Monday, December 31, 2012

So Christmastime was great...

...I loved it, and I am sad that it is over, and I am trying not to think about how far away it is again.

From the Honcoop Family Party on the 23rd, to our own RanHonFam celebration on the 24th, dinner at Lonnie & Debbie's on Christmas Eve, to a quiet Christmas Day with Christmas movies and a turkey dinner, to the finale at the Likkel Family Party on the 26th, it was all good. Very good...

 
Dillon got a new microphone! Jess seems excited...

 
Tiffany does not want to be interviewed...imagine that!
Why does Dillon always want to interview someone?
 
Caitlin received sibling ridicule for having the largest boxes, so she did penance by doing clean up.
Also please note my left foot in the bottom left corner of the picture...
Yes, I WAS THERE.
 Better blow that one up for the photo album...
Jess, as usual, got a stack of books for Christmas...It always looks like he leaves the party with a pile of homework. Thankfully, that's not how he sees it...
Daisie got a new bed with a bolster and she loves it. So nice to have something on which to lay your head when you are reclining...What a life!
Olive gave Dillon a present by letting him catch her, and hold on to her...a rarity as usually she just barks in his face. She was full of good will...
Olive also got a new cushy pad for her crate, but was much more interested in shredding the wrapping paper as soon as it hit the floor...So helpful, that one.
And please note here, Randy's foot is in the upper center of this shot, proof also the HE WAS THERE!
 
Actually, we do have proof that we were all together...
And that was the best part of our celebration...
Everyone gathering together.
 
I can't help feeling rich -- and I'm not talking about the presents. We are blessed to be busy with many family gatherings, and to leave each one full of good memories of our time together.
 
Can't wait for next year!
 
 
 
 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Crafting Fun...


I had a delightful day of crafting this week. The Farmer was out of town again, so there were no constraints on my time as far as cooking goes…I could make a mess and leave it until the project was finished.

This always inspires me…

And I was coming off a conversation with my friend, Joan, in which she related the advice of a decorating guru who said you could decorate your house for Christmas in one hour. Be ready for company that night…

We laughed heartily…

I think it takes me one hour just to move the folding chairs, the vacuum, the other seasonal knick-knacks, and the candle collection just to GET to the Christmas decorations.

However, one point that he made stuck with me. His theory was that you focus on the high points: your entry, your mantel, and your staircase, if you have one. Apparently, these ‘cry out’ to be decorated.

And that would mean that my staircase was crying a lot – because it was conspicuously undecorated. For years, I had wrassled a lighted garland, all 30 feet of it, into place on the banister, occasionally changing out the ribbons that tied it in place. But last year, I gave up on it, and freed myself from the wrassling, and the hassling, and hoping it would all stay lighted.

A naked staircase…not good. It was starting to get to me.

Fortunately, I had a brainwave about how I could combine a large spool of red pom-pom fringe (a Goodwill treasure -- $4!) and a 30 foot long roll of burlap – which I had almost returned because I didn’t know what to do with something so long… $4 from Michaels.

It was a lot of pinning…

And a long line of stitching….


But it was simple and fun, and I think it turned out pretty well.
 

No more crying from the staircase!
 

There was much more day left, so I cut and sewed a Christmas pennant banner. These are so easy and so festive.
 
 
 

I even made a mini to hang over my retro carolers.
 

It was the kind of day I dream of having during the Christmas Season…Christmas music, crafting, cheery results. It will go down in my memory as a special day… Too many years, it never happens. In fact, my last memory of such a day, dates back to when I was sewing a wool cape and satin party dress for Caitlin’s American Girl doll. Oh, what fun!

Hope you’re enjoying some fun that thrills your heart too. Christmas anticipation…just the best!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jingle Bell Running...

Caitlin, Emily, Carol

Once again, Caitlin, with her Dickson Medical Clinic family, ran the Jingle Bell Run in Bellingham. It’s become a Christmastime tradition that I think I would miss if she decided not to run…

…But not enough to run it myself. Thankfully there is a walking option available.

Anyway, we picked up Olive so that she could join in on the fun. She was so excited and relieved to see Girl!
"Girl! Girl! I haven't seed you for ONE hour, Ithoughtyouweregoneforever!"

And the Jingle Bell Run is virtually a Dog Parade anyway…So many happy dogs, big and small, walking along…
 

And a couple of mini horses…

I’ve never seen suspenders used this way…
 

There was even a goat, but I missed getting a picture of that…And I missed getting a picture of the DMC trio running at the start. I was told they are somewhere in this…
 

They all finished well – and got interviewed about their trend-setting costumes.
 
