Sunday, December 29, 2019

In Search of Margin

There's no doubt this has been a very busy season around our home. Dad has moved in with us,  which did bring a new list of responsibilities; Alex got a job - which adds a challenge to homeschooling;  WHO KNOWS WHY - but it's been a BUSIER fall than I expected, or scheduled for.  Contrary to Dad's oft repeated comment, I am NOT working 20 hours a day....but I HAVE been working hard to get life to cooperate in the search for more margin.

When things get chaotic - I organize! 

Don't judge me. Each camie brought me joy as I held it in my hands.  The ones that didn't spark joy were released to Bishop's Attic. It brought me joy to fold each one, and a sense of great satisfaction and order to color coordinate them in the drawer.... They've stayed that way. 

Michael laughed when he saw this on Nov 19th. It's a sure sign I was a bit overwhelmed.....but it also is a sure sign I was taking steps to alleviate the inner pressure. 

Women's ministry has been on a break since the week before Thanksgiving...just a few days after the great folding extravaganza. School has been on break. I have been on break...and during break....I've helped CoRielle move...and am planning for getting the basement usable for us....AND I'm convinced those organized t-shirts helped me find the time to break away and organize my thoughts for the upcoming PWOC retreat. I now have five sessions roughed out and feel like I may actually have something ORGANIZED to say by the end of January. 

I am feeling back in control enough to actually take the time to blog - rather than to sit in my chair and moan, "WHAT am I going to say to those poor women at the retreat???" 

It all began with organizing and color-coordinating the camies. Try it. 

Feeling overwhelmed.....just try it. You'll see. 

Ignore the playful ribbing from your family. 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

More Winter Lessons From an Alaskan Transplant

Numbers 1 - 14 can be read here.

#15.....It takes a bit longer than 15 minutes with the autostart to dig out the car some mornings....

#16. Yikes. Watching out for other drivers is essential...even if YOU think the road is fine.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

A Day in December

Our friendly dental hygienist told us the trick to short waits at the post office is to go before the main area opens....she assured us there may be 2 or 3 ahead of us.....

0700 and there was a LINE TO THE BACK WALL!  Stacia and I ran to get my fasting labs done and grab a hot beverage before joining the que.

 One and a half hours later we left with our package. Honestly, I MUST remember NOT to order during December. We do a lot of normal shopping on Amazon and Vitacost. It's not a big deal if it comes after Christmas - but if one doesn't pick up packages - they SEND THEM BACK. This happened to us while on vacation.  I knew we didn't need any gifts that happened to arrive and the food could wait...but I didn't want the hassle of it getting sent back....and so we waited...and had a great time talking with ourselves and others.

We headed for breakfast and our study together by 0915. Next we hit a couple of thrift stores and Fred Myers.

I had waited so long for a BIG 3 lb package of Lakanto Monk Fruit. It's much cheaper online - or cheaper than anywhere I've found it locally.

I promptly dumped it on the counter....and scooped it back into a gallon ziploc.....

It is just a normal day in December.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Benny Visits - G Dog's a Champ

Dad complained Friday of a broken tooth. I got him in to the dentist and we discovered he has THREE broken teeth and they've been broken for "quite some time." 

 I'm gobsmacked, in awe, amazed that Dad has this much pain and hasn't mentioned it.  Finding a dental plan just moved to the top of "the list." Medicare supplement plans do NOT carry dental up here. None of them. I've called. I have lists of companies I've checked. Many companies don't offer medical insurance up here at all.  So....we had been considering a self-paid dental plan, but maybe a full up, stand alone dental plan will be the most cost-effective way to deal with the extensive dental work in his future. He doesn't qualify for the state funded/supplemented options. 

We opted to have the tooth extracted which is causing pain. We'll go back in January with a plan in place so work will go towards a deductible...unfortunately, many of these plans won't cover "major" work for the first year....I am not 100% sure of the best way to proceed. 

