Friday, July 31, 2009

Wanting White Water

When kayaking on a reasonably calm lake loses its excitement, inventing a "white water" adventure saves the day!

This new event ~dock launching the kayaks~ has led to "sideways" "backwards" and "double" versions as well. With paddles, without paddles; with immediate eject, with a race around the buoy... the options are seemingly endless.

These single kayaks were one of our greatest recreational purchases ever! After being introduced to the sport of kayaking by our good friends on a few river trips along the Methow River outside Winthrop (when Peter was 3!), we were hooked!

These kayaks were being sold in the want ads by a family who was moving away from the water. They are sit-on-tops, and very easy for the boys to handle and maneuver. I imagine it won't be long before we are able to take these boats out into the open water for bigger adventures. But for now, the dock launching can serve as training time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In today's scorching heat, we sought refuge on the shores of the Puget Sound, in a shady cove along Chuckanut Drive. We were at the very special place where the boys take fiddle lessons, and when they weren't in their lessons, they took turns down at the waterfront with me. They collected rocks, waded in the cool water, and built little dams to hold back the tide.
It reminded me of the amazing home my family owned on Horsehead Bay from the early '80's to the mid '00's....
Our summer days there were spent swinging off the rope swing into the water, exploring the beaches, water skiing with friends, rowing around the bay and beyond the bend to Kopachuck State Park and Dead Man's Island, tanning out on the docks, swimming across the bay to friends' houses, and jumping off the Raft Island Bridge. Such an amazing place to grow up!
I sure do miss that place...
It was sold and then demolished to make way for another monster mansion with sports courts. Kind of strange to think I will never again get to visit such a treasured spot.

Speaking of treasures, Peter found a collection of rocks on the beach today which he hopes to grind down to sand and then melt in our oven to make glass. He wants to use the glass to make a gift for Zachary's 15th birthday next week.

On the car ride to church after fiddle lessons, Peter suffered heat exhaustion, and vomited (thankfully on the ground after we were parked).
So we're focusing on re-hydrating this afternoon and trying to stay cool.
Our plan is to head to the lake and enjoy a packed supper there in the shade. I did the cooking this morning to avoid having to "slave over a hot stove" in the heat of the day!

Stay hydrated, stay cool!

Warning signs of heat exhaustion include:
heavy sweating
muscle cramps

nausea or vomiting

Monday, July 27, 2009

Turn to prayer

Baby Owen is really starting to show signs of improvement and has now opened his eyes!

He's doing one thing at a time~ wiggle toes (check) wiggle legs (check) wiggle fingers (check) wiggle head (check) open eyes a little (check) open eyes all the way (check)!

Rod & Kara have been faithful, hopeful, and right by Owen's side as he improves daily at Children's Hospital.

This week, let's pray especially for Owen to gain his ability to swallow; for Rod and Kara's continued strength and fortitude; for Grandma Sally and all the kids at home without mom and dad.

In thanksgiving for our health, for our families, for our freedom, and for our loving God, let our prayers never cease!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Our Burning Bullfrog patrol performed their patrol yell on stage at the closing campfire Friday night.

They were called up to receive the Honor Patrol award, and they were very excited. Theirs was the only patrol in the camp to earn the award, which included such feats as having each member either advance in rank or earn a merit badge, perform a service project, visit the museum, etc.

I'll close this year's summer camp coverage with their patrol yell:

Ribbit Croak
See the smoke
We're the burning bullfrogs
and that's no joke!
Burn, burn, burn!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cooking over the fire

One of our "pathfinders" projects in camp involved teaching our Scouts to cook over an open fire, with nutritious foods.

On one campout, plan and cook over an open fire one hot breakfast or lunch for yourself, selecting foods from the food pyramid. Explain the importance of good nutrition. Tell how to transport, store, and prepare the foods you selected.

We improvised with items from our troop cooler and easily (cheaply) purchased at the local grocery store. We had asked the camp kitchen to provide the food for a lunch we could cook over the fire and were offered.... HOT DOGS! We decided to pass.

Our menu included eggs (scrambled or fried) with cheese and meat and fruit. We called it "first lunch" since we visited the dining hall for "second lunch" shortly thereafter. Learning how to cook over the flames is challenging, and learning how to clean the pans afterward even more so!

One of Joseph's merit badges, Cinematography, involved writing a script and filming a short feature film. His group chose to teach How to Raise, Lower and Fold the US Flag. They each took responsibility for 1/3 of the film, preparing a full story board and script.

In camp they recruited (roped in) actors to be in their movie, and spent the better part of an afternoon filming.

The 3-person production crew was let by Isaac, one of our older Scouts, who really showed outstanding leadership skills in working with Joseph and David.

It's too bad we did not get a copy of the final product!

Another of Joseph's merit badges, Pioneering , was taught by a good friend of Zac's (from youth group) who is on staff at camp this summer. Matt did an excellent job of teaching Pioneering, and was welcoming when David asked to join the class a few days late (after completing a shorter eco merit badge). Matt was patient and very consistent in his instruction. The boys learned a great deal from him, and we are so grateful that Joseph was able to spend quality time at camp with such an outstanding young man, and Life Scout (nearly Eagle).

