Family Fun

Where has the time gone?

I blinked and another week has passed. I’m still trying to put together a post about Easter too. I may just scrap that and run with the Tulip Festival from this week. Yep, that sounds good.

We have a family tradition of going to the Tulip Festival for my birthday. The weather this spring has been cold, wet and dreary, so we planned a late-in-the-month date to drive up and see all the blooms. We got very lucky with the weather, it was sunny and fairly warm, with a little breeze. I loaded up some snacks, filled the hydration packs for the kids and packed the camera gear.

The drive up isn’t bad from our house, only about a hour. We turned off and started looking for the colorful fields, only to find field upon field of unplanted dirt. We went to our one tried-and-true spots that has a huge garden and found parking. Over the next hour and a half, I took pictures and we wandered the gardens.

IMG_6725 - Kids at the Windmill

The “Required” Windmill Photo

IMG_6735 - IDK the name

I was taken by the edges on this one. I took about 6 pictures of this one bloom, with 3 making the final Flickr cut.

IMG_6739 - Daffy Shadows

There were lots of daffodils too. They just aren’t my favorite. I did take a few just because and really loved this next one.

IMG_6871 - Short-Trumpet Daffy

There was every color, fringes and ruffled edges, big and little blooms, some in the sun and some in the shade. And then there were these baby pinecones T-Man loved.

IMG_6841 - Pinecone Bokeh

This picture though, while not of my favorite variety, was my absolute favorite shot of the day. You can click on any of the pictures to go to the rest of the set at Flickr.

IMG_6803 - LOVE this one

Happy May Day!


So last night, this is where I was:

The First Campout of 2009

T-Man and I braved the 45-ish degree temperature overnight and slept out in the tent. We did decide to put the rainfly on, not because it was going to rain, but to keep a little more heat in. Hubby also ran an extension cord out from the house, so I had a place to plug my laptop in. T-Man is notorious for falling asleep exactly 3.2 minutes after his head hits the pillow, so I wanted something to do after he crashed. I knit for a while, but that is decidedly difficult without something so lean up against. I checked Facebook and finally started a movie about midnight, when the dryer (and by default the vent) stopped making noise.

This morning I was up about 7:45 am, after tucking my head back under the sleeping bag for a bit. I enjoyed the morning birds and the mooing cows until the school bus traffic got to be annoying. It was a nice break from the everyday routine and T-Man enjoyed it too.

We have been super busy this weekend, so I will only share a few photos of the highlights.

Alaska Boy cutting wood
Firewood Duty

Roasting Peeps
Yes, we roasted Peeps. Yummy!

Cozy reading spot
Home School Advantages for reading spots.

Pollen Dusted Pansy
Lots of planting happened. These little guys make me smile!

Fushia Leaves
The symmetry of a Fuchsia plant!

Pink Geranium
A cute pink Geranium in the planter box.

I hope Spring is visiting you, wherever you are today!

I keep waiting for some free time to update all the things that have been going on here, but things just keep happening and I can’t get caught up now!

We have had family visits the last two weeks, with more lined up for tomorrow and again on Sunday. My Mom was here for a week, right after I got back on my feet from being sick. That was a week of my life that I will never get back.

We had horrible weather, so the new bikes she bought for the kids were only used sparingly and T-Man hasn’t been able to practice riding the bigger 2-wheeler.

New Bike Friday

We went to Seattle and visited my aunt, uncle and cousin for dinner one night. Hubby, Uncle, Cousin and myself all played poker,

The Poker Match

while my mom and T-Man played Safari Rush Hour.

Safari Rush Hour

We brought dessert, which the kids helped make:

Chocolate Curl Duty:

Chocolate Curls

Cutting the Brownies:

Cutting up Brownies

and it was delicious!

The Trifle

We did a little school, so my mom could see that I really do teach the kids and it’s not just a free-for-all party here all the time. I would venture a guess that she even learned something that she didn’t know before. I know it happens to me almost everyday!

IMG_1318 - Thursday Schooling

She flew home and managed to dodge a huge blizzard that was hitting the Plains. We were watching the weather and the night before she was to fly out, all the roads home were closed because of the snow and wind.

So now, it’s Spring Break, so I have A.C. for full days. This is my last week in childcare though. I have another job lined up, which starts next week. I will be helping with some cleaning and general chores for our neighbor that was injured in this car accident last summer. The best part is that it pays more, for less hours and I don’t have to bring any of it home with me!

My youngest brother is here visiting right now and I am driving him back to school tonight. It will be an insane 9+hour drive to Oregon and back. I have a contingency plan to get a hotel room if I get too tired to make it home, but we have more family arriving tomorrow, so I’d really like to get back tonight. We will see how it goes. It has been fun having a college student in the house – he is great with the kids and provides us with endless opportunity to mock his texting and Facebooking addictions. Of course, we have been on Facebook as much as he has and my phone was beeping more than his today.

