Welcome to YAAK Adventures


Live Richly, Live Free. Embrace All The Blessings From Our Creator and Marvel in His Creation.

Monday, January 31, 2011

You Did What?!

me on top the world
Archer, the trail leader

Here is the top. Do you see Art Dog in the tree shelter?

Art Dog and The Girls Hiking Upward

Elasta Woman and I by "Avalanche Area"
Even I questioned my own sanity when I agreed to snow shoe up Mount Steele with my friend, Elasta Woman, and then snowboard down it.
It was something we'd wanted to do together for a long time, but when it really came down to it, I had no idea if it was something I was even capable of. Much less, when she called that morning to tell me her thermometer was registering -18 BELOW ZERO! By now Archer and Art Dog had joined in on the adventure and were about ready for departure. With a stiff upper lip, I told her I'd meet her at my mail box at 8:30am. I had gotten up with a lot of fears and doubts, but that's when I sat down and turned to the verse that said "cast not away your confidence, for it holds great recompense of reward". Then I knew that I needed to go with an attitude that said "I CAN".
Hiking up wasn't as bad as I thought, but that was only the first 10 feet up the trail and I had stopped about 5 times to fix my snow shoes.
I felt haphazardly dressed. I don't have all that fancy gear that the pros have. Instead of high tech light weight long underwear, I was wearing my black polyester pajamas. Over that was my $2 heavy, rummage sale sweat shirt. Instead of extra warm light weight boots, I was wearing my hiking shoes with 2 pairs of socks. I just didn't know if I could fit boots and snow snow shoes in my backpack on the way down. Instead of a high tech coat, I was wearing a clearance $30 down one I found many years ago. My glasses fogged up and crystallized so I had to make the entire trek with my naked eyes, which was a bit unnerving. I could go on, but you get the picture. This was no professional group here. Just some people who wanted to see if they could do it.

The first 1/3 of the journey was not too eventful. Elasta Woman fell down a few times, as she was wearing my husbands big snow shoes. The boys waited for us often. A couple of times a big spring area caused a 2-3 foot drop to gravel in the trail. Otherwise, we trudged on......
When we got to the "avalanche area" I was really feeling like a pro. I hammed it up for a few pics, though I was feeling pretty sore and glad it was almost over. I thought I remembered the open area as "almost there".
Suddenly it started getting really really steep and it was hard to keep going up. Just to make one step, I had to plunge my snowboard into the powder and pull myself forward. It was painstaking at the least. I kept telling myself that it wasn't much further. Before long, I had to begin telling my legs to move, purposefully willing one in front of the other. I was glad, though, because I hadn't been able to feel my big toe for a long time, and it finally seemed to be loosening up.
I was wet with sweat from head to toe despite the subzero temps. Long ago my coat had been tied to my back pack. I just couldn't stomach the idea of getting up that far and not going to the top. I tried to remember the sermon I'd heard about "attitude" on Sunday. I also had to remind myself that Archer is the fittest 19 year old I know. Art Dog, tough as nails, all muscle and no fat, can keep up with any man. Elasta Woman is probably 15 years younger. She has one of those tall, lean frames that was meant for athletics. Then there's me. I guess I have to give myself some credit here :-) I'll get up there. It just will take me longer, no big deal.

Once we reached the top, I thought it would be all hamming it up for photos and lunch and gloating. Once we reached the top, a bitter cold wind ripped through us like no tomorrow.
We tried to get our food out, but when we took off our gloves, our fingers instantly hurt and numbed. Soon the sweat on my body froze into a glaze (or so it felt). I dove into a hole surrounding the only tree and tried to eat a few more bites in there. Elasta Woman couldn't feel her toes. She got worried and said she was getting out of there as fast as she could. We climbed out of the hole and tried to change shoes. Elasta woman put her cross country ski shoes on. It was around then she told me she'd never down hill skied (or snow boarded) a day in her life. I knew she was tough though. I had a hard time getting my boots changed over with all the lacing, but donning a snowboard felt good to me.

