Thursday, January 31, 2008

Snowed In!

Hubby pulled himself out of bed this morning, planning to go to his Men's Fellowship Group before work. He began shoveling the front walk, but by the time he got to the end of it, the walk was covered again. The snow piled on and around his car grew deeper every minute.

He walked back into the house where I was watching the snow fall from the window. "I'm not going anywhere," he said. Mom, who is staying with us looked up from her cup of coffee on the couch. She settled herself back against the cushions with a smile.

After talking to Natta's Preschool teacher and violin teacher on the phone, I too settled myself on the couch. I thought happily of the groceries I had bought the previous morning. We would have a delicious lunch together. Instead of a long, lonely day with the babies, I would be surrounded by my family.

An hour later, Hubby checked the University web site and announced to the household that the University was closed. The only other times this has happened in recent years was in 1996 when the Tower and Ag Science buildings flooded, during a 110 mph wind storm in 1990 and when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980.

Outside the snow continues to fall and the wind sends drifts scudding across the fields. Inside, the Lion King sends music through the house, Seth plays contentedly on Mama T's sleeping bag and Hubby and I sit peacefully at our laptops. Soon I will go make pancakes. We will play our violin game with Natalie. We'll listen to her kids' worship CD. We'll watch the snow fall, piling around us. As long as the power remains on, we will stay cozy and comfortable together.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Snow

Like the rest of the Northwest, we have gotten tons of snow dumped on us in the past few days. Today is the second school closure in a row for the public schools, meaning that Natalie had no violin and no preschool today. She was really disappointed, showing that she is still very young. Usually kids love snow days. Instead she thinks staying home with Mommy and Smiley is boring. (Seth has a new moniker, given by the kids in our small group at church. I don't even think they know his real name.) So I have tried to make today special by getting out toys they don't usually play with. The house is a happy bedlam as the kids color pictures and themselves with markers and cook "lunch" with plastic food.

This morning I returned the favor to my neighbor by helping her get her truck unstuck from our cul-de-sac. We ended up placing her chains under the back side of her tire and she backed onto them instead of spinning.

Another fun side effect of the snow overload is that we have a very welcome refugee staying with us in the person of my Mom. She works here in Moscow but lives down in the Valley. She decided it would be dangerous to commute, so she's staying with us. The kids LOVE having Mama T. here and I have to admit, I am enjoying it too!

One of my friends, Peachesnsunshine wrote a post (read here.) recently about how much she loves the snow. I have to admit, I feel exactly the same way. I adore the snow. I love the way it turns an ugly brown winter world into a fairyland. I love playing in it, sledding and making snowmen. Even though it is a hassle to drive, that does not deter me because it is so interesting and beautiful. Let It Snow!

Slideshow of our Snow Day :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tales of Chapstick

Since her fever two weeks ago, little Natalie's lips have been horribly chapped. They dry out, crack and bleed almost every day. To try to help them heal, Hubby went to the store and bought her a tube of her own Chapstick, purple, cherry flavored. It sits in a special place on the kitchen counter where she is allowed to get it and put it on herself.

Even with the purple soothing balm, her lips still bleed, much to her consternation. Today she came up with a solution. From the back seat of the car where she sat hugging her blankie, a little voice piped up: "Mommy, we need to get me some new lips because mine are bleeding."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Little Mister and Curly Miss

Little Mister got to try Sister's violin. He's obviously been watching because he knew just what to do with it.




Curly sang a song to the camera during the afternoon, then in the evening as we were watching the movie, she sang along with herself. She was such a riot I had to catch it on video!


Friday, January 25, 2008

Hurry Up and Wait

The other offer was accepted for the house (not ours). So we're back to square 1 (enjoying our paradise known as Syringa Trailer Park). Oh well. Another one will come along at the right time. This emotional roller coaster is sure a rough ride sometimes.

I have to say, though, it is actually a big relief. The finances were not coming together properly as it was too soon and Dad didn't have his part yet. Also I am really glad we won't have to move until school gets out in May. Also, now we can wait until the trailer sells. It will work so much better if we wait until all the pieces come together properly instead of trying to force it to work now.

So I am more relieved than anything else, although that house sure would have been nice. I wonder if we'll find another one that is as large or in such good condition. I have to hang onto the fact that God actually does care what kind of house we get and He has a good one out there for us. I won't say "the perfect house" lest my Dad accuse me of being too idealistic. But I'm sure He has a good one. :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Heart's Cry

This is a song called "Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer" by Margaret Becker. Right now it encapsulates the cry of my heart. In the midst of unknowns and upheaval, I desire more than anything to be known by Him and that as I walk through life the trials and hard things would make me more like Him in the end; to refine my character rather than make me cynical and bitter. I want to be like Jesus more every day.



