One of us had a spectacular Christmas

>> Friday, December 26, 2008

My pictures aren't uploading again. I've been trying this one picture for two hours (I had forgotten about it) and it's still trying to load. It's hard to post stuff about Christmas when there aren't pictures to go with it. I'll try at the library tomorrow if I can drive out these steep roads in the ice. 

Hope you guys all had the best Christmas.  


God Knows How to Do Mornings!

>> Thursday, December 18, 2008


More Interesting News, Jason Style

>> Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jason was up late last night partying his little heart out at 10:30p.  Apparently he had just performed a marriage ceremony between  Happy Girl (Martina McBride song he loves) and Katie from Jonathan Park.  Like I explained to a friend, in his world it's okay to marry girls together. It's kind of like combining peanut butter and chocolate--you like them both and now you can have them together. Or something. So the reception went on long upstairs and he was tired this morning. But boy, does that kid know how to party!

And tonight he came down needing some help. He handed me this:

Seems like "enough" was not quite.   Was that meant for *three* people??   


Keeping it Real

>> Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm not fond of some cliches such as "back in the day".  Where'd that one come from and why did it take off like wildfire?  Hey, friends in the UK and Sweden--has that phrase entered your lexicon yet?  Oh! It didn't start with you did it? Yikes!

There are other cliche's I love, like "how's that workin' for you?" or "let me know how that goes" (used when it is obvious that it has never worked before and trying it again will be just as pointless and as much a complete waste of time and effort as it has always been).

"Keeping it real" is kind of in the middle. I don't really like the (over used) term, but I like the description. Kind of like this:

Oh, what? You don't see it? 
That's because of this:

Because as much as we love living out here in the nice rurals, we have to contend with this:

I don't have the fancy pens to circle or point arrows to the satellite dish on the roof. It is full of snow.  And that means we get this:

 But wonderful Son 2 climbed up onto the roof (he's part mountain goat and loves heights) and cleared the satellite so that we are connected again. Hurray for Tyler!

So back to the original subject for this post, which was "keeping it real" by showing you my living room with all the extra and unused decorations sitting around being messy, waiting for the clean up fairies to put it all away.  (...So, how's that working for you?...)  

So far it's still there. I'd say it's not working for me at all. I must need to find a better cliche.  


Pictures of Our Getaway Time

>> Sunday, December 14, 2008

HoneyHusband at the motel.
The old Russian Orthodox Church in Calistoga. 
It's always a great party when someone gets hauled off to jail. 
Here's where we had breakfast this morning. The food was great and soon after we got settled there was a line out the door. 
Proof we were here. Wonderful bed, soft, clean smelling sheets, nice soft cover, fitted bottom sheet. If I hadn't had so much chocolate so late I would have slept wonderfully instead of staying up reading until 3a. 
Yikes! The kitchen when we got back home.
We all pitched in and this is how it looked 15 minutes later. 


Christmas Party Night

>> Saturday, December 13, 2008

We are having a nice overnight stay for my husband's Christmas party. Last year's party ended differently so I was a little nervous about this one, but so far it has been lovely. So far, I say, because I walked back to our hotel after the four hour dinner and party and HoneyHusband went out to the next place to play some pool with the hardcore group. I am hoping for a carnage free holiday, anyway.

I forgot the cables for my camera or I could post some pictures of the snow today and some of the lovely Napa Valley. 

The children got to have their big sister and her husband come over to stay the night and I'm hoping the house and tree got decorated and some Christmas cookies were made (and not entirely eaten). We'll see tomorrow. 

That's it. I'm going to snug into bed and knit for a while. There is something so relaxing about staying overnight. I just love it. 

Oh, Dawniy has started listing three positive things a day. That is so worthwhile--counting our blessings. It changes our focus from the negatives that are always around, so we start paying more attention to the lovely things that we so often take for granted.   I'd love to take that challenge along with her and with whoever else wants to do it, please feel free to add yourself in. 

Okay. My postives for today:

1) That it snowed and looked so lovely this morning.

2) That it didn't stick long so that we could drive without the roads being all iced up.

3) That my children are safe at home and enjoying time with each other. 

4) Our drive was so lovely and it's nice to spend time with each other. 

5) Some days are more easy to find lots of positives and this is one of them. 

Have a lovely day, all of you!


