Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wilcox Family Beach Trip – August 2011

This post is so incredibly overdue.  Between my camera dying in the middle of the trip and none of my family portraits turning out the way I wanted, this was simply a folder of pictures with a lot of emotional baggage attached.  But tonight, as I looked at it, it filled me with so many wonderful memories and tons of love for these amazing people that I am lucky enough to call family, that I decided it was high time I got this down in a digital record.  We were at Pacific City for four days, but my camera died (and was revived - but only once), so I missed capturing many memories, like my sister’s family singing their talent show song (it was very upsetting), having nightly family scriptures around the pool table, piling little sandy people into the bathtub, and all those girls beading during every spare moment.  I am especially sad to not have photographic evidence of Erik’s eighth birthday party which was a gorgeous sunset bonfire dinner on the beach.  Alas, some things will just have to live in my heart.  Here are three collages of three separate days with a bit of narration.

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Day 1 – We arrived at a very large beach house (it is extremely hard to find a house that will hold 25 people) and immediately dived into a surprise present for my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary.  They live in a teeny house so we chose to get them something small, practical and personal: aprons.  The kids put their handprints or feet-prints on the aprons and then decorated them with their names and sweet messages for Grandma and Grandpa.  The view of Haystack Rock was from our back deck.  Gorgeous!  All of us adults kept the kids up far too late by making a terrible racket playing spoons late into the night.  One of my brothers was not there because his wife was delivering a baby that very day.  We were fortunate enough to have their other three kids for the weekend (the newborn baby was obviously not in attendance).

2011-08-21 Wilcox Family Beach Trip 

Day 2 – We spent a good chunk of the day on the beach.  The weather was really beautiful the whole time we were there, which is always a gamble on the Oregon Coast.  I took way too many picture of grains of sand stuck all over these little bodies, ears and hands, and toes and foreheads and mouths.  This was the day I climbed the dune.  It took me forever because I am in terrible shape, but I was so dang proud of myself and my little climbing partner, Brooklyn. (My camera died for the first time shortly after this expedition, hence no pictures of the afternoon or evening.)

 2011-08-21 Wilcox Family Beach Trip2

Day 3 – Sean fixed my camera and we headed out at 10:00AM for a our family photo shoot.  I think I would be dramatic to call it a disaster, but I really was not pleased with any of the shots (except the candid ones, like my darling nephew in his mommy’s sunglasses, and my family scattered around on the beach waiting for their turn at the little group shots).  I learned a lot about things I would do differently like having assistant with something eye-catching to capture all those little roving eyeballs.  I would also be more careful about posing everyone, checking lighting, etc., and then get everyone’s attention, take ten or twenty shots, then move on to setting up the next pose.  I think I will also consider some serious bribery to encourage full cooperation.  I think it is just something that takes practice. 

I thought about putting up the big, black, ugly frame that filled my digital screen right after these shots were taken.  (Sigh.)  But I didn’t want to re-depress myself.  ;>  I am so glad for the memories that were captured.  And as much as I complain about the family pictures, they’re not terrible, they’re fine.  Besides, it’s nice to know there is always room for learning something new.  Onward and upward, next year will be even better (at least I will have had more practice).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Photo Shoot

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My in-laws kindly reminded me the other day that the pictures of my children on their walls are extremely outdated (my walls, too, for that matter).  Time for a photo shoot.  Oh, darn.    

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I recently acquired a backdrop (i.e. a plain black sheet) for this very purpose.

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Everything was coming together for me: working camera, cool backdrop, new clothes and two adorable daughters.

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The problem I did not realize until after the shoot and I was going through the pictures was, holy cow, those two blouses are screaming at each other!

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Consequently, the partner shots are all in black and white so that you can look at them without sunglasses.

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I am choosing to think of this as a practice run.

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After all, I need to get the boys in some pictures, too.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

From our family tree . . .

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. . . to yours.

Friday, November 25, 2011


 My Camera's Back! 028

Prior to the first Monday of daylight savings, you could find my boys doing this for an hour everyday after school.  We are not the most athletic or outdoorsy family, so this is a big deal (especially since Djeryd initiated it – Mister I-hate-all-forms-of-exercise).  They come in the house with bright, cheery cheeks, smiles on their faces, and smelling like fall.  Of all my babies, Alyx has been the most drawn to the outdoors.  if anyone is outside, she is clamoring at the sliding glass door.  She doesn’t care about shoes or coats.  She just wants to be outside.  Oops, I’m not supposed to be talking about girls in the post – the title says “Boys”.

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Erik has had a major breakthrough this month.  Reading finally crossed over from being a chore to being a joy.  This little guy can be found in bed, on the couch, in the kitchen, at the dining room table, in the car, virtually anywhere, with his nose in a book.  Hallelujah!  He used to try to tell me that he read forty pages of a chapter book in twenty minutes.  Everyday.  So annoying.  We had to move to him reading aloud to me in order to get his reading time in for the day.  That was the first month-and-a-half of school.  But no more!  He’s actually reading!  And he’s devouring books.  I love it!  And I am so grateful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Current Sewing Projects

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None of these are great photos, but they are the best pictures I have of my latest sewing projects.  Alyx’s top is a little wrap shirt that I modified from a dress pattern that originally had a zipper in the back.  I reworked the pieces, lined the whole thing and shortened the skirt to make it a blouse.  I love how it turned out and want to make a few more before she grows out of the pattern.

