Monday, March 19, 2018

Out and About

We've been going and going and going. And finally we were able to slow down just a tad and stay home. Once basketball season and swim fnished we had a few nights off and what a nice break. However track season is upon us; and we're eagerly anticipating the first meet of the season soon.

We've taken some field trips in the meantime with the homeschoolers. One of them was to the OSU gymnastics meet. It was Little K's first meet and she was so excited to go! Thankfully it was only between two teams and so only lasted two hours. That's about as long as this 7 year old could sit in the same seat. By the end she was asking when it would be over. So even though all of it captured her attention, it was just the right length. Of course I always enjoy being back on campus - definitely one of the most beautiful campuses on the West Coast.

There's been work on our latest farming adventure. We took advantage of a sunny day and went out to pull the weeds away from the trees. It didn't take long, so the girls has time to play while I helped my dad with other stuff.

We also took a field trip awhile back to OMSI. I am not a fan of Portland or rather, driving in and around Portland. But I girded myself - packed provisions (water, snacks) and made the trek. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and I even splurged on food at the museum.

While we have been getting a fair share of sunshine here, the rain did its thing again this winter, which kept me inside. So once again, like last year, I turned to quilting for a while. I cranked out the 12 blocks for this set of Block of the Month that a neighbor gave me. Soon I am going to have my aunt help me figure out the sashes and strips and backing so I can actually put the quilt together. That's my hope anyway. We'll see how the weather cooperates. When the sun comes out, it beckons me to move outdoors, and there's no way I want to be sitting down quilting.

Our Middle Child went to her first Formal this past weekend. Wow they grow up quickly!
She and a group of friends met up and got prepared together, then we met at a park and took some pictures. I don't know that I am ready for her to be growing up. Thankfully, for her sake and mine, her older sister has paved the way in so many areas.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


The snow they teased us with never arrived. We had some flakes falling yesterday morning, making the air so beautiful and magical enough to tempt me outside on a run. I haven't run in two weeks and a few snowflakes got me back out there. But this morning we woke up to sunshine and cold temperatures. Not very enticing, but I'm still going to get myself out the door.

In other adventures - we are now tree farmers. Back in December we (meaning mainly The Mr, and the Boy) planted over 300 hazelnut tree starts on the farm. We're planning for our future, but right now it looks pretty ... skinny.

Swim season is over! Wow it went fast! For the past 3 months our Girl who Swims has been up before 5 am almost every day, to go swim. She didn't partake of sweets and desserts, except on Christmas and New Years, and she worked hard. All that added up to going to the State Meet this past weekend in 3 races! This is the first year she made it in an individual race - which was very exciting to me. I was unable to go to the Districts meet; I was at Little K's basketball game ((that whole being in two places at one time wish again!)) When the Mr texted me the results I wanted to jump up and scream, but unfortunately I couldn't - it was halftime, no baskets going down. I jumped around wildly inside instead.
So the State meet  was just as adrenaline-filled. The Girl who Swims did not make it into Finals in her event, but her relay team did and placed 6th overall. So she got to bring home some bling this year also. The end of a sports season is always bittersweet, but I'm thankful for 'normal' mornings once again.

Basketball season is not done yet though! The two younger girls have one more game to play this weekend, and then there is the end of year awards celebration - which is quite a big to-do. My youngest has the defense stance down. She even made a girl cry (Sorry, Joc!) because she wouldn't let her get the ball, and when she did get it, my girl 'stole' it from her; I think Little K has definitely picked up on how to play the game!

I've got plenty going on around here with homeschool and house-running, but I found time to start on quilt squares again. So far I have two done on the 12 pack Quilt Block of the Month set. (Thanks Nancy!!) I am going to need to go and get some muslin or something to actually put blocks into a quilt ... eventually. I'm having fun with this part for now.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Game day

Saturday was the Big Day. Our Upward basketball players had their first games of the season. It was So. Much. Fun!

Little K is on the 1st-2nd grade team, and we can see the difference already between last year and this year. Her dribbling skills have improved; she can actually get the ball up to the basket and even sometimes into the basket; and she seems to understand the difference between offense and defense this year. Like all my other kids, her defense is definitely a strong point. My kids seem to know how to stay on their player and make them uncomfortable. Which is the only time I can encourage this.
Beyond that though, she loves to practice; she loves her team; she loves her coaches; and I think, she loves the game of basketball. She hasn't diagrammed any plays on the white board for us at home, yet, but we are just beginning.
Her older sister has come out of retirement and re-entered the basketball arena after a hiatus of a few years. It took her a few practices to get the rust off, but she has seen enough games of her older siblings' that it all came back quickly. Oh, there is plenty to work on, sure, but she can hold her own out there. Now that she is on the sixth grade team, she plays full court, and the exercise is so good for her! After the first practice she moaned all the next day about how her legs hurt. I was only slightly sympathetic, much more pleased with the result and upcoming exercise instead. The game this weekend was a good one. Being just the first they come on the court with some things not known. Traveling, how to inbound pass correctly, how to play as a team, timing and rules ... they are learning all these things just as they are learning to be better teammates and players. I love how this league builds up each kid, not just in their court skills but also their interpersonal skills.
And I love basketball ... So since my son is done, and the older girls don't play ... I can still get my fix watching my two younger ones play, and play with smiles on their faces.

