Saturday, February 29, 2020

Fur Rondy 2020

Where  can you see a bear, in a tutu, wearing a tiara? 

Fur Rondy!  An 85 year Alaskan tradition. It is our state's largest winter festival, "with a schedule full of events that celebrate winter and life in the Last Frontier.

Krista joined her reserve unit in the Outhouse Races...that's right one of the Gherkins has been in an official outhouse race at Fur Rondy. We're official!
Stacia and Krista via Krista's photos
We got a late departure from the valley and missed the races, but Stacia went in early with Krista and caught them.

Michael and I caught up with BreZaak for lunch. We loved the chance to catch up on all the new things swirling around their lives. When we got home, Dad was ready to head for Fur Rondy. I was happy to see him wanting OUT....his feet have been hurting him. He wanted a selfie in front of our fake daffodils, but my arm isn't long enough to get the flowers in.

Doesn't he look cold? At this point he was still not sure he needed his coat. Later in the day he was happy I insisted. The snow boots were handy too. 

We headed for the ice sculptures. The judging isn't until Sunday a.m. We got to see many teams in the process of creating their sculptures. It was 12*.

I found the clay models fascinating. 

The girls stepped into a store for Krista to get feeling back in her feet....ouch. When all were sufficiently warm, they met us over at the sculptures.  
Front - Me and Stacia
Back - Michael, Krista, G Dog
 On our way home we stopped at Alaska's oldest family restaurant. It is directly across from Merrill field - a small craft airport. Dad would like to come back on a clear day to watch the planes. Everyone enjoyed the food and the service was incredibly personal and friendly.

The men headed to Eagle River. They picked up CODY! We had asked for joint custody; Josiah rebuffed the proposal. He did, however, agree to let us have him for a few days this week.

The gals went shopping....and we all met up back at home in the was a great day. Cody was happy to see Stacia.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Resurrection Gardens

I am reading, "Uncovering the Love of Jesus: A Lent Devotional." In the first week's activities it mentioned a website with more resources and instructions for making a Resurrection Garden. The idea is to plant a little garden, complete with tomb....and watch it grow...roll away the stone and it's empty.... I thought it looked like a fun thing to do with the grands.

I went to Michael's to find things for THIS project - and was struck with daffodil memories....Michael was a good sport and cut a couple of these pots in 1/2 for me.

After we planted the flowers in the snowbank, we came back inside to make a Resurrection garden for Benny and for us.

None of us realized what a pick me up it would be to play in the dirt! I am going to have to begin seedlings soon. I may even set up a box of dirt just for Grands to play with when they visit. LOL 

As Arielle wrote, "Family: the perfect blend of chaos and love. πŸ’—
Via Arielle
 Everyone got involved...and we told Benny the purpose for the craft....but mostly he liked dirt at this point...above is the moment I demonstrated "sprinkling grass seed" on the dirt....and below is Benny's idea of sprinkling.
Via Arielle
 Not to worry - we set up a garden for ourselves and took seed from Benny's garden...and he was a huge help in cleaning up the mess.
Via Arielle 
The instructions had said I'd be able to find the large stone for the tomb entrance and twigs to make crosses "easily" in the yard. I headed out the door and it hit me - not finding stones and twigs "easily" in our yard. ::snort:: I will search it out this week.

Stacia and I left for BreZaak's before CoRielle went home....this is always fun to see in the back up camera.
Helpful message that! 
We arrived early enough to play with Annie before they left for Alive Alaska. Look how big she is getting! 

We hadn't seen Bella and Gideon since Feb 9th and it was fun to see them! 

Bella, Stacia and I did a work out video while Gideon caught a nap. We had dinner, cleaned up and then we made a Resurrection Garden with them.

Bella was not sure about dirt and told me "Mommy doesn't like dirt inside." We swept it all up. LOL 

They loved the watering part. Bella promised to remember to water it every morning. LOL 

I am praying three little patches of grass grows.... It was a fun day.

PLANT NOW for Color All Summer

 There you have it! Expert gardening advice - and I didn't plant early enough for color last year..... PLANT NOW....

