Sunday, February 28, 2010

Golden Experience
Vancouver 2010
Winter Olympics
Just to get a feel for the whole Olympics experience, we decided to visit the box office.
Big decision!  As it turned out, there were 'suite' tickets available for the US vs Canada Gold Medal women's hockey game.  For a small fortune, we were able to attend a fantastic Olympic event together at Canada Place.  You should have seen the looks on the boys' faces when we told them we would be going to a Gold Medal game!
Security was tight, but the lines were very well managed and people were so friendly and compliant.

Here's the view from our suite (sweet!) seats at Canada Place.

The crowd was absolutely ALIVE with (mostly Canadian) pride and excitement.
The stands were a sea of red, and the pre-game noise was almost unbearable.

Then the game started, and the noise truly became almost unbearable!
The Canadian Cow Bell Factor was well out of any reasonable decibel range!
We had to keep our ears plugged to stop the obnoxious COW BELL frenzy from giving us
permanent hearing damage!

You can imagine the uproar when Canada took Gold...
It was a tremendous electric excitement.
The bonus was being able to watch the bronze, silver and gold medal awards being presented.
The medal ceremony was so dignified and honorable.

Our gold medal experience will last a lifetime!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Joseph is 12 today!
He planed a gathering of friends for swimming, Nerf wars, and lunch/dessert.

Joseph enjoyed his cards (almost all handmade) and gifts, but mostly the company of his friends and family.

Nerf wars seen taking over our neighborhood... rain or shine, these boys love their Nerf battles.

And the diving board extravaganza wouldn't be the same without an intentional belly flop by Peter!

We'll head out to Mass soon, followed by Stations of the Cross.
Celebrating the life of Joseph!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Amazing Sights of
Vancouver 2010
Tim played hooky from work today so we could take a family trip up to Vancouver to take in the sights & sounds of the Winter Olympics festivities.
First stop: The Olympic Cauldron/Flame
Quite an attraction, with a huge crowd and a long line for the prime viewing (& photographing) area.
We stayed in the cheap seats, and our friends from Sacred Heart (whom we ran into at the train station!) snapped this photo of the family.
As we were preparing to depart for next attraction, Tim spotted a lady with a badge bearing the title "Athlete" and we asked if we could take a photo with her.
She told us she is an ice dancer, and that she competed yesterday.  Her attendee told us she was a world champion 2 years ago.  Turns out that must have been right before a break for maternity leave!
A quick Internet search when we got home turned up some interesting and amusing facts about our French friend...
The medal for most unusual costume change goes to French ice dancer Isabelle Delobel, who mid-performance on Monday stripped away her black tube-top to reveal a light-colored bustier covered with rhinestones and sequins. The idea was to show her transformation from wanting to be a ballerina to becoming an Olympic skater, she said after the competition. "We tried to surprise the audience. It was nice because everybody clapped," she said. Some also gasped.
(from )

More on our day trip to the winter Olympics soon....
Hope's First Birthday
Our littlest Goddaughter turned one yesterday.
We celebrated together by attending Mass and having a party at Hope's house for a gang of hungry kids ranging in age from 1-15 years.  A few of them got very muddy playing in the backyard after lunch...  too bad they hadn't changed out of their nice clothes!
One 4 year old guest in particular, was very excited to eat the cake he imagined would be the
highlight of the party.
He even gave up asking for gum after Mass when he realized that might compromise his
cake-eating eligibility.
But Hope's mama made a better choice for dessert: this beautiful bowl of fruit!
Hope (with help from her big sister, Hannah) blew out her baptismal candle as her first birthday candle.
Happy Birthday, Dear Hope!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Born to Perform
Peter offers a joke (after an on-the-spot request by the Cubmaster).

Peter hams it up in a skit (after a last-minute request by his den leader).

Zac and the Boy Scouts are entertained (probably by each other more than by the Cub Scout skits!).

Peter loves a stage.  At his Cub Scout Blue &Gold pack meeting last night he led the flag ceremony and the opening prayer, did a bit of stand-up comedy on the mic, and took a lead role in the (last minute) skit.
I didn't think much of it, but after the meeting a friend said something like, "Peter's a born performer, isn't he?"  I had to agree.  He doesn't shy away from the spotlight, in fact, he seeks the spotlight!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Peter catches a little air...

Peter and Joseph together on the track.

Unbelievable view!

Nothing like a day of skiing with dad to wear out a couple of young lads.
The weather was spectacular, the slopes... much less so, but ski-able.

Tim's taking the boys mid-week skiing this season, cutting out of work to get up top when the lines are non-existent and the lift tickets are a bit less expensive.
 My nagging injury (hip) prevents me.
Seeing photos like these is the best inspiration for recovery ever!

Now that Zac's swim season is drawing to a close (he's an alternate on his swim team this weekend at the state meet), maybe he'll get a trip up the mountain before the snow's all melted away.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lent Begins

O God, Jesus fasted forty days in the desert, and there chose obedience and love for you over every temptation.  Through our lenten penance, deliver us from preoccupation with ourselves and our needs, so that we may be free to do the work of prayer and charity in sincerity of heart, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Magnificat morning prayer, Friday, Feb. 19, 2010)

After the homily the priest joins his hands and says:
Dear friends in Christ,
let us ask our Father to bless these ashes
which we will use as the mark of our repentance.
(pause for silent prayer)
Lord, bless the sinner who asks for your forgiveness
and bless + all those who receive these ashes.
May they keep this lenten season
in preparation for the joy of Easter.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Together with Father, lay ministers (including Zachary) distribute ashes
on the forehead of all who come forward.


