Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yesterday we had the honor of attending daily Mass at a Church founded locally on Native land in 1860. The Church (structure) was built in 1885, and was relocated to its current site in about 1923.

Though the Church building is very small, the faith of its people, and their cultural traditions interwoven into the liturgy make it seem much larger. Native drums and chanting led the procession and the recession (start and end of Mass), and were also used in place of bells at the consecration.

The Mass was celebrated by our Archbishop, and concelebrated by 7 other priests, including our pastor. The people presented a beautiful blanket to the Archbishop, and proceeded to pin "love offerings" (cash!) onto the blanket. The Archbishop wore a miter given to him by Native people from his old post in Montana. It was so intricately beaded! The beads were so small you had to be looking right up close to see them.

The Mass was followed by a feast of smoked salmon, fresh crab, and all kinds of other salads and desserts. We were treated like honored guests, the welcome we received was so touching.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Acolytes Blessed

Saturday at our Vigil Mass, presided by Bishop Tyson, Zac and 2 other young men from our parish were blessed as Acolytes.

This ministry has deep historical roots in the Church, and we are so blessed to be able to witness these young men serving at the altar.

We pray that their example of service and reverence will inspire many other young boys to continue on as altar servers and aspire to become acolytes.

Today is the Feast of St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, the archangels. May their intercession remain always with us.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Messy Diners

What can I say?
I'm raising boys with some(times) messy table manners.
It's not as bad as this extreme example photographed '01, but still, messy all the same.
Milk spills are pretty common, and the dog knows JUST where to go for a few tasty morsels (droppings) when a meal is wrapped up around here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dinner for 10
After the cross country meet yesterday, we had an impromptu dinner party for 10 (plus Tim).

Can you guess who's hiding in this photo?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What better way to usher in the new season than with an evening water ski on the lake?
Joseph wasn't too sure he was up for the task of learning to cross the wake (to complete the water sports merit badge). But once he was up, he was UP!
He crossed the wake again and again with ease. I was so proud!
Way to go, Joseph... I knew you could do it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Great news!
Our new nephew/cousin, Weston James, was born this morning, at 9:39AM.

At 8lb 15oz he's smaller than his siblings, Violet (3) and Sawyer (2), were at birth. 21" makes him the longest, though.

We're praying for you, Weston, and for your whole family!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Backpacking {Yellow Aster Butte}

D, Joseph and Joey atop Yellow Aster Butte
Happy camper, Joseph, with his gear in Yellow Aster Meadow
Joseph and Tim went backpacking with 2 fellow Scouts and their dads.  The weather did not cooperate, and they spent most of the time at Yellow Aster Butte in the rain and wind, with a hail storm that left the tents looking snowed upon. High winds all night made sleeping rather difficult, and even tore a fly line off the stake.
The gorgeous views from the peak, which the boys and Tim ascended on Sunday morning, were spectacular, briefly, until a very thick fog rolled in.  They were able to slip and slide on a snow field and communicate with marmots; eat tons of wild blueberries, and enjoy the satisfying feeling of living and surviving in the wilderness.
Snow play
The gear will take a few days to dry out, but the memories will last a lifetime.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I've said it before, and I'll say it again... who coaches the team makes all the difference in the world!

Peter has been blessed to have the same amazing soccer coaches for the past 4+ years. His team is really coming together, making multiple passes, smart moves, and looking for openings.

It is so much fun to watch his team play together.

Today they were down one player for the whole second half, and never gave up attacking the other team's goal.
They put one in the net to win with only about 2 minutes left in the half.
VERY exciting.

Today so far:

awake at 6AM

drive to cross country bus departure at 6:40AM

6:50AM rush coffee to XC coaches before bus pulls out at 7AM

7:20AM help with final backpack/camping departure (Tim and Joseph)

7:30AM take Peter to soccer game

9:30AM home to bake cookies and make applesauce before heading out to the Harvest Festival with Peter

What a day~and it's only noon!

Thanks to soccer dad, Larry P, for the photos, taken last Saturday.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Runnin' the race
We're back at high school cross country season around here, which translates into 'mom's taxi' season for me!
Gone are the lazy days of summer without the need for a posted week's calendar on the fridge.
It's a new season, with all the accompanying stresses on time (and sometimes sanity!).
But OH the beauty of it all~ watching the boys grow academically, morally and physically. The rewards far outweigh the costs.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Small Victory
It's worth mentioning...
Zac's room is 'clean.'
Yes, this is clean by Zac's standards.
What is a mom to do?
I'm sure my mom had it worse.... keeping my room clean was never my strong suit.
There is hope for a better future!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Who's SUE?

Last night Tim was installed in a new volunteer position in our church's men's service organization.

As each man was formally installed, his wife was called up to place the 'jewel' around his neck (indicating his new position). One by one, they all were installed, with the help of their wives, until at last it was Tim's turn.

Imagine my surprise when I heard,
"Would Tim's wife, Sue, please come forward to...."

Tim discreetly corrected the speaker ("Bridget") but at the same time I let loose with a whopping, "WHO'S SUE?"

Of course up to this point the ceremony had been very formal and serious (notice I did not say boring). But at the name mistake (& reaction) the tide of laughter could not be helped.

Rather than kiss my husband as the wives before me had done after placing the jewel, I mocked a face slap... then I kissed him.