I May Not Have Been Clear

>> Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Did you think I meant "the next day" type of tomorrow?

Because that would have been yesterday. 

And since today isn't looking good either, "tomorrow" remains intact in its etymological essence.

You're welcome for that bit of education.  Now you can get back to your regularly scheduled program.


Forgotten But Not Gone

>> Monday, December 8, 2008

I have no idea what I've been doing the last few weeks. One thing I do know is that I spent some time enjoying looking at some other fantastic blogs and I've gotten so inspired for decorating things and making things I almost can't wait to start the next day.  There is a world of loveliness out there, and my goodness--the talent! It's absolutely amazing.  It's also just the slightest bit intimidating to come back to my blog, see all the lovely colors and sit and love how Dawniy worked it, then realize that I'm still responsible for the content. I can't make up these beautiful crafty things like those other blogs. I'm still the one with her head in the clouds and feet in the manure.  

I have some buttons on the side for neat places I've been visiting. I fully intend to make a glorious garland per The Nester's wonderful directions (photos to follow if I actually end up doing it) and we've been planning on lots of crafts--candlemaking, putting various mixes in jars for Christmas giving and doing some knitting. Three of us are started in on our knitting , with one teetering on the brink and the last one saying he wants to do some "mitting" also. I'll definitely have to put some pictures up of those. 

One of our favorite crafts has been the Hearts and Trees kits. We got the summer one first and it was a great lapbook experience so we got the fall one and now with this winter one I think I'm going to have to get two.  They are so much fun and very educational and we look forward to the next ones coming out.

There was a cold going around our family and I finally got it. It was a mild thing, very quick moving, but I lost my voice again for a few days (as usual) and there were many people who cheered that one. Isn't it nice to be loved? Hello? Hello?!  You look at me when I'm whispering to you!!  Being totally ignored can have its humbling side. Without me giving advice and direction, things still seemed to go on just fine, even if it wasn't how I thought it should be done, in timing or in quality. It's good for me to lose my voice from time to time. Frustrating to the max, but good for me. 

And now, something more serious. There are some people I know and have come to really like who are looking for the peace and security that only God can give, and I so want to share that with them without the things I say sounding so cliche.  I hate simply recommending books because it seems like a punt, but others can say things so much clearer than I can.  Anyway, I'm praying that God's love will totally surround those so loved by Him, yet who don't know it yet. They are heavy on my heart right now and I'd appreciate any prayers on their behalf.   Thank you so much.

Back tomorrow with pictures. 


Skating Busy Lately

>> Thursday, November 20, 2008

We've had orthodontic appointments, podiatrist appointments and chiropractor visits. 

We've gone Christmas shopping, visited sweet daughters/sisters and I've done enough shopping today that I think I need to be committed to rehab.

It seems like we've done a lot of things, but I have no pictures as evidence. I'm not sure if that means we really did anything or not, so that might be worrisome. 

We got new phones and I've found new blogs and I've gotten tons of ideas for Christmas gifts. I pinned my son's quilt together and ran out of pins so now I've gotten pins I'll finish that and then I can consider sewing it.  

And that explains everything, so off I go to see if I can Accomplish Much. With photographic evidence.

Oh, Boothe will be having her sweet baby tomorrow. I'm so happy for her family as they have gone through a lot of grief these last couple of years. She has been so inspiring with her raw honesty in her search for God in the middle of all the heartache.  Blessings on you, Boothe!

Okay, that's really it.  Good night!


Rosebuds and Bunnies

>> Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My precious 11 year daughter made this on her own for my birthday. Aren't the rosebuds so sweet?

And Precious Daughter 2 came over and painted my hallway in a couple of hours. I just love it! 
Thank you so much, girls!  



>> Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sweet Dawniy has been so gracious in helping me make something a little nicer around here. She's done all the heavy lifting and I've just been choosing a few little knick knacks and she's still going strong while I'm beat to a frazzle. Add 8 or 9 hours to her time and space and you'll see how amazing she is. 

Anyway, things will be moving around and changing for a few days until I get it all settled.  Thanks so much, Dawniy!
And if anyone has any suggestions or complaints, feel free to let me know. 


