found it!

Noticing that...  Gunnar.  Grown an inch and a half since October.  Whew!

Something to remember for later...  when my boys were little I learned a trick.  I would put their socks on and have them stand on a flat piece of cardboard (like an empty cereal box) and trace around their feet closely.  (Trace then standing up, not sitting, because our feet will spread a little when we put weight on them.)  Those little cardboard cut-outs should fit easily into their shoes.

Kids won't tell you that their shoes are too tight.  They don't know any different.  We had a niece (not Naomi!) live with us for nearly a year.  The shoes she came with were at least two sizes too small and her toes were in a cramped, curled position.  The first thing I bought her was new shoes.  I let her wear sandals and go barefoot a lot through the summer, and her toes gradually straightened out.  Poor kid!

Something fun to share...  the random things kids say.  Out of the blue Naomi asked me, "Do you have a busy skunk?"  Um, NO.  Nor do I have a lazy skunk.

Later I had told her to leave something alone and I know she touched it.  She looked at me quickly and said, "I just fixed it.  It's okay.  Don't worry about it."  Yah.  You fixed it.

A favorite quote for today... 
Supposing you eliminated suffering.  What a dreadful place the world would be because everything that corrects the tendency of man to feel over-important and over-pleased with himself would disappear.  He's bad enough now.  But he would be absolutely intolerable if he never suffered.
 - Malcolm Muggeridge

Gunnar reading Winnie the Pooh

One of my favorite things...  a morning walk with Gunnar in this glorious weather!

A Bible verse...  Galatians 6:3-4
If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.

I'm meeting with a group of moms talking about parenting and one of the themes is to stop comparing yourself to other moms... which is mostly (but not universally) good advice.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  the usual round of violin and piano lessons, babysitting Sammy, CAP, and homeschool.  My parents are arriving home tomorrow - looking forward to that.  And I'll probably go to a craft night with the chapel ladies tomorrow evening.  Since the boys and Kerry will be having an adventure Saturday (I could've gone, but I've done it lots of times), I'm hoping my mom will be free - having not seen her for a couple weeks :D

A peek into my day...    You are my sunshine...

Somebody loves to play the piano and sing

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Blitzing On...

I should have gotten my camera out, but I didn't.  I washed the curtains (white sheers) and they looked just gorgeous, drying on the line in the sunshine.  But in a still photo you wouldn't have been able to see the beautiful movement of the cherry blossoms floating down like snow flakes, so you'll have to use your imagination.

Or maybe I'm hallucinating on the cold meds I'm taking.  Ugh.  The only meds that really seem effective make me LOOPY-LOOPY-LOOPY!  Hard to concentrate and stay on-task.  And to make it even more fabulous, the cough drops I found in the medicine cabinet are so old they're kind of... chewy.  Hmmm.  Moving right along...

It's a good thing the boys are such good workers, because they take the list and run with it.  Yay, Grasshopper boys!

Today we worked in the living and dining rooms (kind of one big room, really).  We...
* sorted the magazine basket (eliminated old issues)
* cleaned out the coffee table cubbies
* picked up all the Easter decorations (not a lot, really)
* moved the furniture away from the walls
* vacuumed the whole room
* dusted windowsills, baseboard trim, door frames, furniture, picture frames... everything
* cleaned the dining room light fixture
         ---  I've learned a couple of things about light fixtures
                     1.  Pay attention to what kind of bulbs they take (cost)
                     2.  Pay attention to cups that collect dust.  Cups should point DOWN, not UP.
          --- Live and learn, I guess.
* Cleaned the top of the bookshelf (can't see the dust up there, so it accumulates)
* rearranged the furniture
* took down all the living/dining room curtains and washed them - WHITE!  not dusty/beige ;D
* put all the curtains back up

Due to me being such a slacker, all the Easter decor remains on the dining room table, waiting for me to pack it away and decide what to put back out.  Some springish things.  And candles are always good.  We also didn't clean the windows (glass).  Maybe tomorrow.  I'm kind of afraid to touch the big (broken) one, but the others need some TLC.

The boys also cleaned the "back bathroom".  Normally this bathroom doesn't get used much, but as Wyatt is STILL picking away at repainting the boys' bathroom, they've all been showering downstairs, so that bathroom needed "freshening up".  You know what I mean.

But the fun thing about cleaning out, is FINDING THINGS.  I found the boys' little Bible study notebooks.  When they were much littler, we would read the Bible together.  Somewhere I got a neat idea to keep them focused, but I can't remember where it came from!  (Maybe from Gladys Hunt's Honey for a Child's Heart ?)  Anyway, if you have littles (or maybe not-so-littles) this may work for you, so I'll share.

