Showing posts with label occasion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label occasion. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 24

More Progress, and Food

Four days until the family arrives! A week and a half until graduation! I feel dazed. We've kind of done it. We've raised a decent, fairly wonderful human!

Today, we buy food! I love grocery day! We stuck to our budget, which means I was filled with gratitude the other morning that Z hadn't seasoned the rice in the pot when he made fried rice for the kids. That freed the leftovers (that hadn't gotten fried) to make sweet rice for them one morning. Granted, I didn't think about checking before I made the sweet rice... It could have gone down as one of the stranger meals Mom has offered them. Serendipity!

Just to keep things interesting, though, I did throw some leftover acorn squash into the egg bake yesterday morning. That sounded brilliant and delectable in my head, but it didn't work. The flavor was lovely and the texture was that of soggy bread. Not a great choice, but it did use up the last bits of leftover veggies!

We Kon Mari'd the snot out of our clothing yesterday. I now have nothing anywhere that doesn't fit, or that I do not love, except my Scout shirt (which is both too big and not that attractive, but that's fine, it does its job). Same with the older boys. Woohoo! The Littles will likely outgrow anything they own, whether they love it or not, in the next month, anyway. So I'm not worrying about them.

I tried to move on to books, thinking I could surely clear out one book case of books. But, no. That is not going to happen. I have shunted books out of here regularly for years, and yesterday I got a little stabby at the thought of parting with any that we still have left. Next up, though? Magazines! I am not a keeper of magazines, but my hoarder children are. They have 12 years of Boys' Life, Birds and Blooms, American Rifleman, Game Informer, and Alabama Living (our elec. co-op magazine - really? We keep those?) OUT! Time to go! That may net us an additional 10 square feet of living space!

Not sure what's next after that. Z and I are in negotiations about the ceiling. I want to paint the panels first, then install them and touch them up. He wants to get them up, then paint them. We view painting an in-place ceiling very differently. He doesn't think it's that big a deal. I, having painted this one twice already, and being familiar with how it plays out for me, would rather remove an already in-place ceiling in order to paint it on sawhorses. So. It'll be fun to see what we do. (I say "fun", but honestly, it's fear. My fear is that he'll agree to paint it in place, since it's not that big a deal - to him - but THEN, once it's up, he'll realize that he has a bazillion things to do, which he does, and expect to pass it off to me so he can get to the other things. He will not think this should be a problem, and I'll get stuck saying nassy werds while painting an in-place ceiling. Hence, the negotiations. Very important going in when you know you have different ideas of what's "not that big a deal". It's a marital life saver!)

And that's about it. It's raining, raining, raining, here. Everything is damp and muddy. All the leaves are a brilliant, clean, sparkly green. Through the windows, from the climate-controlled inside, it's gorgeous out there! (But I'm glad we'll be working indoors today.)

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Monday, May 22

Waiting Games and Schedules

We're in a holding pattern on the potential news, so I figured while we wait, we could at least hammer out the details on the coming months' schedules. I got about halfway through June. That was not impressive, at all, and there's not much I can do about it. But, hey, that's four weeks farther out than I had planned when I sat down, right?

We've got one week until the family starts arriving from out of town. We had two, but once they could sit down with their schedules, they realized they'd have to bump it up if they wanted to stay longer than just the weekend. We get that (boy, do we get it). If you're going to spend four days on the road, you want your actual visit to be equal to the drive time, if not longer. I'm glad they'll be able to stay long enough to get out and play around in North Alabama. It's a gorgeous area, and it's totally new to them, so that will be fun.

(I don't know if Z has filled them in yet on my plans to get them to help hang drywall and ceiling panels. Yes, that cuts into the "vacation" aspect, but tell me you wouldn't tap your 6'8" brother-in-law to help hoist ceiling panels if he were going to be around when you were working with them? Otherwise, we're stuck with my short self, with my poor depth perception and tiny dinosaur arms. This will be much better!)

