Wednesday, December 15, 2010



I worked hard this Halloween on creating Avatar the Last Airbender costumes for the kids. They got their first showing on Friday, the 29th of October, at the local shopping center's trick-or-treating. We met the Istooks and went from shop to shop collecting candy. We were lucky to have clear dry weather.


That night was the Fall Festival at the school. The kids enjoyed it but didn't last long.

Saturday night the ward did a Trunk-or-Treat. We decked the kids out again and headed out to collect candy in the drizzling rain.

William was Avatar Ang.

Anna was the tough earthbender Toph.

Becca was an adorable lemur Momo.

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Anna's 5th Birthday

Anna turned 5 on August 7th, 2010. She had a nice little cake and ice-cream party with her favorite people, Weilers and Istooks. We ate and opened presents and played with her new things.

She really liked the pink princessy things she got.

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Work Party, Aug 3, 2010

Kip's work reserved Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro--complete with bounce-houses, balloon artists and food. We arrived later than we wanted to but had a great time and got to see some old friends. the kids enjoyed playing and eating.


Becca loves her Dad.


Anna loves her Mom.


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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Ward Campout

The ward campout was July 23-24 at Stubb Stewart State Park by Vernonia (meaning on the east side of the Coastal Range). We borrowed Rachel and Josh's tent, as usual, and, after a too-long detour to buy the girls sleeping bags from a Craigslister, we reached the park and pitched our tent.

Kip made a fabulous dutch-oven dinner of sausage, potatoes and eggs.

The kids enjoyed playing in the field and on the play structure with all the other ward kids.

That night the wind blew like it was trying to carry us away in our tents. I stayed awake listening to it tear at our tent until Kip finally got up around 3:30 and took off the rain fly. Sometime after that I slept and the next thing I knew Becca was laughing and poking me in the face and the hot sun was shining down through the uncovered top of the tent. Aaah, morning. No hot-chocolate for us - our friends who had planned on making it couldn't keep their camp stove lit in the wind. And it wasn't cold enough to want it anyway.


After a wonderful breakfast provided by the activities committee, we decided to go for a hike.

We found some interesting trail markers - little printed foot images taped to Popsicle sticks and placed along the trails. We followed them and found a bucket full of white poker chips. We let the kids each take one, hoping there were so many there they wouldn't be missed. The kids were thrilled.

Later we discovered that the poker chips were the end of a scavenger hunt put together by the people at the Cowboy Days festival. We drove up to check it out before heading home and the kids got to learn about fancy western horse riding. Becca especially loved it and was cute riding her horse. It wasn't always right-side-up, but she still enjoyed it and got a lot of laughs from other festival attendees.
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On June 26th we headed to Legoland. William is an absolute Lego fanatic and couldn't spend enough time at Legoland. It's actually my favorite theme park, too. It's more about the creativity-factor than the thrill-factor, and that's more my style. I'm not fond of being scared and I'm afraid of heights, so little cute lego-themed rides and attractions are just right for me. Our group included Grandma Dianne, Cory and Ang Killpack and their kids - Jovin, Mayer, Pearce, and Tjay - and, of course, our family.


Kip followed the smart-amusement-park-goer rule to head straight to the back of the park and work to the front, so we started with the driving courses.


William still had a long wait for the older-kid course, but the young drivers got to go right away.


Becca rode the helicopter ride while waiting for William to finish his drive.

We rented strollers so that 6 of the 7 kids could ride through the park. Of course, that meant that 4 of the 5 adults in our party had to push. But it was tons better than carrying or dragging tired kids around for mile after mile.

At the end of the day, the kids hung out in Duplo Land and Becca and Pearce managed to get pretty wet.

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San Diego - June 25




Our second day in San Diego we took things easy. We slept in, took our time at the breakfast buffet, and packed a lunch. We followed Cory and Ang to a park they liked and spent some time playing in the sand. Then we set up and ate a picnic all together. The kids loved it. It was nice to take things easy after one day spent traveling and one spent at SeaWorld trying to see everything.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

San Diego - Seaworld


After school got out for the summer, we hopped on a plane and headed to San Diego to visit Kip's brother and his family who were temporarily living there. We spent our first day there at Seaworld. For some reason we didn't think about sunblock until we arrived at the park. I had a sample pack with me and covered parts of myself and the kids. We all ended up with areas of sunburn, except Kip who had passed up on the sunblock and was fried. We went to a Shamu show and walked around to see some of the animals. The kids really enjoyed it, once I bought William some sunglasses.