Speaking of other family coming to visit, a sister and her family (the same that were over in January) are coming sometime tomorrow and staying until Sunday (I think), just in time for yet another sister to arrive for an overnight stay Sunday to Monday. These are all siblings of Hubby’s, but they are the only brothers/sisters I have, so I am dropping the In-Law part from my vocabulary. I will have time to sleep when I’m dead!

We had the first visitors to the hummingbird feeders this last week, so I have been spending some time with the camera in my hands. This is the first good shot I got, with many more to follow.

First 2009 Hummingbird

Happy April!

Hi there! Remember me? I’m sure you do, since February is shorter than every other month and in Other Month Days, at worst it is only March 1st. That’s my story anyway.

It’s been a busier-than-normal week around here because I’m trying to get ready to leave for 5 whole days. This is a first for our family and I’m so excited! I have been to town more in the last two weeks than in the last 6 months combined, with multiple dentist appointments, grocery/trip shopping and scouring clearance racks for good deals. Topping the list was my dire need of a haircut and so I set out to find a salon with an open appointment. The last time I got a Haircut went well and I had high hopes for a repeat.

This is what I ended up with, after some new layers and a thorough straightening. I am finally happy with the length, but needed some sort of shape. My stylist listened to what I wanted and was realistic about the time I want to spend on my hair in the morning. I rarely straighten my hair myself because it takes forever and my arms ache. It took the stylist about 25 minutes, even with all her tools and tricks. I really liked how it turned out and the best part of the day was that Hubby noticed right away and complimented me several time before bed! Such a change from last time!

Haircut Straight

Haircut Back Straight

I worked in a little stop at the yarn store that day too, since the salon was just two doors down. I picked out some bright yellow for something springy, a skein each of Packers yellow and green and a ball of a cotton blend for a hat I’m making for a friend, in trade for some stitch markers she’s making for me. The kids each picked out a ball of yarn (orange and purple) and I was feeling pretty good until the clerk was rude to G-Bunny. Downright rude and I doubt I will be going back to that shop. Crazy!

We have had rain overnight and in the mornings, warming up in the afternoons with clear blue skies and temperatures in the 60’s. I’ve been starting school first thing in the morning and pushing to be done by lunch, while doing laundry, cleaning and getting ready to leave town as the kids work. The kids have been spending more time playing outside and I’ve been trying to catch little snippets here and there in the middle of all the rushing.

Like this shot of my darling daughter, newly nine, but still wearing the wings without shame.

Angel Wings

Or acting like a lunatic that escaped from the looney bin.

Silly Ride-By

Or when I tell my son to “give me a serious Jedi-look” and get this.

Jedi Look

This one was, “Show me the scene with Count Dooku!”

Like Count Dooku

That, of course, led to other things.

Scene One

Scene Two

Scene Three

End Scene

And the last thing I saw before I died an untimely death.

The Last Thing

I don’t know if people will admit publicly to watching what we think is one of the funniest shows on TV. We have tried to convert everyone we know and still haven’t heard if we are alone in this endeavor. This guilty, shameful, secret show is My Big Redneck Wedding on CMT. It’s hosted by Tom Arnold, who is half the show himself, but if you don’t like him, don’t let that stop you from trying it out because it really is one of the funniest half-hours on TV. In fact, if we could make a spin-off series, we would base it on what we experienced this weekend.

Hubby needed to make an appearance at a Celebration of Life Party for a lifelong neighbor who had just passed away from cancer, so we packed up the car on Friday and headed to the Peninsula for a long weekend. We stayed with one of Hubby’s sisters, who is living in the house next door to the house they all grew up in on Blue Mountain. This was odd on several levels for Hubby, but convenient for an easy walk up to the neighbor’s property for the party.

We got into town early Friday evening and after we unpacked the car and grabbed some dinner, Hubby, Sis and I walked up to see the family already gathered at the house. The three brothers Hubby grew up with and their wives, along with a fourth “brother” that was basically adopted into the family in high school, were there, along with Mama and her sisters. I was a little unsure of walking into a situation where I didn’t know anyone and Hubby was a little unsure of the stories that would be told about him in my presence. As it was, the guys were sweet (and mostly drunk already) and I felt welcomed right away.

(I had worn a pair of Carhartt jeans and a Carhartt long-sleeved T for the drive over (because they are super comfy) and, as always, was wearing my Carhartt jacket. As it turned out, this was the secret password for the weekend.)

We spent a couple of hours standing around the bonfire, cooking fresh Alaskan halibut in the deep fryer, drinking a couple of beers (Mt. Dew for me) and listening to Hubby catch up on the last 15 years. There was Johnny Cash playing in the garage/shop and at least 3 dogs roaming around, sniffing for scraps. There was a tour of the house, stories of zip-lining into the pond and fishing in the old swimming pool. I walked home with a handful of halibut for the kids and some confidence in the fact that I survived meeting some of Hubby’s people.

