Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Decorating...


I have a love/hate relationship with decorating for Christmas. In the earliest years of my career as a homemaker, I would not allow myself to decorate until December 1, which I considered the official start of Christmastime. It was hard to wait.

Now, decorating seems a lot more like work than highly anticipated fun. Still, it isn’t Christmastime without the decorations…So I pull out the bins, and have the house in a jumble for a couple of days before it is all accomplished.

And when it’s done, I feel so satisfied…because I like having decorated, as opposed to decorating.

However, I have noticed, in observing some other homes, that my decorating style lacks thematic elements.

I love and admire the themes I’ve seen in other homes. Trees with color coordinated ornaments and lights…Vintage Shiny Brite themes…Christmas Around the World with Globes of all sizes…Let it Snow…Collections of Snowmen…Ice Skates & Sleds…Hot Cocoa Stations…Tables set with Mason Jar Snowglobes…

 I have a sister who has a “Winter Woodland” theme in her living room, a “Merry & Bright” theme for her kitchen, and themes I can’t even remember for the rec room, and her bedroom!

Her bedroom!! If my bedroom has a theme, it would be “I’m Wearing Christmas Pajamas”. Of course, that’s only good when they are not in the wash.

While my sister is busy creating a Winter Woodland, and making her kitchen Merry & Bright, I realize that my decorating style is more along the lines of: “Where Shall I Put This?” Or “This Doesn’t Really Fit Anywhere, But I Got It On a Screaming Deal After Christmas Last Year”.

But that’s just a little too honest, so I am going to go with Eclectic…That’s what my style is: Eclectic…so, so Eclectic.

Usually when I start decorating, I think where I am going to put all this junk stuff? And by the end, I’ve run out of stuff and I’m wondering what to put on that last empty shelf…which is a problem I always try to solve after Christmas by purchasing some random item that is a Screaming Deal.

And so it goes each year…but in the end, it seems like Christmas to my themeless eyes, and I love it.

But understand that you might think you see a mish-mash when you look around…

Let me educate you…It’s Eclectic.

Monday, December 15, 2014

This Kid...


Exactly one week after Caitlin & Jon’s wedding, we packed up a U-haul to move This Kid to Olympia.

Jess has spent most of the last year working for State Senator Andy Hill, most recently managing his re-election campaign. Jess’ performance in that responsibility afforded him the opportunity to gain a new title…


…One that he had hoped for a few years ago when he began his employment in legislative support.

We’re quite happy for him, and proud of him! And to brag, just a little, Andy Hill’s campaign was one that was targeted by the California billionaire who wanted to see Andy defeated. This brought a million dollars into the campaign coffers as Senator Hill’s supporters determined that it should not happen.
Seattle Times picture of Jess and the Senator on Election Night.
 
My baby! Managing a million dollar campaign??!! His second win as a campaign manager for a Washington State Senate race??!!

Perhaps I should start treating him like a grown-up…

Anyway, his new position necessitated a move to Olympia -- and out of the room he had rented in Bellevue for the past 2 ½ years. He is ready to have his own place again; and I am ready to empty The Storage Unit formerly known as Dillon’s Bedroom in our home.

We packed the U-haul promptly, headed south to his home in Bellevue for the last few larger items there, and then finished the journey to his apartment in Tumwater. It didn’t take long to unload, and arrange his things.
 

 
He even has trees around his place to enjoy!
 
I took the time to put up all the Christmas d├ęcor.
 

While we were there, the Comcast guy came and before we left for dinner, he was set up with internet and TV. Home sweet home!

We celebrated over dinner at Ramblin’ Jack’s – and what a dinner!

 

And then we headed back to Lynden, feeling so content that our boy is happy, and doing what he enjoys, and comfortable in his own place.

It doesn’t get much better than that!

Friday, December 5, 2014

November 29, 2014...A Day That Will Go Down in Honcoop Family History...


 
Well, we did it.

We had a wedding 11 weeks, to the day, after Jon and Caitlin became engaged.

To be honest, prior to the engagement, not a little thought was put into the possibility that a wedding would occur in the near future. We were not bereft of ideas. But no idea became a plan or was executed until after the engagement took place.

Then we were busy with finding vintage tablecloths, gathering vintage jars and vases for flowers, making pennant banners of vintage fabrics, and filling in details along the way.

