Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas Goodness

 Every Christmas - usually Christmas Eve day, we spend it with the Willemsen's. We love this family! The bond started many years ago. Lissa and me in kindergarten and Trav and Vance in elementary! -- When we head to Lynden we try to see as much family as we can, Willemsens included. We get caught up quickly, starting with ease right where we left off.  When we lived in Boardman, Lissa and Trav made the 6 hour drive a few times! We laughed so hard there and truly created our own fun.
Now to see our kids' friendship grow! It is awesome.

Grandma Alma is a wonderful hostess! Christmas Dinner at her house was so fun as always.We love this tradition. These other three girls are so fun to visit with too! Wish I would have gotten a picture of all 6 of us (Monica and I included).

I have a lot more pictures to share, tomorrow hopefully.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Reflections

Last Christmas, not Christmas 2017 but Christmas 2016, my sisters and I were visiting while at my Grandma Alma's about a family friend who had written a book. Her book was about her. Her "journey", from what I understand, had very tough situations. She was raised by a parent with a mental illness and back in the 50s they knew very little about what her mother was dealing with etc. I have yet to read it. She talks too about working through bitterness. We discussed how it is brave to write such a book and we wondered about family criticisms.

I sat right next to my grandma's beautiful Christmas tree again this Christmas and said to Lesha and Natasha "girls, I have a picture of you from last Christmas sitting right where you are now discussing Elaine's book." We went on to ask if you wrote a book about your life, including the hard, true details, would you be criticized by your family? We agree that we would, by ours. I mean, there would always be someone, right?

If you grew up in a home where they is no room for error, you know what I mean. If you did not, you probably don't.

I drove away from my hometown this Christmas a little more confused, still with some sadness and more thankful than last Christmas.

Thanksgivings. My Grandma Alma's home is a safe place where you feel loved and valued. I have spent probably 39 of my 42 years in her home on Christmas night! That is such a blessing. We stayed at Stan and Adie's, it was great. We have four very thankful children. We have lots of loved ones in Lynden and love seeing all of these people! My kids enjoyed spending time with many cousins this Christmas. Jesus birth is a gift to us during good times, bad times, times of death, birth, rejoicing and sorrow. NOTHING changes that. And Jesus birth is something worth celebrating every single year.

Our good friend Travis lost his mom on Christmas Day. She battled cancer. Heaven is now her home. I am sure Lissa, Travis and family shed many tears on Christmas Day and also the weeks prior. But they are a family who knows the gift of Jesus birth. On a very hard day, there was still something wonderful worth celebrating.

Natasha and Reese live in a travel trailer on my dad's property. Their property, that they will eventually build on, is right acrossed from my dad's. We hiked those 36 acres yesterday morning and it was BEAUTIFUL. OLD, tall trees, a pond, moss, ferns, breaks in trees where the light streams in.

I hope there is always a place for the light to stream in.
I hope there is always a frame of mind for the light to stream in.
I hope there is always an attitude for the light to stream in.

Christmas 2017 had a lot of blessings.
I only spent maybe five minutes in my dad's house, but saw sweet memories of my mom. She redid the dining room and family room shortly before she passed away. I loved looking at those walls on Christmas Eve. She painted textured wallpaper a very light, pretty green. Her funeral program still hangs on my dad's fridge. Framed pictures of family are all around.
She was the soft place to land.
I was reminded of a childhood that had a lot of criticism.
I was humbled by the kindness, love and generous spirit of those around us.
I wished for more healing as I drove the five hours home. The kids were soo good and patient on our drive home! Pass traffic was pretty backed up.
I am so thankful for Jesus birth!
A thrill of hope, A weary world Rejoices.

Friday, December 22, 2017

December 22nd

Where are my snow pants? Have you seen my gloves? These boots are too small for me. I cringe a little. But look outside and I do see the magic that they see. And the flakes are huge! I am a saver and I have been tucking away cute school papers, clothes that I can't yet part with, letters... and apparently Willem's snow pants.

All "Christmas items" were 50 percent off when I hit the senior center Wednesday. They had "vintage" Christmas fabric! I bought it. I can't usually pass up fabric and my collection was getting a bit out of control, but the fun thing is Natasha and Maria often enjoy it too. So I send a little their way. And I gave a bunch to a kinder teacher I love this year. They wrapped her kinders' parent gifts in it!