Granny will get to see Jacob perform in the end-of-year performances for ballet, and they'll get to see the Space Academy graduation, as well as James' graduation ceremony. It hit me tonight, while thinking how special that will be for them to have her there, just how much we all miss out on in the family when we live so far apart. All of those special, but common, things kids do get lost in the white noise of having to do all your interacting on social media. We haven't seen our nieces and nephews play or perform or do service projects, at all. That's a little bittersweet. We're thankful for the social media that allows us to share photos and see videos, but how much better would it be to hug those sweet babies and kiss their little cheeks?

So the new plan, as given to the Littles during their bedtime liturgy, is that tomorrow is:

School
House prep

The plan for Tuesday is school and house prep.

The plan for the next fortnight is school and house prep.

Man, am I wishing we'd wrapped up school in April! Didn't see that coming.

If it gets too hairy (or harried) by Friday, we may drop school and instead study Dynamic Home Management and Interdisciplinary Approaches to Decluttering. That sounds like a fascinating one-week intensive course, yes?

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Friday, April 7

It's Showtime!

Months of preparation, daily rehearsals, so much sweat in one room... And now, it' time!

Huntsville Ballet Company is presenting its Spring Repertory Mix performance this weekend. They will have special guests from Ballet Chicago performing George Balanchine's Stars and Stripes Pas de Deux, as well as Huntsville Ballet Company's performance of Billy the Kid, and a special presentation - for the first time in Huntsville - of Balanchine's choreography of Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux.



I'm going for one of the Gunslingers in Billy the Kid, but he assures me that the rest of the performance is going to be OMAZING and totally worth it. (Picture his eyes going wide, there.) From what I've seen in rehearsals, he's not wrong.

If you're in North Alabama this weekend, and are looking for something delightful to do, come with us! You can get more information and tickets here.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy


Friday, March 24

Well, then.

My week, in pictures. (I thought I had more pictures. This has not been a great week, though, and it makes total sense that I didn't take a lot of pictures of the not-great bits. So, well, there you have it.)

It started out really well...


And then, it all went horribly wrong...


And then, out of nowhere...


As of right now, we have a temporary set up in place until we can get that line fixed. Love that the propane company delivered 100 gallons to the tank before testing the system for a leak, even though it was clear that something was broken  - and then they had to lock it until the leak is fixed (which I totally understand locking it -- but I do hope they, likewise, understand the laughter that ensued when they hit me with the invoice for the gas in the tank that they've locked... because sometimes life is just like that).

We do spend a lot of time just sitting and watching the light through the glass in the new door. I bet it'll look even better once the trim is up and the stickers are off the door, too!

And our Easter Baby is nine. Wow. THE baby. Is... not so much a baby. And I'm okay with that, except when the realization that he's halfway grown hits. Then I'm not. Parenting is weird. But he felt loved and appreciated and welcome on his special day (hopefully he feels that way every day - hopefully, we can all feel that way more often than not), and he's happy to be nine.

Be encouraged!

~Dy

Sunday, March 5

Sleep

It is 9:40 this morning. Everyone is asleep except for me, and the one who wakes up talking nonstop. So we're hanging out, chatting and doing things. It's a lovely way to start the day.

The show last night was fantastic. I did not know what to expect, but it did not disappoint. We had four incredible designers showcasing their looks, several local boutiques and stores, and a millinery show that absolutely blew the crowd away. I can see why this is a passion for so many -- when you can see that in your head, how can you not work to make it a reality?

I think that's something we can all take from the art communities - Go For It. If you've got a vision, if you've got an idea, don't let excuses get in your way. Make it a reality. The work is going to be hard, long, complex, and challenging, but in the end it will be more satisfying than words can describe. We should all tackle the ideas in our heads with such vigor.

That said, I've got to tackle the Calendar Vikings and the Budget Broadcast today, or the inside of my head is going to resemble nothing but the kitchen of a poorly run restaurant. We've got a campus visit this week, and I have no idea what else...