Girl does make a pretty cute Leg Lamp! 

And then it was off to the Hilltop Restaurant, and a scrumptious late breakfast…No wonder I love this Christmas Tradition! First, a cold morning (with no rain this year!!!) outside cradling a cup of hot coffee, and festivity all around; then more deliciousness with a hot breakfast.

And I don’t have to wear a costume!

Later that afternoon, we headed to Stoney Ridge to get our tree. Jess came along for the event…He hasn’t been along for a few years now.

Of course, we headed over to the stands of cut trees – which did not have very many leaning on them anymore. I said to The Farmer, “Hmmm…We may have to go out and cut one. There aren’t many left.” He replied, “What do you mean? What is wrong with this one?” and grasped its top and pulled it from the stand. Jess helped him turn it to look for a shy side, and there wasn’t much of one…I said, “You’re right…This one looks good to me!”

Within 3 minutes of arriving at Stoney Ridge, we were in line to get the tree shaken…And Jess said: “I came along for this?!”

That’s how empty-nesters roll, kid.

Of course, then we had to go see Moses, the camel, and visit with multiple people, so we still didn’t get home for a long and cheerful hour.

Finally on Sunday, we put it up and decorated it…And Caitlin gave me a wonderful Christmas gift.  She put the lights on it for me!! I didn’t even ask her to do it…I received the gift with joyful gratitude – and mother-guilt…allowing my kid to do something I hate to do…Oh my! It’s hard to be a recipient after all those years of mothering.

But I’ll work on it…’Cause I think I’m gonna like it.

Here’s the tree in all its eclectic themed glory. I’ve seen many prettier, but that doesn’t keep me from enjoying my own random collection of ornaments, old-fashioned multi-color lights, and the wonderful scent of fir. I know that cut trees are costly – but I figure that you can’t get any other flower arrangement so large and so pretty for $50 bucks, not to mention it lasts a month…

Excuse me while I go sit in a chair and gaze upon it…

 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Olive turned 2...


Olive turned 2 on the 2nd of December – her golden birthday already. Sweet! We kept her celebration simple, so don’t feel badly that you didn’t get invited to the party…Only Daisie and The Boss and I did…

And it was short – very short…but we did have cake!
 

Olive was thrilled with her 2 bite cupcake, and it barely lasted that long.
 

Daisie got a 2 bite cupcake too, but when she snarfed it up, all the frosting ended up on the roof of her mouth. She was pushing and pulling her tongue over it trying to clear it out. I’m sure it felt like a mouthful of peanut butter does. While she was working at it, cake crumbs were cascading from her mouth onto the floor. Well, ALMOST onto the floor. Olive positioned herself under Daisie’s open mouth and cleaned up the crumbs that were falling like snowflakes from it.

Those dogs know how to have fun.

Olive also got a present from us, carefully selected to allow for optimum life span, and I am happy to report that though buzzy bee no longer has wings or a rear end, he is still mainly intact and ready for fun.  Ten days is pretty good for any toy that Olive gets!
 

We’re also very happy that in her second year, Olive has lost her taste for furniture, and is much more predictable in her frenetic activities…Still frenetic, crazy and unceasingly playful, but less destructive, and more obedient. You can see it pains her greatly to be obedient, especially when it requires holding still – but she WILL do it! A year ago, we didn’t know if that was possible.
 

In fact, we have hope that sometime in this decade, she might even sit on our laps for a while…instead of jumping up to press a toy on our face when we have finished playing, and she has not.
Seriously, she is much loved by all of us -- and so far, the love has outweighed how much she annoys us. She is a great little buddy for Caitlin, and a fair match for fighting with The Boss. She knows that she is one of us, an integral part of the family...

Oh, Olive – what would we do without you?

Daisie – don’t answer that…

Monday, December 3, 2012

Some days our walk takes longer...

...because Daisie feels she has a job to do. She caught a mole once --yes, just once --  and now feels a compelling responsibility to rid the farm of them. She is very earnest in her efforts...

It takes great concentration...and stealth...
 
 
{and then, right in the middle of the operation, the amateur videographer turns off the video...argh!}
 
Back to our special presentation....
 
And that's how it usually goes, but Daisie never gives up...Oh the elusive mole, vermin!
 
Speaking of walking, I got me some gaiters at Costco, and they have made my morning walks SO much more pleasant!
 
Now I can wear my short boots and keep my pant legs dry and my feet happy. My tall boots make blisters when I walk...hate that! The short boots are comfy, except that my pant legs drag in the wet grass, and I can't hose off the boots without drenching my legs. These are a great solution! Tough nylon, adjustable, strap to keep them under my boot and only 17 bucks!!
 