Jesus draw me ever nearer
As I labour through the storm.
You have called me to this passage,
and I'll follow though I'm worn.

May this journey bring a blessing;
May I rise on wings of faith.
And at the end of my heart's testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.


Jesus guide me through the tempest
Keep my spirit staid and sure
When the midnight meets the morning
Let me love You even more.

Let the treasures of the trial
Form within me as I go
And at the end of this long passage
Let me lay them at your throne


Listen to the song here: Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer on the album New Irish Hymns #1

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Reappearance of Magnet

Our cat's name is Magnet. A week ago he disappeared. Since he lives outside it took us a few days to even notice, much to my chagrin. By the time we figured out that he wasn't coming to the back door for his daily ration, he had probably been gone for several days.

This week has been extremely cold, dropping well below zero at night. Our long-haired kitty has been living under the trailer where it's warm and his black-and-white coat has filled out with a soft fluffiness that rivals a stuffed bunny. I figured it wasn't the cold that caused him to be MIA.

For several days I put his food out like normal, hoping to see him turn up. In the back of my mind memories of kitties disappearing for good kept resurfacing. I resolved to keep a closer watch.

Today as I watched Piper eat the cat-food for the fourth day straight I decided he probably wasn't coming. Almost in tears I peered around the back yard. Immediately I noticed that the hole in the trailer skirting where he normally entered his little warm cave was all closed up. A week ago, Hubby had been under there thawing a frozen water pipe and applying heat tape. He must have absent-mindedly reattached the piece of skirting firmly then the drifts of snow accumulating since had held it solidly in place.

With my heart in my throat, I donned snow boots hurriedly over my pajama bottoms. Gingerly, I picked my way over the snowdrifts along the back side of our trailer. When I got to the unattached bit of metal, I pried it loose, dreading to see a dead cat. Instead I saw a very much alive cat. He was a happy cat, a thankful cat. He rubbed against me asking for pets. I petted him then fed him an extra ration of food and some fresh water.

All day, I have felt a sensation of relief. I love my pets and I feel like a bad mommy if something happens to one of them. I have a feeling I'll be checking on the cat a little more often than I had previously done, if only to make sure he is not imprisoned underneath our house!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

House Shopping

The first thing I want to do is write a thank-you to my dad. He received this inheritance money from his dad and the thing he has decided to do with it is help us. He could have used it for so many different things: toys or travel or hobbies or even fixing up his own house. Instead he is investing in our family. We are so blessed and thankful because without it we would be living in the ghetto for a long time while I finished school.

This weekend we drove around town looking at houses. Narrowing the field to a few we liked didn't take too much effort. Finally we settled on one we were willing to really look at. It sits on a quiet street on the back side of town, about 5 minutes from the city center. The house is a basic Ranch style but with a twist. Someone has taken two extra bedrooms and piled them on top of the center of the house, giving it a funny, Dr. Seuss look. Even more interesting is the fact that these two extra rooms are accessed via a spiral staircase in the family room. This staircase is the thing that attracted me in the first place. The odd little addition keeps the house from being boring and adds a touch of uniqueness and whimsy.

Because of these two extra rooms, the house has five bedrooms, plenty of room for a family to grow up in. There is a formal living room with gorgeous hardwood floors, a comfortable family room with a gas stove and a wonderful, large kitchen. The one-car garage has a wall of storage cupboards and a workbench. The best part is that it is right in our price range as it's in foreclosure. We're getting a super deal, so my frugal nature, learned from my dad, is jumping up and down!

We have another meeting with the Real Estate Agent today. I have a feeling good things will start happening. After moving 12 times in the last 13 years and usually living in tiny old apartments and trailers, I am VERY ready to settle down, to "nest" and make a comfortable home for my family.

Here are some pics of the house we like and might purchase:

Front view
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Front yard with beautiful birch tree. I think it deserves a name.
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Kitchen. This is a BIG space! Not a one-butt kitchen, as my friends from church say.
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Living room. Off to the left is a lovely little fireplace, something I have always wanted.
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Best of all, the family room, where we'll spread out our toys and watch our shows and color our pictures.
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Lastly, do you know anyone who wants to buy a really nice trailer and possibly move it to a better neighborhood? *wink*

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sledding

Yesterday in spite of the fact that the thermometer read only seven degrees, we bundled up and went sledding with some friends.  Curly Miss had a wonderful time but Little Mister still hates his snow clothes and whined the whole time we were out.  I expect next year he'll be much more willing to play.







