Sunday, March 19, 2017

Still March

I think spring comes in March, and I'm ready.  We're all ready.  No one is more ready than the Rooster Valley Farm School moms, dads, and grandparents who stand in a huddle waiting to sign their babies in and sign them out.  The children are too busy running and jumping in puddles to really care.  Every morning this week, someone has fallen in a puddle and had to start the school day with muddy hands or clothes.  No one seems to care.

Now that Katherine is walking back and forth from the car, it's become a real problem to get her away from the puddles and the rocks that splash so nicely.  She is NOT happy to get put back in the car for the trip home.  I think I could just put her in the fenced playground at 12 and pick her up at 3, and she would be fine.

Today was my grocery day, and I woke up to hard rain.  Good day for sleeping in.  But I had to get my taxes in the mail and so got up and headed out.  I knew how nice it would be to finally get back home and get snug in the apartment.  Right.  Up.  There.  With a fire if needed.

The main street of Snoqualmie was blocked off, even on this kind of day, and I found out later there was some kind of run.

The North Bend Post Office.  I'm so glad I didn't do this.  Someone ran into the front with a car and did a lot of damage.

On a happy note:  I've been dreading figuring out how to file income taxes since I've never done it in my life.  Mike just always did it, and it was magic.  Fortunately, Patsy, our "tax lady" from Thomaston, offered to help me.  It didn't take much persuading - none, in fact.  She and Mike had such a good relationship over many years, and he always trusted her to get it all done just right.  It was so comforting to hear her say, "Don't worry.  I'll take care of it."  An answer to prayers.

Highlights of the week.

Graysen and I saw a little group of elk waiting to cross the road last week on the way to lunch.  Emily said she called them antlers to her.  She talked about them all the way to North Bend and all the way back.  So many questions!  Why do they go across the road?  Where are they going?  What do they eat?  Where do they live?  Why are they called elk?  Why, what, where?  I do my best to answer each one, but I make up a lot of stuff too.  About mamas and daddies and babies and what they eat and living in a little homes behind the trees.  Whatever.

I wish we could have gotten a picture, but it wasn't a big enough group to stop traffic for, and they were a little distance from the car.  Mike loved so much to see them and would stop and spend so much time taking pictures of them.  As we were on the way to get the car serviced the day before he went into the hospital, we saw a herd crossing the road.  I was behind in one car and he was in front, and I wished I had been there to hear his comments.  Sweet and sad memories.

I took the girls to Dairy Freeze for ice cream Thursday.  They loved it.  Katherine didn't particularly love the ice cream but did enjoy the outing.  We went early this time to avoid a crowd and had the place to ourselves.  Sweet little girls.  I got them some hot dogs to take home for a picnic, knowing they wouldn't pay attention to eating there.  Afterwards, they sat in the red chairs and ran like crazy around the picnic tables.  Katherine, of course, found some puddles and rocks and had to be forced into the car.

Once home, we spread out a blanket and had an indoor picnic.  No interest much in the food - just the experience.  I didn't have too much expectation, especially after Katherine got up and wandered off, stepping squarely on Graysen's hot dog.  Such howls of indignation from G!  I don't blame her! Then we died laughing, thinking about how babies just walk all over our food and don't care.

St. Patrick's Day was celebrated somewhat.  On Thursday morning, I found River Dance on YouTube TV, and we had a rousing morning.  Graysen was determined to learn Irish dancing.  I told her to wait until her mother got home, and she would teach her.

This is the outfit she chose Friday for the big day.  She first had to go to the doctor and get her 4-year checkup (and shots).  She was pretty dramatic about the shots when she got home, but I don't think it bothered her too much.

And I fell yesterday.  I thought about not mentioning it, but I told Emily there is something about people when they have an accident or surgery or come through something dangerous that they need to discuss it!  I guess it's relief that they survived!  And I also knew it would get mentioned casually, and someone would say, "No one told me that!"

