Sunday, December 30, 2007

Skins...Genesis 3:21

I was posting a reply to my last post to answer some questions and it started taking on a life of its own. post!

All the family has completed moccasins now. The sizing seems to be ok except for the big guys. M made up The Man's pair, and it fits him fine. The men's sizing on those kits is about 1 size off. It's unisex sizing, so they are accurate for women and children, men should order at least one size up. If your feet are especially wide, they'll be a bit snug also, but the should stretch ok. Sacagawea's are big on her, but we did order a size up since she's a growing girl!

Lori, we don't have a deer...we have a deer hide. Actually, we have deer hides. Why? Because The Man asks for and gets hides. He put up a sign at the Indian clinic he used to work at asking for hides. People are more than willing to give him the "leftovers" from their hunt.

He bags them up and puts them in the freezer. NOT this freezer! That is a big no-no. When we moved in here the previous occupants left an extra freezer and refrigerator/freezer in the utility room. The freezer portion of that frig was "given" to The Man. It holds all hides and other dead things until he has a chance to dissect/skin/tan. No for-human-consumption foods are kept in that freezer.

Of course there was the time he asked for and received deer brains (great for tanning the hides, so I'm told). The entire head was given to him. Apparently, it wouldn't fit in "his" freezer.

A few weeks (months?) later I was digging in the chest freezer in the garage when I came across a plastic bag. I opened it, saw the antlers, and figured out what else was in there. I dropped the bag back in the freezer and went to find The Man.

"Please remove your deer head from my freezer."

"There isn't a deer head in the freezer. It must be the bag of acorns I collected."

"No. It is a deer head. I know what a deer head looks like."

He patiently went to the freezer, opened it, and said, "OH...THAT deer head. I forgot about that one."


Friday, December 28, 2007

How beautiful are thy feet with shoes...Song of Solomon 7:1

Shereen hosts Sew Crafty Friday over on her blog. Although I enjoy seeing some of things others are up to, I really haven't had time to do much crafting lately. Yesterday I finished putting together one of my Christmas presents, so I'd thought I'd share!

The Man needed a new pair of moccasins so he decided to make his own. He knew the kids would want to get in on the action also so he got us all some kits for Christmas. He got the "Little Scout" kits for the kids and the fringed boot for us. Mine was a little snug when I finished them this morning, but after wearing them all day, they've stretched nicely. The sizing instructions on the website don't match the sizing on the packaging, thus The Man's pair will probably be too small for him. M will grow into them soon enough, so it isn't a total loss. The Man is trying to decide if he wants to order another kit or use the deer hide in the freezer to create his pair (I'm not kidding...ick).Now I truly feel like Sacagawea's mom! Head on over to Shereen's blog to see other projects people are working on right now.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tree that is pleasant to the sight...Genesis 2:9

Merry Christmas! I wanted to get a picture up of our tree before next year. The Man and children drove up in the mountains to cut it down. The Man did better this year in not getting one that was too tall for our house.

I forgot to ask him to make sure it wasn't too wide. We got out the tape measure this morning...7'-1" tall and 7'-4" at the widest point. I didn't get to put any lights on the porch this year since they were all needed to go around the tree.

We had lots of fun with family visiting. The kids and their cousins did another Christmas pageant for us this year. Of course, we had too much food. I made a vegan turkey loaf, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach/artichoke casserole, pumpkin cookies and rolls. The Man made an apple crunch and the gravy, and J made the salad.

Here's a picture a few nights before Christmas as The Man was preparing to sand down a thrift store find. Sacagawea found it a few weeks ago browsing a Goodwill. I happened to be talking to The Man on my cellphone at the time so she asked Daddy if she could have it. Its finish needed some TLC, but it was sturdy and I thought it was well worth the $9.99 price.
Fortunately we had some paint left over from her birthday presents so they all match.
Unfortunately, rather than staying in her bedroom with the matching crib and high chair, I think this rocker will become a permanent part of the living room. She does enjoy sitting in front of the wood stove rocking her baby dolls.

The Man got his own rocker for Christmas...rather, a face-to-face glider. It belonged to his grandparents, sitting in their backyard for the last 45 years, and it was one of the things The Man requested. "Are you SURE?" I had no idea what he would do with it since it had been in a state of disrepair for many years. It was ready to be sent off to the junkyard, but The Man wanted it. The Man's step-dad fixed it up for him, re-welding some pieces. He and The Man had a lot of fun re-assembling it Christmas night.
Now it is as good as new. Well, not quite. It could still use a coat of paint, but I'm sure it is much sturdier than some of the modern gliders. We'll store it in the barn this winter to keep in out of the elements and next spring we will give it a proper finish and cover.

One last picture of the tree. That is a genuine hand-made Lego ornament there. Also, a choo-choo train from long ago. We had to glue it together again this year. Styrofoam is very forgiving. And the popcorn...we'll put it back in the gallon ziploc bag to save for next year. I think this is the third year we've used those same popcorn strings.
Maybe we can pass them on down to our children some day.

Just kidding!