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Big Guys at Camp

The older Scouts, Zachary included, are taking High Cope at summer camp.

The course involves complicated climbing moves through the "play pen" to a very high platform, a cat walk along a tight-rope "bridge" to a spider web. Watching it was thrilling, I can only imagine what climbing it must have felt like!

The training was extensive, and the safety features very complicated and tightly controlled.

I heard talk of a "flying squirrel" move, but unfortunately I was in camp with the first year Scouts working on rank advancement and missed it. Thankfully, Tim was able to witness it, and helped as an anchor man (on belay).

Another "older Scout" choice this week was the basketry merit badge. The craft lodge was being run by a friend from our troop who is on staff at the camp. That was certainly part (or all?) of the attraction to the basketry area! On day 1, a neighboring merit badge counsellor had to interrupt basketry class and ask Ethan to please tone it down (they were making too much noise!). That was just in the safety talk! (Yes, in Scouts there is even a safety talk before beginning a craft!)

The older Scouts were also able to serve as Color Guard for a closing flag ceremony one night in camp. They did an outstanding job, and really nailed the "about face" command after much rehearsing.
Yes, they needed a bit of prompting to put down their card game and really get to Scouting a few times during the week. Yes, they were up late, and their tents did have a rather pungent odor after all 5 or 6 of them would spend a few hours inside together hanging out... but these guys really were a great bunch to have along at summer camp.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More photos from today at camp...

Many thanks for the mail you've sent to our campers. They get a big kick out of getting called up to retrieve their mail in the dining hall.

Our friendship fire with another troop is tonight and our leaders brought supplies to serve root beer floats! As you can imagine the boys are not going hungry... Or lacking for things to keep them busy!

Campfires & Camp Food

A few more highlights from day 2 at Boy Scout camp:

Mealtimes have become major events in the lives of our campers. There is a 1 mile walk to & 1 mile walk from the dining hall for each meal, where fun and lively events happen around the fine cuisine which so far has included such favorites as spaghetti, peanut butter & jelly, and corn dogs.

Every meal calls for 2 waiters from each troop, who are transported by boat across the lake to the dining hall where they prepare the tables for the hungry campers. The waiters set the tables, fill the water pitchers and also have the entire clean-up responsibilities.

During the meal, before seconds are "open" the camp staff circle the room singing loud and energetic camp songs to the absolute delight of the Scouts. Topics of these songs include such things as the neighbors' cats and dogs being ground into sausages and things getting thrown out the window, the window, the 2nd story window.
Opening campfire last night was a huge hit with our campers.
Funny skits, outrageous songs, live action run-ons and oh-so-much more. The fire was started/lit at the beginning by the "glare" of the camp commissioner! (Or perhaps by a timed ignitor?)

The sentimental closing song at campfire was sung beautifully by the camp staff, with the campers joining in.
The final verse:

There is something you should know,
Mom and Dad, I love you so!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Boy Scout Summer Camp '09

We're up in the foothills for summer camp '09. 21 Scouts, 7 adult leaders, and a few bugs!

We've had sloppy joes and french toast (at different meals!) and camp staff delivers s'more fixin's to our campsite last night.

Yesterday was check-in, which included the swim check in the lake. Every one of our Scouts who attempted the swim check passed and was issued his "buddy tag" which indicates water privileges. A few of our Scouts (some older & not interested, some younger & not ready) opted out of waterfront.

After dinner last night we attended a Vespers ceremony together, singing spiritual :) songs with arm & leg motions (see Tim!).

Today the Scouts are in Day 1 of their merit badge classes and rank advancement sessions. Archery, cinematography, rowing, forestry are just a few of the selections.

This afternoon our patrols will choose one area in which to spend "patrol time" together for a few hours. There will be free time and even nap time (should anyone require additional sleep!).

We love summer camp!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sacrament of Matrimony
I have been a wedding coordinator at our church for about 6 or 7 years. I love this job!
Yesterday I had the privilege of witnessing the marriage of Sarah and Joseph. Their wedding was a beautiful and spiritual event. I trust that their married life together will be abundantly blessed.
With every wedding there is always some little thing that goes... well, let's say "not according to plan."
Yesterday's one little thing was that I forgot to put out the special chairs on which the bride & groom sit during the Liturgy of the Word (readings). They made due by squishing up with the bridesmaids on the first pew.
I didn't even realize the mistake until a few hours later when Father Scott (pastor at Assumption, guest of the wedding) asked me if the couples usually sit in the pew at Sacred Heart weddings.
My heart dropped! Since their wedding followed the 5PM Mass, it wasn't left all set up after the rehearsal.
Oh well, they are married now, and the chair incident will probably pass without much fuss.
And like other mistakes and their teaching power, I'll probably never forget to put out the couple's chairs again!
Please pray for healing for baby Owen W. and for peace and divine comfort for his family.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday Morning

Small Group

Our weekly routine includes a special morning Latin Mass on Saturdays in the Chapel at our church.

The readings and the homily are in English, but the Mass is in Latin. The boys love it and they are learning Latin (Zachary as a course of high school study, J & P for fun on the side).

