Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The coast didn't disappoint...

WOW.  I was concerned that we would have too much fog or too cold of a breeze or some other such thing.  But it was a great day on the coast.  The sun was out, the wind not to strong, a bit cool... but it is December for pete's sake!
We saw a few big redwood trees, Crescent City in California and Brookings, Oregon.  All the beaches that we stopped at offered great treasures for gathering... rocks, driftwood, shells and the like. 
We ate at a nice restaurant with DELICIOUS food.  Smugglers' Cove in Brookings was our dinner location and they were top notch.  PopPop and Geemah claim that they had the best fish and chips of their life there!! (They lived in England for nearly 3 years... you'd think that they would have found the "best" over there!  Who am I to say... I don't eat fish and chips!!) Aunt JoJo tried the crab cakes and said they were spectacular.  Pops had a platter with several selections of seafood... he said they were good.  I'll take his word for it! Branch and Blossom had buttered noodles and Bud had a sirloin steak, veggies and a baked potato along with a cup of clam chowder!  I had dinner salad and crab cocktail with melted butter... mmmmmmm. DeLish!  We ventured home in the dark and boy am I beat.  It was fun.  It was a great fun day.  Tomorrow?  Should be a blast, too!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

They're here!

Well, I made it up to the big city today to pick up my mom and dad and sister.  And more importantly, made it home to reunite the 'rents and sistah with my youngens! There were some tense moments when I thought that my mom might jump out the window, sit on the roof and use her super powers of wind to propel us faster to my home about an hour and a half or so from the airport!!  But, we made it in one piece and everyone is so excited to be together.  Even ol' Scarlett is enjoying some extra lovin' and patting from Aunt JoJo and the regular "get out of here ya dumb dog" comment from PopPop!  

Busy day tomorrow... out to the coast for the day!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Busy busy busy... again!

We are all getting excited and preparing eagerly... we have guests arriving on Monday!!  We are rolling out the red carpets and dusting off the fancy china... Geemah, PopPop and Aunt JoJo are coming by plane and we will pick them up from the airport Monday afternoon!!  Woooo Hoooo!  

You think I sound excited?  You should hear the squeals around here of those chillen of mine! They can hardly contain themselves!  We haven't see my family since this past July!  That is a long long time!  This is actually the longest stretch of time that Geemah has been away from my kids! I miss my mom, but my kids?  They feel tortured, I think!  Geemah usually sees us about once every three months or so... even when she lived in England and Poland.  Three - maybe four months at the most spanned the time between visits. It has been a long time since mid-July!

We are excited that they are coming.  Aunt JoJo has not been here to visit yet and has never been to the west coast, either.  So, we plan to live it up and take her to see the Pacific Ocean. We hope that she comes back again soon so that we can take her to see Crater Lake, too - that is one amazing place to go see! Anyway, Aunt JoJo and PopPop will only be here through the 1st of the year and then will be headed back to Illinois.  Geemah will stay on and join us on an "ooooo ahhhhh venture" to California. 

I have plenty to do to get ready... more from me some time later.

Friday, December 26, 2008

It was a GREAT day for our family!

We had so much fun together yesterday!  The kids got us up at a decent hour, we enjoyed looking through our stockings, opening presents, eating a lovely prime rib dinner, playing together with our new fun things, eating cookies, watching the snow fall a little bit throughout the day, talking with family on the phone... it was a GREAT Christmas!

Here are some pictures of fun presents...

We kind of lost Bud after he opened this TransFormer computer.

Branch wants to sew just like her MaMa - and HK to boot!!

Our diva, Blossom, loved her new Snow White wig...

and the fake fingernails!

Our little Barker got some liver treats and she followed them around all day!

Joy in a $6 camping light!!
Pops is so good at opening presents with the kids. They love every minute of his sillyness!

He loves "practical" and I try! A lot of fun. I opened some lovely presents myself, but I take pictures and try to stay out of the way of any other camera people! 

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

May the blessings of Christmas bring you much joy!!

Christmas Eve

Today was busier than I had anticipated!  But, I realized that the cut-out sugar cookies were still in lump of dough form in the refrigerator.  That would NOT do for Santa tonight, so I set to getting the cookies finished with a few little helpers...
We had fun and got it done!  I rolled, the kids cut, I frosted and the girls sprinkled.  Fun and done.
We attended a family mass at 5:30 (instead of waiting and going at midnight or in the morning!). It was quite nice.  As the gospel was read of the nativity story, there were several children dressed in costumes as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, etc and they did a small act it out scene.  It was cute and out kids loved it.  Then all the children were invited to the for their own special children's homily.  It was very special and the kids loved it.

