A Thursday at the Farm

29 10 2010

I got to go on a field trip with my favorite first grader yesterday.

(My favorite is the one on the left, although I’m pretty fond of the other one, too.)

It rained and was muddy and cold. Good thing we wore our boots.

 The farm is run by my city’s museum. It’s an old homestead that was donated to the city and restored by the historical society. Rainbow, of course, was only slightly impressed. She’s been to Uncle Robert’s (kittens!) and Cousin Sarah’s (puppies!) farms, where they have more than just chickens and the barns are actually used to house animals.

 This fact, however, did not dampen her enthusiasm when helping with the ‘chores’.

Fresh-pressed apple cider, anyone? Rae can hook you up.

We had such a great time.

[Side note: I posted on Facebook last week about how a ninja costume has been my easiest costume to make yet. Chatting with my brother later, I found that he had assumed Zack Attack was going as the ninja.

Not so.

This looks like a sweet face, but she can be deadly when she needs to.]

Pumpkins with my Punkin

23 10 2010

It’s unfortunate this picture didn’t turn out better. If you look reeeally closely you can see Mount Rainier in the background. I was having a hard time juggling my camera and my redhead at the same time, so the ‘picture-perfect day’ was poorly captured.

Apparently, Colby is afraid of tractors, because the hay ride was an acute source of crawling-all-over-mom-while-saying-and-signing-‘all-done’. Which is why I have a couple of stiff arm pictures like this:

And this:

He cheered considerably once we were away from the tractor.

But still didn’t seem excited when his teachers gave him his own little pumpkin to take home. Big deal, I’m sure he was thinking. Not that I blame him, since this whole Halloween business is kind of crazy and confusing anyway. We went downtown to trick-or-treat at businesses today and I couldn’t help thinking how bizarre the whole thing is.

Sorry all you Halloween lovers out there. I’m completely lukewarm when it comes to Halloween. I don’t get into all the severed heads, dismembered hands, or bloody anythings. Carving pumpkins I’m on board with. Costume-making? Heck yes. Trick-or-treating? Not so much. Since when is it okay to go around and beg/gather candy from perfect strangers? Well, okay, since I was a kid. But still. “Don’t take candy from strangers” has its own safety campaign for goodness’ sake.

Anyway, as we were checking out with our farm stand produce, I noticed a chattering sound. It was kind of like white noise, but the longer I heard it, the creepier it became.


Hundreds of birds, “chatting,” apparently. I tried to snap a photo while waiting at the light. Apologies for the terrible exposure.

And speaking of Halloween, if you want to be completely creeped out you should watch Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds. My friend and I went on a Hitchcock kick in high school, and we watched it. I know all the arguments about movie soundtracks and sound effects increasing tension and all that, but I have to say I have never been more on edge than when the lady is walking down the upstairs hallway and it is dead silent. [Shiver.] Possibly a bit too real for my taste. (And I have never liked birds since.) So go watch it! And have a Happy Halloween!

Teaching Moments

22 10 2010

I hear a lot about ‘teaching moments’ and how I’m supposed to take advantage of them in order to do the following (and much more, probably): teach my children about life, build their character, plan for a bright future, and save the earth.

What I don’t hear so much of (possibly because they think they already know everything) are teaching moments adults go through.

I had one this week. On Wednesday, to be exact.

Wednesdays are my dreaded days, where I feel like I wake up in the morning and rush around until I go to bed at night. I really hate days like that, and the fact it comes around once every week makes me complain about it on Facebook. [Note to Mom: See, all you are missing out on is how much I’m not looking forward to Wednesday, how much I hate Wednesday, and how happy I am I survived another Wednesday. Boring.]

Anyway, on a typical Wednesday I have about three hours between where I get the last kid off to school and where I have to go to school myself, after which the entire day is chock-full of dance, scouts, and activity days, necessitating a ridiculous amount of hoops to hop through to ensure each child is where they are supposed to be. At the right time, even! It’s asking a lot. 

On Sunday, then, when they passed around the sign-up for the Bishop’s Storehouse, I honestly do not know what possessed me to commit to helping on Wednesday morning. In the spirit of I-don’t-think-I-have-anything-else-going-on, I somehow forgot I still had five drawings to do for my sketchbook, along with two other finished drawings of a still life located in the classroom. I had planned on using my Wednesday morning to go to the studio and get a handle on them while I still could.

I noticed the slip of paper in my scriptures on Tuesday. Tomorrow? I thought. What was I thinking? When will I be able to finish those drawings if not Wednesday morning?

I was mad at myself for committing when I didn’t have the time. Now I would either have to flake out on the Storehouse assignment or not have time to do my homework–both options were distasteful. However (what’s that old hymn?)–“God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform.”

