Saturday, October 3, 2015

One more moment

I have a chalkboard in the hallway where I leave messages for our kids. 
A couple of weeks back some words from a Sunday sermon struck me and so I wrote on there, 
"every moment,
every life,

Over and over again this past week these words have run through my mind.
Many of you know what happened to my husband last Friday, the 25th. (If not message me, and I will send you the link to the newspaper story). It was a traumatic day for us, not knowing whether that rock he was standing on was going to hold him up or crumble down the mountain. He made it - obviously - or I wouldn't be here right now, writing this. He got his side of the story told in the paper and to others who have asked throughout the week. Meanwhile, I have been processing and thinking, because that's how I roll. It takes awhile sometimes for the words to make their way through my dense brain.
I don't believe in coincidences. And especially not after this day.
1. The Mr put his phone in his front pocket - something he never does. Which meant, he could get to it and get help.
2. He fell on his backside instead of falling forward and rolling - which would have ended up much differently and probably worse.
3. The only, ONLY, phone call that went out from his phone that day was his call to 911. Even though he had tried to call me at various times during his hike, and after his fall, this was the only one that went through.We were able to text, and he did text with the sheriff in charge also.
4. He had put his smaller ice ax on the right hand side of his pack, in an easier buckling system than his larger ice ax. Without that he couldn't have stopped his slide at all. If it had been on the left he wouldn't have been able to get it, since his left arm wasn't working at all.
5. People all over the world, literally, were praying for us.
6. And this is the one that gets me choked up the most. This is where I see God's fingerprints the most. The winds were blowing, something like 60 mph. The National Guard fought these winds, and rescued my husband, without a problem. Yes, these are very highly skilled, very highly trained pilots; but even they were ready to take the helicopter in.
7. Just as my son and I were getting ready to leave at 9:30 pm to drive 2+ hours to the hospital, my sister showed up at the door. I hadn't called her. She just showed up to see what could be done. She took one look at me and said, "You aren't driving." And without even her toothbrush she put us in her car and away we went into the night.

All these "little" things added up to a big thing for me. God had us in His hand the whole time.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

School weeks

The first few weeks of school are in the books.
On the first day of school I will admit I teared up a bit as I watched my 7th grader walk into the big ol' school without me. This is her first year at Away School, and just like with her older brother and sister, I have had to adjust my heart.
The 2 kids at home school this year are such a blessing. We are having quite a fun time, relaxing in pjs half the morning, and then getting some work done. We didn't really start school until the week after everyone else had gone back. And even then, I've been so busy with other stuff that the week was actually only a half week for them.
But this week we are more or less trying to stay on task and on schedule. Of course, then the kids get sick with back-to-school colds, and there goes that plan.
The Girl Who Swims is now the Girl Who Runs. She joined the cross country team, now that she is in high school. (And just saying that makes me pause and gulp at how time is flying.) Wow, she is fast! it is her first year of running. She's never been much of a runner, never really liked it, until this year. We've all been nicely surprised by how well she is doing too. She is running the Varsity team 5k's at each meet, and bringing her time down each week. This past week's meet saw her at 24 minutes, placing 15th out of 44. It was a PR of 2 minutes!
The Boy is running also. This will be his third season of cross country, and he's improving right along with the others. He runs between 19 and 21 minutes for a 5k. The sickness hit him this week, so he didn't get a chance to run the race yesterday.
The Girl Chef is adjusting well to school. One of her electives is a sort of Home Ec class. It has a different name, but I still haven't figured out what the acronym stand for. Anyway, she is cooking away in there, and learning some sewing skills alongside healthy menus, etc. She comes home and teases her dad with "Today we made ____" (usually something yummy!)
My now-10 year old (her birthday was this week) is liking the changes we made to homeschool too. Instead of the dry textbook approach I did for too many years with science and history, we tried a new curriculum this year. Sonlight Science has us looking at various cool books to learn about the body and how it works. The first day we opened an Usborne book and she said something like Wow, I like science! It was the first time I heard that from her.
We've got some work to do on spelling!
Little K started kindergarten this year. Now that is such a fun age! And thankfully pretty relaxed and easy. I let her go beyond what I require if she wants to - which she did the first week.
But it hasn't been all work and no play. Last weekend we made it out to the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. I had promised the girls pony rides - since we didn't do them at the State Fair. I knew the children's garden was free at Oktoberfest, so I didn't mind waiting in line for them to ride around in a circle on a pony for 5 minutes. I was reminded of the days when I used to ride my cousin's horse, or my friends' horse; this is the closest my kids have gotten to equestrian.
 The weather is changing, and I am enjoying the cooler days, the time at home with school, the upcoming Bible study, football games, cross country meets; trying to cherish each moment.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Ups and Downs

