Wednesday, July 16, 2014

This, That, and The Other

June and July have been busy months for me and my family.

Ellie came home from England and filled our ears with all she saw and did. She really loved visiting there, especially Jonathan and Rachel and dear sweet Miranda.  We have loved looking at her pictures and hearing her tales.

Hannah's favorite day of the year came the last day of June. Of course she took pictures. I made three pies that day. Ellie made the crusts having learned Rachel's secret ingredient.  WOW!  Fantastic crusts, I will not look back at my old recipe. We shared the pies with family, and the kids complained when they were all gone the next day. Hannah and Abby decided to go to the field on Saturday and picked more so that I could make another two pies.  Oh how fun to spoil the kids with fresh strawberry pie!

July 8-11 found most of our family and about 1195 others on the campus of Concordia University Wisconsin.  Higher Things is awesome and this Crucified conference was the best of the three I've attended.  Hannah says it well.

Now I'm at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.  The CCLE XIV retreat is going on.  I'm learning all sorts of things, old and new, and even attempted to share some wisdom with fellow homeschoolers.

I'll be ready for mom's and the ability to lay in the hammock and read my book.  And nap.  I'm exhausted.  All these conferences that have me going from morning till night have wore me out.  Don't they realize I'm really a lazy bum that sits all day?

August will come soon and then I'll have to feverishly plan and begin our new school year. Oh summer, where hast thou gone?  You've slipped through my fingers once again. Such is the life I'm living now. Full of worship, family, and learning.  I need to be more grateful.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Water in all the Wrong Places

Can you guess what happens to a town which sits between two lakes that are joined by a river and also has another creek running through it after copious amounts of rainfall?

Yep, there is flooding.  And it so happens that those who've lived here all their lives say it is the worst in forty odd years.  About five blocks to the west of our home the lagoon is overflowing and filling the road waist high on grown men.  Four streets surrounding the lagoon were evacuated by the Red Cross.  About five or six blocks to the east the road by the bay is covered and several houses and campgrounds are flooded.

Sunday the mayor called for help to fill sandbags and lay them.  Many citizens from our town as well as from other towns and volunteer fire departments heeded the call. David and I went and they said over 10,000 sandbags were filled.  The process of figuring out where to put them continued in earnest.

The forecast has been and continues to be rain every day.  But our dear gracious Lord has kept the rain away from us for the last three to four days.  What help that gives the people fighting the flooding.

God continue to bless the people of our town, give us grace and forgiveness, understanding and sympathy, compassion and knowledge to help one another through this trial.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rainy Saturday











Raindrops

rain
drops
drip
down
all
day
long.
drip down,
slip down,
splashing out their song.
thunder-crashing
splishing
splashing,
slipping,
dripping,
raining down
their rainy
raindrop
song.

by Helen H. Moore (1921-2005)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Abby's Adventure

This past week was a busy one for our youngest daughter Abby.  Each day she was up by 6:30 and on the road by 7 am.  She returned home each night around 6:00 pm. No, she isn't old enough to drive, but she is old enough to attend the week-long summer Pops Camp for youth string and symphony orchestra.

Her older sister Hannah attended this camp twice and loved it. Abby was quite excited to be able to participate this year.  The same guest clinician that lead the two Hannah attended, led this year's.  He is so good and makes the week quite fun for all the kids.  Abby was overwhelmed with the music the first day, but by the end of the week, she felt quite a bit more confident.

On Friday evening, parents and family, friends and interested parties attended the evening concert to hear the culmination of the week's hard work.  This is the list of songs they played:


Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song
by Brian Balmanges

Music from Brave from the Walt Disney/Pixar film BRAVE
arranged by Robert Longfield

Let It Go from Disney's Animated Feature FROZEN
Music and Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
arranged by Larry Moore

Abby and the other half day participants left the stage while the remaining strings stayed and played:

Nimrod
Edward Elgar
arranged by Mitchell Bender

Romanian Folk Dances
Dela Bartok
arranged by Deborah Baker Monday

Then all the string players left the stage and three french horns, one trombone, one saxophone, one flute, and one oboe took their place and played for us:

Quintet by Ludwig von Beethoven
Mvt. 1 allegro

Those brass players moved towards the back of the stage, up came more including percussion players as well as the all-day violins, cellos, viola, and double bass.  They played two songs:

Russian Sailors' Dance from The Red Poppy
Reinhold Gliere
arranged by Merle J. Isaac

Movements from The Firebird Suite
Igor Stravinsky
arranged by Merle J. Isaac
Danse Infernale
Bercuese and Finale

Finally, Abby and the other violinists who had left the stage first now returned to join everyone in the finale:

Overture 1812
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
arranged by J.F. Lehmeier


What a wonderful evening of music! Abby really had a nice week despite it being long days.  This was her first time ever playing with a big group and she realized how right her sister Hannah was when she told her that it is so much fun to play in a group.  Hannah enjoyed it so much that she responded with a big smile when the violin teacher, who was hers and is also Abby's, told me that if Hannah wants to come play in the concert, she certainly can.  Fortunately Hannah was not scheduled to work on Friday, so she tagged along with Abby and spent the entire day with her and the other participants, quickly sight-reading and learning her part.  Having more experience then Abby she played the entire concert and had a good time.  She also enjoyed playing these more modern pieces, especially Stravinsky, because she had just studied modern music in her music theory class this spring.


