Monday, April 18, 2016

Blue skies

April is a month of birthdays around here. The Mr. had his birthday this past week. It was a very busy day and evening - Wednesday's usually are pretty crazy around here. But we were able to have some time in the evening for cake and presents with my in-laws at our house.

 This past weekend the Mr. and I were able to get away to the coast for a short time. It's the first time we have left the kids home alone overnight without a sitter, or 'chaperone'. Now that The Boy is 17 we figured he and his 15 year old sister could handle things for that short time. We did ship the two youngest off to my sister's house, so that I could relax and not worry,
and so that the older kids wouldn't have to be responsible for a 5 yr old,
and so that there would be less possibility of them fighting while we were gone.
It all worked out great. I don't know why we haven't done more of this earlier!

The coast was just gorgeous. Cool of course, it IS Oregon after all, but the sun was out and the wind blew away any fog that might have tried to come in. One of the Sunday school classes at our church asked the Mr. and I to come and speak at their annual retreat. So we had the honor of sharing on Saturday morning about the mountain top adventure from last September. It was emotional, but yet so good to talk about it, first on the drive out between the two of us, and then the next morning with the large group, asking questions. It is getting a little easier to give the narrative of what happened up on the mountain, but getting through the emotional parts, and the 'where-do-we-go-from-here' parts are still a process we are churning through. So talking to others really helps. The friends this weekend said that they were blessed bu us sharing, but really, I think we were the ones blessed by them.

We also go to spend a few minutes walking on the sand. It was windy and cold, so we didn't stay out too long. But before that we visited with our friends from college days who live in that town. People used to mistake my friend M for my sister long ago; we lived together for a couple of years, and she was a mentor to me in so many ways. She was actually on my first (real) date with the Mr way back in 1996 too, which sounds odd, but if you knew the two (or three) of us back then, you can see how that works. So it was so good to see her and her husband and just sit and talk and laugh for hours with them.

Friday, April 15, 2016

April showers

What happened to our sunshine? You'd think that by now having lived in Northern Oregon for half of my life, I would be used to this rain. But since my childhood in southern Oregon is what formed me, I am missing the sun! We had a few weeks of beautiful weather, until now.
Of course, I was sick the whole time the sun was out. This awful cold is just not going away. Twice now I have felt like I was getting better, so I went for a run - and then, bam, a day or two later it was back like unwanted house-guest. How am I suppose to get in shape for all those 5K's that I want to run this year?!
Track season has started - my high-schoolers began long before Easter. And the track meets - so far we have been blessed to have sunny and fairly warm meets.
But then my poor middle school girl - her track meet this week was an experience. One I told her that she can tell her kids some day. I still remember the track meet where I got to run in the snow and hail. And I never fail to tell my kids about it!
Due to unforeseen complications The Girl who Cooks only had 1 race at this meet. It was breezy out and cool, so her fans were huddled next to me in a blanket. Just before she went out on the field to 'warm up', the rain began to fall.
And then it fell harder.
And then it was like a hose turned on.
As the gun went off for her race to begin, the wind and the rain flung the drops into her face so she ran down the 100 meters squinting. As soon as she finished she ran over the The Mr. who wrapped her in his coat. Soon after that, the rain died down a little bit, and we were able to walk to our car without getting soaked.
Now to wait for the May flowers - or the sun.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Vacation

Spring break.
Sleeping in. No lesson plans. No grading.
Yes, this homeschool mom takes a spring break when the schools do, especially since I have three in school now. But even before that we would take a break around the same time so that we could play with friends; although we would usually wait until the week after to go anywhere!
The first day of break was a Friday and I was the one who was gone all day while the kids stayed home! I had errands/shopping to do all morning and then after lunch I headed to Corvallis.
Because that is where The Basketball Games were being held. We were able to get tickets to the first and second games of the NCAA women's basketball championships! And our OSU women's team won both games! They were exciting games and fun times with my Mr and later with my girl who swims (but also enjoys basketball)
The rest of the week was a much needed rest. I took the girls shopping one day. We rarely have time to go when they are in school, and after-school sports. We spent another morning at the library, which resulted in a quiet afternoon of book-reading by the fire. (For non-Oregonians, spring break means rain. The sun comes out the day the kids go back to school.) We visited the grandparents, and we played games as a family. Some of the kids caught a cold, so they caught up on sleep that week also. We had friends over to do our once-a-decade Easter egg dying. I actually felt like doing this activity this year instead of using plastic eggs. The last time we did this was with our exchange student back in 2005! None of the kids even remembered it.
Our 'big' family trip was a one-day excursion to Wildlife Safari. It was a lot of fun, being together, and seeing the wild animals outside of the car window. (There was plenty of wildness inside the vehicle.)
This was our third trip there. On the previous visits the kids have gotten their first chance to 'drive' the car, so we kept the tradition going and let Little K have a turn at the wheel. This time with supervision. Her last attempt at driving wasn't so fun.
 

