Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Changes and Decisions

Prince Inventive graduated from community college in June.  With excellent grades, he was accepted and offered scholarships from the 3 colleges to which he applied.  With the scholarships and financial aid, the remaining balance was still bigger than he'd hoped.  He wasn't feeling 100% sure about the path he wanted to take in terms of majors, and not wanting to accrue debt for nothing, he wasn't sure what to do.

This is similar to the wall Prince Stoic hit 4 years ago.  He thought he'd take a year off of school to work and build his savings, then enter SPU, as planned.  But in the time off school, Stoic decided to work toward entrance into the electricians' apprenticeship program, where he is now happily employed and educated.  He is happy with his independent life.  He is saving and pursuing his own interests.  

He thought Prince Inventive might enjoy this path, also, and talked to him at length about the process, the advantages and disadvantages.  They began to make plans for living and working together, and in the future,  investing in real estate or a business.  

Prince Inventive started to get excited about the idea, and made plans to move to the Big City and share an apartment with his big brother, the one who had been is first ever best friend and roommate.

The day he left, we shared tears, and he looked more like a kindergartener being forced to get on the bus, than an adult excited about this new step.  I had stayed quiet, but was in doubt that with personalities that were so unlike each other, that the same path that Stoic was happy in, would fit Inventive as well.  It didn't surprise me, when faced with the first steps of getting employment that would propel him toward the apprenticeship, the newly independent prince called me to admit great hesitancy.

It was a great blessing to this mom to be an advisor and confidante over the next couple of weeks, discussing things like prayer, patience, and taking each day as God gave it, whether it be full of answers, questions, life learning, service, or gifts.  It was a joy the day he called, realizing, just after praying one morning, that he had so enjoyed his public speaking class (which had been a big surprise), and that he wanted to use those skills in whatever career direction he went.  He said he thought he'd really like to be an admissions counselor for SPU.

Inventive took time out of his summer work schedule
to go on a hiking/camping trip with his dad and CuddleBunny
While on the phone, we each looked on line at the SPU employment pages, to see what kind of education and experience requirements, and, also, income he could expect.  Since that job choice seemed to be an excellent first-job-out-of-college, but not likely a lifelong career, because of income limitations, we talked about where he might want to step from there.  An admissions counselor could have a degree in almost anything, but administration beyond that would likely require education that was directly relevant.  

He's now decided to major in Business with a marketing focus.  He will pursue employment or volunteer work around the college, and make connections for a possible job when he's finished.  Since money was still a concern, he decided to delay the start of his junior year until winter quarter.  For now he's working 2 jobs... One in the stockroom of a downtown retailer, and one as a 2-day per week nanny for 3 kiddos, ages 1 1/2 to 6.  His skills as excellent big brother and uncle come in handy there.  :-)

Forging a new path of his own in the Big City.
We can't keep up!!  :-)
I think he's really finding his own path, and has made some insightful and responsible decisions.  I'm sure he has a bright future, and it's great to see him excited about all of his plans now.

--Now, as his share of the apartment fit only bare necessities, CuddleBunny and I have our work cut out for us in spiffing up and making Inventive's abandoned room into CuddleBunny's special, new space.  It's not as good as having his big brother around, but the new focus helps.


Monday, October 20, 2014

My Kiddos are Ringing my Neck

From when I was very young, I remember loving a ring my grandmother wore.  It was a simple design with 6 stones of different colors, mounted in a straight line.  Each stone represented each one of her children... my dad, my aunt, and my 4 uncles... using their birthstones.  So since I was little, I dreamed of having a ring like that.

I have kept my eyes open, and there are very few options on which to display 8 stones, especially anything with the simple, clean lines that I'd want to wear, and in a ring.  I began to consider other options.  One day, I think I'd like a ring that has 8 smallish diamonds, mounted in a row, to wear on top of my wedding ring stack.  But I'm not seeing anyone interested in buying me diamond jewelry anytime soon, so I decided it was time to gift myself.

Thanks to Bluff's Edge Handcrafted Jewelry, I found an answer.

Alicia, the designer/artisan/owner of Bluff's Edge, and I have never met, face to face, or even actually talked.  We have had written discussions through the Gardenweb Kitchen Forum and on email for years now.  I helped her by making drawings of her kitchen, discussing options, and giving opinions
(I always love to do that!) when she and her husband built their family home.  Like with a few others from the forum, we began to talk about our families and other aspects of our lives, and really feel like friends.

I was so excited for her (and a little envious) when I found out she was making jewelry, and was planning to start her own business.  

Source: Bluff's Edge Etsy Shop

When I saw a photo of the necklace she could personalize with special words or the names of loved ones, I contacted her and we started discussing a design for my own "mother's necklace." 