Be encouraged!
~ Dy

Wednesday, March 1

It's Go Time!

While James has been writing essays, researching scholarships, pounding the pavement looking for work, he's also been working towards this week: It's Fashion Week in North Alabama!


Photography by Mannon Giovanni
Suit by Dionicio's Closet
Styled by Shauntana Buchannan
Hair by Hair of Essence 

The Kick-Off is tonight, with runway looks by designer LeJeune, a special presentation from Belk styled by Shauntana Buchannan (who is available to help you put your look together - just stop by the Belk in Bridge Street, Madison, and ask for her), a formal wear show, as well as pop-up boutiques, art, and more.

There will be shows each night, from tonight through Saturday's Finale.

If you would like to come, please consider purchasing your ticket through this link and help support the AFA, as well as James. (He does not receive proceeds from the sale of tickets. He only helps move Fashion Week Alabama forward.)

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Sunday, January 1

The Good Things

2016 seemed like a grueling year in so many ways. But it wasn't all bad. In an attempt to archive some of the good (and some of it was Very Good, Indeed), I wanted to pick a highlight from each month to share. Like the habit of finding 3 Good Things to list when life gets difficult, but on steroids.

January - Z was gone a lot this year, and Dad Boxes, sent from on the road, were a highlight for everyone.


February - we finally got around to designing and building a coffee table to go with the sofa! I love it!!


Also, Buddy finally got over his fear of the car. (He now hops in, goes all the way to the third row, and refuses to acknowledge that you're even speaking to him until you've taken him for a spin around the courthouse!)

 March -- John and James were both called out for the Order of the Arrow.


 In April, we biked the Silver Comet, starting at the AL/GA boarder.


 Oh, and took pottery. This was a pretty fantastic month.


John, his best bud, and I volunteered at a Spartan Race. (The plan was to use our credit to race in May, but that fell through. Still, this was a pretty fantastic experience.)


May - prom! Steampunk. Because that's awesome.


And we bought kayaks for the Littles. OH, why did we wait so long? This was huge fun!


And Chemistry. Every week, with two other families. The house is still standing. There were a few explosions. Semi-controlled, and outside. So that was nice. This was hard, and good, and I'm SO glad we did this.


Jacob got to go to Space Camp. He's hooked, he's got his eye on Mars, and is saving to go back for the next level in 2017.


June - James was selected as a model for the Alabama Fashion Alliance. This changed the trajectory of the entire rest of the year. So much to learn, but such an interesting industry. And he loves it.


And back to Colorado! It was hard - very hard - to come back that last time. And did I tell you we hiked the Manitou Incline? I only got 3/4 of the way up before the Littles mutinied, but James and John made it to the top. Also, we got lapped by an octogenarian who clearly runs it daily just because he can, but even that was encouraging.


July -- We tried Durian for the first time. Because how can you not?


And then Jacob's best bud came home and spent a week scrabbling about the rocks with us.


August -- *phew* This one was hard. (That's not me in the pictures - as far as I know, there are no photos of me doing this. But I did it!) For someone who has no depth perception, is uncoordinated and afraid of heights, this was a gigantic feat. Scouting is cool.


September -- James had his first runway show.


And his second...

October -- we were still out in the kayaks every chance we got this Summer. Er, and fall.


And James received the rank of Eagle Scout!


November -- there's been a lot of fiber art action going on, here. I love these little miniature felted critters that Em made.


A visit from friends from out West!


And a birthday outing! (Actually, a lot of the kids turned 18 this year. This has been bittersweet, but the excitement and anticipation win out because they are just. such. great. young men and women.)


December -- we made it. Full lap. Holy cow.


Here's to 2017 bringing us a time of learning, discernment, joy, growth, support (both given and received)...

Be encouraged!
~Dy

Thursday, December 22

Community

We have the neatest community, and today was such a treat -- we got to catch the final hours of the opening exhibit of Rice Ball Press, the brainchild and labor of love of Elaine Landers. She recently graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has started this business. Although the business is based in Atlanta, our wee community got first dibs by virtue of being where she's from. Score!