Dad commented - and we all agreed - it was much quieter this morning without Benny's cheerful, morning greetings from the basement.  

Arielle and Benny came over to was the highlight of all of our days. 

Nothing helps with dental pain like a great grand does
Benny has played a game with me these months. He tells Stacia, Papa, GG  he loves them...but not me. Today, he ran for my knees, kissed them and said, "Baachan, my loves you."  He misses us too!

"Ello, Gov’na!!"

SHE didn't say it - so I will.  Fun photo of Jared and Larissa at the Governor's Christmas party.  We miss them - but they are doing well in Juneau.
Larissa, Governor Dunleavy, Jared
Photo from Larissa 
Jared flies in for a few days every so often for work. Unfortunately, Larissa can't make those trips with him.  We did enjoy a few days with Jared this month and continue to look for opportunities to see them both. Michael keeps dropping comments about a trip to Juneau.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

CoRielle's Move - 3rd Anniversary

The craziness continues at our house! Today, is CoRielle's 3rd anniversary. A lot has happened in three years...they've finished college, had a baby, moved to Alaska, and NOW they are moving into their first purchased  home! 

Benny is not 100% sure about all the chaos...but he's game to play with Baachan and Stacia.....
Mattress surfing - hmm I don't get to do this often
 As the day progressed, more and more things moved out of the house and Benny became distressed. One thing I know is moving and children...we loved on him, got him involved, and knew things would be better "tomorrow."
Photo via Arielle 

Benny loved helping dismantle CoRielle's bed

 He helped me pack food....and mark the location of emergency chocolate for mama tomorrow.  
Photo via Arielle 
 Michael spent most the day at CoRielle's. Evening found Benny and I enjoying quiet moments while everyone else was scurrying around with the move.

The time came to say goodbye to the basement apartment....

My heart....

And then they were back because Benny needed a Baachan escort. I walked him out to the truck. He said, "Baachan come my new house with me."

I told him not tonight, but I'd be sure to visit....I think there's a Baachan door planned next to the doggy door.

I confess to a few tears on my part as well. We're excited and happy for them...and incredibly grateful for the season of the past two years.
Michael mostly felt tired. ::wink:: 

 You can tell Benny was playing with Papa as Papa is wearing the nativity. LOL

And now the unpacking and settling will begin on the other end of the move.
Photo via Arielle 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Big Things Afoot

There are big things afoot in the basement of  our house at Wibbly Wobbly Acres. Boxes EVERYWHERE!

CoRielle went out for lunch and came home to tell us they are moving out this week.  We all knew it was "close." Very close. In the end it comes down to deciding, "This is the week." 

Tomorrow is their anniversary. Tomorrow they will sleep in their new home!

Benny is a great packer! 
Baachan (that's me) spent the afternoon loving on Benny and packing a few boxes. Papa and Cory worked on trim and such at the new home. Nolan and Alex helped Arielle take loads over to the new home after work....we'll all sleep and repeat tomorrow.

Tonight - we savored a lazy evening with each other.  We will miss the energy Benny brings to our home...and his unique perspective on life.

The tie around the baby's waist has bothered him all month. Tonight he freed Baby Jesus Jamin.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Tea with Benny

A simple occurrence on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Arielle is feeling better - but still under the weather. The upcoming week is the last week of school before "winter break." Krista, and our students, are counting down.

The week promises to be busy with a move and a tea party on the calendar....but for now...tea with Benny.

Tea on our side of the mountain....but in town....Josiah, Michael, Juan and Cory are working feverishly on CoRielle's little home. It is so close to being ready - but will it be done by Christmas?

All is well. All is peace. All stills in readiness. 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Colony Christmas - Michael's Experience

Michael spent hours preparing our church's entry in the Colony Christmas parade. While the girls and I explored the downtown festivities, he put concluding touches together. 

He took the float apart, laid it flat for travel, and ready for quick reassembly at the staging point. John came over and off they went. 

Pastor added lights and sound at the staging point....