What a weekend.
On one hand, I have gotten to spend some great time with my three younger girls, doing a lot of family stuff together. We stayed up really late one night watching Anne of Green Gables - we're now on the 2nd movie, of three. What is it about Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe? Even though I know the story, and the outcome, I swoon every time I read that story! And the language - so poetic and lovely and flowing. And we had a family picnic on Saturday, exploring a different part of Silver Falls, on our bicycles this time.
On the other hand, we went to my uncle's funeral Friday. This man, this family, was like my second home growing up. My cousin was my best friend when we were younger. But changes come, and death comes, and even though I know my uncle is at peace, there is still a sadness. During the service I glanced at my dad, whose brother was in that coffin. And it hit me pretty hard that in a few years - hopefully many years! - we will be doing this for him.
On then on the other hand, I got to see my cousins, many of whom I had not seen in eons; I got to visit a bit and that was wonderful! Even in the sad circumstances, it was good to be with family, and to reconnect even for a moment with them.
And then on the other hand again, it was 9/11, and the emotional memories of that day were present. This day is a tragic historical event to my kids. To me, it is very real in my memory. So when they asked questions, wanting to know and understand what happened, it was difficult for me to explain it all. I remember where I was, what we were doing, the aching in my heart that day, that week.
And so it was a bit of a see-saw weekend. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Time of change

Today was another milestone in our lives.
The Chef-girl went to Away School for the first time, leaving me home with just two of my babies.
She is in 7th grade now; it's like I blinked and 12 years flew past me. I know, it's cliche, but it really seems like a blink of an eye and they are grown.

Our oldest is now a licensed driver. He went and took the test last week and passed with flying colors. I have yet to get him on the insurance, and get the car he is going to take to school ... all in good time. Maybe it is my inner way of holding back the inevitable. He is a junior in high school, and living it up.
The Girl Who Swims,(on the right, below) is now a freshman in high school. I can actually remember back to my freshman year, and meeting my life-long friends then.
At least I still have the two at home. They continue to help me out during the day, and one of these days soon we will actually start school work with them! For now we are enjoying the weather and the fact that most everyone else is in school.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

State fair

We made it to the fair this year.
Not just once, but twice!!
Because of whatever reason, the powers that be offered admission for .25 on Thursday. How could be say no to that price? My sister and I loaded the kids and drove on over. (Cue Beverly Hillbillies music in my mind)
We got there soon after it opened, which was nice since there were less people to walk through. We enjoyed some shows, some animals, some exhibits. We were able to check on The Girl who Bakes' 4-H exhibit. As we wandered through the baked goods, we found her plate with the beautiful words "Reserve Champion" on the tag. Woohoo! My girl can cook!
We took in the dog show - a favorite every year. And we had to partake of the ice cream offered by the Dairy Women of Oregon.
It was enough for 25 cents.
But we had to go again. We had free tickets from the kids' library reading program, and two of the family members didn't get to go with us on Thursday. So we picked Monday as the day. Once again, we loaded up the pickups and found some free parking (wow!) We spent the afternoon walking through ALL the exhibits. The girls spent their money on the Ferris Wheel. We spent ours on ice cream.
We enjoyed the clown show.
The younger two wanted to stay at the Ag area for along time, "milking" cows, saddling the horse, cleaning the stalls,
There's hope for the future ...

We decided to ride the Fair Lift on Thursday - 3 of them enjoyed it so much, they took it back across the Fair again. The other 3 decided to stay on the ground.
 The petting zoo was a hit. The baby wallaby - you can't see it here, but it was poking its head out of momma's tummy - was extremely cute.
A lovely way to end summer vacation.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

School clothes

This year our back to school clothes shopping has taken a twist. We tried something different with the kids. In the past I would take a couple of them, or sometimes all five, and spend hours going to stores, debating about the clothes with them, trying to find nice items for a nice price.
It was usually exhausting for all of us.
This year I have enjoyed B2SCS! The kids each have their own money set aside from their earnings this summer (selling veggies). I dropped the older three at a store, went and did my errands (shopping with the younger two) and then came back to preview their selections. Mostly approved, perhaps a few times of discussion about their choices. And then the kids purchase it. We all go home happy. I am not stressed about bleeding money; they like the clothes they get; and they learn to shop. My girls are great at finding bargains, and scouring the clearance section.
Another step towards independence.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


26years ago I was just about to start my senior year of high school. I was the last one at home, the last one to get a driver's license.  I went in a day or two before school started, and took the test. I don't remember much about that day except my utter relief that I didn't have to parallel park. To this day I still can't (and won't) parallel park.
Yesterday our son, our firstborn, took his driver' test. He has practiced for over a year to get here, mostly under my watch and adding a few white hairs to my head.
Sitting in the DMV, I watched him drive out of the parking lot, and I prayed for peace (for myself0 and for his safety. I needed something to distract me, so I pulled out my checkbook. Yes, that took my mind to another place!
The time went by quickly and soon I was looking up as the Boy walked in the door with a smile on his face. I guessed then that it was good news. Yep, he handed me the paper that had "Pass" written on it.
After paperwork, payment and paparazzi, we headed home. The funny thing was, he wanted me to drive!