Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Eagles Take Flight
A group of 3 Scouts celebrated achieving their Eagle Scout ranks last night. Bryant, Eddie, and Isaac each earned the award, before turning 18 and heading off to college, etc. Last night marked the event with a special meal and awards presentation. There were so many returning faces, it was really a reunion. It's always great to see the Scouts and adults who have 'graduated' and moved on.
Zachary, as the senior patrol leader, was invited to lead the flag ceremony and light the candles in the candle ceremony. I made sure he was taking notes when the Eagle Scouts presented their mothers with bouquets as a gesture of thanks for all their efforts behind the scenes.
The traditional 'pin the engraving on the plaque' captivated our attention (NOT). A few of us adults (see photo of Michael) decided to start a new tradition of timing the Eagle Scout to see how LONG it takes him to screw the little engraved marker onto the plaque. The winner last night was Isaac, at 2 minutes and 30 seconds. We tried to get a round of "Out the Window" going to help pass the time more enjoyably, but the boys wouldn't join in. We settled on the old Jeopardy theme/tune.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Fun, friends and family

The drive was well worth it for the time with family and friends down south. We didn't have any major transportation issues, except the minor brotherly discussions about whose turn it should be on the psp.

Our Saturday evening taco bar event was a special party for our friend, Mike. He is in the US for one week, in transit from his former home in Baku, Azerbaijan to Kabul, Afghanistan, where he will be living for the next 2 years. He brought treats for us, special candies and other goodies. He lives up to the nickname given to him so long ago: Candyman! He's as sweet as the treats he brings, and we sure enjoy his company.

Mike and Tim were fraternity brothers and roommates in college at UPS. Eric (seen as the pianist) and Tim went through grade school at Holy Rosary and high school at Seattle Prep together. Both Eric and Mike were groomsmen in our wedding almost 18 years ago.

Getting the gang together down south was possible thanks to the hospitality of our friends Aileen & Rob (& Peter, 9 & Ryan, 5). Aileen (one of my bridesmaids) and I go back to second grade, where we made our first communion together in matching dresses at Saint Charles. Here we are pictured together there after Mass yesterday. Aileen is godmother to Zachary and Joseph, and our bonds of friendship and faith are such a blessing.

Did the guys actually play a song on the piano and sing for us? Well, no, but they had fun pretending and being good sports for a silly photo. Over the years we have collected some very unusual posed photos together, from many interesting places. This one will be less embarrassing than some of the others to look back upon in the years to come...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Celebrating Christmas in our winter wonderland this year is awesome. Having the snow covered trees and still-falling snow gives a true softening to our external environment and invites a quiet and peaceful presence that comes from slowing down the pace of life. It is such an unforeseen blessing, such an unusual event to have snow blanketing our city for weeks on end. The snow has been around so long that the boys aren't running out the door to go sledding or build forts or bomb each other with sneak-snowball attacks.
All the beautiful snow almost makes up for the loss of our dishwasher (poor, broken? electric dishwasher). Yesterday the adults did the hand washing ("Let the kids play, it's Christmas!" said Grandma Billie). Soon, the reality of our new kitchen situation will hit home. (No, we're not switching over to paper plates!) This experience of "roughing it" without the convenience of the automatic dishwasher may put an end to the ongoing complaints/mantra of one Adams' boy, who is known to proclaim "I HATE the dishwasher!" For now our dishwasher is the drying rack for the hand-washed dishes.
Our Christmas celebration of the Eucharist at Mass was the highlight of my day, with the boys serving and Tim and I reading. Their friends Lorrie and Josie were a duet in the choir, with their mom on piano and their dad on the bass. Their voices mirrored the angels' voices ~ such a gift for our community! In his (wonderful) homily, Father encouraged us to put aside the noisiness & busy-ness of the secular 'Christmas' and focus wholly on the gift of Christ... in silence and awe. He emphasized that of course we want to join the angels and saints in joyous celebration and praise, but that we should first follow the shepherds to the crib and stop in silence and adoration for the gift of Jesus' birth. Such a profound gift, such an awesome wonder to behold!

Today Tim will join us for daily Mass (he has the day off!), and later in the day the boys are going to see a movie (Marley & Me) with Grandma Billie and Grandpa Cliff. We're not theater-goers, so it's a special event to go see a movie on the big screen. Tomorrow we are leaving for an overnight adventure seeing friends and family down in University Place.
Still the snow is softly falling....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve
Our evening together at Grandma's house involved a few new traditions this year. The adults all participated in a gift swap set up by my little sister, Molly. The swap had a few swiping elements, which really set the stage for some drama over the movie basket and the coffee pack. Fun stuff.
The great grand kids all exchanged names for gift giving/exchanging (again, thanks to Molly), which always helps with cousinly bonding!
The drive was uneventful, unless you count everyone but the driver falling asleep on the drive home eventful! The roads were mostly bare & wet, with a few terrible city streets right in Grandma's neighborhood in West Seattle. YIKES!
Glad to be home, and looking forward to sharing a Christmas Day with family up here tomorrow. The sticky buns are rising on the counter, those are one of my favorite in-law traditions for Christmas feasting!