I had a Great Birthday

>> Friday, November 7, 2008

Yesterday I stayed up and partied with all my family late into the night (french vanilla tea being our beverage of choice) and only got a few hours sleep. I'm so exhausted, but it has been such a wonderful couple of days. My dad commented how wonderful it was to see how considerate all the children have become. And just like that, without realizing it, he gave me the best gift--that gift of encouragement I need so badly some days. Thank you, Dad. Thank you, Lord!

My sweet daughters took me out to lunch today (Chinese!) and gave me lovely gifts.

 Precious Daughter 1 (Andrea Delight) handpainted some yarn (see pictures and the story of how she did it here) and gave me needles and a pattern so I could make a pair of socks. I am so delighted and can hardly wait to get past the stupid gauge test, which we all know is The Funsucker of Knitting.  Really, wasting 4 inches of knitting time just so you can see how far off you are going to be when it is finished is totally pointless to non planners such as myself.  Let's just get on with making the more serious errors right from the start, okay?  

Precious Daughter 2 (Kimberly Joy) gave me the sweetest smelling candles and lovely holder. I'm such a pushover for the nice smelly stuff and it was just what I need around this time of year. I can hardly wait to use them tomorrow as it is supposed to rain. So perfect!

And my youngest blessing, Precious Daughter 3, (JaimeSweetie) embroidered a beautiful freehand "Happy Birthday, Mom", complete with lovely rosebuds on it! She is getting so clever and crafty as well as being very thoughtful.  It was a lovely day and I am such a blessed mom!

Happy Birthday, everyone!


My Son is Awesome!

>> Thursday, November 6, 2008

Here is my oldest son with Hope, the homeschooled senior who was teaching a great class on Government. He had just recited the entire Declaration of Independence from memory (word perfect!) and won 200 coin dollar pieces as the reward. Is that awesome, or what?

Thanks so much, Hope!


It's Important To Be Properly Dressed

>> Monday, November 3, 2008

This is a case of a boy not wanting his head to get wet when he goes out in the rain in his shorts to jump on the trampoline.

Is this not just too cute?

Three hats might be just one too many...


Our Too Cool Library Ladies

They dress up for Halloween, big book releases, whatever. They bend the rules on occasion with our book limits, library cards (in possession or not) and they are who we take visitors to meet when they come to visit. They are just the coolest librarians, ever. Here are the tattoos they were sporting the other day:

Don't you wish you had our librarians!


My Sweet Little Immigrants

This was the wonderful unit study we did October 20th. Jennifer Steward put it on and it was fantastic. The sordid details are here, this is the picture that went with it. And yes, you can thank me that there are no pictures of the cat or the soup.


Tyler's Doings

He made bread while I was gone one day. There were four loaves, but they were so delicious we only had two left by the time I got pictures. Yea, Tyler!
Westward, Ho!

This was a Lewis and Clark display at the museum field trip we went to last week. Since being up on the Columbia River in September and seeing all the Lewis and Clark signs, we've been doing a few studies on the explorers. It was perfect timing that this traveling display came when it did.


Sigh. I Can't Post Pictures

>> Sunday, November 2, 2008

When I posted the last pictures with Tyler I was also going to add an Immigration Field Trip/Unit Study picture. It took forever to load up, and in fact, didn't, so I finally gave up and just posted what I had. Ever since then, all I have in the new post box is a blank field for writing. No icons for links, pictures, what have you. I've tried any numbers of things to get it back and it seems like contacting Blogger is an effort in futility.

I have pictures of hats and immigrants and sibling fun and frolic just waiting for an old fashioned miracle.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm thinking maybe I should delete the Tyler post and maybe then it will fix itself. Is that craziness, or no crazier than anything else?



It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

>> Monday, October 20, 2008

Today was our Homeschool Immigration unit on Ellis Island. It was given by Jennifer Steward and it was wonderful.  Ellis Island was re-created in the church auditorium and there were 85 homeschooled kids who showed up dressed as steerage passengers from Europe.   They all went through the many procedures it took to be accepted into America, or turned back if they didn't pass.  We then had a lunch of potato soup and bread, got pictures taken in costume to put in with the unit, did quilt blocks, wrote a page of what they had learned and generally learned a lot and had a good time doing it.  Hurray for interactive, immersion type learning!  

But can I relate the happenings on our way to this great learning experience?   Hmm?

