Saturday, November 29, 2008

House Call for Charlie
When Uncle Craig and Aunt Bethany come to visit, Charlie gets his veterinarians' attention without the hassle of an office visit! See Charlie getting his annual vaccine in Grandma Billie's kitchen? Such service!

Having the younger cousins in town makes for some fun family memories in the making. Sawyer (1) got a big smile on his face when he saw Joseph and Peter coming in the door. He cried when he saw me (pointing my camera in his face).

Below, Peter reads to Violet (2) on Grandma Billie's lap before her second bedtime. (One attempt didn't meet with much success, so she was allowed to come upstairs to hear Zachary and the boys play their fiddles.) Last night when Violet was on her way to bed, she stopped and pointed at a 5-year-old photo of Zac, Joseph and Peter. Someone asked her, "Who is that, Violet?" to which she replied,

"5 little monkeys!"

She proceeded to sing the 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed song, and did a little dance to go with it. So sweet!

For the record: I think they are a lot like monkeys too!

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Our Thanksgiving was blessed...
We celebrated in town with Tim's side of the family this year, as his brother's family was/is in town for the holiday weekend. We invited our neighbors/friends from church (who moved here from SoCal) and they enjoyed the opportunity to be with our crazy family in the absence of theirs. "Strays" are always invited to the table at Thanksgiving! They brought a love of game playing, which fed Zac's incessant desire to strategize. They had to dissemble the never-ending "Settlers of Catan" game for the meal to be served, but having a digital photo as back-up, they were able to continue the game after dinner.
We keep another special family tradition passed down from Tim's mom's side of the family... we eat pies for lunch! After daily Mass we journeyed (8 miles) to the grandparents' house and gobbled up a few of these pies for lunch. We added a few other snacks and called it our mid-day meal.
Our feast with all the fixin's began closer to a true dinner time (around 5 I think). A few of us (not mentioning any names here) also had pies for dessert later in the evening. A few of us (no names) even ate pie for breakfast on Friday!
Pies are a big part of my family tradition. My mom always granted my wishes for pies on my birthday instead of cake. Lemon meringue is my favorite, and there's no better birthday present than a baked-by-mom lemon meringue pie! Mom's mom, Grandma O'D (at age 91) still bakes pies to contribute to family celebrations.
I received a text/photo message on my phone with photos of my niece, Kati, with a proud smile... and her first 2 pies! Baked for her family at Thanksgiving, Kati knew her Aunt Bridget would be proud... and I am!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A special occasion...

Bishop Joseph Tyson celebrated daily Mass with us yesterday evening, and the boys were lining up to be altar servers. Here are Joseph, Peter, and their friend, Jonah with Father Qui Thac and Bishop Tyson after Mass.

Bishop Tyson was our guest speaker for Tuesday's adult faith formation evening. He's giving a 2 part talk on "Theology of the Body," and it is an exceptional privilege to have such an outstanding scholar as our teacher for these two sessions.

As Father put it in one of his promo announcements: "When was the last time you heard a bishop give a talk about sex?" Don't miss it ~ all are welcome!

You can't make it? I volunteered to record the sessions, and we will have them available for download or on DVD... at no cost.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Altar Servers

Zachary loves to serve. So do his brothers. Sometimes they argue (politely) over who will serve at Mass and who won't (although there can be 3 servers, the "norm" is 2 on Sundays, and 1 or none on weekdays). This week there will be 2 more funerals, at which all 3 boys will serve.

What I love most about our boys being altar servers:
  • I love having them so close to the Lord!
  • I am awed by their reverence.
  • I am inspired by their desire to serve.
  • They have a real sense of being connected to, and an important part of, our liturgy.
They like to hear stories from Tim about his days as an altar server.
Some stories highlight the "what TO do," and some stories focus more on the "what NOT to do."
I wish I had a few photos of him as an altar server!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hip hip hooray! It's hair cut day!
Zac has been begging for a hair cut for a while now.
I gave the special privilege to Tim tonight, because he is SO good at it! He even vacuums when he is done. Good daddy! He is watching me type this... so what other great things can I say about Tim?
He put on hip waders (boots) today to go play in the creek w/ Peter and Joseph. They built a new dam. When they came inside, their fingers were numb!

They made the potato salad for dinner tonight, and I must say it was delicious!
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Today we celebrated David's 12th birthday and Judah's 11.25 birthday with a day of fun & games... and pumpkin pies baked by David's mom, Cindy.

The boys enjoyed playing an old game given to us by Sean, our dear old friend.
They also walked (or ran) to & from the dog park on the lake, with Charlie.

The weather was beautiful (again) and allowed for basketball on the driveway and bicycling through the neighborhood.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Taking a retreat...

Zachary's high school youth group took a retreat last weekend, at a local get-a-way on a lake. The retreat was led by a group called "Reach" who are based out of Yakima, WA. The leaders are recent high school graduates who give a year of service to spreading the faith. They did a fine job, and the kids really connected.

Having sunshine and being together with friends on the lake would naturally lead to swimming. They admitted it was cold, but when a crowd assembles on the shore to cheer you on ("swim across the lake" & "jump in again!" etc.) you have people to please.

