Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I’m dreaming of…

The other day the boys asked me what a “white” Christmas was. So I explained it meant SNOW. That everything was covered with beautiful, powdery melt-in-your-mouth, freezing cold, snow.

Even after my explanation they seemed confused.

But then I paused and looked around. We were sitting on our backyard porch in shorts and bare feet. We were eating a picnic lunch and reviewing our science lesson. We were warm and content in 69 degree weather… in the middle of December.

I guess it’s not a wonder that they didn’t understand.



What is up with this place called the South? And why don’t we have SNOW??!?!?!

Though I’ve only enjoyed a few truly white Christmases myself, I feel kind of bad for them. Most mornings Joshua peeks out the window and says, “Ahhhh!! No snow. It’s not Christmas.”

Monday, December 19, 2011

Party Planning?

Have you ever planned a dinner event for 100+ people?

I haven’t. Or at least I hadn’t until this past week. My husband’s unit had their annual Christmas Party and as the Commander’s Wife and the FRG leader, it was left for me to plan.

It was a little daunting at first, especially knowing that the number of attendees could vary incredibly (94 Soldier’s in the unit, half are married, half have children) but if you know me, you know that I love this type of thing… even if it’s very time consuming for a homeschooling mother of three young children.

For the most part it went well, though I did have to buy a Venti Peppermint Mocha to get through the day. Oh well. It could have been worse (wink wink).


The biggest thing was that I had a strict budget to follow-- but the Lord provided again and again. We were able to line up a beautiful community center on base that allowed us to host our event for free. FREE. A perfect location, at the perfect price. Nice.

I had a number of gals (spouses to our dear Soldier’s) volunteer to help organize the games, food, and decorations. We met together, planned out the details, and delegated tasks. I was in charge of food/drinks (and of course responsible for all the detail work: logistics, advertising, coordinating, supplies, music, welcoming etc.). And the other two gals did games/entertainment and decorations.

I cooked up a storm and supplied the main course for the dinner—several delicious, crowd pleasing pasta dishes for the masses. The food was perfect for the occasion as it is the one thing that easily feeds large numbers and is appealing to most everyone.The Soldiers and their families brought appetizers and desserts so we had quite the spread.


I had carefully calculated the quantity of food penne, rigatoni and spaghetti, but in the end, we ran out of the main course. (Many single soldiers who hadn’t had a home cooked meal in years loaded their plates high before everyone had the chance to make it through the line—haha, can’t say I blame them). But truth be told, I was actually glad that all the pasta was consumed. We didn’t eat half the desserts and ended up having to take tons of sweets home. Another huge trial for me to bear (wink wink).

The night before the party, my decorator (who was also donating all the decorations) called  and said she couldn’t make it. Groan. I wish people could be more reliable. But somehow the Lord gave me peace of mind and instead of panicking, I rummaged through my closets and found everything I had left that was even remotely Christmassy and loaded it into a bags. Strings of lights, pieces of tinsel, and rolls and rolls of wrapping paper.


Some unexpected volunteers (and some wonderful soldiers tasked by my husband) showed up early and helped me work some magic. Instead of table clothes, we covered the tables with wrapping paper. Instead of poinsettia’s as center pieces, we laid out pinecones, red cranberries, and gold ribbon. We strung lights across the buffet table and hung tinsel on the walls. It wasn’t ideal, but in the end it looked beautiful. I wish I’d had time to take pictures!

The games didn’t go as I’d hoped either, as the gal who was in charge of games fizzled out. I’m still not sure what happened. She was there early to help and did a great job setting out the food, she totally skipped bringing/preparing for any of the games, (which was to be the main entertainment for the adults and kids). Whew!! So again I went scrambling. I figured out some quick games for the kids (making snowflakes with construction paper and scissors, tossing discs into a bin etc.). A gal at the party jumped in and made up her own Christmas Pictionary game for the adults, and the Soldier’s brought down a white board and dry erase markers from the unit to use for the game. It was a big hit.