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Annaliese’s dress/top is straight from the pattern, no alterations.  I love the fabric that Anna chose.  It is so vibrant and lends itself beautifully to the simple design of the garment.  The next time I make this I want to use a variety of simple fabrics to showcase the different design elements.  I also think it would be cool to piece together the skirt in several different tie-shaped wedges to further accentuate the handkerchief hem (and use up some of my endless supply of scraps).

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I wish I had a better picture of Anna spinning because, wow, when she gets going that hem starts fluttering like a butterfly.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Balloons and Paper Hats

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Several weeks ago Sean came home on a Friday night to a bit of a mess.  Friday night is family movie night at our house so we try to have things cleaned up and ready to go when Sean walks through the door.  This time, however, he was greeted by the dining room table covered in trash bags, kids in paint shirts, shredded newspaper piled high, and gooey sticky paste covering hands, the table, and three balloons.  Twenty minutes earlier Djeryd decided he wanted to construct a World War I army helmet.  Paper mache` seemed to be the best medium, so we went to town.

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All of the kids got in on the action.  For some reason I was unavailable when the paste ran out.  The kids took matters into their own hands, which was great.  The funny part was they used whole wheat four instead of the plain white all-purpose kind.  Their glue became very gritty and not so easy to spread.  They were pleased as punch with themselves, though, so I didn’t say a word.  Nothing ever came of this little project, but we loved diving into something new and just trying it out. 

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

What’s Blooming

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My camera is finally home again.  Wahoo!  After taking some random pictures of the refrigerator (weird, I know), I captured a bit of life outside.  I have always had a roses in November, but this one seems to be the prettiest.

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I hate the cold and the wet.  (And I would be happy to work out a little house exchange for the next six months with anyone from a warmer climate interested in drowning to death in the Oregon rain – leave me a note and we’ll talk).  It’s crazy that even in the cold and wet flowers are blooming and a wasp or two is still buzzing.

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Of course, more interesting things than flowers are blooming around here.  Like my two brown eyed girls that simply adore each other.

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Do not be fooled by the short sleeves outside.  It was plenty cold and wet and Lu had to change clothes once we got inside because she was crazy enough to actually sit down on the grass.  Kids these days!

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This is the smile that greets me everyday when I pick up this sweet little girl from Kindergarten.  Talk about blooming . . . she’s amazing.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Poem On Forgiveness

I came across this poem last night while I idly perusing The New Era and I cannot get it out of my mind.  I found it honest and thought provoking and comforting.  I had to share.


by: Sydni Masoncup (New Era – November 2011 issue)

To forgive
Is not to forget.

To forgive
Is really to remember,

That nobody is perfect,

That each of us stumbles
When we want so much to stay upright,

That each of us says things
We wish we had never said,

That we can all forget that love
Is more important than being right.

To forgive
Is really to remember,

That we are so much more
Than our mistakes,

That we are often more kind and caring
Than we think we are,

That accepting another’s flaws
Can help us accept our own.

To forgive
Is to remember,

That the odds are pretty good that
We might soon need to be forgiven ourselves,

That life gives us more
Than we can handle gracefully.

To forgive
is to remember,

That we have room in our hearts to
Begin again,
And again,
And again.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t

Ward Halloween Party 021-1This was just one of those years as far as Halloween goes.  Costumes were scrabbled together the night before.  No pumpkins were carved (the decorated one in the picture is from last year).  The decorations were never actually set up, just pulled out of the box and stuck on a shelf where they sat for three weeks until I stuffed them all back into the Halloween box at seven o’clock in the morning on November first.  Erik came down with a nasty little fever the week of our big family party (only half of the invitations actually made it out the door).  Like I said, it was just one of those years.

However, when it seemed as if all was lost and there would be no trick-or-treating in 2011, Erik’s fever broke in time for him to go to school on Monday (following the whole 24-hour rule), the rain stopped, and my spirits picked up.  Sean spent Halloween is Las Vegas, so it was one mama, four kids, and a very busy neighborhood (filled with an alarming number of miniskirts and high heels on middle schoolers).  We wound up having a wonderful little Halloween. 

I must say this year was definitely all Annaliese.  She trick-or-treated longer than both boys (who snagged the keys and headed home after we went through our friends’ haunted house).  Once we were all home and showered Anna manned the door and doled out candy to every little witch and cat and ninja that ding-donged.  We had hot spiced cider to warm up our freezing hands and bodies.  We traded candy and I filched all the peanut butter cups from the candy stash we were handing out.

I think my very favorite comment of the whole night was made after we were all home and excitedly chatting about friends and neighbors we had seen.  My friend’s kids were dressed up as a curly-haired Luke Skywalker and Princess Lea, complete with a brown felt wig with felt buns stuck to the sides of her head.  Djeryd, with his keen powers of observation, informed me that out of the two kids Princess Lea looked far more realistic than Luke Skywalker because “Everyone knows that Luke doesn’t have curly hair.” 

I just about died.

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