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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Skipping school

Last Friday Nora woke up and let me know, in no uncertain terms, that she did not want to go to school.

So I didn't make her.

Now you might think that I gave in too easily. But. Nora never wants to stay home. Never.
And for a little girl who never went to preschool and barely turned 5 before starting all day kindergarten, that is saying something.

So the two times she has asked to stay home, I have let her. She obviously knows when she needs a little break.

However, I had planned to go hiking so I told her she was welcome to come hiking with me, or go to school if hiking didn't sound fun.

She chose hiking.

But then I had a dilemma. How could I offer Nora this and not Henry and Anne Marie?

Well, they chose hiking too.

I was nervous because it is a 5 mile round trip. Anne Marie has done it but Henry and Nora have only hiked about 3 miles at once.

I told them ahead of time that if they complained at all, we would turn around and go back to school.

Well it is AMAZING how much better something is, especially when it is difficult, when you DON'T COMPLAIN. All of a sudden, when you focus on doing something instead of complaining about it, it becomes a much easier and more rewarding task.

And they didn't die. They talked and laughed. They had a great time. And most important, they made it.



They signed their sweet little names to the book at the top of Menastash ridge. And I was one proud mama.

The only downside. Henry did not want to go to school yesterday, or today for that matter. In fact he never wants to go. But now he says, "I will go hiking, or clean the house. But I am NOT going to school!"

He went.

I have to space out the skip days you see. But he doesn't have to hold out for long. 4 weeks left of school!

Yippee!

I am compiling a list of fun, mainly free activities that a mom and her kids can do together during the summer. And they are age range friendly. Meaning, it should be fun whether you are sixteen or 6.

Just no complaining.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

For the beauty of the earth



Yesterday my aunt Cathy and I took a little journey down to the Columbia River.

The river is very low right now because of a crack in the dam a ways down.

This mean the bridge that goes over the Columbia River is more exposed and you can see the crossbeams underneath.

My aunt knew this from a friend and so she decided to drive over to see it. I also highly suspect it was to see her cute guy friend as well;)

But I got to go along for the ride. And she bought me McDonalds:)

As we stood looking out over the river, I was struck by how beautiful the state of Washington is. On the west coast you have rain forests and lush, green beauty everywhere you look.

Central Washington gives you rolling hills and checkerboard farmland.

And then Eastern Washington gives you vistas and dessert and the Columbia River.

I was so excited about my bursting love for the state of Washington that when I got home I wanted to tell Jeff all about how our state is the only one that has such diversity in it's type of beauty.

Um......

Until I started thinking about it. "Well, I guess Oregon has a great variety too. Oh, and I suppose people in California love the diversity of landscapes there as well. And I'm willing to bet that people in...."

You get the picture.

I love where I live. But really, this entire country is bursting with beauty, wonders and diverse climates and landscapes that bless the lives of those who live there. And I have seen it in the states we've actually lived in-Wisconsin, Utah, Washington and Rhode Island. And all the states we've traveled in between.

And I believe, fully, that all of this beauty was a gift from our Heavenly Father. He loves us so much that he thought of beautiful ways to enrich our lives. The beauty of the Earth is just one of them.

Have a blue sky, sunshine filled day!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Puttin down roots.

I made bread yesterday. Which I do.

In order to try and get my loaves to be equal, I decided to weigh them. I have never done this before. I usually just eye it, and the results, admittedly, are mixed.

However, I don't own a kitchen scale.

Then I remembered that I have my great-grandmother's kitchen scales. I have just had them as precious, memory filled decor. But she actually used them.

So I grabbed one, and yes indeed, they still weigh stuff just fine.




My loaves turned out even and my heart and mind were turned to my great-grandma.

I imagined that she was very pleased to see her great-granddaughter using in her kitchen, something that she, Anna Mohar, used regularly.

Just as I use my grandma's butter dish, and store my own lovelies in her hutch, it seems to me more and more, that while antiques that we look at are neat and all, antiques that we still use is what our ancestors would have really wanted.

I imagine that my g-grandma would not understand the extraneous, decor only type things around my house.

If it was in her home, it was because she used it.

I had a unique experience with my g-grandma compared to most people.

My grandma and grandpa built their house across the field from her.

My mom worked, so every day in the summer until I was in middle school, and most saturdays we spent with my grandma.

This meant that in addition to seeing grandma, we would also walk across the field and play at my great grandma's house, visit her, walk through her flower garden, eat the raspberries growing and not have any clue how enchanted our life really was.

So I knew my Grandma Mohar. Really knew her. Besides the consistent summer visits, during school my mom would go and see her regularly and she always took us with her. My great grandma had an oil stove in her living room that was always soooo warm. My sister and I would lay down in front of it and the heat would make us sleepy and before long, we would be out.