Tim had to wear a coat & tie, and since I don't have any photos from the event last night, I'm including these priceless shots of Zac, Joseph, and Peter from June '04. The occasion was the centennial celebration of our church, at which a new altar, build by Grandpa Cliff, was blessed by Bishop Alexander in an ancient rite.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pecking order

Some friends had an extra chicken they needed to relocate, and we gladly took her in. She's a layer, and unlike Peter's new & still maturing chickens, she's already laying (about one egg every other day).

We picked her up today, and when we introduced her to the gals in the coop, it became obvious that she's upsetting the pecking order.

Oddly enough, on the way home from the chicken collection errand, Zac asked me, "So what's the pecking order in our house?"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Settlers Rules

Rather than "back to school" like everyone else, we've launched into a serious Settlers of Catan mode around here.

It does teach reasoning, communication skills and logic, math, and sociology, to name a few of its educational benefits. And at our house (according to Zac) there is also bribery involved.
Apparently it's not out & out banned in the rule book, so our "house rules" allow for it. Or at least it's permitted at the moment.

The simple, yet competitive (and Long) game involves collecting, trading, and bartering with bricks, sheep, wood, making settlements and roads. It's a good game. I hope they enjoy it while it lasts!

Saturday, September 5, 2009



Here sits Peter, at the ripe age of 9, ready to go to work at 5:30AM this morning. He was off to sell fire starters at an outdoor market about an hour and a half away from home with grandma and grandpa. Grandpa Cliff's booth does a mighty business in woodworking, and the boys' little table makes a nice profit.

The history...
About 7 or 8 years ago, Zachary shared a wish list (all Legos) with Tim. Rather than turning him down, Tim suggested that if he wanted the toys, Zac should earn the money to buy them. Shortly thereafter, Zax Fire Starters was launched.

Together, we designed the prototype with suggestions and ideas from Tim, who used to make fire starters when he was a boy. Zachary began selling his packs at 5 for $1.

His first attempts at salesmanship were difficult due to extreme shyness. He gradually learned to step out of his comfort zone and draw some attention to his product. Grandma Billie was especially helpful in coaching him to anticipate the moment of eye contact when he could make his move with a friendly greeting, or "Would you like to buy some fire starters?"

Every summer since the launch, our garage has been transformed into a workshop, with a hot plate, hundreds of little paper cups and giant bags of sawdust from grandpa's shop (plus another top-secret ingredient). We have experimented with different designs, and the current product sells 10 for $3. It is truly a family business, with the grandparents playing a key role.

Last weekend Joseph was the salesman, and brought home over $115 to split with Peter.Today Peter brought home about $90 to split with Joseph. They share the production work, and split the profits. Zachary used to collect royalties (for having conceived of the business and developed the clientele base). These days it's all up to Joseph and Peter.

The torch has been passed. Zax Fire Starters is a thing of the past. The new sign reads "Joe's Fire Starters" but Peter wears a "Peter's Fire Starters" hat to work.

Friday, September 4, 2009

One more driver

Yesterday Zachary got his driver's permit.
Now he's hitting the road as a learner.
His driver's education classes start next week, and he's enrolled with a good friend.
He'll have almost a full year to practice before he's 16 next August.
The experience at the Department of Licensing was traumatic enough that Peter has declared to all that he will "never" get his driver's licence or permit.
You can just imagine having 3 boys plus a friend at the DoL from 9:40 AM to 12:10 PM. WAITING. WATCHING. WONDERING.
It's a real act of patience to visit a place like that. On the way home, Zac admitted that his friend, Monika, had warned him NEVER to go to the DoL on a Thursday....
I was dumbfounded when he brought that information to light. "Why didn't you mention that BEFORE we went today??"
"I dunno. I forgot."
Thursday is the one day of the week that the DoL opens one hour late. So all the people who arrived at 8:30AM were in line before all of us who showed up at the opening time .It was nice that 2 of Zac's friends were there (one by arrangement, the other by chance) with a parent. We passed the time in chit-chat, between side-long glances at the digital number display and the clock!

I called Tim at the end of the ordeal and made plans for 2013 when Joseph is ready to get his permit... It's Tim's turn to visit the DoL!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Slash hiking

Due to sickness, our trip to Mt. St. Helens was cancelled at the very last minute.

Disappointed? Yes.

Discouraged? No!

We made the most of the packed packs and purchased food by having a patrol camp at property in the county (home of 3 Scouts in the patrol). Thanks to their neighbors' generosity, we were also given permission to take a hike on a mountain in their rural neighborhood.

Turns out it's an active logging operation, which made the hike more interesting, more challenging, and much dirtier.

We started on gentle grades and rolling trails, crossing a stream on stepping stones. We climbed on until we found ourselves at the base of an area of clear-cut "slash."

Would that deter our eager climbers?

Heavens no!

Up they went, picking their way along churned up dirt and sticks, following the tracks left behind by some giant piece of machinery.

I was left behind a bit in the difficulty of finding each step carefully, by boys charging through the slash with abandon. When we arrived at the "top" where the logging trucks were being loaded, I asked about any injuries.

Seems like every one of them had some battle wound, from a turned ankle to scratched up shins. But their desire was to continue exploring in the debris. However, my desire was to stick to the beaten path, and from there on out we stayed on trails and the logging road (left silent after about 2:30 PM, but a raging dust river prior).

The loggers we met were friendly and enjoyed seeing the boys on the mountain. They were impressed with the ease of their slash hiking.

Our prize at the top of the trail was a great picking area with both native and invasive blackberries.

Oh, and a rat.