Saturday, March 27, 2010

Is there anything sweeter?

Via Colton's teacher, Mrs. Munoz:

We were spelling a word at math table and the word had a 'ur' in it, and I said it was the 'ur' in nurse spelling. Alexis said, "My mom is a nurse." About three or four minutes later Colton popped up and said, "Speaking of moms....I just love my mom!" What a sweetheart! Hope that made your day. Enjoy spring break and Happy Easter!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dinner Question Snippets

Dinner question on Tuesday - tell us about your first date? Chance decided it was obviously only for the adults, but I decided to let them speculate on what their first date will be . . .

. . . Chance - you mean my second?

. . . Colton - I'll probably just take her to the movies. Maybe some ice cream. Mostly, I have NO CLUE!

Dinner question Monday - if you could teleport anywhere in the world for 90 seconds, where would you go?

. . . Chance - On the world's tallest roller coaster

. . . Colton - to California Screamin'

. . . Matt - 90 seconds straight up in a rocket

. . . Me - to see our Compassion Kids

Dinner Question Sunday - Would you want to own your own company? If so, what would it be?

. . . Chance - Yes! Create-A-Candy - you could make your own kind of candy flavors, and buy them in stores or order them on the internet (if your town wasn't large enough to support a store). You choose colors, flavors, etc.

. . . Colton - Yes! Create-A-??? - it would be really like creating anything you want. Each room would be different. Just a creating kind of company. Like one room is food. One room is robots, etc, etc, etc.

. . . Mommy - Maybe? - I know what this sort of thing really looks like. Lots of work, few benefits. But, I'll play along. Mine would be - DWOC - "D-walk" - Donuts With Out Calories. I'm pretty sure I'd be a billionaire. At least.

. . . Matt - Yes! Create-A-Sweet - you could make your own kind of candy flavors, and buy them in stores or order them on the internet. How much would yours cost, Chance? ($5/#) - okay, so mine would be $4 / #. It only took about 2 minutes for the light bulb to pop on in Chance's head - you want to be my COMPETITION??? What are you thinking?????

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mr. Beekeeper

I think I mentioned last week that Matt did a presentation at the boys' school for the Kindergarten on bees and honey.


It turns out the 3rd graders were free for that time-frame, so they joined in the fun.






On Friday, he got a Thank-You card from the K's and letters from the 3's.






The bees are thumbprints and fingerprints.






My favorite part? "....your 'buzzy' day."!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Things I've learned that I don't know this week

While I know I want my children to be as safe as possible

.....I admit I know NOTHING about this new "cup check" deal in Chance's baseball league.

I know that the top floor always has the best view

.....but I have no idea what the view is from that (my perception) rickety treehouse.

I know that I can do a decent job speaking in public when I have to

.....but I have no idea how to stop my knees from visibly shaking when in front of 400 people

I know my husband's job is to protect "the least of these" in our society

.....but I don't know how to make myself believe they deserve his protection when family time is sacrificed again

I know it is a blessing that Chance has been gifted with great intelligence

.....but I don't know how to stop worrying that he doesn't know how to study or do homework and that someday he will REALLY need to know how to do those things

I know, without a doubt, that Colton was sent by God into my orderly world to teach me that my plans, ideas, and schedules are not always the best thing

.....but I have no idea how to fully express my gratitude and love for the ways that little pinball has caused me to stretch and grow

I know, with all of my heart, that I have married my better half

.....I will spend the rest of my life learning ways to show him that I know that

I know that I believe in my country. I love America. I am blessed to live here. It is the greatest nation on the earth.

.....I do not know where the strength is coming from, which holds my friend Jane tall and mighty as she sends her son off to Iraq this week.

.....wait, I do know. That's the Lord holding her up. Praise Him.

I am praying for you, friend. Today, and in the days to come. You have raised two noble young men. I think God is proud. I love you, Neighbor Jane!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - On Thursday - Guest Post

AKA - Unapologetic self-promotion. I guess it's not exactly self-promotion, since I didn't write it, but it kind of is, since I'm still posting it.

