Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mountain Retreat

Today Brian and I are in a resort town in the mountains where he has a conference for work.  We got here yesterday at 10:00.  He went straight to a meeting and I went straight to the outlet mall and shopped till I dropped and bought some cute clothes.  After we met up again at 3:00, we walked around Main Street and looked at the shops.  Then we ate at a local teryaki place which was delicious.  Back at the room, we watched “The Lightning Thief.”  Brian went on a treat run partway through the movie.  When he asked me what I wanted, I told him ice cream or chocolate or rice pudding would be good, so he  brought back all three.  That was so sweet of him!  We had tons of fun being together.  Now he is  back at meetings and I am here in bed.  I’m feeling sick which is really weird because I never get sick so I am hoping it will go away soon.   We are planning to have more fun today, so I can’t be sick.  Brian is so fun to be with and interesting to talk to and thoughtful and nice.  I am such a lucky person!

Afterward:  I didn’t stay sick and did more shopping.  When Brian was done with meetings, we rode the city tram up the mountain.  We explored some old wooden water tanks at the top of the mountain and got caught in a rain storm.  We took refuge in an old abandoned electrical station house thingy and smooched.  When the rain storm was over, we wanted to ride the tram back down, but they wouldn’t let us because of the weather, so we had to ride down in a van.   It was all very, very fun.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This Week

This has been such a nice week.  On Monday we did something really great.  I’m not sure what it was, but I’m sure it was really great.  I do remember what we did in the evening when Brian got home.  We ate meatloaf and sweet potoato fries for dinner and then we all had family home evening. 

We read a conference talk about faith by Elder Russell M Nelson of the quorum of the 12 apostles.  It was a wonderful talk and after we read it, we discussed it.  I especially liked the fact that Elder Nelson quoted the prophet, President Monson’s words, “The future is as Bright as your Faith.”  I love that quote because it teaches us not to fear the future, but have faith and everything will be all right.  After that we bought ice cream and went to Barnes and Noble to buy a book

Tuesday morning I dropped Miriam and Katrina off at the church for girl’s camp.  They were there till yesterday afternoon, so during the day it was just me and Matt and Thomas at home for a few days.  I don’t know about them, but I loved it.  At home, we worked on projects; Thomas on making a drinking cup out of a coconut he bought himself at the grocery store, me on painting little scenes of Oregon on sand dollars to give our friends Rich and Luann as a thank-you gift for being such wonderful hosts and tour guides and company when we were in Oregon, and Matt on honing his video gaming skills—sigh.  Away from home, Thomas has been taking swimming lessons, playing with friends, and bike riding with me.  Wednesday we biked 10 miles and had a great time.  Matt hung out with friends and worked at Seven Peaks.   In the evenings when Brian was home, we did yard work and watched movies and worked on the coolers at Wash Hut.  Brian has work off yesterday, so he and I went out Thursday night.  We ate at a new place and that was fun.  Yesterday Matt worked and Brian and Thomas and I went out to breakfast.  After that we went walking on a new trail we discovered and had a great time.  While we were walking, the girls called.  They'd gotten home from camp early so we cut our walk and went home to see them.  Its been a nice week so far.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Emerson's Madlibs Birthday

Soon it will be Emerson’s 29th fingernailday.  Captain America was also born on June 23 so it’s a pretty scrawny day.  It’s also a lucious day because 14 trillion years ago on this day in Moscow, Idaho, a man was expectorated for drunk slithering in an AMC Gremlin.  Cheese doesn’t get any fruitier than that. 
We hear that Emerson is a champion paper clip collector.  In fact, it sounds like he does it so well, that he doesn’t tickle very often for fear of putting all his postmen to shame.  Even more cowardly is the factoid that he adores belly button lint collecting so much that when he does allow himself to indulge, he slinks for hours.  Rumor has it that he has recently sneezed a new power toaster, but this rumor is loose  and should not be cavorted. 
We don’t know if Emerson is an expectant or an ugly sleeper, but we do know that he doesn’t survive through everything.  Shocking things like  electrifying ladies that make whale sounds in the night, do sparkle him.  He is very calming, though and will always intensify the Phantom Waldo up.  Hopefully, he will no longer be spitted with such noises since this would be ooey gooey not only to his sleep, but to the davenport floor.
Emerson has, hopefully, been receiving a strange amount of hippos lately from his adoring rugby team.  We hope that such popularity will not go to his collar bone and that he will remain as ever our Disneyesque and ostentatious godfather and minion-in-law.  Happy Birthday, Emerson!  