Listening to the teens give a short testimony on the highlight of their retreat experience was insightful and included some of these answers:

  • Learning to pray with scripture was my favorite part.
  • Father's talk on the sacrament of reconciliation was awesome!
  • I thought the games were the best.
  • Having time to reflect on ways I can pray more means alot to me.
  • I learned not to put my shoes so close to the fire!
  • I had the most amazing confession I've ever had.
  • I really like the way the REACH leaders connected with us.
Mom's role:
I had the privilege of providing the meals for the group (as a way to cut costs). Luckily, I had the help of a few friends who are more natural as hostesses, which made it much more enjoyable. I learned that when serving a group of teenagers, you should have an adult in charge of dishing up the meat.

The teens learned how to sing grace to the Star Wars theme song, the Addams Family theme song and to Queen's "We Will Rock You." Easy to be excited about prayer when it involves singing and clapping to a familiar beat.

Zac and his cabin mates cleaned up an exploded fluorescent light tube, which was burst by someone's belt... at 2:30 AM. Hmmm, sounds spiritual! Some were cut by the flying glass, but the opted not to awaken a leader (sleeping upstairs). "We had 4 Life Scouts in the room, Mom, we had it under control." They got the vacuum and cleaned it up, dressed the wounds (or didn't), and back to.... sleep?

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Zachary, 14

Slow & steady wins the race...

Some of us have the quick twitch response, and some of us are blessed with a more contemplative nature. Zachary is a thinker. For those of you who know him (probably all of you) this is not new news!

Yesterday when I accidentally left a burner on after removing a pot to the oven, and rather more accidentally placed a potholder on top of the flames of the still-lit burner ~ Zachary strolled up to me and casually asked, as the smoke started to rise from the now smoldering potholder, "Mom, what's the deal with that burner being left on?"

I quickly removed the potholder and turned off the burner, thanking Zachary for saving us from a sure kitchen fire.

Only later, as the boys were ratting me out to Tim, did it really occur to me that Zac's response had been so careful, so measured, so calm. At that point, it actually became kind of funny, in a "glad we're safe" sort of way. We asked him to jump into action on the next occasion of a potential house fire. He definitely has the "remain calm" thing down.

Somehow I just don't think he has it in him to burst into action (unless he's chasing his brothers out of his room after asking nicely so many times to be left in peace)!

One very important day Zachary did jump into action when he was 9 or 10 and Peter nearly drowned. He didn't stop to report the possible drowning, he just dove down and pulled Peter up and to the edge of the pool.

I had wandered away from the pool's edge to fetch my camera to take a picture of the boys swimming together!
Never did get to take that photo.... oh well.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Young Old Timers

Back to performing with the Old Time Fiddlers after an extended "summer break," the boys were welcomed with warm applause.

The songs Zachary played in A minor didn't allow for back-up musicians to join in, so he was a solo act (with the gut bucket bass). But Peter and Joseph played Camptown Races and the group of Old Timers could easily play along.

The crowd seemed pleased (they had just finished a big lunch at the senior center, and the music set filled in the waiting time for cake).
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Top shelf

Getting the new shop space ready for the goods, enjoying the big empty space for a game of "shelf ball."

The game ended abruptly when Tim overheard the boys saying something about tackling... game over.
But why can't we play tackle "shelf ball?"

Looks like it will be at least another month of renovations (on a dime, or rather a nickel) before the new place can be open for business.
In the meantime, it's a great place for recess!
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Friday, November 7, 2008

pumpkin dog

This is NOT a corn on the cob! Some vegetables are actually GOOD for your dog, and pumpkin is one of them!

Charlie loves pumpkin, so we set aside one just for him. The other 80 lbs of pumpkin were cooked & processed for future pies, but this one is all for Charlie.

With the rain these last few days, the pumpkin doubles as his water dish (kidding).
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Tower of TP

I sent Joseph to put away (store) a giant pack of toilet paper from Costco, just one of those ordinary household chores, right?

Our TP storage system under the counter in the bathroom involves building "towers" of TP, about 4 high, in neat little rows.
So we often call putting away TP "building towers." This time, Joseph decided to build A tower... and it reached all the way to the ceiling.

He was very proud of his TP tower, almost as proud as Peter was of knocking it down "accidentally" only seconds after this photo was taken.... which (as you can imagine) led to some yelling and some hurt feelings. We fight over toilet paper! We have reached a new level of sibling discord on this one!

So next time I ask one of the boys to "build towers" I guess I will need to be a bit more specific: "Build 10 towers, 4 rolls high, and stack them neatly under the counter."

This, perhaps, will help prevent sibling toilet paper rivalry. Perhaps.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Horses and apples
and boys
and creative ways to avoid having your fingers bitten!

And grapes, right off the vine.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bye bye braces!

The big day is here, freedom at last from the metal mouthful.
Off came Zac's braces, and out came the granny smith apple! He will go back in one week for his retainer fitting. One would hope that my example of what NOT to do with a retainer (stop wearing it and watch all your teeth go back where they wanted to be in the first place) will impact how Zac chooses to cooperate with his retainers.
Peter's comment when Zac came home without braces, "Zac, you look WEIRD without braces!"