Here's a glimpse into the other side of the blog world - our readers. Blog on, my friends, you are changing someone's world one post at a time!

Why Blog?
Verna Wisner

The first time I heard the word BLOG was a news story when a writer of one was referred to as a BLOGGER.

I went about my business, not questioning what a Blog is or why/how someone would write one. Is that a job I hadn’t heard about up until then? I can’t say why, other than the fact that I spend all day on a computer and when I get home I prefer to stay away from the source of most of my daily tribulations.

Add that to the fact that what I know about computers is just enough to get my job done,
send and receive emails, and look for always more neat scrapbook articles on my noon hours. Pretty much a love/hate relationship with emphasis on the hate part.

Then Heather announced she was going to join the world of blogging.

“Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “I’d better learn what this about so I don’t sound completely ignorant when I talk to her next time.”

Who signed her up to join?

Does she have to leave home to do it?

How is she going to find the time to do it?

Did she have to take a class?

Does it cost anything?

What is she going to Blog about?

What? When? Did? Will? How’s that again?

All these questions…. “Just wait and see,” my mind said, “maybe it will be self-explanatory and you won’t have to ask her any dumb questions.”

She didn’t let me down! And the last three or so years of her blogs have been an almost daily source of joy, laughter, a few tears, envy (on my part), love, concern, pride and amazement that I never dreamed possible.

I’ve always regretted that Matt and his family don’t live in Yakima (or I in Moses Lake). I grew up with one set of grandparents just across the road from us, and the other set 8 miles away in town. We saw them on an almost daily basis and they were an integral part of our lives. I couldn’t imagine life without them and felt so bad for schoolmates who only saw theirs once a year or so. I promised myself that wherever they lived, I would find a way to make sure that my grandchildren would never have to spend a day getting to re-know me each time one of us made a from-out-of-town visit. Of course, I never thought that would really happen – it just couldn’t.

But it did. While I’m not fond of it, I’m OK with it. God has them right where He wants them and that’s all I need to know. And I love that. They have jobs He provided for them, a beautiful home to which He led them, a fantastic church, an amazing school for my grandsons. Ah, my grandsons – the loves of my life – thank You Lord for Chance and Colton.
Which brings me back to Heather’s Blog. If I had my way, I would be on the phone every evening with my Moses Lake family to talk about what they did during the day, the things every mother/grandmother likes to know. But that’s not practical, to say nothing about being intrusive and a pest. Now I don’t have to because I have THE BLOG!!

Every day I can read about what’s going on, how God is working in their lives, their ups and downs, adventures and daily grinds. I even get recipes and PICTURES!! It’s a wonderful way to be kept in touch – and if I want details, I can call later. And what’s better, is that it’s not laundry lists of activities, but wonderfully woven stories with her gentle and sometimes hilarious humor that makes me actually laugh out loud.

I print these stories off and keep them in a three-ring binder at my desk. And when it’s full, I take it home, and start another. I print off special pictures and pin them to the wall by my desk and they have become great conversation starters with strangers, and “What are they up to now?” updates with co-workers who are always entertained by selected anecdotes I share. More than one of them has suggested that Heather could write a best-seller - and they would be first in line at the book-signing.

So now I know what a Blog is, and I’ll be the first to say that when a day goes by there isn’t one, the disappointment is of Richter Scale proportion. How gutsy is that? With all Heather has to do every day, who am I to feel let down when now and then it just doesn’t work for her to at least write a few words? It didn’t take long to spoil me! I hope she never stops. How blessed I am to be able to have a regular glimpse of the lives of the most important four people in the world to me. To be like a mouse in the corner watching the goings on in one very active family! It’s like a daily vitamin for my soul, a fix, if you will! I read and re-read the stories and when I start from the beginning, I read the progression in the lives of those who are so precious to me in a way that 20 years ago would not have been possible! How blessed I am!