The stockings are hung...
The nearness of our Savior's birth is too exciting! Today our family will travel to be with my family in Seattle for a dinner gathering at my Grandma's house (she's 91). The drive should be interesting to say the least! Tim made sure we packed emergency supplies to be prepared. So we are.
There will be 11 cousins 15 & under, so there will be a fair bit of chaos... but we always enjoy the opportunity to see the family all together.
Today after Mass the boys gave Father a homemade cross for Christmas. He said he would wait and open it tomorrow. He's going to spend the rest of today in prayer before the 5 Christmas Masses begin at 5PM tonight. Pray for us!
Our family will attend the 11AM Mass tomorrow, and the 3 boys will be altar servers. Join us!
Merry Christmas everyone (someone?), Bridget

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Someone is 41...
Not mentioning any names!
Thank you to everyone who sent Tim special greetings by phone, email, mail, and in person.
Seen here serendading on mandolin, Joseph played "Happy Birthday" as we sang to Tim before indulging in the ice cream pie with Grandma O'D's special recipe chocoloate sauce.
Today we send a great big "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" to Uncle Pie (Peter John) who is now 37!
Today we also break down and wait the long wait at Les Schwab for the installation of the studs on the 4Runner.
Yesterday I could have really used those studs on the tires to get out of the driveway as we left the boys' sledding playdate in the county. But the wonderful studs (Ezra, Boaz, Judah, and Enoch) out there shoveled, sanded (with sand they harvested from their buried sand box!), shoveled some more... and gave traffic warnings as I attempted for about an hour to get out of their driveway!
It was a dicey project, but we pulled it off. Thank you for all your help B family, and for a wonderful day together in the snow!
We did make it home (with groceries) in time to fulfill Tim's wish for a stir-fry dinner. But we relied on a good sized plate of snackies to carry us over as we were quite a bit later than expected getting the birthday dinner to the table.
AND there is more snow expected... The fun just won't end.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A TON of snow
Just keeps falling and accumulating around here. It is absolutely beautiful, and the boys are having the time of their lives (it probably will be the only time in their lives it's like this here!)
Today they are at the house of their good friends in the county. They each brought a sled, and I can't wait to hear about their adventures. 2/3 of them are wearing helmets. The 1/3 not wearing a helmet is our most timid sledder~ our think-things-all-the-way-to-the-bottom-of-the-hill guy.
I'll be driving out there in a bit to pick them up, and that should be an adventure in and of itself! Tim (on HIS birthday!) left the 4Runner for me to drive, so I'll be up high and 4WD. He drove the Subaru AWD we've been using as our second vehicle (it's for sale through the Trading Post if you know someone who's looking!). What a sweet husband!

Yesterday after Mass I snapped these shots of the boys tumbling around in the snow. They just can't get enough of it. How long will this go on???

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snowy life
Well it has been a week now with the full coverage. Bet the mountain is really something to behold! We have yet to make our first runs of the season. But the sledding opportunities have been ripe, and tonight the fort building began in earnest.
Thanks to 4WD, we have been able to attend to most of our normal activities. (Except most of our normal activities have been cancelled due to snow!) The one thing that won't be cancelled for snow is Mass, and today all 5 of us were able to attend the Saturday morning (Latin) Mass together. It was a special treat to have Tim join us for the occasion, and for the coffee hour afterward downhill from Sacred Heart (photo at left).
At coffee, Father asked each person share a high and a low from this week, as well as one material and one spiritual wish for Christmas.
Peter: wished for more snow and to become a better altar server
Joseph: wished for a plasma car and for to not laugh when other people laugh while he's serving
Zac: wished for pick-ups for his violin (and an amplifier) and to memorize all the responses for the Latin Mass.

In a pinch, I volunteered to be the substitute linen laundress for church. It's a big job, with special instructions/traditions. Since I'm not very adept at ironing, (Tim might say, "You can iron?!) it took me about 3 hours to iron all the special linens and carefully remove any black dog hairs.
Tonight Joseph began packing buckets full of snow to pile up as the base of his snow fort (dark photo). He attempted/wished to stay outside until 10PM for his fort construction, but was called in at 9:30 for bed. I know it will be the first thing on his mind tomorrow!
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

He's gone.

We put Scooby down yesterday, right here in front of our Christmas tree. We were all together, with Uncle Craig and Aunt Bethany as our loving Veterinarians.

We were able to say goodbye, and pet Scooby and console him in his last moments. He went peacefully, and we feel very blessed to have had such a loyal pet.

Special thanks to Grandma Billie and Grandpa Cliff for the many years that Scooby resided with them. We know they are sad at his passing, too.