The batteries in my camera died so there are no pictures of the actual sledding.  The hubbies made a good, steep run and the kids had fun going down several times.  By the time it was made, though, everyone was getting pretty cold so we went back home shortly afterward.

Today, January 21st

Today is Civil Rights Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  I have to be extremely candid here and say that the most meaningful part to me is that Hubby gets the day off work.  Still, I appreciate what Dr. King did for our country.  I especially follow the Disability Rights movement.  I'd love to see that day when everyone looks at another person and sees their fullest potential rather than the limits of race, gender or disability.

On the home front, today is Seth's 15-month birthday.  He's gotten good at walking in a very short order.  Anyone who hasn't seen him for a few weeks reacts with surprise when they see him take off across the room as if it is nothing at all.

Then last of all, today has been a day of hope.  I heard someone say that 2008 is a year of new beginnings.  I can feel change on the horizon already and it is very good change.  We have our trailer for sale. We have our new car.  We also found out that my dad has received some early inheritance money via a house my grandparents owned.  He is in the process of selling it and plans to buy a house in Moscow to rent to us.  We're thrilled as it will give us the chance to finally live in a real house.  What wonderful news!  I don't know of any way to thank my dad enough for helping our family raise our quality of life.  I am very ready to get out of the ghetto!

So dating from now, January of 2008, I am looking for those new beginnings.  I would like to keep my weight down and exercise to help my body stay as healthy as it can be.  I plan to find a "real" job, whether that takes lots of schooling or not.  I hope to enjoy my kids' growing years to the fullest and to do everything I can to help my family.  And I still have my dreams of ministry, whether to disabled people or foster kids or what I don't know.  I do know that life is a great gift that I do not want to hoard to myself but I want to give out to others so that when my life comes to an end I am completely empty and used up because I have given everything I have to others.  I will give of myself, first to my family then to whoever else God brings into my life that needs to see the love of God.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Smart Enough To Ask For Help

Today for the first time in my life I went to a tutor.  When I was younger I always figured things out on my own with no problem.  Now the combination of health problems and having children has fried my brain!  I simply cannot reason or remember like I used to.  In a way, this is probably a good thing as it forces me to slow down and really make sure I understand and remember each step.  Still, it's a little frustrating to have been so sharp ten years ago and now things go into my head and fly right back out the other side.  I don't think I have ever been too proud to ask for help; I simply did not need it before.   It's weird to have my brain turned to oatmeal like it is now.  Facts still go in, but much slower.

The tutoring session was a complete success, however, and I understand my homework thoroughly now.  I'm glad I don't have a full complement of classes because it took four to six hours of work just to complete one assignment.  Still, the point is, I got it.  Onward and upward.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ten

Ten is the...

...number of syllables in "the circus is coming to town today"

...age I was when we moved to California

...number of minutes it takes to bake Chocolate Chip Cookies

...amount of money our family spends when we eat at a fast food restaurant

...time I'd like to go to bed at night

...number of adorable toes on my son's bare feet

...number of pounds I have left to lose on my diet!  WOOOOWOOO!


Ten is not a very big number.   :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Busy Winter Days

Curly Miss's first day of Preschool came off without a hitch as far as she was concerned.  The classroom had a toy train in it and as soon as she saw it, she was in heaven.  I stayed for a while to make sure she was okay but when it was time for me to say goodbye, I could hardly tear her away from the toys long enough for a hug.  My frustrating event happened soon afterward when I was unable to find a parking spot on campus and called hubby in tears because I was ten minutes late for class.  I really wanted to hear the review that day since I'd had questions on the homework.  It turned out that I caught the info I needed, so I calmed back down.  It's funny, I have mellowed about so many things but being late for a class when I want to soak up every drop of information still sends me into a tailspin.

After class, it was off to K's house to watch the kids.  Thankfully I was able to finish all my homework there and Hubby picked Curly up and brought us all Wendy's food for lunch.  I love their baked potatoes.  When the babysitting duties were finished, I ran errands then it was off to violin lesson.  Arriving back home at 5:30, I rushed to get some food on the table (spaghetti tonight) then....aaaahhh...at last I have some time to relax with my laptop.

