Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Pics - BLOOPERS & OUT-TAKES

It takes a lot of effort to take a family Christmas picture.
First, we decide when we all can be together, a miracle in itself...
Next, we have to decide what to wear...
Then, we decide where to take the pics...
Finally, we when we are all together, all matching ('cept for Dan), we
just get everyone lookin' good...
Baby is lookin a little TOO good.
Jon's pretending to be a Venus fly trap, I think....

Making the baby happy, and making room for Daddy, who's setting the timer.

Was I about to be brilliant...or was I just bossing everyone around?

What's a photo shoot without the inevitable bunny ears?

OK, how should we stand?

Maybe a change of location will improve our chances.

Little Miss Brookie was watching Grandpa run into place after using the camera timer.

Little Miss Brookie is excited to see Grandpa making funny faces behind the tripod.

Celebrating a successful photo shoot.
You're 'posed to kiss with your eyes shut, Mr. P!

2008 Christmas Greetings from our Family

"Children are a blessing from the Lord," Psalm 127:3
We are very blessed.
It is always an interesting challenge to get this many people to look at the camera, to stop fidgeting, to stop touching each other and to make a normal face. Every year we take 20 or more pics to try to find the perfect shot. Each previous year, one person ended up looking dorky, because there wasn't a perfect picture.

This year everyone looked great - little Brookie is a little excited,
 but her finger wasn't up her nose in this shot, so it was a keeper.

My guest blogger today is my daughter, Grace,
the author of this year's Christmas letter.
She did a great job.

Greetings from the Our Home!

Well, another Christmas is upon us, and I, Grace, was bestowed the privilege of writing the wonderful Christmas letter.

To begin with, this coming June we celebrate our fifth year of living in Washington. Scary how time flies. Seattle has done us good, and we now know the difference between showers followed by rain and rain followed by showers. We also are astounded when this big yellow ball comes through the rain clouds and warms us up. I hear the tourists call it the sun.

Mom and Dad
are getting gray hair, wrinkles and are wondering if it is too late to change their minds about having six kids. Mom joined a Writer's club and loves to get out of the crazy house. Dad still works at a computer company and can't wait to be home at the end of the day, to get away from the crazy computer geeks.

Aaron and Jana
currently live in a small cozy apartment about two hours away from us. July will be a very special month for them; first they will have another baby and then Aaron gets out of the Navy. Meanwhile, Jana is busy eating pickles and chasing Brookelyn.

is busy drinking coffee, banging on the drums, and fixing his car. Funny, the past two Christmas letters have said, "Dan is planning to go to college next year...." I don't want to break the tradition, so, Dan is planning on going to college next year in Minnesota for Music Production. Sometimes I wonder if he will go to college at all.

day consists of sleeping in, (because she was up late the night before watching a Cary Grant or John Wayne movie), scrounging around the house, maybe running some errands for mom, cooking, and helping around the house. The evening sets in and she chooses another old movie to fall asleep to. Oh, what a life! Also, she is currently teaching a young girl how to sew and helping Bekah with school.

I, Grace,
am a busy sophomore who misses her sleep. School, the kitchen, my books and babysitting take a lot of my time. Also, I have mastered the art of procrastination, so if you want to learn sometime, just ask. If i ever graduate I want to to to Lake Washington Technical College and get my degree in Baking Arts.

is a typical boy and would rather be with his imagination than his schoolbooks any day. his afternoons consist of making guns, building forts, fighting Nazis (he loves WWII history) and he has become quite a strategist and tactician. When he is not in war, he is off in the NAB playoffs beating the Lakers. When mom forces him into reality, he actually 'enjoys' school. Who knows, maybe someday we will all be working for him.

is also best friends with her imagination. She goes to college and coffees with her friends, but her biggest worry is whether to wear her pink dress or jean skirt with a flowered top, and then her purple fuzzy heels or her cowboy boots?? Oh, the decisions of a six year old. In reality, she is in kindergarten and is slowly, but surely, learning how to read.
I hope you will have a most blessed Christmas, and remember, it's not about the presents, pretty lights, yummy cookies, or decorations; it's all about the Lord Jesus.

Luke 2:10-14
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; I am bringing you good news of great joy, for all the people; to you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: You will find a child wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace goodwill among men!"

