Monday, February 11, 2013

Christmas Performances

Aric had his first piano recital at Christmas time and played "We Three Kings." He did an excellent job.

Aric also presented his China report and had his "All About Me" presentation at school right around Christmastime. He did a wonderful job.

Beautiful Ascha took part in a wonderful Christmas pageant at preschool.

She and her classmates sang songs, then performed a Nativity Play.

She was an angel. Her line was "Glory to God in the Highest."

She sang and did the motions very well. A friend noted that she is certainly not shy! The only trouble was that the play was much longer than Mommy realized, and her garland got so itchy she eventually decided to remove it on stage. It was very cute.
Happy 10th Birthday, Taylor!

Taylor celebrated his 10th birthday early because Jeremy was going to be out of town on the actual day. He loved his present from his siblings and especially loved his big geared bike.

love this grin!

so grown up!

A few days later, on his actual birthday, he had his friends come over for a party. They started out playing with balloons.

They built structures out of marshmallows, and each boy was awarded a prize for a unique trait of his creation.

We played "stack the oreos," which is actually more difficult than it sounds.

Taylor was the champion stacker with 28 oreos.

Then the kids built rubber band shooters and tested them out on each other.

Happy 10th Birthday to our wonderful Taylor! We love you!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy November!

"Ascha Meadow Lark" helped make gfcf pumpkin pie and pudding for our Thanksgiving Feast. The boys had a cranberry contest: one made cranberry-pineapple sauce and one, cranberry-orange. Both dishes tasted fantastic and we had a lovely time as a family.

Just before Thanksgiving, we had a wonderful time hanging out with our Salem friends, getting family pictures taken, and then spending several days on a mini-vacation in Central Oregon, enjoying some time with friends and some time just as a family. We played a LOT of games, swam at least once each day, enjoyed great food and great company, and even saw shooting stars in a non-light-polluted sky! Ahhhhh! The day after Thanksgiving, it was back to reality as Jeremy headed out for a week of work. At least the kids and I had a weekend to transition back to normalcy. :-)


Towards the end of November, I came home from several hours of shopping to find the dog mysteriously out of his kennel (my mistake - the gate was unsecured on one side). My heart sank as I wondered what damage I might find...chewed couch corners? torn curtains? dishes knocked off the counters? a potty present? Turns out, the only naughty thing he did was to nose open our game cabinet and snatch the bag of chess and checkers pieces. He carried them back to his bed and spread them out, then consumed the leather tie from the top of the bag, as well as one bishop. He also crunched one red and one black checker into multiple pieces. He's kinda like the "Martha Speaks" dog, I guess. I'm hoping he ingested some wisdom...and he must have, since he didn't destroy anything else. Smart dog!

Some days, it's tough to be a middle child! Aric ran into a tree branch, scraping his left cheek right up to the eye. A few minutes later, he had a mishap while swinging his coat around with a pocket knife in the pocket. The screwdriver edge of the folded-up knife conked him in the head hard enough to leave a tiny but deep triangular wound in his head near his right temple (should be a cool scar). Then, when he came inside to take a bath and recover, he found out the hard way that the shower diverter had been left up by a previous showerer.

Ascha came from the opposite end of the house to find me and ask me,  "Mama, was I born yet in the 1842's?" Haven't a clue where the inspiration for that thought came from.

Aric: "Mom, since I was the one who did more chores and helped you all day, can I PLEASE be the one to mop the bigger part of the floor?" 
Taylor: "Oh, Man! Just leave some for me, OK?"
I haven't trusted them to be responsible for the wood (laminate) floor before, but they are more than ready for the challenge. How many moppings do you think this will last?


Here are the results of our family picture shoot (courtesy of

October Fun

 The kids and some good friends and classmates took advantage of the fall sunshine and enjoyed a field trip to the zoo.

Ascha's preschool eschews Halloween and instead has "teddy bear day." Ascha received the award for The Furriest Teddy Bear.

The kids went to the harvest party at church dressed as an "MP-Me Player," a ballerina, and a navy man. Grammy was in town visiting and it was fun for her to come along. For the second year in a row, Taylor won a prize in the costume contest. Good job, Buddy!

We chose to go to a low-key pumpkin patch very close to our house since Ascha had a bad cold, and the kids had a blast. The made a scarecrow out of dried lavender bundles and a bird feeder out of pinecones and peanut butter. They could have made ice cream in a bag, too, but it was NOT a warm day, so we nixed that idea. They got to use a corn husker and feed goats the corn they'd husked. It was a fun afternoon!

I also did some canning in October. I canned quite a bit of chili sauce, and then, with a friend, decided to delve into the world of chutney. We had never had plum chutney before, but found a recipe that called for 3 jars, so we thought it'd be good to try. We doubled it so we would each have 3 jars to sample, but as we put in the "kilograms" of ingredients called for in the recipe, we realized our definition of "jars" differed from the European recipe maker's. Instead of the 6 expected jars, we ended up with 19! It's a good thing we like it!
Fall Biking and Other Adventures

We spent several afternoons biking up and back the Moulton Falls trail this fall. Anyone have any great ideas for what to call that shuffle / waddle you do as you walk your bike while still straddling it to make sure your kid on the trail-a-bike doesn't tip over? "Shufaddling?" Well, I did a lot of shufaddling over the 5 miles as Ascha didn't like going up or down hills on the Trail-a-Bike, and the dog was a little excitable when passing other canines. I think shufaddling could be a new fitness craze: It's a great way to tone your inner and outer thighs!

 It's always fun to cool off near or in the water after a long ride.

For his birthday, Aric received a very cool shadow box full of neat rocks for his collection from Grandma Janet and Grandpa Lyn. Taylor wanted one, too, so he asked Jeremy if he could make one. Jeremy gave him a long piece of trim board and advice when he needed it, and Taylor did all the measuring and cutting to make this frame (Jeremy did have to help attach the sides, but Taylor nearly had it). He has his own rock collection shadow box now, and he felt a great sense of accomplishment in making it for himself. We were very proud and impressed!

We were also impressed with Aric, because that boy does NOT like to save up his spending money. However, rather than frittering it away on dollar items, we talked him into saving it up until he had $18 (having birthday money come his way helped him reach his total with a bit less willpower than would otherwise have been required). He went to the sporting goods store and purchased "the knife he'd always wanted." He'd been pining for a fixed-blade knife for quite a while (why? I have no idea, except that he's so very rough and tumble and into everything manly), and managed to pick up this bowie knife,  a smaller companion knife, AND a sheath (very important to him!) on clearance. He was very pleased with his purchase, and had a hard time waiting the two days for Dad to come home so he could go over the rules for this new tool (I'm prone to say, "You can use it when you're 18," so I let Dad be the one to establish reasonable rules of use). Finally, when he was allowed to use it, Aric happily spent an afternoon cutting down weeds and tree suckers. Whatever floats your boat, Buddy.