On our way home, the kids were talking about how excited they were that Santa would have arrived when we got home.  (Last year, Santa dropped off presents, filled stockings and ate a cookie or two while we were at mass.  So, they were sure that Oregon is FIRST on Santa's schedule.  I warned them that Santa's schedule is likely to change annually so that no one area gets all their presents first every year.  It didn't matter.  They were still SURE.)  When we arrived home, they first checked the bowl of carrots that they had left on the front porch for the reindeer.  They found the bowl still full.  They looked inside and saw that there were no new presents under the tree, and the stockings were empty.  I was putting something away in the garage when I heard this wail...  Branch came running out to the garage with tears rolling down her cheeks.  "{Bark} ate Santa's cookies."  What?!?  Huh?!?  What?
Yes, it appeared that the cookies were gone and 'Bark' had her tail between her legs and was sort of looking guilty in the corner!  The cookie plate had been left near the edge of the table... and it was smellin' good! So, she helped herself to 3 cookies and 3 Hershey's kisses!  We straightened out the problem, washed the dish and filled it back up with cookies for Santa and put it in a safer place!
Then we all sat around the table enjoying hot chocolate and enjoying all the cookies.
Presents?  Well, I allowed JUST one, and I got to pick!! 
They got their new pjs that I was working my tail off to complete in time!!  Just by the skin of my teeth did I get these pjs made and wrapped up!
Next was off to bed to sleep and wait for Santa to arrive with presents for us to open in the morning.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Yea, yea it's TUESDAY, now.

So - I have excuses excuses excuses to divulge before telling the "real deal."  

I am behind... AGAIN, with this blog.  I have all my iron in the fire - and all my kids' irons in the fire, and Pops' irons, and the neighbors' and YOURs.  YES, I have your irons in the fire, because I have so many projects going all at once that I had to secretly borrow yours.  Thank you.  You'll get your irons back in March.

Christmas is nearly here.  All the preparation and planning has to be in order. Christmas is in 2 days. I have been sewing, baking, wrapping, shipping, cleaning, ackkk - what was that interrupting all my Christmas preparations? Oh, yes a bout with the bug who feels it is his place to become a squatter in my stomach and intestines.  Lovely.  That was 2 days lost with my own digestive bug squatter and 2 days for Blossom and 2 days for Branch.  So far, the men of the house have avoided the squatter. Lucky them.  As for pictures on this post and the last few... sorry.  No time to do that, too. And really, what kind of picture would you expect to see on this post?  OH, the mess around here? Sorry.  No time for taking pictures of clutter!!

OK, enough excuses.  

Here's the update on Last Wednesday's post.  I went to the dentist.  There was no snow to contend with.  It was raining and 41 degrees.  There was one 1 mile stretch on my drive that was getting wet and slushy snow.  It was causing no problems.  I am sure glad that I stayed up so late getting more things done Sunday night in my hopes of having my dentist appointment cancelled.  

So, Sunday night I only slept from 2 am to 6:30 am.  That is NOT enough sleep. I stayed up last night until 1 am.  Sewing.  Sewing. Sewing.  

I HAVE to finish tonight for the kids.  It is their annual Christmas Eve gift. Every year, on Christmas Eve the kids get to open ONE present and I get to choose.  I always choose that they open a new pair of pajamas!! This year, I got creative or something.  "I'll make 'em myself this year!"  Oh, I forgot that I already committed to myself that I would sew all these other items! So, hurry hurry hurry!  Bud's is complete.  I have to hem Branch's. Blossom's pattern needs to be pinned, cut out, and sewed up.  Then finish the wrap!!  :)  Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Isn't today Wednesday?

I now KNOW for SURE that I am no longer living in the midwest.

I have an appointment at the Dentist's office on Monday, Dec. 22nd. There are five (count 'em, 1 - Thurs 18, 2 - Fri 19, 3 - Sat 20, 4 - Sun 21, 5 - Mon 22 - that's FIVE, I had to check, too) days until my 8 am appointment. I just received a phone call from the receptionist at the dentist's office, letting me know that they will be taking my phone number (along with all the other appointment holders for the near future) home with them so that they can call around 7AM if my appointment will be scheduled due to weather.