Who knows, maybe my mom just took us their to get us to nap:)

All I know is that most children do not have the experience with great grandparents that I did. Of all her grandchildren and great grandchildren, we were the only ones who still lived in Cle Elum and so we were blessed to see her on a regular basis.

Its funny, I use to not be able to wait until I could grow up and move away. But looking back now, I am so grateful for the life I was blessed with. For the heritage and stories that were minutes away from me.

And I am grateful to have been given a few things from both my grandma and my great grandma that help me still feel connected to them even though they are both gone now.

Now that we are back in  the Kittitas Valley, I feel such a connection somewhere deep in  my soul. I don't know how to explain it other than it must be the generations of my family that have been here since the 1890's.

I drive on the freeway and see the remains of my great-great uncle Linn's homestead. ( My middle name is from him)

I drive on a back road and know that the little canyon was named after my family.

I drive by my great grandmother's house on the road that still bears the family name.

I look around and know that I am seeing the same mountains and hills that they saw. Albeit different now 120 years later.

I wonder about their journeys to settle here. About the hardships they endured to start somewhere new, to grow things, including their families, in this new and unsettled place. What amazingly strong people they must have been.

And I am still connected to them. Which makes me wonder, as much as we have moved around, how can I ever leave?



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas is over:(

How was your Christmas break?

Ours was good. Uneventful. Full of sleeping, eating and movie watching. 

The kid went back yesterday and I am once again, alone. *sob*

Okaay. Not really. Jeff works from home 3 days a week. But he is really quiet! I like a little noise in my life. 

Oh, and Anne Marie is home with the stomach flu. Did I say alone? Not alone really, as much as bored without all of them home with me. Y'all know, I've never been one to wish them back at school. Ever. 

So here is our break in a few pictures. They are all from my phone because our good camera is broken. And since I am  broke ;) I don't know when it will be fixed. 

We slept a lot. I know she is five. But since she is also my baby, she will be cute sleeping forever. FOREVER!



We went to a church party and every got to sit on Santa's lap.







And no, I did NOT make the older kids sit with Santa. Why do you ask?

I got to go to the Christmas program for the Damman school.

Nora's class. Yes that is all of them.


Henry's class. Also all of them.

And Anne Marie's class. No one was sick that day. 

We love their little school. They have made some friends and we love the way it feels like a family.

They were going to the largest elementary school in Washington state. So it's been a change. But a really good one. Life feels so much more relaxed for us.

And that is always a good thing. Now I'm off to prepare for Jeff's birthday. He is 39. Finally as old as me;)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Poetry Out Loud



Just a shout out to my girl Julia who placed in the top 8 for Poetry Out Loud.

She will be moving on to the finals for her high school on January 15th.

If she places in the top 2 there, she goes on to regionals, then state, then nationals.

She writes really great poetry, but the kids recited poems from a set list. It was really neat to watch everyone.

Its the first time I've ever seen her nervous. But she did great. The only thing I was disappointed about what that we clapped instead of snapped our fingers. I wore my turtleneck and beret for nothing!

My girls are so glad that I can say I am only kidding about what I wore;)


Friday, December 6, 2013

Why I am the Grinch

Yesterday on our way home after school we saw an awesome sight.




It was Santa! Driving around Ellensburg in his red Miata, with a load of presents in the back seat and his sleigh car all lit up.

I got all excited and said, "Lets get closer and wave!"

We followed him into the Goodwill parking lot, rolled down the windows and all yelled, "Hi Santa!"

At which point he gestured for my kids to come over to him. I wish I had the presence of mind to have my phone out and take a picture, but I didn't.

My littlest 3 got out, with Charlie as chaperone, and went to see him. And much to our wondering eyes he took 3 of the presents, (which I had assumed were just decorations) and handed them to my little kids.

Just as he did with the next little kids he saw.






It was so awesome to see someone so full of the Christmas spirit that he would dress up, travel around Ellensburg in the 14 degree weather, and deliver toys to children.

We were so excited, it was so wonderful. And then I heard the children talking about opening them when they got home.

To which I replied, "Oh, you have to wait for Christmas day. It's a Christmas present."

And then, all heck broke loose.

"What?!!! Why?!!!" and much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

To which, honestly, I probably should have just said fine.

But sometimes, as soon as I hear whining, and arguments, I dig in. I get stubborn and decide that it is more important for me to be right than for me to preserve what was a great moment.

But I didn't do that.

I argued that it was a Christmas present, so we should wait for Christmas. I told them they were being greedy and ungrateful. Yeah, it was a good solid parenting moment:(

They countered back that it wasn't given to them on Christmas, so they should be able to open  it.

Pretty soon I was hearing that I was the worst mom ever, that I was the meanest mom ever.(True at that moment) And my older son was in agreement with them, which meant he unleashed all of his argumentative powers,( which are not small), on me.

Needless to say, it was awful.

Once we got home, someone threw their wrapped present at my face.