When you have a short time frame, it helps you to keep things simple. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as simple was the way Caitlin wanted to go. It just reduces the number of choices available, and that makes decisions easier.

So on Saturday morning, November 29, our family – meaning Cait’s siblings and parents – and Jon’s family – siblings, nephews, nieces and parents – gathered at the Mt. Baker Rotary building with officiant, Sean Taylor for the ceremony. It was as simple as could be. They said their ‘I do’s’, and their vows. The groom kissed the bride, and they were married! We all clapped and cheered…hugs all around.

I have to say that the bride did look fabulous, and the groom, looking pretty spiffy himself, had a big smile on his face when he saw her come down the aisle.

What a delightful ceremony! Relaxed, comfortable, with some laughs, and sweet memories…

Afterwards, the bride and groom ventured out in the cold and wind to get some pictures. The Lady in the Stone House, who helped Cait choose the fabulous dress, kindly lent her grandma’s fur coat to the Bride for the outdoor pictures. I can’t wait to see – and show off! – the pictures that the The SNAPsisters took that gorgeous, but freezing day! And -- full disclosure -- the pictures you see in this post all belong to The Lady in the Stone house, because I didn’t get any – not a one! Too busy having a good time, and that’s not all bad – especially when you have photographers amateur and professional who will share. (Check the SNAPsister's link for the wedding pictures. I'll let you know when they are up.)

 
While the Bride & Groom were gone, the last minute preparations were put in place: caterer, photo booth, cupcakes, favors for the kids.

At noon, extended family arrived to greet the newlyweds and for pictures. At 1pm, it was time for brunch.

Breakfast food is Cait’s favorite, and Hilltop Catering did a great job. The quote of the day from a lot of the menfolk was, “Every wedding should smell like bacon…” It was quite delish!

Caitlin had the brilliant idea to make favor bags for the kiddos…because she wanted the kiddos at the celebration. The wedding coloring books, crayons, finger puppets and candy were a hit…and the unlimited pictures from the photo booth didn’t hurt either. Happy kids! Oh! They were so cute! And some little girls followed the Bride everywhere…They were sure she was a real live princess!!

The grown-ups had fun with the photo booth too, and lots and lots of visiting took place. For me, it was a relaxed, enjoyable, comfortable afternoon of celebration.

Our introvert bride did a masterful job of staying engaged throughout the day…I don’t doubt that she didn’t have much left to say for the next couple of days. Fortunately, her Groom is not unaware of her introvert needs. And they were in Whistler for a few days of relaxation and rest, so she could recover from the effort.

And now, the two are one family…We are so happy for them!

And for us! We have new relatives who we enjoy, and think much of…and will look forward to getting to know better as the years go by.

A year ago at Christmastime, we didn’t even know who Jon Tuben was. Since then, we have trusted him with our daughter’s heart…and have no worries about that. They are good together.

We had a wonderful day celebrating the great things God gives us. Thanks to all who have rejoiced with us. It was a blessing!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A.W.L...Absent WITH Leave...



It’s been a long time since I have blogged, but I know that you all will be forgiving because I have the very valid excuse of being engrossed in planning a wedding.

And, yes, I have been engrossed…but not totally immersed. There have been a lot of decisions to make, and people to contact, and plans to formulate, and actions to execute. But I have not been overwhelmed, and all-consumed.

I surely hope that I won’t find out, in less than two weeks that I should have been…

The beauty of the short timeline wedding is that there are lots of things you just can’t do…no time…Scratch it off the list. Keeping things simple is a must, and it helps to keep life on track as well. We are looking forward to a happy day, but I do not feel like this event has completely taken over our lives, which is good as I would go nuts if it did.

I hope I’m not premature in these declarations.

I’ve heard that it’s not a good thing for the M.O.B. to be nuts when the wedding day arrives…or even before it arrives. Afterwards? That is the time to be nuts…and I may be then. Certainly, I will be very tired…that happy satisfied kind of tired, I hope!

In the meantime, we have squeezed in a couple of showers, in the wedding tradition. Except not exactly…My introvert, the Bride, declared in her younger years that she would never – make that NEVER, EVER -- go to a bridal shower in her honor. These festivities seemed a scene of torture to her, where the honoree was subjected to the stares of the guests as she opened their gifts, expected to make cogent comments about each one. Frivolous and silly games were played, and way too many questions were asked about dresses, and honeymoons, and future plans. Horror of horrors, she had even heard the bride questioned about the arrival of future children!

