Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Evenings in the Trailer

Evenings in the trailer are much more relaxed than evenings in our stick and brick home. We don't have evening commitments - this is  new for us and I highly endorse this plan. We also have very little to prep for the next day.   After the bustle of the day - school, projects, exploring, visiting with friends - it is nice to know  dinner and the evenings will be family - and friends from time to time.
Our patio and Featherstone - in the front; Fam Camp at Sunset
 We have watched all of Monk. We began to stream a series until we decided we didn't like the things they started surprising us with in season 3. We read books - The Cay is our last. We play games. We've taken sunset walks and nighttime walks to the lake. We've streamed movies.

View from our Patio
My favorite of all is sitting beside the fire! Everything seems bigger, brighter and better with a fire. I am still so happy with our choice of a fire pit for Christmas. I'm also happy, after decades, we are in a place where none of our kids are going to try to pick a stick out of the fire - though we do still watch for flaming marshmallows  - always beware of flaming marshmallows.

Wood is a problem - $7 a bundle at the commissary. There are branches laying on the ground all around the Fam Camp, but this is a military installation in CA - best not to break the rules. Michael had  a thought today. He worked at Fred Myers back in the day. He stopped by the BX to see if they had any damaged pallets. The good ones are reused. He saw one badly broken and asked the manager, showed the manager what he was talking about, and was given the pallet. He had to cut it up - but in Portland we heated one winter entirely with broken pallets and mattress frames. He knew how to do this - it was  a bit more time-consuming without the chain saw. 

We are getting 3 fires out of this
Tonight we enjoyed a fire without s'mores - we did have ice cream this afternoon! What do you do around a fire without s'mores? 

Electronic games, reading and talking with Jared

Looking at the fire - talking with each other
 One thing we noted early about the caboose is the "reading light" is placed so it is NOT going to be on our books if we read in bed - unless we get up and sit in the middle of the bed. We've talked of various options for reading lights. When we turn  the light on to read it shines directly into our eyes. Michael came home with this nifty light. It works in bed and it's great for reading Patrick McManus beside the fire.....

We love our slower-paced evenings in the trailer. Thanks to the master of the fire for making a fire possible tonight. 

Ice Cream and Missions

Jerry got promoted! Desiree conquered cancer.  These are good reasons to celebrate - which are doing in a sunnier and beachier location.

Desiree's parents and brother are spending the week with the kids. Being well-seasoned in this grandparent thing, they have planned outings for most days. Today it was ice cream at BROCKS with the Gherkins. Michael and I made the plans and forgot to tell the kids.

Ice Cream with O's? Are we coming too? ::snort::  THAT was a motivator and school was done by lunch today.  (Note I'm starting to really value the camera on my phone!)

I reveled in hugs from Sydney, Caleb and Nathan...... Caleb looked up at Michael and said, "You look old now." ::snort::  It's the hair and beard coming in gray.

Sydney, Stacia and Anna (Anastasia)
 Jay and Alex are both 14, homeschooled and in the 8th grade. Alex says it's "freaky"  he is so much bigger than his friends. Jay notes to others, "All my friends are taller than me." I pointed out to Alex it is NOT freaky - together they make one great average! They always have a good time together. 
Alex & Jay

These boys love Nolan (left) and Des' brother on the right - Xavier, Caleb, Nathan
Mike, Pat and Quentin (Des' parents)
Last time Michael  held Quentin was at his
dedication one one of our last Sundays at Beale
The kids had a great time. We enjoyed our visit with Mike and Pat. It turns out Mike is the Assistant International Director for One Mission Society.   Pat and I have had opportunities to talk before when she was out for Desiree's operation and chemo.  We had never spent time with Mike.  She asked how Parkinson's was effecting our plans to be missionaries in Japan. We shared. It was good to talk about the season we are in - Mike was encouraging.  We shared our ministry has always been relational and we have a heart for making followers (discipleship), and training leaders. We shared what we had been looking at in Japan....and what the problems may be with the new factors in our life.  We simply don't have answers yet. They shared the model of One Mission/Every Community for Christ. Itinerant Missionaries - something we'd not heard of or considered before.  We'll continue to follow the VA trail until we know what sort of compensation we can expect, continue to discuss with the neurologist what type of care we need to find, continue to research care in Japan and what Tricare could/could not do for us overseas.....but we are encouraged if we cannot go live in Japan, there are other avenues we can explore.

Stacia was happy to go home with Anna and Sydney to do nails.

Wedding Plans

We've not  quit smiling since hearing Larissa said yes.....but today the excitement soared from cloud 9 to over the moon.......any mail - real mail - is cause for great excitement around here.....
A letter - she thinks its from Maggie
 It's from Larissa!  Stacia wasn't expecting a letter from LARISSA! She had sort of mourned the fact she's no long flower girl material......and she was happy to hear the big girls were invited to be Bridesmaids...but I could tell she was the tiny bit sad not to be young enough or old enough to be in weddings right when "people start getting married." Yeah - PEOPLE - let's put a moratorium on weddings until she can grow up enough to be in your weddings. ::snort:: 
Larissa wrote me!

Maybe one should open the envelope - but she savored it. 

Such total joy

She wasn't exactly sure what a Junior Bridesmaid is - but I assured her she would get to buy a new dress and be in the wedding. The smiles haven't stopped.  The big question now is, "Should I cut my hair or wait until after the wedding."

We weren't 100% sure of Jared's plans for groomsmen, but texted him to check when we heard the big girls got invites and knew Stacia's was on the way. I was 99.9% sure these guys would get invited to participate in the Big Day - but wanted to know for sure to help steer the "non-emotional male feelings,"  if they weren't.  Jared told me he planned on inviting these two to be groomsmen, but isn't as "on top of it" as Larissa. I suggested he wait to ask them until Stacia received her invite in the mail.   We were outside when he called.....and I put him on speaker phone and called the boys over.....they were a bit reluctant.
"Yeeessss? Jared?"
 I would be honored if you would both be groomsmen!
They ARE as excited as Stacia - this is introvert excitement
Yep - they've gone from being excited spectators to being honored participants. We are thrilled Larissa is joining the family and are humbled by the way she's embraced our crazy, sometimes silly, often chaotic, tad bit overwhelming freakishly large  family.

80 days and counting!