Wednesday, December 31, 2014


 It's New Year's Eve.  There's snow on the ground.  The Harpers are here.  So....what a better way to spend the day than to go sledding.  If you ever come to Leavenworth, don't settle for the little hill next to the downtown gazebo.  Walk a little farther to the back side of Black Bird Island to Enchantment Park where the big hills are.  Oh...and ignore the NO SLEDDING signs, that just means the city isn't liable if you get hurt. Just Deal With It!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Our Winter Wonderland

We finally got a decent snowfall.  Everything is white, fluffy and sparkling.  I love it.  I am so glad we have some snow to play in before school starts back up.  Brian and I ventured over to the property to bring Todd his lunch.  He spent most of his day clearing off the trees on the hill where our house will sit.  What a difference it is making.   After eating his lunch Todd took a little break to practice his archery skills with Brian.  With colder temps in the forecast our little wonderland should last for awhile,

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Presents and Views

 I managed to pry the boys away from the computer today so they could try out their bows and arrows.  Bryce got a junior cross bow for his birthday, while Brian got a Recurve Bow for Christmas.  The property is the best place to try out their "weapons" so we loaded up and took off after lunch.
 While they practiced their shooting skills I wondered around the property envisioning our future home.  Todd came out earlier in the week to map out the dimensions of the house.  It was cool to walk around the hillside imagining how it would be to sit in the family room and look out the window.  Todd's next project will be to cut down the trees that are in the way.  Fortunately, there are not any BIG ones, but unfortunately, non of the trees are good for the wood stove.  They will make great campfire wood though.  Once the trees are removed then it will be time to pull out the backhoe and dig out the hillside.  I am so excited I can't stand it!!!!
 The one Christmas present that I asked for this year was wooden spoons.  You may laugh, but I have had one wooden spoon for 21 years of marriage and it broke last month.  Thanks to my daughter and mother-in-law I now have a dozen spoons.  Yeah Me!!!

Friday, December 26, 2014


 Christmas came to the James household like clock work thanks to Bryce.  He is my guy that insists that we all stick to tradition.  6:00am has always been the official wake up call for our Christmas festivities to begin.  Bryce hounded everyone the night before to make sure their alarms were set.  Bonnie, who would love to have slept in later, conceded, and at six everyone was downstairs waiting to begin.

 It was a good haul this year.  Bonnie got a Schwinn Cruiser which will help her as she commutes to work at the pool or the hotel where she is on staff as housekeeping this summer.  Bryce got his Chaos Tower that he has been asking for these past few years, and Brian got Minecraft for the PC, which means we will never see him again.  sigh.....My request for Christmas was wooden spoons which Bonnie got me as well as my mother in law.  I now have a dozen wooden spoons!   Yeah!!!   I also got for the family the Rosetta Stone's Spanish Language course.  You can guess what Bryce and I will be doing during school this next semester. 
 My mom also got all of the kids alarm clocks.  No more excuses in the morning that my clock didn't work.  I expect everyone to be up on time when school starts back up.
For Todd's family I made cinnamon rolls again.  This time I covered them with cream cheese icing and caramel icing.  Yum! 
By noon we headed over to my in laws for the family Christmas gathering.  My mom-in-law hosted it this year even though my father-in-law's Alzheimers is getting worse.  The hardest part with him is that he whistles or talks non-stop and demands your attention.  He also follows mom around everywhere she goes. Despite that we managed and everyone enjoyed the afternoon. 

We ended the day by going to see the movie Into the Woods, which was fantastic.  Be forewarned.  It is a musical.  Remember it was originally a Broadway play.  Lots of humor.  Lots of fun. 

So all in all, it was a good day.  Bonnie and I will be heading off to the church shortly.  I have things to do in the office and Bonnie has to clean the downstairs.  Bonnie will then head off to Camas Meadows Bible Camp to work in the kitchen for this weekends retreat. 