The only downside? I no longer have a legitimate excuse to skip a walk...
 
Oh well, there are too many moles left to hunt anyway!

 

Friday, November 30, 2012

I repent of whining...well, I'm TRYING to...


So the decorations are out, and I am already enjoying them, especially the lighted snowman from the front porch whose lights sparkle delightfully through the windows by the front door.

And I am properly chagrined about my whining over First World Problems. “Wah, wah, wah {imagine the nasal tone}, I have SO MANY decorations that I have to put out. It’s such hard work…Wah, wah, wah…{more nasality}.

Yeesh! What’s the matter with me?

{I’d prefer that you don’t answer THAT question. Let it be rhetorical, please.}

It may be said that I often make my own First World Problems by pressing the expectations I presume of others on my performance at the holidays. It’s my favorite time of year, and I want it to be perfect…Even though the truth of the matter is that it will be enjoyed should it fall short of perfection.

And it usually does…

But hope springs eternal! Or in this case, the monkey of perfectionism is hard to get off one’s back…even in pursuit of such trivialities as holiday d├ęcor.

It’s a sickness, I tell you.

And there is one more trial ahead – the tree. We don’t have a tree yet because in Randy Honcoop Family Tradition, one cannot be acquired until The Farmer’s Birthday passes…December 7th. Until then, it is Birthday Time, not Christmastime – at least it is to The Farmer.

I don’t mind humoring him, especially as I need some distance between decorating the house and decorating the tree. It takes a little time for the enthusiasm to rebound.

Rebound it will…I think…and we will go to Stoney Ridge Farm and try to find a beauty amongst the already cut trees so we don’t have to get down on our knees or anything strenuous like that. And it will be a nice narrow slightly sparse tree, because our children and their desires for huge bushy trees have moved out and they have their OWN house in which to put up such monsters…though I have no doubt there will be some comments on how puny my tree is.

It’s become a new tradition, complaining about Mom’s puny tree.

And compared to this, I’ll admit it will be puny…

Oh, youthful enthusiasm! Oh, the blessing of having First World Problems…as opposed to Third World Problems…

{Wait – what are Second World Problems? But I digress…}

Anyway, the decorations are up, and I’m ready to enjoy this Season of Generosity and Good Cheer…

Well, until I have to deal with the First World Problem of Baking…

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving is over, and it's time to get the Christmas decorations out...{gulp}


Well, today is the day. The Christmas decorations are coming out…A day that is a mix of anticipation and dread…

It used to be without the dread, but the older I get, the more decorating has become work instead of joy. It’s an ugly process, but I do enjoy the final result.

…but it takes a couple of days for me to get to that point.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving week. We got to host our niece, her husband and their two boys…Yes, those smart and adorable boys we had fun with when we visited Spokane. Even more fun to have them here, and greet us every morning!
Hudson & Carter

And Jess was home! Well, kinda…Since his stuff is occupying one bedroom, and our guests were occupying the others, we greeted him with a “So glad to see you!” and “Here’s your air mattress. You’re staying at Caitlin’s…” Nonetheless, we got to see a lot of him, which was wonderful. He’s in that awkward transition phase right now – going from insanely busy to not knowing what you are going to do next – but it was great to see him free of constant pressures.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving gathering with the Honcoop’s: the usual good food, good visiting, and precious little kids. Great Grandma got the old Marble Game out, and now the next generation was mesmerized by it.
Marble Game: The Next Generation

I did not join the throngs of shoppers on Black Friday, but still got a migraine, and spent the day on the couch. Fortunately, the media cooperated with my need for entertainment and broadcast the Lynden Lions semi-final football game for my viewing pleasure…And since they dominated, and won handily, it was just the right kind of entertainment!
Thank you, Root Sports...

The rest of the weekend was spent in recuperation and consumption of leftovers – and everyone headed back to normal life by Sunday night.

Monday, The Farmer headed east of the mountains for a week of meetings, and Daisie and I are here alone…Which is perfect for decorating and shopping and crafting, and watching NCIS re-runs at any time of the day.

And now it is the fateful day: the snowmen and Santa’s and all manner of glass balls and snowflakes and garlands and angels come out of hiding…But first I have to crawl into the depths of the under-the-stairs closet, stand on my head and find them…

Can’t wait.

If you don’t hear from me for a few days, direct the rescue team to the under-the-stairs closet…

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Blessed Thanksgiving to you!

"For that which I am about to receive,
may the Lord make me truly thankful...
And even more so for that which I have not received."

