Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 collage (and thoughts)



As we come to the end of the year, I'm trying to get a few things posted, decide what's for dinner, and get as much of the Relief Society newsletter done as I can. We have to get everybody up for church tomorrow (moving to the 9:00 schedule). Just normal stuff.

This was the year that I got to paint three operas and one church show, started a mural in our dining room (which I haven't made much progress on), and pretty much otherwise failed to accomplish anything else around the house that I was hoping to do. We had a great two weeks in Ohio this summer and loved spending the time with everyone. Kate misses her cousin Hazel.

Homeschooling Kate has not been going too well. We finally got her an ADOS test (after months on the waiting list), and she did get an autism spectrum diagnosis, so hopefully she'll be able to get some more specific help when we do get her back into public school. Last year was just so awful. I need to get myself on the ball and make sure she's not falling behind. I have ideas but implementing them is a struggle.

I think the hardest thing for me this year has been changing wards. I've had some moments of feeling very lonely and isolated. We're planning to start up a monthly knitting and crocheting group, so that'll be good.

I tend to be in my own head a lot, planning my next project or whatever it is that's currently interesting me. The problem is that my next project is our Korea trip, and it's eight months away and keeping me distracted for a very long time. It's been hard to focus on anything else (like, you know, Christmas, birthdays, those other little things that I need to make happen....) I've been saving my opera painting money for the trip, but other finances are going to be tight--Doug only has two classes this coming quarter, instead of four--so I may be looking for a job soon.

Doug and I got our passport renewal forms turned in this week. After months and months of poring over maps and photos and making itineraries, it was so nice to actually do something concrete, some measurable progress towards this thing that still seems so far away. We tried taking our own passport photos--we'll see if they accept them or not.

We took Andy along with us to the auditor's office when we went to turn in our renewal applications. We'd never been there before and didn't realize there would be a wait--it was set up like the DMV, where you take a number, and then they tell you when you can go to a window. Andy was having a great time watching the flashing numbers and repeating every announcement: "Now serving P742 at window five!" (rather loudly). We thought it was hilarious, but some people were getting annoyed, so we found some other things to distract him. We'll take him back again when we apply for his and Kate's passports.

I'm looking forward to 2017. I'm sure the details will surprise me. They always do.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Eight and Twelve



For a special birthday morning treat, I took the kids over to the parking garage by the library and we rode up and down in the glass elevator.



Andy was just thrilled. Kate thought it was great fun too. It goes up four floors, so it's a long enough ride to be interesting.



After lunch we went to the zoo for a while--it was raining a bit but not bad--and rode the carousel, which was awesome as well. Then we came home and had cake and presents.



Andy got more K'nex. Doug spent a large part of the evening putting the ferris wheel together. It's big! Andy at this point definitely can't do it all himself, but he'll probably want to try.



It turns out Playmobil Vikings are just the right size for the ferris wheel.

Eight and twelve are both a big deal. Kate will be going into the Young Women's organization at church, and Andy is old enough to get baptized. (We've decided to hold off on that, for a bit. I think he would have a hard time understanding what's going on.) It's a little hard to believe the years have gone so quickly. Parenting these two is certainly an adventure.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Merry Little Christmas



We had a smallish Christmas at home. I was planning to stamp wrapping paper again, but discovered that I didn't have my roll of brown paper. (I'm not sure whether I used it up or misplaced it.) Doug got us a noble fir, and Kate was very enthusiastic about decorating it. Cory and Andy have both mostly been leaving the ornaments alone this year, thankfully.



We got a set of K'nex last year, and in the past couple of months Andy has been using them a lot. (He likes following the directions in the idea book.) So we decided he needed some more.



Since it was Christmas Sunday, we had just Sacrament Meeting. It was a really lovely program. I had to get some pictures of the kids afterwards.



Andy's K'nex roller coaster is a hit.



This year's Christmas tree pizza! This one was not as pretty, but tasty.

Grandma Kathey and Aunt Kirsten got us a zoo membership (to Point Defiance). We are pretty excited about that!

I got Doug a set of leather tools (stitching chisels) that came all the way from Japan. He says they are super nice. I told him not to get me anything, since I'm saving up for a smart phone that I can use to take video on our Korea trip. He did get me some blackberry honey. Honey from my honey. Awww!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 02, 2016

Dragons at the Nativity



Kate made a nativity set to display at this year's Festival of the Nativity.    It was definitely her own unique creation--Kate's set is made up of Sculpey dragons.  She worked on it for probably a couple of weeks, off and on.  Everything turned out so cute.



She's really been developing her Sculpey skills lately. She comes up with some great detail.



I love the eggshell pieces.



You can tell this is the angel because it has a halo, and is holding a star.



Kate's set was displayed in the whimsical section, which features nativity sets of teddy bears or rubber ducks or other things, and this year a couple of very cute Lego creations. They just happened to have the perfect spot for her dragons.



Displays from another section. (No dragons.)



We took Tavah along, and she and Kate had fun checking out all the exhibits. The backdrop that Anne Marie and I painted was the centerpiece on the stage. Once they got it up there I realized that we had missed the edges. Whoops! When we were putting on the blue base coast we discussed doing the edges, decided that they should be black, and then promptly forgot about it. Ah well. If anyone noticed, they didn't say anything to me!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Nativity Painting 2016



Anne Marie and I painted this backdrop for The Festival of the Nativity. It went so much faster than last year's. That one, with all the outlines and complicated shading, took about three weeks. This one was done in three days. Whew! (This was a relief, as we're both pretty busy!).



We were given the image to enlarge and paint on the backdrop. I don't know who created it originally, but on the last day of painting I realized that the two camels on the ends are actually the same camel. We were laughing over how we didn't notice at first, even after tracing and painting both of them.

We had a little trouble when we used up some leftover black paint from last year and then started a new can, only to discover that the two blacks didn't quite match.  Anne Marie came up with some creative solutions so  we didn't have to completely go over everything.

The theme is "Star of Wonder, Star of Light."  Oooh, pretty!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Aunt Betsey's Visit



My sister Betsey came to see us! She flew in Saturday night and left Friday morning, so we had a good five solid days to spend together. We had a great time exploring and just talking and laughing together.  The kids especially enjoyed having her here. 



Finding crabs at Chambers Bay.



Yummy challa made with imported flour that Betsey can eat!



Nisqually Wildlife Refuge.  Washington in the fall can be rather soggy, but we lucked out and got some good weather.



Chambers Bay playground.



Playing Settlers of Catan (in which no one rolled a 7 the whole game!)



Point Defiance.



We hiked from the Rhododendron Garden up to the Gig Harbor viewpoint (with a few detours off the "spine trail"). I've never done that before. It was a bit muddy in places but we made it through largely without incident.



No biking, no falling.



Another Chambers Bay sunset. We could see it on the way home, so we ran down to the bay to get a picture.



Lunch at Chung Ki Wa. It was fabulous.



Tree hugging at Snake Lake.



Kate and Tavah.



Kate made these cute collars and tags for Rose and Olivia.



We had a super fun time together! We love you Betsey!