The art was impressive. And Elaine was on hand to explain the backstory for each piece (storytelling taken to its full expression), as well as how the various types of art were made (Em was in heaven!) She's not only incredibly talented, but quite kind, and we thoroughly enjoyed our stop at the gallery.

Take a few minutes to visit her site and see what she has up. I didn't take any pictures other than this one:



Mostly because I can't do her images justice, and they really deserve it. (Isn't she lovely, though? Quite an impressive lady.)

One of the things she shared that I so appreciated, and I hope the kids caught hold of, as well, is that she graduated with a degree in printmaking and a minor in photography -- but she'd started as a sculptor. It was only as she explored other classes that she found things she loved more. And it wasn't until later in her academic career that she found her niche and passion, where she excelled and was happiest. What a great reminder for young people, that you don't have to know exactly where you're going when you set out on your adventure. Just move forward, in a good direction, and be open to the lovely paths and rabbit trails along the way. You never know when one of those will turn out to be your trail!

Be encouraged!
~Dy

Monday, December 19

Party Fun

We made it to the church's Christmas party last night, and I am so glad we went. (It was dark, and cold, and we were kind of ready to pile up on the couch and watch Foyle's War...) But we went, and I am so glad we did!

The teens took The Resistance to play - it's a guaranteed ice breaker, and, in fact, the families with teens were the last to leave because they were waiting on the kids. Gotta love that.

We brought ice cream cones for the little ones to decorate as trees, with frosting and sprinkles. Yes, I brought sugar. I know. But the sticky thank you hugs I got were totally worth it.

Father Geoff came dressed as a Wise Man. He also brought Frankincense (in the form of incense), which was rather clever. Next year, we're going to have to step up our "festive garb" game, for sure.

The food was amazing. The hosts had a shrimp boil, and everyone brought sides to share. There's just something about shared food... it's good for the soul. It's good to nourish and be nourished in turn, and while "potluck" doesn't sound particularly inspiring, it's actually quite an ennobling way to gather for a feast when you think about it.

And people shared - they shared their happy memories of years past, their concerns and hope for the years to come, their experiences and their ideas. Truly, it was a wonderful evening. Totally worth staying dressed and braving the cold for!

I'm not sure what series of thoughts brought this plan to fruition,
but it's hilarious and I could not resist a photo of it.

Monday, July 7

Fourth, early

Our little town had its annual Independence Day celebration last night, so that's when we had friends over and cooked out. The Charter service man came to switch out our modem in the morning. Hopefully, that will reduce the amount of downtime our internet suffers. He was fantastic, Charter, we're not so thrilled with so far. Then we commenced the preparations for the party.


We could not have begged for better weather - sunny and bright, but breezy and comfortable. Wow. Just wow. Z rocked the asado action on the smoker, and I think if we hadn't had guests I'd have eaten the whole thing myself, keeping the kids at bay with a poky stick - so, unbelievably good! Thankfully, part of my filter is still in place and I didn't assault the guests. Or run cackling into the woods with the pan of asado.


The teens got restless about an hour before the fireworks began. They wanted to get down to the square while it was still light and see the sights. Since none of the adults were quite ready to roll yet, the boys asked if they could take their bikes. We have a million bikes, so there were plenty for everyone who wanted to ride, and off they went. I'm guessing they had fun. We put eyes on them when we arrived at the square an hour later, and everyone had shave ice and was laughing. No blood, no limping. We called it good. It was nice, though, to run into friends who volunteered that they'd seen the boys and spoken with them and were so glad to see them. I love it when people volunteer good things about teens. They get it, and they get the kids. That's good stuff, right there. The rest of us, big and little, were happy to take our time moseying about in the meantime.


The fireworks were, once again, absolutely spectacular. It's one of my favorite parts of living here. Well, the whole thing, really - the show is amazing, the people are sweet, the food is fantastic. It's a good combination.


