Friday, April 26, 2013

Good-Bye Maxi, Hello Mini!

I am talking about vans, of course! It was time to reduce our carrying capacity from 15 to 8 passengers.
We have been driving this van for 14 years. Ultra reliable, it just wouldn't die...Last week we made our first big repair when we had a coolant line replaced. I was tired of driving around with one or two people in this big cumbersome vehicle. I have never parallel parked it, not even once.
We took the whole family out to look at cars with us. At first, Larry refused to test drive this "hearse". We went to another dealership and test drove what they had. We decided to go back to the first place after all. One drive in this luxury cruiser was all it took. Sold! I am thoroughly enjoying driving such a comfortable car. For the first time, I actually feel like a "Soccer Mom"! I really hope that we can continue to keep this van for nearly as long as the big gold one above. And truth be told- I'll never parallel park this one either!

More Art Classes

At our Homeschool Co-op, one of the Dads hand-crafted about 30 looms which he made from hard poplar wood and then left ready for the children to finish. 14 holes had been drilled into each side of the looms and small wooden dowels prepared.
The students poured glue into each hole and pounded the dowels in. These were then allowed to dry for a week.
The next time we gathered, the kids strung up their looms using one color yarn and then weaved through that base with a different color yarn.
The kids really enjoyed this process which is much like making pot-holders out of loops from kits at home.
Each child was able to keep their loom and ball of yarn in progress to finish their weaving at home.
The next week, we made popsicle stick bridges.
The students found out that this is harder than it looks but as always, they enjoyed the creative process.
Most of the kids built a footbridge rather than one with trusses. The bridges were allowed to dry under a fan and then taken home. I have loved being an "Art Teacher" and am very grateful to our director who wrote such good plans that all I had to do was follow her clear written directions and implement them.

Helping Out With Handsome

Cindi-Lou has needed just a little help lately and both sides of the family were able to help her. I was thrilled to be a small part of that. I once read that a person develops a stronger love for something if they are able to "take care" of it. I have been delighted to help take care of my grandson and relish the chance to  know him better and to let him know me.
It was great fun to put Handsome down for a nap after feeding him a bottle and be there to pick him up when he awakened. I enjoyed hearing his little voice and watching him care for his best friend, Tug. Talk about a boy and his dog. They are very lucky to have each other and make for good company, one for the other.
It has been a joy to visit with this young family and we ask for your prayers for their continued happiness and the blessing of good health.

Clean Carpet

For years Larry has wanted me to call any outfit that could clean our carpet. I have resisted because I've heard that once you get your carpet cleaned, it can no longer resist stains at all and it gets even dirtier.
Finally there was nothing left to protect and I called a local business who offered to do it for a very reasonable price. One gentleman and I worked to move the couches after I had already cleared out the tables, lamps and all the books :)!
Voila! The stains which were legion are gone!!! Amazing!!! I feel like a nutjob for not getting this done sooner. We all love how well this turned out. To boot, when I asked him about loosing stain protection after cleaning, he suggested that we have Scotchguard put down on it. This was also very reasonable, so he did it.
The boys took their after school break in the comfort of lounge furniture conveniently located in the kitchen!
We will try not to eat or drink in the living room ( except for coffee!) but in the future will not hesitate to call to get our carpet cleaned and looking great if needed  again.

Work Camp Coffee House

One of the more successful fundraisers that our youth group puts on annually, is its Coffee House to raise money for building supplies for Workcamp. This is an evening of entertainment and fellowship with homemade treats and good quality coffee.
In addition to other acts, our Youth Group Band played and Sam is the drummer.
They play at the monthly combined meeting at church for middle and high school students. Their repertoire includes  mostly Christian Rock but also older uplifting songs.
One of those songs is the very classic "Lean On Me". This song has been adapted  for group use by the addition of really cheesy and thus funny hand motions! The entire work camp crew got up to sing and sign along as they played this, bringing a smile to everyone in the audience.
A Silent Auction took place with parishioners donating hand crafted items to bid on.
A friend of mine donated this afghan which is the first thing she has ever crocheted! I am impressed and inspired. Next to it is a wooden chalice set for kids to play church with,  hand made on a wood lathe.
Juby was able to help pick out tickets for the raffle and Sam played a dramatic drum roll  before each ticket was pulled to increase the excitement.
Our friend, Donna, won this great pair of hand knitted boot socks! She was there to see her husband play in another great band made up of adult men, mostly professionals who get together to play music.

