Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Things I'm Loving:

:: summer
:: space to breathe
:: my gorgeous yellow walls
:: trying out new recipes
:: clean bathrooms
:: fresh sheets
:: a straight spine
:: Lone Elder Produce
:: braids
:: water - cool clear water
:: "sale pending" status

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dancing Around Issues

'Tis the season for Spring Dance Concerts. Two of my nieces dance. They are both very young and have both been dancing for three or four years each. They both love to dance. I attended two dance concerts within one week. One was an hour and a half. The other was three and a half hours long. Both of them were very good.

I have a limited dance background, consisting of three months of ballet (when I was 6 or 7), four months of tap (in preparation for my high school sophomore musical, Anything Goes), and two semesters of Intro to Dance at good ol' OCHS. I had friends who, like my nieces, had danced since they were three or four years old. I was jealous of their experience at the time. Now I no longer care.

So here is my issue (and I welcome comments): Do I enroll my three year old in "Creative Movement" in September? She loves to dance, but I don't know that she or I am ready for a serious time commitment to the subject of dance. I think she would thoroughly enjoy it most of the time. I am intimidated by the mandatory Spring Dance Concert that spans four performances (only two of which Anna would dance in, thank goodness), and countless hours of rehearsals (been there-done that).

It was also incredibly strange and disconcerting to watch girls from age 3 to 18 dance across the stage a various times. I thought of my Annabelle growing up and dancing in the older classes and it just wigged me out. It's like I have to think about the future - long range plans I want for my child, and what she wants for herself when she is only three. Do I simply provide her with the opportunity? Or am I pushing something on her at too young an age? Or does it give her something to excel in and make her special? An opportunity? Or will it be a waste of time, energy and money?I don't want to think of Anna as a four-year-old, much less a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old. I have issues. I know. Any advice from you all?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Midnight Tea Party

I believe I am the luckiest woman in the world. Not only am I married to Sean (which I think alone qualifies me as the luckiest woman in the world), and have three wonderful children, I am also auntie to eleven beautiful girls. Nine of them spent the night last night at our first annual Out of School Slumber Tea Party. We had soooo much fun! My little boys headed off to Salem for a boy-cousin-thing, and I got to keep all of my fabulous nieces for a girl-cousin-thing. We went to the park and ate pizza. Then the girls got all dressed up in their play clothes finery and headed downstairs for a very formal "midnight" tea party.

We had hot cocoa and scones (bad recipe!) and cucumber sandwiches on my very best china. The girls felt so very special. I think it helped that Uncle Sean donned his official wait-person attire and treated the girls like royalty - complete with English accent. They thought he was hysterical (so did I).

After tea they changed into jammies and proceeded to stay up until sometime after midnight talking and giggling (I went to bed in spite of the buzz of little girl whispers in the next room). They all got up at the crack of dawn and some of them were dressed before I even surfaced for the day. We had oatmeal pancakes, and chocolate chip pancakes and blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Yum-o! They all get along so well and love being together. Being their Auntie is one of my greatest blessings. I love you, little lady-bugs!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Great Wolf Adventures

We were fortunate enough to spend twenty-three-and-a-half hours at the Great Wolf Lodge near Olympia, WA. At the end of it all my sister-in-law commented on how incredibly exhausted we all were after only vacationing for the equivalent of one day. It was a very fun trip, although it felt rather expensive when it was all said and done. After meals and hotel and everything it was a mere tenth of what we spent for six days at Disneyland (that included air fare to L.A.), but in comparison to what you get with the whole Disneyland experience, the Great Wolf Lodge felt expensive. Next time we go I think I will try to find a coupon or something.

Great Wolf Lodge is a water park. After spending ten days being inundated by water parks in Wisconsin last summer, we all swore to never set foot in a water park again. Oh, how weak the resolve we have in these parts. We loved the water park side of this trip. Our favorites were the wave pool (Djeryd, Sean, and myself), the "blue slide with the raft" (Erik), and the toddler beach (Anna - I think this is because she can lie with her belly touching the ground while still waving her arms and legs around under the water so that she feels as if she is actually "swimming"). However, the favorite part of the whole two days was MagiQuest. Djeryd went bonkers for it and we are back on a dragon kick around here.

How it works is the kids buy a wand and an adventure. There are lots of adventures to choose from so that you can play a new one every time you head on over to the Lodge. There are interactive game screens stashed all over the hotel, along with magic pictures and talismans and chests of treasure. All of these magical entities respond to a flick from your magic wand. Some of them talk to you or blink lights and wake up sleeping tree sprites. It was very cool.

We also scored some arcade time with groovy black lights (hence Anna's glowing socks, pictured way above), and ice cream cones at the local hotel sweet shop. They also had a craft area where the "littles" could color or read or play Winnie-the-Pooh computer games. We tucked in for the evening after a short show and story time by the huge stone fireplace in the lobby. All in all it was a great little vacation for the family.
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

In Process

The above and the below are in the midst of major transformations. Pictures will be coming soon. The glory of space and a spare room . . . I'm so excited!