And someday, when they have to tuck me away someplace where I can’t lose things, and my memory fades, I’ll have these notebooks to read and enjoy watching my family move through their days and I’ll know I’m so very blessed.

Thank you, Heather, I love you, Verna

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This, That, & The Other

So, my mom's a quilter. I'm a scrapbooker. I used to think our hobbies were on opposite ends of the spectrum. Not anymore.




Check out her latest project, that will soon hang in my home.




This beautiful montage of my ancestors is the neatest "scrapbook" I've ever seen. Can't wait to show you the final masterpiece!




Colton is about to grow. Like seriously grow. He's cranky every night. Exhausted. And I don't think I've EVER seen him eat this much. Tina agrees, so we are both watching in anticipation.




I get to go to Round 2 of the NCAA playoffs. How cool is that?




Chance is starting to watch "tween" movies on Disney channel, and no longer getting grossed out when the boy kisses the girl. I'm so not ready for this.




The boys are competing to each get straight A's on their report cards this quarter. Hope Papa is more ready for their prizes than he was when I was in high school and he offered me a car. Not that I'm still bitter or anything :) Who knew I had such potential?




Baseball practice starts tonight. I love both boys' coaches. I love the schedule so far. I love that baseball means spring weather is coming soon. Lots to love, lots to love.




I'm quite liking my Skechers walking shoes.




My calves, however, are not in agreement.




Matt gave a presentation at school about bees, hives, and honey. He said he left enough honey with the teacher to surely move every "behavior marker" in the class. That's the mark of a good presentation, right there!




Matt cooked again last night. Seriously, I don't know why I even try. Crab - Sauteed prawns - these breaded, baked oyster cocktail things - Asiago cheese bread. Yum.




He keeps serving these masterpieces on paper plates - so as not to seem too "snooty" ;)




Our 2010 camping vacation is completely booked and paid for. What a great feeling. Now, if I can just get myself to wait patiently until August.




I am reading "Loving Frank" and still working on the "Tired Supergirl's Search for Grace". All the while falling behind in my bible study. Priorities, priorities.




Wordless Wednesday tomorrow, unless I get a great guest post between now and then - put your thinking caps on, Wordless Wednesday Detractors. Let me see whatcha got!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Do you stockpile, or eat as you go?

So, we spent the weekend putting on a crab feed for the boys' school. It's a fundraiser for the athletic program, and with Matt on the Athletic Committee, we had a pretty busy weekend.



Matt drove to Westport on Friday to pick up 1000# of fresh crab.



Add that to a complete spread by Michael's on the Lake, and what resulted was a feast fit for a king.


All-you-could-eat crab.


Prime Rib.



Salads.


Rolls.


Cake.


It was a great success. We were absolutely exhausted by the end of the evening!


So, my question to you is this. When you get the opportunity to eat fresh crab, do you eat as you go, or crack it open and stockpile, eating it all at the end?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Will you be my neighbor?

My Neighbor Jane had a fantastic little questionnaire in her e-mail newsletter today, which she filled out and invited us all to do so as well. A "Get to know your neighbor/audience" kind of thing.

Because I love my Neighbor Jane Payne, I will gladly oblige!

1. What do you usually have for breakfast?

Egg sandwich - whole wheat toast, 1 egg, 2% cheese slice. Hungry Girl coffee drink.


2. What are three characteristics in others that you appreciate?
Work ethic, honesty, willingness to give

3. What are three characteristics in yourself that you appreciate?
Hat changing/juggling ability, honesty, willingness to follow Christ

4. If you could visit any period of history for one month, which one would you definitely NOT choose.
Old Testament - Queen Esther and the whole 12-month beauty treatment before you can go before the king? Yeah, sooooo not my style.

5. What was your favorite toy as a child?
Younger days - Tonka Trucks. Later - my bike.

6. What is one of your little talents that has given you big rewards?
Athleticism - as the mother of boys, it has served me so much better than abilities in fashion ever would have.