We got some terrific news: my grandpa is giving our family a car!  He wanted to get rid of his 1992 Subaru Legacy wagon and offered it to us.  We are so blessed because both of our cars were getting up there in years (Do cars have multiplied years like dogs do?  As in every car year is equal to five human years?  If so, the Stinky Banana Car is 110 years old!) and would need replacing soon.  Also, the sedans seem small for our family on trips.  I am so grateful for a family that takes care of each other.  We'll sell the old white car and use the new Subaru, which by the way only has 21K miles on it.  Wow...quite a switch from mine, which has 185K.

As if life isn't crazy enough, we decided to put the trailer up for sale.  This is an act of faith on our parts, both the selling and the moving.  We have tried to sell it before and although the trailer itself is in super condition, the park is an instant turn-off to potential buyers.  I don't know, could it be the garbage everywhere or the fact that the potholes in the road now are large enough to swallow an entire Volkswagon Jetta?  Perhaps it's the fact that the cops come out here every so often on drug busts and fun activities like that... I am not quite sure what it is that causes people to say, "Hmm?  It's in Syringa, you say?  Oh, thanks, goodbye."  I think if we actually want to unload the place we'll have to take a hit on the price.  Then...where will we live?  Don't know yet.  Somewhere in Moscow.  Or not.  Who knows?  But wherever it is, it'll be nicer than here, unless we end up in the ghettos of LA or something.  Which I doubt.  So we're good.  Stay tuned on that front.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Blizzard!

Last night as I gazed past my lace curtains toward the light on my neighbor's front porch, I noticed that it looked like it might be snowing again. Getting a better look, I saw that it was not only snowing but it was dumping huge white flakes and the wind carried them absolutely sideways, driving them furiously into the neighbor's covered front porch and coating his patio furniture. Not too long after this, Hubby blew in the door, pink-cheeked and described the complete white-out he'd just experienced driving home. The power flickered off and on.

This morning we awoke to discover that the drop in temperature had frozen our water pipes. Our preventative heat tape apparently decided to die without warning and we had no water in the house. Abandoning his plans to get to work on time, Hubby climbed under the trailer with a hair-dryer.

In spite of the deep, frozen drifts, the kids and I bundled up and plowed our way out of our driveway and headed to Curly's first day of Preschool. The plan was that I would visit her class with her since today I did not have class due to an online lecture being scheduled. Instead what happened is that we pulled up to the school and the apologetic secretary explained that school was canceled. Today was a snow day. She allowed us to explore Curly's classroom then we headed back out. Once we had loaded up and driven off, skidding on the icy roads, Curly wailed that she'd left her Nap (blankie) in the preschool. Gritting my teeth, we reversed and headed back to retrieve it.

At last we reached the sanctuary of K's house where there was running water, thankfully, and where it was my turn to watch all the kids. Lunchtime went smoothly then naptime, the first one at her house, went pretty rocky, but we made it through. I was thankful to head home again, although once we got here, it was to discover that my car door had frozen shut and I was trapped in the driver's seat of my car. Wearily I climbed out through the passenger door and released the kids from their straps and buckles.

As I sat here on my couch, I wondered why I felt so worn out considering we'd accomplished almost nothing today!

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Owl and the Pussycat

I saw an owl today, sitting on a power line. In honor of him, here is a poem for you that may take you back to the days when you were small and the world was full of wonder.

The Owl and the Pussycat



The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat:
They took some honey,
and plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing!
Oh! let us be married;
too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the bong-tree grows;
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand on the edge of the sand
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.


******************************************

About the Author:EDWARD LEAR - b1812 London, England--d.1888,Italy

The twentieth child of Jeremiah Lear, a London stockbroker, and his wife Ann, Lear grew up to become a prolific writer as well as a talented artist of both landscapes and birds . Lear also gave drawing lessons to Queen Victoria of England. Lear was particularly enchanted with nonsense poetry, and devoted a number of his books to collections of such poems as this;

There was an Old Man with a beard, Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests
in my beard!'

Lear is perhaps best known for his whimsical poem, The Owl and the Pussycat.

Source

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Sisters' Brew

Let me take you again to one of my favorite places. I'm here now, having just finished my calculus homework and taking a few minutes to relax before heading home. The little corner coffee shop sits on Main and Third, the busiest corner of downtown Moscow. Across one street is a bank, across the other is a nightclub.

