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Sunday, December 28, 2008


It is between Christmas and New Year's Day as I write this. I was just looking back at some pictures from Christmas. We had fun as you can tell. I haven't had as much hobby time as I expected to have, but it has been fun just the same.
Laughing Water learned how to play chess with her Uncle Teacher. Sweet Cousin and Laughing Water got matching dresses from their Auntie. The Wood Artist enjoyed his new local history books so much that we discussed changing his blog name to Reads-a-Book or Ignores-his-Family. But that wouldn't fit in with the positive nature of this blog's format! :)
As for me, I'm feeling my creativity is at a very low ebb right now. Not sure why.
A highlight for me today was to visit MaryJane Butter's new FarmGirl store in Coeur D' Alene. It was lovely.
We were saddened by the terrible fire that destroyed 2/3 of our church's headquarters in this conference district today. We had held our wedding reception there 12 years ago, and many family and friends are employed there.
I'm restless tonight, so I need to go find something to absorb my attention! Nanette

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Catching Air

Its Christmas afternoon and we have finished a wonderful Christmas dinner. The Wood Artist's brother and his family were going to leave this afternoon for the other set of grandparents, but the weather and roads were too risky. So the kids are sledding again with a couple of uncles and the rest of us are taking it easy.
This morning I cross-country skied for about an hour. I went around the little town and up a road that hasn't been plowed yet. Everything was white. There wasn't any snow falling or wind blowing, but the ground, sky, ditches, and drifts were all the same value of white. It was impossible to see even if I was coming to a drift, but I really wanted to ski, so I aimed between two signs ahead and went for it. Fortunately, no wind came up, so I was able to follow my tracks back.
I should be able to post pictures of the Christmas gifts I made. All in all, I think they were a hit.
These are pictures of Mr. Blueberry Eyes jumping off a boy-made berm.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Over the River and Through the Drifts

Last Friday we loaded our van with all things needful for a winter vacation and hit the road. Our first clue should have been the drifts we had to hit to get out of our 1/3 mile drive. From there, it was snow packed and ridgy pretty much the whole trip to Grandpa and Grandma S. What normally take 5 hours took 7+ hours. But we did arrive safely and have had much fun since. We've been having snow like I remember as a kid. In the last week we've received about three feet of snow. My sister-in-law got delayed twice on the freeway for a long period of time. The children are having a grand time sledding and building snow forts. The Dads commandeered the city street in front of Grandpa and Grandma's house for part of an afternoon. They put a sawhorse to block the street so the children could sled down the hill. We may hear from the city fathers of this quiet little town, but I doubt it. I don't think even one vehicle came along the whole time. The boys built a jump and caught some "serious air". I'll try to post pictures of that later.
Tonight, The Wood Artist took me on a date to a great East Indian restaurant. It was SO yummy. There was only one waitress ,due to the bad weather, and she had a terrible time keeping up, but the food was worth the wait.
Here are some pictures of a couple of home made Christmas tree decorations I made with a friend about a decade ago. - Nanette

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Old Faithful

Old Faithful is our collie. He joined our family when he was about six years old. It took him only a short time before he assumed it was his job to protect Laughing Water and Mr. Blueberry Eyes. He is a sweet dog, but will take on anything he perceives to be a threat to the perfect tranquility of the family. If the neighbor's black lab comes, Old Faithful deftly keeps himself between Blackie and the children. Or the adults, for that matter.
So it was with some anxiety that we discovered that his left eye was rolling back in his head with some unidentifiable pain. The vet put him on antibiotics. He was also diagnosed with a kind of benign tumor on his gums that manifests itself like a severe gingivitis. He is convalescing in the house while the snow piles up outside.
The cost for helping his gums is astronomical, with really not much promise of helping. So we are trying some natural remedies. So far we are using colloidal silver and grape fruit seed extract. Any other ideas out there?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Come On, Weather Man, Give Me A Forecast Snowy White!

The weather forecast was for snow, then wind - a lot of it. Then cold. Lastnight as we lay in bed, watching the flakes come down, I chanced to see a breath of wind come and blow snow off of the tree. "Here it is", I said to The Wood Artist. And it was. from that first puff of wind, it increased into a roaring gale and didn't let up for one moment until 2-3 hours ago.
The trees are palsied into place still, even though the wind has stopped. We couldn't get to church today. I was supposed to teach a Bible lesson to the children and play the piano for the service. I don't know what they did. When I called, they assured me that they would come up with somethings. It couldn't be helped. The Wood Artist spent about 30 minutes just shoveling by the garage and the steps. Our driveway is 1/3 of a mile.
So we watched a charming video of Christmas carols, had devotions - what we could get with Mr. Blueberry Eyes bouncing around. We snuggled and tickled and laughed. I read a story to the children. We ate soup for lunch.
We have plans to attend a Christmas play tonight with family and friends - a yearly tradition. Granny Flash will come barreling through the drifts with her 4-wheel-drive Suburban to pick us up, something like the U.S. Cavalry rescuing stranded forts.
We will drive around looking at Christmas lights - another tradition. A few weeks ago, I chanced to find some paper glasses one puts on and every pinpoint of light turns into a snowman. That will add a little flavor to the expedition this year. Then we will join more family and friends and a few hundred other people at a local church's Christmas play. Much fun will be had by all. -Nanette

