Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Just Some Fun Stuff

Edited to add: (by Kristen) at the risk of sounding like an uninvolved mother, it was actually I who took the kids to Chick-fil-A that night and took those pictures. Sorry mom. Had to take the credit because it wasn't very obvious....

The sun has broken through the clouds. It's supposed to be nice tomorrow, but then cool and rainy the rest if the week - including the days of the birthday celebrations. I'd like to see warm sunshine, but we'll have fun no matter what. I'll be sharing some pictures of my mom soon, then I'll share the celebration next week.

Chick Fil-A is a great company with Christian principles. I love that they, like Hobby Lobby, honor the Sabbath and are closed on Sundays. I have to admit, though, that it's not my favorite place to eat. Especially on Monday nights.

Let me explain. I have to say that this company has a fabulous marketing department. They have tapped into a huge demographic - young families. Every Monday night they have a craft night for kids. At times, they have free meals for the kids. They have people running around with balloons for the kids. They have free ice cream cones for the kids - and the lady with the balloons will put sprinkles on their ice cream if they run up to her after they get their cones.

DC and I have filled in for Kristen on a few occasions. I told her last week to please not ask me to do that any more. It is not an occasion for the faint of heart. It is crowded, it is loud, there is not room for two high chairs, it is chaos. And there's a big cow running around!

But - the kids LOVE it!! Last night Home Depot joined in the fun and they made wooden projects - Feisty made a bird feeder and Care Bear made book ends. They have face painting, they made ornaments at Christmastime - I can't think of what else. It is a wonderful time for the kids.

Here's last night - note the cow's paw on Katie's head. She was really enjoying it, and not afraid.

Feisty and Emma enjoying the gourmet food.

Sunday afternoon, as I was fixing lunch and Kristen and the twins were catching some zzzzs (believe it or not, I didn't do the timer on my new stove correctly and the meat loaf wasn't cooked), DC and the big girls were outside digging up worms (and bringing them in the house), watering the bean seeds, and generally having fun together. They spotted this awesome sight in the high branches of the very large Marshall seedless ash, and came running in with great excitement - a first in all of these years in this house. A great horned owl. What a blessing.

Have any of you ever seen a tulip like this? Looks like a star when it opens - I just love it. It has taken over this one patch.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mouth of Third South

That crazy thermometer took a huge plunge overnight and didn't get over 45 degrees today - after being in the 70s and 80s for several days. As Care Bear said the other day, "That's Colorado for you!" I am feeling a bit better tonight - have been fighting this crazy cold (or perhaps sinus infection) for a week now. I was supposed to sing in church with DC and his sister tomorrow, but it is a duet, due to lack of voice on my part. I will accompany them on the piano instead.

I'm reading Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street series and enjoying it very much. In between knitting books, I had to read one that is due Monday and someone has put a hold on it, so I can't renew. I read most of it today. I saw an article about it in People Magazine recently. It is called Living Through This by Debra Gwartney. It's an amazing story of two young teens who got into the street life and eventually hopped on a freight train, disappearing from their mother's life, one for 3 months and one for a year. It's a gripping story of the mother's journey to knowledge of her part in the story, and of love and reconciliation. I highly recommend it.

Friday, as you know, is library day - we first go to baby story time, which as I mentioned before is an hour of chaos full of fun. It's pretty hard to do all the finger plays and song motions with two babies, but they're both getting into it and soon will be able to do them on their own. I thought I'd share a bit of the action with you. They LOVE the music.

One of the twins is framed by the easel.

The moms (and grandmoms) get a real workout, trying to keep the little ones from being stepped on by the toddlers. I don't really need to go to the gym on Friday morning.

Now to the title of today's post. Linda, one of my good blogging friends, is such a beautiful writer. I keep telling her she should try to get a devotional book published with just the posts she has written. They bless me and inspire me and challenge me. The other day she wrote a wonderful piece on the subject of wisdom. She was transparent about her struggle with her tongue and talking. This is a verse that all of us who have this issue in our lives to memorize:

"Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut they seem intelligent."
Proverbs 17:28

Oh, my goodness, she couldn't have hit a subject closer to home for me. I can't remember when I became a jabberwocky. I keep meaning to ask my mom if she can put her finger on when I became so verbose. I can say with some certainty that I never was in trouble at school for talking when I should be listening to the teacher. I don't remember being a huge conversationalist in junior high or early high school.