I plunged down the mountain screaming wildly. Elasta Woman sat on her skis flying down in a ball like a banshee.....It was like one of those cartoons where you see a big snowball with arms and poles sticking out. The powder seemed to surround her so you couldn't see all of her. It occurred to me that packing cross country skis up a mountain was probably not a good idea.
I, on the other hand, suddenly felt like I was really alive. On the heel edge of my board, I navigated the mountain feeling like I owned it. "Carve!" my son yelled. I wasn't sure about carving in powder, but I figured I'd try....... Next thing I knew I was buried in powder. When I tried getting up, I remembered how hard it is to squirm out of powder wearing a board and loaded pack. I was REALLY GLAD for my new goal of 365 days of sit ups. I think it helped allot.
Elasta woman wanted to stick to the trail, but Archer insisted I take another steep plunge. I worried about her, but he assured me we'd be able to see her. Again that Euphoria took over as I flew....... After that, we all stuck together and made our way down the rest of the mountain. It was hard. We were tired, but the incredible feeling never left us.......
After a quick visit at Mist and Firey's place, we headed home to my beckoning Hot Tub. I sat in there with a grapefruit and recounted an embellished version to my husband.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Working Mom Blues and The Birthday Princess

Yaak Photos generously provided by D. Wrey

Every so often, something good happens that restores my faith in humanity, despite its checkered past. Today was one of those days. I had been dreading my birthday today ever since I agreed to work. My pessimistic side had convinced me that nobody would care or remember and that I would end up feeling sorry for myself for days afterward. This idea, though absurd, seemed rather depressing to me and with the sense of emotional foreboding, anxiety began to set in.
This theory began to be challenged by The Sock Fashion Expert, who planned on making me the grandest cake I’d ever seen. It was challenged again when the off going nurse left me a note with a “Happy Birthday” Orange. After that some co-workers threatened to sing to me. I felt a little less pessimistic.
In the morning, my husband gave me a big “Happy Birthday” with lots of kisses and insisted on making me some kind of breakfast even though I didn’t want any. After that he woke me up with another Happy Birthday. My mom called. When I got to work, a beautiful bunch of flowers were awaiting me from my wonderful man. Before I could even see them, the day staff was wishing me Birthday greetings and my sister called having her little ones do the same. Here I was putting my shoes on in the locker room and my sweet little nieces were on the phone. At the same time my husband was ringing in to see if I got the flowers. I was beginning to feel like a birthday princess. Somebody brought good coffee. Another dear nurse bought me an ICE CREAM CAKE! As I went in to take care of a patient, I came out to find a “Happy Birthday orange, apple and magazines” with a note from my boss. Beside it was a little pack of coffee with a note from somebody else.
I’m really beginning to feel like a birthday celebrity. BTW, my husband marked the days on the calendar for our special get away together……..
In India, Pastor Clement distributed sweets to the orphans in honor of my birthday, and in Face Book World, many sent their greetings.........
Silly me. Do any of you ever get an idea of how something is going to be ahead of time and then discover that its nothing like the sour way you thought it might be?
Your Humbled and Papered  Birthday Bloggie Buddy

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Working Mom Blues and The "Chewing Bum"

After our Ski Outing, Sock Fashion Expert watched Baby so Mist and I could soak in the Hot Tub

Me-Dolphin goddess-Mist and company Mist's first time out since she had the baby - can you see her cute little package on front? What can happen to my living room on any given day........

The other day, Moonbeam informed me that she was going to go "potty". I was rather pleased and surprised, because thus far, she has wanted NOTHING to do with her potty frog in the way of potty training. She proceeded to place her potty frog inside her Barbie tent...."okay" i thought... "this looks promising".............
After that she stripped down to buck naked...... (another good sign)...... Her tent became very quiet and she eventually came out furiously chewing on something. I asked her what she was chewing. She told me "chewing bum" which I assumed was "gum". The only problem was she didn't have any access to gum...............
I stopped what I was doing on the computer and looked inside the tent. The potty frog was sadly empty, but she had peed on top of her pile of clothes. Then I asked her if I could see her gum. It was a wad of toilet paper..........................ewwww!!
I started another couple of shifts today. Since my birthday is tomorrow during my stretch of 12 hr nights, The Sock Fashion Expert made me a decadent 4 layer chocolate and whipped cream cake yesterday. It was so beautiful!! My husband and the Archer were gone all day helping his brother cut wood, but they made it home for the party that evening. I was excited that the swim wear of my dreams package arrived in time for the festivities. The other gift was Super Catman's beloved box cutter which he graciously bequeathed me wrapped in crumpled newspaper. Can't wait to wear my new swim wear on my birthday/Christmas gift outing. My husband promised to take me on a greatly anticipated surprise outing. All I know is that it involves a hot spring. I can barely stand the anticipation, but he won't let me ask any questions about where or when it will happen. The suspense is almost too much to bear!! We haven't gone anywhere alone for the night since I rented a house boat for our anniversary 6 or 7 years ago.
On Sunday The Archer, The Sock Fashion Expert and Super Catman sang "Strong Tower" in church while SFE played her guitar. It was outstanding. I recorded it but after uploading the video to blogger for 4-5 hours I abandoned the attempt...........
Today I took the younger two on a walk before my shift. I pulled Miss Moona in the sled while Super Catman decided to walk the opposite way of the loop and meet up with me. Upon meeting up with him, he agreed to pull the sled upon informing me that he would convert "to a snow leopard" for the task. He named three other types of cat that he could also convert to should the need arise. I was surprised an amazed at these new super powers and encouraged the snow leopard to pull the sled as far as he wanted to which ended up to be halfway up our drive way. He really worked at it pulling on his hands and feet, sliding backward as he clawed his way up the slippery slope. I almost felt guilty, except that I was an arms distance away from the sled the entire time and I figured that the exercise was probably good for him. Little boys need to feel manly and super human even at eight.................