You push open the front door, glass, in the old drug-store style, and are immediately transported to the feeling of being in your grandmother's living room, minus the cigarette smoke. Like Grandma's house, every available surface is cluttered with knickknacks in unmatching, eclectic variety. The walls, painted in dark, warm colors, fade into insignificance behind interesting photographs and artwork. The ficus trees sitting here and there show twinkle lights peeping from behind branches. Instead of marching rows of tables and chairs, the shop is mostly filled with mismatched armchairs and couches, each conveniently near an electrical outlet for laptops and arranged in cozy groups of twos and threes. Coffee tables offer space for books and cups, or a place to put your feet up. Around the edges of the room, the more traditional tables and chairs certainly lurk for those like my husband who are more comfortable sitting that way. Like the armchairs, not a one matches another. Some look like patio furniture or old breakfast tables, likely gleaned from antique shops; others that have the "assemble yourself" barrenness of Wal-Mart fare are hidden under unusual lamps or figurines of water buffalo and antique circus clowns. All of the pieces of furniture have the well-worn feeling of a comfortable old shoe. This is not a place you have to be careful not to spill. Bookshelves divide the room into smaller areas and an electric fireplace graces one wall, while on the bulletin board brightly colored leaflets announce community evens such as the fact that "A Midsummer Night's Dream" will be performed at the Hartung Theater.

Taking all this in at a glance, you may not actually notice the soft murmur of conversation, coupled with Loreena McKennitt's haunting Gaelic singing over the stereo blending into the background. The whoosh and sizzle of the steam wand on the espresso machine punctuates the ambiance, causing you to glance toward the counter where two baristas wash the collection of porcelain mugs, making them clink against each other. The very air holds the tang of brewed coffee, the soft sweetness of warmed milk and sugar. Strategically placed lamps offer pools of brightness to the individual seating areas without overwhelming the space.

This place seems like a haven, a sanctuary without demanding toddlers, where no housework beckons and no laundry looms. I can lose myself in the wash of quiet voices and delve into homework or design work with full, intense concentration. Occasionally I tune into an interesting conversation nearby or people-watch for a while, marveling at the variety of cultures that merge here to work and talk. The shop is beginning to hold memories too: Curly Miss playing Chutes and Ladders here on a Family night, a conversation on the couch with a friend, times of peaceful study alone in a chair in the corner. Not just a shop, it has the quiet warmth of a good friend's house, inviting relaxation, invoking thoughtful conversation. But mostly, I think I like it for the comfy chairs.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Barrettes With Froggies On Them

The ongoing saga of starting this Calculus class involves the textbook; the one in my backpack which Hubby assured me was the right one, turning out NOT to be the right one, and the one I need costs $180 at the bookstore. No thank you ma'am. I got right on Amazon.com and ordered one for $81. Still a cost but perspective is a wonderful thing! The thing is, it will not arrive until Tuesday. So 10:30 found me, like a lost puppy, following my teacher back to his office to copy the homework problems out of his book for this weekend. We did have a nice chat while I copied. He is from Alaska, loves welding and also Math. I told him the irony of the fact that the online tutorials we were using for this class were actually made by me and Hubby, contracted for the Math Department several years ago. We were given a recorded audio and script and we did all of the Flash animation and graphics and such. Now I am using them as a student. Ironic, and I love irony.

So I was late retrieving the kids. I was a little concerned about Curly Miss since she has been in a right bad mood the last few days. If she was old enough, I would swear she has PMS. Since she's not, I guess it's the wrong side of the bed or a full moon or a little pixie on her shoulder. When I got to K's house, however, Curly informed me promptly that she did not want to leave. Which I took to be a good thing. If she did not want to leave, she was having fun. If she was having fun she was not sitting in her time-out chair in disgrace. Whew! She was wearing a little barrette with a frog on it in the midst of her brown curls. She objected to giving it back to its owner and I attributed it to part of the fun she was having. I mentally applauded K for her creativity in taking a cranky little girl and transforming her through the magic of froggy barrettes in this pleasant child who stood before me. I plan to buy some froggy barrettes at the first opportunity and hope, like the fairy tale frogs of yore, that their powers do not diminish!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Disaster Averted

My neighbors may be grungy and unemployed, but this morning I was very thankful for them. (These were NOT the noisy ones!) Here's the story:

It is unusual for my children to sleep past 7:30. I was counting on this fact and when they put forth their usual cries this morning, I was not too concerned about the time. I stayed in bed a few more minutes even. When I finally got around to putting on my glasses, I gasped! The clock said 8:26!! Yikes! We were due at my friend's house at nine to drop off kiddos then head to class in time to park and get to class. I hurried to get milk and snacks, put clothes on two little people and myself and, rather than brushing my sleep-tousled hair, I put on a stocking cap.