But I definitely must have had a breakthrough there somewhere between 10th grade, when I went to a huge school in the Twin Cities in Minnesota, and when I graduated from high school in a small school in Nebraska. Here is my senior picture and what the yearbook staff decided to put beside my picture for posterity.

I think they got it backwards, though. It should say, "Speaking generally, she's generally speaking." I am always editing - I should have been on the staff!

The reputation followed me to college, where I was known as the "Mouth of Third South," the moniker given to me by my RA on the floor where I lived. I fear that not much has changed and I struggle with the same issues that Linda so beautifully addressed in that post last week. Thank you, Linda.

This will be a very busy week. My mom's 80th birthday is Friday. Many family members are coming to celebrate, and we'll have a big party at church on Sunday afternoon. My sis and I have a lot to do this week. I'll share more as the week goes by.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wordful Wednesday

The air was so great as I headed into the gym this morning - at least I think the air was great. I couldn't actually smell it. Care Bear had the same problem the other morning when she called me and told me, "My nose doesn't work."

DC is hard at work on his list. He doesn't take many breaks when he is on a mission. Feisty is having a good time helping Grandpa - she seems to have inherited his interest in all things yard and garden related.

She planted her own little garden all by herself - dug the holes, filled the watering can. She will be so excited when the beans start coming up.

This was the first really warm day and the babies were feeling their oats - seeing who can crawl the fastest and reach the other one first.

Picture perfect.

I just love the two little off-white daffodils among the white and purple windflowers.

DC had an unplanned break yesterday. He and his best friend from his previous job have been skiing and hiking buddies for years. Yesterday John called and asked him if he wanted to go fishing. I can count on one hand with fingers left over the number of times I can remember DC going fishing.

I had a flashback to our first date. We took a long Sunday afternoon drive - in fact it was in April 37 years ago - and had a great time getting acquainted. By the end of that ride, he had pretty much planned our summer together. He would ask me if I enjoyed a certain activity and I said, sure I do. I knew I would enjoy it with him, no matter what it was. Then he asked me if I enjoyed going fishing. I was very honest with him and said I wouldn't want to fish, but I'd love to go along for the ride with a good book!

But it hasn't happened very often. But he went yesterday - now that he can have a free fishing license. By the end of the beautiful getaway day, DC had caught 7 rainbow trout and John, who fishes regularly, had caught one. I don't know how John felt about that, but he ended up with 4 fish, because the limit was 4 and DC had to give him 3. They cleaned the fish, packed them in some of the abundance of snow, and transported them home in plastic bags.

We had a quick change of dinner plans - I'm not crazy about eating fish any more than catching them, but DC grilled them while I fixed baked potatoes and veggies. It was good - grilled trout seasoned with Mrs. Dash is good.

I'll close with this little bit of something to cheer up your day -- don't worry, I'm monitoring the situation carefully!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Monday Musings

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood (did your kids watch Mr. Rogers??) The reports you heard of the horrors of Colorado's weather this past week-end happened mostly in Denver, Estes Park, and Colorado Springs areas. We got so much great moisture, but nothing that prevented events or caused accidents. This was what I saw when I got up yesterday - I love how the sun is creeping toward that one remaining little patch of snow, to gobble it up soon.

DC and I jumped in the pick-up (me still in my robe and slippers) to chronicle the beauty in the foothills and mountains before the sun changed locations. I'm surprised nobody stopped to take a picture of me taking pictures in that condition!

I love the panoramic view to the south.

DC says this is Round Mountain

Longs and Meeker Peaks

Closer view of the same

What is so great about this view of snow peaks is not only the beauty, but what it means to us this summer. The Big Thompson River and the Poudre River will be running full, which then fills up our reservoirs, and we have water for our needs. We also have water for the tourists who come to go fishing, swimming, boating, water-skiing and white water rafting. All important to our economy and existence. But the beauty is the most important to me.

We've been passing the germs around here again - it has been a winter full of minor illnesses for all of us. I have another cold, and Kristen and the twins have not felt their best this week-end either. I am not hitting the gym this morning, because I don't think it's good for me at this stage of the cold. We're pretty tired of it - I think this is my 4th cold this year.