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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Not the Florida Beach

On Sunday afternoon, the 30th of May, after attending church in Tillamook, we took the kids out to the beach. Anna thought she wanted to swim, but it was a very cold weekend and we tried to discourage her. We finally agreed to let her pull up her leggings and go wading. After playing in the sand for a while, she, William and Kip headed for the water. One step into the waves and she came running back to me on my log. It was COLD. I think she was expecting something more like what we found in Florida. Kip made a deal with the kids to see who could stay in the water the longest. William won and got really wet. Anna wasn't far behind. When they were sufficiently frozen, we trekked back to the beach house and gave them both a warm bath.

William's 7th Birthday

For William's 7th Birthday we rented a house in Pacific City and spent the weekend at the Oregon Coast. Grammy and Grandad came from Utah to enjoy the birthday with us. We drove to the coast Friday afternoon, the 28th of May, and after dropping off our stuff at the house, headed up the road to Roseanna's Cafe in Oceanside. The food was good, but the drive back on windy roads made me sick. I ended up falling victim to the flu for the weekend.

Saturday morning William begged to open his presents. We brought them all out and let him go to it. He got some fun stuff and really was thrilled.

Then, Kip and Grandad took the kids on a walk through the trees behind the beach houses. They loved playing in the trees and climbing them. I stayed home and felt miserable.

Later, the healthy members of the group all went to the pizza place in town. They had a fun lunch.

That evening I felt a little better, so I baked William's birthday cake and made his favorite dinner (stroganoff with the Real Simple recipe that is really very good). We ate almost all the food and cake and William had a really good birthday.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Springtime Family Pics


We took advantage of the sunshine after stake conference today to take some pictures of the kids outside. The girls were wearing their blue dresses from Aunt Wendy in Pakistan and they looked very cute. They tried to be cooperative for the pics, and a few of them turned out really nice.


We had to bribe Anna to wear this dress. She had a hard time with it because there is not any pink on it at all. With the promise of candy, she was won over. Come to think of it, I haven't carried through with that promise yet. We kept putting it off because she needed to eat healthy food first.


I was really glad she broke down and wore the blue dress. The girls looked super cute and they always get a lot of compliments when they wear matching outfits at church. Even if Becca's shoes are on the wrong feet and her hair is uncontrollable.


William took this picture. He does a good job with his pictures but he never thinks to warn people that he's about to take a picture of them. He just shoots when he wants, so we're not all ready.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Trip to the coast

Kip and I, for the first time since the kids came into our lives, left them and went away together to the coast for the weekend. My friend Rachel and her family came to our house Friday afternoon so we could get away. I figure we owe her BIG TIME! I had a hard time getting out the door. Becca was so sad as soon as she realized I was going somewhere without her. She got her biggest sad eyes on and told me she wanted to go too. Rachel snuggled her in front of "Robots" and told us to get our behinds out of there. So we did.