Even with the glitches, overall, the party really went well. It was neat to see the Lord smooth out the rough spots. The big coffee pots were delivered late, but still the coffee was hot and ready when the time came. People put trash in Santa’s gift bag thinking it was a trash bag, but none of the toys were ruined (it was actually really funny). It took us an 2 hours to clean up after the party (even with a bunch of Soldier’s there to help), but we got all of our deposit back in the end.

We had a huge crowd and there was lots of laughter, the kids enjoyed Santa, and many people were able to meet and connect for the first time.

I think I’d do it again. It’s really so much like planning a small party, just with twice as many people and details to line up. The biggest thing I learned was to have reliable help. Haha. The second most important thing? Having a back up plan.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Best Friends, and Theirs too

This year, we’ve been involved with a wonderful homeschool co-op group for 3-5 year olds. I’m actually the group’s fearless leader, though I often don’t feel qualified. The good news is that we make most decisions cooperatively and bear equal weight in teaching/running things. This semester we did Art, Speech, Science and Music.

I taught Music and loved it. The kids learned about basic music structure (notes, treble/bass clef, timing, pitch, rhythm, dynamics, keys, major/minor) during the first half of the semester. In the second half, they learned about the orchestra, classes of instruments, and how to train their ears to hear the different sounds. They also learned several songs and how to follow a conductors motions/rhythm.

My children learned a lot in the different classes. I wish I could give a full rundown of all that they did and took in, but time would escape. Perhaps needless to say, being part of this group has been such a delight, for both me and my boys.

On top of the teaching/learning, I get to see my best friends every week.


And my boys get to see their best friends every week. It works out so nicely.


Just recently, our co-op put on a Exhibition Night for the parents/church to demonstrate our learning. It wasn’t a flawless performance by any means, (and in fact, at several times during the rehearsal I thought I’d pull my hair out, 3-5 year olds have SO. MUCH. ENERGY), but in the end it made us all smile till our faces hurt. The kids really worked hard (though perhaps the teachers/parents worked harder??)

During the Exhibition Night, for Art class the children showed off their masterpieces by marching around choo choo train style holding their artwork over their heads for all to see. They also made a special table cloth with leaf prints for the Cookie Social after the performance.

For Speech Class they exhibited their vocal skills by introducing themselves and reciting a quotation by memory. Isaiah quoted Chris Thomas saying, “God does not put obstacles in our path so that we can remove them, but for us to depend on Him to remove them.” * A funny side note, as pictured above, Isaiah brought along his handmade microphone for the occasion, a wine cork with a push tack in the middle, hahahahahaha* While Joshua quoted Mahalia Jackson “Faith and prayer are the vitamins of the soul; man cannot live in health without them.” They both seemed to thrive under pressure, no stage fright or shyness from either of them!

For Science class, each child answered a science question in turn, dealing with everything from the five senses to mammals. Joshua answered, “Name one of the five senses? (Sight). Then Isaiah’s turn: Give one example of how can we tell if something is alive? He answered: Breathing & Movement (he gave two examples, haha, little show-off).

Between class demonstrations, the children gave musical performances, singing our school song, “The Lord is My Shepherd” with hand motions, The Steadfast Love of the Lord, and All Things Bright & Beautiful (with each child singing a short solo) directed by yours truly.

It was a fun night and has been such a fun semester. We’ll start up again in January, continuing on with Music and Science, and adding in History and Reading Comprehension/English/Grammar. I can’t wait!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Unexpected

A quick little photo shoot with my older two boys started out nicely enough.

They were smiling (and sticking out their tongues). I was smiling (and modeling my new bangs).

Things were good.



When all of a sudden, the unexpected happened…


That’s right. I got kissed. And I got kissed big time.

And there wasn’t even any mistletoe.


December Photo Project, Day 13

Monday, December 12, 2011


Curling ribbon never gets old.


At least this spool doesn’t.