Unless they really want them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

All things well...Mark 7:37

J is better, if jumping over the furniture is any indication. I pulled out my Bissell Proheat and cleaned the carpet in the boys' room this morning. I usually don't shampoo the carpets in the winter since it takes so long to dry, but it needed it. I cranked up the electric heat (we've been heating with just the wood stove) so it should be dry by tonight. M is vacuuming the entryway now and then I'll go ahead and shampoo there also.

I hope the other kids don't get sick. I sent M and S to work with The Man yesterday morning. The past few years we've helped assemble and pass out the Salvation Army food baskets and yesterday they were being put together a few doors down from his office. They walked down the block to help with the baskets. The kids are really able to help by sorting the canned goods and taking the boxes to cars for people. They enjoy it also. After most of the boxes had been passed out they walked back up The Man's office and came home with him for lunch.

I did get my boxes packed up yesterday. The Man took them to the post office late in the afternoon, so they may not have gone out until this morning. They might not make it to their destinations by Christmas, but at least they are on their way.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Give earnest heed...lest we should let them slip...Hebrews 2:1

Good morning! I'm sitting here on the couch at 5:30 in the morning with nothing better to do than tell you about the last 24 hours.

Yesterday I decided to go to the big, big city and finish up the last bit of the holiday shopping. J asked to go with me. When all four kids accompany me to any store you would probably pick J out to be the one "least likely to ASK to go shopping with mom." However, when it is just the two of us, we both have a grand time.

Two years ago our December trip to the big city was extended when the freeway was closed due to weather while we were up there. The kids and I spent the night in the home of one of The Man's co-workers (who couldn't make it home himself) and went home the next day. Yesterday morning was beautiful, though, and it promised to be a good trip.

We hit Barnes and Noble first. We could have spent all day there, but Target and the mall beckoned. Then we went to Lowes to get a tub/shower surround similar to the cracked one The Man pulled out of our bathroom Saturday night. The Man bought one last week that was nicer, but then discovered that our atypical bathroom can't handle that one. We briefly considered a full bathroom remodel to make that surround fit, but we opted for just getting a different surround.

J and I did take coats with us yesterday, but they stayed in the van while we went in and out of stores. Even when the slight drizzle developed late in the afternoon (can you see where this is going?) we didn't need our coats. We finished up our trip with a few grocery stores then we finally headed home about 8:00. The trip usually takes just over an hour, but that was not to be.

As we headed south I saw a lighted sign on the freeway. Chains required 9 miles ahead.

We always carry chains...2 sets. I knew they were in the back, buried. I got off at the very next exit, pulled into a gas station and found the chains. J retrieved the wind-up flashlight from under his seat and then I called The Man. He checked the internet for me and confirmed that chains were being required over the mountain pass.

I pulled out the handy instructions that came with our chains and read them over carefully. I had attempted to put them on one other time in our driveway when we had over a foot of snow. It didn't work out well and I ended up using the chains just for traction under the wheels. I noted in the instructions that it said to try out the chains before they are actually needed. Next time. We set out again. A few miles later we came across another sign. Chain up area.

I pulled over and J got out with me to hold the flash light. We both headed back in the van to get our coats. It was getting pretty nippy, especially with the semis going by. I did notice that only a few other folks were chaining up and most were just speeding by. One hour after first calling The Man from the gas station, I called him again to let him know we were all chained up and ready to go over the mountain. I will admit that I was slightly disappointed that I didn't have my camera with me so I could show you my wheels!

We bumped along at 22 mph. Several minutes later another sign came into view. Chain inspection point--Prepare to stop. I was ready! one was there! I called The Man again and he again checked the internet. In the time it took for me to carefully read the materials and chain up, the restriction had been lifted. Chains were no longer required. Hmph. Since it was still drizzling, I decided to keep the chains on anyway.

As we were approaching the top of the pass, it was obvious that I was one of the few people on the road using chains since everyone else was speeding by me. I was planning on stopping and removing the chains once I got over the pass, but right at the summit I could feel the front tires slipping. Hooray! The chains weren't for naught! At that time two other cars came up behind me and decided that my 22 mph was just right for them also. They followed for a few miles down the mountain until the roads weren't quite so slippery. I pulled over to remove the chains, but I noted the shoulder was rather icy. I got back in the van and we bumped down the mountain for a few more miles.

The snow finally disappeared so I pulled off again to remove the chains. A nice man pulled over to see if I needed help removing the chains. I figured if I could put them on then I could take them off. I was right, although I will say that putting them on was a much cleaner job than taking them off.

A few miles later I had cell phone coverage again and I called The Man to let him know we were over the pass. It had been one hour since I'd chained up. Once I made it to the city I called again to see if there were any restrictions over our local mountain pass. There weren't, but I noted that there was a lot of snow up there that wasn't there when I left in morning. We finally made it home at 10:45. I washed the road grit off my arms and hands while The Man unloaded the van and I went to bed about 11:30.

I turned off the alarm so I could sleep in this morning.