Thursday, January 20, 2011

God Bless The Sandman

Top of Our Driveway

Middle part of our driveway. (Bottom part curves around and down to meet the road.)

After 2 - 12 hour Emergency Room night shifts under a full moon, and a grocery / errand run, at noon yesterday, I woke up at the bottom of our drive way with the sick realization that I would be scaling it. Armed with 4 bags of groceries, I began the adventurous ascent. I'd only fallen down it once on the way down the day before and I was hopeful that I could do it today fall free.
Days before, my husband had discovered that the only way we were getting the chained 4wd up was to winch it, and that, in itself, was a dangerous proposition after several failed attempts.
After that, he announced to the family that all wood and groceries had to be hauled up by sweat. Rather than complaining, the kids made a game of hauling sleds full of wood up ice mountain to see who could pull the the most. It wasn't long before I was challenged and had to try the feat myself. Pulling up heavy weights on ice is quite the challenge, as there is a terrific force trying to make you slide backward. Though our drive way is the worst this year, God Bless the Sandman who came out to do the road the other day. I'm so relieved I don't have to chain up to get out of here any more........................................

In other news, check out The Sock Fashion Experts New Cooking Blog.
Also, Here's a Post on Art Dog's New Invention.
There are some other things I've been long overdue to blog about. I don't want to offend anybody, so if you're not into reading my "deep thought" sections, then STOP HERE. As I was saying, I've been long over due to talk about The Goodness of God. I don't know anybody who has seen more miraculous occurrences than me. I could talk about them till pigs fly and never be finished having stories to tell.
It seems like a majority of people have chronic or irreversible health circumstances. Some are worse off than others. Everybody has a story to tell. How we deal with those chronic conditions seems to make or break a person. People who focus on their problems tend to have those problems worse and more of them. Of course denial never helped anybody either. As much as some people believe that these chronic problems are "a gift from God", I don't hold to that either.
The Bible says in John 10:10 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." I believe that God has good plans for your life. Plans for good "with a hope and a future". If you have convinced yourself that there is nothing good ahead, there probably won't be. If you chose to believe that there are no limits with God, anything is possible. Nothing on this earth permanent. Maybe modern medicine can't change your circumstances, but God can. The Bible also says that "A Merry Heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones." If you believe that nothing but worse is ahead, the depression, alone, will kill you. If you believe that there is a hope and a future ahead, a hopeful and joyful spirit ensues and you will, indeed, have good. Your outlook on your life is very much the direction that you will find yourself headed. Confessing The Word of God over yourself is a powerful way to change your circumstances. God's word is a supernatural substance that brings the power for change into your life dramatically when you use it. Deuteronomy says that God gives us a choice and then encourages us to "chose life".
Every time I struggle, I go back to the Word and find a way to apply it to my problems. I have this awesome little book that I've carried around for years with me that I keep in my Bible. Its called "Decree" by Patricia King. She took a lot of scriptures and put them together into sections of her book regarding particular areas of life. Its super easy to take a couple of minutes and read it out loud to yourself. Here's her section on healing. It would be a great idea for you to speak this over yourself each morning. Try it for a week and see how your outlook on life changes. Try it for 2 weeks and maybe the depression won't be quite so bad. Keep on with it, finding other scriptures for other areas and you might find that some of the chronic problems you've faced weren't so chronic after all...............
DECREE - Health and Healing (taken from pg 41-43)
I praise the Lord with all that is within me and do not forget any of His benefits. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases; He redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion. Jesus satisfies my desires with good things, so that my youth is renewed like eagle's.
The Lord brings me to health and healing. He heals me and lets me enjoy abundant peace and security. The Sun of righteousness arises for me with healing in his wings, and I go out and leap like a calf released from the stall. Jesus bore my sins in his body on the cross, so that I might die to sin and live for righteousness. By his stripes I am healed. As my days are, so shall my strength be.
