Friday, May 29, 2009

Confirmation 09
This year, Zachary (who was confirmed last year) served as the MC for the confirmation Mass.
A big responsibility, and he handled it so well.
Among his duties was training and overseeing the altar servers (2 of whom were his brothers). He was also responsible for directing the flow of the liturgy with the bishop, the priests and our deacon. What a great leadership opportunity for our 14 year old!
Peter's official role in the Mass was to hold the bishop's mitre, but after Mass he had the job of returning the crosier to the bishop. He thought that was pretty cool!
Joseph's responsibilities included washing the bishop's hands after the anointing rite and again before the Eucharistic celebration. He was also a candle-bearer in the procession/recession.
The party was in full swing at 10:30PM when we finally realized it was getting late and started for home. A great event, and so wonderful to see our youth taking on full adult membership in the Church through their sacrament of confirmation.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blast from the past... July 2000
Zachary lost his first tooth at dinner while his friend, Evan, looked on in amazement (horror?).
Zac swallowed the tooth and we didn't realize it until we noticed that it was blood, not spaghetti sauce dripping from his mouth. It was an odd situation, but since the tooth fairy doesn't stop at our house, there was no real drama over the loss.
From his mouth, Peter had dirt chunks clinging... after a nice explore into the house plant.
The house plant did not survive (not due to Peter's snacking, but due to its place in the pecking order of the place).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Like Father
Like Son

Bike racers on their respective Ski 2 Sea relay teams, Peter and Tim rode well.
Tim had the added excitement of getting to repair a flat tire 3 miles from his finish line! (11 miles in)Unfortunately, he forgot to reattach the back brakes afterward. No injuries to report... thank goodness!
Our big Ski 2 Sea weekends are behind us, and as always, we look forward to next years' events.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What's for lunch?
On our way home from fiddle lessons today, we stopped to buy bread for sandwiches. Zachary was bemoaning the fact that white bread hadn't been on the menu recently. In so doing, he earned the job of going into the store to get the bread!
Triumphantly returning to the car with his white bread dream come true, he bragged that he could have purchased 4 loaves with the $4.
I congratulated him on his thrift, and asked him to review the nutrition facts for any sign of good healthy eating. He proceeded to read the nutrition facts out loud to us, word for word. VERY annoying.
Somewhere between dietary fiber and protein, Peter exclaimed, "STOP, you're making me SICK!"
But did Zac stop? Noooo... He read right through the vitamin content percentages, until I told him to stop.
Then Peter puked.
Thankfully we had a garbage bag within his reach, so all mess was contained.
Lesson to be learned: don't let your teenager read the nutrition facts of a loaf of white bread out loud. Or maybe: don't buy white bread at all.

Friday, May 15, 2009



Today is our local "Bike to Work and School Day" event, with local celebration stations set up around town.

We homeschoolers were actually biking FROM school, but hey, that counts too, doesn't it?
The boys enjoyed the treats at each stop, and the sticker collecting.

Peter dropped his chain along our route, and thankfully there was a bike repair station just a few blocks away (with free coffee!). The bike mechanic corrected the chain situation, and then Peter asked him to look at the brakes.

Well.... that led to a rather detailed bike repair job which included a ride to the local bike HUB to pick up a new brake cable. The scene there (with live music, free pancake feed and plenty of tattoos and piercings) rounded out our educational experience for the morning.

We were interviewed by a local reporter, and witnessed some very interesting riding styles.

A good time was had by all.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hope's baptism
Thanks, Renee, for taking the photos for us on Hope's baptism day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Trip details
As promised, here are a few details from our backpacking trek last weekend along the shores of Baker Lake...
Joseph and Collin were on their first backpacking trip as Boy Scouts! After about 1/2 mile of hiking with loaded packs, we heard a few (mild) complaints about the way the packs were riding. Stopping to take a closer look, we realized that both boys' packs needed some adjusting to fit properly and distribute the weight correctly.
Along the trail, Joseph and Collin spotted Trillium Ovatum plants, which gave them cause for great joy. For years we've been hiking with Collin in the hills very close to our home(s). The Trillium plant is one of the very first to bloom in the forest in spring, and as such earns special recognition. Joseph and Collin started keeping track of the number of Trillium they spotted. Their total number was 361, but they gave 5 points for any Trillium which had turned from white to purple, so the actual Trillium count is not known. The best part about the Trillium counting was that it completely kept their attention off of the burden of hiking with 1/4 of their body weight strapped to their backs!
We were able to teach our new Scouts basic map & compass skills, which they used at several way points on the trail. There is a First Class requirement for map & compass requiring a 5 mile hike, so we took an extra 1.3 mile hike after dropping our gear at the 4-miles-in campsite. On this weight-less hike, we found an enormous hollow cedar stump which was cavernous inside. Perfect place for 2 young explorers! It could have been a nice emergency shelter, should we have needed one...

