Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Number EIGHT!

Our 8th moose this month. We may not pass 8 as the month is nearly over. Yes, he was the best excitement all day.  It warmed up the mid-30's today. We are expecting more snow later in the week.

Stacia and I trekked through a pre-algebra lesson. I think we've finally gotten the concept!

Nolan, Alex and Stacia had Japanese lessons.

I went shopping at the town across the highway.

Michael led Life Group tonight. The kids had fun at Youth Group.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Grandblessing Therapy!

Michael had swallow therapy today. I SWEAR all the neurologists and therapists in town got together and decided it was time to have, "face the facts," talks.  Personally, I think waiting until after Christmas wouldn't have hurt anyone at all. LOL  It is rather depressing. 

We had scheduled lunch with our new pastor after the appointment. I'm glad we did. It was good to process a tiny bit with him, and then to focus on possibilities for NOW and what the POTENTIAL is in the PRESENT. 

Best of all....Cory was running errands, and Arielle wanted to walk around the yard. I got to cuddle with Bennett - the best therapy of all is snuggling with grandblessings. Bennett will be two weeks old tomorrow - and it takes no time at all for a baby to become indispensable in a family's life. 

Auntie Stacia gets to hold Bennett for the first time. 

Stacia is making Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies, Michael is busy with home projects,  I'll make dinner, we'll read a few chapters of Narnia and is good.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Mooseday Monday

Look who came to visit. 

And hunkered down for a nap before sauntering up the road. 

These are numbers six and seven that we've seen in November. That's less than the eleven we saw in October and more than we saw in of our other yards in any other state.....HOWEVER, we are quite sure there were more who came without us noticing them.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

OUR Quirky Tree

The last several years we've lived in an RV. We purchased a live table top tree, used it for Christmas, and then planted it. We logged it's geocoordinates so we could re-visit it in years to come.  We decided we wanted to do the same after moving into our house. We'd buy a tree and plant it on the property in the spring.  It was a lovely plan. The problem turned out to be the varieties we find in stores will not survive the winters here if we plant them outside.  It doesn't make sense to us - but we were told - "Folks just like to have them on their desks." Hmmmm.....

Michael found an online nursery that will ship to Alaska. We looked at ones they said would survive up here....but it wouldn't arrive until Dec. 20th. That's a bit late for this year.

We plan on planting a lot of seedlings and a few potted trees this spring. We have a row of trees along the road and along the back (huge ones). We have a couple along one side of the yard.... The electric company contracted to have someone come out and top the trees along the road. We had thought to use one of the 3 foot tops - but we weren't here and they took them all - left other brush, but I guess those were cute. We talked with the company and told them we'd like to plant a row further into our yard...and they agreed to give us time for them to get established. They'll cut the trees down in 5 - 7 years because they are inside the fifteen foot utility easement.  When we get a new privacy barrier growing, we plan to use those big trees for Christmas for a few years.

We thought of going to cut a tree in the forest. We researched. They seem to be further off the road than we wanted.  Nolan and I went out to see if we could find a tree on our property that wasn't in a place where we wanted it to stay.....

We discovered where the moose are getting in - though I suspect if they want in - they'll get in. 
Wire should be attached
We got our hopes up here....this one looked great....on further inspection we suspect it's on our neighbor's land. It doesn't seem neighborly to their tree.

We walked all the way around the yard, back into the didn't look promising. They are either HUGE or where we want them to be....except the ones along the road....we didn't want to cut down our privacy hedge....

We had looked thoroughly and so we came back to the front. This little one is nestled into the big one. It doesn't provide much privacy...the big ones would still be there. It is at least 6 feet tall as it's taller than Nolan.  

We went inside and showed Michael the photo. It was either this, buy an artificial tree, or buy a cut one.  He agreed with us we should cut this one. It will be cut in 5 - 7 years anyway. We will cut it within 5 - 7 years, anyway.

Alex cut it down.....

