Thursday, December 25, 2008

Once there was a Snowman

I figured that, with almost a foot of snow in Portland, we just HAD to build a snowman. I sent Kip out with the kids. This is what he accomplished. Anna didn't even make it to the creation of the second ball before coming in to warm up. William didn't last past the positioning of the middle ball. He got too cold and came in after that. I had to take his place and roll the ball up the plywood ramp Kip made (the snowboard was too bendy). Then we built the head ball and hefted it together onto the top. The ears are made of ice chunks that built up in the middle of the two layers of snow. She's either a bunny or a cat. We're not sure. But she sticks her chest out, so we're sure she's a she-creature.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lots of Snow

The snowiness continues here in the Portland area. The newscasters say this is the most snow to hit the area in 40 years. I took the kids out to play today and these are some shots of what we found.

Icicles dripped from the side of the house.

The snow was deep enough to practically swallow Anna whole. There was a layer of ice about 4 inches down. Anna almost didn't break through. When she did, she would fall forward. She didn't like that.

The ruler on the picnic table shows the snow to be about 11 inches deep.

My plastic bell decorations are coated with ice.

Tomorrow is supposed to be good but Christmas Eve should shower us with another 3-4 inches of snow followed by more freezing rain. Kip and I are fairly certain our flight Christmas day will be canceled. Southwest has been canceling everything since this storm first started and things weren't even this bad. We're not sure what this means for our Christmas plans in Utah. We're hoping we can get out a few days late if nothing else.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

More Snow

We got about 6 inches of snow on Saturday, followed by a night of freezing rain. Everything looks beautiful covered in snow and ice. Church was canceled yet again. I've never had this happen before. No church two Sundays in a row and no school for a whole week. It's been insane. The kids have enjoyed it, although we don't have enough warm clothing to get them out in it for long. We've never needed it before.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Day(s)

It SNOWED on Sunday, the 14th. Church was canceled. I had set a goal to be on time and there we were all ready to go when the phone rang. No church. We had a mini church meeting in the living room. William and Daddy gave talks (William had been scheduled to deliver one in Primary). I played a musical number. It was fun.

School was canceled the next day due to the ice on the roads. And the next day. So far it's Thursday and they still haven't had school yet. It snowed again Wednesday, but today was sunny and warm. I'm hoping there is school tomorrow so I can throw the Kindergarten class party I've prepared.

Ward Christmas Party

Our Ward Christmas party was on the 13th of December. It was "Back to Bethlehem" themed. I made us all costumes and played my flute for several of the numbers in the pageant. It was neat.

Tree Farm Trip

We went to Loch Lolly tree farm on the 29th of November to get a Christmas tree. We had a nice time in the drizzle.

Becca was our little pink puffball.

The kids are still scared of Santa when they meet him in person. Anna refused to even look in his direction. I always feel bad for him.

Kitchen Table

We invited two couples to join us for Thanksgiving dinner. The prospect of seating them on our stained white chairs at our table built for 4 didn't appeal to us. So we hopped on Craigslist and found something better. We got an oval table with 2 leaves and 8 chairs. It's really nice and works a lot better than our old one for large groups.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


There's one thing I don't like all that much about Oregon. I mean, it's a beautiful place and the people are friendly and I love being by the coast and I don't mind the rain. But there's one time when the rain kind of gets me down. Autumn. When I'm raking and raking and raking the leaves all over the yard (we have a LOT of trees), my kids ask if they can jump into the leaf piles and I have to say no. Maybe I'm too protective, but I don't want them covered in wet rotting leaf slime and slugs. And when we walk along the sidewalks to get William from school every day, the way is covered with leaves. But there's no crunch underfoot. It's more like a slosh-slosh. And you have to be careful that you don't slip. So, yeah, I miss dry crisp fall weather that leads to crunchy leaves on the ground that you can pile and jump into. One neat thing, though, about the wet leaves on the sidewalk is that they leave leaf-profiles where they were allowed to sit for a long time and moulder. It kind of looks cool after they have been removed to have their profiles on the ground.

Monday, November 03, 2008


We spent the afternoon trick-or-treating at the Tanasbourne strip mall with a group from the ward. The kids got some good candy. William got tired quickly but the promise of more candy was too much for Anna to pass up, so we dragged William to the bitter end.

Kip took them out to the neighborhood that night and didn't force them to go as far as Anna would have liked.

Becca slept through the trick-or-treating after the busy day at the museum and strip mall, so I had her pose for some photos later on. I thought she was too cute to pass up on the photo op.

Children's Museum

The kids were all out of school on Halloween day, so Jo and I decided to take them to the Children's Museum. It was really crowded when we got there, although things thinned out considerably by the time we headed home. The museum has a Bob the Builder exhibit right now that the kids really enjoyed, especially the digging pit with toy dump trucks, backhoes and front loaders. They stayed in that for almost an hour.

