~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~(Please listen to my playlist at the bottom of the blog!)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, December 19, 2011

Nearly Christmas

     Christmas is nearly here! We enjoy this season of singing in the Valley Voices community choir, snow, making and buying gifts, and celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus. Last night, Mitch and I attended a Christmas carol sing-a-long at church. I love, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear and Joy to the World. 
     Our family picture this year is all brown and tan...and the first one since Eric and Tara were married. She is hosting a Christmas Eve feast in their home. Looking forward to it!

     Homeschool pictures:

Nora, 10th grade

Matthew, 8th grade

     What a great day when God's Light came into the world!
     Hark, the Herald Angels Sing: "Glory to the newborn King!"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's All Fall

     Autumn is crisp mornings, beautiful colors dancing in the trees and decorating the ground, and visits to the Pumpkin Patch.
     Nora was asked once when she was a toddler, "Of all the things that God created, which are your favorites?"  She answered,  "The colors."

     "I believe that God's goodness is the point of His creation...He colored the world for our childlike delight." -David Roper

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An Underhill Update

     It's mid-September already! I love Autumn and the start of school...the schedules and the books. We began our homeschool year last week. (I've been schooling my kids for 16 years now!)

     Beginning with the youngest Underhill...

     Matthew began 8th grade this year. He plays mid-fielder/defense on the city-league junior high soccer team and will participate again in 4-H shooting sports (archery and pistol). Last month, he entered a tool box in the fair and won first place. What a great smile!

     Nora also entered items in the fair. She won Best Article for her hand-sewn table doily and first place for a unicorn drawing. This fall she'll be taking art lessons from Tara (a great, award-winning artist) and participating in shooting sports - archery is her specialty. Such a sweet girl!

     Mitchell keeps extremely busy with landscape and handyman work. At the end of this month he'll be travelling to Burbank, CA to continue his sword-fighting training and attend a Cold Steel (knives, swords, etc.) Exhibition. He also spends a lot of time writing short screen plays - hoping to film some this fall/winter. An awesome young man!

     Eric - a happily married newly wed - works at a horse ranch by day...and rides bulls at local rodeos by night (every once in a while). A similar picture was also featured in the Summer 2011 edition of  Escape magazine. He and Tara live nearby and are enjoying their new home and life. I'm proud of them both!

     In addition to schooling Nora and Matt (which I love), I enjoy reading, writing, and sewing when I can. I have several quilting projects lined up to finish by Christmas - including two for my "sisters" in Japan.

     Greg will begin a new job soon and is truly looking forward to it. God bless him on his 51st birthday!
(Picture taken in August, 2011)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Wonderful Wedding Day

     Eric and Tara's wedding was warm and wonderful...in Plains, Montana, on July 23.

The bridal party: (back row) Raijoice, Nora, Jaymie, Alaina, Tara, Eric, Mitch, Joe, Roman, Matthew 
(front row) Torrance, Gracie, Caleb

Eric, Kathleen, Greg, Tara

Eric and Tara at the reception

The amazing wedding cake

Janee and Caleb

Clint, Ada, Greg, Manuel

Wayne, Tara, Eric, Darlene

Riding off into the sunset...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Fourth and the Fifth

      Some have been stormy, wet, and freezing, but this 4th of July was sunny, dry, and warm. It feels like summer now...very little precipitation the last week or two and we've reached a day-time high of 90.
     The Comstocks hosted all 39 of us (I think that's a record) for an outdoor dinner and plenty of fireworks.

 Christian, Luke, and new friend, Lindsay.

 Nora and Rachel.

Matthew and Ridge - yes, he's wearing a kilt.

     Eric turned 22 the next day. (Happy Birthday, Eric!) We celebrated at Dwaine and Mary's (Tara's grandparents) who are only a 35-minute walk away. Tara made a chocolate and raspberry cream cheese cake, with fresh raspberries - Eric's favorite.

     Mary does a bit of gardening, with beautiful results:

     Flowers are my favorite part of summer.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Speeches and Latté

       Matthew and Nora were (mostly) dreading their 4-H "talk" last Tuesday evening. The "talk" is really public speaking practice, and required by all 4-Hers once a year. It can be a 'demonstration' (showing how to: play chess or sharpen a pocketknife, for example) or an 'illustrated talk' (like describing a vacation or explaining a hobby), all with the help of posters, photos, and other visual aids.
     Nora chose to illustrate her talk with pictures from a February ice fishing field trip at - or rather, on - the Bible Camp's frozen lake. She was the first girl to catch anything that day. (A prize-winning yellow perch!)