We'd read a passage aloud together and the boys had to write down four things:
1.  What the passage was
2.  One sentence summary / high-point
3.  A new or unfamiliar word, with brief definition
4.  Favorite verse from the passage, copied out

Here's an example from a boy who was VERY enthusiastic about the story.
1.  Esther 7 (chapter 7)
2.  Haman's plan DOUBLE BACK-FIRED, two times!  And he got hung on his own gallows!
3.  Adversary - enemy, antagonist
4.  v10 So they hung Haman on the gallows that he prepared for Mordecai.

They crack me up.  When we read the story of Jonah, Wyatt and Tate both picked the same favorite verse from chapter 2, v10 "and the Lord commanded the fish and it vomited Jonah up onto dry land."

Because HELLO, the Bible just said VOMITED and that is HILARIOUS if you are a little boy, apparently.

So that's my tale for today.  Tomorrow we clean the kitchen - yay!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter, Spring Break, and No-Grasshopper-Days

Do you want to know what really chaps my hide?
It's finally spring break.
The weather is sunny and warm.
I have a four page list of chores and projects to accomplish with the boys.

I have a nasty cold.

So, insert a ridiculous amount of whining about how truly unfair that is,
and we'll just move along, alrighty?

Fortunately, it didn't really "hit" until Sunday night, meaning Easter was wonderful :D

With a bare minimum of protest, the Grasshopper Boys were up and ready to go before 7am, to make it to Sunrise Service.  We may not look traditionally "Eastery"...

... but there's a good reason for that:

And the temp actually dropped as we drove to our friends' farm for the service.

But such a gorgeous morning!

We walked through the frosty meadow up to the top of the hill before the sun came up.

Everyone is bundled up - Gunnar even has two pairs of pants on!

Our friend Katlyn was able to get a (Skype? FaceTime?) connection with our friends serving in Myanmar, so they could be part of the service!

They could see the sun coming up, behind the fir trees...

... the crowd of over a hundred gathering for the service...

... and the nearby fields and mountains...

... but they didn't get any of the cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate!

One of our gracious hosts - Emily - on the left.

From the farm, we went on to "regular" church, in view of these Canadian mountains.

And our own Mt. Baker, with a cloud cap.

As is traditional, we headed up to my parents' for family lunch and celebration,
which included an Easter egg hunt for Naomi :D

The big kids were careful not to hide them too well :D

Grandma had carefully filled each one with a little bit of chocolate.

Which led to...

... a fun day for everyone.

Our Spring Blitz, however, is moving forward at a bit more lethargic pace than last year,
thanks to me.  Blah.

Also, I'm running a shuttle service for family members who get to go on cruises, and vacations to warm places (not us) and have been both to the airport and up to Vancouver BC already this week.

But at home, the boys and I have accomplished a FEW things...

* got all the recycling out (picked up this morning)
* got rid of all the shredding that needed to be done
* emptied garbages (will need to do again, after all the cleaning!)
* disinfected all switches and doorknobs around the house
* wiped down the walls around the switches (gross)
* dusted picture frames all around the house - they're so easily forgotten at other times!
* sorted/cleaned coffee table "cubbies"

* tidied the boys' desk drawers
* sorted their "save boxes"
* cleaned off dressers
* went through dressers/closet - what fits!
* strip beds
* wash sheets 
* dust/mop under beds and all floor

* vacuumed the stairs and landings
* cleaned out the vacuum
* emptied two hall closets
* wiped down shelves
* sorted/reloaded closet items
* dust mop the floor

* cleaned out "closet" with hot water heater
* cleaned out under bathroom sink (that bathroom has a lot stored in it)
* cleaned out the medicine cabinet
* dusted/cleaned all flat surfaces
* cleaned toilet
* cleaned sink and counter

* picked up/tidied (ACK!!!)
* organized the closet
* hung the winter coats (not using right now)
* put away some lego creations
* took down (and disposed of) old curtains
* dusted all bookshelves
* organized the DVDs
* wiped down the baseboard heater
* dusted everything else
* vacuumed all the way to the edges (with little attachment)

We're making good progress, but there is a lot left to do!  The bed sheets are drying on the line, so all the beds need to be remade.  Also, I have materials to make new curtains for the family room, but don't have my sewing machine out yet.  Need to finish some lesson planning for Sunday school first.

As far as all the sorting, we got rid of a ton of stuff last year, so this year the sorting is going much more quickly.  Gunnar, of course, has grown out of nearly everything, so he and I will be doing some shopping later this week, but at least we weeded out everything that doesn't fit.  It filled a LARGE (garbage size) bag.

And for dinner tonight?  Leftovers... again.