Saturday, December 31, 2011


I love lights! Candles, lamps, cool ceiling fixtures, sunshine, moonlight, fireplaces, fire pits, fireworks (although not at midnight on New Year's Eve when I have been asleep for awhile)...I also love old, which is extremely good, as my years of living are getting higher and higher in number. Maybe that is why I like older stuff - my subconscious remembers it from way back in the dark ages. Maybe that is why I love lights!

Check out these cool candle holders my honey gave me for Christmas! Lights AND old looking. I found, I mean he found them at Sister to Sister in Prosser (right next to Starbucks, immediately off the freeway ramp). I'll share a little secret. He wanted to get the for me for Christmas, but sent me in to buy them (I had discovered them on a previous trip). I allowed the sweet ladies inside to think that the gift was for someone else (it was for me) and they wrapped it so prettily. :) Saved my man a little extra work, and the wrapping looked great!

It was a theme season for me. Mr. Fancy Shopper, on his own without me, also found this very unique teapot candle holder. Old looking barn red with rubbed off paint. Love it!

Before Christmas, my awesome son gave me money and told me to buy something. (Actually, he gave it to dear old dad, who gave it to me). On my birthday, we went on a day trip to see Jan Brett and stopped for coffee at Starbucks. I trotted in to Sister to Sister and fell in love with the Christmas decor - including my future hanging candle holders and this wonderful galvanized birdhouse table top candle holder. It is so beautiful when the candles are lit! As a side bonus, this candle holder puts out quite a bit of heat, so we use it as a pseudo-fireplace in our family room, the coldest room of the house. It really helps.

Filling my house and my heart with light. Perfect for those long, short, dreary, winter days.

Maybe that's why Christmas is in December. The arrival of The Light shreds the darkness of winter.

2012 for Moi

Over the last few years, I've deliberately avoided New Year's Resolutions. But I'm thinking that I may consider a few for 2012. I don't know why, but I think I'll call it turning over a new leaf.

2012 for me:
~ eat less
~ walk more
~ love more
~ read more
~ collect less
~ paint more
~ stress less
~ cook more
~ eat more veggies and fruit
~ continue eating chocolate
~ drink coffee more, with friends
~ play more
~ laugh more
~ write more
~ gripe less
~ hug more
~ sing more
~ kiss more
~ clean less
~ organize more
~ judge less
~ forgive faster
~ love my babies
~ embrace life

Too Anxious to Paint

My husband may soon ban my trips to the home improvement store. He may also write some strong suggestive messages to those companies that now sell sample sized paint containers - all mixed in the numerous colors his wife has chosen to consider.

Really, it's his fault. He gave me a gift card to Lowe's. What else does he expect? I only went in for the brilliant blue I want to use to paint the backs of the kitchen shelves. I ended up with two more color samples and several color cards of almost for sure color swatches for the rest of the house. Hmmm. I cannot wait to paint!

When I was thinking about what I wanted to commit to for 2012, I told myself, I want to paint more. Now, in my head I was thinking of watercolor painting, which I adore. As I gaze at the several random paint samples displayed on walls throughout the house (in actual paint, non-removable paint), I realized that I may also mean painting on my walls...

It is only December 31. The earliest I can conceivably paint is spring break. That's in April. I think we will have to continue to gaze upon my color swatches for quite a while. We can't even pass it off as artistic. I've chosen to paint the same colors in different locations to see how the light hits it at throughout the day.

Cela vie! These new colors will make my home a rainbow of hues until painting day arrives. Maybe no one will notice?

Until then, I think I need a sample for the ceiling color, a non-traditional (for me) creamy off-white. While I'm there, I need to check on colors for the family room...Just don't tell anyone where I've gone.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Doctors and Things

That will teach me! I scheduled a crown AND my annual physical over Christmas break!

What was I thinking? Not only do I have a temporary crown that is extremely sensitive and TMJ as a result of the tooth work that gives me aching headaches, I can't enjoy all of the lovely, crunchy, sticky, delicious, chewy Christmas treats and special dishes of the season. Between the temporary crown AND lab work, it's just not the same. Blah! Need to seriously rethink my appointment game plan. I think I weigh more over Christmas, so that doesn't help.

Bah-humbug for doctor appointments and temporary crowns (even if I really like both my doctor and my dentist). Nothing personal...just their line of work.

My blood work came back good though...a special blessing from God, that it is.

Next year...maybe summer? Maybe never? How about no?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 27

December 27th. Winter. Cold and dry. Or damp and foggy. But still, winter.

Just completed a chilly, face numbing walk through the neighborhood. And what did I see? And hear? Two silly, out of season robins!

Now, seriously. We did not have a white Christmas. Not even a foggy Christmas. Not perfectly clear, but not wintry weather either. Mild would be a good word. For the northwest, that is not good. We definitely need piles of snow and ice, wind and rain. Especially in the mountains. Summer irrigation depends on it.

