Monday, May 31, 2010

Checkmate Pawn Loaners
Ski 2 Sea 2010
Tim's 2010 Ski 2 Sea team:
Mark (downhill boarder), Eric (road biker), Kristy (XC skier), Tanja (kayaker), Mike (mountain biker), Carin (co-canoeist), and Josh (runner); not pictured: Tim (canoe anchor).

Our Ski 2 Sea team performed very well, finishing in the top half of well over 400 teams.
They guessed their times to within about 10 minutes, which is amazing considering the race has 7 legs and is over 90 miles long.  Kristy's leg was first, beginning at 8AM on Mt. Baker, and Tanja finished the kayak leg just after 5PM on the shores of Bellingham Bay.

We were able to watch the end of Eric's ride, in Everson, where he handed off to Tim & Carin for the canoe leg.  We tried to cheer for them at 3 different bridges along the route, but just didn't catch them.
Seeing their finish, and the hand off to Mike on the mountain bike was exciting, though.

The feast hosted by Tim's & Eric's parents after the finish was fit for kings, and queens.
Another great S2S event behind us.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chilly Parade

Yes, it was a cold, wet afternoon for a Ski 2 Sea parade, but fun none the less.
We perched on "our corner," which we found staked out by our good friends (and fellow S2S participants)with whom we have shared almost every Ski 2 Sea parade.

The pirates were in full swing, as were the belly dancers and the high school marching bands.
We knew many marching musicians, from youth group and Scouts.
We heckled 2 of them (good fun) to try to get their attention, but they showed great discipline staying in formation .

Our team has arrived, and the expected finish times are posted on the white board.  High hopes!
Having to fill 2 vacated canoe spots just one week before race day made for some added drama this year.
Just his luck, Tim is back in the canoe, having swapped out of mountain bike, since it's an easier leg to sell.
Let's hope he doesn't end up swamped & stranded on an island again; that was his worst S2S ever.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Flashback Friday
Denmark 1995
Born fascinated by the written word, Zachary studies the Danish sign in downtown Copenhagen.

Known for his powerful lungs (ie. screaming talent) and his strength of will, Zachary refused to accept confinement the pram with docility.

An official world traveller before age 1; here's Zachary's first passport photo.

Our journey to Denmark when Zachary was 11 months old centered around celebrating the marriage of our friends Mike and Anne (pronounced anNuh).
We travelled with three of Tim's groomsmen and life-long buddies, Eric, Sean and Dave; two of whom were wise enough to pay a little extra not to have to sleep in the same flat as Iron Lungs (Zac). 
We were hard-core "lay the child down and let him cry himself to sleep" parents, and as such, the 5+ hours of screaming (what were we thinking?) on night one, convinced the other friend to switch accommodations immediately, at any cost.
Mike and Anne had made arrangements for us to take over her sister's apartment for the first week, a friend's apartment for another week, and our 3rd week was split between a bed & breakfast and a cruise to Sweden & Norway.
While there, we met up with Linnea, a Finnish exchange student who had lived with my family in 1981-2.
We saw many amazing sights and spent many wonderful days enjoying the journey with our friends.
Fine print:  Paying off our VISA bill took many months (or was it years?) after that adventure!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fixer Upper

The problem: leaky pipe; prevents use of backyard hose.

The solution: most of a Saturday; blow torch; muliple trips to the hardware store for parts;
consultation with Grandpa Cliff; and a piece of bread (to hold up a slow drip long enough to torch the pipe).

The result: a happy lad, able to use the backyard hose to supply water to birds and plants.
(First use blasted out the mushy bread bits.)

The fine print:
A few hours of total chaos; a gigantic mess;
water shut off during final hours of preparation for hosting a gathering at our house
when baking & cleaning had to be put on hold for the completion
of what turned out to be a challenging project.

Was it worth it?

Thank you to Tim, Peter and Cliff for fixing the leaking pipe!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Breaking Out

Janell, Alain, Bridget & Tim @ Northwest Catholic Family Education Conference

Bridget, Renee, Karen, Janell & Robin

Sometimes you just have to get away. 
This opportunity was too good to be passed up,
and we are so grateful to Renee for giving us the details for registration.
"Celebrating Families: Recognizing the Power of Relationships"
was the them for this year's Northwest Catholic Family Education Conference.