At last, at last we were all buckled in the car. I congratulated myself. The clock read 8:50. Amazing. Curly Miss had thrown a rather spectacular fit and Little Mister had been very, very wet. In spit of all that, I still might make it on time.

The snow in the driveway looked piled higher than ever. The lawn held over a foot of snow and the banks on either side of the driveway were even higher. Not only that, but the driveway itself held enough snow that the muffler made a scraping trail in it. With my children in the back seat and the heater beginning to warm, I rolled down my window in order to see behind me, since the back window was covered with snow and steam. Backing down the long cul-de-sac, I prayed I would not hit the cars parked along the arrow way. Instead the opposite happened. I misjudged the angle and backed onto the grass, through the deep, soft snowbank and suddenly the wheels began to spin. Frantically I tried going back forward to try again. Nope. I was really and truly stuck. Now the clock read 8:55. My class began at 9:30.

Then the first miracle happened. One of the neighbors came out of her mother's trailer and headed toward her car. She visited daily to take care of her elderly mother and now was headed out. She saw my tires spinning and immediately offered to help. I was surprised. If we'd lived in a nice house in a fancy subdivision, no one would have been around; they would have all been at work. Even if they had been home, the likelihood of them offering help would have been slim. But here, people seems to appear like magic. The first gal brought sand; a second neighbor appeared with a shovel. Shortly a third appeared and offered a strong back to push. In ten minutes my car was dug out and pushed off the curb where it had high-centered.

Gratefully, I thanked my rescuers and headed toward my friend's house. I dropped off the kids and headed toward campus at 9:15. Then came the second miracle. I called Hubby and told him my woes. At my request he walked up the hill from work to park my car for me. With the valet service, I pulled up in front of my building at 9:31 and walked right inside. I attended my class, listened to the unkempt graduate student who would be my teacher. He looked all of about 24, had a lip full of snuff and wore a faded hoodie with the name of a rock band emblazoned on the front. I decided I did not care as long as he taught me Calculus.

After class, I treated myself to Starbuck's and even got one for Hubby in payment for the valet service. I stopped by one of the Preschools I had been thinking of sending Curly to, then my friend fed us polenta for lunch and we chatted before heading home to naptime. I almost feel like I conquered the fates of the Universe in getting to class today. They had all conspired to keep me home. First my regular sitter-friend, K, was out of town. Then Curly barely recovered from her fever. Then the sleeping in too late and the snowbank. I felt as though I would never have gotten there but for a sheer act of will. I half resented the carefree students who had rolled out of their dorm beds and walked across campus. They had no idea what I'd gone through to get there. So it goes.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Thinking Preschool

As I think about this coming semester, I'm kind of torn on what to do for Curly Miss. There is a new Montessori preschool opening up in town. We looked into it and it looks pretty neat. I hadn't planned to put her into preschool until next fall at the earliest, but it would really work out well this spring. She'd attend in the mornings while I'm at school and that way K would only have two little ones to deal with. I worry about that since she is accustomed to one quiet child and Curly can be a bit of a handful.

Decisions, Decisions... Can we afford it? It would certainly be good for my outgoing daughter to have some social interaction and some structured time. She would absolutely love it too. Dropping her off in the morning before class then picking her up at lunchtime would not be too hard.

Hubby thinks it's a great idea to enroll her now. But a part of me is dragging my heels. I simply cannot get my head around the fact that my baby would be going to school, albeit a very play-oriented school. It has come upon me too quickly! Still, I have a feeling it is going to happen. Hubby and Curly are gung-ho for it. And I know she would absolutely have a blast. As the financial planner for the family, I hesitate to commit to another monthly payment. We just barely got our credit card payed off and our feet back under us. Yet it is doable. It would just make things tighter again.

Stay tuned. I expect the next thing we know, you'll be hearing stories from Preschool!

Last Sleep-in Day

Today counted as a sleep-in day even though the kids got up at their usual 7:30. So I got up with them and got them some warm milk and a nutritious breakfast of animal crackers. Then while they played I got back in bed and dozed for a while in warm snuggliness, punctuated every fifteen minutes by Mister fussing about something, whether it was a bonk or the fact that he dropped his blankie for the sixteenth time on the wrong side of the baby gate.

Curly's fever has finally run its course and she is back to her typical playful self today, asking a thousand questions and offering advice on the care of Baby Mister and the preparation of lunch. Three-year-olds (she is convinced) possess the wisdom of the ages and should be summarily consulted on every matter of domestic significance. So cute!