I know a lot of churches have quit having what we call "revival services," but our church still has them twice a year - spring and fall. Our latest series began yesterday, and though I didn't feel very well, I didn't want to miss the services. So I went and am so glad I did. I need to be revived spiritually. We'll be going to church the next 3 nights. It used to be two weeks, then one week, now mostly it's 4 days. Turns out that our evangelist this week is Denise's former pastor. He's a great speaker and he and his wife sing beautifully together. So it will be a good week.

The company DC works for is a family company. I've written about them before - the big Family Reunion they did last summer for anyone in the world to come and visit, whether they were a product owner, distributor, sales person, or creator. Then we also have a Hymn Sing on the grounds there every July. It has been a great place for DC to end his working career after he was forced to retire from his 27-year position at a much larger company. He has enjoyed his last 7 years there. It has been a company that has risen to heights beyond anyone's expectations, very popular in countries worldwide.

Unfortunately, the economic downturn finally reached them. Two weeks ago they announced layoffs and a furlough. So everyone has an unexpected three-week "vacation." They have always shut down for 3 weeks in the summer, but this summer it will be 5-6 weeks. DC has been trying to decide when and if to retire, or whether to go part-time, so he is using this time as a kind of trial retirement. He is not one to sit around and wonder what to do. His list of things to do is long.

The rhythm of the day is so different. For so many years, we have had a pattern - you know how it is. The way of getting ready for the day is set. Changing it up is a challenge. I have always heard that retirement, where both are home, is a time of adjustment. I'm getting a sample of that right now. Not complaining - just saying, you know.

DC is a very methodical person, as indicated by the list. Cleaning the basement is on the list. I mentioned before that I've begun down there. I can only stand an hour or so at a time. I can't do it, obviously, when the babies are here. And I don't WANT to do it on the days they're not. So we have a conundrum. This morning, bright and early, DC asked me to set a day to do the basement. Here's the thing - I don't want him down there alone, because he'll throw stuff away at will. I take a lot of time deciding what to pitch and what to put in a bin for safe keeping - for whatever reason. I have this fear of him pitching something that I think should be saved, you know??? He's probably right, and I probably would never miss it if he threw it. But it's a control thing with me, I think. Maybe I need therapy!

The good news is it is supposed to be a beautiful week. The bad news is that I will probably be spending one of these beautiful days when I don't have the kiddoes - in the dungeon! I know, I know - it'll be great when it's done. But the process is very painful. Yuck!

Well, on that lovely note, I'll bid you all adieu for now - have a fabulous week!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Here We Go Again!!

We don't often describe our weather in Colorado as "soggy." But that is what we woke up to this morning after rain most of yesterday and all night long. It felt so good to hear and see a nice, gentle rain watering the earth. God does so much better at watering than we do!

As the day proceeded, the rain turned into snow. It was a very wet, slushy snow which covered the ground for a short time. The tulips I showed you yesterday decided to close up as tightly as possible to stay warm.

I can hardly wait for the sun to come out again (forecast for Sunday) to see what beauty we will behold. In the meantime, Care Bear's big state-wide fun day for the kids in our denomination has been cancelled, because it's so much worse in the Denver area. She's sad. She is quite the social butterfly and was really looking forward to this all day event.

On one of the spring-like days that we had sunshine earlier this week, the girlies got to wear their outfits they got from their other grandma in their Easter baskets. They looked adorable. I fixed their hair - I could only get pictures of Emma.

Today was library day, and I talked Grandpa DC into going with us (I'll explain why he was home in my next post). Lately we've gone to baby story time first, then Feisty's story time. At the early one, there are all kinds of little ones and it is a bit of chaos. But fun chaos. I wish I'd taken my camera. They do lots of interactive stories and songs. There's lots of activity. Katie especially is really getting into the action, clapping and jumping to the music. I wanted DC to go with me, because it's hard to do the activities with two at the same time. But he didn't really get into it - he said he was too shy. It sort of amused me - I told him nobody would be watching him.

The twins enjoyed their first spaghetti dinner (at least at my house). I love the little piece of hamburger on Katie's nose!

