Friday, July 31, 2009

BOOM! A Guest Post by Bruder

Our glass pan exploded.

No, I don't mean broke. I mean exploded. We (me and Lucy) were frying our roast on the stove- top for our Sunday dinner. Unfortunately, we forgot to thaw the roast beforehand. I also forgot that Pyrex doesn't do to well on a stove. Under ordinary circumstances, the glass would have probably just cracked, but since the roast was so cold and the pan was so hot, (as my dad explained) the two forces pushed each other apart resulting in an explosion of simply terrific proportions. Luckily, I was standing with my back towards the pan. Some of the glass landed in other rooms! So, in short, don't try putting Pyrex on a stove top and you may live a little longer.

Note from Mom: No, we do not often leave our children unattended to make Sunday roast. They've helped us with it many times and said they were ready to fly solo. We were upstairs when we felt the house shake from the blast. One more health reason to go vegetarian!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

He's a Mountain Dog.....Really

And in Olaf's younger years--here as a puppy--you'd believe it. He loved the mountains and looked so regal posing against the backdrop of the Olympics. But as he's gotten older, heavier, and arthritic, the love is gone.

After last summer's hike, when Olaf required assistance up the mountain, I thought his hiking days were surely over. Lyle apparently thought otherwise and loaded him and our trusty lab Charlie into the back of the truck for another scout hike.

This time Olaf made it up the mountain. Slowly and laboriously, but he made it. Going down, however, proved troublesome. With about a mile to go, he laid down on the trail and refused to walk another step. The leaders poked and prodded, ordered and begged, but our gentle giant just quietly panted and thumped his tail and wouldn't budge.
Using one of the leader's hiking poles, and two jackets, the men made a stretcher and hauled our mountain dog home.
This time Lyle agrees. From here on out, Olaf stays on flat ground.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ahh....The Gentle Sound of.....

...Niagara Falls. That's what we had going on yesterday.

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted a garden with a water feature. When we put in the courtyard, I thought that finally the time had come. I drug the girls along on several fountain searches. I swear I saw every fountain in Kitsap County. I wanted something a little rustic, not too formal, but fairly large.

On Thursday I was determined to find our fountain. We took a long drive out to "Fountain Paradise", as Rose called it and the girls tested each fountain. By testing, I mean they put their hands underneath, or in Cholita's case, occasionally her head. It was a hot day. Anyway, Rose was quite enamored of a fountain that featured a hobo huddled under an umbrella. It was....nice....but not quite what I was looking for.

Despite the selection offered by Fountain Paradise, I still didn't find "the one". We stopped at one other place on the way home. They had a very formal three-tiered fountain, a few tiny bubblers, and one with frogs spitting onto lily pads. Needless to say, my girls fell in love with the spitting frogs. I was about to leave when the saleslady mentioned that they had one more out in the back. It was large and fairly traditional, but made with more rustic materials. I saw it, called Lyle who was just finishing up at work, he arrived at the nursery, said he loved it, and we loaded it into the truck while the girls weeped and said good-bye to the frogs.

After much debate over the placement of the fountain (it was going into a circle---duh, put it in the center), we placed it off to the left. Lyle wanted it centered and I had the odd design inspiration that it should be off-center. Lyle said, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" and against his better judgement, leveled the ground and assembled the fountain. We stood back to have a look and I immediately thought, It should be in the center. Lyle is so very long suffering and he didn't even say I told you so, like I would have done.

So we moved the fountain--no small task, and then we filled it with water, plugged it in, and......."Wow! That's loud."
"What was did you say?"
"I said, WOW! THAT'S LOUD!"
Lyle yelled, "It makes me feel nervous. Like someone left the bathtub running."
Bruder offered, "I feel like I have to go to the bathroom."
Rose pouted and loudly said, "The guy under the umbrella was quiet!"
Cholita put her hands over her ears. "I liked the frogs!"
Lucy said, "Our garden lacks whimsy. The umbrella guy and the frogs would have given us whimsy..."

She seriously used the word "whimsy". So, I could hardly sleep that night knowing I'd created a loud, whimsy-less garden.

But the next day we added rocks and some water hyacinths and Niagara Falls was mercifully toned down to a gentle trickle.
And we planted some lovely hucherras with names like Licorice, Marmalade, and this little one--Ginger Ale. Plants with names like that have to supply some whimsy, don't you think?
And now I have my fountain garden. And I love it.