7. What fruit describes you best and why?
Coconut. Pretty tough to crack through, but once you're in, there's some kind of good stuff in there!

8. What do you think would improve your country?
Initiative, self-sufficiency, family values, and a complete intolerance for corruption of any sort.

9. When you’re shopping are you most like a skunk, whale, bear, or eagle? Why?
An eagle. I plan, prepare, and circle, circle, circle until the best deal is found.

10. When you’re working are you most like a mountain, river, ocean, or meadow? Why?
A river. Usually fairly steady, but there are some slow and/or stagnant spots. Then, along comes a waterfall to mix everything up, get a lot of stuff moved in a short amount of time, and keep everything on course.

11. What do you most appreciate about your family?
That we like to be together. Given the opportunity, we will literally spend hours in the same room - not necessarily doing the same thing, but together none-the-less.

12. If a movie were being made of your life, what actor/actress would you like to play you?

I don't think anyone would LIKE to play me. But, if given enough money, the actresses from either "Mad About You" or "Everybody Loves Raymond" have been living significant portions of my life their whole television careers - it would probably be an easy transition.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

They call it "Spring Training"

It's really a bunch of nervous kids.


Proud papas.


Calculating coaches.



And excited mamas.


So, although it's too cold to be spring, and many younger brothers and sisters were decked out in full winter gear to keep warm, baseball season is upon us.


Last night, Chance participated in the "Major League" try-outs. This mostly just means that he'll be playing with 11 & 12 year olds, not that he'll be expecting a large salary or a signing bonus. Yet.


Each kid was checked-in and given a number to wear on their back, so the coaches could easily make notes about kids they intended to choose in the "draft". Again, no sports cars or large signing bonuses on draft day. Yet.


Outfield practice went well, and Matt's chest puffed out just a bit as a group of clipboard toting coaches asked Chance to verify his number after he put on a pretty decent display.



By infield practice, he wasn't so nervous, and enjoyed seeing old friends from daycare and catching up with players from last season.



Then, it was time to hit. Each kid gets 4 pitches, and runs on the last one - apparently to show them all how fast they can actually scoot to 1st base when given the opportunity.



Pitch 1 - whiff.


Pitch 2 - whiff. Great swing, but whiff.


Pitch 3 - whiff. Another great swing. Another miss. His shoulders slump just a bit. Nervous mama wants to shout some encouragement, but doesn't want to add to the stress level. This is TRY OUTS. We only have one more pitch to show them you know how to hit the ball. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. What to do? I put my camera down and bite my tongue. Determined, he steps back up to the plate. "Run on this one," the coach says, signifying this was his last pitch.


Pitch 4 - WHACK! Almost to the center-field fence.


"Way to go buddy!" I've loosed my tongue and found my voice. My very loud voice.


Coach #1 glances at me, and then turns to Coach #2 - "That's the reason you swing hard every time. Right there."


Oh yes, it is baseball season. Ready or not, here we come!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Anytime the angels and the devils get together . . .

. . . it's either gonna be really good, or really bad. I'll let you decide.


We came upon this very dangerous recipe, and it's been wreaking some havoc on my whole iPhone Lose It! plan I've got going on.


Combine the following (just the dry mixes - don't make them according to the package):


1 Angel Food Cake Mix (must be "Just add water" kind)


1 Devil's Food Cake Mix


1 pkg Chocolate Chips



Store in an airtight container.


When in need of a chocolate fix:


Put 1/3 cup of the mix into a mug. Add 3T water. Stir well. Microwave for 1 minute.


Invert onto a plate or bowl, and enjoy the gooey, warm treat!


If you're feeling especially rich, you can add a dollop (ish) of Jane's Hot Fudge sauce to the top of the warm, gooey cake. Yum. Yum. And Super-Yum!


Now, I must admit, I haven't had one of these ALL week. And neither has the stupid iPhone app. But, as I was pondering what I would blog, I got to sit here and watch Chance eat his 3rd one in as many days and salivate. Oh, to have the metabolism of a youngster again.