Looks like we made it

A new year according to the calendar. Seems a lot like the old year.
We spent this last holiday in a similar spot as we have in the past - sick on the couch. Three of us succumbed to whatever gross bug wheedled its way into our home. Thankfully no signs of the other 4 getting it. But all my fun planned for NYE were whisked away. We were going to have friends over and play games and eat amazing snacks.
Instead we ended up playing Pictionary with the girls - they had not played this (!) and enjoyed it; the 7 yr old wants to play it all the time now. We didn't actually use the board game style, just 'freelance' taking turns and guessing at each others Christmas themed drawings. We then got out Trivial Pursuit for Kids - bringing out all the old goodies - and the girls liked that one too. Once again, the 7 yr old asks to play it all the time now.
I didn't last until midnight. I think I might have made it until 1030, since I remember my son getting home from work.

But we're off to new adventures now. A new year brings a new word to mind. Last year I was all about Living an Abundant Life (see John 10:10) Not a life filled with stuff and things, but a life well lived and embraced and enjoyed and whenever possible, say yes. This year I will continue to work on that mindset, to help my family embrace life and living; but also to initiate. This year's word is Initiate. Actually I want to more properly say, Take Initiative. We don't need to sit back and let others invite us over, or sit back and wonder, why don't they ever ask us? We need to be the ones planning, asking, doing. Take Initiative.

Friday, December 29, 2017

This Christmas

Someone asked me the other day, "So what did you get for Christmas?"
And I just went blank.
I couldn't think of anything my kids had gotten for me. I could come up with some of the fun stuff the kids got (ukulele, Lego's, art stuff, food,) but not my own. I know it was a most relaxing holiday, but I didn't realize how relaxing! I mentioned that to The Mr more than once.

I really enjoyed this holiday season this year. I saved a little bit every month setting it aside for Christmas costs. I had my gifts bought and ready a week before Christmas, and the yearly letter . . Well it only took four drafts but I managed to get that out too, mostly. I think because I had a different focus this year, I had a better time. Instead of worrying bat how many gifts I would get the kids, and how the gifts would be perceived by their friends, I planned two gifts per child, one was something they wanted, one was something I thought they needed. And the stockings were just stuffed with snacks! Because these children don't seem to stop eating!

This Christmas seemed a little unusual for us. Not much went the way we thought it would. I'm hearing that same story from a number of people actually. Something to do with sickness. But that wasn't the full story for our house.
Because of when Christmas day was this year - Monday - it meant we went to Christmas Eve candlelight service on the morning of Christmas Eve ... That's just how it happened to be at our church. So knowing my in-laws were coming down for Christmas Day we decided to open the presents under the tree that the 7 of us got each other. I didn't think my in-laws would appreciate the chaos as much. After our traditional chili and rice supper, (in which I forgot to make the rice, and so we had to postpone supper another half hour to get that done) we ate we took the obligatory in front of the tree pictures and then the fun began. Most of the kids are old enough and had enough experience with this process that they know to be patient, watch what others are opening, and enjoy the process of gifting and receiving. The 7 year old ... well she has some more lessons to learn. She was all into wrapping and giving, but sure was focused on the getting that evening. We had a fun time though, and I reveled in the moments -- knowing that someday in the future we might not all be together at the same time on holidays. The kids got to bed pretty late, which means The Mr and I got to bed even later, after we stuffed the stockings.
Christmas morning came, and I woke up sometime after 8, and no one else was awake. I made a special treat for breakfast (French Breakfast Puffs) and still no one. Finally one or two kids came into the kitchen, we woke up the others, and they all opened their stockings at the same time. A late breakfast was interrupted by The Phone Call. The in-laws were ill and would not be coming. So we finished opening the gifts we had left and we realigned our plans. We decided to crash the party at my aunt's house. We got there in time for dessert (good timing!) and games. Fun times! We played Scattergories with the relatives and then later a computer/cell phone game called Jackbox QuipLash. It was a blast.

Oh, and the answer came to me eventually: A candle; a tank of gas (An awesome gift from a teen driver); a toaster (yep, I asked for a new one) a gift card ($ to spend on myself?!), and running socks (because you can never have too many of those)

Monday, December 11, 2017

And boom, December

It seems like it was just Thanksgiving Day ... but now it's almost Christmas?!
We've been going non-stop since turkey day .... The boy had his 19th birthday ... pretty low key this year. Welcome to being an adult, where birthdays aren't always a big deal.

 We also had some fun company at our house. The niece and her new husband came for the weekend with their dad in tow. We really enjoyed getting to know the newest member of the family .... He fits in perfectly with this crazy bunch.
We also had what we hope is a new tradition -- gingerbread house making. We recruited an honorary family member to be on our team too. Such a fun event at church!