The day started with all kinds of upsets and vile attitudes (the word "vile" in this post is not overused) and it made us end up blasting out of here late. We were not one minute from home when there were a flock of wild turkeys in the road and two of them didn't move to the side, so I had to slam on my brakes to avoid a feathery collision.  Not two minutes later we smelled bacon. Oh!! Did the crock pot full of the best potato soup I've ever made tip over? Yes, indeed it had. All over. As in total loss. Twenty servings.  My contribution to the Ellis Island experience, now embedded in car carpet, spilled over our changes of clothes, a skateboard, books, backpacks, etc.  We stopped on the side of the road to clean up the back of the car and we could still see home from the road.  Should we have seen the writing on the wall and turned back then?  Perhaps.  But we were also taking our cat in to be neutered. All the preparations had been made, it seemed like we should push on, so push on we did. And almost immediately the cat's insides decided the stress was too much. Oh, is  there a more vile smell in the world?  I think not!  We had to stop and empty the cat carrier, late or not.  Okay! Back on the road. A few more urine. Now really, *that* has GOT to be the most vile odor ever!    More turns, more intestinal production, another stop.  Certainly we must be at the end of this by now and things will start looking up. No.  He ended it all with diarrhea, mixed with the mess already in the carrier and now all in his fur. There was no emptying anything after that and we had a full hour and a half drive left. All this had happened in the first five miles out, before we even hit the highway.  It has to rank up there with one of the most stressful trips I've ever encountered.   I'm surprised they didn't kick us out of  Ellis Island and send us all home. 

And that's the way we did things around here today.  I'm hoping we got it out of our systems because we've got another long drive tomorrow. But no more soup or cats.


This Years Crop

It's the first year I've tried potatoes. While we didn't get a lot, it was majorly exciting and something we'll definitely do again. We did get lots of volunteer garlic but I didn't think of taking pictures and the same with the tomatoes and the green beans. I planted an entire package of chard and got three little plants, then the deer came along and ate most of that. I have a few leaves in the refrigerator but it seems hardly worth cooking for such a small bit of greens.  I probably should have gotten a picture of that pathetic little harvest.  Harvestette. Anyway, it's still fun and I love having a garden.  


Not A Water Leak

>> Sunday, October 19, 2008

HoneyHusband was out on the porch and thought he heard water running in a faucet. He checked all over and even turned off the water pump. Still hearing the noise, he tore a board out of the deck siding to find what was making the sound.  Yikes!  Not a water leak at all! The cat was harassing this guy. Isn't life in the country wonderful?

(It's a (now dead) rattlesnake, for those of you fortunate enough to not have them around)


Beacon Rocks!

>> Monday, October 13, 2008

Is this a fantastic view of the Columbia River, or what? And this is only halfway up! Trains that look as small as toys run right past the Rock.  It's a glorious place to hike!
Except for the climbing. It's 480 feet high with a mile of switchbacks to get to the top. Fifty two switchbacks to be exact. Bring water. 
Cheerful pose at the top. But guys, it's all downhill from here. You made it! Hurray!  Guys? Hello?  I don't think they are listening.


We Got To See the Yarn Harlot!

>> Monday, October 6, 2008

Precious Daughter 1 and I spent a lovely Saturday together, hanging out and going to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  For those who haven't been introduced yet, please stop reading here and go immediately and find yourself delighted.  I've gone to see her on three book tours now and I can hardly wait for the fourth, and even though my shortest travel has been a quick three hour round trip and the longest was a 12 hour round trip, I consider it time well spent. 

Hanging out with my grown up daughters has got to be some of my most fun time ever. I had no idea I was going to enjoy my children this much! I'd love to quit everything and just play with them all day, every day.  They are such a blast!   Precious daughter 2 is coming over tonight to make lasagna with me (her idea!) and we'll have a nice dinner together.  This feels like the calm between storms while there are still struggles with other family members and their growing pains. I love how God can remind me that things will get better and I not only have a lovely now to enjoy, but I still have a future and a hope coming. 

You know. So I don't run for the hills after a rough day like today. 


A Cracked Time/Space Continuum

>> Monday, September 22, 2008

This has been two weeks that seem like anything but two weeks. A space/time rip is all I can imagine it could be. Feel free to forward my address to any authority in charge of investigating such matters. You never know if my experience is the thing that might possibly solve the time travel conundrum.  I hope they have a reward of something or other. 