Give it a shot, if you dare. But, either don't tell your iPhone, or be prepared to shoot off the charts on your calorie graph. It may just be worth it either way. . .

Monday, March 8, 2010

Feat or Flop

So, I had this whole post planned about the best and worst things that happened this week. You know, things that were feats, and things that ended up being flops.



Things like using a new iPhone app (Lose It!) to track weight loss and exercise (feat)- and then going 380 calories over budget on the 3rd day (flop).



I thought I would have lots of funny little anecdotes and things to report, and it would all tie together into a funny little post with a great kicker at the end.



Really, all I've got is the kicker.



FLOP - when frantically cleaning the house before company comes over, don't forget that your bras are hanging in the bathroom. You will never be able to look their teenage son in the eye again. Just sayin'.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Guest Post - Mrs. Eagle Eye, by Matt

Good Morning!
I ran into one of your teachers, Mrs. (Eagle Eye*), and she was so enthusiastic to talk about you, I thought she was going to hug me or something. Wanted to know how you are doing and every other sentence was (and I'm NOT kidding) "I just love Matt". I told her you were still making metal yard art and she said she has bought your WSU signs for her kids and her sorority sisters and that she just loves you so much. You obviously did something right......
Mom (Verna)




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Super. The chick is a witch! She is the teacher/hall Nazi that dropped the dime on me to Mr. (Principal*) when she caught me passing my answers to Justin Vetch so he had a snowballs chance of passing his history final. It's not like my answers were gonna get him an A. Truth is, he was taking a chance with my work, but he trusted me, and I considered him my friend. Her eagle eye caught my slight of hand and lead me to the principles office. Once there, Mr. (Principal) found it in his heart to kick me out of school for only three days instead of the standard 9 the guy had a habit of handing down every time the wind blew a teenage indiscretion across his desk. I'm not much for him either come to think of it! It was all I could do to keep quiet when he and his obviously desperate wife moved into Papa's house while I was still going to the high school he obviously didn't want me to attend.

The fact that our metal work finds a place in her cold heart does nothing for me. The only redeeming value is that the cold steel probably raised the temperature in that cave by a few degrees.

I said it then and I'll say it now. I'd do it again given the opportunity. Suspension be damned! I actually got good at explaining the situation during my many background checks for the career she tried so hard to derail. Although she and her principal cohort didn't see the courage Justin displayed or the heart I had for the guy, the background detectives did see the humor of the situation.

I want my three days back!




*Names changed to protect the innocent. Names of the guilty blatantly left for any keen eye to see.

So tell me, any old high school grudges you're still hanging on to? Can you reveal, or must you change names to protect the innocent?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday



I love it when it's Matt's turn to cook.

Costco Chickenbake x 1000. Delicious.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt, spice, natural flavoring

In other words - catchup. Or, ketchup. Whichever you prefer.


I've been invisible a long time, huh?


Not really though. Lots going on around the Messer hacienda.


We've been Super Bowlin'.
We had a great time hosting some friends and family for another Super Bowl gathering, complete with some time at the shooting range before-hand for anyone who was interested. I believe the bar was set high, as Earl had hit the 1,000 yard target on the first try earlier in the week. Not sure anyone lived up to the challenge, but they all had a lot of fun trying!

Shootin'.

Chance on the range before the Super Bowl. The boys have been splitting their time between the basketball court, getting ready for baseball try-outs, and shooting at targets. It's always so refreshing to finally get to Spring and get outside!


Makin' new targets.
Matt and the boys have been in the shop inventing again. Lately, the focus has been new targets for the range. I think the last two are called "Frank" - short for Frankenstein, and Baby Ben - a pendulum style target. They're getting pretty darn good at hitting them, too!


Sick.

I'm not Super Woman. Time to admit it.


Recovering.

Wait, maybe I am . . .


Working.