None of their business, you know! And if you are an introvert, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you’re an extrovert, you don’t get it, and you think the introvert is ungrateful for not wanting to party with you.

Extroverts: we are wrong!

Anyway, now my dear introvert IS the Bride…and her dread of such festivities did not magically disappear when that ring went on her finger.

Unfortunately, the Introvert Bride is well-loved by her families, and they were longing to shower her with love and gifts and celebrate in the best way possible.

Such a problem to have! But it was a quandary.

As a testament to their love for The Bride, they crafted casual celebrations that would keep her discomfort to a minimum. They even offered to leave the gifts unwrapped. They left the silly games off the agenda. They refrained from prying questions, and excessive expressions of attention.

As a testament of her trust and appreciation for the love they wanted to show, my Introvert Bride compromised on her NEVER, EVER and we enjoyed two lovely family parties.
 

The first was the traditionally, non-traditional Likkel Couple’s Shower. Girls in attendance buy presents for the Bride. Guys in attendance buy presents for the Groom. It was a new, and admittedly, odd concept to Jon, the Groom – but he came away with some cool stuff – not the least of which was a case of Tabasco sauce and toilet plunger.

Hmm…that sounds really bad when you say it like that.

I mean someone got him a toilet plunger…and someone else got him a case of Tabasco – but they didn’t mean for those to go together.

This isn’t getting better, is it…

Well, suffice to say he got those items and an awesome flashlight, coffee mugs, Christmas light timer, a huge cast iron frying pan for camping…Guy stuff! And now he appreciates the concept of buying for the Groom.



Caitlin got lovely kitchen and house stuff – and though Jon had suggested shop uses for some of the items, they will not be allowed anywhere near it. He got his own presents, you see.

It was a fun night of teasing, joking and much laughter.

Yesterday, it was the Honcoop’s turn. All the Honcoop girls who could make it, as well as Jon’s mom, Kay, and sister, Kat, gathered for brunch at Deb’s house.



Caitlin loves brunch, and we enjoyed the delicious food and some good visiting before she opened her gifts…many more lovely things for her kitchen and new home with Jon.

The Little Girl Cousins, Madelyn and Brielle, helped bring her gifts and take away wrapping paper, and were generally a delightful distraction from Caitlin being the center of attention.

It was another fun celebration…It doesn’t hurt so much to be loved on after all!

And now we are less than two weeks from the wedding day…All that is left to do is the last minute stuff. We have thought about it so much that we are itching to do it.

It’s going to be a happy, happy day. It won’t be perfect – but it doesn’t have to be. At the end of the day, whatever happens, Jon and Caitlin will be husband and wife…with a whole host of loving people behind them who are sharing their joy.

It’s pretty wonderful.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hear ye! Hear ye! -- In which I make an important announcement...


I haven’t written a word about an exciting development in our family this year out of respect for the parties involved.

But I really wanted to shout out that our girl had a beau…and a great guy he is!

So now that it’s official, and that great guy has declared his intention to make our girl his wife, I am pleased to announce that Caitlin will be marrying Jon Tuben this fall.

A year ago, this same girl was telling me that she didn’t know that she wanted to get married…And that was ok, though I thought it might be more lonely than she realized. I think she was so accustomed to lonely that she didn’t know the difference.

And then God brought Jon into her life! Thank you, Abby “Yente” Gavette, for introducing them. Your instinct was spot on…or divinely inspired. Or both.

Jon and Caitlin are a good match. They complement each other well, and we are so grateful to see such a good man love our daughter. It is a blessing that escapes description.

So now, we have jumped into the deep end, and are planning a wedding on a short time line. This may be more courageous than we ought be -- with a mom who values practicality too highly, and a bride that is overly introverted.

We’ll find a way…The goal is for them to get married, and that will happen even if the napkins are paper…cute paper, at least.

We started our wedding adventures with the selection of a dress. Caitlin invited our mutual friend, Tami, to advise. We like her style. We trust her to guide us…and in one fun afternoon, we found the wowser dress! Oh my! My girl is so gorgeous in it! Peach bellinis were consumed in celebration after this success and reminisces of weddings past were shared with the bride-to-be. It was a sweet afternoon, one to remember.