I've now have had one of those "I've fallen and I can't get up" moments.   A few moments actually.

I was chasing the children.  Probably shouldn't have been running, but they love it, and it's fun, and we were just getting some of the late afternoon energy out (for them - I could have just used another cup of coffee).  They were running around the island in the kitchen, and I was mainly just leaping out at them and making them scream.  Then I turned a corner, my rubber-soled shoe caught on the hardwood floor - and something happened.  I remember knowing I was going to fall, reaching to balance myself on the refrigerator, and then realizing my hand had gone between the door handle and the refrigerator - and was stuck.  I was falling one way and my hand was staying in the handle.  Ouch!  My hand got the worst of it, but it threw me off balance enough that I came down full force on my right knee.

I just lay there knowing I had broken something.  LOTS of pain.  Katherine thought it was part of the game and started to jump on me, but I told Graysen, "This is serious.  I'm really hurt.  Just wait a minute."  She went into her nursing mode and sat by my head and rubbed my hair and said all the right things.  She even took her little Auburn cup and got me some water.  Sweetest girl.  Once the pain started ebbing, I started moving everything and decided nothing was broken and could laugh about it a little.  I did have to scoot myself across to the rug and couch because I couldn't put weight on my wrist or either knee.  The girls thought that was hilarious and "rode" with me.

So I'm stiff this morning but feeling so lucky.  My hand is puffy and has a huge bruise, but my knee is okay.  I am so careful usually, especially on the stairs, because I figured if I ever fell, I would probably break something.  Now I'm so careful on the stairs, I know my neighbors think I'm 80 years old.  Two feet on each step going down.  Thank goodness the girls are old enough to manage their stairs without me - except for a little hand-holding.

So that's my week(s).  Pretty much the same.  I'll add a few pictures of the girls and their playtime.  We saw a partly sunny day and I know there are more coming soon!

This was last Saturday on the way home from getting my hair cut.

A peaceful 30 minutes before they both decided they wanted the watering can. 

I think the word she was trying to get me to understand was dirty and not juice.  

This was one afternoon at the apartment when I thought I would play sleepy music and have them rest or nap in the living room.  Not hardly!

So much energy.

This was another day and a more successful nap time.  I wonder if this is the way I sound reading this story!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

It was THAT kind of day

After school.  Shoes on the wrong feet.  Coat buttoned wrong.  Hands red and cold because she forget she had gloves in her pockets.  But she did it all herself with no help, and that's a fake sad face because she just got to go find her little sister some rocks and get a little muddier - if that's possible.  While I stood and waited and waited and got colder and wetter.

I dressed her for rain because that's what I saw out the window, but by the time we got outside it was snowing again.

Katherine can't believe it's snowing AGAIN, although I'm not sure she remembers anything else.  Her three weather words are "Wain, 'no, and coooold."

Monday, February 27, 2017

Enough Already

This snow!!

As I trudged to the car this morning after another snow fall last night (and still falling this morning), I thought about it being March in 2 days and surely this has to be the end of it.

It pretty much snowed all morning up until around noon when we left to take Graysen to school.
The roads were clear, so it was just a pretty drive.  I made sure she had on double everything plus her heaviest coat and mittens and boots and hat for playing on the playground.  Imagine our surprise when we got near the school and found out it had not even snowed there.  There were lots of over-bundled-up kids, but it was still cold.

As Kate and I headed home, the snow turned to rain, and it began to look like the end of things.

At 3:00 when I picked Graysen up, it was beginning to snow softly, but it didn't bother us.  We still stopped to talk to friends and greet the chickens.  The streets were clear, and it seemed done.  I did notice some ominous-looking clouds though.  It was good to finally be inside and shed all the wet clothing and get warm.  I didn't even look outside until about 4:30, and when I did, I was so amazed.  The street and driveway were completely covered, and the snow was coming down like a blizzard.

What used to be the driveway and street.

My poor Georgia car bravely withstanding yet another blanket.