I have a testimony of service, especially of its load-lightening qualities. I knew if I went to the Storehouse I would have a lighter load. I got myself together as best as was possible (skipped showering and other non-essentials) and headed over to the Storehouse as soon as child #4 was on the bus. Everything was in full swing, since I had come late due to the school bus schedule. I helped a couple of brethren from my stake prepare a pallet of goods to be shipped to South Tacoma. We finished in 20 minutes.

I went to sign out, then, feeling bad I hadn’t been able to be there right on time and thus help more. Just as I was doing so, a lady asked if I wanted to stock shelves. “Of course,” I said. “Point me in the right direction and I’ll do it.”

Turns out, the lady filling the produce orders needed some help with the lifting. She was the sister missionary in charge and had fallen off a ladder (17 feet!) previously and hurt her shoulder. I hefted boxes and weighed oranges and broccoli. I counted out cantaloupes and cauliflower. We got it done.

I was there only an hour total, but I learned some things I needed to know.

Due to some changing circumstances in my life, I’m no longer going to be able to be a stay-at-home mom. This terrifies me. I’m not afraid of work, but I haven’t been out in the workforce for over ten years. Just the “getting a job” part scares me spitless. Working in the storehouse reminded me that I’m a good worker. I can take instruction. I can do things quickly and efficiently.

I also remembered how much I like work. It’s not that I haven’t worked (as any stay-at-home mom could tell you), but it’s a different kind of work when you are at home. A never-ending kind of work. People are always eating and wearing clothes and other annoying habits like that, so there’s never a ‘done’. At a job, you actually finish things. Then you move on. I like that; I’m excited for it.

Finally, I learned something I already knew, but apparently needed to be reminded of: the Lord will take care of me. When I put Him first, even when it seems impossible, He is able to make things fit–even if it’s making the day expand so there is room enough to both go to the Storehouse and finish my homework.

I’m so blessed.

Run away! Run away!

16 10 2010

Whenever I hear the word ‘retreat’, I am bodily injected into that scene from The Holy Grail when the rabbits are attacking (or is it the part where farm animals are being catapulted? I forget) and the knights are yelling at each other, “Run away! Run away!”

Okay, so it isn’t really bodily, but I always think of it. Always. Even last week, when I went to the [cue music] . . .

Northwest Writers’ Retreat.

Think of it: the ocean in front of you, trees behind you, and writers all around you. Add to that (and I say this with the knowledge you all know how desperately I love my children) two nights taking care of only myself. Pretty much heavenly.

I look forward to this retreat (run away! run away!) every year. It’s a time for me to be alone, to think, to fill my cup. It’s a time for me to talk to other writers, to listen to ideas, and to get ideas of my own. This year, it was also time for me to meet one of my favorite authors ever.

Janette Rallison.

Did you hear me? JANETTE RALLISON.

I first read one of her books, oh, probably eight years ago. I liked it.


To steal from Rainbow, I didn’t just like it, I lo-o-oved it.

Ever since, I have followed (and I mean that in the least-creepy form of the word) Janette’s career online, reading all her books as soon as I could possibly get my hands on them after they were published.

I’m sure you can imagine my ecstasy when I found out she was presenting at my retreat.

It was pretty much a dream come true for me.

Her presentations were great, the classes were wonderful, and I had a fabulous time.

Look at all these amazing ladies. How could I not?

And I’ll let you in on a little secret: Janette’s taller than she looks online. She’s also just as hilarious as her books are.

Until next year . . .

Facebook is Killing My Blog

16 10 2010

I talked to my mom on the phone today and felt guilty.

See, I update my Facebook status every day or two, depending on if I can think of anything entertaining to say. When I go to update my blog, I think, “Shoot, I just said that on Facebook. Except shorter.”

But my mom doesn’t do that Facebook stuff.

She deserves to know what’s going on, don’t you think? Yeah, me too.

So, it’s good-bye Facebook and hello blog.

(Well, maybe not “Good-bye” entirely. But cutbacks are certainly in order.)

The Fourth First Day of School

10 10 2010

You asked for this, remember? Well, my mom and Niki did, anyway. It’s me, with my backpack and minivan, with my greasy hair and tired eyes, on my first day of school. (Obviously, I have done away with trying to make a good impression.)

Phew. I can’t believe I haven’t blogged in a month. I’m only taking one class this quarter, a basic drawing class, and I’m way more busy and stressed out with it than I was taking two classes during spring quarter.

One thing that has partially possessed me the past few weeks is my art portfoilo bag. It isn’t important, but sometimes I obsess about unimportant things. I debated about buying one of those big black portfolios, but then I thought, “Why don’t I make one?”

Thus commenced the drawing of plans:

And then sewing on the piping (which took years) and figuring out the pockets:

That’s the inside. Here’s the other half of the inside:

And the outside:

There are a few things I would do differently if there were to be a next time (which I’m sure there won’t–how many art portfolios does a person need, anyway?), but overall I’m happy with it.

I am re-committing to blogging! I just had to get that darn art-portfolio-monkey off my back . . .