We've decided it's not a Charlie Brown tree - but it IS quirky. Josiah and Jamin were over this evening and THEY immediately said it was a Charlie Brown tree - after establishing we didn't pay good money for it. ::snort::

It IS taller than we expected. We cut off the top....and put lights on it. The bottom is much fuller than the top and it has odd angles here and there....but we like it. It's real, it's bigger than the RV trees, and it's from OUR property. 

Michael fixed this shepherd's hand....

I love the pine cones still on the tree. 

Our kids are too old to play with this nativity this year, but I can't wait for Bella to discover it. 

After we got the lights on the tree, we settled into our next Christmas tradition - we watched the Muppets Christmas Carol.

We decided to hang ornaments after the movie. We had to use only light ones....and is a really quirky looking tree.

But it's our quirky tree. 

We plan to plant trees each year, and choose one each year to cut. For next year, we'll probably try to keep a potted one alive through the year.....

Friday, November 24, 2017

Tale of Two Tablecloths

For over 20 years this simple white tablecloth has been at all our Thanksgiving meals. It is our habit to have everyone who attends the meal, sign the cloth. We then embroider the names. Above is the signing of 2014 - and then it went missing. We did not have it in 2015 and 2016 - we were full timing in the RV and it would have turned up if we did. LOL 

I have looked EVERYWHERE and we can't find it.  I can't even get old photos from the blog as Photobucket has changed their policy and I need to pay to have those photos released. In one of our many computer crashes we lost the photos that Photobucket now holds hostage. We're going to have to pay and print all those years in one year of paying for Photobucket....or download them all and manually add them to the blog....we plan to print all the guess we should pay and do it. It's my need to go through each post and edit, gussie them up that has slowed us down. I just need to print them mistakes and all. 

ANYWAY - this year I needed to find a tablecloth as none of them fit our current table.  I ended up finding some  - bought one for both tables......As I'm somewhat thrifty, I didn't want to buy one that could only be used for one holiday - and I'm still counting on finding the other one anyway......

I bought these. They are shimmery and have gold and silver snowflakes on them  - which match the rim of both my china sets.  As I set the table yesterday, I realized, it isn't very fall like at all......

I commented at dinner that Alaska may be the only state  where I could get away with snowflakes for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. To which someone quipped...."Probably get  Easter too."

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Pig Hats and Wizard of Oz?

It's no doubt this family is feeling a few pressures. This is our first big holiday without Mom G - even if we usually just had calls. Mom T is fighting metastasized cancer. We're missing family members on the outside (outside of AK for you lower 49ers). Some of us are under or unemployed. We're facing up to the reality of a degenerative disease in our immediate midst....and yet....we're THANKFUL.  We are called to be people of gratitude, thankful IN all things - not necessarily FOR all things.  Today, and throughout the year, we  look to choose joy, to cultivate hearts of humble gratitude, and to bring him glory for what he will do IN the hard situations as we choose to thankfully trust Him. We love Thanksgiving. Today was, "practically perfect." We are missing one Gherkin and are looking forward to her joining us on 27 December.  Michael and I were talking and we think the last time we had this many Gherkins around the table on Thanksgiving was our assignment at Goodfellow AFB - 2005 - 2009. 
 We love our Co-Co. Krista experienced her first Black Friday on Thursday with Walmart today.

Jared and Larissa
(Note the barefoot print in the snow!!) These two got our migration started. The boys had talked about moving back for years. Michael and I had considered it, but were being wise and looking at less expensive places where our retirement dollar would stretch further, and we wanted to be somewhere "central" to all the Gherkins. When these two moved up after their wasn't long until Josiah was planning on moving up. We realized if we moved up we'd have 60% of the Gherkins in one locale. We began planning. Then BreZaak and CoRielle decided to join us...and now 90% of the Gherkins are here.  It's been an amazing year!