Um....this is my solution when faced with the reality of 4 feet of snow in the flower beds.
Via Arielle

I was happy to hit a buy one stem - get two stems free on spring flowers.  I waited eagerly for Bennie's visit. I knew he'd enjoy planting with me - and he did. Kimber left them alone after her first look at them....
Via Arielle
Via Arielle
I will let you in on the story behind this story. We moved into a Japanese neighborhood in 2009. We set about making connections with the farmer whose land bordered our yard...The kids helped his wife when she got stuck...and for the following four  springs...every FEBRUARY, the farmer brought me massive bouquets of daffodils. Our first sign of spring.  It seems every February I start to look for daffodils...and I miss being in Japan, our Japanese neighbor, and my heart begins to long for a country to which we are not called to return.  I can't tell you how much good it does my soul and heart to see these cheery daffodils in the yard. 

I still dream of spring time in Japan...and I will do my best to make it happen next spring.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Thursday with Benny

 Thursdays are our insanely busy day. Stacia and I begin the day with our personal Bible study, we're home by 1100 for her piano lesson, then Japanese at 2:00, dinner by 5:00 p.m. and Life Group at 6:30 p.m.

Arielle texted Wed night to ask if Stacia could either nanny for her on Thursday or if we could watch Benny as she nannied. She doesn't like to take Benny sick to work - obviously. It simply wasn't a good day for Stacia to work. She does love filling in for Arielle.

I didn't want GG exposed to a sick Benny - so I volunteered to come to their home. It was also much more comfortable for Benny. Stacia snuck in the car. LOL

As they watched "Monkey" - Curious George - I did a few things around the house to bless Arielle. Benny got the cleaning bug and went to town. 

"Mommy likes clean!"
Note her tree is still up! I love it. 

We had to take all the toys off the shelf so he could clean the shelves. 

Cleaning is hard work! 
 After lunch Benny painted a few pictures for my art gallery. I'll have to snap a photo or two when I have a breather.

"Baachan? I nap."

Sure thing! We hustled Benny off to sleep and the house was quiet...and Stacia and I talked through this week's study in the Beatitudes. We talked about a Biblical definition for meekness and how that applies to our lives.

Michael dropped by to be sure Stacia was home in time for her Japanese lesson. He had hoped to catch Benny, but Benny was still napping.

They drove off and I was SHOCKED....blessed quiet and peace. I had about 40 minutes of silence and solitude and it strengthened and renewed my spirit. I did some thinking, praying and journaling about leadership.

I got home around 3 p.m. - threw a loin and squash in the oven, steamed some asparagus and set about picking up. The house was clean and dinner on the table at 5. We were ready for our "lifers" to arrive...and we discussed Job....the tendency we have to hold on to our creed and our belief about what God should be like - rather than what He IS like.

It was a long day and, YET, it was an incredibly peaceful day. It was confirmation to thoughts I've been pondering about being yoked with Jesus and finding rest...and the principle of Sabbath.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


Look what I invented -  a way to store lights without them turning into a tangled mess. LOL 

Yes, all the Christmas decor is finally packed up. The "crew" will put them up high in the garage tomorrow.  That means I got it done on Ash Wednesday.  Next...year I may well have a St. Patrick's or Lent tree. 

For now, I am happy to have the space back in the upstairs. I still can't find the stuff that usually sit on top of the step tonsu in the living room, top of my desk, mantle or the entry way tapestry.  CRAZY! Everyone has an idea of where they must be, but so far they haven't turned up in any of THOSE spots. LOL I may have to buy new fripperies. ::snort:: 

I just couldn't pack away all the Christmas lights.  I put lights in my nook - and it's perfect! 

I am happy to have a bit more space to set things. LOL 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

DMV Appointments

We look like fugitives...but we got it done! In less than an hour we did a permanent renewal on a vehicle, changed a voter's registration, got a handicap placard, and applied for 3 Real ID's....I am sold on making online appointments. LOL

About those seems the federal government has mandated we can smile, but can't show teeth in Real IDs...Dad and Michael did fine.

We didn't get a photo they could use of me until the 4th try.


"No teeth. Let's try again. Now smile."

I finally suggested he quit telling me to smile. ::snort::

NSV (Non-scale victory)...I had to have them change my weight on my license....I'm 20 lbs lighter than when we moved here....and 40 lbs lighter than I was last March.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Christmas and Such

Growing up Christmas decor went up the day AFTER Thanksgiving and came down New Year's Day. Always. Without fail. In Oregon, Liberia, the Philippines. Always. 

We started our little family with much the same tradition....but then we left it up longer as kids were coming home from college and we weren't going to spend a day taking things down when we had them with us so few days....and then we began opening gifts on Jan 6th - or later...