It's been a great experience to set aside this special time on Saturday mornings for worship first and for fellowship after. There is a group of dedicated attendees who make the small group meeting (coffee hour) after Mass a highlight of our week.... especially Father Qui Thac. Every week we gather 'round the table and Father gives us a 'sharing' topic. One by one we go around (you call on the next person after you share) and answer the question of the week.

We have grown close to our friends who range in age from.... let's say senior citizen down to Peter at age 9 (and the occasional younger visitors). We are married, ordained, widowed, single, and discerning. We have had the great pleasure of getting to know a few WWU Newman Center students, and who (having graduated) are going to be greatly missed. They are going on to seminary and into the Jesuit Service Corps, and we look forward to many updates on their new adventures in faith.

Please pray for baby Owen Quinn W. who is not doing well after a difficult birth. Pray for his parents, Rod & Kara, and pray for his siblings.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What would you do?

If your teenage son told you
that he had stayed awake 'til 4:30AM
meditating on the Passion of our Lord?

I was astounded, not surprised, but certainly awestruck.

In so many ways Zachary's spiritual growth has blessed our family and brought us all closer to God. I hold these special memories of his formation in my heart and find myself sometimes overwhelmed with gratitude.

And now I have shared this special moment with you. May your day be blessed!
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Golden Egg what we shall call the first egg layed by our chickens!
The coop continues to take form, with a new roof going on this week. The cost of the building materials and chicken feed has been... surprising! But the joy easily matches the cost and they balance each other out.

Peter is showing his love for nurturing small beings, and takes time to hold the chickens to help tame them for easier handling. He also has a portable "yard" (borrowed from Grandpa Cliff) in which the chickens can roam about on the grass and find more interesting tasty treats.
Today Peter and Joseph harvested bamboo with their pocket knives for use in making the chickens' roosts. But the amount of bamboo they brought home (from a neighbor who wants it gone!) is enough to build a small shelter.
Perhaps they are inspired after seeing photos of their friends' new 'bomb shelter'?
As always, all I can say is, "Stay tuned!"

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A time to be born...

Look at these beautiful babies born into our family!

My niece, Kati (12), is shown here holding our newest niece, Liliana on her birthday (July 10th).
Lily is my brother Michael's first
child, doesn't he look like a proud papa?

And from across the Atlantic comes word of another cousin from our Scottish clan (now in England). My cousin, Peter, holds his grandson, Oscar, at 5 days old.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Been biking

and mucking out a sheep barn at a monastery on Shaw Island.

Biked about 20 miles (about 10 each on Shaw and Lopez Islands).

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Not 2, but 8 residents in our backyard chicken coop.

Peter selected his 8 from among the 22 chickens raised for the past 12 weeks by Uncle Craig & Aunt Bethany.

His collection includes the very popular Polish chickens (see the speckled chicken with the fancy plume?).

We are hopeful that these 8 are all hens, but we can't be certain until they are a bit more fully developed. Let's just say that if there is one bird in this mix who decides to make a big fuss about sunrise, he will be gracing our dinner table... out of respect for our neighbors, who tend to send anonymous angry mail (or take us to court) if there is too much noise coming from our yard, but that's another story...

The 4-hour drive home yesterday with our lab, Charlie, and 8 chickens (in HIS kennel) was slightly eventful. It was only possible at all due to the fact that we gave Charlie a few doggie downers to help ease his anxiety (which is already way up there on the 4th of July!).

Peter spent quite a bit of time in the coop today, holding the chickens and caring for them. What a great Christmas gift. Thanks Craig & Beth!
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The birthday girl
Our niece/cousin Violet turned 3 yesterday, and celebrated with all her cousins (5) and siblings (1 born and 1 unborn!), grandparents, aunts & uncles and friends.
The weather was beautiful, allowing for water play with her new animal theme park.
Violet greatly enjoyed spraying anyone who came near (including adults holding cameras!). Sawyer learned first hand how accurate his sister's aim was with the elephant's trunk. He was not pleased, to say the least!

Blowing out her candles, Violet preferred the "through the teeth" method, which makes a nice whistling sound, but does not produce a candle extinguishing force. Mommy (Bethany) was right there to offer assistance.
Violet's Elmo cake was a big hit, and was quite a work of art. Good work, Bethany! She also had a chocolate cake, just to be sure there was enough cake to go around.
Violet loved here new dollhouse and was mesmerized by the different rooms and furniture. Such a sweet little girl... Happy Birthday, Violet!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Chickens and Cousins

Today we made the journey over the water to visit our wonderful cousins, one of whom is turning 3 on the 4th of July.

Peter's Christmas present (chickens) are here, awaiting their journey back to our house where they will live and hopefully lay many eggs.

Sawyer already thinks Peter is pretty great, but when Peter gave up the last of his Popsicle to Sawyer (who had finished his first and wanted more) he took on hero status.  

Oh, and the very cute photo of Sawyer below?  

Apparently that is his "stink face."

Just for his Aunt Bridget... isn't that special?  Guess maybe I should have given him my Popsicle!