After the show, everyone (plus a few we picked up at the square) came back to the house for a bonfire and to finish off the desserts. That was, quite possibly, the perfect ending to a lovely day.

Today, we laid around doing nothing. It was delicious. Jacob told me he really needed a full week of that, and then interrupted himself to add, "Oh, wait! You have Circe coming up, which means Dad will be watching us, and we'll have a week of doing nothing. Oh, that's perfect!" And off he ran to share his revelation with his siblings. Z grinned when I shared that story with him, but he didn't deny it. I guess Kinderspringa shall become a tradition. They could do worse, really.


Have a safe and thankful weekend!

Kiss those babies,
Dy

Friday, May 2

Small Town Fun

Steak sandwiches made with real ribeye steaks, grilled there on the courthouse square, live music (fantastic Fleetwood Mac covers - wow!), local vendors, good friends, and, as a final touch, some of the most spectacular fireworks you could ever wish to see...


That was the game plan at the annual town celebration today. That doesn't even count the antique car show, the 1 mile fun run and the 5K. 


It doesn't include the beautiful skies and friendly local personalities, the charitable groups doing good things for people in the community, and the community itself.


Sometimes, it's just awesome to live here.

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Saturday, April 19

New Adventures!

Thursday morning, James and I headed out at four in the morning. It was dark and chilly and awesome!

We drove to Chattanooga, and from there, he flew to Albuquerque to participate in a computer competition he's been working on since September. He had to tidy up his hair a bit, for presentation's sake, and get a suit, and then he was off. (He loves the suit, but was sad about the hair. I told him if he knocks it out of the ballpark this year, he can probably show up in house slippers and long hair next year, and as long as he brings the best game, nobody will bat an eye -- he hasn't seen Real Genius yet, and he wasn't really nurtured into adolescence on John Hughes movies, so he probably just thinks I'm in early onset dementia). It didn't cheer him up, any, about the hair, but flying and traveling in relative comfort (meaning, without your siblings' feet in your face, or drool on your shoulder) are compensation enough for a re-set on the hair of your 15yo dreams.

(I have pictures, but there are some changes to Dropbox and I haven't quite figured them out, yet.)

So far, he's having a great time! He enjoyed the flight. His terribly awesome Uncle took him shopping at the Asian market, where he got to stock up on all manner of goodies and interesting things. (He does love interesting foods!) He's been working on things I don't understand, and taking on projects I didn't expect, and in general, just spreading his wings and giving them a good stretch and a couple of flaps.

I miss him terribly.

But this is so good, and such a neat part of growing up. I can't feel anything but excitement for him.

Kiss those babies ~ even when they aren't babies, anymore! They're still so amazing!

~Dy

Sunday, April 6

Friends Make Everything Better

It seems like friendship is this year's theme. That makes me smile to my toes, really.

Yesterday morning, EmilyGirl and I slipped off for brunch with a friend and her daughter. It wasn't a long visit, but it was a sweet visit, and I'm so glad we went. Of course, the boys were a bit flummoxed. "Wait. What? Where are you going? Are we going? Should we load up the gifts now? You're going alone?! Weird." Can you tell Em and I haven't done anything like that before?


Em mentioned that she needed more felt. (We'd just bought her a huge pile of felt the day before, no questions asked, for a surprise she wanted to make for Easter. Already she needed more?) I raised my eyebrow. She smiled brightly. We stopped for more felt after brunch.

This was the surprise: Easter Baskets for everyone!


Then we all loaded up and headed to a birthday party for a very special little boy. He's turning four. Dear heaven, that's a cute, cute age. We weren't there five minutes before James had him in his arms, letting the little guy give him a tour of their chicks and chicken tractor. Although we'd built the chicken tractor and know it inside and out, James enjoyed the enthusiasm and joy of the little guy showing off his special things. 15 is a pretty awesome age, too.