Making Memories together.  Abby already is planning on attending the next summer Pops Camp in two years. And music camp is one activity we are happy to help Abby attend.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

May's other Milestone

May was bookended with two milestones, one each for our middle and oldest.  Middle child's milestone was mentioned already.  Oldest one's is on the docket.


Hannah graduated from high school!


We hosted a party for family and friends on the evening of Memorial Day.  After much discussion, decisions were made or food, drink, and decorations.

Let's start with dessert!
Lots of cookies and cupcakes!
About two weeks before the party, Abby became my little baker.  Each day she made a double batch of cookies; chocolate chip, molasses spice, peanut butter, and oatmeal.  I made two double batches of caramel bars.  Yep, that means 192 bars of temptation, which I was able to resist this time.

The week before the party Hannah had finished her college classes and she joined Abby in baking.  Over two days they baked double batches of cupcakes: chocolate chip cookie dough, raspberry white chocolate, and lemon.  Then one day Hannah, Abby, and Ellie used a huge batch of buttercream frosting I had whipped for them and began decorating the cupcakes fangirl like:

Sherlock,


Dr. Who,


and Lord of the Rings.

The rest of the food was easy since we had Pizza Ranch cater pizza and chicken.  Of course it wouldn't be Hannah's graduation party if there wasn't fruit, and plenty of it.  Mom and my sister Margie, who had come up for the week to help, spent the afternoon cutting pineapple and strawberries, washing grapes and blueberries and tossing them together in a big bowl for fruit salad. Add in a keg of Schell's 1919 root beer, gallons of lemonade, plus water and coffee and the food part is complete.

I handed decorating responsibilities over to Hannah.  Along with help from her sisters they made paper bunting and chains from old books as well as decorated candles, which were placed in groups of three around the flowers I bought at the store.




Hannah also decided to make a this for her card box:


Hannah had great fun finding pictures to hang for a display.

The party was lots of fun.  We were blessed with so many family and friends who made the trek out to wish Hannah congratulations.  Hannah and Ellie's best friends, Ramona and Lydia, even surprised Hannah for the weekend.  What fun it was to see her expression when she arrived home from work and there in her home were her best friends.  And also to surprise her were good friends, along with their brother and mother, who showed up to celebrate the night of the party.

Much planning, much fun, much to remember.
Congratulations Hannah!
Our first high school graduate!

Monday, June 09, 2014

E is for . . .

Ellie



and also for England.


And today is the first day that E is for Ellie in England!

Her overnight flight landed around six am central standard time.  Barring no problems in customs (ahem), she should have made it through security and found Jonathan, Rachel, and Miranda waiting to greet her. Together they should have boarded the bus bound for Cambridge.

For three weeks Ellie will experience life in England. We will all live vicariously through her and will pester, I mean, patiently wait for posts all about her adventures.

Enjoy England dearest Ellie!

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Milestone in the Month of May

My mom flew in for a week's visit the last Monday in April.  This was the first time she had been to our home for a year and a half and we were all happy to have her. We made the most of her week here.

She and I spring cleaned the main floor of our home.  By that I mean we took things off the walls, we washed them and the walls, dusted, vacuumed, mopped, washed windows and curtains, and each evening enjoyed each of the clean rooms.  We did one room per day and by far the dirtiest, grimiest, took-the-entire-day-and-made-us-the-most-exhausted was the kitchen.  Thankfully we tackled it first.

But the main reason Mom came to visit wasn't to help me spring clean but to be here for Nathan who received the holy body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the first time on Sunday, May 4th.


Nathan's confirmation verse:
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9


The family, including my mom and David's dad.
The confirmation certificate is from Wolfson Creative.
What joy to see a child admitted to the Holy Sacrament. God keep Nathan and all His children in the one true faith until life everlasting.

We held a dinner for family and friends in the church hall after the service.  Keeping the tradition I began with his older sisters, I let him choose the meal.  The caveat was that it had to be easy for me to fix ahead of time since we would be in the service until almost time to eat.  Nathan wavered back and forth between California tacos, enchiladas, and lasagna. Finally he decided on the tacos.  Instead of cake he chose pie.

Saturday saw mom and I not cleaning but cooking in the kitchen.  We prepared the taco meat and I made the six pie crusts.  Mom made two chocolate and two pumpkin and I made two streusel topped apple. It was all quite delicious.

Mom's return flight had her departing at 6 am Monday morning May 5th.  That meant David and I were up and driving her to the airport by 4 am. An early flight that ended a short visit which went far too quickly.  But we all enjoyed having her and I still am quite thankful she could make it and was so willing to help me tackle my spring cleaning. And we were hopeful she could return at the end of the month to help us celebrate another milestone.