We capped the week off with our Easter celebration. Church in the morning and then the obligatory family photo - I finally got the kids to stand still, keep off their tiptoes, keep their hands out of each others' hair and smile.
 We went to my sister and brother-in-law's home to meet up with extended family. Cousins galore, aunts, uncles and more...
 The children under 12 got the first go at the egg hunt - the plastic eggs filled with toys or money. The girls made quite a lot of bank this year!
 And then it was time for the big kids to search. My brother hid the dyed eggs we had made; it took some hints,
 and a little helper (!) but they eventually found all the eggs.
 It also happened to be my mom's birthday the day before, so we celebrated that also.
 And finally, no family celebration would be complete without a game of some sort. I have memories of my brothers playing football out in the field of our home after Thanksgiving - or any other holiday - and my kids are keeping that tradition going along with their little cousins.
Monday morning was difficult - but the rest and memories of this spring break will keep me going until summer at least.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring!

So it's not officially the first day of spring, but here in Oregon it is the first day of sunshine after weeks of rain - it screams SPRING to me.
So we promptly went to the farm. (Mostly because we were out of wood and it gets kind of cold in the house when we don't run the wood stove.)
The field trip today included:
Running across the fields - they aren't planted yet, and they weren't too muddy, so the girls explored a bit today;
Cutting daffodils - one of my favorites;
Riding on the trailer while Grandpa drives the tractor. He almost let me drive one of the tractors and then decided against it. Hmmm, I wonder why that is?

Loading wood into the pickup to take home (and yes they helped unload at the end of the day too);
Helping Grandpa with the burn pile - always fun to watch;
And a peek at the beautiful snowy mountains. Mt Hood looked gorgeous today, and we saw Mt. Jefferson peeking out too.
I love going to the farm in the spring!





Monday, March 14, 2016

Time flies

Whomever decided to "change" time probably never dealt with a toddler who is used to a schedule.
I would gladly live in a state that did not observe this daylight savings time idea.
However, since that is not the case, yesterday morning I was up an hour earlier than I usually am, and  I got myself off to church to teach the six students who's parents managed to get them there on time. The rest of my family was still asleep when I left the house, but that's because none of them went to bed at their bedtime. Some of them stayed up until the wee hours of the morning. That had more to do with the events of the evening than anything else.
Saturday night was the school's annual Black Tie Dinner, and this year The Girl Who Swims went to it with a group of friends. We spent the day, (it seemed like the whole day), getting ready - first we had to buy shoes, but then my other daughter needed a haircut. So then I spent time at the salon waiting for that to happen. When I got home it was really Go Time - make-up, hair, nail polish, the dress ...


We thought we would be late but it all worked out and the Girl looked beautiful. Her father didn't want her leaving the house, but he acquiesced and I drove her to her friends house. The group met up there for pictures, and for the limo ride to the event.
Our dinner at home was a quiet affair, with only 3 young girls at home. The Boy had also gone out to a friends house to party the night away - kind of the No Tie Event instead of the Black Tie.
And so that is why the majority of the family was tired this morning. The Mr stayed up for the party-goers to get home. I knew I had to be up and alert in the morning, so I went to bed. I missed out on getting the fresh-from-the party news (it seems the kids are most talkative right after an event on the ride home; trying to get the replay later the next day isn't quite the same.)but I got caught up on most of it throughout the day Sunday.
How did my kids get to be so big? What happened to the day when I had one in a baby carrier, one in a car-seat and one in a booster, with big brother leading the pack? I didn't know then how I would miss those chaotic but cozy days of being together.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

History

My uncle died last year, and as what comes with death, the cleaning of house commences. My aunt and cousins are going through things, downsizing, cleaning, parceling out family items. My parents received a box of items from my dad's side of the family.
I have numerous pictures and such of the family history that I have been trying to organize for years now, so my mom passed on the box to me.
And what a treasure! I spent some time this afternoon looking at letters from my great-great uncle to my grandmother, letters written in 1921 on paper from that year. Names that I didn't recognize mingle with names I have heard of. Letters from Germany were in there, notes from family written in 1948. I took German in high school and college, but I could only make out a few words. The handwriting is exquisite in the German letters, so beautiful.
There were a few photos of unknown to me people. It made me want to dive into my family history boxes and sort more. History has always been a favorite of mine, but even more so with family information.
It just so happens that I checked out a book last week, before visiting my parents, titled "the Greatest Generation" by Tom Brokaw.
I know I had uncles and aunts in the WWII, and my grandfather in the WWI, but I am sure I have missed some history  there are holes in my information I need to fill.
And then I also want to collect some information of my husbands family history. It's important for my kids to know where they come from.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Just Keep Swimming

The season went ... swimmingly.
The Girl Who Swims made it to the 5:30 am practices each day without complaint. Ok, maybe a tiny bit of grumbling on Sunday nights, but not much. She swam fast, and far. Last week was the Districts meet. This girl placed 6th overall in the 200 IM and 7th in the 500 freestyle. Pretty amazing for a freshman. Only the top 2 go on to State, so we figured she was done for the season, and she made plans for sleeping in.
Until Sunday night.
We got a text from her coach. They needed an alternate to go to the State meet with the Girls 200 relay, and our girl was their pick.
So one more week of 6 am practices (and, yes, that half hour made enough of a difference to mention it!) and then she gets to go to State this weekend. Either she will sit on the sidelines and cheer for her teammates, or she will take the place of one who can't swim for some reason that day.
We are so proud of this girl who doesn't realize just how much potential she has.