Isn't that an idyllic setting? There are a lot of bodies hidden by flowers and trees. It was a perfect day to hang out with friends and celebrate together.

The kids gave the Little ones Easter baskets, homemade foam swords, and a shield (they made a sword for his little sister, because it's hard to observe a birthday with no gifts for you when you're wee tiny, and also so they can play together). Z and I apologized pre-emptively for all the things that are likely to get broken and bruised because of our involvement.

We came home, worked hard for an hour, and then the day disappeared into game time. The day was stacked pretty heavily with Highs when we did our Highs and Lows at dinner. What a great day!

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Monday, January 20

Shortened Attention Spans and Gifts

Between Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, my attention span deteriorated quite a bit last year. That was embarrassing, if visually stimulating. This year, I determined it would be better to seek balance and set the example for our home, by bringing life (particularly the bigger chunks and meatier content) back into focus.

We also decided we'd actually do some of the projects we've pinned on Pinterest. The boys insisted we photograph the outcome. I'd love to think they want a record of the fantastic projects we make together, but the truth is they're hoping for something they can submit to PinterestFAIL sites.

Our first project, however, was a total win. We made these adorable play tents for the Littles of some very dear friends:


EmilyGirl handled all the sewing - from threading the machine and ironing the fabric, to sewing the hems and sewing on the ribbons. The guys did the woodwork, which was quick and easy. We sealed the wood so that the tents can be used outside without rotting by August.

The tents are sturdy, but they break apart so that for travel the boards lie flat on the fabric, you roll the fabric around the boards and secure with the ribbons at the corners. They'll fit in the trunk, on the floor behind the seat of the car, or in a footlocker.






I tried to get a picture of the littles inside them, but they moved too quickly. Here, Little M had just chased JakeRabbit out of hers and gone into it when she saw the camera, stepped out to pose, and then her brother had something fascinating to show her. My phone isn't the best camera, and I suspect I'm getting old, with slow reflexes. But the picture was sweet, and it's the only one that shows some detail on the tents without being blurry.

They loved them. EmilyGirl is now ready to make ALL THE THINGS. The boys are on board, but I suspect for different reasons... we'll probably have a little Win and a little Fail this year, but we'll have fun doing it together.

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Tuesday, April 16

What Do We Do All Day?

There is no way our daily activities are what trash this house every. single. day. OK, the socks are ours. I'll own that. But the amount of dirt that finds its way onto the living room floor would normally require a contractor and a liability waiver. Maybe for my birthday I'll ask for a fleet of Roombas.

Z's replacing the soffits and fascia this week. That's a somewhat thankless job, from what I can tell. While it is good, and it needs doing, what will be most obvious when it's complete will be the old roof and the nasty hillbilly porch off the back. He gets serious bonus points for doing things just because they need to be done.

The kids did the first mowing of the season this week. Now that? That's a high-reward job. Fewer ticks, gorgeous view, low resistance job, and instant gratification. Love a freshly mown meadow.

I did... laundry. And swept. Mostly. There was other stuff, but it was about as exciting as that, really.

We did drive up to Tennessee to buy Z another Volvo. This last one had... fatal flaws. After several trips to George, the car whisperer, and three weeks in the shop, it was up and running, and then, in the middle of a normal morning commute, there was metal on metal noise. Even our laid back mechanically-inclined buddy shuddered when thinking about the noise. But the Volvos are a fave, and so off we went. Z seems happy. He can't wait to retrieve his beaded seat cover, and the a/c needs to be charged, but everything else is good. Plus, it doesn't leak in the rain. (He's a trooper, but it gets tiring driving to work with your feet in a puddle of water after every rainstorm. Maybe not such a deal breaker in the desert, but it'll wear on you, here.)

