Saturday, June 6, 2015

the sun sets later up north

Our family had the privilege to host my cousin Lauren, and her husband, Pete, for the weekend while they were on a 'whirlwind' tour of the PNW (and Canada) from their home in Glendale, CA.

The last time Lauren was in Washington State was back in the 80's when we lived in Ellensburg and my Aunt Kathy came up with her two girls, Allison and Lauren, during the summer.

Lauren was only around four at the time, so who knows what she remembers of that trip.  All I know is that she loved My Little Ponies, Cracklin' Oat Bran, and was as cute as a button.  She still, is, actually!

Since I was tied up with Field Day at school, Mark and the younger two kids took Lauren and Pete around Cashmere.  They visited his favorite drinking/burger spot, Milepost 111, then took a nice tasting tour of the Cider Mill, which I've never been to and I've lived here for thirteen years!

I feel bad for Pete that our kids hated him.  They really didn't want to be around him, like, at all...

We introduced them to Country Boys BBQ, enjoyed some cool drinks on the deck, then put the kids to bed and watched the Cashmere High School graduation ceremony on the football field below us.  Nothing says small town like a class of 100 kids graduating at 8:00 on a Friday night and choosing "I'll Be There For You (the theme from Friends)" as their class song.   Plus, you can do that here because the sun doesn't set until almost 9:00 in early June.  We're farther away from the equator, so the late sunset threw Lauren off a little!

On Saturday, we took the kids to Mark's parent's house to spend the night so that we could take our visitors on a tour of Leavenworth because that is what you do around here.

First we stopped at the bakery for some donuts, then we drove the scenic route (you know, by the dump) to show them the beautiful landscape.  Lauren was amazed at all of the irrigation ditches and unattended flowing waterways because California is having a huge drought issue and no one is allowed to do much of any watering without mountains of paperwork.  We must seem incredibly wasteful to them!

We rounded out Saturday night with a stop by Keith and Beth's property which only happened because I can't read texts good.  I thought we were going to meet them out there for dinner and Beth had been saying "home" the whole time which means their house in Wenatchee.

Either way, they got to see the property, the boys took a dip in the creek, and we made it to Wenatchee to have dinner with everyone.

Next month, we are heading down to California to stay with my grandma for our first vacation of the year, so we'll get to see Lauren and Pete all over again!  I sure hope they enjoyed their stay and will want to come back in a few years.

Friday, June 5, 2015

the end of school

Time is moving so quickly - this year is no exception.  Freya finished 1st Grade and loved every minute of it.  Ilsa completed Pre-school at Pat's and is all ready for Kindergarten. Jensen has become really active and really vocal and it's a lot of fun!

In other news, our friends from up the hill, the Kerns, were getting rid of their little playhouse and asked if we'd like it.  I said sure, forgot to tell Mark and so he was surprised when Adam showed up to drop it off.  Oops!  We found a corner of the deck that it fit into perfectly and it's been the highlight of every day since then - even the cat loves it.

I buckled down and painted the great room and accent wall in the kitchen because my cousin Lauren and her husband Pete are coming to visit.  The color was Treasure Chest by Behr and since I did the paint/primer in one two coats went on really smoothly and the coverage was really even.  It really brightens that corner area.

Here is our little graduate with her cap, necklace, and certificate!

Mark was home with the two younger kids a few Friday's ago and Jensen got into the sunblock.  Lip care is crucial!

I volunteered to help with Field Day the last Friday of school.  This was only for 1st Grade and they had 10 stations set up throughout the building for the kids to circuit through.  The other mom helper and I split time at the Frisbee station and then spent the other half of the time walking the circuit with our kids.

The big hits were the sno-cone station and the bouncy house.  Since our group had 9 kids, four went into the bouncy house while the other five played tag on the other side of the gym. That's Freya, the grey blur on the right.  Trey was kind enough to stop and pose for my picture.

The funniest station was Duck, Duck, Squirt.  I think you can figure out the game from the name.  It started getting silly as they would try to double and triple-squirt each other before having their target hop up and catch them.  Lots of laughing and staying cool in the 80+ degree weather!


The day ended with L-Bow the Clown entertaining everyone in the gym.  He did skits, walked on his hands, juggled, rode a unicycle AND juggled, and had the kids in hysterics.  It was perfect.

The last picture of Freya's class before they were excused to go home.  She had such a wonderful experience with Mrs. Heidenfelder and her reading ability really took off this year. We look forward to what 2nd Grade with Miss Smith will be - so far only good reports from the parents who've had children in her class.

Monday, May 25, 2015

photo dumps are trending

More fun pictures with no real stories other than the fact that they are on my phone!

1.  We got lunch from Arby's and the toy in the kids meal was a set of bull horns.  This tiny bull was raging!

2.  Class pictures came in and Freya is in the back with the tall kids.  I was always, without fail, in the front row, sitting in a chair.  Let's hope she doesn't plateau in 1st Grade!