In the process of discovering THE dress, I was allowed to touch these:
…and rifle through them as if they were regular clothes. I was heady with such access to beauty, sparkles, lace…{sigh}…I’ve always wanted to do this, but, alas, bridal shops frown on those who come in to look without having a bride along.

I made sure to savor the moments.

And I will make sure to savor the moments to come. Despite our challenges – being highly practical and overly introverted – we will keep in the forefront the blessings that this wedding brings, and do our best to celebrate at every opportunity that God is gracious and gives us what is good for us.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Sunday Excursion in which We Pay It Forward...


 
I woke early on Sunday morning. Not ready to leave the comfort of my cocoon, I reached over for my Kindle, positioned my reading glasses to least painful position, and started in. After a while, I could tell that Randy was stirring, but I was still a little startled when he asked, “What do you think of this idea?”

Obviously, already a gorgeous day, he wondered if I would be willing to do a day trip up the North Cascades Highway, and over to the area of Washington’s Big Burn. We’ve been curious to see how some of the areas familiar to us looked after the devastation of this summer’s wildfires and subsequent mudslides.

Of course, I was in! Because: 1)No cooking all day, 2)Beautiful country to see, 3)Curiosity satisfied, 4)More reading in the car, 5) The Farmer was actually thinking about doing something other than work!

In a half-hour, we set off.

No freeways were involved in the pursuit of this day trip. On Highway 9, we stopped at the Blue Mountain Grill for our breakfast. Then on to Sedro Woolley, and there my reading stopped as the scenery is not so familiar to me, and lovely.

We enjoyed the sights all the way up to the Diablo Vista, where it is required that we stop and take a picture…to add to my collection of pictures at Diablo Vista over the years. It’s tradition!

Two young couples were standing at the fence just in front of where we parked, and as we exited the car Randy greeted them like old friends. “How are you folks today?” They giggled at his familiarity, and then came forward to ask if perhaps we might be able to help them. They were coming from the east and a few miles before the overlook, had realized that their fuel light was on. Did we have any gas that they could buy to make it to the next gas station? And did we know how far away it was?

They were slightly panicked, and sheepish, and, well, desperate. And very, very appreciative of any advice we might have.

Of course, we had no extra gas can along, and neither did anyone else around the parking lot. They were driving a Toyota, and having experience with Toyotas and fuel lights, we figured that they probably had enough gas to get back to Newhalem, 14 miles down the road. But they didn’t know how long the fuel light had been on before they noticed it.

Randy suggested that we follow them down the hill so if they ran out of gas, we could take one of them on to go get some. The road between Diablo Vista and Newhalem is not exactly a great place to have to walk to a gas station.

They were a bit incredulous that we would do this for them, but we assured them that we were willing, and happy to be of help.

What we didn’t tell them was that we knew how they felt, as we had our own experience with running out of gas in the wilderness…

Years ago, in Eastern Washington, we were on our way to camp at Sun Lakes. We were pulling a rented camping trailer, with a borrowed Blazer, and were driving through farm country. Out in the middle of fields as far as we could see, Randy says to me, “How soon to the next town?”

Say what?! This made my head swivel, and I replied, “There isn’t one…Why?”

“No reason…just curious…” Yeah, right…

He stuck to his story for a while, then admitted that we should have filled up at the last town, but he was sure we would make it…not far to go.

True, it was not far to go…However, the road we were traveling was built over what is the equivalent of monstrous molehills, so we were constantly going up…and down…Until suddenly, we only went halfway up…and then stopped…Three little kids in the car, and not a town to be seen, or even a wide spot in the road.

Fortunately, we were not traveling alone…but this was in the days before cell phones, so it took a while before my sister and brother-in-law noticed we weren’t following them anymore. A bunch of back-tracking, and then a 20 mile run to get gas, and we were back on the way to the campsite…though Randy had now committed a memory-making faux pas that will haunt him for the rest of his days. I make sure of that.

…All this to say, that we had sympathy for those worried young couples.

When we got to Newhalem, we found out there is no gas station there, and it was 14 more miles to the closest one. So, we headed down the road again. We had learned from the kids that the readout said 3 miles to empty, and knowing Toyotas as we do, we were pretty certain they would make it…But not sure enough to leave them.