Source: Bluff's Edge Facebook photos

The original necklace she showed was a single ring with 4 words or names.  But she also had a double-ring design that wasn't personalized.  I decided I wanted a mix of the 2.

The 4 oldest princesses and princes are named on the top ring, and the younger 4 are on the ring that hangs below.  

Since I sang them all "I'll be Loving You Always," when they were babies, I had that inscribed on the back.  "I'll be loving you..." on the top ring, and "...Always" on the bottom.

I chose a long (30") chain for good scale and balance with the 2 ring-set, and a casual look I can wear everyday.  

It may sound pretty hokey, but I almost teared up putting it on for the first time.  

I find that I often hold the rings, and even thread my fingers through them.  I love wearing my kids around my neck and holding them in my hands throughout the day.  The day is just not quite right if I forget to put my necklace on!

There is a cool, custom, metal tag at the clasp,
and the items arrived in a very cute, custom gift box.

This Christmas I am going to try to stick to buying gifts made in the USA. Items from Bluff's Edge Jewelry would certainly fit the requirement, and be special and beautiful, too.  If you might be interested in a gift for a loved one (or yourself!), Alicia is already urging potential customers to order early.  She needs time to get all holiday orders done, while also preserving family time.  

Tell her RHome410 sent you!  --If you order, I don't get a cut,  I am just excited for Alicia and love my necklace!

I ordered these earrings from Alicia, too.
She showed copper ones with rust-colored stones or beads
on the Bluff's Edge Facebook page.  Since those aren't really my
colors, I asked if she could do silver with black.  They're wonderful!



Sunday, October 19, 2014

It Doesn't Get Any Easier

While Princess Bossy was home, we took the opportunity to get a group photo.  It wasn't the same without, Prince Helium, her husband, but we wanted to capture as many as we had while we had them!  In case you're wondering why we seem to have an extra face in the pics, we included a friend of the kids' who has become like a member of the family around here.

It was soon evident, that getting a good group shot doesn't get any easier as they get older, and they still get antsy after one or two clicks..."Are we done yet?"

After lots of fun and silliness,

we managed to get a couple that weren't too bad.

Back, left to right: CuddleBunny, Hubby, Bossy, Eager, me, Stoic, Sassy, Steadfast
Front, left to right: Go-for-It, Friend, Artiste with her PrinceNephew, Inventive


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Off to the East Again

Oops!  This one was supposed to be published yesterday, and yesterday's post was supposed to appear today, but something got fouled up... I think it was someone, and it was me! 

Prince Go-for-It's last, big tournament was in Moses Lake, WA.  This was during Princess Bossy's visit, so she came along!  Since we didn't get the schedule until that week, so thought we might be playing first thing in the morning and it's a 3 1/2 hour drive, we arranged to arrive the day before.  As it turned out, the first tournament game was at 8 PM.  That meant we were there about a full day and a half early.

The coaches were glad to hear that, because the 18 year-old team was playing in nearby Ephrata, and needed some extra support.  The prince ended up sitting the bench the first day, but started the game on the second day, several hours before his own game that evening.

The team always warms up for up to 2 hours before a game, so Bossy, CuddleBunny, and I had some time to kill, and drove to get snacks, water, and sunscreen.  (We also got just a little sidetracked at a quilt fabric store and someone forgot we had a schedule to keep!) Prince Go-for-It thought the game started at 1:00.  Unfortunately, it started at 12:30, so, according to the report from his coach, we missed 2 amazing plays our prince made in center field.  But we were there for his first at-bat.

See that ball in the last picture, headed for the plate?  

Turns out it wasn't headed toward the plate, but toward Go-for-It's hand!  The ump was sure he'd hit a foul ball, since the ball landed somewhere past first base.  But it hadn't.  It struck the bone on the top of his right hand, leading from his ring finger to his wrist.  The knuckle below that finger seemed to have disappeared into his hand...Not good.  

Amazingly, the little town of Ephrata has its own hospital, so off we went to the ER.  The bone was broken, and they splinted his hand and gave him pain meds.  Once we were back home the following week, we consulted with his own doctor, then saw an orthopedist and it was repositioned...OUCH... and put into a cast.... A cast that stayed dry for about 1 1/2 of the 3 weeks it was supposed to be on.  But I digress...

Meanwhile, the 16 year-olds' tournament began...

Princess Bossy was a little taken aback that 3 days of her stay would now be spent, sitting in nearly 100 degree temperatures, watching kids she didn't know play ball. But we knew them, we'd paid for the hotel, and Go-for-It was still a member of his team, who wanted to, as he should, support his buddies through their games.  

He had great fun serving as first base coach, and again, they finished in a very respectable 3rd place.  They could have done better in that one... Maybe with their starting center fielder?


Friday, October 17, 2014

Why I'd Love to Go Back to Moses Lake: Fabrics and Food!