The keynote speaker, Bishop Vasa, from Baker, Oregon, encouraged us in our primary vocation of
personal holiness and the salvation of souls (as in leading souls to Christ, who won our salvation). 
As Catholic parents and homeschool teachers, we should strive to become reservoirs of holiness,
rather than conduits.
He highly recommended The Soul of the Apostolate by Jean-Baptiste Chautard (which I just ordered for $10 through
Bishop Vasa encouraged us to be marriage centered families,
rather than child centered, which leads to disorder.

He compelled us to constantly grow in virtue, citing scientific evidence that parents' virtuous behavior has actual positive physical effects in the development of our children's brains. 
And visa versa to the detrimental effects on their brains for poor parental (sinful) behavior.
Yikes.  That's one of those "I wish I had known sooner!" tidbits of information ~
though it seems quite intuitive, doesn't it?

We also heard a fun presentation on Flexing our Communication Muscles.
Each of us felt the hot seat when our type of communication style (direct, narrative, logical, or empathetic) was outlined for it's strengths and weaknesses.  Our goal as parents/home educators is to teach our children (and learn ourselves) how to strengthen our weaker styles of communication, and understand each other's styles so as to communicate most effectively in our families.  Great stuff.

The conference was super inspiring, and the fellowship with our comrades in this journey was equally fulfilling.  Add in the bonus of time away with Tim, and it was a get-away for the record books.
The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
~2 Timothy 2: 24-26

Sunday, May 23, 2010


"Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children, given confidence to call God "Father" and to share in Christ's grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory."
- St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.

R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray. O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord.

May your Pentecost be truly blessed...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Confirmation 2010

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo anointed our confirmandi with sacred chrism oil last night at confirmation, bestowing upon them the gifts of the Holy Spirit:
wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

 Bishop Eusebio Elizondo has celebrated many (over 40?) confirmation Masses in this Easter season...
and he's still on FIRE!
We were so blessed by his presence, by his witness, by his exuberance in service to our Lord.

Zachary had the privilege of serving at confirmation, where many of his peers received this sacrament of initiation, including Daniel (white shirt), Kevin (center back), Matt (red hair) and Matt (tallest).
Friends Taylor and Ezra were on hand to celebrate with the guys.

It was a truly amazing liturgy, and the fruits of this sacrament
shall be a blessing to our Church for many years to come.
Congratulations to all of our newly confirmed Catholic adults.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Backpacking Season Begins

The weather cooperated for the season's first backpacking camping trip.
Joseph was able to take his buddy, Charlie along on this trek.
Charlie loves hiking with Joseph.

Zachary hiked the 4 miles (x2) with a dutch oven in his pack... well most of the miles anyway.  Help was secured for the final leg of the journey, to prevent "his vertebrae from snapping."
Pretty extreme, but it made baking (and eating) a birthday cake for Ezra's 18th
possible for the evening's entertainment and enjoyment.
They fixed potatoes and steak for dinner, not your average backpacking menu to be sure!
The views of Mt. Baker from the campsite are spectacular.

Here's the crew, pre-departure, ready to hit the trail (all but Tim, who took the photo).

Monday, May 17, 2010

Reborn in Christ

On this day, May 17th, in the year 1998, 
our second child, Joseph Arthur, was baptized into the Body of Christ.
His Godparents, (his uncle Peter John and our dear friend, Aileen), together with Tim and I,
answered the question put to us on Joseph's behalf:
"What do you ask of God's Church?"
"Faith through baptism!" 

What a gift to continue to watch Joseph grow in his faith, to witness his acts of love and charity, and to share daily prayer, Eucharist, and the hope of eternal life with him!

Guess who reminded me that today was the anniversary of Joseph's baptism?
Joseph himself!
The indelible spiritual mark given to Joseph at baptism when he was almost 3 months old 
is the greatest gift we could ever ask for him.

Joseph, pictured on his baptism with Tim's family: Grandpa Cliff, Great Aunt Elaine, Grandma Billie, Tim's cousin Chelsea, Bridget, holding Zachary, Tim, holding Joseph, Great Grandpa Paul, Uncle Craig, and Tim's cousin Paul with wife Dom (back).

Friday, May 14, 2010

Flashback Friday

Here I am (age 8) on my First Holy Communion day at St. Charles Borromeo in Tacoma.
I'm standing with my best friend, Aileen.
We arrived wearing matching dresses ~ we were amazed and very excited with the coincidence.