Killpacks and Istooks posing with Bob and Pilchard. (Alyssa, William, Anna, Jared, Spencer)

Scoop and the gang.

Becca and Rachel. Becca kept trying to pull on Rachel's stroller.

Intel Halloween Party

Intel threw their traditional Halloween party on the 28th. As usual, we dragged ourselves to it, along with roughly two thousand other people. It was dark and crowded, but we came out OK and no one was lost in the mix. The kids enjoyed the carnival games and prizes. Anna really enjoyed the candy table. She was the reason the guy with the mic had to ask kids to not take so much candy. The favorite prize of the night was the blow-up snake swords. They were a ton of fun!

Becca gives a smile.

Super William and his swords of power!

Anna Warrior Princess.

Class Party

I got to host William's class party on the 28th. We had a lot of fun. We made necklaces with reflectors for trick-or-treating. We decorated cookies and did a beanbag toss (thanks Butch and Jo!). We stamped Halloween cards. Things got a little crazy, but I think the kids had fun!

Pumpkin Patch

Jo and I took the younger kids to the pumpkin patch on the 23rd. We went out to Lakeview Farms in North Plains. They had a boat you could ride out to the pumpkin field and a train to ride back with your pumpkin. The kids really enjoyed it and the weather was perfect. It was nice and warm and sunny and dry.

Anna and Jared as scare-kids.

Anna, Jared and Rachel show us how tall they are.

Anna tried to stop Becca from eating the straw.

All of us on the train.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Becca can Crawl!

Becca can crawl now. She really perfected the art this weekend. She enjoys the freedom this gives her and loves to try to get to any shoes left on the floor. She thinks they are the best thing ever to chew on.

Field Trip

On the 9th of October, William had his first class field trip. I volunteered to tag along and was assigned a group of 3 boys to herd. Fabian, Oliver, William and I had a great time. We got to see some baby cows, race rubber duckies, slide down tube slides, go on a hay ride, go through a corn maze, and choose a pumpkin of our own. The pumpkin patch was the one we had gone to on a preschool field trip in the spring and planted pumpkin seeds, so it was neat to get to choose a pumpkin that William may have been there to plant.

Pirate FHE

We had a pirate-themed Family Home Evening last Monday night. To get the kids in the mood for the pirate story, we all put on pirate bandannas. The kids really enjoyed the lesson after that. I think we should do costumes for all our lessons. Of course, the story was about how prayer protected the little from a pirate attack as they crossed the ocean. We were all dressed as the bad guys...

Bike Kids

The kids discovered a new way of biking the other day. It was a lot of fun.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gang Violence

William, Anna and I were witnesses to some pretty intense scenes of gang violence through our kitchen window today. Yesterday two very large spiders had built their webs next to each other spanning the width of one of our kitchen windows. This morning there was only one of them there, the slightly larger one which I have named Goliath. During lunch I glanced up at him and saw that there was a smaller, longer-legged spider on the edge of his web and that Goliath was in the opposite corner. I went over to look more closely thinking the leggy boy must be building where Goliath’s missing companion had previously resided. That wasn’t the case. Goliath was on the left side of the web (looking out the window) apparently fighting a second leggy spider while the leggy spider on the right side of the window tried to distract him. Right-side-leggy would crawl down the webs of the departed neighbor spider to the edge of Goliath’s web. When he got there, he would put a leg on a strand of Goliath’s web, give it a tug and then hightail it in the opposite direction. This is really what he was doing! I watched him do it over and over! He was trying to distract Goliath while his buddy attacked him. I am insanely afraid of spiders and absolutely disgusted by Goliath and his Goliath-ness, but this was more than I could handle. I tapped on the glass over the distracter-leggy-boy. He raised his legs menacingly toward me and then scampered away. Meanwhile, Goliath curled into a protective sort of spider-ball and waited for attack from Leggy-boy number two. Number two raised his long front legs and stared him down with his evil red head with black fangs, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Finally it came. He lunged forward and, at the same moment, Goliath sprang into action. Leggy-boy number two dropped to the bottom of the window sill on a narrow string of silk. I went outside later tonight to get a picture of Goliath and the one remaining gang tormentor. What was my surprise to see, hanging out in the corner above Leggy-boy and out of sight from inside the house, none other than the gang-leader--the Godfather, shall we call him? He was the very spider who had built his web next to Goliath’s the previous night and now seemed in all seriousness to be directing a gang attack on Goliath in an attempt to oust him from the prime spot of real estate. I d like to point out that there are 4 more windows in this set of kitchen bay windows. What is so impressive about the second from the left?

Goliath under attack by one of the leggy boys. Sorry, the camera wouldn’t focus on the spiders even when I put it on macro setting. I guess the layer of glass between us confused it...

These spiders aren't dangerous are they?