Yesterday I mentioned the quilt shop in Ephrata.  It was this sign, posted up on a corner of a building, that caught my eye as we drove on the main road through town.  

Image from The Fabric Patch Facebook page

We were supposed to be headed to WalMart or Safeway for snacks, water, and sunscreen.  But we had 'a lot' of time, so I veered off to follow the arrow.

I wasn't expecting much...just a small shop with a few interesting fabrics, perhaps.  Was I in for a surprise!  This place is GREAT.  The Fabric Patch website says, "Worth the drive from anywhere," and I agree!  They have high quality quilt fabrics and LOTS of them!!  They also carry machines, have classes and clubs, of course, and great displays of sample quilts.  I just noticed on their site that they also have a retreat house for rent, especially set up for quilting.  I'd love to stay there for about a month!

Princess Bossy and I were mesmerized... Thankfully, Prince CuddleBunny is up for almost anything, and didn't mind looking with us.  Without specific projects in mind that we came in to shop for, we hardly knew where to start.  SO many beautiful fabrics, and, as it turned out, in this situation, so little time!  

We had gone into a different world in which schedules and baseball faded into a fog.  Before we knew it, it was 12:30, so we needed to make our purchases, and run our errands, in order to, we thought, get into the bleachers for the start of Prince Go-for-It's game at 1:00.  I will go back!!

The Fabric Patch would be reason enough to make the drive to the area, but, also, I'd like a reason to revisit some restaurants in Moses Lake.  We had 3 evenings there, so 3 dinners out. Prince Go-for-It always elected to hang out with friends, grabbing fast food near the hotel.  But after so many days on the road in the previous weeks, I was worn out on such things, and wanted to discover what else the town might have to offer.

An ad for a restaurant overlooking the lake caught our eye for the first night, so we went to Michael's on the Lake.  We sat outside, and the weather was perfect.  It was warm with a warm breeze, and the view of the lake was spectacular.  The restaurant was well above the lake, but we felt like we were over the shoreline.

Seared Tuna and Mango Salad

Princess Bossy can be Princess Finicky, after working as a nanny for, and treated as a member of the family by a couple who are gourmet cooks and fine restaurant connoisseurs in the Big City, while she attended college.  She admits to having extremely high expectations of the service she receives in any restaurant, and declared the service in Michael's to be 'just exactly as it should be,' from suggestions made, to attentiveness and courtesy.  

It was a lovely meal in every way.  The food was fantastic, and the Princess was particularly happy with how her tuna was prepared.  

We were having such a fine time, we even splurged and shared a dessert, although we were all already plenty full!

Classic 1/2 pound Burger with Bacon

Warm Italian Doughnuts with 3 dipping sauces...
Oh My Goodness!

While we were at Michael's on the Lake, we overheard a member of the staff mention that there were 2 other restaurants in town under the same ownership, but with different personalities. Michael's on the Lake was about casual elegance.  The other two included a deli and a burger restaurant.  That decided where we'd spend our next 2 dinners... We were so impressed with the first, we needed to try them all!

Michael's Market and Bistro was more casual, with orders taken at a counter and delivered to the table, or packaged to-go.  We tried to sit outside here, too, but the view of the street, with car exhaust from cars parking next to the sidewalk, wasn't as pleasant.  Besides, it was too hot and bright that evening, so we moved inside.  

The prince and princess both chose Salmon Burgers

I had the Portobello Panini

We enjoyed the open air feeling, the brick walls, etc.  We also enjoyed our sandwich dinners, and the stroll through the attached shop that offered beers, wines, gourmet foods and gift items, and kitchenware.  We returned to this spot to grab lunch our last day in town.

The 3rd night, we visited Rock Top Burgers and Brew.  It seemed a hip and popular spot on a Saturday night, but we were seated almost immediately...inside this time.  The interior decor was modern, yet warm and kind of lodgey... Lots of wood and stone.  

I tried the BLTA (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado) Croissant.
The helping of fries with the sandwich was modest.
The big batch we were given when we requested more was NOT.
I'm sorry I didn't get a photo!
There weren't as many 'brew' choices as I'd expected.  Also, what I didn't expect was the chance to try a small sample of the beer I was interested in before committing.  --So much nicer than being stuck with a pint of something I don't like!  

Princess Bossy enjoyed her Farmhouse Veggie Burger

Prince CuddleBunny loved is Rock Top Rumbler.
It had bacon, a fried egg, and 'the works.'

Again, we were all very happy with our menu selections...and they had 'bottomless fries,' which pleased Prince CuddleBunny no end, even though his tummy had less room for his 2nd helping than he imagined.  Even the crisp and tasty sweet potato fries were endless, which I didn't expect, but took advantage of.  Yum.


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