I hope your Christmas was Merry!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Feeling Appreciated

One of our elders cooked us a delicious meal,  Prime rib roast, baked potatoes, bread rolls, chocolate cake and sparkling cider.  I had to pull out the fine china for this meal. It is nice to feel appreciated.  Thanks Freys!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Christmas Adam

So a friend on FB posted that today is Christmas Adam, you know, the day before Christmas Eve?!  ba...da...bump...(that's my drum).   lol

I don't know why exactly, but I am excited for Christmas.  The days can't go fast enough.  Yesterday the boys helped me make some Christmas goodies.  Actually, Bryce helped me make peanut butter balls, because that is his favorite.  All Brian did was take the wrapping off the Hershey Kisses for the peanut butter blossoms because those are his favorite.  I will probably make some more goodies today, not because we need them, but because that is what you do on Christmas break right?  You make goodies to make the days go by faster.  Of course, then I have to hide them if we want goodies to enjoy on Christmas day.  The boys were devouring yesterdays goodies so I brought them to church with me.  They will stay here until after the Christmas Eve service.  Gotta protect them or they will be gone soon.

Tonight a couple from church is bringing us dinner for us to enjoy.  Why? Just because they want to. Isn't that sweet?!  Our church is so awesome.  I really enjoy each and everyone here.  Of course, some have their little quirks but we still love them. 

I hope you are enjoying your Christmas Adam!   2 More Days!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Choral

Once or twice a year, our music director at church gathers a few of us daring souls to sing a special number.  This year for our final service before Christmas we sang "One Small Child."  

Friday, December 19, 2014

Band Concert

 Last night we headed over to the high school to hear Brian play in the Concert Band.  As usual, he was pretty nervous, but not as much as the last concert.  This time around he did not have to play the xylophone which made it a bit easier for him.  I was so impressed watching him handle the different parts of the drum and juggling the various mallets to obtain the different sounds.  During the last song, the other drummer took over the snare and Brian played the other percussionist instruments. 

Last weekend while manning the bank parking lot for the band, I talked with one of the senior band members who is also part of the jazz band about Brian trying out for jazz band.  The senior informed me that there was no doubt about Brian getting a spot.  Wow!  I love that Brian is enjoying band and desires to stick with it during his high school years.  I have to say that band is the one bright spot about Brian going to public school. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


This evening was spent caroling at a local nursing home.  It is great seeing the faces of the residents.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Getting it Right

Parenting teenagers is not a piece of cake.  We have three of them and each one is an island unto themselves.  What works for one does not work for the other and vice versa.  Last night everything was going fine around the table until a particular topic was brought up.  Unbeknownst to the rest of the group this particular topic was extremely sensitive to one of the teens.  Imagine everyone totally perplexed as to why this one person was becoming extremely upset.  I am afraid we didn't make matters any better by trying to find the root of the problem and my diversionary tactic of making up a fake story to break everyone out of their mood got a laugh out of everyone except the offended party.  Ughh!!!  Why????  

Discussions, confrontations,  accusations,   prayers....lots of prayers....

An hour later the offended party emerged from their room seeking forgiveness.  Apologizing for their reactions.  Praises of thanksgiving that all is not lost.  Hugs, laughter, and moving forward again. 

One day I will be able to remind the "offended one" of this incident and we will all laugh.  I look forward to that day.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Vehicles...Can't Live With Them....Can't Live Without Them!

The vehicles are once again giving us fits.  Maybe the fact that our rigs have 180,000+ and 240,000+ miles on them could be a factor.  I don't know, but Christmas time is not the time you want to be spending money on them.  Fortunately for us, Todd is very good at figuring things out.  In this past week he has replaced the rotor, brakes, and calipers on the Blazer, the rotor and brakes on my Dodge Caravan, and figured out why the Dodge plow truck decided not to drive faster than 15 mph. 

As much as it hurts me that our money is being spent on vehicle maintenance, I have to say that if we took it to a mechanic we would be paying two to three times as much so I really shouldn't be complaining.  Now all Todd has left to do is get the back hoe's hydraulic system back up and running and he can start digging out the hill for our NEW HOUSE!!!  Well, maybe that shouldn't be in all caps just yet.  The new house is not guaranteed yet!  But the builder has come out to our site and is working on the cost break down of what we want built.  The ball is rolling in the right direction.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Lighting

 Tonight Bonnie fulfilled her final duties as Leavenworth's Distinguished Young Woman by welcoming all of our out of town guests to our 48th annual Christmas lighting.  Believe it or not tonight's crowd was about a third of last nights group.  Still, there were a couple of thousands of people there.  Bonnie did great on stage.  She really surprised her dad and I when she got the kids all excited about the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Once again Bonnie demonstrated that she is a natural on stage.  The girl has no fear, well, the only thing she seems to be afraid of is getting a B in school. Lol...  Love my girl!