At 4:00 J came in our bedroom to let us know that he was sick. The Man got up to clean up the mess. A little while later I got up and started the laundry. The Man went back to bed, but I stayed up with J.

That sums up my last 24 hours. Now it is time to get the rest of the family up and put some quilts in the dryer. Maybe I'll get a nap sometime today. I do need to get 5 or 6 packages in the mail today also.

Notes on tire chains:
-Have chains and rubber tighteners already in the vehicle. Don't wait until you need them to buy them at premium price (if any are available).
-Read directions carefully.
-Practice putting them on before you need them (I skipped that step). Don't assume you can just pay someone to do it for you. In the hour it took me to put them on, nobody stopped to see if I needed help (I would like to think that is because I looked quite capable, but I'm afraid it was just because no one else wanted to do it).
-Read directions again.
-Pray some more.
-Follow directions.
-Drive slow (don't forget the hazard light blinkers to let the crazy people know you are driving slower than they are). The instructions said not to go over 30 mph, but anything over 22 was too bumpy for me.
-Clean them up and put them away carefully so they'll be available for the next time!
-Pack some (fingerless) gloves in the chain box. I wish I had had some gloves with me last night! I am thankful that we had our coats with us. It would have been brutal without a coat.
-Pack some paper towels or something to clean up with afterwards. Trying to drive while covered in road grit isn't fun.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Let us take our journey...Genesis 33:12

create your own personalized map of the USA

I've visited 29 states (56%). I'm not sure New York and New Jersey really count, since JFK is all I've seen of New York. My time in NJ was spent on a tarmac while waiting for the NY weather to clear. The same for Minnesota...all I've seen of it is the airport. It looks like a Northern States tour and an East Coast excursion are in order. Of course, we need to visit Alaska and Hawaii also. Where have you been?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Look to the hand...Psalm 123:2

Sacagawea lost her first tooth this morning. She has seen her brothers pull out their own teeth so often that she thought nothing of just yanking it out herself. I knew it was pretty loose, but I didn't know it was ready yet. She brought it to me, quite proud that she had pulled it herself. As you can see, her bottom right tooth is just about ready to come out also.

She had another orthodontist appointment the week before last. The orthodontist was impressed with the wonderful spacing that she has. He said in another six months or so we'll see about a
quad-helix for her.

I wrote the date and information about the tooth on our calendar. Someday I'll gather all of our past wall calendars and fill out the kids' baby books. Someday...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The arm that has no strength...Job 26:2

"Do you want these shots in one arm or both arms?"

I opted for just one arm. I figured it would be nice to have at least one arm that didn't hurt.

Last week I went for the first medical appointment that I'd had in a long time. Since I was a new patient, I had a lot of forms to fill out about a lot of stuff, including the date of my last tetanus shot. ????? I know I had one before I went off to college, and I vaguely remember getting one at some point after that, but I have no firm recollection of which decade that may have happened. I sifted through my file folders, but I couldn't find any reference to a tetanus shot.

The nurse gave me a list of dates for the Public Health shot clinics. Today was the day. I asked if they gave flu shots also. They did. I'm sore. I suspect that the soreness is mostly from the tetanus, but since they were in the same arm, I'm really not sure.

The point of this post? The next time I have to fill out a form that asks when my last tetanus shot was I can just check my blog...or I could, as the nurse suggested, just write that info on the back of my license so it will always be handy.

Oh, and for the blog-record (and my mother), I went in last Friday morning for a big ol' blood draw. Cholesterol, TSH, and liver levels are all fine. Cholesterol was improved over my last set of tests 3 years ago.

Since this post is all about me, I'll include a photo from my birthday last month (after The Man's and before S's). Here are S & Sacagawea roasting veggie-dogs in the wood stove. They like roasting them on a fire outside, but I thought it was too cold or something, so we did it inside.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Glory to God in the highest...Luke 2:14

The Man and M decided to participate in the Christmas program that the church up in the city puts on every year. They both sang bass in the choir Friday and Saturday nights. Those of you that know them might even be able to pick them out in this blurry picture. Some of my readers may even be able to pick out a few other folks that they know.
They had a very good time and I enjoyed hearing the entire songs rather than just the bass parts they have been singing around the house the past few weeks.

I just cleaned off the camera and came across the picture I took several weeks ago. Here is a photo of M on the unicycle. Most of the pictures have M either hanging on to the post or with one or both feet on the ground. His record distance is about 6 feet.

We discovered on Saturday that M is even taller than I am when I'm wearing my shoes with heels.

"I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalm 34:1

A time to be born, and a time to die...Ecclesiastes 3:2

There is a new nephew in the family! The Man's step-sister had her baby last Friday. Even though he arrived a few days past his expected due date, I don't think anyone minds now. He is here, and from what I've heard, he is absolutely perfect. Here are some pictures of the little sweetie. Look at those cheeks! Congratulations to all!

Births are, more often than not, eagerly anticipated months in advance. The Man has had at least one lady show up in the ER with "stomach pains" who had no idea up until 5 minutes before the birth that she was going to be a mom. Those cases are the very rare exception. Names considered, nurseries readied, and perhaps an induction or c-section scheduled to give an idea of the anticipated date of birth. That is the way it is supposed to be. Anticipation.