Jesus sent forth his word and healed me; He rescued me from the grave. When I cry out, the Lord hears me; He delivers me from all my troubles. The Lord is close to me when I am broken hearted and saves me when I am crushed in spirit. He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of love, power and of a sound mind.
At times I may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers me from them all; He protects all my bones; not one of them will be broken. I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love forever and ever.
When the Lord's servants lay hands on me I recover, and when I am sick, I call for the elders who pray over me, anointing me with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith saves me, and the Lord raises me up.
The Law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. Jesus is the Resurrection and the life. Because I believe in Him, I will live for all eternity. In Christ I live, and move and have my being.
Because I dwell in the shelter of the Most High and rest in the Shadow of the Almighty, I will say of the Lord "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Surely He will save me from the Fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He covers me with his feathers, and under His wings I find refuge; His faithfulness is my shield and rampart. I do not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at my side, ten thousand at my right hand, but they will not come near me. I will only observe with my eyes, and see the punishment of the wicked. Because I make the Most High my dwelling - even the Lord, who is my refuge - then no harm will befall me, no disaster will come near my tent. He will command his Angels concerning me to guard me in all my ways; they will lift me up in their hands, so that I will not strike my foot against a stone. I will tread upon the lion and the cobra; I will trample the great lion and the serpent. Because I love the Lord, He will rescue and protect me from all accident, harm, sickness and disease He is with me in trouble and delivers me. With long life He satisfies me and shows me His salvation.
Because I consider the poor, the Lord will deliver me in times of trouble. The Lord will protect me and keep me alive, and I shall be blessed upon the earth. He will not give me over to the desire of my enemies. The Lord will sustain me upon my sickbed; in my illness, He will restore me to health.
Scripture References: Psalm 34:17-20, 41:1-3,52:8; 103:1-3; 91; 107:20; Deuteronomy 33:25; Jeremiah 33:6; Malachi 4;2, 1 Peter 2:24, Deuteronomy 33:25; Romans 12:1; John 11:25,26; 2 Timothy 1:17; Mark 16:18; James 5:14,15

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

CSN Stores Give Away!!

Do you have any Modern Rugs in your home?Neither do i.... That's why you should leave a comment and enter to win a $45 Gift Certificate to CSN Stores telling me what you would pick if you were the lucky winner!! For another chance to win, be a blog follower, or comment you already are. For yet another chance to win, put up a link to this give away on your blog. USA only may enter. Contest begins 1/19/2011 and ends 2/2/2011. CSN Stores has a plethora of other wares including house hold items, baby, sports, outdoor to name a few. You will have no trouble finding something you want to buy :-) Thanks CSN Stores, Jamie, for your generosity to Yaak Adventures Readers!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


As the warm temperatures continued, rain pelted down for the next few days. The stubborn roads refused to melt away their thick, icy layers causing people all over the area to slide off the road. From the isolated place I'm in, somebody told me they'd heard of six alone going off on Friday but I am sure that there were a lot more than that. BlessedMom asked me on my last post how people could get to the hospital. Well, if an ambulance did make it down here, they certainly wouldn't get out without chains on in these conditions. Sometimes when the weather is good, and situation is bad, they call a helicopter.
Earlier in the week, Goat Girl totalled her car down in the city below. Elasta Woman went off on Friday. Saturday, My husband told me nobody was getting out for church. One of the neighbors tried earlier, and ended up hitting some trees so he returned home "to hunker down". He, and a few other men took some dirt out of a green house to throw on the first mile of steep road climbing out, though with 4 more miles of ice, it was only a start.
Sunday, I was beginning to feel trapped and took off on a trail through the woods for sanity if nothing else. The ice was so bad, there was no way I was going to try it for very far with Moonbeam in the back pack.
That night, I baked some lasagna and called the neighbor lady to see if she wanted to play scrabble. Just the short distance to her house on spikes was terrifying - carrying a container of lasagna with scrabble, Moonbeam and other assorted fixings. By the time I got there, I had a knot in my stomach with a terrible dread for going back on it in the dark.

