Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Very Late Birth Notice

I'm used to watching a rush of rain water flowing down the street. It's quite another thing to watch rain water flowing UP the street - courtesy of the heavy winds we are getting today. Rain blows east and then west all within a few seconds. It doesn't know which way to go. I know the feeling.

I can't help but write about yet another coincidence I encountered last weekend. Alec had ordered an item online and had been waiting for it for several weeks. A box arrived last Friday and I put it aside, thinking it was one of the items that I had ordered, with Alec's birthday approaching. At the time, I remember thinking it was a bit big for anything I had ordered but then I forgot about it. Anyway, on Saturday, Alec tracked his package online and found that it would be delivered at 3:30 on Saturday. We all picked times that we guessed it would REALLY be delivered and when those times came and went, he was a bit disappointed. And then, I remembered that package delivery from the day before (duh!) Yes, it was his package, after all! What joy was felt in the household!

So, I was going through the newspaper that was used as packing material since I find newspapers from other places interesting. This was a newspaper from a tiny town in Minnesota, filled with Norwegian names, very much like our town (lots of Scandinavian influence here). My eyes happened to fall on a section of the paper devoted to happenings 70 years ago. And there it was ... an article saying, "Mr. & Mrs. D. Cheney were blessed with a baby boy, as reported in 'The Astorian Budget', in Astoria. Mr. Cheney is well known in our town."

I got so excited! What are the odds of this newspaper with this article being sent to someone in Astoria? Someone who actually finds these coincidences interesting? I have read a good book about the newspapers of our town's past, including "The Astorian Budget", so I know of the now-defunct paper. I got out the phone book to see if there were any Cheneys still in Astoria. There are two couples living in Tillamook, about 75 miles south of us. Tillamook is famous for the cheese produced there, lots and lots of cows, and I recommend Tillamook Swiss, it's the best! Anyway, I haven't contacted them though I'd really like to. Imagine, it could be a brother or uncle or something. If it were me, I'd want to have the article, just for historical significance. Should I call them? What would YOU do?

Thursday, January 19, 2012


There are many times I am thankful to live on a hill. This is one of those times. Apparently, in counties all around us, the rain has wreaked havoc on the landscape, causing flooding severe enough for governments to declare that overused phrase "state of emergency" wherever necessary. We are fortunate not to have all the ice and snow that our northern friends in Washington are having. I guess it's really bad up there right now. We had our snow over the weekend and, boy, did our kids have fun! Chad built a 7-foot snowman with Carmen and Alec assisting. It loomed large in our front yard and we were all sad to see the rain reduce it to a basketball-sized lump of snow. The kids' muscles were sore for several days - playing in snow is hard work, after all!

It was wonderful to watch the blizzard-like snow fall for a few days. But then the rains came, warming things up a bit. Two nights ago, it rained so hard that it flooded the rain gutter just outside my window. Sounded like the kitchen faucet running at full blast - all night long. It's amazing to watch the rain flow down the street in great sheets. We are not in danger of any mudslides, either. No, our hill is pretty well situated for this weather, as far as I know, and I am thankful.

All this cold weather has made it nice to stay in and read or play games. Our newest game was sent as a gift from Todd's sister - Apples To Apples. I have heard of this game through homeschool channels for years but never thought to buy it. We have played it a lot since Christmas. All five of us played for several hours straight on New Year's Eve. While I do get tired after awhile, I am impressed at how much our kids have learned from this game. It's all about adjectives. Some of the subjects in this mod version of the game are things I'd rather not know more about (man cave, anyone?) but even these subjects launch us into discussions about the world that we might not otherwise have.

The adjective thing, however, is what is so great (to me, anyway). Every time a child has to think of an adjective, it's a mini-grammar lesson. Painless learning. I love Mad Libs for the same reason. Carmen knows a lot more about grammar than I do, just from doing Mad Libs. She'll correct me if I give her the wrong word (an adjective instead of an adverb, for example). How cool to have your 10 year old know more grammar than you!!

On a completely different note, my extended family grew by two these past few months. A close cousin of my husband's had her first baby, Adell Rae. I love this cousin and her husband and I'm so happy for them. Adell will need heart surgery to repair a hole in her heart but it sounds like the doctors are confident the surgery will be routine. I'll be praying anyway! My oldest sister's daughter (Zana) had her second child, a boy named Thomas Marshall. What's cool about Zana's son is that his middle name is my step-dad's last name. Grandpa Marshall was the only grandpa Zana knew, since my dad died when Zana was a toddler. She was very close to my Mom and step-dad when he was alive and has honored him with this baby's name. She also named her first child Isabella Daphne, after my Mom (Daphne). I am so thrilled and proud of Zana for her decision to carry on these family names. Zana and her husband are a great couple and very much into caring for their family. It is wonderful to know these babies have been born into wonderful families that will love and care for them!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Something Funny's Going On

The day after Christmas, I heard my 13 yr old son giggling in the living room. No, actually he was guffawing. I'd never really heard anyone guffawing so I was curious as to the cause. He was reading Cristina's book "No School Today". After that, the thing snowballed. When Alec wasn't reading it, I spied Carmen curled up in the corner of the sofa, intently reading and giggling herself silly, the way 10 yr old girls do. And then Chad could be heard, laughing hysterically now and then, eventually bringing the book into the kitchen to share with me, a habit he started years ago with anything he is reading. The book stayed on the kitchen table just long enough for Todd to read a bit. Then it disappeared. I've actually been able to hold it twice, once in the photo on my last blog and two days ago, I picked it up long enough to read 3 strips but got called away to another distraction. Sigh. But that's o.k.

Because I think everyone in this family has shared nearly every comic strip with me at some point in the the last few weeks. It has been so fun, hearing my kids laughing at what they see as themselves sometimes. They are fascinated with these mini stories about homeschool kids, living a lot like we do here. And they absolutely love the cat references, perhaps because we don't have any animals outside of fish tanks. Lines from Toby and his dinosaur are also a favorite, being recited over and over, and laughed at.

Cristina's book has definitely been a highlight with our kids (thanks, Cristina AND Todd!) I'm sure I'll get to read it all someday soon ... when I can find it.

Just wait. When she comes out with Volume 2, I won't let anyone else touch it until I'm done reading it! (There's incentive for you, Cristina!)

I did, however, get to start one of Paula's books and immediately got wrapped up in the story line. Again, I didn't want to put it down but had to (chores were waiting). It's too bad life gets in the way of good reading!