Emerson's Real Birthday

Soon it will be Emerson’s 29th Birthday.  President Hinckley was also born on June 23 so it’s a pretty cool day.  It’s also a cool day because three years ago on this day in Australia, a man was charged for drunk driving in a wheel chair.  Headlines don’t get any bigger than that. 
We hear that Emerson is a champion lawn mower.  In fact, it sounds like he does it so well, that he doesn’t mow very often for fear of putting all his neighbors to shame.  Even more amazing is the factoid that he adores lawn mowing so much that when he does allow himself to indulge, he mows for hours.  Rumor has it that he has recently purchased a new power mower, but this rumor is unsubstantiated and should not be repeated. 
We don’t know if Emerson is a heavy or light sleeper, but we do know that he doesn’t sleep through everything.  Big things like pregnant ladies that go “bump” in the night, do awaken him.  He is very patient, though and will always help the Phantom Prego up.  Hopefully, he will no longer be haunted with such noises since this would be detrimental not only to his sleep, but to the bedroom floor.
Emerson has, hopefully, been receiving an unusual amount of mail lately from his adoring fans.  We hope that such popularity will not go to his head and that he will remain as ever our humble and beloved son and brother in law.  Happy Birthday, Emerson!  

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

2011 06 23
Sunday was Father’s Day and I hope Brian had a good one.  We bought him steak for dinner and gave him some framed and matted WWII stamps that he saw at an antique store in Oregon and wanted.  I also made him a special treat, which is becoming a Father’s Day tradition around here.  The treat usually has cake in it because Brian loves cake.  The first year that I tried to make him a special cake was a disaster.  It was a round, two-layer lime cake with lime glaze frosting and for some reason the top layer did not want to stay together.  We had to hold it in place while we sang “Happy Father’s Day To You” and as soon as we let go, the cake split in half and each half slid off the bottom layer in separate directions.  He called it his earthquake cake and it tasted very good and since the taste of food takes total precedence over looks in this family, I considered it enough of a success to try again.

The next year, I made him a tres leches cake.  It was delicious and looked good.  I made it out of a cake mix and added coconut milk in with all the other milks.  It was easy and fun and he loved it.  Another year, after dissuading him from buying an ice cream cake from Coldstone for $ 30, I made him a home made ice cream cake with yummy ice cream and ganache frosting for less than 10 dollars.  It was a hit. 

This year I made him an ice cream cake roll.  He’s always loved those ice cream cake rolls that you can buy in the grocery store and which, frankly, are quite lacking in taste, so I figured he’d like a home made one even more.  I used a German Chocolate cake and Tillamook vanilla bean ice cream.  The cake turned out very well, and we frosted it with home made German chocolate frosting.  When Brian saw it, he was very amazed, impressed, and excited to eat it, but there was one problem.  When I made it, I turned down the freezer to -7 degrees so that it would set up nicely and I forgot to turn the freezer back up to 0 degrees, so when Brian tried to cut into the cake, it was hard as a rock.  I don’t know why we didn’t microwave it for a few seconds, but we didn’t, he just sawed away at it till he’d chipped off pieces for everyone.  When we finally got to eat it, it was delicious—another hit.  I love Brian so much and I’m so glad he liked his Father’s Day even though he had to cook his own steak and cut his own rock-hard cake.

For my Dad this year, we wrote our family's version of one of the stories he told his kids when we were small.  It is called “Fatty Tuna,” and I’m not so sure that our version did it justice, but we wrote it anyway.  Then, of course, we just had to make a Madlibs version of it, after which we sent it to my dad to enjoy which he said he did, and I hope that is the case.  It was so nice to talk to my dad on the phone on father’s day.  He is an amazing guy who has great ideas and carries them out, who loves his children and grandchildren with all his heart, and who is a wonderful example of faithfulness to his wife, his children, and his God.  Yay for dads!

P. S. I gave a talk on father’s at church.  I shared thoughts about my grandpas, my dad, and Brian.  It went pretty good except it was too long.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Together Again

Well, now we are all home again.  The girls from choir tour, and Brian and I from Oregon.  We found the boys still alive and full of pizza.  Besides pizza eating they also bowled, played lots of video games, watched movies and ate ice cream.  When Matt worked, Thomas visited my sister’s family.  He helped with the house, held the baby, played with the kids, and still had time to finish the entire Peanuts treasury.  We all had fun exchanging presents.  The girls had shopped at a rubber ducky store and bought me ducky soap and Brian an Elvis duck.  They also bought him a shot glass (no, he doesn’t drink, ha ha) that says “Old Guys Rock.”  They got the boys rock candy and magnet rocks.  We got Matt, Miriam, and Jonathan brass lighthouse key chains.  Matt and Jon also got Oregon coast playing cards.  We liked them because they don’t have the traditional King, Queen, etc. faces.  And Miriam and Katrina each got a wool mini Kleenex dispenser from Pendleton, OR.  Katrina who collects turtles got a tiny stone turtle and Thomas who collects stone eggs got an unusual one.  Also, when He was little, he would call school buses “cheese bus” because they were the color of cheese.  Well, at the Tillamook factory, they displayed a mini VW bus the color of cheese that tours the country promoting cheese love so we bought him a toy one at the gift shop and now he has his own cheese bus.  Now Brian is back to the old grind at work and we are eaking the most enjoyment out of our summer that we possibly can.  