Joseph planned the menu and served as the head cook, and was able to use his new camp stove and cook set for the first time. Zachary instructed him in the fine art of lighting the camp stove, noting that, "a brief soccer ball sized flame is normal," during the ignition process.
Learning to cook outdoors using the principles of Leave No Trace is tricky! Every scrap that falls to the ground, every spilled tid-bit is to be collected and packed out. The level of detail in back country cooking takes some getting used to. But the boys caught on fairly quickly, and were soon policing each others' messes. They helped hang the bear bags to keep all scented items and every bit of food up high and out of reach while we slept.
First thing in the morning they eagerly attempted to start a campfire. Their tenacity was admirable, but the damp cedar bark hindered the fire starting process. With adult instruction on finding drier sources of tinder, and lots of patience (and a least 2 boxes of matches!) their morning fire dreams became reality!
For the amazing views of Mt. Baker and the serenity of living in such solitude and simplicity (if only for 2 days)... for the opportunity to get to know Collin and his parents better, for the love of Scouting as a family~ we give thanks!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Trails

Our trek along the shores of Baker Lake was outstanding.

More soon!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Packed to go

Joseph, Tim, Zac and I are hitting the trail this morning with Collin and his parents on a Scout outing. It's a 4 mile hike in to our campsite, through amazing old growth forests and along the shores of beautiful Baker Lake.

Joseph's first pack weigh-in showed his pack was a bit too heavy, at 26lbs. Shedding some weight (to Zac's pack) brought it down to 23lbs.

Zac's pack, now weighs 33lbs, so he decided to go ahead and pack in a standard camp chair... not very back-country-ish, but, "comfort trumps all," says Zac. (I think it shall become my early Mother's Day present!)

My pack is a bit heavier than the light load I carried last summer on our 50-miler. With my shoulder on the mend, I'm ready to pull my own weight! I have also make adjustments in the insole of my hiking boots to (hopefully) avoid the ridiculous blisters I suffered with on that trek.

Pray for our safe travels!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Great Adventure

Joseph and Peter were the recipients of a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge as birthday presents from Gma Billie and Gpa Cliff.
At their grandparents' request, they brought friends (Collin and Lawrence) along, and by the looks of the photos, they had an amazing time.
We have heard various reports about the daring and the climbing, the thrashing and the sliding...
By all accounts, the Great Wolf Lodge has alot to offer in the way of water park adventures. What great birthday gifts!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Patrol Formation
Joseph's patrol, formerly known as his Webelos Den (plus 1) has taken Boy Scouts by storm! They've been Boy Scouts for a little over a month now, and they're starting make their mark on the troop.
Voting to name their new patrol "Burning Bullfrogs" was one of their first big decisions. (A close second was "Pandas of Doom.") Electing Joseph as their first Patrol Leader was another.
As patrol leader, Joseph helped recruit a few artists from the patrol to paint an image on their new patrol flag. (His own attempts at drawing the frog himself did not net the desired result!) Seen here painting are his good friends and fellow Burning Bullfrogs Boaz and Ezra, who did an outstanding job replicating the patrol patch which each member of the patrol will wear on his uniform. (No, the BSA did not have a standard issue "Burning Bullfrog" patch. Instead the boys are adding flames and fire to the standard issue "frog" patch with fabric paint. Clever, eh?)
At the patrol gathering before last night's troop meeting, members of the BB patrol each helped paint the lettering on the flag, and then signed it. I have a feeling we're going to see great things from these new Scouts!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Place of interest
Among one of the most beautiful places on earth is this spot on Puget Sound where the boys take fiddle lessons.
Their instructor, Anna Schaad (, recently moved her lessons from a studio in the woods to a studio on the bay~ from beautiful to gorgeous.
The musical experience is truly heightened by the amazing views. We are so blessed to have an incredible instructor teaching in a breathtaking environment!
May their music bring joy to many ears!
Check out Anna's website for information on the release of her new CD "Dream Within a Dream."