Oh yes, those things that I really deserved, but God, in His mercy, never gave to me...

It is a wonder!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Life goes on...


I want you to know that I haven’t been sitting around moping for the last week and a half since the election.

Pondering – yes, and I’ll admit it, occasionally with weeping and gnashing of teeth…but I have not been consumed by it.

The day of the election, I read this verse: “I am with you and I will save you,” says the Lord. “…I will not exterminate you; I will punish you, yes, you will not go unpunished.”

And also, this one: “It is better to fall into the hand of the Lord (for His mercy is great) than into the hands of men.”

Now I’m not going to equate America with Israel (these words were for them). We are far from being God’s chosen, as Israel is, but our country, after establishing itself on Biblical principles, has dishonored God’s laws in many ways, and we do deserve punishment for that. I honestly believe that if God will have mercy on us, it will be a severe mercy, and that bad times are coming. I think it will take adversity for our stomach-driven culture to remember the principles that allowed the US to become the freest nation in the world.

So now I’m trying to figure out how to be prepared for that, without having to bury coffee cans of money somewhere…

Because you know that I would never remember where they were.

And one last (I PROMISE!) thing about the election: Our son led a successful campaign and got a Republican elected in the 41st district of this blue state!! Quite an accomplishment!! We are so proud of him! Of course, he worked for a great candidate…Steve Litzow is a champion of education, and thus was attractive to voters of both parties, and was an indefatigable campaigner himself. He knocked on literally thousands of doors throughout his district to bring his agenda to the voters. I’m so happy for all of them at this success. They worked very hard to attain it!

And now if any of you know of a job opening for a hard working former campaign manager, let us know…

The last week, life has gone on. We had a busy, busy weekend full of visiting, and bazaar shopping, and football games with pizza after, and the Ivan Likkel Fam all came here for soup and bread last Sunday. Good times, good times…

We found out that Daisie’s tumor is considered a low-grade cancer, which may or may not return…a good report and we are relieved. She is back to her normal self, bugging me to go for a walk every morning as soon as it is light – and so far, we have been able to successfully disguise her antibiotics in various kinds of treats. She’s pretty savvy about hidden meds, so we are using a great variety of treats: peanut butter, cottage cheese, canned dog food, rolled up raw bacon…Oh, the things we do for this boxer!

And she’s worth every bit of it.

Now she has a little accumulation of fluid at her incision site, and so we are supposed to hot pack it 3 times daily…Ever tried to keep a hot pack on a dog? Daisie’s attitude is pretty much: “What did I do to deserve this?!” She’ll probably get to liking it about the time we don’t need to do it anymore.

The Farmer is in the midst of Meetings Season, and was gone for 3 days this past week. He is home all of next week, which is nice since it is Thanksgiving (ALREADY?) and then he will be gone again for several days.

This gives me plenty of time to indulge in Christmas shopping and holiday prep, as well as drinking coffee by the fire while watching the rain beat down outside.

Some things stay the same, thankfully, even while the world heads for hell in a handbasket…

But I said I wouldn’t talk about the election anymore…

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Well, I can't say I feel much better today...


I woke in the night thinking of Benghazi, and Israel, Iran, 16 trillion dollars of debt, and the flexibility Vladimir can now expect…

I am very sad at what our people have chosen.

And, as usual, as I look at the returns in our state races and issues, I feel like a lonely conservative in a sea of blue. How we can stray so far from the underpinnings of this great effort of liberty?

That will be an ongoing question to ponder, and pursue.

In the meantime, I intend to continue to be a patriot, in whatever way I am able…putting my hope, not in “princes” but in God who allows them their position, remembering that the greater good is that all men be free in Christ.

And that’s all I going to say about that…

…For now. Of course, I will rebound to fight another day because I still believe in this great experiment in liberty that is the United States of America.

To add to my sadness, dear Daisie is miserable with pain from her surgery. She can’t hold back pitifully weak whimpers, and doesn’t move unless she has to. This too shall pass, but she doesn’t know that…poor thing.

She does know, however, that whenever she goes to the vet, her life is crap afterward. I think that’s part of why she gets all nervous when we take her for a ride in the car. “Wait a minute! You’re making this sound fun, but are we going THERE?”

I hope we’re not going THERE too often. We will find out in a couple weeks what kind of tumor they removed: slow or aggressive. I wouldn’t have done this surgery at all if it wasn’t for the fact that this alone may give her more years. It seems our vigilance about her lumps and bumps helped us catch it early. So we’ll hope for the best.