I have not had my camera out much lately to take candid, fun, family shots. I need to get it out today!

A few FAVORITE December moments; 1) Oren's singing and motions in his pre-school Christmas program! I LOVED listening to him sing! 2) Hazel's Christmas program! Their music teacher did a terrific job. And Hazel has overcome fears about performing. 3) Merit's basketball game last night. Sophomore Gold team played a Varsity Moses Lake Christian team. Although we lost, the gymnasium, the announcer, the hustle and hard work was fantastic!! 4) Willem's CHRISTMAS SPIRIT and LOVE for snow - He truly is a January baby. 5) I have had the opportunity to go to the Laundry Mat and pass out children's books and quarters! The thankful hearts I have come in contact with have blessed me so very much. 

Oren: "Mama, is hot cocoa good for me?" My response, "It's good for your Christmas spirit Oren."

Friday, December 15, 2017

Oren's Happy Hearts Program

 Oren's Christmas program!!
The best part of our December so far. These kids! Singing about Jesus! I loved this so much.
Hazel so badly wanted to come too! So it was fun to have her there. Smiling from ear to ear as she watched her brother perform.

These two buddies!

Oh and then, Oren running around in the gym with his good buddies! So much fun.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Bumps and hurdles, hurdles and bumps
A week of this
Merit's phone was stolen out of his locker while at basketball practice
Vance tells the story that his wallet was stolen out of his locker when he was a seventh grader and my cheer shoes were stolen from my locker in HS. All unlocked lockers. Strangely we have been very trusting of man kind. But they call them LOCKers for a reason.
More bumps yesterday.

And  I meet kids who face adversity every day.

I read Thank You Mr. Falker to a class of third graders yesterday. It is in my top five favorite books. Most of the kids really got the book.

What I am very excited for today is Oren's pre-school Christmas program.
This kid reacts and learns differently. He is fearful of some things. He is stubborn about that fear. His play is amazing. He is the youngest of 4. I remember when I had him, life was/is so busy when the fourth comes around that it is so different than bringing home your first. But what was so great was that he walked in the door of a home, okay was carried in his car seat, to 5 people who love him fiercely.

My view in the morning, another thanksgiving in a bumpy week

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Remembering the REASON for the SEASON

A quiet morning at home
School for the big kids, Oren goes this afternoon
Then time with friends for me and a senior photo shoot after school
These days are cold. No snow, no rain, just bundle up cold

Monday, December 11, 2017

Our weekend

a weekend of good stuff
I took the Badgley's pictures Sat morning and that was a great photo shoot.We did them mostly indoors because it was oh so chilly. The lighting was okay though and the pictures were relaxed and fun. 

We hung out in the shop a lot and Vance cooked on the wood stove out there. I got on the spin bike several times, something I should be doing even more of.
The Chiefs Gold team did fantastic Saturday night at MLHS - a sweet win!! 
Sunday, Hazel and I attended a wonderful show at the church! It was so well done. Excellent acting and beautiful singing with a great message. We enjoyed it so much. 

hula hooping fun! 

Friday, December 8, 2017


Good coaching
Good learning
Hard work

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Basketball and fun!

Our buddy, Hersch #11 - this kid has grown, quickly! And is a good ball player! 

Games, games and more games, Kennewick, Ephrata, Moses Lake and then Ephrata again over the weekend. Our boys played hard. I can hardly believe Merit is playing High School ball!

 This game of basketball!! Such a fun weekend!

I sub kinder tomorrow! YAY! 

Oren was excited for pre-school today.
Hazel had friends over after school Monday - they baked! 
Willem just completed a really cool story for English. 
Merit played out of town last night, he got back to the HS at 10:30 p.m. and then up early this morning. He is tired. He really likes his coach! He feels he is learning with each practice and game. 

Photo shoot later today with a family we know through Merit's sports.

I found 25 very gently used books yesterday! I think I paid $7 for all of them. I kept two, Hazel kept one and the others are gifts for a room full of kinders at Longview.