The drive to Pacific City was fine. The weather was clear and sunny and beautiful but we had left early enough to miss any traffic. As we drove through the countryside toward our B&B, we saw a man standing on the side of the road next to his truck and a gas can. We met his eyes and smiled at each other. Kip figured he must be in need of some type, so he pulled over to see what the matter was. The man had run out of gas and asked if we could drive to his friend's trailer and ask him to come bring him some gas. We got directions and headed into Pacific City to find him. It was a little out of the way, but we weren't in too much of a hurry to reach the B&B and we figured helping the guy out was a worthy reason to be later than we planned. We managed to find the trailer park and Kip parked and got out. He went to the trailer the man had indicated and an angry dog alerted the owners that someone was coming. They came out and he explained what had happened. The friend (luckily it was the right guy) was at a loss for how to help because he had no gas to spare and his breaks were shot so he couldn't drive out to get our stranded guy. Kip asked if he had a gas can that we could go put some gas in and offered to take it to the stranded guy since we had to go back that way anyway. The friend was pleased with the arrangement and sent us on our way with an old empty gas can. We put a couple gallons in and headed back toward where we had left the first guy. As we drove we thought how funny it would be if he were no longer there when we arrived with gas for him and what would we then do with the gas. I suggested we could just leave it for some other unlucky traveler to find or we could dump it in our own tank and call it good. As we neared the 3-way stop where we'd left him, we realized that indeed he was gone. The man, his truck and his empty gas-can were gone. We pulled over where they had been and dumped the gas from the can into our car so it wouldn't end up spilling on the luggage in our trunk (the stoppers were broken or missing). It takes a long time to empty 2 gallons into your tank from a can. At least, it seems that way when you're doing it on the side of the road with car after car driving buy watching you do it.

We put the empty gas can in the trunk and headed to the B&B to check in. It was called the Sandlake Country Inn and was located outside Pacific City in a very quiet area. It was surrounded by trees and fields filled with birds, horses and crops. When we walked in, Dianne, the hostess, laughed and said "You must be in the Rose Garden room." I said we were and did she know because everyone else had already arrived. "No," she said, "our tallest guests always end up in the room with the lowest ceiling." The ceiling was pretty low, but it wasn't too bad. We'd chosen that room because it had a King size bed and the other king room was already booked.

We took our stuff to the room and settled in a little. I'll admit I was a little cranky about the whole gas episode. I thought we should just give the gas can to Dianne and be done with it, but Kip wanted to return it. So, for dinner we drove back into town and, before choosing a restaurant, Kip went back to the trailer with the barking dog. They came out to see what was up and were thrilled to see Kip with the can. Apparently and truck driver had stopped at the stranded man and offered him some gas. They had traded a tool for some gas and possibly lined up some future work for our stranded man fixing the brakes of the truck driver's truck. Everyone was happy in the end. Especially when they got their beat-up gas can back. I felt better about the whole event after that and Kip and I went to the town's Pizza place and had a good dinner and a walk on the beach.

I didn't sleep at all that night. I never sleep well the first night in a new place, so even with Melatonin and Tylenol PM I ended up reading my book until 4am. Of course, the book was actually very engaging, so that probably wasn't the best thing to do to try to sleep. I was reading the current book-club book for my ward, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society." I loved it. I finished it on Sunday before we drove home and felt like I'd lost a good friend since I no longer had more to read about the life of the main character. I wished there were books and books filled with more of her thoughts and adventures so I could keep our friendship going instead of losing it with the end of the last chapter.

Morning came on Saturday with the delivery of breakfast to our door at 9am (although I really wished I had requested 9:30 so I could have gotten half an hour more sleep). The food was really good: eggs and scones and fruit and oatmeal. I ate too much, but it was hard to leave it there because it just tasted so good!

I decided after our leisurely breakfast that instead of a shower I would try out the jetted tub with jet-safe bubble bath. Dianne had stocked the rooms with three all-natural bubble baths that wouldn't cause problems to the bath-tub jet system. She sold the bubble baths, too, so I had a moral obligation to try them out so I could decide if I wanted to buy some for our jetted tub at home. I tried out the Rain option. It smelled very fresh and clean. Unfortunately, the tub was meant for someone of less leg-length than myself and I couldn't actually fit all of myself that I wanted to fit into the bubbly water. But it was still fun.

Eventually, Kip and I dragged ourselves out of the room and hit the local market to get some souvenirs for our kids. We armed ourselves with a bag of shiny rocks for William (that Anna is jealous of), a butterfly bracelet for Anna (that Anna says she likes too, she just wants some rocks of her own since William has so very many), and some twisty crayons for Becca (that I hope she'll like when she wakes up because Kip was putting her to bed when I remembered we hadn't given them their gifts and I'm not allowed to interrupt that or Becca will beg me to take her downstairs and play with her all night and I sometimes crumple under the pressure and do it). Gifts under control, we headed for the main adventure of the trip and the one thing I was looking forward to more than anything else, a horseback ride on the beach.