Saturday was the Big Event, with an expectation of 150 people coming. There was also a pig to be roasted first thing in the morning. Hubby offered to help get it on the spit, since the 6 am start would be nearly impossible for most of the brothers to roll out of bed before 8:30 am. We set an alarm for Really Early and went to bed. Around 3:45 am, I heard what I soon deciphered as Light Sabers, coming from my nephew’s room right below us. I finally dragged myself out of bed and went downstairs to tell them to be quiet, which they didn’t do. Hubby’s alarm started going off and he got up to go deal with the pig. Then G-Bunny came in and crawled into bed with me. I think I got some sleep between 6 and 8 am, but I can’t be sure.

Hubby got back about 8:45 am, smelling like bacon. I got myself ready and we headed into town, while the kids played with their cousins. We dropped in on some family friends, bought shampoo at Wal-Mart and stopped at the best burger place in town for lunch, before heading back up the mountain for the party. We back to the house to find that Sis and G-Bunny had already gone up to the party. We were getting ready to walk out the door when another of Hubby’s sisters pulled in, with our brand new niece Lily and almost-2-year-old niece Zoe. I got to hold the baby, while everyone got bundled up for the dreary fog and drizzle, and we walked up to the party together.

I really have nothing to compare with what we saw when we walked around the last bend in the road. There were about 50 cars parked in the first clearing, complete with a plywood sign, painted with red spray paint and an arrow. There were three bonfires, cases of soda and beer piled on and under a banquet table, enough food for an army under the carport and a huge pig roasting on a homemade spit. Oh, and people as far as you could see, milling about and chatting at the fires. There were more dogs than I could count and kids zipping here and there. We told the kids to stay away from the half-frozen pond and Hubby started working through the crowd. We stayed for a couple of hours and found the fire with marshmallows. There was another woman there with the same jacket as me, which greatly bothered the kids for some reason. Hubby talked to a bunch of old friends and when he got tired of answering the same three questions, we went back to the house to get warm, wondering all the way how we were going to explain what we had just experienced.

I’ve been lacking the extra energy for the last week to do anything beyond the necessary and that unfortunately included the blog, email and Facebook.

We had weekend guests, two weekends in a row, along with all of the hustle and bustle and cooking that involves. Oh, and the laundry and the planning of entertainment for everyone. Add in a dash of drama, a cup of guarded conversation, a late night of Rock Band and you have the recipe for a worn out Mama. Overall, it was great fun and we will be doing it again soon, although with a more reasonable bedtime!

Here are a few pictures:

Dart Shark

Good Shot

Rock Band Family Fun

Auntie and the Pet Shop Village

Izzy watching

What a gray dreary week here! We have been dealing with thick pea-soup fog and freezing temperatures for most of the week and today, the sun is finally shining with some confidence. I have been messing around with the template – Pez, I felt the same way! – and went for a more clean, minimalistic style, to reflect the organization and reworking that has been going on around our house. I really wanted to have pictures ready this week on a few things, but it hasn’t worked out that way.

I finished the second attempt at a hat for Hubby and it fits well. I just can’t get him to pose with it on for me. I would take a self-portrait just to get it over with, but he has it in his car. He’s also claimed the purple fingerless-mitts and they travel with the hat. I haven’t knitted at all this week though.

I also have most of the front room put up in bins and neatly labeled. I haven’t taken pictures of that either because it’s not all the way finished. I haven’t had the motivation to work on that, along with everything else that’s going on this week.

Hubby’s Dad was in town for a visit on Monday and Tuesday. The only pictures I got were of playing darts. It is fitting, since they were in the garage for at least 10 hours of the entire visit. We did drive to Hubby’s store to show his Dad and the rest of the time I was either cooking, cleaning up from cooking or sleeping. He headed back to California early Wednesday morning, Hubby went back to work and the kids and I declared a PJ day.

Thursday, I put my foot down and we got a lot of schoolwork done. We also went to look at a possible new rental, just up the street and just as I was feeling hopeful, I asked about their pet policy. They don’t allow cats, so we are back to looking. We like where we are, but the possibility of saving $300 a month, just by moving seems worthwhile.

Friday, (yesterday) I was stick-a-fork-in-me-I’m-done tired. I’m trying to get the house back up and running for my Sister-In-Law and my two nephews to come visit this weekend. They will be here sometime this afternoon and I am really excited to see them, but worried about getting the house ready. I need to get all the guest bedding washed, another set of menus planned and the shopping list to Hubby before he leaves work.

Coming up on Monday, the kids have a full-day camp at the Woodland Park Zoo. It’s the first time we have done this and I’m a little anxious about dropping them off for an activity in the big city. Hubby has the day off, so we will just hang out in Seattle all day – visiting the zoo ourselves if my SIL is still in town. I’d like to go visit Pike Place Market again, I’ve only been twice before and I’m sure we could find a few yarn stores too. I arranged to have the day off from my childcare duties, so I don’t have to worry about that schedule.

It’s looking like 2009 is the year I am being given a violent shove back into a social life and busier schedule.

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