 Hanging out backstage with Councilman Tibor Lak and the Clauses.
 One proud momma waiting in the crowd.

Bonnie doing her thing.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

My Almost New Year's Resolution

 I have made a new year's resolution even though it is not the new year yet.  I have resolved to blog every day.  Let's see how that goes.

It is the second Saturday in Leavenworth which means it is the second weekend of the Christmas Lighting.  Each year, Leavenworth decorates its downtown with tons and tons of Christmas lights.  On the first three weekends of December, the lights are turned off until the magic hour when the master of ceremonies has everyone turn their lights on.  Sounds minor, but it is a BIG deal here.  There is really more to it than that.  There is live music playing from the gazebo.  Christmas characters, such as Frosty the Snowman, Rudolf, Timothy the Christmas Mouse, the Grinch, Nutcrackers, Elves, Angels, Santa and Mrs. Claus and Father Christmas are all walking around mingling with the visitors.  Vendors are selling roasted chestnuts, hot cocoa, and more.  Kids are sledding on the hill next to the gazebo and the air is electric with all of the Christmas excitement.

This is our fifth Christmas in Leavenworth since we moved back.  In those five Christmas seasons, we have dressed up as Christmas characters, manned the fire barrels with the Boy Scouts to keep everyone warm, and this year, since Brian joined the high school band, we volunteered with the Band Boosters to man the parking lots around town. 

The first hour and a half was a bit boring, but by 10:30am the cars started rolling in. By noon, we had the lot filled to overflowing.  It sure made the last hour and a half fly by.  Next weekend Brian and I will help the Band Boosters by manning the concession stand for Leavenworth's theatrical production of It's A Wonderful Life.  Can't Wait!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Dark Cloud

There is a dark cloud hanging over our house.  It has been there for over a month, let's be honest, two months.  This cloud has impacted everyone on multiple levels....depression, frustration, bickering, crying, name it. We've dealt with it.  I think because we are starting to see some rays of light that I am finally ready to talk about it and possibly explain why my blog has set empty for so long.  There is always that question of how much one should share of their private lives.  How much is beneficial to write about.  How much is harmful.  Maybe I am opening up because, for me, it is therapeutic.

This year we made the decision to put our high school son into the public school system.  Not for an education, because to be honest he isn't being challenged at all academically.  Case in point,  how is it beneficial for the teacher to give the students their test the day before  the test is to be taken, have them google search the answers, give them the correct answers, tell them to memorize the test, and then have them take the exact same test the next day.  Yes, this happens regularly in science class.  All I hear is that the teachers give the students thirty minutes of work in a ninety minute class.  I digress...that is not my point...just getting a chip off my shoulder.  Back to the son was sent to the public school to learn how to deal with working in a group, how to follow other's expectations, or lack of them, how to deal with the "difficult people" in this world, etc.  He appeared to be doing fine, although very bored.  A month into school, however, we began to experience problems with our son.  Lack of energy, defiance, loss of appetite were some of the major things we began to battle.  My husband and I were dealing with each issue..  Correcting, disciplining, praying for answers.   I began to see my healthy, active son shrink, literally.  

One week the stomach flu hit the house and it seemed that our son got it too as he was constantly running to the bathroom.  I kept him home from school, but while everyone else got better after twenty four hours, he didn't.  Something else was wrong.   We talked.  The band concert was coming up and every time we talked about it I noticed his anxiety build.  That must be the culprit.  He is afraid of performing in public.  He has always hated getting up in front of people.  He is used to playing the drums in front of others, but he has been asked to play the xylophone, an instrument he is not fond of and still not comfortable with.  Aha...I think I found the answer to all of the problems we have been experiencing.  I encouraged him..prayed for him.  The concert came.  He played well.  That is an understatement...he played very well.  I cried he was so good.  Okay, he missed I few bars when he played the xylophone.  Nobody knew, but him and his teacher.

  Concert over.  Life should get back to normal, but it didn't.  Things got worse.  My husband and I were perplexed more than ever.  Finally, my husband hit the nail on the head.  Our son has struggled with constipation off and on.  It has been five years since his last bout and we thought that issue was behind us, but my husband point blank asked our son when he had last gone to the bathroom at which point our son crumbled and admitted it had been over a month....almost two months!   Bingo!  