On the other hand, death is rarely "anticipated." Sometimes it is expected, but it often catches us off guard.

I always thought of wise old Solomon as quite a cynic. "A time to be born, and a time to die." The 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes, as well as starting out rather depressing, also gives hope. Verses 11 and onward give a glimpse of what is beyond: What is beyond our current comprehension and what we can look forward to with joy.

Saturday afternoon we received the news that my cousin had died. He had surgery earlier this year for his esophageal cancer. He was 39 and leaves behind his wife, two children, parents, brothers, and many other relatives and friends. It had been a few years since I had seen him, but as children, we got to visit every few months. When we visited my grandparents, my brothers and I used to walk up to our cousins' house and play basketball
mostly H-O-R-S-E. I almost always lost, but it was fun. And then there was the time they dropped a log on my head...

He will be missed, but I rejoice that there is something better waiting for us.
"Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Revelation 22:20

Ecclesiastes 3

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.

17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Eight years old...II Kings 22:1

Happy 8th Birthday, S!

8 years ago this morning I woke up with a familiar feeling. I had felt the same way 4 days previously on Tuesday, The Man's birthday. I was sure you, S, would share a birthday with your daddy, but it turns out I had a case of the stomach flu...The Man had it too, so we were pretty sure it wasn't labor. I laid around for a few days surviving on nothing but Saltines and Gatorade. By Friday morning I was feeling better and went to my last visit with the midwife at Kaiser. We had switched to Kaiser insurance after J was born, so we were somewhat limited in our hospital/provider choices.

The midwife said everything looked great, except for my weight loss due to the special diet I'd been on that week. She even mentioned that she would be in the hospital that night, so I was welcome to come on in and have the baby. We still weren't sure which hospital we wanted to use. We had 2 Kaiser hospitals about the same distance from our home. One had a brand new L & D with great rooms. The other wasn't as nice, but it had my really nice midwife. And then there was the fact that they were both quite a distance from our home.

In rush hour traffic, it could take up to 45 minutes to get to either hospital from our house. Since we only had one vehicle at that time that The Man used to get to classes 20 minutes from our house, it could take about an hour to get to a hospital if he happened to be away from home when I went into labor. We decided it would be a good idea to be prepared in case we didn't wish to try to rush off to a hospital.

After my appointment with the midwife on Friday morning, I wandered all over the Kaiser complex trying to find the right person to give me the right forms to get J's hospital and ambulance bills paid from an out-of-state visit the prior month. The ambulance company was getting understandably cranky and Kaiser was not paying the bills or mailing me the forms. When that was taken care of we drove to
Wal-Mart where I once again did some walk :: ouch :: ing to get some things we :: ouch :: needed.

We finally arrived back home and I rested the remainder of the day. I was still pretty weak from my recent illness. When I woke up early on Saturday morning, I was sure I was having a relapse. It was the same queasy feeling. I tried to relax and go back to sleep. It didn't work.

After an hour or so I figured out that I was actually in labor. I woke The Man up and informed him of the developments. He got up and decided that yes, I was probably in labor. He made a few phone calls and took M & J to some friends that lived around the corner from us. It was only a five minute drive...

During those five minutes I discovered that my contractions were a lot more comfortable if I pushed through them. The Man wasn't thrilled when he arrived back home less than 10 minutes later to find me pushing. "It's too soon! You're not ready!"

Yes, I was. We quickly decided that a
homebirth was preferable to a carbirth somewhere along the 10 freeway. Less than an hour later you arrived. The Man went and got the big boys to meet their new little brother. A few hours later I sent them off to Sabbath School and Church while you and I stayed in bed and rested. I am glad he called between Sabbath School and Church to check up on us. I was in the middle of a crisis. I couldn't find where Daddy had put the diapers, and you were in need of your first diaper change.

Here you are, just a few days old (Notice the empty Gatorade bottle). Daddy put you in the bouncy seat on the kitchen floor. J is sitting there "reading" to you from a board book. This morning, eight years later, you and J were sitting in the rocking chair together as he was really reading to you from one of the new books you got for your birthday.
You were 7 weeks old for your first Christmas. All of you enjoyed wearing Great-Grandpa's Santa hats.
S asked for a banana cake with whipped topping and fruit for his birthday this morning. We had it for breakfast. "It was yummy," says S.

He got a tool box of his very own with lots of tools. He made a mailbox to put Mommy and Daddy's cards in, so The Man creatively wrapped each tool (including a box of Curious George band-aids) and put them in the mailbox. He loved all the gifts he received.
Ahem...Yes, this post WAS written on November 6. Today is December 6. What can I say? As usual, it has been a b-u-s-y month. More on that later.
I love you, S...even though I was late publishing your birthday post! Happy 8 1/12 birthday!