I had told the woman who ran the riding group that I had taken some riding lessons before--I'd had one term at BYU and a summer of lessons when I was 10 years old. I told her Kip had never ridden. So they unloaded the horses for us from the trailer. Kip got a sturdy looking tan colored horse of the Norwegian Fjord variety. I got a paint mare named Pinky who they felt would be more of a challenge for me. I hadn't mentioned that in both my previous riding experiences I had ridden horses who didn't really want to do any more than they had to. I got the oldest, calmest horse when I was young. I got the biggest horse in college because I was the tallest, but he was starting to go lame and really resisted any attempts I made to get him to do more than walk. I got him to canter whenever I had to, but it took some work. Pinky was kind of like his opposite. She wanted to run and part of me wanted to let her, at least at first.

We headed through a grove of trees and out onto the beach. In spite of the fact that Friday's weather had been sunny, clear and warm, Saturday was a typical early spring day on the coast. It was overcast and drizzling and windy. The wind whipped the mist and sand into our faces and I severely regretted having taken the gloves out of my jacket pockets in the B&B before going riding. I don't know why I'd done that. But the waves were beautiful and riding felt good. Or, at least a little good. I quickly realized that I hadn't been on a horse in 10+ years and that the position used to sit a horse is not entirely comfortable if one has not done it for a long period of time. I realized that letting Pinky take off would probably leave me in worse shape than holding her in, so I got better at keeping her from breaking into a trot at the advance of every wave toward us.

We walked down the beach for about 45 minutes, enjoying the waves and the view in spite of the chill. Then we turned down the inside of an inlet where the wind was blocked and the ride became much warmer and more pleasant. My nose stopped dripping down my face. We walked through the water a little at this point and Kip's long legs dragged. We then headed into the trees. The trail was narrow here, forcing us to go single file so Pinky was forced to stay behind our leader Judy. She kept getting her nose on Judy's horse's tail and got the tail swished in her face a few times. Judy's horse was new. She's only been ridden a few times. As we rode through the trees some deer ran off to the side of us. Judy's horse jumped and Pinky almost ran into her. Later we came to a small, slow moving stream. Judy's horse freaked out about that. She didn't want to cross it. I held Pinky back. Judy's horse had to be coaxed until finally she buckled up and jumped the stream. I let Pinky go then, thinking she would casually walk across the stagnant water. She walked up to it and sprang across. I wasn't ready for that. My head snapped back, but I didn't lose my seat. I kind of wished we could try it again. Kip's horse walked up to the stream, unmoved, and walked through it. He felt a little let down.

Well, I had thought that a 2-hour ride would be wonderful, but the last half hour I was kind of praying for it to end. My knees were sore, my seat hurt, I wanted some solid ground under me. We finally saw the parking lot ahead and I was relieved. We walked up onto the pavement and I dismounted. Kip thinks they must laugh really hard after their clients leave when they remember how pitiful they are with their dismounts. I managed to get off the saddle then had to cling to it as my legs tried to buckle under me when they hit the ground. Unsteady was a major understatement of my condition. Kip got off--I didn't see his dismount because I was too busy trying to act nonchalant about my inability to walk. We teetered to the car and got in. And our horse-riding adventure on the coast came to an end.

I've decided I need to make a friend that has horse. That way I could help her maintain the horse and get some riding in but not have the responsibility involved in actual ownership.

After a quick break at the B&B, Kip and I headed to Oceanside to eat dinner at Roseanna's Cafe. I had the best dinner I think I've ever eaten. After some yummy clam chowder and salad, I had smoked salmon (done in-house) in a creamy sauce with scallops (could have passed on them), asparagus, spinach, and veggie ravioli. The smoked salmon was absolutely delectable! I think a serving of the salmon alone would have been almost as good.

After dinner, we walked on our shaky legs around the beach at Oceanside and through the tunnel. It was a nice night. I even managed to sleep well that night.

Sunday, we ate our breakfast slowly, packed our bags, walked on another beach and headed back home. It was good to get back, but sad to leave.