Tomorrow my class starts. I'm about to re-enter the college world that I left eight years ago. Until recently I had not realized it had been that long and it came as a bit of a shock when I met a couple of my former students in Ross the other day all grown up. I had been out of school for two years when I taught them and here they are big, tall guys!

Yesterday Hubby donated his lunch break to the cause, coming home to stay with the sleeping kiddos while I drove happily to campus. I bought my parking pass (!), got a coffee and went up to the Math office to convince them that yes, I actually DID have the necessary prerequisites to take Calculus. This accomplished, I headed back home through the blowing snow in a much happier frame of mind. Today I will pack my backpack with my newly purchased pencils and notebook, my calculus textbook that weighs more than Little Mister, and head back off to the world of school, classes, ideas, challenge and hard work, at least for an hour a day. I love school and I am thrilled to be going back!

But it certainly is going to change my laid-back schedule. I guess this is a test to see if my body really is as recovered as I hope it is. I'm a little nervous that it will be too much, but I plan to do my best and fight through the pain if I have to. I would definitely appreciate any prayers sent my way because I'd like to see the end of the semester come with even better health and strength than I have now. That's my hope, anyway.

Today, though, I slept in!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Fever

Since Sunday, my Curly-Q has had a fever, ranging from 99.5 to 101.9. She sits limply in the blue recliner and watches DVDs. Sunday she slept very little and so did we! Last night was better but she woke up crying and has been extremely grumpy today. She also has eaten almost nothing for three days. The only other symptom is a mildly stuffy nose, so I have no idea what is causing the fever. I've read so many books and websites about children who have disabilities since working in Special Education a few years back and many of their debilitating illnesses began with innocent fevers that I have to really sit on myself to keep myself from panicking. I'll be a thankful Mama when she is well again.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Five Years Ago



Five years ago this last Friday, I stood nervously at the top of the stairs in a beautiful wedding dress waiting for the signal to descend to take the hand of the man I was to pledge my life, my future to, who would father my children, who would stand with me through the storms and the summers of life. I was terrified. Had I made a good choice? Was he the man God had chosen for me? He was 21, I was 25. We were both so young. I had just been through the worst experience of my life, being fired from my dream job and the stress had destroyed my health, causing huge blood-sugar crashes and severe clinical depression. Could I really take this shattered wreck of a life and give it to someone else? Was I of any value any more? Could I possibly be a good wife to him after what had happened? As I stood on those stairs, listening to the sweet notes of the bell choir play our anthem, I felt a huge mixture of apprehension, joy and nervous excitement. Yet, I knew this man loved me and I loved him. I knew beyond all doubt that I wanted him in my life forever.

Last night, I sat across from my husband at the Red Door restaurant, the same eatery where we had celebrated our engagement night. In the candle light I held the hand of the man I loved and looked across the table into his eyes. And I thought about the past five years. Did we deserve each other? No, he deserved someone a great deal better than me. And yet this man has taught me how to trust again, how to love. Together we have weathered fiercer storms than I ever thought possible, times when I did not know if I would live to see a baby born or if I could fight through the blackness of depression back to light and sanity. God's hand has been upon us through financial mistakes and the joys of welcoming our two children into the world. We have seen the amazing healing power of God as I have seen the depression healed and my blood sugar stabilized. In the past five years, we have played approximately 14,681 games of Scrabble and almost as many games of Starcraft. We have learned that there are simply times that are beyond words when we just put a hand on one another's shoulders and just sit together. We are both more aware than ever of our own weaknesses and the fact that God has put us together because we each have a strength where the other has a weakness.

One of the promises we made on our honeymoon together was that we were never going to expect perfection from the other person. Since we both grew up as oldest children in strict Christian households, we both had a lot of trouble with expecting perfection from people, situations and even ourselves. Instead of impossibly raising the standard for each other we agreed that we would simply accept the other person in all of our misformed humanity, nerdiness, poor health, unrealistic dreams, lack of skill in cooking or money management or whatever the case might be. And these past five years we have kept that promise to each other. We simply enjoy each other as we are, not looking for something more but content with the person that we have chosen. That God has chosen.

As we sat in the Red Door last night we talked simply about the fact that Curly did well practicing that day and that Mister had taken six more steps. We talked about the small things in life, the life that we have made together. We have grown so much and we are so much deeper in love than we were five years ago. We talked of the past. And we looked with hope and dreams into the future, to the next five, the next ten, the next twenty years of sitting together on January 4th and talking about the small things in life. Together.

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Friday, January 4, 2008

I guess I am going Pro!