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

I Am a Peace-Loving Woman, But . . . .

I am a peace-loving woman, but . . . there is something positively thrilling about being a couple hundred yards away from an F-15 fighter jet as it rips up the runway and blasts into the sky. It was awe-inspiring standing next to, and even inside, a military aircraft. Today was Young America Day at the Oregon Air National Guard base. The place was crawling with Cub Scouts. ;> It is the one day a year that the base is open to the public. There were fire engines and police cars and hummers and choppers and fighter jets that the kids could actually sit inside. It was amazing. We are talking real planes here, people. Actual planes with their actual pilots (many of whom flew in this morning just for this event) standing right next to them answering questions and talking to the kids.

The helicopters are not officially part of the Portland base (it is right across the runway from PDX - I bet the people sitting in the Alaska Airlines wing had a great show today while they waited for their flights). One was an Army helicopter (shown above) and the other was a really big Coast Guard helicopter. We got to see the Coast Guard one actually lift off out of the midst of all of us people and head off into the horizon towards Astoria. The pilot even did some fancy photo-op flying by hovering like a hummingbird.

I took a lot, and I mean a lot, of pictures of airplanes today. I love the paint. I love the engines. I love the symmetry. I love the shapes and the angles. I love the names of the pilots and rios painted on the sides of the cockpits. I love that perfect pointed cone of a nose. They are really beautiful pieces of design and engineering.

What makes me sad is that we live in a world where we need them. I could not help but feel melancholy as I watched military daddies with their wives and children who had stories about their tour in Iraq. There were women in uniform, too. Men and women who risk their lives for their country - for you and me. And all those beautiful airplanes seem to pale in comparison to the actual men and women who fly them. May God bless them.
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Friday, June 5, 2009

"Earth on Her Hands"

Earth on Her Hands is the title of a wonderful gardening book, and I could not help but think of it as I saw this beautiful picture of my budding gardener. Don't you just love those little balled up fists full of dirt?

In an effort to keep the birds from eating my sunflower seeds, I am experimenting with sowing them in pots. The birds tend to comb the ground as the peck away for worms, so I think the little peat pots will be safe on the front porch. All of the kids planted the pots yesterday, but the pictures of Anna touched my little heart.

Now there's a little girl who's proud of her job well done!

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Flying High

Meet my very own World War I Flying Ace (a.k.a. Djeryd). Apparently the skies looked friendly this morning and Djeryd has been in them all day. The couch served as his initial aircraft for about an hour. After that, he donned his parachute and bailed . . .

Once he hit the ground he began construction on a brand new aircraft, unparalelled in design for the times. I had nothing, absolutley nothing, to do with this. He has been working on it for hours and, with the plans he has for his cockpit, I think it will be many more hours before he pronounces it "finished".

He did take it out for a test flight, sans controls. I hope he makes it down alright. It looks like he's spotted a good crash-landing spot, just in case his landing gear doesn't engage. Good luck, pilot, and "may the force be with you." (Oops! wrong movie - that always happens to me.)

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I wish I had a straw to drink in all that gorgeous color. Enjoy!
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The Vegetable Garden

Three cheers for us!!! We finally got the vegetable garden in last night (I love productive Family Home Evenings). We felt inspired on Sunday to just get it done, and so dedicated Monday to completing the task. Sunday night was spent finalizing the layout for the remaining three beds (one was planted last month), and making a shopping list for Wilco. Monday morning, Sean dug a bed to prep for planting. I took the kids to Wilco and loaded up on plants, then came home and got to work. By the time Sean got home we had two beds left to dig and plant, and three little ones ready to help.

I love Djeryd's handwriting on the plant markers.

Pardon the random things in the picture and just concentrate on the fact that all four of those beds are now full of vegetable seeds and plants just waiting to feed my family this summer. Yea!!!

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Service Saturday

We spent part of our Saturday engaged in a service project with our ward at the historic Gribble Cemetary. Bark dust was spread, trees were limbed, grave stones were scrubbed. The boys worked hard for about an hour, and then headed off to the woods to play with the other kids.

Admittedly, I did not work. I took pictures. Lots of them. Almost all of them are of everyone but the usual four people I photograph. Anna was particularly clingy all day, so I had a little shadow that never strayed more than two feet from my side as I tromped around looking for good shots (and, boy, did I find some - unfortuanately they are of non-related individuals, so I don't feel right about posting them on my blog).

The official count of volunteers was 113 people. Wow! The best part for me happened at the end of the project, as we all gathered around for prayer and lunch. I looked around and saw all these people that are a part of the ward family laughing and talking and smiling . . . and it actually felt like it was my ward family - for the first time.

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