3.  Little boy graduated to his big bed.  He is absolutely in love with it.  I am not in love with him flinging himself over the railing and coming to our room at 5:55 a.m. each morning.

4.  My recipe for cabbage salsa which has now officially been named "Mexican Coleslaw".  Mark can eat a bucket of this with tortilla chips in a few days.  Good thing it's full of veggies!

5.  The lovely Memorial Day celebration at the Cashmere Cemetery.  It never fails to awe me how beautiful an American flag is in abundance.  This year there were 414 flags displayed.

6.  Choosing a new paint color for the Great Room and accent wall in the kitchen.  These colors are so off because of the natural light and my phone camera's inabilities.  The real walls are a raspberry sherbet color and the new choices are more vibrant blues.  The girls like the first one, I like it and the third one.  Mark probably will get the deciding vote.

7.  Mark's parents took the girls with them to the Right to Life march in Wenatchee.  They got some cowgirl gear, face paintings, and dessert.  I can't really tell which part they liked the best...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

drinking and drawing

I have a very odd group of people that I hang out with.  It seems like we are always doing something strange and new when we're together and that's how we like it.

This particular outing was for my friend Stephanie's birthday and our other friend, Jodi, concocted an elaborate ruse to get her there.  She chose to have us all sign up for Class with a Glass (hence the drinking and drawing) and hide in their studio while she pretended to bring Steph into town for the weekly Run Wenatchee group.  I'm not much for running, but I'm glad to partake of booze and art for a few hours!

That's Stephanie in the middle right - she was totally surprised and loved the idea!

Prior to our class, we got to vote between four options and the one with the most votes won.  I circled it below, though you'll see the finished product later anyway.

The issue that I found with this set up is that they feed you and let you buy wine BY THE BOTTLE prior to starting your painting.  It wasn't the best idea with some of these ladies who are a little more excitable and don't listen when they aren't already intoxicated...

Not me, of course.

So here we are after the first three steps.  This involves mixing paints to make new shades and using your brush wet to blend.  It can be frustrating for a perfectionist!

Then you add your moon, in whatever shade of yellow you choose, blend some more, then paint the sides of the canvas so they are black and blend with the front.

At break time, you send a picture of your painting to your husband:

You then take pictures of your other weird friends who like to stick paint brushes in their hair.  Also, you drink more.

The next steps include adding the ground (it's just brown) and layering leaves (or something like that) on top of it using a different brush and a new technique.  I am not sure if I did what the teacher wanted, but it kind of looked like her example so who cares.

Then you add your tree trunk and branches.  This was difficult for me, who knows why.  I was probably using the wrong brush.

Next, with YET ANOTHER brush, you start adding dots.  I found it hard to be random, but in the end you can't really tell.

Another husband update in which he refers to Bob Ross.  I would have liked to add happy anythings into this painting, but the plan didn't call for it.

I wanted to take Stephanie's home instead of mine.  She had a sort of Whoville vibe going on with a wavy tree and curly-ques.  So much better than mine!

It really was a lot of fun and something I'd love to do again!  My plan is to just decorate different rooms in our house with my drunk artwork.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

God bless and keep them both

There's a saying in the Dronen family:  If you're going to do it, do it big.  I don't know if anyone has actually uttered those particular words, but that's definitely how things get done around here.

If you know us, you'll recall that neither Freya nor Ilsa was baptized as an infant, so we kept the tradition rolling with Jensen, though he definitely wins the prize for being the oldest when baptized.   You can revisit the other two celebrations for Freya and Ilsa if you need a good chuckle.

My cousin Lauren, and her husband, Pete, are Jensen's Godparents, but since they live in California and couldn't make the trip, my parents stood in as their proxies.  Jensen wanted Daddy or Papa the whole time and had no problem being vocal about it.  And when Grandpa wasn't too busy, he held him as well.  The beauty of a small congregation is that no one cares if things don't go as planned and almost everyone is like family.


The second celebration of the morning was Freya's First Holy Communion.  The beginning of this actually preceded and then continued after the baptism, but that would be confusing to show so I separated the pictures.  She felt very special in her fancy dress and new shoes and even got to wear the veil from my First Communion that my mom saved and updated for her.

Grandma was the religious education teacher for the kids this year which was extra fun for Freya as they spent their Tuesday afternoons after school in CCD together.  The other children are Caitlyn, Philomena, and Brayden.  They all did very well for being the (other) center of attention at Mass and even had two songs to sing in front of the congregation.


There is something very satisfying about knowing that your children not only identify as Christians, but that they have interest and understanding of what each celebration entails. The little ones aren't necessarily aware of what is happening during their Baptism, but First Communion is a very meaningful milestone in the Catholic faith and Freya took it very seriously.

Her devotion of entering into this new phase as a Catholic has reminded me the importance of my faith and helped me step out of being a C&E Catholic (Christmas and Easter) and make a renewed effort to be a Sunday regular.  Now I just have to live up to my goal!