Did I tell you you that the last time they weighed, a couple of weeks ago, that they are up to 16 and 18 pounds? And that Katie has taken 4 steps two different times? I haven't seen it yet, but I can hardly wait!

I have to tell you one more cyst story - this one is so cute. Feisty was pushing on it today, apparently the first time she'd noticed it. She asked me what it was, and then asked me if she would have one when she was a grandma. I told her I didn't think so, and I hoped not. She said, "I think I'm going to ask Jesus about that right now." She put her face down on my lap and began praying earnestly. She said, "Dear Jesus, please help me to not have one of these things (while she opens her eyes and points to the cyst) when I am a grandma." I then asked her to pray for me. She closed her eyes again and said, "Dear Jesus, please help Grandma's thing on her arm to go away right away." She opened her eyes, looked at it, and pronounced, "It's smaller!" I love it - there is nothing like the faith of a child.

One more thing that's been marinating in my mind - about Susan Boyle. Did you see her face when two of the three judges made remarks about their reactions to her before she sang? She didn't have a clue that everyone was making faces of derision that immediately changed the second she opened her mouth and began to sing. Oh, what a fickle world we live in. I hope her life isn't ruined by all of this notoriety.

Have a wonderful week-end!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wordful Wednesday

Thank you for your concern and comments and questions about the disgusting ganglion cyst. It is now bigger than it was before I had it aspirated. I have looked up several web sites on the subject. Today I read comments from 26 people who had done various things to rid themselves of their cysts. Some had aspirations that worked, most had aspirations that didn't. Some had surgery that worked, others had it come back after surgery. Some were out of work for weeks after surgery. Some were in terrible pain before they had any treatment. Mine has begun aching recently. Some were unable to even carry a pop can because their hand was so weak. Some actually used the Bible treatment and it worked - only most used a heavy book other than a Bible. The reason the Bible is suggested is that it used to be the heaviest book anyone owned - the old Family Bible, you know - not the one you read for your devotions.

So - my plan is to talk to a surgeon and find out what it would cost. And if they think it's a good idea. I'm quite confused at this point.

Changing the subject to something more pleasant - here is one of the reasons I love Hobby Lobby - their full page Christmas and Easter ads. In case you can't read it, it says, "Son, I want you to Build a Bridge - here are all the tools you will need. See you soon. Love, Dad." And then it quotes I Peter 3:18 from The Message. I just love it.

I mentioned the rainy day we had for Easter - rain, not snow. Yesterday and today have been what you call spring-like. We're looking at more rain and/or snow the rest of the week. What usually happens here in Colorado is that sometime in May, the ridiculous spring weather stops abruptly and it turns into summer instantly.

But - this morning my eyes jerked open at 6:15 and I saw this glorious sunrise. It was hope for a lovely day.

Then I was sitting here in my comfy recliner, getting ready to have my devotions. I looked out the window and saw the cutest little squirrel playing all by him(her)self in our big ash tree. We have a really big squirrel who loves to raid the bird feeders, but this little one hasn't discovered that restaurant yet. I wish I'd had video, but it was such fun watching it. It was just all over that tree - I wish I had caught the part where it was balancing on the end of the slimmest branch possible. I love how you can see the reflection of the eyes.

All the rain and snow has really made the flowers happy. They're really resilient.

I love the abundance of grape hyacinths.

Some regular hyacinths are new this year.

The very cheerful yellow and orange tulips.

Does anybody know what these are?

I just finished the latest Jennifer Chiaverini book The Lost Quilter. Have you read it yet? She is an amazing writer - I say she quilts a really good story. What I love is the way she intertwines the present with the past. But the past almost always involves slavery - and I have to say that every time I read something like that, or watch Roots, I get very distressed. It is a blight on our history.

I just have to end with a great story Kristen just told me. It seems Miss Katie is having a hard time getting to sleep tonight. Kristen was watching the DVR of American Idol. When Adam Lambert (the wildly popular, but really bizarre young man, IMHO) came on, she jerked up straight and clapped through the entire wild performance. She has amazing rhythm and kept time with her body through the whole song. She has even clapping with her hands over her head, as the audience was doing. I wish I could have seen it!

Well, Jess, I did it again - a long, very wordy post. But I have lots of words in me. And they just have to come out!