The rest of this week will include a lot of coddling, and more creative ways to get her to take medicine…

And by then, I’ll be over the election results and she will be over being coddled, and life will go on…much the same as it did a week ago…but without political ads and phone calls.

That’s something to celebrate…

…As is the success my campaign manager son has attained – a 7 point lead in the first counts! More counts to come and they are being cautious in their optimism…but I know the boy is feeling relieved.

And so is his momma! She needed a bright spot. Thanks, Jess! We're so proud of your hard work!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Blue funk...

It's Tuesday, Election day, and I am in a blue funk.

Dear Daisie is at the vet to have a cancerous tumor removed.

I'm afraid our country might fall from the frying pan into the fire, worrying about our election of a President, a Governor, a state Senator, and legalizing stuff that shouldn't be.

Meanwhile, I need to go get groceries...As if that's important.

But it is.

I'll just note here that it's rough when your kid is a campaign manager. It reminds me of when he got called in to be the kicker for the football team in the playoffs. What you do there really matters...
it's not just a point after. It's a POINT for the win, and for going on.

Early on in his employment as campaign manager, Jess at times would be assailed with self-doubt. This mother would try to comfort him by saying, "What's the worst that could happen, anyway?"

Of course, he would reply with this succinct and obvious point, "Uh, Mom -- It could cost my boss his job."

Oh, yeah...that.

And today we will find out the answers: President, Governor, Campaign Manager success, and how much danger my dog companion might be in.

It's feeling kind of heavy.

But the truth is, tomorrow the sun will rise and set as always. God is in control. He provides for our needs. He sets kings and kingdoms into place. They are subject to His will, His plan, His power.

As am I, which would be a good thing to remember when I am in a blue funk...That -- and most of all, that He loves me.

So I'm off to get my groceries while pondering how I will be a patriot tomorrow.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Let's see...where were we?

After Shoshone Falls, we turned back to the west and went to explore the dairy country around Jerome, ID. It took a little bit of wandering for us to find the dairies, but when we did, it became apparent why this is considered dairy country!
LOTS of cows...

Great big milk tanks...

And a half a mile of locking stanchions at this place! It's a bad picture, I know, but we could not believe how long this line of stanchions was...Most of the farms just have roofs for the cows to go under, not walled barns. I am curious how they do when the weather gets cold here. They may not have the rain, but it does get cold...Wonder how much production is affected by winter weather.
 
I won't know the answer to this because we never talked to anyone...just enjoyed looking from the road. Dairying is so different than what we grew up with -- but regardless, seeing this made me miss cows. It did not affect Randy that way at all, but he felt reaffirmed in his choice of being a dirt farmer so it's all good...Except I still want a cow...or two...
 
Another poor picture, but where you see the conveyor and the trucks -- well that pile is not dirt or gravel, it is a mondo pile of sugar beets. In the Twin Falls area, there are fields and fields of sugar beets. We met many trucks hauling the beets, which are big ole white lumpy things, to be piled and then, I suppose, processed. Wish we could have learned more about that industry too.
 
But we were starting to get tired of driving every day, and the we were about to head into rainy weather, and so Randy decided that he was ready to put the pedal to the metal and get home the next day.
 
I want it to be noted that HE made the first mention of going home. I am almost always ready to go home, if I ever get away from home in the first place. But it was not I who decided this -- and frankly when I realized that meant 9 hours of driving the next day, I almost lobbied for an extra one...but then I thought of my bed, and my dog, and the 3 bathrooms available to me at any time of the night or day, and I supported the plan.
 
So we enjoyed the scenery through the rest of Idaho, and then hit rain on our way to Baker City where we stayed for the night. The next day we headed out first thing for our long day...
 
We motored through Eastern Oregon: La Grande, Pendleton, Hermiston...


 
and then crossed the Mighty Columbia into Umatilla.
 
 
I love the Mighty Columbia...
 
Then we headed up 17 through Eltopia -- love that name!-- and I think that is where we saw this:
 
At Ephrata, we caught 28, which brought us through Quincy and Wenatchee, and then it was on to 2 and Stevens Pass...where we ran into this!
...which I considered THRILLING!!! until we began to slip around a little bit. But still, harbinger of winter! Reminder of Christmas! It was exciting -- and not bad driving, just had to take it slow.
 
Then we were back to familiar territory, and it was just a matter of putting in the time to get to where we most wanted to be:
HOME! 
 
It gladdens my heart, every time!
 
As usual, a vacation is a wonderful change of pace, and fun, learning of new places, and then again, it makes you so happy at home again...
 
{contented sigh}
 
And that's where I am now, enjoying my favorite season of the year...

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)