On Monday, we had tried rescheduling our girls group and I didn't know if I should cancel it again. In the end, my husband had me take the chained truck down the first several miles of drive to meet up with Mist and ride with her. Super Catman begged to go along and even cried but I was too afraid to take him. I honestly didn't know if I could make it or not. I had this horrible, terrible imagination of going over a steep embankment with him shot gun. I passed 5 or 6 places where people had been dug out of the ditch. I even came upon a big fancy white 4wd truck slipped off and sunken into slush. I got out and almost fell, sliding over to it to see if anybody was in there.
When I finally made it to the mailbox, Mist was there. She could only drive 20-30 mph without sliding around. Her baby fussed and her dog nervously nudged his way up between us whining. I imagine it must have been nerve wracking for her. Despite all that, we really desperately needed a good day of encouragement and were terribly glad to see one another. Eerily, one lady called our group whose husband had headed to town and hadn't called. We all prayed for them. After hours of stories, devotions, a variety of muffins, breads, fruit and prayers, we said our good-byes and went back to meet the abominable ice monster in his lair.

The Sock Fashion Expert was waiting at home for a verdict. That night was home school movie night in a nearby city and some of her friends from camp were going to be there. She had been feeling just as stir crazy as I was and wanted in the worst way to go. I dreaded going home to tell her how terrible the roads were. I didn't want to be responsible for us getting into an accident, but I also couldn't imagine how disappointed she'd be stuck at home yet another day.
In the end, after the whole family prayed together, SFE, Archer, Super Catman and I set out with chains on the Tundra. The Archer, who never wants to go to the city, INSISTED on driving us. He drove 12 mph the entire time we were on ice. I thought I was going to go bananas, but incredibly relieved I wasn't doing the driving. I settled in with a Patrick McMannus book and relaxed. After a 2 1/2 hour drive of what normally takes an hour or a little better, we were in the city.
It was late, but we managed to run some errands and scarf down pizza before the movie began. Sock Fashion Expert wasn't long with us as she disappeared into a group of giggly girls. I chummed up with a new friend myself, which was so much fun to do and we settled in to watch "Voyage of the Dawn Treader". It was an awesome movie, and I couldn't have imagined spending the money on a better film. The actors, especially Eustace, were amazing. The adventure was thrilling. Great company, Happy Kids, and a Fabulous Film - what more could I have asked for?

The drive home was uneventful, though it was between midnight and 1am before we were hiking up our hill in the dark. At the mailbox, Archer had put the tire chains on in the damp, cold darkness with the Sock Fashion Expert assisting him. What a crazy way to have to live. On the way back, Archer could see new marks of people who had gone off the road....................

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Snuggling Kisses
My First Attempt at Crepes.

Art Dog Making Pretzels

Its been a pretty non-eventful weekend with the exception of us being stranded!! Really, its not all that bad. We stocked up as if preparing for "the big one" and settled in right before the horrible terrible sub zero temps set in. Then, suddenly, as if manic, the weather decided to snow like crazy followed by extremely warm temperatures. It all ended up in causing the road out to have a thick layer of smooth ice with a thin layer of water on top. The results - treacherous for driving, or walking on. Even my ice spikes seem to slide around on it, curtailing my running for the time being.
Yesterday was really when it all became evident. I'd gotten up before dawn to make some Martha Steward Crepes for our girls group. Actually, I'd started the batter the night before and then restarted it after spilling it all over the place. Exhausted, I'd drug myself out of bed, remembering I'd promised my friends the French dainties. After an hour or so, beautiful, paper thin crepes were rolled up with Nutella and Bananas and ready to be savored. Each of the kids woke up to them, and all had a different reaction to my new French recipe. Just when Miss Moona was dressed and ready to go, and bags were packed, I got the call. One of the husbands had been out on the road and turned around to tell her not to go. He said his vehicle was sliding sideways just trying to drive slowly. With that information, my husband didn't want me going out either, so we cancelled.
It was disappointing, since we haven't met for a long time, but better safe than sorry. Armed with determination, I packed up little bunches of crepes into tin foil and stuffed them into my back pack. After a quick devotions with the kids, and seeing them to their school, I donned some ice spikes and descended onto the treacherous road. I was glad I'd brought my ski poles to help me navigate as well.
I hiked all over delivering little foil packs of crepes to the neighbors. Most of them, being stranded as well, welcomed the crepes and the company. By the time my back pack was empty, it had been refilled with a couple of large jars of jelly I'd been gifted with and my heavy coat, as I had worked up quite a sweat! Surprisingly, I felt happy all day about the whole incident, and how well the improvising worked out.
Today, my husband told me he didn't think we would be getting out for church tomorrow. I'm wondering how long this temporary maroon is going to last. I guess I can't complain. At least the forest trails are somewhat navigable. Maybe tomorrow I'll try a longer hike. The temperature outside feels so good, almost like spring, but its just too icy everywhere to enjoy it much. The beastly ice drove me into the house and forced me a slave in the kitchen where I have been constructing bad (but good) feasts. Last night it was orange chicken, peas and twice baked potatoes with fizzy orange drinks. I'd never made twice baked potatoes before, so I demanded everybody sit at the table and act civilized as if we were dining on Chateaubriand or something. For lunch I made spaghetti with home made sauce and a gourmet salad. Art Dog made soft, chewy pretzels. Sock Fashion Expert has been pouring over all kinds of recipes. I fear this beastly ice may be in cahoots with Miss Belly Fat.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