We are preparing 5 days in advance for weather?? Yes, we are expecting to get some snow/ice winter mix in the next couple days. Yes, I understand that. So, if I had an appointment tomorrow, I would have found nothing strange in that call. But, 5 DAYS!!??? I know it isn't just Oregon... Memphis was similar. Although, I never had a call from a doctor's office... the news stations and weather folks always called for the people to "Get yer bread and milk! Get yer bread and milk!" when we were expecting snow. Of course the snow accumulated to about an inch or so. That sure made us laugh - more than once!! Every time snow was predicted... "Get yer bread and milk!!"

Oh, well. We'll be happy to be prepared when the pass is covered with ice... But, I haven't seen one trip on the interstate out here where there was ANY possibility of it being closed (aside from the one mountain pass south of Medford - I heard it was closed... once). I'll keep ya posted as to whether or not the weather cooperates for me to get to the dentist or not! Until that day, happy brushing and flossing!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Home Education... Outside of the Box this week!

I am teaching math to kids in the kitchen this week.  Did you know that 7 year olds pick up on fractions really easily when brown sugar is involved?!? No, our curriculum isn't having 1st graders working on fractions, but... he is working on addition and subtraction.  So, let's add and subtract fractions, I say!! Wooo Hooo... Bud is doing the conversions for my baking!!  He is doubling recipes, cutting others in half that aren't favorites for ALL of us, scooping up flour and sugar and trying to figure out what I mean when I say that baking is really just chemistry!!  He keeps watching that double acting baking powder - hoping that it will make its chemical reaction right before his eyes on the counter top!

We'll be checking out that Magic School Bus video again soon ... you know, the one where the bus shrinks and is baked into a cake?  Yea, that one! OH, wait!! Well, I'll be... some lovely person uploaded that to YouTube (I love youtube, sort of, when it is nice and not nasty!) and I can entertain you with The Magic School Bus gets Ready, Set, Dough! like I occasionally entertain my children when I have something that HAS to get completed.  Learn something about kitchen chemistry people... it is fascinating!  Entertain yourself here for a bit.  I promise that I will make time to upload some pictures and thoughts from all that we have been doing and being busy with. But, that will be later. For now, I am racing the clock trying to meet shipping deadlines!!  

Part ONE

Part TWO


This Advent Season is running away without me!

I am still "here."  

But, I am trying to breathe in between all of the things that I have over-committed to.  I only made these commitments to myself, and no one would know if I don't complete everything.  

I would know, though.  Yes, I would know and I would feel disappointed in myself.  SO, instead I am working my fingers to the bone.  Sewing, computing, baking, candy-making, etc... on top of being wife, mom and teacher!!  All those other things, like being a friend and blogger?  Yea, they are hanging on by a thread, I am afraid.  Please don't hold it against me.  YOU KNOW me. I want to do it all.  I try to do it all. I fail at doing it all. It is the cycle that I fall into at busy times. Sorry.  I will attempt to do better. I do try.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Watching (and singing) Wednesday!!

Enjoy!! We sang along!! It is fun to each these to the kids... perhaps they'll make a nice presentation of Christmas singing for our Christmas Day alone at home!! Hmmm... something to work toward, anyway!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Get off the horsey and back on the TRAIN!

Well... Here's the story. I wish that my eyes were able to capture instant pictures to upload the look on Blossom's face for your viewing pleasure.

Blossom was sitting on my lap, straddling my legs - horsey style. The occasional "giddy-up" sent her into peals of laughter. It was so much fun hearing her giggle and squeal, that I took the next obvious step... I tickled her armpits!! Those delighted squeals are so cute, too! Anyway, we played this little game for several minutes before her eyes got REALLY big in a shocked kind of way and all of a sudden, my lap was warmer... then wet... and then cold. OH, ICK!!

She has been potty trained for some time now... just the occasional accident and that is only wetting herself when a bathroom isn't close! Oh, well... Here's a fun pic from well over a year ago when she was learning to use the potty at Geemah's house!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Playing the worlds' smallest violin, I know.

