Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chia Seed

I recently received a big shipment of chia seed. It's been hard to find locally, so I ordered a bunch. It's $14/lb. and if anyone would like to purchase some, just let me know.
I still don't know how to say "click here" and it'll send you to a previous post, but if you scroll down quite a way, you'll find a previous post about chia seeds. Or email me and I'll give more info. on the many benefits of and ways to use chia.

White Elephant, Revealed

Awhile back I posted about a White Elephant party we attended. After getting a bit of response from several people, I must say that I don't feel as out of it as before. I thought I'd 'missed the memo' on the W.E. thing somewhere along the way. At the most recent party before Christmas, we were instructed to bring W.E. gifts for the kids and adults. So I scanned my home for nice but gently used items to 're gift', as I thought that was the point. I even raided my gift box of generic but new stuff and wrapped some up, thinking maybe we'd have the nicest W.E. presents to be had. But I was wrong. Very wrong. Embarrassingly wrong.
There were 32 kids' gifts. Every single one was something new. Ryley wrapped toilet paper. It was, of course, new. But because it was a Boy Scout party I let him choose what to take. Now I wish we'd stuffed a $10 bill in the core because it would've been so perfect. Thankfully I'd coached my kids on W.E. etiquette on the way there and they knew they weren't supposed to tell anyone what they brought. So as everyone was demanding to know who brought the t.p. I held my breath and wondered if my kids were listening and if they'd feel like obeying under pressure. They did awesome for a really long time. At the end, the question of the t.p. was raised again. As the laughter died down and everyone finally gave up on ever knowing, Isaac blurted out, "Ryley brought it!" He even jumped up and pointed his finger at Ryley. Everyone else was sitting. Ryley's face turned bright red and he did just as I was willing him to do: he denied it.
Anna chose to unwrap the gift she brought. Guess she didn't quite get it. Or maybe she did.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

After Eleven-and-a-Half Years, It Happened!

I read a whole book today. Start.to.finish. Really. Seriously. I am the mother of four and I actually read a book in one day. Not in a week, by spending a half-hour a day in five minute segments. I read for about 45 min. this morning. Then at about 1:30 Jeremy took the boys up to the cabin to do some stuff there. Anna and I cozied up on the couch as soon as they left. She grabbed a stack of books and I grabbed mine. I read two or three to her, then she "read" to herself for a while. Eventually she drifted off to sleep because after having a friend over to spend the night last night and not going to sleep 'til 11:30, she was wiped out. I read, uninterrupted from 2:00 until 4:30 and finished the book! Don't get me wrong, I loved having babies and toddlers for the years that I did, but while I've had a hard time being done with that phase of life, I've been looking for the bright side and trying to really enjoy where I am now. It's a contentment issue, I believe. And today was another reminder that having older kiddos is tons of fun.
Now I'm gonna go make pizza for dinner. When my guys get back from doing their guy-stuff, I'll be just pulling it from the oven. Then we'll have spritzers with our pizza and probably stay up way too late, again, playing games.
We went up to Hatcher's Pass Friday to do some sledding/snowboarding/snowshoeing. (Ryley did the boarding. He got a new one for Christmas. The kids also got snowshoes for Christmas.) It was super cold, about six degrees with a slight-yet-bitter breeze blowing, so we only stayed about an hour and a half, but it was fun.

Then on Saturday Jeremy and Ryley went to an orienteering event for Boy Scouts and Josiah and Isaac went along. They had a great time and learned a lot. It was super windy and cold, but because they're such tough guys (and because I packed piping hot soup and cocoa in thermoses:) they were fine.