AHHHHhhhh ohhhhh ahhhhh......... Oh, excuse me, I was just thinking about what a FABULOUS 5* Family Day this turned into :-)

After a long, busy night shift with abominable driving conditions, I came home to my husband who drove me up the drive way and had prepared a breakfast in bed to enjoy with me.

After a nice long nap, I got up to go snowboarding with the Fam, well all the boys anyway. Fun fun fun!! Even my husband came along while SFE watched Miss Moona. The weather was warm, and the same snow that angrily crafted such treacherous driving conditions, lovingly frosted the hillside making heavy wet marshmallow fluff to play in. It was so wonderful watching those boys (including my husband) do their crazy stunts while flying down the hill, all smiles, on their boards.

Though most of the pictures were blurred, I had fun taking them anyway. Each time I headed down, I biffed it!! I was really starting to wonder if i'd lost my feel for the elusive and hard earned carving rhythm, but I never quit trying.

Though I thought everybody would rush up the hill as fast as they could to go down again, they all seemed to already know that half the fun was seeing each other "go big" as they flew down the blustery hillside.

The Archer and My Man even tried navigating up and off of trees stumps!!! All the men of my family were hotter than snot out there ;-) It was crazy fun!!

After darkness had fully made her unwelcome appearance, we hiked out to the desolate road. My husband had the idea of trying to carve our way down the bowl part of the drive and I followed after him eagerly, never wanting the crazy fun to end. That's when it happened..... after several tough biffs in the dark, with a truck full of boys patiently waiting far below the basin, carving finally pulled her rhythm out of me once again. Probably because I wan't so hindered by the heavy snows. Oh it was rough and ungraceful, but it was still there within me after lying dormant all these long years. When I got to the bottom, the guys were patiently waiting all smiles and my husband pushed me board and all over to the oncoming truck teasing me about all my wooting...............
At home the smell of bacon welcomed us and we were to ravenously discover that our Beloved Sock Fashion Expert was waiting to make us personalized omelettes with all the fixings. There was also plenty of hot cocoa and her home made crescent rolls as well. She also had wisely turned up the hot tub. Gotta love that girl.............

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Fearsome Food Officers and The Pool Pooper