2,200 dollars were raised in donations during this wonderfully fun evening. That money will be used to buy building supplies to make the homes of poor families in the area safer, warmer and drier this summer.

Spring Beauty

Patience has a new hairstyle. She painted quite a pretty picture in this blue dress!
It was very sweet to watch her examine the daffodils and other blooming flowers on a pleasant afternoon.

Arlington National Cemetery

On a Sunday afternoon, we had the bright idea to go to Washington D.C. to see the Cherry Blossoms in bloom. So did everyone else in a hundred mile range! Heavy traffic and confusing signage prevented us from getting into the Tidal Basin area, so we revised  our sight-seeing destination.
Spring was definitely in the air. It turned out that the cherry blossoms didn't actually bloom until a day or two after our trip but many other kinds of trees were in full bloom and gorgeous to look at.
This cemetery is visited by walking in. It is like a park in some ways. It was very busy with visitors walking in the sunny yet cool spring air.
Like almost all of the guests, we headed uphill to The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This spot is really elevated and a vista of Washington, D.C. can be seen from this height.

It was a treat to experience the quiet solemnity of the tomb and we explained to the kids what is represented by the honor given to these soldiers' ( one from every recent war) remains.
We also saw the marble amphitheater used for the funerals of Dignitaries.

It was a pleasure to share this day with Meg and Jon and the grandchildren.

Before we left the city, I insisted that we try one more time to get to the area where the Japanese Cherry Trees and the monuments are located. The traffic was at a stand still! Bicyclists had the best advantage but that looked quite dangerous with so many cars about.
In this picture, Larry is knocking on the side of a very large tour bus that was determined to nudge its way ahead in traffic. It was sooo close to us that we were glad that we were in such a large and sturdy vehicle.
It was very scary and I was glad that I was sitting in the last seat in the back on the side where the bus was trying to run over our vehicle! I would have been loosing it if one of the kids had been in that seat. At that point we were done with visiting the big city. Being stuck in traffic caused our large van to overheat and almost caused a breakdown ( we thought it might explode!!!). By God's grace, we were able to get safely home with our 10 passengers. When we got home, It was a joy to be back in a small town. Ironically, we could easily see that our blooming trees here were just as pretty  as anything there!

Blandy Arboretum

Our homeschool group took a relaxing field trip to the arboretum on a "Backpack Adventure" For only fifteen dollars, (which turned out to be about one dollar per child), we rented a backpack filled with binoculars, field guides, special markers and laminated lists of 20 items to "scavenge" for around the many acres of the arboretum.
The kids worked in small groups trying to find all kinds of natural items which they could then check off.
Of course, "Weather is Everything" and this glorious spring afternoon delivered the perfect blend of sunshine and light sweater coolness. Spring has been so long in arriving this year, that everyone was delighted to be outside, enjoying it together.
Daffodils were in bloom around this pond.
Large trees of every variety are grown here.
I'm guessing that there are many hundreds of acres here, which are free and open to the public daily to walk or drive through.
This tree fort is a look out to observe the view from. I remember taking Jeff and Greg here when they were boys.

It would be hard to say who enjoyed this long and lovely walk through this parkland more, the kids or the Moms. Finally able to get outside again, we  had a chance to talk with our friends, while strolling through the beauty of a pretty spring day.

Holy Week

We observed Holy Week by attending the Living Stations of the Cross at church, put on by the Youth Group.

Sam played the part of Joseph of Arimathaea, who placed the body of Jesus into his own tomb.

Our church celebrates the splendor of Easter by decorating with lots of flowers and was filled with the delicious aroma of lilies, hyacinths and hydrangea flowers. 

After the sabbath, and toward dawn on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulcher. And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow. The guards were so shaken, so frightened of him, that they were like dead men. But the angel spoke, and he said to the women, " There is no need for you to be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here for he has risen, as he said he would. Come and see the place where he lay, then go quickly, and tell his disciples, "He has risen from the dead..."
Matthew 28,1-7. The Jerusalem Bible