Doctors visits, x-rays, a cocktail of medications, days out of school, three weeks of trying to clear out his system, contemplating hospitalization, finally starting to see the light is where I am today, this minute, praying that he might just be over the hill.   Yesterday, my son told me that for the first time he is starting to experience an emptiness in his stomach and might actually feel a little hungry.  Praise The Lord!  The worst isn't over.  Tomorrow we start a twenty four hour colon cleanse.  I expect it to be a miserable day for all of us, especially my son.  Hopefully, when the day is over he will feel a sense of relief that he hasn't felt in months.

I am eager to hear him say he's hungry.  I am eager to see him bound down the stairs, to be on top of his chores, and enjoying school.  I am eager to see him put on weight.  He has lost over 20 pounds, weighing in at the doctors office yesterday at 105.  His pants are falling off of him.  I am eager for this dark cloud to be lifted away. 

Update:  I wrote this yesterday morning while sitting in our co-ops study hall.  I am happy to report that tonight my son's system has been cleaned out.  He is hungry!  His energy is up!  He is talkative and interacting with everyone around him.  Praise the Lord!  I think we all might actually enjoy this Thanksgiving break.  I will end with a little clip my son and I watched to get ready for the big colon cleanse.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lake Wenatchee, Washington

Mandatory Rest

The flu bug is making its way through the family.  I thought the colds we had a few weeks ago gave us a buffer from the flu, but I was wrong.  The missionaries who came to our church last week showed up with it.  They were afraid of spreading it to our family, but I figured since they were sleeping next door that we would be okay, besides where would they go on an Oktoberfest weekend in Leavenworth.  All the hotels are booked unless you are willing to pay $300 or more for a room and then you get to put up with loud, drunk neighbors.  No, I don't regret letting them stay.  To be honest, being sick has given all of us an excuse to take it easy.  The boys and I stayed home from AWANA last night, napped and watched "Mom's Night Out." 

If you haven't seen it, you should.  The first five minutes made me think of my homeschool friend and fellow blogger, Sue.  The main character introduces herself as a blogger - Sue, Dutch - Sue,  can't think straight if her house is a mess - Sue, get my drift.  Yes, Sue, you need to watch the movie.  You will love it.  By the way, that is about all you have in common with the main character.  Oh, she has three kids, two boys and a girl.  Ok...there are more things you have in common.  lol 

Anyway, the boys and I really enjoyed the movie.  In fact, after it was over, Brian came over and gave me a huge hug.  I guess it made him appreciate me even more.  Oh... one of other characters in the movie is the pastor's wife with a teenage daughter.  Yep, I might just buy this one for my library.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Bryce celebrates his 13th birthday

Today we celebrated Bryce's birthday. His friend Eli came over. We enjoyed pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and presents before going to Brian's pizza for bowling and more food. Happy 13th birthday Bryce.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Autumn Leaf Festival in our own hometown.

Bonnie and Brian hanging out together before the big parade.

It is finally time for our own parade here in Leavenworth and it's a family affair.  Brian joined the high school concert band this year which is also our town marching pep and football pep band.  Bonnie as Leavenworth's Distinguished Young Woman enjoyed greeting all of the Royalty who came to participate in our parade.  She spent the two plus hours before the parade visiting with everyone and getting to know all the queens and princesses.

Watching the parade with Mom and Dad Ells.

 Bonnie's DYW housemate and Washington State's DYW runner-up, Allison from Moses Lake
 The Chewalah float is my favorite and also carries another DYW who won the talent competition.

Royal City is also a fun float with their comic book theme and another DYW.

What a fun, tiring day.  Everyone is back home but there is a lot of excitement still in the air with all the people in town.   Once again I feel blessed to be a part of this awesome town. 

Monday, September 15, 2014


Another weekend...another parade....
This time we travelled to Othello, Wa.  If you don't know where Othello is, just travel east on I-90 towards Spokane.  Once you get to Moses Lake, get off on Hwy 17 and head north to Othello.  It is a bigger community than Ritzville, in fact, they have their own Walmart.  That means something, right?

The Othello parade commission had a 1955 Chevy Thunderbird for Bonnie to ride in and better yet, I was asked to drive it.  Bryce came with us so he got to ride shotgun.  It was a little scary since the float ahead of us was throwing candy and kids were running up to the car to get some.  Fortunately, no one died.  Lol....after the parade all of the Royalty met up at the park for a picnic and social time before heading home.  Two more parades and then Bonnie can hang up the drindle.