Here are 4/6 of our children standing together at the very same spot at St. Charles,
still Aileen's family's parish.
Ryan (front), Peter, Joseph, and Peter.

Here's Aileen & me a few months ago at St. Charles after Mass.
She's a rock in my life, a sister in Christ, a faithful Catholic, an amazing woman.

We shared our First Holy Communion, and many other Holy Communions throughout our lives, including at our Nuptial Masses (marriages) and those of our siblings; at the funeral Masses for Aileen's daughter, Lucy, and her mother, Kathy; at Zac & Joseph's baptisms and First Holy Communions (they are her Godsons); Zac's confirmation Mass; and at many Sunday, daily, and Holy Day Masses throughout our lives. 

John 6:48-68
I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever." These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?" Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, "Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe." Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father." As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
I am so grateful for my faithful friend, Aileen, who has answered Jesus as Simon Peter did.
May God bless her, and her family~ especially her father, Dick, who is suffering in his battle with cancer.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

First Holy Communion

I was blessed to be able to serve as the photographer for the First Holy Communion Mass last Saturday.
It's fun looking back over the past 4 or so years that I've photographed this special sacramental moment for our parish families.
I'm happy to report that I've given myself a B+ for this year's work.

With that~ we're off on a field trip to Seattle for religion class...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Just wait 'til your father gets home...
...then you can shoot the rats!

The sign posted on the front door shows dad (and any visitors to our home) the rat count for yesterday.
For the boys had spotted rats stealing chicken feed (and compost) and they were outraged.
Excited.  Agitated.  Animated.  Passionate. Vindictive.  Determined.  Creative.  Hilarious.

Peter started a written tally for their rat count, and claimed over 60 sightings. 
Probably the same one rat, running in & out right?
Not so, not so.  For there was "two potato" (named for his size; as shown by Peter below) and "simon,"
and then there were the smaller females.
Rarely are the boys quite this excited for dad to get home from work.
But the opportunity to hunt rats from the back deck with dad's permission (and supervision), makes waiting for dad to get home almost painful!
Ezra created a rat trap using simple materials from around the house, something he says his friends in Liberia taught him how to do.  By morning, his trap had a captive, for which Peter paid Ezra 50 cents.
Joseph waited eagerly for another rat spotting to begin his hunt.
Tim was able to shoot a rat (with the BB gun above). 
That rat did a spectacular back flip before running away, injured.
This was a highlight of the boys' day, for sure.
Judah readies the bow & arrow for his shot at the vermin.
Unfortunately, the bow lacks the power to do any real damage, but it's fun for target practice.

Grandpa Cliff also played an important role in the rat extermination efforts,
having received an urgent phone call from Peter alerting him to the infestation.
Grandpa came a few hours later, bringing poison, which was placed very carefully to avoid the possibility of dog or chicken poisoning.  I wish I had a photo of the boys flanking him as he strategically placed the toxins in the back yard.

This is my life with boys!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Power of Prayer

Stan's daughter, Sally, collected his groceries on Saturday, and told us that
Stan's doctors were amazed at how well he was recovering.

Yesterday Zachary and I visited Stan and meet his wife and daughters Katie and Jeannie at the ICU.
Stan has made amazing progress over the weekend, and the emergency brain surgery was successful.

I introduced myself and Zachary to him, and he made a gentleman's effort to shake our hands,
though he could just barely lift his arm.
We asked Stan if we could pray with him, and he said yes.
He gave his best effort at making the sign of the cross, and said most of the Lord's Prayer with us.
We gave him a prayer shawl as a gift from our Church. 
He remembered Sacred Heart and said it was one of his favorite places.

His wife, Clare, told me that Stan had a skiing injury about 10 years ago (in his 70's)
and she thinks that's probably why he lost his balance and fell in the parking lot Friday.
Skiing in their 70's (and 80's) that's inspiring!

Still praying for Stan and his family...

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Stranger's Groceries...
... are in our refrigerator:
Two cartons of cottage cheese, a salmon fillet, a bunch of potatoes, a grapefruit, a baguette, two bottles of wine; someone's prescription.
The groceries belong to a man I've never met.
His name is Stan.

Stan needs our prayers, he's in a coma.