BUT SERIOUSLY - Wednesday is the start of Lent. I realized I never posted photos of this year's decorations. I didn't get photos outside - it was too cold....and I didn't get photos of the main nativities...but I found these shots.

It seems fitting to post them now. Today, I took down the tree and began to take down Christmas decor. I realized  I like the bright and cheery lights...and much of my Christmas stuff reminds me of mom. I was simply not ready to pack it away....that, and I was busy prepping for a retreat until the end of January...and haven't had time to breathe since I arrived back home. LOL
New to our tree is Gram's tree topper. 
 I opened mom's old trunk and filled it with fun bits and pieces. I plan to leave a bit of this throughout winter. 

This is above the trunk....
Nativity from Japan, Globe from Mom and Joy ornament
given to me by a friend during one of Mike's deployments

I found the Mary which goes with this countdown  AFTER Christmas. I have it all packed nicely away awaiting it really is time to switch Christmas for Lent.  It's time to add the extra sections to the countdown and switch Mary for Jesus and the cross....

I usually leave the snowmen until AFTER Christmas. I put them out then so I have  definite, cheery winter decor...this year I put them out with was DARK in November and December and I needed all the cheer I could generate. LOL 

This was one of Mom's's made by the same German company that makes the wonderful dinosaurs we enjoy.  It's a kids' nativity, but has lots of tiny details.  I also had the Fisher Price set down for the kids. I had the Willow Tree and the first set we bought out too. 
Krista and Stacia made these

You know I love the chalk paint....I may need to leave this out. 

In memory of our RV Christmas'

Window in the nook 

My Gram's nativity sat on my desk these past months...

I bought stockings so we'd have one for everyone hung by the fire....I love the new Native pallet nativity. I bought it at Colony Christmas. 

I used to wrap our Christmas books and the kids would pick one to unwrap and read each day. These books were mostly lonely this year...but I kept some of our favorite during the great "downsize for Japan" episode.

 We opened the Jesus Stocking today...and read the wonderful words of affirmation. We all jotted down times we saw another acting like Jesus. My personal favorite was, "Michael put up with De'Etta's bad attitude." ::snort::  Alright - y'all! Chill! I wrote it.

We've decided to put a box or something out during Lent and continue to watch for Jesus-like actions, jot a note down and put them in the......stay tuned to see WHAT we put them in. LOL

Note the new female military nutcracker in honor of Krista commissioning as a Reserve Chaplain. 

I've begun to pack away Christmas....slowly.  The tree is down. The ornaments are packed away.

Michael suggested I put Granny Annie's rocker in the corner, where the tree was, instead of a recliner. I'm not sure we'll love it - but I do enjoy having the ottoman out of the way!

I decided to replace the Nutcrackers on the China hutch with snowmen. I added a red bucket of "snowballs" and took away the Christmas ornaments. Pine cones, plaid and snowmen are still appropriate up here....more appropriate than tulips and pastel. ::wink::  I started to take down the "Joy" but Stacia insisted joy is a year-round theme around here! She's right.

I removed the poinsettias and left the pine, lights, and pine cones in the trunk. I replaced the Christmas doo-dads with an antique book Mom Mary gave Stacia, and some antique books from Grams and Grandma T.  I left the snowmen. 

Michael informs me the pine swags over the entry mirror and the wreath on the door are both wintry - and not I'm happy to leave them a bit longer. 

The LED lights in the antique canning jars from Mom Mary (Mom G) will stay in my kitchen until it no longer gets dark before bedtime.  I've tried various things in these jars and I like the lights the best. Granny Annie and Mom G had these on the back porch as long as I knew them. It makes me smile to have them in my kitchen.

It wasn't ALL about Christmas decorations today....I prepped for Bible study, I got a nice long work out in, I fixed Dad's telephone contacts, I fixed Dad's voicemail box again, we played a couple of games with Dad, I spent 90 minutes on phone calls with medicare supplemental insurance brokers, I managed to get Healthnet to agree to send out the info Mutual of Omaha wants in order to insure Dad rather than what "they always send,"  and I started a new batch of kombucha....Thanks to Robert and Sandy for keeping me in scobies. I'm determined to get more than 3 batches before I kill my scoby this time.

Tomorrow....I'll have to deal with all the other boxes waiting to be loaded with Christmas decorations....and the six appointments I made for Michael, myself, and Dad at the DMZ  DMV ...but I'm satisfied with the day.