Friday, June 17, 2011

Miriam and Katrina's Choir Tour

The girls really loved their choir tour.  They stayed with 4 different host families who treated them wonderfully.  Each family had to feed them dinner, give them a place to sleep, and drive them to where they needed to be.  The program that this kids put on was so beautiful!  We got a chance to see it before they left for tour and it was amazing.  They sing of Christ and of the restoration of the gospel, and for their tour program, they also showed clips from “Finding Faith in Christ” and the Joseph Smith movie while they sang.  It was very beautiful.  The girls said that everywhere they went, people loved their singing and were touched by their message of Christ.

When the tour reached my parent's home state, the girls got to stay with them.  They were so happy to see people they knew and loved.  They told my mom that they didn’t realize how homesick they were until they saw their grandparents and got to go home with them.  My parents, who are music snobs, loved their singing and took some great pictures.  They also took the girls to see my sister and her family and their sweet new baby.  I’m so jealous that they got to see the baby before me!

The girl’s favorite host family (besides my parents, of course) was an elderly couple living on a farm who took good care of them and and showed them around the town.  They all enjoyed talking together.  I’m so glad the girls had such a wonderful experience at choir tour!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wrap-Up of our Oregon Trip

Well, that last post is all I got around to writing while we were in Oregon.  The trip was so fun!  We saw tide pools, lighthouses, a sea lion, bald eagles and gorgeous scenery.  We shopped, walked along the beach, found 100 plus sand dollars, and relaxed at the condo.  I don’t think we could have had more fun.
I painted this sand dollar.  Sorry it's fuzzy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Our Trip To Oregon

Astoria is one of the places we visited.  Sorry the picture is so fuzzy.
Today I am sitting on a balcony in Seaside Oregon enjoying the cloudy skies, the perfect temperature, and a beautiful view of the ocean inlet behind our condo.  We are staying here with our good friends, Rich and Luann in a beautiful condo 3 blocks from the ocean.  The condo is clean comfortable, well-stocked and fabulously furnished.  Rich and Luann gave us the master suite, the sweet hearts,  (or is it suite hearts? Ha ha.  I think Oregonean humor is sinking in) which opens on to this private balcony.  Right now Brian and I are watching a heron eat its breakfast along the banks of the inlet.  Folks with crab pots are out early on the bridge to the north of us.  We count nine lines out so far and wish a few of them were ours. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oh What Do You Do (with teenagers) In the Summer Time?

Summer officially started for our family on Tuesday (May 30) when the Memorial Day holiday was over and Brian went back to work.  I have been trying to make better use of our time this summer by making a schedule at the beginning of the week.  I have a list of fun things to do to refer to while I plan.  Every night I review the schedule with the kids.  This helps prepare them to do the things that they may not want to do.  I also make sure that Brian is around for back-up when I present the plan.  What?  Why would I need back up?  What kid in their right mind would resist doing the fun things I have planned for them?   Mine.  All of them.   Every time so far.

 Tuesday, despite complaints on Monday when I announced it, Katrina and Thomas and I went bike riding.  Yesterday, despite grumblings the night before, Miriam and Katrina went to Summer seminary and Thomas accompanied me to the grocery store.  Now today, despite all opposition, we (Miriam, Katrina, Thomas, and I) will be walking to the grocery store, buying Popsicles, and eating them on the way home.  The complaints for this one were many and varied.  “It will wear me out before work” and “It’s not enough exercise,  I need to do REAL exercise.”  Those two were from the same kid.  Hmmm.  Then there was “I’ll get a sunburn” and “I’ll get a bad tan line.”  I remembered to do what the experts say—I acknowledged their pain and then restated the plan.   If that hadn’t done the trick, I could have always said something like, “family comes before anything else.”  This is called a threat and translated it means “If you ever want to see your friends or video games again, you are doing this first, and you will have fun doing it.”  

Things I have learned about Summer so far

·         Kids need to have a wake up time.  Enough of this laying in bed all morning.  They grumbled about it on Monday but already most if not all of them are up and at-em before the allotted time.  It’s done wonders for the week so far.
·         Kids need to be dressed and fed with their rooms clean by a certain time every day.
·         Kids need a reason to walk or bike somewhere—usually involving food.  Bring a picnic or snack to eat when you arrive at your destination or plan to buy a treat.  This is called bribery.  It’s not enough to make them jump for joy at the prospect of going, but it eases the pain.
·         Things work better when I start small instead of  turning things on their heads all at once.  I’m trying to do it bit by bit.
·         And if I’ve learned anything  in the decade I’ve been raising teenagers, I know that I should never never get discouraged by grumbling.  Most teenagers grumble out of principle.  I’ve found that  If I cheerfully keep dogging away that they will eventually accept the changes as part of who we are and what we do.  One of these days, one of them will come up and say, “Mom, where are we walking tomorrow?”  without any tacked-on complaints.  At that point, I'll know we’re in business.