Big thanks to Craig and Bethany for their exceptional care both for Scooby and for us. Thank you for the special keepsake paw print, memory box, and the Scooby ornament for Zachary.
What a blessing you are to us.
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Saying goodbye to Scooby
Poor old Scooby (13.5 yrs) is suffering with leukemia, and has stopped eating.
Our hearts are broken with sadness as we prepare to say goodbye to our dear pet.

We picked Scooby out of a litter of 3/4 lab, 1/4 husky puppies as a first birthday gift for Zachary. His first name, Sam, had to be changed because it sounded too much like Zac.
We were constantly saying sternly, "NO Sam!" which startled Zac into stopping whatever he was doing, assuming that it was him being corrected. So, we re-named our new pet Scooby.

Adding a new puppy to our household with a baby didn't prove to be our wisest move. Scooby surmounted every obstacle placed in his path to deter him from eating Zac's dirty diapers... even chowing down dirty diapers covered in Tabasco sauce... and puking it all up! Tim has "fond" memories of cleaning up that pile.

Once when Billie was babysitting, Zachary crawled naked into Scooby's kennel and pooped. He slip-slided around trying to make his way out of the kennel, while Billie laughed hysterically at the disaster. That mess was also left for Tim to clean up!

Scooby was saved/relocated to Grandma Billie and Grandpa Cliff's house. There, he was the low-dog on the totem pole, benefiting from their lab, Okie's alpha dog mannerisms. He also had real dog training from Grandma Billie and Grandpa Cliff, which made him a much nicer dog to have around.

Even today, Zachary raised his eyebrow when I said Scooby was a "good" dog. Zac will go with "loyal" pet, and "loving" dog, but insists that "good" dogs do not eat library books and other items left on the floor in their owner's room. Zachary means no disrespect; true to his "zaccurate" form, the term "good" dog simply does not apply here!

We will post some other photos and fun memories of Scooby soon.
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"The urgency of Advent longing increases as Christmas, the celebration of the birth of the great Morning Star, Jesus Christ the Lord, comes almost within sight. Let that urgency drown out the mounting urgency of commercial messages this week."
Magnificat, Mon. Dec. 15th, 08, Prayer for the Morning
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Playing around

Who says cleaning your room can't be fun?
Peter was begging to clean the fish tank in his room, but I told him he would first need to complete all his school work and his regular chores He did so in record time, and earned the privilege of cleaning the tank.
Meanwhile Joseph practiced his guitar from atop his bunk.

Tonight the boys will be uniformed ushers/greeters at the local homeschool assn Christmas pageant. Joseph, with his friends Collin and Josh, is also performing tonight on stage. (3 Christmas songs)

Unfortunately, Zachary cannot participate since his Boy Scout troop meets tonight... and he's the Senior Patrol Leader!

These are super kids! Thank you, Lord!
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Double beauty...
The morning light was fantastic, illuminating the Sacred Heart stained glass window above the sanctuary...and the double rainbow was visible in its entirety over the bay! Such a gift to be greeted by such awesome beauty.

Today is a holy day, so I shall close this post with a simple "God bless you!"
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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Old haunts...
Today we attended a memorial for our friend, Sean's dad. It was held at the high school Tim and Sean attended (and the Alma mater of Sean's dad) Seattle Prep. Tim was excited to show the boys around the grounds a bit, though things have changed dramatically since he's visited campus.
Another old haunt had to be visited while we were in the 'hood... Dick's Hamburger stand on Broadway. Now that's an education in and of itself!
Our evening together in Edmonds after the reception included 5PM Mass (witnessing 4 baptisms!) at Tim's grade school/parish church, Holy Rosary.
Taking a trip down memory lane today...

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Tree falls at the tree farm...
The annual tradition of chopping down our tree continues, this time with Joseph as the primary woodsman. As in years' past, Zachary lamented the taking of a live tree... to be reminded again that the these particular trees are grown to be harvested. It is sweet to be reminded of the depth of his respect for life!

The tree is now up and decorated in our living room. More photos soon. Charlie's tail (or was it his head?) has only smashed one ornament to bits. Piglet, I believe. Poor, poor, Piglet~ meets his demise at the tail of a dog. Zac was not saddened at that loss.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

The countdown is on...

Our family countdown calendar is hanging near the entrance to our kitchen, and each day the boys take a turn placing a new figure upon the tree to count the days to the celebration of our Savior's birth.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Grandma insisted....

Sawyer protested!

The oh-so-traumatic tradition of terrifying small children with a giant jolly red "saint" continues in fine form in our family!

I decided not to crop this snapshot (taken by my husband, as I had obligations preventing me from witnessing this holiday moment first-hand). I love the adult hands on either lower corner of the shot, one snapping a photo, and one attempting to soothe the distraught toddler with a toy.

Sawyer's big sister, Violet, was none-too-thrilled about the idea of visiting Santa either, but put on a brave face to be near her cousins for the photo op.

I think Zac is going to have to stand behind Santa next year~
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