     Matthew showed pictures from several camping trips of the past: fishing at Big Creek, playing cards around a campfire, canoeing, and knife-throwing into an old stump. Great fun and great memories.

     While Eric, Tara, and her family are away for a week in Tennessee, attending a cousin's wedding, we are cat-sitting Tara's deaf Siamese, Latté. She is fairly low-maintenance (except sometimes in the absolute middle of the night, when we are sleeping the soundest...) and has the most striking pale-blue eyes.

Going for a walk now, on another drizzly, semi-Spring day...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Over the River and Through the Woods

     I love to take long walks on country roads.  It's a time to think, plan, pray, compose songs, and gather inspiring story ideas.
     "Creation sings a wonderful song, faithful to rejoice..." are words from a song I once wrote about thanking God for His awesome works in nature.

     Often - especially in spring - one or more of my children come with me. Then it's time for chatting, looking for wildlife (I always pack a camera in my jacket pocket now, ever since Matt spied a large woodpecker and I was sadly without it), and sometimes picking up a bit of trash. Funny how it appears when the snow melts!
     Recently, Nora and I hiked a ways down a windy foothill road. Literally, over the river and through the woods. A good morning...

     It was one of those few warm days so far this spring. (We're not really lovers of the heat, though. An aspect of heaven? No scorching heat! Amen, to that.)
     "Make the most of the abundance of exquisite flowers in delicate shades and shapes that appear this month on a variety of shrubs and trees by gathering bud-laden branches to fill your home with the joys of spring."  -Country Living magazine (British Edition)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tara's Graduation and Flat Stanley

     We drove a few slightly sunny hours south on Sunday to attend a family B-B-Q and school ceremony for my daughter-in-law-to-be, Tara Mathers. The meal was at her family's cozy cabin with lots of great food and new people. 
     Tara opened gifts (including a laptop, DVDs, and a gift card from Murdochs) and smiled for a barrage of pictures.

     High School graduation is such a wonderfully satisfying milestone! The next red-letter day will be her wedding, July 23rd. Our son, Eric, also has it highlighted - he will be marrying Tara, his very best friend and wife for life.

     Anyone heard of Flat Stanley? He came to visit a while ago and went to work

with Eric at a local horse ranch,

with Matt and Mitch at a land clearing job,

and with Nora to Glacier Park.

     Stanley had a terrific time and returned to Caleb Janssen's school (grandson in CA) to tell of his epic adventures.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Birthdays & Quilts

    My cousin Carol's birthday was on a particularly cloudy, mid-May afternoon. I called Megan to get gift ideas a few days earlier.
     "What's your mom's favorite color?"
     "I don't think she has one; any color, really."
     "What about a favorite flower?"
     Decision: she would definitely appreciate some sort of house plant. (She and I are so alike that way. I have about 12 beautifully green plants in my house.) We especially liked the wooden basket with the braided handle...

     Friends and family celebrated with a home-made chocolate and cream cheese frosted cake, gifts, badminton, and catching up with each family's activities and adventures - continuing our life stories.

 Carol and Tina

     The next week we all thanked God for my great-uncle Howard's 90th!

     This rainy, snowy spring I've been collecting small, colorful scraps of cotton material - from stores as well as my circle of family and friends - for the specific purpose of creating dozens of small, colorful patchwork quilts. The reasons? To sell, give as gifts (baby showers, the MIAMI Project for first-time moms, rest home residents), and for warmth and decoration at home.
     The latest addition of fabric stash came from Megan's special sewing room - the one with the pale-green walls.
     I appreciate all who donated toward one of my favorite winter 'hibernation' projects. There are now 100's of 3, 4, and 5 inch squares in the sunflower box.

     On the short, 4-mile drive home, we looked for coyotes who often play in a particular field this time of evening - but, nothing. Nora did, however, spot a cloud which looked surprisingly like a leprechaun, though just for a second, because the incredible wind storm (which flung several lodge-pole pines across the road and shut down power all the next afternoon) quickly blew it away...