Friday, November 02, 2007

A very aged man...2 Samuel 19:32

Happy Birthday to The Man!
I won't say how old he is, but he is veeeerrrrry old. This is the one day during the year that I get to tease him about his age. Tomorrow he will back to his young, never-going-to-grow-up self.

I made a blackberry pie and an apricot pie for him last night. His mother said she would bring an apple cake, so that should get us through the weekend of festivities. My birthday is tomorrow (which is why he suddenly becomes "not old" again tomorrow).

This year is a lot different than last year since Grandpa isn't with us anymore. He would have turned 100 on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 and night...Nehemiah 4:9

One of our church members handed a tithe and offering envelope to The Man last Sabbath. Usually tithe envelopes are dropped in the offering plate so he was a bit surprised, especially of the bulkiness of the envelope.

Inside he found one walnut. That was one-tenth of their walnut crop for the year. We pray they have a bigger crop next year ;-).
Sunday The Man worked in the ER. We had a fairly non-eventful day here at home until I decided to go to our local small-town market to pick up a few baking supplies. The kids were already in the van as I walked outside and saw that someone had left his bike on the lawn. I informed the children we weren't leaving until it was put away properly. S jumped out of the van and went to retrieve his bike. As he was heading to the shed with it, he decided to go straight there, rather than going around the hammock stand. Unfortunately, as he went over the metal tube bottom of the stand the bicycle bounced up and the metal part of the handlebar hit his eye...the same eye that he injured three weeks ago.

He cried. There was blood. The Man wasn't there.

It didn't look too bad to me, but since it looked like he split open his recent injury (and I didn't know how bad that was) I decided that we would visit the big supermarket in the city right after we went to the ER.

After examining S in the parking lot, The Man said at this point it will scar no matter what we do, so we just bandaged it. He was feeling just fine when we got home...and I did make him put away his bike. Carefully, please. Of course he wanted a picture taken of this owie also.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Be content...Hebrews 13:5

It's been over two weeks since my last post here...and I started out October so well! The last few weeks have been rather crazy. It still is, and will continue to be, but right now I'm enjoying a few days of doing nothing but eating bon-bons and watching the children and dogs frolic on the lawn. Well, ok, I haven't had any bon-bons, but the children, dog and I have had a wonderful, blissful time hanging out with some friends while The Man takes a certification course. Thank you K, T, and J for hosting us! We're having a wonderful time. K and J took us to a neat museum where the kids got to climb a wall, make fake pizzas, and play grocery store. They had a blast.

Our friends are even allowing us to use their super-fast internet connection. I keep telling myself to "be content with such things as [I] have," but I think our dial-up connection at home will be going bye-bye. I was able to upload all 150+ school pictures I took of the kids last month in the time it would have taken me to do 2 or 3 on our dial-up. I think I see a satellite connection in our future.

Here's another picture that was on the camera.

This was taken a few weeks ago when a co-worker of The Man offered to take him and M up for a ride in his Cessna. M was thrilled. He was given the opportunity to do a bit of the flying. I don't think he will be content with just the flight simulator now.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ink...Jeremiah 36:18

Computer seems to be acting just fine today. I've actually turned it off and on a few times and it is acting normally. At least all of my important files are backed up now.

We went to music lessons today and the violin teacher sent a unicycle home with the boys to try out this week. Oh, oh, oh! (To quote
Sacagawea reading her Dick and Jane books).

We stopped by the ER on the way home to visit The Man. He got the unicycle out of the van. He wanted to keep it there at the ER to play with tonight, but I made him put it back in the van...he's the only doctor there, what would happen if he got hurt? That wouldn't be good! Maybe I'll get some pictures of all the boys playing with it tomorrow. I sure hope The Man is able to get some sleep tonight.

We then went to
Wal*Mart to pick up a few things. One of the items we really needed was a new ink cartridge for our printer. We usually pick up a 3-pack at Costco of 2 color and 1 b&w, but we haven't made it up to Costco lately. Besides, we tend to use more b&w than color anyway. I was just going to pick up a single b&w when I saw it...the ink refill kit.

I'd never used a refill kit before. I had heard they were messy, messy, messy and they would ruin the printer. Well, since our workhorse of a printer is out of warranty anyway, I thought I would give it a try. It wasn't that messy, and so far it is working fine. At 1/4 the cost of a new cartridge, we might just be going this route for the future.

It was a bit time consuming to do all the little steps like covering such-and-such contact with tape, inserting the cartridge, removing it, inserting it, etc. It would have been a lot better if I'd read the last step carefully and turned the printer off and on like it told me to. That would have saved a bit of anxiety. It wasn't quite as easy as just swapping with a new cartridge, but it sure saved some $$.

So, do you swap or refill? Any helpful tips?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A copy...Deuteronomy 17:18

This post is a public service announcement.

Have you backed up all the important files on your computer lately? Hmmm? Photos? Word documents? Important e-mails? All of them?

No? STOP. Go do it NOW. I will wait.

All backed up now? Good.

You never think you'll lose your stuff...until it seems you have.