So, what crippled me the most these last two weeks? No phone service? No cell phone reception? No internet? (no furniture, no dishes, no cooking utensils) Nope.  Well, yes, but primarily it turned out to be having no camera.  I had no idea how dependent I have gotten on documenting our days.  I finally bought a disposable one, but I missed so much before that.

I had to call Precious Daughter 1 while I was driving on the freeway in order to have her use the internet and find me a place to get a broken window fixed 14 hours from where she was.  She steered me to the only laundromat in town while she was at it. It is a very strange feeling to be so unconnected to the world, let me tell you.  In fact, once she called me very concerned about our Houston relatives having to evacuate and that was the first I knew there was even a hurricane. Bizarreness. And I have phone calls still unreturned to see how they are doing. 

While we were doing more errands one day we found a circus going through. It was a great circus and we rode the elephants. Wonderful afternoon! I have pictures from my phone of the elephant but I have to figure how to get them to the computer first and then I'll post them. 

There is a chiropractor in The Dalles who will be presented with my Queen Award (I'll send him some cookies). He fixed my plantar fasciitis and heel spur while I was there, and I've been out of commission with my feet for months and months. Gregory Keilman. Check him out if you are ever in the area. Or anywhere near by. I traveled a three hour round trip five times while I was there and consider it a highlight of my trip. Thanks, Dr. Greg!

And for all those five trips to The Dalles, I had errands to run for my sister. Measuring things is not her strong suit and we had to get the blinds cut three times before they fit the windows. And then when she was finally able to hang them, she found the windows are 60 inches long and she had bought blinds that were 48 inches long.  It's one of those things where you simply take a breath and move along. 

There was a black widow spider in a box of stuff from a storage facility and we kept it in a gallon jar and fed it flies until we left. 

One day we went across the Columbia River into Washington and climbed Beacon Rock. It's an awesomely beautiful climb. The Rock is 480 feet tall and the path winds back and forth through 52 switchbacks for a mile to get that high. You can see boats on the Columbia and trains run practically right beneath you. It's breathtaking. Especially with four children who run ahead and aren't afraid of getting too close to the edge and who love to climb over the rails.  That we survived unscathed should have been a headline. The excitement is in the climb and the view. The thrill is counting heads once we are down and finding a full count and no blood. 

Then Jason got a dirt clod thrown into his eye one night and his eye was almost swollen shut by morning even after removing all the dirt.  In the morning I could see his cornea was scratched and he was having trouble seeing but he was better the next day and he's so fine I cancelled his visit to the eye doctor. Sheesh. His list of emergency room visits and hospitalizations is pretty amazing and I'm glad we dodged another one.

It took us two days to get home. I have trouble staying awake when I'm driving and at the halfway home mark I fell asleep at the wheel briefly and found myself about to plow into the side of a hill. Jerking the car back to the road scared us all and we found a motel with a pool and an internet connection and started to get rested, refreshed and reconnected with the modern world. 

Honeyhusband had a delicious dinner waiting for us, he straightened the pantry and he bought new baking sheets.  Precious Daughter 2 had been watching the place and left us a beautiful loaf of her special chocolate chip banana bread in the freezer for us.  Awesome homecoming! I will be delighting in this for ages! 



Going to See My Sister!

>> Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My sister and I haven't just gotten to hang out in years and years. Probably ever. And in a few days I am going up to her place in Oregon and she's coming from Denver and we are going to spend a couple of weeks getting her place ready to sell since she's, you know, living in Denver.

Because it's too far to commute from Oregon to Denver on a daily basis.

Unless she had a private airplane and a license she hasn't told me about. 

And she hasn't. 

So.  We are planning on working hard and playing hard. And yes, I'm taking all four of the still at home lovelies. 

We'll have a blast.  Terri is the one who taught my children to bark for treats in Wal-Mart.  She's such a good influence on my children.  

I can hardly wait!


So Sweet!

>> Thursday, August 21, 2008

My second daughter is married and busy and the children miss her lots, even though she lives near by. So she decided to start taking each of her brothers and sisters out for a special time in town every once in a while and Jason was first. He "counted the sleeps" until yesterday when it was time to go, got up and was dressed and waiting excitedly until Kimberly came.  As they were getting ready to leave, he quietly went over to his twin sister and whispered, "Jaime, come on, let's go!". Jaime told him it was his turn to go and her turn would be later. He nodded, then said, "yeah, but come on, come with us!" 