Early spring means early busy-season. It also, hopefully, means that March and April will be that much easier, with a little bit of the work already out of the way.


Learning.
These little munchkins are getting smarter every day. Taller, too.


Cooking.

Lasagna in my new pan I got for Christmas.

We adopted a new cooking routine. Each person picks one night per week. They have to plan the meal and cook it (with help, if needed). Since Wednesdays are Simple Supper at church, this only leaves a couple days a week that I have to dole out my mediocre fare I try to pawn off as "nutrition".


Skiing.

Ready to hit the slopes. Colt's first time on the hill. Chance's first time with a snowboard.

Colton's doing great!

Here's Chance, back on two planks. He gave it a good try, but spending the morning on his backside and one really huge crash was enough to send us to the rental shack to finish out the day on something we knew he could control. We all had a great day - and we all felt it the next day :)


Boarding. (Kind of)

See above.


Dinner questioning.

What Olympic sport would you choose? Curling, Ski Jumping, Biathlon, Speed Skating, Moguls, Snowboard Half-Pipe.

What character in a book describes you and why? Third little pig (Number 3 said nix on tricks, I'm'a build my house with bricks. He had no time to sing and dance, 'cause work and play don't mix. [thanks, B5]), David, any of the 7 Dwarfs (depending on the mood), Adam (something about led astray by a beautiful woman...), Babe Ruth


Scheduling.

Getting ready for the 2010 art show circuit. Didn't we just finish this? It seems to come around quicker each year...


State Basketballin'.

Watched the Lions take 6th place at the State Tourney. They made our community proud - this was supposed to be a "rebuilding" year. The team we played against had a couple fantastic athletes on it. One, I considered a ball hog, and was feeling somewhat negative toward. He was impressive, though - could do pretty much anything with the ball once he got a hold of it. Then, Matt tells me a bit of his story, which he heard at half-time - he's basically homeless - lost his dad, and his mother is unable to take care of him. His teammates take turns hosting him in their homes. Now, my mind is reeling - basketball is possibly the only thing keeping the kid from following in his mother's footsteps. Suddenly, I didn't care that he was a ball hog. Show 'em what you can do, kid. Use this to make something of yourself. It may be your springboard to greatness. (Melodramatic, I know - I should write romance novels).


Costco-ing.

As if you didn't already know. Don't go to Costco hungry. The bill is much larger The resistence much tougher. The food court more tempting. Just sayin'. On the flip side, have you tried the Coastal - Rugged, Mature English Cheddar? To die for. Yum. The Costco gal tells me the Dubliner is just as good. Tillamook, you've been replaced.


Reading.
Leif Enger - Peace Like a River; Sara Evans - The Sweet By and By; Jodi Picoult - 19 Minutes; currently working on Susanna Aughtmon - All I Need is Jesus & a Good Pair of Jeans (the tired supergirl's search for grace)

Chance has finished books 1 - 4 in the Lightning Thief series in 3 weeks. The kid's PLOWING through them. He's cranky because I won't buy book 5, but it's still only hardback. And I'm cheap. And I want them all to match. Poor kid - I'm sure this will get me to Dr. Phil someday.


Laundering.

I can't imagine if I had girls. I can't keep up with a couple boys . . .


Computing.

Had to re-do our laptop. Somehow, I have inherited a computing gift from somewhere. Unfortunately, it's kind of like the cobbler's kid's shoes - you fix everyone else's but your own. It was finally time to fix our own. One weekend shot, but at least I can blog again.


Joking.

The kids have been a barrel of laughs.

Colton - Woah, that is HOT! And, I mean the steaming hot, not like when I think a girl is pretty!

Matt - "I went to the pawn shop today." Colton (not missing a beat) - "Did you see Big Hoss?" Anyone for Pawn Stars??

Chance has really picked up on Matt's penchant for movie line trivia - he comes up with the best lines - most of them from Napoleon Dynamite. I'm continually cracking up.


Enjoying.


Ahhhhhh.