Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bernina, Buddies, Veggies, and Work!

OOHH YEAH! It's up and running! In fact it has completed an entire project too! Many many more to come. I finally signed up for a Bernina class this last week. We made this scissor/pencil/what ever you want it to be bag. Surprisingly it was easy and fun. Plus I learned how to use a couple features I didn't know about. I'm very impressed. My skills are lacking but soon will be perfected!

The other day we were sitting outside and our dogs were being pretty playful. I think with the nice weather the dogs like to be outside more. And since we're not super exciting with funny stories of our kids . . . we've made up for it with dogs!
Self portrait - again!
The grass is extremely green! It almost looks fake.

I know, I know, enough already about the blasted peas. But it's pretty exciting to see some results of planting a big huge row of seeds. Probably because every attempt made in Vegas was dead by late spring. We're still waiting on the beans, carrots and potatoes but the brussel sprouts, zucchini, and peppers are poking through. All in good time.

It's really hard to explain what it is about Juvenile Delinquents that is so appealing to work with. They are normally repeat offenders, filter through the system, and/or totally misled. Many lack stability, structure or direction in their life. This makes Detention more appealing because they have a roof over their head, a place to sleep, 3 meals, warmth in the winter, a/c in the summer, and nobody will take their stuff (along with amazing Probation Officers and staff to talk to). I'm not justifying anyone's action, in fact they pretty much deserve what they get. However, there are three things that I've come to enjoy.
  • One, during diversion kids are sometimes instructed to write apology letters. We have them read them aloud (especially if they are to a family member who is present). Many kid become emotional when reading their letter. I'm not taking joy in them crying. I enjoy seeing this punk kid actually show heart felt emotion especially towards his family. He may never have told them how he felt. But maybe he has.
  • Two, I was releasing a kid from the Detention Center to his family. He had served quite some time and hadn't had much contact with his family. When he saw his parents, girlfriend, and son (yep he has a 2 yr. old) a plane could have crashed 500 yards away and not one person would have noticed. It was almost like a missionary returning. Everyone was waiting for that moment for a long time. Whether we see him in the system again or not, that one moment was pretty happy. 
  • Three, sitting down and talking to them without their thug buddies around. Most of their families aren't around to listen or talk, so they will sit and talk to you forever. They will tell you almost everything. Some kids are so stinkin' smart you wonder why they are wasting away making dumb choices. My sister in-law had told me about how a kid reacted when she gave him a cookie. I never knew how much a cookie could change someone's attitude. You would think it was Christmas.
I didn't pick a heroic profession but there are times when you feel like you may make a small difference. 

Okay, I'm off to bed.
Life is good. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day

So part of me is a little hesitant to post this. Mainly because it has no factual basis behind it. This is just a story that my father made up. However, if you ever knew my dad, he was a great story teller. He could make up the best reasons, stories, and jokes on a dime. Here is one of those very stories, in memory of dad, on one of his favorite days!

by Thomas D. Harris

Every April 15th for the past few years I have driven to the main U.S. Post Office to mail my income tax return. I wait until nine or ten o'clock in the evening before setting out on my pilgrimage. My coworkers and a few of my family don't understand my attraction with this annual ritual. I feel a certain spiritualism with the trip, as if I'm reliving a 2000+ year-old tradition of paying taxes.

The story begins with Joseph, husband of Mary, Mother of Jesus. A decree went out that a census and tax assessment should be made of the Roman world. Now we know that Christmas, the symbolic birthday of Jesus the Christ, is December 25th but scholars, astronomers, and historians surmise that his birth actually took place in the springtime. I'm guessing it was around the middle of April. The new tax regulations were probably issued at the beginning of the year, and Mary was probably six months pregnant when the decree was announced.

Joseph was a carpenter, an artisan. We are sure he was experienced at planning projects and very analytical in their development. Most artisans prepare well ahead and we must presume that Joseph was no different. I'm sure that as soon as Joseph received his Form MXL he completed it and was ready to take off to Bethlehem. Anyone who has endured life with a pregnant woman can see what came next. 

"Joseph, there is no way in this world that you are traveling alone to your hometown with me down here carrying this baby. You'll get up there and meet an old friend or two and who knows what trouble you'll get yourself into while I'm here swelling up like goatskin filled with new wine. You can just wait a month or two and I'll have this baby, then we can go visit our families and make a small vacation of it."