Oh! And our anniversary was last week. We thought about going to the drive-in theater, but decided it would be hard to hear the movie over the tornado sirens (not a euphemism for children - actual tornado sirens). So we opted for a night in with the family. Romantic, flashlights-at-the-ready dinner, nervous dog, anxious weather-following child. (Jacob. He discovered the weather news. And now he joins James in the general uproar over how seldom we go to the basement when the weather guy clearly states that's where we should be rightnow. I'm not sure how best to handle that. I don't want him to think we hold no regard for the weather warnings, because we do - that's why we have the radio on. But if there are no tornadoes on the radar and the winds aren't that strong, I'm just not convinced we need to hunker down with the damp and the basement critters until there are... uh, no tornadoes on the radar. I could be missing something. It happens. Sometimes more often than I'd like.) But all in all, it was actually pretty great. Z and I looked at each other, looked around at the kids, the house, the dog, then back to each other, and felt giddy.

"We're doing it! We're probably even getting good at this!"

w00t:

Thank God for grace and mercy. I've received it in spades.

Kiss those babies!
~Dy


Monday, April 1

Upending All The Things

So. Here we are, huh?

A while back, Zorak and I talked about whether this is where we want to stay. He's aching to go back out West. I'm pretty good with whatever we do. The biggest thing for me is that we're together, and we're in it together. Because things can get weird if everyone isn't on the same page.

So we began the search, keeping it fairly quiet for the most part. He had an interview back in January, and although it fell through, it cemented our General Plans. If you read back very far on this blog, you'll see we're well-versed in how quickly Plans can change, but as general sort of positioning thing, "We're trying to move back out West" is a pretty good overview. He also outed the plan online, so then the cat was out of the bag. And, now that I can talk about it, blogging should come significantly easier!

We just returned from a trip to New Mexico. This was a nice visit, but the occasion was somewhat dampened by the purpose. Z's Granny passed away earlier this year. This March would have been her 99th birthday. In keeping with her wishes and the way she lived her life, there was no traditional funeral. Instead, the family gathered for a celebration of her life as they laid her to rest in the New Mexico Springtime Wind. Everyone shared stories of playing Scrabble with her (even when she was mostly blind, she could beat the pants off anyone who sat down to play), Granny's open door policy (door's always open, there's a pot of something on the stove), and memories of growing up on a sheep ranch (nobody knew what lamb tasted like, but they sure knew how to make the most of the old ewes). They had a pot luck with people from all over the place, and an Easter egg hunt for the next generation of children to start building their memories of the old homestead. And then, there was a dance. Granny made it clear she wanted a good band to play at the dance, and her heirs did just that. It was a lovely way to remember a lovely woman, and although she is certainly missed by those whose lives she touched, there's a lot of her still milling about in the 70+ grandchildren and great-grandchildren she left behind.

On our trip, we also got to visit the Bob Wills Museum with the kids' Granny (Z's Mom), play in the Brazos river with friends, and stay up way too late visiting and laughing. All things we love, and they remind us that we're just too far away right now.

But we came home to tulips and redbuds in bloom! And rain! So pretty. It was the morning after we returned before I stopped saying, "Oh, look! We got rain!" and realized... we always get rain here. It's still beautiful, though. Everything's coming in green and vibrant.

In the meantime, we're finishing up a few little projects here and there so the house will be ready to list when Z finds the right job. We're plugging along with Scouting and music and trips to museums as we try to keep everything as normal as possible. The kids are good sports about it. James and John remember living elsewhere, and they trust that we aren't going to drag them off to a miserable existence. Different, maybe, but still good. Jacob knows vaguely that he's lived elsewhere, but pretty much relies on his brothers to assure him that it'll be okay. EmBaby and Jase are fairly overwhelmed with the whole idea and keep asking questions to help them make sense of how moving works. "Will we take the dog?" (Yes.) "Will we take our stove?" (Uh, no.) "Will we get to take our clothes?" (Yes. I never thought about that, but yes, you get to take your clothes.) "Will we take the chickens?" (I'm... *phew* I honestly don't know. I've never moved with chickens, and to be honest I'm kind of hoping we can pitch them as part of the pastoral appeal of the property...) "But what about Tame*?" (:squirms uncomfortably: I, uh, gah. I have no idea! Maybe he'll want to go live with Peter and Elizabeth? Or Me-Wa and Me-Tae? We'll, uh, see... :cringe:)

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

*(Tame is our "special" chicken. He survived an early dog encounter, and has since become somewhat human-endeared. He would be a house chicken in a heartbeat if I'd let him. He's very content to spend time with people, and has become a bit of a party prop when we have cookouts. It's like having a weird dog.)