School Kids

Our little ones are back in school. (OK, I'm a little late posting this. They started at the beginning of September.) William is in Kindergarten every afternoon from 12:30-3. Although we live a block from the school, he gets to ride the mid-day bus with some of the other kindergarteners in the area. It picks him up right outside the house and then drives farther away to get more kids. There are usually 3 other kids on it when he gets on. Sometimes he sits with one of them, sometimes he gets his own seat and waves at me while the bus pulls away. He loves his bus driver, who is very funny and makes them all laugh with his comments about Yogi Bear.

Anna is in Preschool at Young Learner's Preschool on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at almost exactly the same time as William. Technically, William starts at 12:35 and gets out at 3:05. Anna is in class from 12:30-3 officially. William tends to reach the exit of the school with his class a little before 3 (so the little kids can get on buses first and walkers can get picked up by their moms). Anna gets out a little after 3. I get to the elementary school early with Becca and wait for William, as soon as he's out, we rush to the car parked in the neighborhood just to the side of the school and drive like mad to get to Young Learner's in time to get Anna before she gets too bored with waiting for me.

Both kids really love school. Anna has no trouble being left at the door. She hasn't given me a second glance once when I've dropped her off. William is enjoying the bus rides and loving his class as well. He told his teacher, Mr B, that he already knew all the zoo-phonics and would gladly help him teach them to the rest of the class. He's a big helper.

Walking Texas Rangers

At work we started a "steps challenge" where we sign up in teams and try to log the most steps for the next few months. I was curious how much I actually walk each day so I got myself a pedometer and joined the Walking Texas Rangers team. (Plenty of Chuck Norris facts to keep us motivated).

I was surprised to find I walked 3.27 miles on Sunday. Thats just around the house, at church, home teaching, and visiting my Webelos houses. How many steps were you allowed under the Law of Moses? I wonder if the Pharisees would have enjoyed having a pedometer. It certainly makes counting to 5000 steps easy.

By the way - one lap around my work campus is 1550 steps for me - thats probably 2000 for the rest of you.

The BEST tin-foil dinner ever!!

Wednesday night I violated the washington county no-burn restriction and did a backyard campfire for my Webelos. We made tin-foil dinners, cooked em up, and ate. This was the first time I put cream of chicken soup in mine and it was delicious! The funny thing was I used the exact same leftover ingredients in a pot when I got home and it just didn't taste that great. Maybe it has something to do with waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting for the food to cook on the fire that makes it tasted better... kinda like the meal you eat after fasting (I've never tasted water this good...).

One of the boys wanted just a hot dog in his foil. I forced him to put some potatoes and carrots in, but he didn't eat them. Oh well.

So if you have any stupendous tin-foil dinner recipes I'd love to hear them...

Friday, September 12, 2008

More Politics

Warning: anti-Republican-smear-campaign comments included. Not unbiased.

I found this article,"Blizzrd of Lies," through a comment on a friend's blog. I thought it hit the nail on the head. I wouldn't say the Democrats are without fault, but I was absolutely disgusted by what I watched of the RNC on the night of Palin's presentation. The cruel and untrue comments by Guiliani and Palin turned me completely against the Republican party. Maybe it's just something about me, but when someone spends so much energy belittling others, I lose respect for them. Listening to Guiliani and Palin reminded me of those boys in high school who felt the need for constant cruelty to others - picking on the nerds or those with developmental issues, using sarcasm and snide comments to make everyone else look bad. I could never stand them. I took the time to research some of the things Guiliani said about Obama and found that they were either entirely false or presented in a way to make them appear negative when in reality they weren't. It makes me mad even now thinking about his speech. Well, the article says it better. Why do politicians think it's OK for them to lie to suit their designs? What does this say about the leaders we choose for our nation? And the fact that we blindly support them in it?

There's my soap-box for the day.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Seattle Aquarium

Our last day in Seattle was spent visiting the aquarium down the street from our hotel. The kids enjoyed watching the divers feed the fishes. We all enjoyed the octopus exhibits.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Seattle Zoo Day

Our first full day in Seattle we spent at the zoo. The kids ran all over. They loved seeing the howling monkeys. They loved the flamingos. They had a blast at the natural habitat area with a tunnel system, slides, hollow trees, rope spider web, and turtle shells to play in.

Space Needle

We spent our first evening visiting the Space Needle. Before going up, we bought ride tickets and let them do some carnival rides. They loved the carousel again. And William loved the faster twirly rides. We left our camera in the stroller at the bottom of the Space Needle, so no pics from the top. Sorry.

Taking the Train

We took Amtrak to Seattle this weekend to celebrate our 6th anniversary. The kids had a blast on the train. The trip takes about 3 1/2 hours, so just a little longer than driving, but it's great that you can get up and walk around and spend a ton of money on sodas and cookies. Becca slept a lot of the ride up there. William and Anna and Daddy spent a lot of time sitting in the seating portion of the dining car.