I love the backdrop of the blue-green leaves of the weeping katsura tree.

And I love how we can see it from the front garden, but can only hear it when we get a little closer--instead of at our neighbors yard a few acres away. Our whole family seems to like it. Lucy said it looks rather whimsical and even Rose deemed it acceptable. But she's found another spot in our yard that she claims is just begging for a fountain. She's thinking something along the lines of.....hobo.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Three Years Ago Today.....

We met our darling Jin Qiu Ju. We prayed that she'd be prepared to meet her forever family and our prayer was answered. What a brave little girl she was and what a brave little girl she still is.

This morning I told her it was her Gotcha' Day anniversary and she said, "Do I put the Hello Kitty outfit on again?" Well, of course. Until she can no longer squeeze into it.

It was so huge three years ago, that it's just starting to fit.

We loved her before she was even born and when we actually met her and could hug and kiss her, we were beyond smitten.

And we still are.

Happy three years together Miss Qiu. We can't imagine life without you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tree Envy on the Prairie

For some people it's shoes. For some it's electronic devices. For others it's kitchen gadgets. You know, the items that call out to you, "Buy me! You need me! You must have me!" Frankly I get bored shoe-shopping, electronic devices confuse me, and kitchen gadgets bring with them certain expectations. But, trees....ahh, there's my temptation.

I stood under this beautiful tree in a local nursery and as the branches swayed past me in the breeze, I envisioned my girls holding a tea party under its glorious canopy. Obviously my daughters, or more likely granddaughters, couldn't hold their party at the nursery; I'd have to create a tea party canopy of my own. How could I deny my posterity such a pleasure? I couldn't and later that morning numerous travelers on Viking Way unwittingly joined in the slow-moving motorcade behind the creeping (lest a branch be broken in transit) truck transporting the weeping Katsura.

The girls have named our lovely specimen Charlotte and I hope to keep her happy. Well, as happy as a weeping tree can be.

Laura Ingalls would be envious. As a matter of fact, she visited. Or maybe it was Holly Hobby, it's difficult to tell.

She ran away before I could get her name.

But I caught her on the porch. Little Cholita-on-the-Prairie I believe she's called.

And if she stays tiny long enough, she may get a tea party in a billowing tent of blue-green leaves.
Now there's a certain Maple that's calling my name....

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Perfect Rose

Our sweet girl was baptized on the 4th of July. Rose is always radiant, but when she came up out of the water, she simply glowed. I helped her slosh into the changing room and rubbed her dripping head with a towel. She whispered, "I feel so wonderful" and hugged me, leaving a wet spot on my dress. The quiet reverence of the moment reminded me of our first meetings with each of our children. Whether in a delivery room or on the 4th floor of the Lottery Hotel, each time a child entered our family, the spirit compelled us to whisper and savor the perfection of this priceless gift from God, so newly arrived from His kingdom.

After Rose's baptism, I sensed her newness once again. Our precious, feisty, exuberant child number three, as spotless as a newborn babe. A perfect Rose.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thyme Crunch

With Rose's baptism tomorrow on the 4th of July, we had family arrive to celebrate her religious rite of passage with fireworks and hot dogs. I had hoped our courtyard might look somewhat finished. The concrete stones had been colored and sealed, Bruder was dutifully (O.K., he was being paid) spread topsoil, and all I needed to do was plant thyme--eight flats of thyme with 18 plants per flat. And since I knew 144 thyme plants would never do, I cut each plant into 4 plugs, thinking we might just make it with 576.

I greatly underestimated 2 things. 1) How much thyme it takes to plant a 2,700 foot courtyard, and 2) How much time it takes to plant a 2,700 foot courtyard. I don't have enough of either.

I took this picture after about 3 hours of sweat and dirt and you can see the full flats waiting to be touched. And three more nearly full flats on the steps. Three hours to plant 2 flats. If you could see Cholita in full frame in this picture, you'd see she's holding a bag of candy--Japanese candy courtesy of Bruder to be specific--and knowing that my children were eating candy for lunch didn't help me to stay focused on the job at hand (or under foot I guess). The noises from the house also led me to believe that the necessary cleaning tasks that I'd laid out for my children were not getting done and that our house would be in shambles when the relatives arrived. Needless to say, I was forced to abandon the courtyard. But.....

someday when I have enough thyme/time, won't it be gorgeous?