I'm writing this post from the laptop as our other computer is otherwise occupied with backing up all of our photos. When those are finished I'll work on the other data that we wish to save for posterity. When that is done I'll check and see if the computer has fully recovered from whatever was ailing it this morning.

Although yesterday was sunny and warm, it was very windy. The power blinked off at least five or six times. The computer was left on overnight, but there is no indication that the power went off during the night. All other clocks and electrical appliances in the house were behaving normally.

When The Man got up this morning the computer was simply telling us that Windows wouldn't start, and none of the available options seemed to make a difference in that opinion.

After a quick call to the free computer tech line (aka, The Man's brother), it was suggested our problem might have something to do with yesterday being the second Tuesday of the month. Okaaay. I got out the system restore CDs that came with our computer. I had to use an unbent paper clip to force the CD drive open, inserted the first CD, forced the drawer closed, and BINGO, the computer started acting like it was at least trying to be cooperative.

The computer claimed a few files were corrupted and finally entered safe mode. After getting Windows to start in safe mode I went to retrieve the laptop. By the time I returned the screen looked like its normal self. I immediately grabbed some blank CDs and started backing up the photos. I had started that job several months ago, but, well, I kind of wanted to delete some first. I didn't want to save all the blurry shots, nor all 216 school picture rejects, but I just hadn't gotten around to it. Faced with the prospect of losing everything, I'm now backing up everything. CDs are cheap enough. Besides, some of those school pictures with goofy grins may be fun to have around 10 or 15 years from now. I just set the last batch of pictures to copy. All the digital pictures we've taken since we got our camera in April of 2004 will fit on 8 CDs. Yes, they are cheap enough.

It just occurred to me that we bought our computer in December (?) of 2002. Maybe it is time to start thinking about a replacement.

Please leave a comment to let me know that I'm not the only one who was not up to date on my backups. For those that were already backed up, what do you do to make sure that is done systematically?

An update on the pastor who died following a car accident last week...The weekly newspaper reports that he told the officer at the scene he was reading his mail and missed the corner. He was reading his mail.

When you are driving, please drive safely. Thank you.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Built on a rock...Matthew 7:25

A very tragic accident occurred last Friday. A minister of two churches here in our valley died following a car accident. A few years ago The Man had preached at one of his churches and last Friday he was asked to fill both pulpits yesterday for the Sunday services.

One of the churches started at 9:00 a.m. here in our little town and the other started at 11:00 a.m. in the little town where The Man's clinic is.

The Man spoke on Matthew 7:24-29...The wise man built his house on the rock. The foolish man built his house on the sand [which is bits and pieces of crushed rock]. When [not if] the flood came, the house on the rock stood firm and the house on the sand went splat.

You never know when the flood/trials/tribulations of life will come, but if you build your life on the rock of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, it doesn't matter. Your house will stand. It can't be built on sand, or just bits and pieces of the rock, but on solid rock. Matthew 4:4 [Jesus gave us the example of using the Word of God to overcome], 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 17, 1 Peter 1:22-25, and Isaiah 40:1.

Please pray for the people of our valley as they deal with this tremendous loss.

Watch in the night...Psalm 90:4

Hi! How are you? Just thought I would ask. We've received many phone messages over the weekend that we haven't returned yet because we really didn't think you would like us to call you back in the middle of the night. Let's see, we won't be home tonight either...maybe you could try calling again tomorrow.

Saturday afternoon we drove down to see the new property and house of the The Man's brother's family. The kids all enjoyed exploring the house in the midst of renovation. The cousins enjoyed showing off all the (now not) secret passages.

Later in the evening we went to a vespers program at a church down there. M & J played some special music for the program. Afterwards, the children went outside to run around and play. A few minutes later I saw S being escorted inside... crying... with blood streaming down his face.

Did I run to my 3rd-born child to see if he was ok? Nope. He was walking. I was sure he was just fine. I called The Man away from his conversation, pointed at S and said, "Blood. You deal with it."

A few minutes later The Man announced that the wound could probably use a stitch, so he, S, a local doctor who was also present at the meetings, and others who wished to watch, went to the doctor's office to stitch up S. I was told he was very, very brave and didn't cry a bit during the procedure. Although he did get to hold his piano teacher's hand. He now has two stitches and a black eye.You have to watch out for those sprinklers lurking in the dark.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance...Proverbs 15:13

Here are a few miscellaneous pictures from the past week...

We were driving along on the way to a Sabbath afternoon hike when we saw this monstrosity hanging in the tree. It was about 12 inches in diameter. S was glad that its occupants were safe inside their home and he was safely in the truck with the door carefully shut. For some reason he has had great respect for stinging insects lately.
This pair of common "red shafted" flickers flew through an open screen door and spent the afternoon trying to get out of our screened-in back porch. I opened both of the screen doors and tried to encourage them out with a broom, but all that did was terrify them. They stayed until The Man came home. He caught them with his hands and took them outside. They were very pretty.