Tuesday, January 1

So, it's a new year...

That would explain the look of bewilderment Z gave me when he asked what our plans were last night, and I said, "I don't care what we do, but we better get on it, because they are not staying up until ten-thirty again!"

It was a long day, okay? In the post-Christmas lag, with the ongoing parenting, feeding, cleaning, general wrestling of the feral cats (and rounding up the slippery one), my brain shuttled any knowledge of a pending celebration and instead focused (somewhat intently) on curling up with a roaring fire, some Bailey's in the coffee, and a Jasper Fforde book. I love my kids, but none of that scenario included having the children up until all hours of the night.

But, it's New Year's Eve!

Aaanddd, they're old enough to know what's going on. I kind of miss the days that I could point to the sunset and say, "Alrighty, kids! It's almost time for bed!" Not so bad in the summer, because they're outside, and in the winter, hey, half the population of Florida eats dinner at 4:30 and hits the hay by five. Nothing wrong with that. But they grow up, learn to tell time, read a calendar, and eventually look at you expectantly because they *know* there's a holiday on. And, as I explained to EmBaby when she asked what the big deal was about marking a full rotation around the Sun, humans are celebratory creatures. We like to come together, we like to mark the special amidst the mundane. We look for any opportunity for a feast or a gathering, and we set those opportunities aside. They become special because we make them so. It's good stuff, this being Human. The reminder didn't hurt me one bit, either.
Luckily, it only took a little recalibration on my part (made easier by Z taking everyone with him to the grocery and the video store, so I had a few minutes to think in full sentences and not have to mediate the cabin-fevered children - bless him!), and we were off for an evening of fun.

We had jalapeno and green chile cheese dip. We had fish tacos. We had root beer floats and Christmas candy. (Evidently, our theme for the New Year is, "Eh, why not?") Then we put the two littles to bed, and we had zombie movies and sparkling cider. We chased down some good ideas for 2013, and sketched out a plan. I thought back to when I was 12 and 14, already ready to be gone from the house for NYE, instead of stuck at home, not talking, just sitting there, staring at each other. And I thought how thankful I am that we have a different dynamic in our home. That the boys are forgiving of their aging mother and her desire for quiet in the wee hours of the night, but that they're not surprised that she can get in there and laugh and fisk a good zombie movie, too. We laughed. A lot. We ate a lot. They shared some of their ideas, and they have good ideas. We shared our ideas. (Have I mentioned that the boys are patient? They are.)

We don't know what this coming year will bring, but we know we'll give it our all, and we'll do it together. That's enough. That's actually more than enough. It's going to be an amazing year!

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Sunday, December 30

Kitchen Adventures

We had such a lovely Christmas with friends and loved ones. I didn't bother trying to take many pictures on Christmas Day - that was my "gift" to my family. I'm not a fun photographer, and it's just no fun to have Beulah Balbricker yelling at you on Christmas. So. That was fun.

But I *did* get some pictures of Em (aka: The Compliant One) as she put her Christmas gift from MeWa and MeTae to good use.

They brought her a little bag of kitchen goodies - some mixes, a pretty little apron, her own whisk and spatula - Oh, she was elated!

And keeping the camera in my hands forced, erm, helped, me to let her do it all on her own. That was important, in keeping with the spirit of the gift.

We had a really good time.

Thanks, MeWa and MeTae!

I hope your Christmas brought you together with people you love, to do good things and make lovely memories!

Kiss those babies!
~Dy