Josiah came out to participate. 

Alex got off work and met the others.  Our early sunsets make for an easy light parade....the wind....adds a special touch of cold to the ancient Biblical scenes. LOL 
Alex, Nolan, Stacia
No! Dad did NOT walk the parade route. He WAS a vital part of the activity. 

John and "Grandpa" rode warm and safe in the truck pulling the float, followed by the rest of the characters from the Christmas story.....shepherds, crowds, wise men, and even a couple of sheep and calves (kids). 

The float was the same on either side of the trailer....we had two sets of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus riding - so people from both sides of the road could see the message. 

A shepherd

I love Yasinta and George - and that's Krista in the background. 

Michael organized the mechanics of the float. Krista organized volunteers and costumes.

Alex and Stacia on one side. The straw was supposed to be spread on the trailer...but the wind caused a change in that plan. LOL 
Yes, I KNOW the baby is cold! 
Elise and Aaron held court on the other side of the trailer.  

 All costumes had to fit over winter gear. 

Josiah carried one of the little lambs or calves throughout the parade. 

All in all it was a success. It was fun for our church community to be a visible representative of His presence in the midst of a fun community event. Last year there were very few nativities and lots of Santa's and elves. This year five or six churches entered nativity was a good addition.  We learned we need more candy....much more candy....and a way to grab it while wearing  winter gloves.   We had nothing to do with the obnoxious church yelling about fake Santa's at the fact, Saint Nicholas is a historical figure.

Colony Christmas - De's Experience

I got home late Friday night, Alex needed a ride to work early  Saturday morning. It was the perfect time to slowly drive by the lights in our lovely town....I should have brought my "real camera," but this is fine for this year. I will remember to bring GLOVES and clothes next time...pj's got a bit cool. LOL


 Our library 

Town's garden at Visitor Center

 This business puts up a great display each year. 

Ah - after 90 minutes of walking the streets - I was happy to see my favorite coffee shack open.....I grabbed a sugar free skinny chai latte and turned Marco Polo on to share the magic with a cousin and some sister friends.

Krista and Stacia wanted to go see how much we could get see downtown before the meet up for the Colony Christmas Float. Colony Christmas is an annual festival.  There is another one in the summer. Our years in Japan have created a love of annual festivals for some of us.  Jacque suggested the nativity display at the LDS church. Wow - it was gave me a vision for what I could have done with Mom's nativity collection....I do have quite a few of hers and am excited to display more next year.
Via Krista's photos
The main room had a giant display in the center of various nativities, two tall trees decorated totally with nativity ornaments, a stage with live music, and various nativities displayed along the sides of the room. 

Krista enjoyed contrasting the differences between this selection and the display she visited in Springfield, Oregon with mom. There is a Russian/Slavic and Alaskan theme here that is missing in their part of Oregon. 

Nesting dolls of all sorts are popular in Alaska. I hadn't thought of a nativity nesting set. I'll have to keep my eyes open.  

On Whale baleen

At one of the craft shows we saw a nativity made inside of a birch hollow. I will keep my eyes open for that as well.

This set is amazing...all the figures are GRAINS OF RICE!!!!!

We followed up the display by stopping at two of the many craft shows in town for the festival.

Arielle was sick (fever etc) and Cory was working. We decided I would stay home with Benny.  Benny likes Baachan's Black Friday  toys.

I'm having a couple of teas in the next week....decided it may be nice to polish Gram's tea spoons.... LOL

 ...which led to Benny and me enjoying tea. I'm establishing this tradition in the next generation. I brewed a pot of Samover tea....and Benny enjoyed his sugar free chocolate chip cookie. They are the best I've made so far - but they are still dry. I'm going to try again with more butter or something.

I had a fun day. I was disappointed to miss the Colony Christmas parade....the float has been a big deal around here - especially the last few weeks.

HOWEVER - sharing tea with just Benny was priceless.

I'm working on a post from Michael and the other's point of view. LOL