Larissa, Arielle and Bennett, Stacia 
 Everyone was here and it was time to start - but first a word on Thankfulness from Michael.
Cy, Cory, Arielle, Jamin, Michael, Nolan, Stacia

Michael, Nolan, Stacia, Alex, Izaak, Bella, Jared, Larissa 

Bennett's first family devo 

Even Yuuki is attentive

Gideon must check on Bella and Daddy
Bre, Gideon, Izaak, Bella, Jared and Larissa

The Table - set with China and Goblets from Mom T
Hello, Bella. 

Gideon has decided Jamin is o.k. 

Gramps and his boy....there are some similarities. 

Sleeping seems to be contagious  - working on a campaign and in property management

Bennett and Cory 

While Jared, Cory and Bennett caught some zzzzssss....we moved on to the traditional after dinner games!
Risk - Alex won 
Farkle - Michael won 
 Gideon has his first boy crush on Auntie Riss

After Farkle, CoRielle, Bre and Gideon went home.  Some of us moved on to our annual viewing of the Wizard of Oz, This led to the best line of the day. Larissa observed,  "Pig hats for birthday and Wizard of Oz on Thanksgiving, why?" ::snort::
Via Google Images
This is an old Gherkin tradition from Michael's childhood. Back in the day before cable and streaming, we were at the mercy of network TV.  Every Thanksgiving evening, during Michael's childhood,  they'd run the Wizard of Oz. My family didn't watch it - the witches were held suspect. Michael grew up watching it yearly. It's fun to watch it together - and discuss all the trivia that has since come out about the making of the movie.

Risk ended about the same time as the Wizard....and the guys and Larissa headed back home. It was a practically perfect day.
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Meme from Alaska Memes

Thanksgiving Prep and Fun

Stacia and I began cooking and prepping on Wednesday. Our goal was to be able to have fun and relax a bit more on Thursday, while still having the big dinner it turns into when all chime in with favorites. LOL  By the end of the day we were well into the cooking list. We were too busy to take photos - but the plan worked. Late this morning we were out of things to cook and added Deviled Eggs to the menu. It is so much fun to have a partner in the kitchen and I'm thrilled Stacia has taken an interest in cooking and baking. Good for all to know how to feed themselves.

We even had time for the a bit of Thanksgiving fun BEFORE dinner. We have a little sledding "hill" - not much of a hill -  but it's fun.  Stacia tries to get the boys out to play in the snow daily. It happens once or twice a week. We have little saucers. We've been talking about getting a couple of toboggans etc... Josiah and Jamin came over early today. They had scoped out the trail head of Matanuska Peak Trail and thought it would be fun to sled down. I was mildly alarmed - but what can go wrong with two such responsible Gherkins on watch? The younger three and Cory headed out with them. All promised not to break any mention was made of sleds.

The meal was under control, the house cleaned and our part empty....Michael put on some Kenny G, filled a couple of glasses with Sparkling Cider and we enjoyed a moment - or two - complete with selfie.

Arielle came up and asked if we could hold Bennett! Of course. She apologized for intruding on our "date moment," but moments with grandblessings are our number 2 favorite thing.

Meanwhile the others were sledding....yes, it is a good, steep hill. I'm not sure it was meant to be traversed on sleds...but I knew it was going to happen the first time I hiked up it. I didn't know it would happen this early in our life in the shadow of the mountain. I envisioned sleds or snowboards - so I was close. I, however, kept those thoughts to myself.
Alex - climbing to the top 

Great place for a pause 
 It's a climb without the snow - I'm sure they were dreaming of fun on the way down! 
Stacia, Cy and Cory
Josiah and Jamin went down first. They decided it may be too fast.....

Nolan, however, was chasing them down the mountain before they could communicate their findings. 

 Cory got to the bottom, reached around and grabbed his sled only to find it was in pieces. 
 They rode it all the way into the ditch
Stacia pondering how she got in this situation 

It warms my heart that the brothers went to all the trouble of buying toboggans and scouting out a sledding spot near our home, so Stacia could have her sledding day.  I think we need to continue to look for something between our backyard and this suicide hill.....though you can't beat the isolation of sliding down the hill in the midst of the woods vs a sledding hill filled with sledders.