Lord, help us to resist temptation
by our lenten works of charity and penance.
By this sacrifice may we be prepared to celebrate
the death and resurrection of Christ our Savior
and be cleansed from sin and renewed in spirit.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Lord, through this communion
may our lenten penance give you glory
and bring us your protection.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

I have jotted down in my notebook my lenten resolutions, but I want to confirm them here.  I must truly renew my life, and it is God whom I ask in all simplicity to transform me.  I want to live interiorly more  spiritually, exteriorly more gently and lovingly so as to make God better loved, who is the beginning and end of my spiritual life.  More than ever I want to hide in the heart of Jesus my good works, my prayers, my self-denial, to preach only through example, to speak not at all of myself... But whenever someone approaches me, or whenever it seems to be God's will that I should approach another, I will do so simply, very prudently, and disappear as soon as the task is done, mixing in no thought of self with God's action.  And should I be misunderstood, criticized, and judged unfavorably, I will try to rejoice in remembering our divine exemplar, and I will seek to be of no consequence in the esteem of others, I who am in fact so poor and little in the eyes of God.    -- Elisabeth Leseur

Elisabeth Leseur (+1914) was a French married laywoman.  Her cause for canonization is underway.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Scout Sunday
(and Monday)
Annual Scout Sunday service project: burning the old palms and preparing the ashes for Ash Wednesday.
Each year we have the honor of leading a burning of palms on or around Scout Sunday, to prepare the ashes for Ash Wednesday.  After all, who better to call upon for (safe) burning of things than Scouts? 
This gets to be a very smokey project, and next year I will remember not to wear mascara!

This year we had a big crowd of helpful spectator-participants (including many adults), which was very fortunate considering the basket full of palms was about almost as big as a bag of Costco groceries. 
Big supply of old palms to be burned his year.

We cut the palms down to burnable segments and kept a smokey fire stoked for about 30 minutes.
Carefully collecting the burned material, we let it cool and brought it home for processing. 

The first year we did this project, we didn't realize the burned palms would need to be crushed down into a finer ash.  As crosses were traced on foreheads that Ash Wednesday, there were a few surprises when the chunks of burned palms made scratches on foreheads, and chunks fell upon dress shirts.  No, the marking with ashes is not supposed to be painful or stain clothing!

Now we know, the processing of the burned palms is essential before we distribute the ashes.
Several local faith communities contact our Church each year requesting ashes, and we pack them up so they're ready to be delivered.
Sieve for the charred palm debris, to make a finer ash consistency.
Cool reflection... how many of us can you see?

Packaged ashes for use at our Ash Wednesday Masses; campus Mass, and at other local faith communities' Ash Wednesday services.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dropping Time

Zachary dropped about 5 seconds on his 200 free at yesterday's district swim meet, and landed a spot in the final consolation heat today.  He also swam the 100 fly, and held his time.
We has worked so hard this season, it's gratifying to see his success at districts. 

His skin is very itchy from the after effects of shaving, but he can put that all behind him soon enough. 

As parents (and siblings), we suffer in our own special way... the oppressively muggy heat and cramped seating in the stands at the pool is almost unbearable.   And we pay $20 per day for the privilege!

All for a good cause, right? 

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Shaving Begins...

In preparation for today's district swim meet, Zachary is a clean-shaven young man.
Head, shoulders, knees, even elbows!
He spared the eyebrows, though.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Home Meet

This weekend Joseph and Peter competed in a club swim meet at our local pool. 
We were on deck to cheer and shoot, and one of our great friends, Mike H (often abroad, recently home from Kabul), was able to join us, as were Grandma Billie and Grandpa Cliff.

Teammate & good friend, Jonah's little sister, Maria, participating in her first swim meet, was devastated to have been DQ'd in one of her races.  (Joseph and Peter usually DQ in at least one event per meet.)  Turns out she correlated the DQ with being accused of cheating!  She was so upset.  Her parents had the brilliant idea to 'celebrate' her DQ by taking her to DQ (for ice cream).  A little ice cream goes a long way sometimes!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Molly Guessed Correctly!

I have been sewing vestments, or to be more specific, albs.
I have sewn 3 this year, of 2 different styles.  All without a pattern. 

I found out here that no great change has taken place in the shape of the alb since the ninth century.
Fascinating!  I love being a part of such an ancient religious tradition! 
Imagine all the seamstresses over the centuries who have sewn albs for monks and priests... most without electricity!

(PS: Thanks, Zac, for posing in the alb... barefoot, even!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What in the world...

Do you think I'm sewing???

I have no pattern, just a pulled-apart version of it to use as a make-shift pattern.
It requires over 5 yards of fabric.
Several parts of it have to be hand-sewn prior to final machine finishing.

One of these takes somewhere between 20-30 hours to make.