 I think we ended up getting 4 inches in 2 hours.

The girls sort of wanted to go out and play in it, but they were just getting dry, so I talked them out of it.  They got to put one foot in it and made baby toe prints.

I texted Emily and asked how the interstate was from Issaquah, and they were just coming out of the grocery store and shocked at how much white there was in the 30 minutes they were inside.  This was just a complete surprise to everyone.

The next I heard from them, they were stranded under the overpass at our exit and unable to get up the hill to the Ridge.  Emily took this from her car.

I kept up by reading the Snoqualmie FB page and found out the Parkway had been closed - which is the only way of getting home for Emily and Ryan.  Scary.

I made the girls pancakes and was getting ready to get baths and prepare to spend the night when Emily came in first.  The snowblowers had gotten stuck behind back up traffic on the other end of town, so police cars kind of guided folks down the parkway - slowly.  I just saw pictures of so many abandoned cars along the parkway.  I guess people just decided to walk home.

This was I-90 about 9:30 p.m. - traffic at a standstill.  Poor people.  Even if they could get off at the exits, there are almost no hotels here.

Since the roads weren't that slippery, Ryan drove me home in my car and then walked back home.  By that time, I was really kind of enjoying walking in it.  If I had had on my boots and big coat, I think I would have taken a walk all by myself.  I love the quietness and the sound of the snow when you walk on it.  But I was also glad to see the warm house.  Maybe we'll have a snow day tomorrow, and I can get some extra sleep.

Not snow related, but Graysen is studying the letter P this week.  This is about the way I feel now.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Night Watch

Someone today on FB posted an article about growing up in the 50s and 60s.  I loved reading about it and how similar all our lives were back then.  Then there was the mention of the National Anthem playing when the TV stations closed down for the night, leaving nothing but static.

This made my thoughts go to a memory that I knew I needed to leave in the back of my mind or I would become a total mess.   But I had to do it, and I was right.  I just didn't know how much it would devastate me because Mike and I always treated it as a joke.

When the local radio station, WCTA in Andalusia, went off the air - I think at 10 p.m. - there was always a song that played that I've since found out was "Night Watch" and sung by Jo Stafford.  We thought it was lame and kind of mocked it at the time, if I recall.

This is an excerpt from an article by a classmate from Andalusia, Sue Wilson, in our local paper last year:  Well, it’s 10 p. m. and time to “sign off” for the night just like WCTA Radio Station did back then. I certainly remember the radio playing at our house at that hour when the lights were off with Jo Stafford’s recording of “The Night Watch,” Circa 1954. The lyrics went like this, “Bright stars are watching the world as it sleeps, Shepherds watch over the little white sheep. The lighthouse is shining for ships far at sea, As God keeps the night watch for you and for me. So sleep, sleep in peace and rest. Don’t be afraid of the darkness. All’s well far over the land and the sea, God’s keeping the night watch for you and for me.”

The whole article is good for local Andalusians, so here is the link:

Just the words brought immediate tears, but when I went to the recording of the song, I found I could only get through the first line or two.  Wow.  If I didn't know before, I now know what it is to truly grieve.

hat song was a part of our dating ritual in high school and in college when we were home.  I can't remember what my curfew was, probably 11:00, but if we were riding in the car or sitting there in front of my house or one of the places we went - Shamrock, root beer place, Dairy Queen -  we would hear that song.  I always thought it was kind of sad, but when you're young with your whole future stretching out in front of you, nothing is very sad.  Many, many times Mike would talk about who the singer was.  We didn't have Google back then, and I wasn't too interested, but the name Jo Stafford was what he settled on.  It was important to Mike to know things and know the right facts.

I'm finishing this several hours later, and the initial sadness has abated somewhat, but I know I can't hear it again - not this soon - maybe never.  The words are sweet and comforting and the thought crossed my mind to sing them to the girls as a lullaby (they don't care if you can carry a tune), but I can't do it.  