But robins? They seemed wonderfully ignorant of the season, and blissfully happy to be bouncing from branch to branch.

I hope this does not forecast a clear, dry winter season for us. I dread to think of the hot weather water woes to follow if that is the case.

Or maybe, just maybe, the robins are a bit touched in the head. Blown off course on their fall departure route. Let's hope so.

Come on robins, head to your winter roosting spots. Come on snow, we need mountains of the pretty white stuff. It's winter! Snow, baby, snow.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Favorite Gift

My favorite gift from students are when the child is proudly handing me a bag or package and the mother is standing behind, mouthing, "He picked it himself!"

Now, that is a loaded statement. That means the gift could be anything! (I once gave my parents the prettiest little shot glasses - I just fell in love with them. I was in early grade school, and I was so pleased to buy them at store. Now I understand the discussion going on over my head as to why someone my age would be buying shot glasses?!???).

I love gifts that the child has chosen by himself! Sometimes I think, wow, how cool. Sometimes I wonder and try to make a connection between the gift, the child, and myself. But always I am pleased to be remembered. Regardless of how embarrassed the parent seems to be.

This particular gift turned out to be quite nice. Lovely (gaudy, but I love gaudy) ruby red (a new sister is Ruby, maybe that's why the color was chosen?) dangly (I love dangly) earrings and matching beaded bracelet! Nothing could have been nicer.

Of course, on this particular day, I was wearing my red sweater with an old-fashioned snowman angel on it. Perfect!

"Should I put them on?" I asked.

"Oh, yes," was the happy reply.

I donned my new jewels, to the cautious comments to not poke myself and how beautiful they looked.

Later we sat at the group table completing a project, the conversation turned to my new reds.

"Those are real diamonds."

"Oh, I should take care of them then," I said.

"Yes, you should lock them up." And additional tips from several students. "You could put them in a special box in your purse." "You could put them in a jewelry box." "Oh, my mom has a jewelry box." "You need to make sure the robbers don't steal them."

Pretty soon, my jewelry was forgotten as the topic of eventual theft, robbers, and whose mom's had jewelry boxes continued unabated.

Life in a kinder room.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

As I sit here, listening to the crackling of a virtual fire on the flat screen (funny, I still feel cold) and Christmas music blasting on the ipod dock, I notice a streak of chocolate on my hand. Oops. Missed a spot when I cleaned up from making toasted walnut chocolate glazed biscotti. From old-fashioned baking projects (peanut butter bars - check - microwave marshmallow fudge - check - biscotti - cooling; cupcakes to do for tomorrow) to online everything, Christmas certainly looks different this year!

With the time crunch, I decided I would go virtual and post our annual Christmas letter on my blog. I want you to know this is a hard choice. I'm one who values tradition and doing it the same way. Twenty five years of Quantrell Christmas letters. I guess I'm ready for a few changes. Biscotti has never been on my holiday baking list nor a digital Christmas letter. Changes, here we come.

The Quantrell family had an eventful 2011. Time marches on, and we certainly feel the effects creeping up on us, from scrambling for cheaters to read small print to more aches and pains upon waking to the difficulty of keeping up with a two-year-old and a 4 month old! But enough about us old folks.

Dad Quantrell passed away on March 29. Bill has had poor health for quite a few years due to stroke issues. But what got him was complications from pneumonia. It was a sad but peace-filled day. He is missed greatly, but we know he is no longer suffering and we are quite sure he is chatting away with everyone he meets.

Taylor has completed his full time obligation with the US Army. He is now in the Army Reserves out of Ft. Lewis. He is employed with D.R. Brown Trucking in Yakima. This job is a perfect fit for our super-mechanic. He did end up with stitches within the first 2 weeks of working there (some heavy engine thing fell on his hand - don't ask, I have no idea, truck engine parts are another language for me - and you know diesel engines are HUGE and HEAVY). Our boy loves being covered in grease from head to toe, so the job is a perfect fit. He now gets paid to be dirty. Taylor is close enough to go check on Grandma Q. at lunch, call mom and dad, and visit Grandma and Grandpa Hill up on the mountain.

On August 5, Taylor and Jamie were married at Ft. Simcoe. What a beautiful wedding! Despite the appearance of hordes of yellow jackets at the rehearsal (they wanted fried chicken), we survived with barely any small visitors the day of the wedding. Many family and friends traveled way out to Ft. Simcoe to help celebrate the big day. We are happy to welcome Jamie (formally, as they've been together for about 7 years before the wedding) as our daughter. They are renting a little place near Harrah, where Jamie is teaching preschool at the same school I teach. (Only minor confusion about which Mrs. Quantrell people are talking about or looking for...)