So, Pops is out of town on some really important district meeting, sharing really important business tips, with some really important people (really, Bruce, Jake, Farleigh, Karen, Kevin, Chuck, Paul you ARE important, don't let my sarcasm harm your feelings of self-importance at this very important meeting!) and having a realllllllllllly important gift exchange. Yea, I hear all the tiny violins and tiny record players playing their hearts out.
But, here's the thing.  We miss Pops.  He has been gone for nearly 48 hours. That is a long long long time in the world of a little kid and an even longer time in the life of a homeschooling mom!

Did you know that Pops is the greatest dad?  He reads stories and he even sits and listens to stories about Fancy Nancy, Biscuit the Pup, and Marvin K. Mooney.  He takes turns reading with Branch...  one page for him, one page for her, one page for him, one page for her, three pages for him, one page for her, five pages for him... OOOooops!  The story is over!  Next story! Bedtime is great when Pops is around!  Stories to read, stories to make up and plenty of teases and bedtime rituals.  

I admit it.  I am a boring bedtime routine mom.  Especially when I am without Pops.  Together we make a great team.  Alone?  I am always telling the kids... "It is hard to be a great mommy without the daddy here, too."  I do try, but it feels empty with, "Where's my knees, momma?"  "Uh, they are on your legs, under the covers where I can't see them."  Yea, that wasn't too fun, huh?  See, Pops says, "Hmmmmm... Knees?  Your knees are... right HERE!" and grabs a hold of a stray foot, ankle, arm or whatever... just not the knees!  Then he catches them "completely unaware" and gives that ol' knee a big squeeze and tickle and sends those crazy girls into fits of laughter.  Oh, we miss Pops.

Mom's bedtime routine is more like this... Prayers, kisses, tuck-in, lights out, door shut.  More kisses in the other room, tuck-in, lights out, lamp on, door shut.  COLLAPSE on the COUCH. Exhaustion sets in when there isn't another adult around from 5 to 8!!

You know, I am trying to jump in and get back into the swing of things... but I think that the spring is out on a very important business trip with very important business people doing a very important Christmas gift exchange and of course some other important business of some kind.  Please! Oh, Please! Have a good time and go to bed early! I will need a 12 hour nap when you return home, Pops!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jumping in!

Why is it so challenging to get back into the swing of things when you have been gone? We need that schedule to keep things running well, but letting it loose for several days makes it hard to get back on track!
I need to jump right in like kids into a pile of leaves, but I sort of want it to feel FUN!!  Then I would jump on in and not miss a beat!  Help me find the FUN in jumping back into "real life"!!

What do you do to get back into a rhythm after you've been gone for a while? I think that I just need a drill sergeant! But, please do not sign up... I want to continue to LIKE my friends!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving was great!

We had a yum yum yum fried turkey or two, a ham, mashed spuds, hashbrown casserole, sweet potatoes, scalloped corn, rolls, jellied cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, apple pie and great company.  

I have no pictures because I spent all my time visiting, cooking and visiting.  (OH, and shopping. But, there were no major mis-haps in the shopping!  More on that, later!)  

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We're READY to go.

It is REALLY hard to be patient in a hotel while Pops finishes up his morning appointments.    
It doesn't help that we (read: one of us, who has a bit more trouble in the mornings than his sisters) made some choices this morning that informed "the powers that be" that ignoring simple directions is a better option than watching cartoons. Bummer for everyone.
It also doesn't help that we are excited and wanting to go to our awesomtastic friends' house... RIGHT NOW!
CoMe ON!!!  LeT's GooOooo...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Is EVERYONE this busy???

I got up and started BAKING!  I baked all morning.

We went to town for bowling with a local homeschool group.

We got home and packed our suitcases.

Pops wasn't finished with some paperwork, so we had some supper.

We are headed to a big city tonight, as it is en route to our Thanksgiving Day destination!  We will hang out in the big city while Pops finishes up some important visits.

Then, we will be on our way to Lakeview, WA (may as well be Seattle or Tacoma!!)  Woooo Hoooo!! Lots of fun to go see some friends!!

It is a busy time!  Are you busy?  What are you doing to get ready for Thanksgiving?!?!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Green-Eyed Monster

Well, I should have known.  Someone is jealous and wants a nightgown that matches her up with a baby doll.  I'll get right on that my dear, Blossom!  
Don't let that cute look fool you...  "Monster" IS a very good description of this little kid when things aren't going well for her at home.  She can turn from joyful into a fit of anger in half of a second and I often send her to cool down in her room.  Sometimes she has worked herself into such a lather that she passes out on her bed.  I usually send someone else into her room to wake the sleeping monster from her nap!  I know that they are faster.  I try to help her wake slowly into a happy state.  I should learn from her siblings!!  Tip-toe in, wake her, RUN OUT FAST!!!  But, I don't learn and we tend to skip naps more and more often these days...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sew... what?