I reacted by behaving just as badly.

They all went in crying. I locked myself in my closet to complain to Jeff who said, "I'm sorry. That's awful. I probably would have just let them open it. "

Yeah.

I came out of my closet just to be assailed again. So I got in my car, drove around and cried and cried.

I came home and told them I didn't care if they opened them. The moment was over and ruined whether they opened it at that moment or on Christmas.

The awesome, giving gesture of that man was completely lost on me, and because of my behavior, it was lost on my children.

I was sad the rest of the evening. My 10 year old daughter was sad the rest of the evening.

Henry and Nora were fine as soon as I told them they could open their gifts.

The lesson I learned was that there are a lot of times where things are just not a big deal.

I would have loved if my kids had responded with, "Of course mom. We will wait til Christmas."

But they didn't, and I was being unreasonable to expect them to always act the way I want them to or think they should.

They were happy and excited and I stole the moment.

Aren't you glad I share these things so that you can say to yourself, "At least I didn't do THAT."

Being a parent. *sigh*

But to quote my favorite literary heroine, Anne Shirley, "Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it yet?"

Yes that is nice. But I do think it would be nice if yesterday could be rewritten from time to time as well:)


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stuck in the snow and a tree so big it needs an anchor!

We began a tradition a few years back. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we would go get our tree.

For years we had a fake tree. Hated it.

We started getting real trees by going to a tree farm.

72 dollars a pop later, we had perfectly grown trees to hang our homemade and quirky ornaments on.

We had often considered going into the woods to get our own tree, but that was back when we owned this.


With rear wheel drive, it could barely make it up a hill in the rain let alone the snow.

So when the Ram Van died, we purchased a Yukon, and suddenly realized that we could travel over the pass in the winter! Go off road a little to find trees!  A whole new world opened up.

And with tree hunting permits only 5 dollars on this side of the mountains, it was both more economical and more fun!

So Saturday we headed up to Lyons Rock. We in fact were searching for two trees. A smaller one to shine from the front porch window. And a larger one for our family room with it's 16 foot ceilings.

We also brought sleds for the kids to play around in the snow.

We found a perfect spot. Jeff pulled off the road a little, and we set to having fun.

It was lightly raining. Which didn't seem a big deal. But we were there long enough that the snow we were parked in became slushy. And even in 4 wheel drive, wet, slushy and mildly frozen snow becomes difficult.

We found our first tree and had it on top of the car. Ready to go and find our next one.

Well, seems our car did not want to leave.

So we dug with our hands, and we shoveled with bark, and watched as our car slowly slid 30 feet further off the road.




I initially was trying to drive us out so that Jeff could help push. Being in the driver's seat meant I had to filed questions from Henry like, " Are we going to die?"

Seems the hour we sat there trying to dig ourselves out made him nervous. Well, that and the sideways slide we were making.

"No Henry." I answered. "We are not going to die. Did you say a prayer?"

In fact, when I asked around, everyone had. We were a good ways from anywhere without a winch. Which, even with a 4 wheel drive SUV seems a good idea now.

Jeff remained in pretty good spirits the whole time.



Which is good. Because having him there is what kept me calm.

Charlie is apparently from a different species than the rest of us. He doesn't seem to get cold.



After laying down all the lovely boughs I had cut, and pushing just at the right moment, we got enough traction that we made it out.

Needless to say, we decided to stay firmly on the road when we say this beauty. He was my pick. I saw him and fell in love. Then I made my human love spend half an hour trying to cut it down. You can't even see him buried in the bottom branches.



You are allowed up to a 15 foot tree.




Which it is. Just barely. It also took 3 of us to get that on the car. It was soooo much heavier than I expected.

We tied that puppy down and headed home.

Halfway home, however, the tail end started to shift and flap a little as we were on the freeway.

That is never good when you have a very large, very heavy tree on your roof.

So pulled over, stole the nylon rope from one of the sleds and REALLY tied it down this time.

We made it home and despite lots of fatigue and sore muscles, we put it up AND decorated it.




Every ornament, scrap of paper that sort of looked like an ornament, and any other Christmas decoration that might remotely work, were added to the tree. Half of them via a very tall ladder.

It doesn't look it in the photo, but this baby is tall. And that is after we hacked off another 3 feet.

And then the next day, it fell over.

Luckily not on anyone. It missed Kate sitting on the couch by a foot. But it was crazy.

It is now anchored to the wall so that even Elf himself could not pull it down.

Elf- star on the tree

I then took the extra boughs and made this!





And finally, the little crooked tree that lights up the front room.





Total cost, besides Henry's heartache and worry that we might die, 10 bucks for two trees and a wreath.

Not bad. Not bad at all. And hopefully this will be a memory for my kids that begins with, "Remember that one time we got stuck in the snow.........."

Cuz everyone needs at least one story like that:)

I love Christmas!!!!!!
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