I saw Stan collapse onto the parking lot cement today as I pulled into a parking stall at Fred's after taking the boys to the pool.
I was one of the first 3-4 people to reach him, and someone had already called 911.  I prayed.
There was alot of blood.
I helped the man who was rearranging Stan to get him out from under the shopping carts (in the cart holding area).  Then a woman who must have been a nurse or a medical professional took Stan into her care while we awaited the aid unit.  We asked Stan if we could call his family and he gave us his wife's name and their phone number.  I called their home and their daughter, Katie, answered.

I told Katie that her dad had fallen and cut his head, that the ambulance was en route.  I told her that he was able to answer questions and that he would probably need to go to the hospital for stitches.
Katie and I agreed that I would take his groceries home and she would call me after they had taken care of the stitches at the hospital.

Katie called me a few hours later and told me that her dad was in a coma, and may be having emergency brain surgery.  I think she told me he's in his late 80's.
She said they wouldn't be coming to get the groceries today and asked if it would be OK to just keep them here a while longer.   Of course.
Katie also told me that when I had called to tell them about Stan's accident, her mom, Clare, thought I was her doctor calling.
Clare needs our prayers, too; she's being scheduled for heart surgery.

Flashback Friday

Zac in the back, Niko in the front, riding one of Grandpa Cliff's special creations;
both at about age 1 in summer '95; @ blue house in Ballard.

Bridget, Zac, and Tim at Jeff & Jeanette's wedding, July '95; Tacoma.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Au revoir,

Peter, Jonah, Marc below; Aaron above; at the Pinewood Derby 3/10

We bid "Adieu" to our new friend from France, Marc B.
His stay in the US has come to an end, and he's flown back to France to be reunited with his family.
We sure enjoyed the chance to get to know Marc while he was staying with Jonah's family.
We'll miss you, Mark!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Swimmer of the Month
The March Swimmer of the Month
for the Novice group is Joseph!

The boys' swim team coaches award a swimmer of the month, and Joseph it it!  Read what his coach wrote about him below.  The award is posted in a glass display case at the pool, and as it turns out, Joseph might wish he'd taken a slightly more, er, normal pose for the photo.  We're proud of his hard work and of his promotion to the next level on the swim team.

Joseph has been in the Novice group all year long, and has always been a hard worker, but a couple of months back he came to me after practice one day and told me he had aspirations of moving up to the Junior group and wondered how he might go about doing that. We talked about the expectations of the Juniors- how they are a more endurance-focused training group and that good behavior and ability to focus are required to make the transition. Joseph listened very carefully and took my advice seriously. I could tell as he walked away that the wheels were churning in his head and he was thinking about what I had said.

About two months later, I am delighted to say that Joseph is ready to make the move. He has always been a great kid but the transformation I have seen in him within the last couple of months has been remarkable; I have never seen him more focused and goal-driven and he is definitely ready to take the next step in his competitive swimming career. I am sad to see him go, but looking forward to watching as he develops as a swimmer and a fantastic young man. Nice work, Joseph!

                                                    -Coach Chelsea J

Monday, May 3, 2010

Taking One for the Team

Look at Peter!
Swamped in the giant puddle on the soccer field.
Thanks, Larry, for the shot!

Happy Feast Day to all you Philips and James' out there.
We're praying for you in a special way today as we remember Sts. Philip and James.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Drove the shuttle to the SAT exam this morning.
Zac and 2 friends, carpooling to the big event.

We stopped at house #3 to pick up our final passenger, and I commented on how prepared he was with his #2 pencils and his calculator.

Zac jumped in, "Do you have your photo ID and your admission ticket?"
Before #3 could reply, #2 blurted, "PHOTO ID!  Photo ID......"
But it was too close for comfort, there would be no turning around to retrieve the missing item.  We discussed whether or not #2 would be allowed in to the exam without photo ID when #2 admitted, "I forgot my admission ticket."

At which point, said testee determined that this would not be SAT day after all.
Luckily, a previously taken (and good score) SAT will suffice for #2.

Do you remember your SAT day?

I remember a good friend who had stayed up too late the night before (with the help of No Doze) to complete a big homework assignment.  On the day of SAT I ran into her in the bathroom on a break, and she was a wreck.  One of the smartest kids in our class, and a total mess on the morning of her SAT. 

God bless all the SAT takers today!