Christmas Traditions

We had such a sweet, meaningful Christmas. As per tradition for our family, we spent Christmas Eve afternoon with some friends who always have a Christmas Eve Open House. I told them that I don't know what we'll do if they ever stop, as they have become tradition for us! Then we came home and began preparing our hearts and our meal. We always spend the eve of Christmas reflecting on the "true meaning of Christmas", the coming of Christ as a perfect little baby, fully God and fully man. Over the years, I've found it so hard to reflect and concentrate on this on Christmas day, with the Santa stuff, opening of presents, cookies, etc. Yet I don't want to quit with those more material traditions, as they're so much fun. So we developed the idea of having a very meaningful evening the night before, leaving out all the commercialism. We have a meal of Alaska King Crab. (yummy! It's the only time of the year we eat crab, and boy do we indulge!!) We light candles, get dressed up and enjoy our time together as a family. We talk about Christ, both when he was on earth, and now, personally, in our lives. After dinner we pull out all the yummy Christmas cookies and sit down around the Christmas tree (this year we even had a fire in the fireplace!) and Jeremy reads the Christmas story.
At the end of the evening the kids get to open one present (it's always jammies, so that Christmas morning pictures are of them in new festive duds!). Then they set out a plate of cookies for Santa, including a carrot for Rudolph, and they write their letters. Right before bed they take their stockings and set them at the ends of their beds.
This year Anna wanted to write her own letter and not be lumped in with the boys. Notice the "E" in "Dear"? I love how all my kids have added tons of horizontal lines coming out from the vertical line in the capitol "E". I think they've each done this when they've first learned to write.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Slap Fight


Have ya ever had a slap fight? I haven't. Probably 'cause I'm not a boy. This afternoon, as Anna was blissfully rearranging her kitchen area, the boys were blazing through the scene "wearing their chests" (as they used to call it when they went shirtless) and slapping the daylights out of each other. And they were laughing. Not just giggling, but belly-laughing. I don't get it.

Christmas Baking




We're almost done with our Christmas baking around here. I say "we", but really it's pretty much me who does the baking. 'Cuz I'm the mom. And that's what moms do. But the kiddos love to do the decorating of the cut-out sugar cookies.

Girlfriends


Anna had her friend Avery over the other day when she was feeling particularly outnumbered by the three boys and an extra friend who was here for the day. I love these pictures of the two of them doing each other's hair and coloring pictures together. So sweet.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Don't Let Your Young Kids Read This

We've had "the talk" with our older boys in recent years. Well, not really "THE talk" (Jeremy's had that one with only Ryley so far), but just "the talk"...the one about Santa. Of course, we've mentioned to the boys that while they now know the truth, some kids don't quite yet (including their little sister and sometimes their little brother, depending on the day). Yesterday I realized that Josiah either missed the memo or decided it was his job to set the world straight concerning Santa. He is my most serious and intense child, so I can't say this exchange really surprised me. I watched a friend's son (a buddy of Isaac's) for the day while she went to Anchorage for a pre-natal appointment. At one point of the day, Luke and Josiah were playing Legos at the same time. Luke was chatting away as they built and mentioned that he sure hoped Santa would bring him some of his own Legos on Christmas morning. "Well, Luke, ya know Santa's actually just your mom," said Josiah. "Huh? Santa's not my mom,"replied Luke, indignantly. I was just around the corner and sensed some drama on its way, so I hollered, "Josiah! Santa's not Luke's mom!" I was totally caught off guard and I didn't want to lie to either of the boys! I had to think fast. "She doesn't look anything like him!!" Luke's response has had me chuckling ever since yesterday afternoon and I don't think any comic could have had such perfect timing, inflection in his voice and punch line. Luke muttered under his breath, "Yeah. She's just pregnant, that's all."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Kids...

The kiddos asked if they could take some pictures the other day. Here's what we ended up with: Josiah mastered the art of taking a picture of himself. See how hard he's concentrating?

Ryley snapped a shot of the Dutch Babies I made for breakfast.

Isaac snuck into Anna's room and caught her napping yesterday. He especially liked the fact that she made herself a bed on the floor right by her new snowman nightlight.