Sweet Girl with A New Hair Cut By Day,
Fearsome Food Officer By Night

I would not call our trip to the big city "uneventful" at all, by any means. It started out packed into the Suburban sitting at the mail box for an hour and a half waiting for the mail. After reading an old Martha Stewart, I couldn't take it any more and escaped outside wondering how far I'd get walking. It was a beautiful day and the sun shone over the snowy woods setting it ablaze with crystal gems. After about a mile, my family caught up with me and we were off to town. The day was half over and it was a good thing we'd rented a motel room, or we might never get half the things done we'd needed to.
It felt like we would never get there, but when we finally did, the chicks of the family voted to be dropped off at the mall. Hoping for some good "After Christmas Sales", we set our sights on the "clearance" signs. Boy were we disappointed to find that through out the city most of the clearance sales were 30% off. Rack after rack, store after store, it was just all the same. Maybe I'm just getting old, but it seems like a body could shop clearance racks and find stuff for $5 or $10 back in the day. The new $5 clearance sale is $20. I shook my head and said to a lady standing next to me "clearance sales just aren't what they used to be". She started laughing. Come to think of it, I think old people say stuff like that too. Oh dear, now I might start obsessing about being old so I'd better stop this train of thought.
Anyway, we eventually ate and made our way to the motel. I wrote all about the perils of motel rooms with a large family last year, so I will also withhold that conversation as well, and save you the agony. Sufficient to say, it was not much out of the ordinary other than the fact that I have become a "pool pooper". No, don't worry. I didn't poop in the pool. I just don't enjoy them like I used to. The first time I looked out at that big crowd of people, the idea of sharing water with all of them kind of grossed me out. Gingerly, and bravely for Super Catman's sake, I hung out there and snapped some shots of he and Miss Moona. There I was taking pictures of them sitting at the edge of the pool when Miss Moona decides to PLUNGE IN!! Shocked, I reached down and grabbed her by the hair, then the arm. Pulling her out, I felt nauseated. "How could have she jumped in and gone under right in front of me?!?" She didn't even whimper and was no worse for the wear, but I suddenly felt very exhausted and frazzled. We went over to the hot tub to warm up. A large burly Scandinavian speaking man smiled from across the tub stretching himself out proudly. Soon he was joined by another and then another. Then some Scandinavian boys joined in. Soon the hot tub was full of big burly men and boys speaking in some unknown dialect glancing over at me and Miss Moona every so often. Nervously, I looked up at the ceiling and asked Miss Moona if she would like to go back to see Daddy. "No!!" she yelled loudly "Hot UB!!" When we finally did leave the pool, it was none too soon. That next morning I took The Super Hero only. I glanced in at the pool and kept seeing random pieces of hair floating around. Some of them long, some of them short. Some were black, some were blond. Some were probably even Scandinavian. Something pink and round looking floated around on the other end. I almost didn't get in because it was just so gross, but I knew I'd feel better if I did. Upon swimming across, I discovered the floating object was a rather large pink gum ball. Despite all the unpleasnatries of the pool, I did indeed, feel better after several swims up and down the length. By the time I got to the hot tub, a Canadian Gentleman had taken up residence there. Since I spoke his native tongue, he tried to engage in several conversations all the while bossing Super Catman. Finally I'd had enough and decided that I had to be an all time party pooper of the pool.
That morning we woke up and went to church and the service was really good. Still, the clearance racks seemed to have something against me and snubbed me at every turn. I was feeling a little bit crest fallen by the time I'd reached Costco. How would I ever find Christmas presents for the rest of the family? Maybe here, I could find some stuff. We'd come across some funds for stocking up on groceries and that's just what we did. I started the store rather methodically by first hitting every sample stand. Food Officer Numeral Uno closely accompanied me, almost stepping on the back of my heels. She had made me promise not to buy any ice cream or frozen pizza while in the store and watched closely to enforce this command. I tried to distract her into looking for late Christmas presents, as I still hadn't bought any for our extended family, but she refused to budge. Now Super Catman, he would have gladly allowed any stocking up of junk food, but with the food police on the job, he didn't dare ask. I tried another distraction telling her to buy stuff to make cookies. She shot me a wary eye, but refused to be deterred. That's when I played the old "change the diaper trick". As if by cue, Miss Moonbeam told me "poo poo" and I whisked her off to the bathroom all the while chuckling gleefully. Now I would be free of her tyrannical grips!! Hurriedly, I began stuffing some grandparent type snacks into the cart. Suddenly the sky darkened and creepy music started playing from the electronics section...... uh maybe it was just a shoppers cell phone. Food Officer number one ominously appeared. She inspected my cart thoroughly. She shook her head disapprovingly at the Brussels sprouts, but allowed them since they were healthy. Miffed that I'd been evading her, she pretended not to have an opinion about the next couple of aisles.
Just when I thought stocking up was going to be easy, Food Cop number two and his force showed up. Soon the entire gang were adding opinions and food to the cart. My mind began reeling. I lost track of the money count. Kids were headed in every direction. I took some deep breaths not wanting to freak. Somebody wanted a 25 lb bag of salt. I could see 25 lbs of salt clumping up in the bag after laying on a wet mopped floor and turning the bag moldy. Visions of disastrous food over load began assaulting my brain. Moonbeam had yogurt smeared all over her face from her third yogurt sample. Somebody else wanted another giant bag of white rice. "Flour, powdered sugar, brown sugar" I have lost my ability to think. How would I ever maintain reason? Time stopped. The food police and my family began spinning around! At first I thought to send them all away complaining bitterly that I couldn't take all the over stimulation and confusion. Then I remembered that this was supposed to be fun and that we've all done without for a very long time. Everybody wanted to have an opinion and THIS SHOULD be fun for everybody. Thankfully my husband is better at math than me, so he kept track of the bags being added to the cart. Once Food Officer number 2 had secured 2 large bags of rice, the 25 lbs of salt, and 2 giant boxes of "Honey Nut Cheerios", he was content to police junk food from being added to the cart, which, I might add, he did quite well. Consequently, this is how he earned his title.
All in all, with my two eldest children around, we purchased 2 heaping carts of groceries and didn't buy any junk food at all. Now that is amazing. Despite my strong convictions to feed the kids healthy, when I go places like that, I want pizzas, burritos, prepared meals, and I would cave in and buy them too. I don't dare try putting that stuff in the cart with these kids around. People gawked at us as we pushed the two overloaded Costco shopping carts out to the trailer behind the Suburban. As "the men" loaded the trailer, Food Officer One peeled an orange for the baby. I made sandwiches from our newly acquired bounty.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Kestrel's Midnight Song Book Review