September 24 we started a depression recovery program at our church. We had 28 participants the first night. This included about 10 people from our church that were there to help, observe, or be a part of the program. Last Monday we had another 12 new people that either couldn't be there the first night or were invited by family or friends that attended the first night. Our fellowship hall was packed. We got amazing feedback from the attendees. We are so glad people in our community are being helped and blessed by this program. The program will continue every Monday night through November 12, so that's where we'll be spending Mondays for a few weeks.

While I was passing out the church newsletters last weekend one of our church members noted that I would be at the church 5 days next week. I truly hadn't noticed. You would think I would notice things like that since I had made up the calendar, but no, I hadn't. Upon closer examination I saw that on two of those days I will be there in the afternoon and evening. That makes seven times. I suppose I'll also have to find some time to do school, music lessons....

Music lessons are going well. The violin teacher will be pleased that the book he requested we get for M finally arrived. I don't think he will be impressed with its condition.
We think the markings on the envelope are tire tracks. However, we did get our passports. It only took 2 weeks, not the 8-10 the postmaster promised. Hooray! We're ready to travel.

So, if you don't hear from me again, it probably means we're hiding out on a remote island somewhere...or, we're just very busy.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Reap the harvest...Leviticus 19:9

Just a few pictures of our gardening and preserving update for the year...

I originally planted 3 rows of green beans. They didn't come up (old seeds?) so I replanted one of the rows. We got several pickings off of that. Not enough to freeze, but enough for us to enjoy them for several meals.

I picked 2
Anaheim chilies. Hey, better than nothing!

The cucumbers had a problem so we didn't get anything edible. However, we were blessed by the bountiful gardens of friends. We didn't go
cucumberless this summer.

After our frost last week I picked off the eggplants from the two plants. I fried up a casserole dish full of breaded eggplant. We all enjoyed it immensely.
Before the frost we...ahem...The Man and the kids built a wall from some old bales of hay around our row of tomato plants. We'd picked a few small cherry tomatoes, but we had a bunch of green tomatoes of various varieties we wished to try to save.

We've been covering up the tomatoes with a tarp every night and uncovering them almost every day (oops). They are
slooooowly ripening up.
I had been hoping to have enough tomatoes to can this year. Some church members who had a better-producing garden offered their surplus. About 6:00 a.m. the morning of the raccoon, about 40 lbs. of tomatoes appeared on our front porch.
I was able to can 7 quarts and 5 pints, with plenty left over for eating. I can't remember the last time I canned tomatoes. It had been at least 6 or 7 years.
Last week I was also able to dry some pears that another church member gave to us. We dried and canned apricots earlier in the summer when The Man's mom was here to help.
We also put a few quarts of apricots in the freezer. The Man and kids went out blackberry picking a few times this summer. Most of those are in the freezer.

That will probably be it for produce...unless we go apple picking. We need to put up some applesauce to last S through the winter.

There were plenty of volunteer and kid-planted sunflowers around the garden this year.

I planted some "flower garden in a box" seeds out by the well house this year. They still look pretty although the frost has killed off the zinnias.

Rise up early in the morning...Exodus 8:20

It was that time of year again! The hot air balloon fair came to town several days ago (...and I've been too busy to post since then, blah, blah, blah, et cetera and so on...).

S, M, J and Sacagawea enjoyed taking Grandma along this year also. Here are the kids in the obligatory "turn your back to the camera for a picture for the blog" shot.
We got a slightly later start this year. I couldn't remember what time we left home last year. I had to check last year's blog post...I knew this blogging business was good for something, if only to help out my faulty memory.

We arrived right as it was beginning to get light. Perfect timing. Here's J getting a good look at the inside of a balloon.
The weather was perfect so all the balloons got to lift off on Friday morning. Here comes the sun!

Up! Up! And away!
The next day wasn't quite so beautiful. It was cool and windy. The boys thought it was perfect weather to bring the kites outside.
M got in on the action also.
Due to power lines, they couldn't put the kites up as high as they would have liked. Although it was breezy, the wind wasn't consistent enough to keep them up in the air very long.
They did get some air time in before the raindrops fell...although there was some "Ben Franklin" talk...hmmm.

Grandma brought the dirt babies with her for a visit and a hair/grass cut.
Aren't they cute?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Things pertaining to this life...I Corinthians 6:4

The first time I did a word cloud of my blog is was pretty sparse, but I think that was back when I only had 2 or 3 posts. Now it pretty much sums up my life.

Get your own here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Rise up early...Exodus 8:20

I have been trying to get up early. Is 3:15 a.m. early enough? Something roused me from what I am sure was a wonderful dream. As the fogginess cleared I recognized the noises. The Dog was in his crate whining and a scratching noise was coming from the back porch. I nudged The Man awake.

"The raccoon is back."

Earlier this summer we had a family of coons visiting our screened-in back porch (obviously not screened-in enough) and swiping some dog food out of the plastic trash bin we stored it in. Scratch, scratch, scratch, whump...scratch, scratch, scratch, whump...That is the sound of a mama raccoon sitting on top of the trash can, lifting up the lid (while she is sitting on it), retrieving some dog food, releasing the lid, then doing it all over again. We moved the trash can into the living room (lovely) for a month or so. I finally went a bought a can that had handles that lock over the lid. We inserted a stick through the handles so the lid can't come off until the stick releases the handles.