Our Family

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What Happens at Grammas - Grandpa Fixes

We love our little granddaughter, Brookelyn, affectionately dubbed Brooke Trout, but she can leave a trail of disaster along with food smears on the furniture, cheerios and toys in the couch cushions, stinky diapers in the garbage cans and other such precious memories. On this visit Grandpa babysat, since he had time off of work for the holidays. Brookie, (doesn't she have a lot of names?) loves this book with the peek-a-boo flaps. This page will need a little tape from Grandpa before she can peek at Arthur's family again.

OK, I kinda' did this one on purpose. I was taking Brookie's parents and her aunts and uncle for coffee and leaving her alone with Grandpa and Uncle Jon. She had found this package of crackers and was having a blast making this scrunchy, crunchy, crackling noise as she broke all the crackers in the package. Her little chubby fingers found a little hole, and the rest is history, or rather, the rest is in the vacuum cleaner. But, it was a small price to pay for a half hour of diversion.

This will be Grandpa's second glue job on my small table and chair set. You think I would just move them away when she comes, but she loves them SO much! And, I love watching her carry them around the house, already re-arranging furniture well enough to give credit to her gender, sitting on them, standing on them and trying to put dolls on them. It is more fun to laugh when she breaks them and then just reglue them. Not a strategy I used on my kids, but it sure works for grandkids.

But, when she leaves, and we have vacuumed up the last Cheerio, glued and fixed things, picked up all the Scrabble pieces from everywhere in the house, we always miss her. We always wish she was back terrorizing our life with her adorable smiles, running up and down the hallway over and over with her toddling diaper waddle and slobbering all over us with open-mouth sloppy kisses. We love our baby Brookie!

The Gift of the Not-So-Magi Daugther

When I became a Mom, I purposed several things to promote a creative and giving nature in my children.

*I would cherish dandelions and other such weedy love offerings.
*I would provide huge amounts of crafting materials to ensure their creativity always had an outlet.
*I would praise all creations and pretend I knew what they were.
*I would prominently display their latest endeavor, signed and dated to ensure proper credit would be given in future generations.
*I would wear anything and everything they made for me.

Through the years all these, and many more areas, have been tested and tried and I am still in the game. I have displayed umpteen bouquets of dandelions and still have a car made out of popsicle sticks. My actual fridge has not been seen for years because of the paintings, drawings and love letters smathering the surface. I have an otter made out of 2x4's that holds toilet paper. I have armless angels made out of clothespins.

I have a necklace crocheted with variegated yarn, a variety of necklaces made out of plastic beads, a turkey pin made of a walnut, a monkey pin made of modeling clay, necklaces that were choking chokers and bracelets that could ahve been chokers.

But, on Christmas day, the greatest test of my motherly love was given, and I passed with flying...well, let's not just say colors, let's say I passsed with sparkly, jingly, dangly, jiggly, glittery colors. For my gift, my 18 year-old daughter made me something. I say "something" and I mean SOMETHING.

When I opened the gift, my look must have given me away. Where was that poker face I usually have in such crucial situations?

Bethany, a subtle smirk on her face, said, "But, Mom, you HAVE to wear it, I made it - just for you!"

My six year old daughter, Rebekah, exclaimed with enthusiastic delight, "Mom, you don't even have to wear a necklace, it is built in."

My husband Scott stared and said, ever so tactfully, "You're really going to"

Yes, I wore it all day. I wore it while opening gifts, my arms occasionally sticking to the notions on the front. I wore it while cleaning up the wrapping paper, jingling all the way. I wore it while drinking coffee by the fire, careful not to get so close as to make a pile of melted plastic in front of the fireplace.

But, I have vengeance planned. The next time I wear it, it will be in public, with Bethany by my side. I will make sure we go where we will be seen, preferably by people she knows. I will be sure to be the proud, bragging mother, and make sure EVERYBODY knows who created my token of love. I might even accesorize it with a homemade necklace or two, anyway, just for fun.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Morning Photo Shoot - Christmas Eve Morning

It was the day before Christmas, and all through the town,
not a liberal was stirring,
their cars were frozen down.
(No, I am not going to continue the poem, that would be too cruel to us all.)
If we keep muttering, "This is why we left Minnesota" please forgive us.

We forgot what it feels like to be so cold you think the boogers in your nose are freezing solid.