Chelsie, Collin, and Hayden had a lovely addition to their family on August 23. Khloe Chevelle popped out weighing 9# 1/5 oz. Big girl! Poor mama was ready (we thought she might surprise us at the wedding, but no, had to be induced one week late). Hayden loves his little sissy, even if she does hog attention from him. We love hearing that little voice shouting, "Nana, 'are you?" (Nana, where are you?) as he comes into the house. We cannot, however, keep up with him! Mommy is getting ready to go back to YVCC and study radiology while daddy works many, many hours at Pepsi. Chelsie also works part time with Kevin at Keith & Keith and Langevin-Mussetter - and she helps take care of Grandma Q.

Kevin still works at the Dignity funeral homes in Yakima and Wapato. He is part time and does the bulk of running around for them. Between work, taking care of momma, and working with Amplify (the little church start we are working on), he can count his free time on one hand. I do enjoy his flexible schedule, as he is Mr. Me and has dinner started most days when I get home from school! What a great guy. Think I'll keep him. It has been 26 years...yes. I think I will keep him.

I'm still teaching at H.C.C.S. This year I am living in the kindergarten room! I love that age. It does require a different sort of energy level than what was needed for 2rd-3rd grade...We get to do lots of fun things. I'm still writing for WMU, but not as much. I want to write more, but with school schedules, classes I've had to take, and life in general...there is NO TIME. (Hence the electronic Christmas Letter. haha)

Trips this year, a scant few, but memorable - Las Vegas to be in my cousin's wedding (Elvis did the ceremony!), Whidbey Island for me (college friends 30th reunion), our high school class 30th reunion, a few runs to Seattle...Wow. Not much happening on the trip schedule. Bigger plans for next year. After all, it's not often that one of us turns the big 5-0.

This December finds us just finishing our Christmas tasks with a day to spare. Whew. I'm eating carefully, as my temporary crown (Happy Christmas to me and a wonderful school vacation) has my jaw sore and sensitive. I've got to do better planning. I also have my annual physical next week. Not a good time with all the special treats that have been coming our way. Next year, new goal. No doctor or dentist appointments allowed for Christmas vacation. That's a great idea, Mrs. Quantrell!

The cooling biscotti are calling me for packaging. My kindle is ready to be enjoyed. Cupcakes are needing baked for Baby Jesus birthday treats. Gifts are strewn about the office floor dreaming of which wrapping paper they will receive. The daily walk needs to be enjoyed, dinner awaits preparation, and a quiet evening with my honey needs relishing before our Christmas Eve candlelight service and Christmas Day celebrations.

(Sometimes, you just feel like lying on the grass...)

May the Lord bless and smile upon you and your family during 2012!

Hugs and kisses from the crazy Q's.

And who knows how I ended up with blue font??? Didn't know that was an option...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Three-Eyed Baby Jesus Returns

The three-eyed baby Jesus is back!

Tell the truth, I forgot that our classroom nativity set had a three-eyed baby Jesus. Last year, the second and third graders discovered our special Jesus right off the bat.

In kindergarten, it may have been even faster. Suddenly. Cries of, "Baby Jesus has three eyes?" and "Why does Jesus have three eyes," and "I want to see!" rang through the classroom. Don't let little kids fool you. They are KEEN observers of things not normal or different.

"Well," as I struggled to recall last year's excitement. Looking for a link to our learning, I plugged ahead. (Due to our extreme focus on books - authors, illustrators, publishers, etc., I took that tactic.)

"Sometimes, artists make mistakes. Just like sometimes we don't do things exactly like we want. You know...blah, blah, blah. Illustrators, people, kids mess up what they are working on."

They hung on to my words like I wished they did every day. "So I think Baby Jesus has his nose in the wrong place."

Silent contemplation. That doesn't happen much in a kindergarten class. Then life went on as usual. Back to normal.

Until I noticed that the stable had now become a moving vehicle for all nativity figures. Bible characters sat silently in terror as 5 year-old boys drove them around the carpeted floor, locked inside the half walls.

Time for my question. "Where is Baby Jesus going?"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Christmas Tradition - aka - Nana, take me!

I took him! Last time I posted, I was not able to and my Nana-heart was broken.

Today, he was my little cling-on. We did all sorts of things. But the main thing we did was be together.

And we started a new Christmas tradition for Nana and her grand babies. He's the only one old enough yet, but just wait. Pretty soon the kitchen will be entirely covered in icing and sticky finger prints.

Today, we made our first gingerbread house! With a kit, all is complete, except the wash-up tools and knives for spreading.

Oh, Nana, there was CANDY! Most of it too hard for him, but gumdrops were a hit. And when we were almost done, the discovery of the edibleness of icing - why tell him too early and add to the sugar consumption??? - ahhh, the finger drips of icing and "Hay-nen eat, Nana." What a fun time!

So far, I am pleased to say, the house weighing considerably more than when we began, is still standing. The icing is dripping lovely for good effect. The candy is still on. The boy is happy (and to tell the truth, spent a few moments of pure buzz in the living room). Lots of pictures. Great memories.

Oh, and yes, there is still a glob of permanent glue like icing on my elbow. Better go catch that.