 I am so blessed that my children love to be with each other. 


When it Rains, It Pours

>> Tuesday, August 19, 2008

So, is this skunk season, or what?

Today we smelled a slight skunk smell that got stronger and stronger as the moments went by. Since skunks are nocturnal, I wanted WonderBoyII to go out and check things out, but carefully, and with a weapon (a long stick, as it happens) in case it turned out to have rabies.  He and Princess PondScum followed the odor and found it down the hill where it had succumbed, probably after being hit by a car.  So what happened to the poor deceased and very smelly skunk? Princess PS  brought it up to the driveway on a stick and the prevailing wind brought the smell straight into the house. Freshly dead, still wiggly and smelling like it had just sprayed, which it had. 

We started out making a big peach cobbler and putting nectarines in the freezer and ended up dealing with skunk.  The fun just never ends around here!


The Skunk Episode That Broke my Camera

WonderBoy II loves to trap animals, observe them for a short time and let them go. We've seen lots of interesting critters that way--possums (oh, what a disgusting excuse for an animal they are), foxes, raccoons, stray cats, our cats (hello! what's up with that? Cat food on the porch, cat food in the trap--gee, I'll take the trap for 300, Alex...), and the occasional skunks.  Usually he ties a rope on the door of the trap and keeps it positioned in such a way that he can easily get the trap door opened without having to get too close in case it is an animal from which it is wiser to keep some distance. It is a lesson learned by trial and error, let's be clear.

On the other hand, when things go well for a period of time, there tends to be a laxity in the undertaking, and such was the latest Skunk Episode.  WonderBoyII and his sweet and adventurous sister, Princess PondScum (she's getting older. We need to change that nickname) set up the trap by the generator house and found a skunk trapped the next morning but they had neglected to put a rope on the door. Princess volunteered to scoot over on her tummy and tie the rope while WonderBoyII shinnied up to the roof of the generator house and opened the trap door while filming it on my camera. Camera dropped from roof in process. It is still in working order and has the video of the skunk release, but it is in the shop for repairs and they told me it might be a month before it gets back.  

The release went wonderfully, with Princess PondScum chasing the skunk down the driveway for just that little bit extra fun. "Prudence, Schmoodence" seems to be the motto at our house.


The Before and After Project Quilt. In Photo Pieces

>> Thursday, August 14, 2008

Because of my highly sophisticated blogging skills, I'm unable to change these pictures to be in order. I just kill myself with this kind of stuff.  And, look at things underlined. Now if I *wanted* things underlined it would never happen in a million years. Geez, Louise.

I continue to find myself so amusing.Thank you, BooMama, for this great project idea!  Go see other great projects here.


Seriously, Folk...

>> Monday, August 11, 2008

I have posted less and less lately as I have so many pictures of our projects, horse camp, etc. but they TAKE SO LONG to load and lots of times I can't hang around that long. I'm talking twenty minutes for each picture, if they load at all.  I loaded one picture of the quilt pieces blasting fast--in about 5 *minutes*, put the next one to upload and since it went on top of the first picture instead of below, I had to dump the entire two pictures uploaded and start over. That was last night and I'm still waiting for the first picture to finish. 

If anyone knows of a way to do this better, I'd love to hear it.
Cause I've got some pictures I'd love to post.


Fish Dessert!

>> Thursday, July 31, 2008

This was a very fun "craft" type dessert the children all made. Aqua (berry flavored) Jello, with gummy fish, topped with chunky blue sugar.  


The Catching Up Post

>> Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hello!  It's been a lovely few weeks, but with so much going on it was a little overwhelming to try and document it all, blog-wise.

Horse camp was great. We rode two days--bareback one morning and with saddles in the afternoons. We went swimming in the lake and had some good relaxing time just hanging out in between.  The entire week before Horse Camp started saw temperatures from 108-113 degrees. My sanity was hanging by a thread, wondering how I'd survive camping out in that heat in tents with five children, but God blessed us in the most amazing way with the temperature going down to the mid 90's while we were there. That was a 20 degree drop in one day! I'm still speechless with gratitude.