Oh it was fun to see their happy faces when they pulled into the gas station in Marblemount! They were effusive in their thanks, and still a bit incredulous that we would take the time to do follow them. And they thought we were pretty smart, knowing they would make it there. They shook our hands and thanked us repeatedly.

It’s okay, kids…just paying it forward, as they said they will now do also.

We resumed our adventure through the Methow Valley where there are burned trees, and orange-brown bare land for miles and miles. There are houses standing just a short way down the road from where a pile of blackened rubble where a house once stood. It looks so random. There is evidence of burning right up to the edges of a lot of homes, ranches and orchards, singed fruit trees around the edges. Burned trees next to half-burned tress…The volume of land affected makes me think it must have looked like Hades as the fires moved through.

 
All the yellow trees on the hills have been burned. 


 
Washed out roadway...

 
Burned landscape, mud flow in front.
 
Our loop down 153 and back up 97 brought us through Pateros & Brewster, and the mighty Columbia that was an obvious boundary for the fires. We caught 20 at Okanogan to head back west. Near Loup Loup Pass we came through an area that had also suffered the flash flooding and mudslide. The road was being repaired from the wash-outs, and the houses beside the road had visible mud lines up their walls. Trouble upon trouble for those people…so sad! The rainy season is coming. One can only hope that the rains will not be so harsh as to cause another catastrophe there.
 
As we traveled west, and reached the Diablo Vista/Marblemount stretch, I told Randy that 4 times over those miles was enough for one day for me. We had to laugh…Our day had not quite gone as planned, and we were headed home much later than expected, but it was a great adventure day in our beautiful northwest. 
 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Enjoying the morning...


It was a lovely morning for a walk. In fact, I wore a jacket, which I have not done for a while, and my ears felt a little nipped by the cool as we started.
Daisie was a little uncomfortable as well. I can always tell when she is, because, every minute or so, her nose bumps my right hand asking for a treat – always the right hand because she knows the treats are in my right pocket. Anyway, if it’s wet or cold, or too hot, she seeks a lot of comfort in treats as we progress.
She’s getting kind of particular in her old age. I was a little surprised at her reluctance to get out of the house this morning.
I thought it was lovely! Cool, a little foggy, but the sun streaming.
The Farmer was already out in the field rototilling. The neighbors were also out in the field, and too far away for me to determine what field operation was underway. Two neighbors are taking out large fields, so to our east there is a lot of open ground – which should be interesting when the northeaster blows.
It was a time for pleasant reverie and contemplation…Although the heavy dew revealed that I have a leak in my boot; and there was a tiny stone in one. There was just enough room so that at each step it could roll around and be in position to pierce another spot on my foot. Two stops to stand one-legged, and shake out the boot, yielded no relief. Farm girl problems…
Not enough annoyance to try again, and not enough to keep me from thinking about the loveliness around me, the blessing of this beautiful summer, and to think thoughts of dread about the box of peaches that is crying out to be canned as soon as I get the equipment assembled.
Oh, it’s not that bad. I need to spend a little thought to remind myself how it used to be when I canned. Three little kids underfoot, needs to be attended to, refereeing to be done, training to accomplish while half-filled jars of peaches browned on the counter…3 hours of work accomplished in 6 hours of time. And now the task is optional; then it was mandatory…money must be saved! It’s so much easier now; and I’ll be glad I worked today when I eat those peaches in January.
When Daisie and I returned to the house, I got her a “toothbrush” (doggy dental chew) as is our routine. It was then that I realized that I had forgotten to feed her, or even take her out for potty this morning before I headed out to walk. No wonder she was reluctant to go! I was doing it all wrong! Daisie is very religious about our routines, and notes with her behavior (quizzical looks, quiet whining) when I have deviated from the proper order. She tried to hang back when I headed out the door, but I was oblivious. She tried to let me know that she was hungry by asking for treats every minute – but I didn’t get it.
Humans can be so obtuse! Sorry, Daisie.
Daisie may have flexibility problems, but I have discipline problems. Having a dog that can keep me on the right track is a gift that will increase in value as time passes.
Well, as long as I pay attention to her.
All in all, it was a lovely start to a Friday…and now, on to the peaches.

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)