I bought it back in 2004 and it’d been my trusty, go-to spool of ribbon every since. It’s been with me my entire marriage, and has survived 7 moves, 3 children, and many many Christmases, anniversaries, and Mother’s Day’s. 

It’s been unrolled on numerous occasions, and rerolled just as many times. It’s been dropped. Spilled on. And left for dead.

But it’s still here. Somehow, it’s still here. Still full. And still just as beautiful.

Now that is some dependable ribbon!

Between the bows and the ribbon…I’m totally obsessed with gift toppers this year, huh? But it’s nice that the little things can mean so much.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Little Sweetheart


Lost in the thought…


But always ready to say, cheese.


I love this kid.

December Photo Project, Day 10

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I know.

I know, I know. I’m way behind on the December Photo Project.

And even worse, now I’m posting pictures of the beach?

I know.

Life has just been busier than all get out. And I’ve been wanting to share these pictures of our trip to Florida for weeks. Back in November we went down to Florida and reveled in the beauty of Daytona Beach and the warm sun. It may look like a typical Seattle day in the pictures, but really, it was 80 degrees out with a summer like breeze in the air.

In the middle of November.

I know.



Needless to say, we had a great time. The boys love the ocean as much as I do. And dislike kelp/seaweed as much as I do. Yuck.

But anyway, here’s my December Photo Project Day # 8.

I know.

I totally cheated.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011



Nap time.

Also known as housekeeping time.

Dinner prep time.

Sanity check time.

Present wrapping time.

You choose.


December Photo Project, Day 6

Monday, December 5, 2011

Like a Cherry on Top


My husband is doing something different this year. Something beautiful. Something wonderful. Something that shows he loves me… and that he wants to love me better all the time.

He knows I like gifts. And it being the holiday season, he hasn’t made me wait till the 25th to receive something special. That’s right. To date, I’ve received a little gift every day since Thanksgiving.

A bag of Lindt truffles. A Christmas CD (Michael Buble’). A package of bobby pins (that I’d been needing!!! LOVE how he picks up on all my hints).

And each gift?

It’s hand delivered with love and topped with a beautiful Christmas bow.

Truly, I’m just tickled to be spoiled with this amazing spoiling… but the bows? The brightly colored shiny bows? I love them. I love that he thought of them. That he bought the nice ones. That he wanted to go the extra mile (on top of the extra mile). Those bows, those beautiful glittering bows…they just make it that much more wonderful.

Like a cherry on top.

I am blessed. Oh how I love my man.


December Photo Project, Day 5

Friday, December 2, 2011

Back in the Groove

She emerges at last!

Yes. Here I am! Alive and well. Happy and breathing. It’s been such a busy month.

But I didn’t emerge from homeschool lessons, piano practice, and errand running galore in order to tell you about my busy schedule. The real reason I’m here??

The December Photo Project with View from the Prairie Box. I just couldn’t resist the challenge. Last year, I took it on and snapped some great (and some terrible) pictures every day for the entire month of December. Now, a year later, a year wiser, a year more adept and more camera savvy, I’m ready to take it on again.

I think I really need the accountability of joining a group and taking on the pictures. Otherwise we might be destined to another month of haphazard blogging and rare picture taking.

It must be the way my husband feels about running. He loves running and puts down some real mileage each week, but he always is looking for the next marathon. Sure he’s competitive and wants to race for racing’s sake, but he also appreciates having a goal, something to shoot for, something to keep him from the same old same old, and pushing on to longer and faster and harder runs.

And I totally get that. And totally feel the same way. Accountability can make such a difference.

So here I am. The first photo’s for December. Yes. I’m a day late. And yes, I actually took these pictures this past weekend. But OH WELL. It’s hard to get going again after barely picking up my camera the last month. You should be proud of me.

And amazed that I took these pictures with the self timer on my camera. Can you believe it? Sure, not quite perfect, but the lighting, the smiles, the pictures overall are pretty. darn. awesome.





Oh I just love our sweet little family. And love that I have a new picture to put on the wall without a whole lot of effort. Nice.


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