I have had a tremendously hard time uploading pictures for this, but that's probably good.  For some reason, I got pictures of everyone starting out on their rides. Interpreted for my photography skills, that means that I got everybody's behinds. Real interesting. You'd think I'd ask for somebody to turn around and smile, but no. I was intent on documenting that everyone has a back and a behind. 

 The morning after we got back from camp we had an all day workday to prepare for Vacation Bible School starting the next morning.
It was a very busy week with two of us being leaders and two others being leadees. Attendees. Whatever they are called.  VBS kids.  But what "9a-12p" means is us leaving the house at 7:30a and not getting home until 2p.  It is usually a lot of fun, but there were sleep issues and that created huge fatigue issues which made some of the week seem three months long.  Not to mention some children (Twin One, this means you!) bailing on activities and lying in a pew listening to the missionary story a couple of different times each day while his group went from crafts to games and snacks and wondered where he was. Next year will be better.

Our anniversary didn't end up with any big plans.  Honeyhusband's car broke last week and will need fixing in a major way, so the budget turned in that direction instead of a weekend away.  We did go out for lunch and had a Home Depot date. That is a step up from a dump date, especially if you love hardware stores (and we do).  We are in process of replacing the front door and it includes having to choose a color and paint it.  I love Do It Yourself projects if they work out. If not, well, then not so much. This one could go either way. Painting a door isn't as easy as I thought it was going to be.  Semi gloss on a steel door with a brush? Seems like it should have been a spray paint if you ask me. 

And after four solid weeks of fires, they are finally 100% contained here.  It feels very odd to not have helicopters with the buckets continually going back and forth overhead all day.  At horse camp we were even able to see the helicopters scoop up water from the lake.  How amazing!  But Redding is totally smoky still. The air quality was so bad we weren't supposed to be outside, except that we didn't believe it would bother us and we spent several hours swimming, then the rest of the night coughing. It wasn't until the third day when we were leaving that I finally connected the dots of us feeling bad and the warning not to go out unless we had to. I sometimes have a very long learning curve. Very long. 

Air quality aside, the hospitality from The Dearest was her usual stellar stuff. We were waited on hand and foot and totally spoiled.  She has such a gift!  She's definitely the Calm to my Whirlwind. Because of the busy schedule earlier, we opted to just hang out and swim and not go anywhere except for a shopping trip with my 15 year old son to the nearby outlet stores. We got lots of clothes and it was such a great price and a fun outing we are all excited to take each child in turn, only we need to find an outlet store closer to us.  It would not be nice to presume on The Dearest, plus she'd probably pack up her family and move to Pakistan once she got wind of our plans. 

I think that catches us up. We still have baseball, the pictures for baseball, fundraisers for baseball, and a car wash for baseball this Saturday, along with the finding of all the equipment from game to game.  Twin One misses out from time to time with his shoe issues, but otherwise it's all going well.  

Oh, and I finished the top of the quilt. Hurray! 

I'll get some pictures posted later. 


Art For The Masses

>> Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We've started doing some watercolor lessons from Hearts and Trees and we are having a blast. I got everyone their own set of paints, brushes and watercolor paper and it is a calming yet focused way for all of us to spend about 45 minutes. Oldest son is trying to ignore the classical music by iPoding himself, but yesterday was better. I'm doing it with them and while it is crowded at the table, it was still great fun.


Event Planner Needed

>> Sunday, July 6, 2008

We are about to hit a very busy stretch--appointments, trip to the grandparents, horse camp, Vacation Bible School, baseball three evenings a week and a trip to visit friends (The Dearest), and then our anniversary getaway.

We usually forget about our anniversary so this year I'm trying to plan something special. I have no idea what or where yet, but something besides, "Oh! Hey, did you realize today was our anniversary?" "Sure enough! I thought we were going to try and remember this year." repeated year after year. A trip grocery shopping together would be an improvement over our usual "taking our trash to the dump" dates, so I don't have lofty goals. Still, suggestions would not be discouraged. I mean, I'm the Festive Mother who took the children on a day camping trip, ended up parking on the side of the road at a wide spot, afraid of the propane stove so that our roasted hot dogs and toasted marshmallows ended up being cold hot dogs and plain marshmallows out of the sack. Oh yeah! Let's get this party goin'! Woo Hoo. Three cheers for Mom. 

Yep. Suggestions wouldn't hurt.