Friday, December 12, 2008

He Would Be Asleep By Now

Earlier this fall, we had a lovely adventure. We had gone to church, had a nice dinner, and settled down to visit. We started to grow sleepy and wondered whether to take a nap, or get out and enjoy the fall day. Fortunately, we decided to see what nature had to show us. She had a treat in mind!
We drove a short distance to the river that is near us and began to walk. We bantered about the children walking through the cold water. Laughing Water made a deal with The Wanderer, who was with us, that, when we were about to go home, she would wade through it if he would.
We strolled and discovered wild onions. Mr. Blueberry Eyes attempted to walk on the bank of a large pool, that attributed off the side of the river. He ended up getting stranded, clinging to a tree root. The Wood Artist went to rescue him while the rest of us waited and watched.
Presently, The Wanderer spoke in a calm and completely unsurprised tone, "There is a bear." He could have been commenting on the clouds, or a bird, such was the tone of his voice. We turned. There it was. A small bear of about two years. We hollered for The Wood Artist to look. We all stood watching the bruin, about 75 yards from us. He seemed unconcerned about our presence. Eventually he walked away and we followed him at a distance, hoping he would meander through the mud and leave tracks. He did. We were delighted! It was nearly dark, so the next morning we returned with plaster and casting tools. The prints were still there and we gave casting tracks a first try. They aren't perfect, but we are proud of them. While we were working on them, Mr. Blueberry Eyes said, "Mama! Racoon tracks!" I thought he must be making it up, but sure enough! They were coon tracks. We got those, too. Laughing Water was proud to discover a deer print so deep that one could see the dew claws. All in all, we were glad we didn't take a nap that day!
Tonight, the snow is falling and there is a blizzard watch. I suppose he is sleeping in his den now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

To Hoom It May Consume:

Our household is bursting with Christmas enthusiasm. Mr. Blueberry Eyes bought a Santa hat for Laughing Water and one for himself. The idea was that it would be a Christmas gift. But it was delivered upon arrival home! He just couldn't wait. He fell asleep tonight with his on.
Laughing water is bubbling over with excitement, and busy preparations. She is studiously practicing her piano Christmas songs, while The Mighty Hunting Hound keeps watch under the bench.
Even I am getting excited over my plans. Trying to make things for family members gets tricky when they are ever-present! But I am managing to move along on the projects by crossing and double crossing. More on that later lest I be discovered!
The other night, The Wood Artist and I watched a documentary on Catherine the Great. We instructed Laughing Water that she was to not get up and interrupt our quiet time. (You just never know what will be on these historical narratives!) When it was over, I walked into the restroom and spotted a note on the floor, obviously put there by Laughing Water. It said: "To Hoom it May Consume: Nika (The Mighty Hunting Hound) needs to go potty." Maybe it was because it was pushing midnight, but it seemed terribly funny to me!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wheelchairs and Bathtubs

This year I wanted to give special attention to nurturing my children's world-view. While I wish we could travel to show them the rest of the world, I have to be content with what they can "see" from a distance. We tell them stories of our life overseas before they were born, but it is hard to imagine.
So this was one of the thoughts niggling in my mind when I took on the Kenyan Orphanage project. I wanted them to have a bigger picture of their world than just "twice times" and "Where in the world is?"
The delightful thing is their response to it. Children seem to have a natural heart for helping others. Their capacity to empathise with others seems to be boundless (unless, of course, the "other" is their sibling!)
One day a wheelchair was donated to us. It was in a condition that I really didn't want to send it in. It seriously needed a scrubbing. Since winter has come, the outdoor water pump was out. The only other option was the bathtub. So in it went. Mr. Blueberry Eyes took to the project with great enthusiasm. He donned his wet suit and plunged in with all the vigor his six-year-old heart could muster. He scrubbed and scrubbed until the dirty old thing fairly shown!
For my part, I'm imagining that there is a person in Kenya that will soon be moving around in a way that they haven't been able to, thanks to generous hearts and an enthusiastic spirit of a child.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

'Tis the Season

The peacefulness in our home is hardly indicative of the week we've had. But then, that is why I like blogging. I can take idyllic snapshots of our life and post them and it makes my life seem just that - idyllic. I don't have to talk about negative things - like how the economic downturn is affecting our business or when in the world will our rented house get siding on it. It is like a movie. I pick the scenes I want to show.
But it is more than that. I save my complaining for my private journal. My blog is what helps me see the good things in my life. I don't exaggerate them. I just notice them. It helps me be content. It is a place I go to say "Thank you" for the good things in my life. It reassures me that the negative things I experience will pass. It is the good things I want to remember when I'm old.
So when I kiss my daughter goodnight and see The Mighty Hunting hound tucked under the covers with her head on the pillow, too, and then walk into my son's room and see Old Faithful, the purebred Collie curled up, keeping watch beside his bed, my scrunched spirit revives a little. It is easier to let go of the frustration I felt at seeing the ugly side of people today. It is easier to remember that God will provide. I really have very little to do with it. I wish I had remembered that a few hours ago. It would have eased the hurt and anger and fear.
I sit writing this after everyone in my family has gone to bed. A jaunty little Christmas tree sparkles at me in the quietness. It doesn't seem to mind that it has been trimmed with childish hands, in a way that would hardly bring tree fashion awards. It is folksy, homemade, a little haphazard and brings delirious joy to the children.
Someday I'll have a tree trimmed in perfect white snowflakes and angels. Everything will be symmetrical and even. But I know it will not carry the same delight that I saw in the children's faces as they passionately strew the ornaments on their beloved tree - the tree they tromped through the woods to get with their Papa and Mama.