We also found it a little humiliating that we, the natives from the frozen tundra part of the continental United States of America, don't own shovels, boots, warm mittens, hats or scarves. We left them all in Minnesota, thinking we had no more use for them.

We had to borrow warm clothes from the kids to make this early morning photo shoot happen. (My husband doesn't usually wear a pink-striped headwarmer)

Our favorite dock down on the waterfront.

Usually we like to sit and watch bad boat launchings.

Today the ducks and seagulls watched us.

To be honest, most days in this area look just like this, gray and overcast.

They just don't usually have the white stuff on the ground.

Sipping a latte, of course, and pretending to feed the seagulls.

OK, we felt bad, we didn't think to bring bread to actually feed them,

but we still wanted the shot.

Instead of "Rain, rain go away..." the natives are singing a new song.

Christmas Eve Morning part 2

An ornate park bench in the artsy downtown area of Kirkland covered with a fluffy new seat cushion that perfectly matches the surrounding decor.

Look, no commuters to yell at! Nobody to honk at! Nobody to make you spill your latte by pulling out in front of you. Nobody giving us the one-fingered wave we call the "Seattle Salute."
Just another guy, thankful to have four-wheel drive.

Check out the empty highway system. Since the Seattle area brags about saving the environment by not salting the roads and since I have more fingers than they have snowplows, we have a bit of an issue here. Our Governor, since I have to call her that, issued a state of emergency. I guess we will be expecting lotsa people to write us checks for our suffering. Use lotsa digits, people!

A rhododendron, our state flower, in rare winter bloom.

There is always the promise of spring, isn't there?
I keep encouraging myself that here, at least, winter won't last until March, or April, or May...... This could be over in a week...could....maybe....we hope.....we pray....

Caught in the act. I was so eager to go out driving in the snow in my four-wheel drive Jeep Wrangler and take pics, that I was still in my jammies.
But, it was worth it!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Love my Grand Parents

Love you Grandma and Grandpa
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Creative Sledding

We just never got rid of those old doors. We stacked them on the side of the house and over and over we told ourselves we needed to take them to the dump.
Meanwhile, they have been excellent pitching backstops, made military command centers, forts in the wilderness and Tom Sawyer rafts. Today, they are a sledding hill.

Our backyard may look like a junkyard, but the noise you hear isn't from the junkyard dog, it is from kids squealing in laughter, cheering their creativity and enjoying a feat only children can enjoy - an artifical sledding hill made of doors that should have been taken to the dump.......
Who would have ever imagined something that could annoy adults so much......
- the sight of those nasty doors
-that nagging feeling that it is one more thing that has to be done
-the knowledge that the in-laws are coming this spring and I dread them seeing my "casual" outdoor decorating decor (OK, what WOULD have Martha Stewart have done with those doors?)
...could be an endless source of excitement for kids? Go figure.
But, I think I may scratch the trip to the dump off the honey-do list for just awhile longer.....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cutest Granddaughter in the World!

This morning I wanted one of those life-changing bonding moments, so I took out my very special Cabbage Patch dolls to play with my granddaughter, Brookelyn. Auntie Rebekah chose the bald preemie baby that has just a tuft of hair, and smells like baby powder. Then she presented the one that has tousled blonde curls, bright blues eyes and sucks on a paci. When you pull out the plug, she has smears of food on her face, just like a real baby. Since Brookie uses a paci at night, we assumed she would be enthralled.

We tried to show her how to cuddle the babies, but she would have none of that. She threw the dolls down, gave us a look of disdain and disbelief, and held out her arms to be held by her bestest -close in age- auntie.
I guess she is so used to being the baby, she has no desire to play with a baby.
And, by the way, if you are busy blogging and you hear someone yell, "Brookelyn, get out of the fridge!" you better grab your camera. It will look like this.....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Avery's Post

Today I have a guest blogger, my friend, Avery, from across the street. His mother is a good friend, affectionately known in our house at Kelly-Across-the-Street. He patiently sat on my lap and typed away while his mommy gave me blogging lessons, so I couldn't bear to erase his words of wisdom. Do you know what is special about Avery? Most kids have light up shoes, Avery has light up eyes! The excitement of the whole world is reflected in his eyes and punctated with his eyebrows. May you benefit from his words of wisdom.

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