Baby doll clothes.  Yes, that's right.  MATCHING baby doll clothes to be exact.  Branch is certain that it is imperative to have matching jammies with her baby doll! So, I made my attempt at sewing for the small... and it didn't turn out too badly!  
PhotobucketShe is thrilled.  I am happy to accomodate - for some things!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Girl's Best Friend*

I can hardly believe that I have been going on and on for this blog and haven't even mentioned my beautiful beloved boxer!! So, she needs her own gosh darn post!

I love this dog. What's not to love, really? She is loyal, friendly, soft, cuddly, brilliant, cute, a recovered addict, she's made something of her poor start in life, and the list goes on!

This beauty is a rescued dog from a major arterial north-south interstate in middle-America. She was found at a truck-stop and was needing a home. She entered into a shelter system, where she was fed, bathed, given all the necessary items a young gal entering a shelter could hope for, but most of all, she was cared for and loved for the first time.

The love was offered in the most strangest of ways. She was allowed access to her own private quarters, yes. But, walls? Oh, heavens NO! They didn't provide any form of privacy, but they did help her out of her quarters a couple times a day to play, take care of business and learn about people.

A fine loving family was waiting to add a new boxer to their brood of three boxers at home. They were a retired couple who enjoyed their loving dogs.  They brought her home, but she wasn't quite what they were hoping for.  It had been a while since they had a young gal in their pack.  This new pup was about 6 or 7 months old.  They kept her for a week or so and called the shelter and let them know that this beauty just wouldn't turn from her evil ways and conform to the current doggie pack regulations.

It just so happens, that the animal shelter had a very friendly relationship with the new veterinarian at the only veterinary practice in town.  On the flip side, I had a very "cozy" relationship with the new veterinarian in the only veterinary practice in my new home town. So, that new veterinarian knew that I love the boxer breed and he knew that there was a boxer who was homeless for a second go round.  So, that perceptive, beefcake of a veterinarian called {his, very pregnant with their first baby, wife} me to see if I was interested in opening my home to this pup.  

So, I did what any hormonal woman would do and I accepted this wild pup into my home.  She was crazed.  Literally, crazed.  She would be sitting in the middle of the living room.  Then, out of no where, she would stand up and start running around the house as if her life depended on it.  She would howl and howl, seeming to be praying that we would let her back to her home, the wild. 

Now, at this time, I also had another little dog. Dixie, the beagle, was my companion during the first two years that Pops and I were married.  
Incidentaly, Pops was studying very hard to become a veterinarian and I was lonely so, Dixie (initials, D.V.M.) was mine.  I was hers, she thought. When this new pup made it into our life, Dixie was three years old and it had been just the three of us for her three years.  She was a bit set in her ways.  Dixie didn't like this new crazy beast that ran faster and howled more than she did.  Dixie was not all too happy about her new kennel mate.
When we learned that Scarlett was not going to settle into our home as easily as we had hoped, that local vet prescribed some doggie downers. Or, were they uppers? Hmmm... I don't know. They made her feel happy enough to calm down. There, they were doggie upper-downers. It was great!  
She is now recovered from her upper-downer addiction and that stint with the drug world only lasted a year or so.  She has been drug-free for about 6 years, now.  I have to say that she is doing well and has settled in quite well.  

Scarlett can be found in one of many places...

Hanging with her "peeps."

Enduring dress up of some sort or the other.

Sleeping on a bed.  

Hogging on the couch.  

Sleeping on the back of the couch in the living room like a cat.

Lounging on a rug in the sunshine.  

Sleeping in the sand...  

I think it is safe to say...  This pup has grown into a nice old dog and has calmed down so much that she sleeps more than she runs. She is happy to report that she is the canine who loved the baby that arrived at our home a mere two weeks after she arrived.  She loved the babe who grew to be a toddler and therefore, got to live with our family for the last 7 years.  (Dixie, on the other hand, just didn't deal well with all the upheaval and moved to a home with another beagle - and no children!)

* Sorry to all of you BFF claimers for my post title.  But, seriously - "Man's Best Friend" just doesn't work...