I was just mentioning to Emily and Elise yesterday that I'm a little bit stronger every day on handling the memories that just hit me all of a sudden.  I wasn't counting on this one.  

I was finishing this up and had tears in my eyes when Graysen walked over and asked why I was sad.  I tried to explain that there was a song that made me miss PopPop.  She said - with a lot of hand motions and facial expression, "I can make you happy, Mimi.  Someone died in our lives, and it makes us sad.  It hurts in our life and in our hearts (pointing to her heart).  We wish PopPop could come back and make us smile.  I think he might come back on a spaceship."  Precious girl.  What would I do without her? 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


We've had two days of sunshine - not all the time - but enough to make you have hope.  The girls and I walked to the park this morning, and they had a great time - swinging, bouncing, climbing, screaming - even a game of hide-and-seek.

Katherine is getting braver and braver and climbing faster than I can get beneath her.  She went down the slide today time after time with no one to hold onto her.  Sometimes her feet went first, and sometimes they were sideways in the air, but she was thrilled.  Graysen and a little boy played the whole time.  I don't think he spoke a word of English, and she certainly didn't speak Russian, but that didn't matter.  They were tumbling down the slide head over heels without too much conversation.  I heard her say once, "Hey, that's not funny," as she untangled herself from him.  He said beaming, "Funny!""  I don't ever have time to take pictures there but got a short video of them swinging.

We then walked over to the apartment in no hurry at all.  Graysen has been throwing rocks in the water for a long time, but Katherine is just discovering it.

The last three words "Okay, let's go" were said very optimistically and were totally unrealistic.  There was no way Katherine was going to leave that rock-throwing fun.  Graysen and I would walk away a little bit and call her, but she never even acknowledged us.  I finally went back and picked her up, and she had a fantastic little tantrum that I should have recorded.  It's impossible to get a stiff and screaming baby in a stroller if she doesn't want to bend her legs.  I finally got one leg and one arm strapped in enough to keep her from throwing herself out on the road and just travelled on with her accompanying yells.  It took the garbage truck to finally silence her, and then when we passed a couple of young guys working on a walkway, she sat up and waved and said "Hi!"  No mention of being unhappy after that.

We spent a nice day inside with one walk to the office to pick up a package and go to the mailbox.  It was too cold and windy to walk to the library, so we came home.

I think the rain should start tonight - but it will be warmer rain - and a welcome change from the past few weeks.

A few pictures from yesterday.  Graysen's 4th birthday and her school's Valentine party.  So much excitement.  There was so much going on I didn't get pictures of her gifts or her valentines, but I'll try to do that tomorrow.  On their birthdays, the teachers send home a cake with the student, and this was Graysen's.  Just looking through the box, I thought it was a big "Y", but when we opened it, I saw it was a rooster shape (for Rooster Valley Farm School).  The rocks were a big hit too.  I may have been overly excited over seeing them.  They just looked so real.  I knew they were edible, so I tasted one - and it was so good.  Rocks and roosters - there must be a connection.  Whatever - it was just a fun day.

Getting ready for school in the skirts Aunt Kathy and Uncle Alan sent them.  Graysen liked her pink one best so chose that instead of the red one.  She wore the red one with gold hearts today!

She really wanted to wear her new nightgown from Mom and Dad but was finally talked out of that!

I've found out if I let Graysen make mad/mean faces, she will crack up at herself and let me get a genuine smile.  Sometimes.  

Kate is thankfully not particular about what she wears and will let you put just about anything on her.
She will hardly ever be still though.

She loves this Mickey Mouse book from Grandma and Grandpa Bindert.

Ready to go!

Raggedy Ann legs.

Kate came home and got into bed and played and refused to nap once more.  This video is way too long, but I don't have time to edit (or really know how), so grandparents can enjoy it!

Two fun days this week and 3 more to go.  I need to pull out some new tricks for tomorrow if it's raining.