Swim has begun in earnest. The Girl Who Swims has had her first meet, and to me, she looks fast! She will have a couple of meets a week until February. I'm sure glad we have stadium chairs to ease our sitting and watching times.
This past weekend we got our tree at the same tree farm we've been visiting for years and years. Amazingly it only took us a few minutes to decide on The Tree. We decided to put it in our front room with the raised ceiling - usually it's in a different room with a shorter height distance. So we were able to pick out one that was taller than we have had in the past.

But before all that fun and games, the Mr. and I had a vacation of sorts in San Francisco. We left on Wednesday morning and came back late Friday night, leaving the older 3 kids at home to fend for themselves. (The younger two got spoiled by an aunt and uncle.)
San Francisco was amazing. I had a wonderful and relaxing three days ... which I think I really needed. I haven't talked so much with my husband in a long long time. We spent our first day there walking the waterfront, from Pier 1 all the way up to Pier 45. We saw some neat sites, gorgeous scenery, and even went to the arcade "museum" that the kids know from the movie Princes Diaries.

I think my girls were more impressed by that than by all the miles and hills and other things we saw and did! On Thursday the Mr had his company meetings to attend so I had the day to myself. I contacted a friend of mine from my high school years and we got together. It was the first time I had seen her in probably 25 years or so .... And it seemed to me like we were back in those days again. Conversation flowed, fast and freely; we had so much to talk about and many things in agreement. It was a really great time, I shouldn't have been nervous beforehand.  That evening the Mr and I walked to the dinner party. Actually I/we walked just about everywhere. This city is one of the most walkable and easy to get around. I'm such a non-city girl (ie. hick town girl!) but even I could figure it out after a little bit. And there were runners everywhere!! We both wished we had packed our running shoes, but we didn't realize how nice and sunny it would be there in December.
 The architecture around the city was so beautiful too. I enjoyed seeing all kinds of different buildings as we walked. Even our hotel was pretty amazing.

On Friday we had some time before our flight so we walked up to Coit Tower, and then back down and over and up Lombard Street. And then back down Lombard. I think I probably walked 4 to 5 miles each day. By checkout time we were ready to sit on the local transit (BART) and let it take us to the airport. Of course, it has been years since I've been in this corner of the world, and I wasn't really confident on using transit. We picked a train car that we thought would take us where we wanted to go, and got on. As I was looking around trying to see where we were going, looking at people on the BART, I noticed someone interesting. Out of the millions of people in this city - those who live there and those who visit - I saw a person on this train car with a Christmassy hat on. I smiled to myself, then looked closer. She looked kind of familiar. Upon looking even closer I realized with some awe that it was my high school friend who I had been with the day before! Some might call that pretty random, but, I think God was smiling down on me, giving me just another blessing to a great vacation. I was so happy to get home and see my babies, but I have some great memories to sustain me when I need them.
December has already been packed with fun and activity - and we're only 12 days in ... I'm looking forward to all the other fun stuff to come!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thankful-- Part II

Dear Brother,

We missed you here at Thanksgiving holiday. The family, minus 1, got up and out to the park in the morning, ready to run. The weather was amazing. I had been praying for "no rain" on this morning, and with grateful hearts, we were able to run/walk the 5k without a rain drop. It started pouring just as we were heading back to the cars to go home.
The girls really impressed me at this run. The youngest ran almost the entire thing. She did the walk/run sequence but more running than walking. The neighbors were there and their son motivated her by just being in front of him .She wanted to pass him and finish before he did. So, I stayed with her the whole 3.1. Once she passed him she would walk a little and as soon as she heard him coming, she would take off running.
Our older girls made me proud. The Girl who Swims had caught a cold ((hmm, perhaps her earlier weekend travels contributed to his. more on that later)) but she walked the entire 5k with The Mr. The other two girls kept each other going, walking and running. I think my Girl who Sings has the running gene in her - she just doesn't want to own it yet. I'm hoping that even after this past cross country season, she will continue to run. I know she wants to do Track in the spring; I'm just praying she will embrace her inner Paula Radcliffe and keep at it.
The Boy - now that he is of college age, we're giving a lot more freedom to him and his choices. He chose to play football that morning with friends, which is totally fine. He made it home in time to get to the Family Feast.
Ah, the Family Feast. My sister says she counted 42 of us there. I'm thankful my brother has a large home! Everyone brought food and drinks to share - there were plenty of leftovers too! After the feasting we gathered around to watch a slide show on my parent's slide projector. (My youngest was fascinated by this vintage piece of machinery.)
We had some fun times with "Who is that?!" and,
"What are they doing?" and,
"Oh, remember that."
As I mentioned earlier, our Girl who Swims was traveling the weekend prior to the holiday. She had her first ever visit to Disneyland with her swim team. They had a training trip to SoCal, which she raised enough money to go on. And she had a fun time! I know she wants to go back again, since she didn't get to do everything she wanted. I wonder if they can convince the coach to do it again.....