White Elephant

Would someone please tell me what "White Elephant" at Christmas time means? I THOUGHT I knew, after attending so many over the years, until last night when I participated in one.

I remember well the first White Elephant party I attended as a child. I was probably seven or eight. It was at Timber-Lee Christian Center in Wisconsin where we lived for about eight years. When we finally reached the pre-determined age, the adult staff let us kids join.
I remember what building at camp we had the party. I remember that there were some weird gifts. And I remember that although I really wanted to choose the big box, I actually chose the tiny gift (because some kind soul told me that "good things come in small packages", and also I didn't want to appear as greedy as I actually was, considering this was my debut). When I ripped off the paper, I was rewarded for my selflessness by finding a pantyhose "egg" holding a $10 bill. WOWZERS!! Ten whole dollars all for myself!!
Alas, it wasn't long before the rules of the W.E. were engaged, and someone stole it from me.
And after the party, Ellie Haroldson tried to help my mom by getting us kids all bundled up for the walk home. She held up my snowsuit and called me over to her, interrupting the twirling I was doing in my beautiful Christmas dress. "Hmp!" I thought, "How could she? An adult...interrupting a child's all important play time? The nerve!!" So, I looked over at her as she called, "Sarah, come get your snowsuit on", and said, "No." Well, Ellie Haroldson was a great, patient lady and didn't paddle my behind on the spot, as I deserved. But I assume that she did talk to my mom about it later. Because the very next morning, I found myself sitting on the edge of my mom and dad's waterbed dialing Ellie's home phone number. I was shaking so much that it was hard to get the numbers all dialed, but eventually I did and the phone rang...and rang...and rang. It seemed like an eternity before she finally answered. And I apologized for my behaviour the previous night. I asked her forgiveness, which she graciously gave. What a great and memorable lesson that was. Thanks, mom, for making me do that incredibly hard thing. And I actually believe now, as a mama myself, that it hurt you more than it hurt me.

Anyway, I was wondering about the general population's view of the White Elephant gift exchange. Not so much the part about the rules, as the gift part. After I get some feedback, I'll post my reason for asking.

Christmas Tree Hunting

We went Christmas tree hunting with our dear friends the Kellers recently. We thought it would be fun to go together and at the same time, show them our newly purchased property. The kids piled on the snow machine sled that we hooked up to the four wheeler and Jane and I drove them down the 1/2 mile trail to the cabin. Everyone enjoyed hiking around in search of the perfect tree, and for the first time ever, we rested assured that the tree we chose and chopped down actually belonged to us and was ours for the taking. The guys didn't have to look over their shoulders while starting up the chainsaw. (If I knew how to really use this computer, I'd have a word to click, like "click here" which would take you my post from last year about bringing home the Christmas tree. Then that last sentence would make more sense...) We Love Ya, Kellers!!
Here's a picture of the finished product. But I know NOTHING about cameras and taking pictures. I really wanted a shot of the tree all lit up, but when I used the flash, it lit the room up so that one couldn't even see the lights on the tree. So I tried several different settings and this is the best I could do.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Was That a Compliment??

Just now as the boys were deep cleaning their rooms, I waltzed past through the dining room belting out part of a Christmas song in an annoying, opera voice. I heard Isaac remark to Josiah, "Gee...I didn't know mom could sing in that voice." To which Josiah replied, in his matter-of-fact dry-humor way, "Yeah, well mom's a lady of weird talents." I could picture them both looking at each other, shrugging their shoulders, and continuing their cleaning.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Here Ya Go, Aunt Ruthie. Here's Isaac with Chest Hair and Everything

videoMy sister has been begging for a video of a kid or two. I've never posted one before because it takes so stinkin' long for them to load, whether I'm trying to post one, or watch one. But tonight as we were getting teeth brushed and jammies on anticipating our evening reading time, Isaac bolted out of his bedroom ready to perform. I grabbed the video camera and here's what we got.