We were hoping this would be too much for the raccoon to do on its own, but still simple enough to allow Sacagawea to feed the Dog. The stick was removed from the handles this morning, but the lid was still closed. With the Dog on alert, I think we caught the raccoon in time. This raccoon was by itself so we think it was one of the young coons that visited with its mother earlier in the summer.

The Man shooed it off the porch with the help of the spotlight and a few pine cones. I was just dozing off back to sleep when the sounds returned.

This time I grabbed the camera. After it left the porch the second time, I snapped a few pictures.

If you stare really hard at the center of this picture, you can see the masked bandit. It was sitting on the hill outside our bedroom window. The Man was shining the spotlight on it, but the lighting wasn't the best to get a good picture.

Here is one I took with the flash. Look at those beady eyes.

The man brought the trash can back inside. The raccoon did return as we were dozing off again, but we just ignored it and it did go away.

Silence. Finally.


The Man asked if I recognized that noise.

"Yes. That is the smoke detector letting us know the battery needs to be replaced."

So, The Man rose once again to silence the smoke detector. We didn't even have a chance to try to doze off again before my alarm went off at 5:15. I turned it off and we slept for 45 minutes before really getting up to start our day.

If anyone asks about the dark circles under our eyes today, we'll just blame the raccoon.

p.s. The hawks are back. Another hen was killed on Sunday. The chickens have been penned up since then.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The post went with the letters...2 Chronicles 30:6

We went up to the post office yesterday afternoon for our passports. The Man was delayed and the postal employee told me last week we'd have to be there by 3:00 p.m., so the kids and I went on up to get the paperwork started.

I'd downloaded all the forms, filled them out, taken the pictures and had them developed last week. They would have done the pictures at the post office, but, frankly, some passport pictures I've seen kind of resemble a deer in the headlights. By doing them myself I had some control over the picture that will be on my passport for the next 10 years. Oh, and for about 2 hours of my time messing with the lighting, fiddling with the picture size, taking pictures, and doing it all over again when it didn't do right the first time, I saved over $70. It would have cost $75 total for the post office to take the pictures. It was slightly over $2 for developing at the one-hour lab. I went in prepared to pay the $ for the post office to do them if the ones I had weren't suitable, but the postmaster said they were great.

The postmaster was impressed. Not only with my well-organized folder, but also with the children who had been given the "no running, no pushing, stand still, be quiet, we're going to be here for a long time" talk before we got out of the van. The postmaster took his time with our applications because we were waiting for The Man to come and sign them also. By the time he had done all he could do and I wrote out the six checks (ouch), one with each application to the Department of State and one to the postmaster, The Man was still not there. Postmaster had already figured out that we were homeschoolers and offered to give us a tour of the facility while we were waiting. Cool! We love impromptu field trips, especially since I rarely get around to scheduling any.

Just as the postmaster came around to the door to let us in the back, The Man arrived. He quickly signed and gave his info to the postmaster then we all got to go on the official tour. But first, postmaster made all the kids raise their right hands and promise not to touch any mail.

The kids enjoyed the tour and peeking inside an official mail truck. We don't have mail trucks in our little town. Postmaster told the kids that the mail trucks don't have a radio or air conditioning so they'd better stay in school!

I was sure to point out to the kids that the postmaster probably wouldn't have invited us in the back if they hadn't behaved themselves while in the front. It is the little things.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Let us not be weary in well doing...Galatians 6:9

Just another quick post to catch up on our busy-filled-to-the-brim life here over the past month.

We started school on August 20, planning to ease into the school year gradually. I don't think we're all the way there yet (we've been way too busy with other things), but it is coming along.

Church has been eventful with a funeral, evangelistic meetings, and 2 more baptisms in addition to all the other "regular" church-related items.

Travels: The thought of going anywhere after our summer full of go-go-go almost makes me shudder. However, we are planning on visiting some friends next month while The Man takes a certification course. We are also kicking around the idea of a weekend trip in November. Today we are all planning on going up to the city to get the paperwork moving on passports. The Man already has his, but he will have to sign for the kids'. We don't have immediate plans to need them, but we thought we'd get them now since we heard the rates are going up next year.

I'm sure there is some stuff I've left out, but I need to go read with A now...I told The Man the other day that it felt like I was holding down at least 2 full-time jobs. He said he knew how I felt.

Dust thou art...Genesis 3:19

Our church had a booth at the county fair again this year. We had another good year and lots of great conversations with people. Fortunately, the VeggieTales people weren't right next to us this time.

Grandma came and stayed with the kids for the week. She even brought them over to the fair so they could make some dirt babies for her to take home.

Here is A posing with her baby:


J, notice the headgear:

Speaking of headgear...The orthodontist was very impressed with his progress at the last visit. He now only wears it 12 hours a day (rather than 20). He puts it on right after supper and takes it off before breakfast. The orthodontist also put brackets on his upper 4 front teeth so he has braces now also.