So Joseph waited and soon it was the middle of March but Mary wouldn't let him go then because the baby would surely come any day. He had to wait. Finally it was April 13th and they had to leave in order to make the two-day trip and get there before close of business on the 15th.

By now Joseph was up to his eyes with the whole thing. Knowing that he would have a hard time finding medical services since Bethlehem had closed all the Quick Care offices. His HMO would dispute his claims because he was outside the zone for their primary care unit. And, he knew he would be buying a donkey seat to carry the baby back. He could only hope all the dreams had been correct and it wasn't twins. Well, we know he made it to Bethlehem, took care of business and then the baby came. But, that is another story all together.

Bottom line is that it is very Biblical to pay our taxes the last evening of the last day. When I drive to the post office on the evening of April 15th, I feel spiritually renewed.

I wonder if my dad is hanging out in the spirit world, next to the post office tonight!

Monday, April 13, 2009


Our 1st Easter up in Washington was not going to start off without EGGS! Jake and I have colored eggs every year and have always had a BLAST!! This year we colored 9 and Brandon and Katie colored 9. We get our $1.19 worth from the dye kit. We played the memory game (Katie won - best two out of three), applied every sticker to the eggs, and used the holders given. I would like to point out that this was the first year that the kit did not come with stickers that said, "DAD", "MOM", "SISTER", or "BROTHER". In fact they didn't include any stickers of a religious nature - like crosses and church buildings. I couldn't believe they have managed to take the religion out of Easter kits. There were plenty of bunnies and flowers though!
~no fancy colors this year~

Sunday we enjoyed a nice hunk of ham! It was pretty tasty! We have enough ham now to last us until next Easter! We'll be eating ham sandwiches, ham and eggs, ham a-la-king, fried ham, cold ham, honey ham, ham on our pizza, ham and egg casserole, ham here, ham there, ham ham and more ham. Until it's gone!

I'm not a big candy eater during Easter. EXCEPT Cadbury Eggs. I'm in love with them. I'm especially in love with the Cadbury Caramel Egg! Caramel is my down fall.


So you can only imagine my excitement when I opened the box of 4! 

So this year I've had my dose of Ham, Cadbury Eggs, and bunny impostors! 

~okay so she doesn't quite look like a bunny~

As the weather continues to stay nice, we'll continue with the daily grind!
~visiting jake for lunch~

~jake mowing the lawn~

I keep forgetting to take a picture of the peas but they are getting HUGE!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Nothing new is going on. . .

In mid February we planted peas in the garden. On afternoon I went out to see if any were poking through. I got more then just peas! There was a dead pigeon with it's head poking through the fence - well, minus the head. It had been eaten off by this hawk we had seen the day before. So I came inside and told Jake that he had some cleaning up to do! He took the pooper-scooper that he got from Christmas and used it to grab the bird and chuck it. It's now a carcass carrier!

This is Jake doing his duty!

Earlier in the year, when we had nothing going on, we volunteered to assist the neighbor in her paper route so she could go out of town. I guess it's hard to find substitutes for three weeks! This wouldn't have been so bad but we seem to make things harder then needed! We would stay up until 1:00 a.m. or sometimes 2:00 a.m., sleep for 3 hours, get up, toss papers, come home, sleep for 2 hours (if we were lucky), and then be back up and heading off to work. Repeat for three weeks! This last Wednesday was our last day and it felt great! Things we learned from the experience:
  • It really wouldn't be so bad if we had more sleep
  • It really wouldn't be so bad if it was our only job
  • Our record for delivering 52 papers was 25 minutes.
  • Two days in a row we lost a couple papers to the wind. We had to put them back in order which STUNK!
  • We only had one complaint that we were late.
  • Don't wear your nice shoes when there is dew on the grass.
  • Some people don't read the newspaper - they just let it build up in their box. 
  • If you're going to be the driver don't snack on chips while the other person is running their brains out. And don't gas it - the person in the back may fall out!

Jake was trying to fall back asleep after our last day of delivering papers. 

One of my absolute favorite thing about Washington is the weather. It is beyond amazing. I've taken multiple naps outside on the grass. We've eaten lunches and dinners outside, played with the dogs, and rode bikes. Now that it's spring all of the flowers are blooming and they look SO pretty. Jake's parents have some pretty awesome flowers in their front yard. 

This white flower is one of my favorites because the center is orange. It looks pretty amazing in person!

Same with these yellow ones.