Summer Happenings

HoneyHusband took all the children camping and fishing for a few days while I got some total quiet to work on the quilt. They had a great time and caught several fish, swam every day and generally enjoyed the dirt and heat.  It gave me enough time to get most of the little pieces together for the quilt top so that I can continue making progress. If they hadn't left me alone those three days I don't think I would have had a chance, but now it's shaping up and I'm excited to keep working on it.  It's my project for BooMama's Before and After, so it kind of needs to be finished by July 25th. Not that I'm pressured or anything.  And look how happy they look! At least the one with the fish does...


Magic Wands

>> Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I'm a firm believer in the Magic Wand.  I don't really care if it is Fictional, Fantasy or Fir. It could be poplar, beech, bent or broken.  Many times my Magic Wand is a book. I want sense made out of my situation. I want things Fixed. I want things to Work. So really, not to scare some people off by my term "Magic Wand"--anything that helps me is my Magic Wand.  I've had Magic Wand typing programs (Mavis Beacon), Magic Wand cooking helps (Leanne Ely's Saving Dinner and my pressure cooker), Magic Wand Bible Studies (anything by Beth Moore), and, for me, the most elusive Magic Wands would be those for child training. I have an entire collection of Wands for that. Effective Parenting with Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, Mike and Debi Pearl (No Greater Joy) have all been--and continue to be--treasured Wands.   But my newest and most delightful Wand has got to be Reb and Beverly Bradley. Listening to Reb Bradley at the Homeschool Seminar this last week was just what I needed to hear. He spoke God's Wisdom and Goodness to me.  He was talking about Blind Spots in our child rearing and how to overcome that--it was like he spend weeks at my house and gave me his solutions, only in a public setting. Beverly's tapes on our children learning to love each other was one of the best things I have ever heard in my entire life. She took my favorite verse in the Bible--Zephaniah 3:17 and exploded and expanded it until I felt I couldn't take another molecule of God's delight. Awesome.  I'm adding their ministry link on my sidebar and I'm going to see if they will just move next door so I can listen to them every day.  


Tyler Braveheart

>> Saturday, June 28, 2008

Little Bear Wheeler is an incredible man. He's got an incredible story and he is an incredible person in real life.  We are going back for more this morning, so I'll add more to this later. 

It's later.

And I shouldn't have said that. 

I am overwhelmed with all the wonderful stuff I saw and learned on Friday and Saturday. I've been homeschooling forever  and you'd think maybe I would have gotten  beyond the dumb as an oyster stage. 

Evidently not. 

 These speakers are so gifted of God and speak wonderful encouraging words of wisdom. 
I'm *so* excited to listen to the CD's I got. I'm *so* excited to start putting things into practice.

I'm *so* exhausted.  Good night.


The Great Smoky Mountains. Of California


Scrap the Menu, Boys--We're Having Fish Tonight!

>> Thursday, June 26, 2008

  Jaime--the family's best fisherperson!


Evidence of Things in a "Before" State

>> Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Here is the quilt mess.  There are squares already cut out, the strips of handkerchief material partly cut out, the batting, the backings preshrunk and waiting for whatever is going to happen to it, and jeans ready to cut more squares if I need them.  It is a huge project and I think I'll go to the library and pretend I don't have this mess on my floor.  Making a mess is enough for one day.  Well, that and the fact that I have no idea what I'm doing here.  That in itself is nothing new, but sometimes it makes me queasier than others.

                            The double rainbow that preceeded the storm that caused all the fires.

                                                        The Front Entrance.  (Of Shame)

This is my embarrassingly weedy and unkempt bed. One of many. But it's the first one I'm tackling and I'm making some headway. I need to transplant some daylilies to balance things out and I want to mulch to keep from having to weed so much. 

I don't have a real good idea of how to make the quilt top and bottom match up in size yet, but I think that means I need to mess with the jeans top first.  And don't you just know that God planned it that way!  Sort of an "eat your vegetables before you get dessert" type thing. Not that the back is going to be a piece of cake, but well, putting off the jeans top for 10 years definitely feels like scooting the peas around on the plate hoping they disappear.  

Anyway, there are the projects and now it is up to me to find a way to continue to avoid doing them while still pretending to myself I'm making progress. No! I meant something completely different and totally responsible and full of Legacy and whatnot.  Really. It's going to happen.