A few years ago, I was visiting with another home school mom, sitting at her table while our kids were playing together. I hadn't seen her eldest son at all that day. "He's working on a novel" she told me. A hushed awe fell over the kitchen. There are home schooling moms, and then there are home schooling moms!! She would forever live on to be one of those kind of home schooling moms that other moms could look up to!! Truly, all of her children are amazing. Looking into their eyes is like looking into deep pools of water and I can see that some day each one of them will change the world some how, that's just the kind of kids they are. Inspiring, then, even more amazing when she gave me his autographed, published copy for Christmas this year!! SELAH.....
Before I could crack the cover, The Sock Fashion Expert was devouring it and she gave it a 5 star review. She said it reminded her of Patricia St. John, who we love. When I finally pried the book away from her begrudgingly, I couldn't put it down either, and hid it when I wasn't near by for fear somebody else would start reading it - lol!! It was awesome and I have to agree one of the best novels published today that's out there. Its ASTOUNDING that JR Parker started writing it at age 15. He has a command of words that few can compare to, and depth to match. I was laughing and crying and not wanting to do much but find out what was going to happen next. Here's what I wrote for a review on Amazon :

Masterfully Written, A Tale You Can Sink Your Teeth Into!!
YOU WON'T REGRET BUYING THIS BOOK!! Its a fabulous tale that will keep you wrapped up in it until the very end. I hope he writes a sequel. The characters are compelling, the creatures are marvelous and the story has depth and truth interwoven through out it. JR Parker is sure to be one of tomorrows greatly celebrated literary icons.

You can order his book here on Amazon. Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Voracious, Virtuous Vernacular

Days and Nights melt together into some kind of colorful conglomeration and rush along, a little bit like this river. Heavy loads of school books from several subjects and grades come along to work with me to correct and to assign. I come home in a zombie like state with bags of groceries and a crate of books ready to begin yet another week. I don't know if its virtuous or voracious but it has become my vernacular these days. I stopped on my way home early Sunday Morning and took these pics. I thought it might bring some clarity to the conglomeration and it did. It is good to be alive, ambulatory and awake.
The boys have been out and about "shredding snow" and carving like fiends down lonely, frosty hill sides. They begged "oh please please come with us" and I couldn't say "no". What boys age 19, 13 and 8 want their mom along with them?! Not many these days. Though I had just come in from running my first couple of miles in the past couple of months and I was soaked in sweat, I threw caution to the wind and tagged along. The hill side was so so beautiful it almost took my breath away. Watching the three zip down the hill side full of life and energy was a splendor all in its own. It didn't matter that the climb up each time was painstaking, nor that I had pushed past my limits before I'd ever reached the top of the hill the first time, gliding down on my snowboard was like being in my 20's again. "I must do that more often" I promised myself. Carving down and even falling leaf down the side of a hill is like poetry in motion, truly an art form.
I'm really excited about our possible excursion to the big city this coming weekend. I desperately need to do some shopping. I suspect the Sock Fashion Expert may feel as desperate to shop as i do. Should we make the journey, there is sure to be tales of adventure to follow..........