This past week I designed another web site for a friend, who is a book editor in Oregon. He and a friend in California talked me into writing up a fee schedule and résumé for my web development work. So I think I am an official web developer and freelance designer, along with hubby who already was one. We're advertising as a team, since that's how we work. So if you know anyone who wants a web site done, refer them to our new site: www.whistlererin.com I'm pretty excited about the whole thing. I love doing this type of work so much, I can't believe someone would pay me to do it! I always thought work was supposed to be a drudge. This is the stuff I do for fun! But our family can definitely use the income so I'm launching myself out into the world of freelancers! Instead of advertising, I hope that my work will speak for itself and that referrals by word-of-mouth will bring in some more business. I have no idea how much work will come my way, however, so for now I am still going ahead with my plan to go back to school and get an engineering degree. My first class starts in five days.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Christmas Letter 2007

Here's a quick recap of our year. For the year in pictures, please visit our Family Photo page.

January- We put the Clarkston house on the market, deciding to sell it ourselves rather than use a Realtor. We also began fixing up the Moscow Trailer to move back in there semi-temporarily.

March- The Clarkston house sold with less than the usual trouble. We moved into the newly refurbished trailer. We had repainted all the walls and redone all the flooring. Dad and Hubby had also done some much-needed repairs that included re-seating the toilet several times and replacing a chunk of the subfloor.

In March we also took a trip to Seattle for fun. We flew there and stayed with good friends in Spanaway. That was an adventure with the kids, but it was fun and we made a lot of memories. March also marked my 30th birthday.

May- We traveled to Portland to accompany Hubby on a business trip. That one was less successful than Seattle had been, but we survived.

Summer- Our method of celebrating the closing on the house and the ending of expensive house payments was to take multiple trips to Spokane and to the Cabin. Usually we went with friends and had a great time! I also took the kids by myself to Oregon in August. Also, I did the pit orchestra for the musical Oliver! in July which was a great treat for me.

October- I began working 3-8 hours a week at Opportunities Unlimited and loved it! Hubby took a business trip to Boston. Little Mister celebrated his first birthday and Hubby had his 25th two days later.

November- Curly turned three. We celebrated Thanksgiving in Tri-Cities with Hubby's family.

December- We became friends with the B family with whom we are planning to swap babysitting in order for me to go back to school. We did Christmas with my family.

The rest of the time we stayed home and enjoyed our kiddos. Curly is super smart and talkative. She loves learning to play her violin and she likes to watch movies and play with movie-character toys such as Thomas and Cars characters. Mister is a round, cuddly ball who drools non-stop and smiles all the time.

Our favorite family activities include taking the kids to various indoor and outdoor parks or to the arcade in the mall. The arcade has a ball-pit and jungle gym so it is a big hit. Mister dives face-first into the balls, asks to be retrieved then does it again and again.

Hubby and I have been renting old seasons of Survivor to watch as our "grown-up" activity. It has been so fun to watch the seasons and predict how the games are going to go. All of this is crammed into little bits of free time of course that are wedged in between violin lessons, bagpipe rehearsals, guitar practice, housework and other chores and kids, kids, kids!

We hope all of you have a blessed New Year and that 2008 is even better than 2007 was!

Love, Hubby, Me, Curly Miss and Little Mister

Taking Off

Yesterday, Little Mister let go of the couch and set off into the unknown! He walked about 6 steps before doing a Wall-of-Jericho. Today though he did it again and got farther. Way to go Mister! This is going to open a whole new world for you.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Bits of this and that

I had thought I would blog a bunch over break but instead I studied Algebra and worked on web design! In preparation for going back to school in a week, I reviewed all of the online lectures and practice tests for Math 143 and 144. Whew! I also worked on designing a web page for a friend who has a new business. BIG thanks to hubby who helped wrangle kiddos for ten days!

Here's the page I made. I made the graphics myself from her photos using PhotoShop.

Now it's on to Calculus! Woowoo :)

The kids have been great! Little Mister and I both had a bad cold, which put the kibosh on our ski trip but oh well. Curly Miss has been doing great, practicing her violin every day, watching Cars and Bug's Life and drawing pictures.

Special Friends

Wow, all of my LJ friends have so much going on in their lives. To those of you who have big events happening this week, you're very much in my thoughts!

hittingcenter, Happy Birthday today!

navywifesd, Can't wait to hear that your baby has come! And the name and all that. I feel almost like an auntie!

texastschirgis, in two days you will have three also! After being a family of four for a year and a half you will again have more. I pray the transition is smooth and the new little one feels at home and loved in your home. You inspire me!

To everyone, HAPPY NEW YEAR!