Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Traditions

It's Halloween night. The rain has granted us a window of relief and the fog is creeping in.

Costumes are on, pictures are taken.

The house has undergone a spooky transformation!

Dinner is served

And the children are happy with tummies full of goodies.


Halloween Photo Shoot

When the sun broke for a few minutes I was quick to head to the park to take some shots of the kids in their costumes. Sara really needed a nap before our evening festivities began so I will have to get pictures of her another time but here are my favorites of the big kids. I will post a slideshow at the end (just for you Mom, so you can see all the rest).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chase Goes Blonde


All in the name of Halloween, we have colored Chases hair. A few weeks ago he asked me if he could have blond hair to become an even more authentic Link. He was thinking something along the lines of what we normally do...colored gels, spray color etc... But you can't really get a "blond" look that way. So I bought a dye kit at the supermarket and we colored his hair. I didn't get a picture of the first round color, but we ended up dying it again to help his hair go even blonder.
It made me laugh after the first try. His hair was very bronzy. It totally looked like my hair every time I tried to go lighter in high school. Last night we tried round two. It lightened it up a lot more and took out some of the strawberry. He will be a very convincing Link now. I was telling him last night that I had no idea what would happen trying to dye his hair a second time. I even told him it might all fall out for all I knew. Can you imagine? It must be nice to be a boy and get to try new things with your hair without that constant fear of year worth of growing it out all being destroyed. Hopefully Chase's locks will be back to their old self by Christmas. I wasn't really thinking that far in advance and I definitely don't want "Link" posing in our family pictures!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Steilacoom Apple Squeeze - A History

I know that it has been several weeks, but I can't believe I forgot to post about one of our favorite family traditions. Every year we love to celebrate the beginning of Fall by going to the Apple Squeeze in Steilacoom. This year was no different. We kept all the cider for ourselves though instead of freezing it and sending both sets of Grandparents some this year. (Grandma Wilcox in California got hers a month late last year and totally fermented even though I paid to mail it priority...)

This was our third year. We missed it by a day or two on our way out of Washington in 2005 and then missed it again by a few days before moving back in 2006.

Dave thought it would be fun to post pictures of the three years we have gone to see how the kids have changed. I can't find a family picture each year. (I should be shot...) so here are pictures of Chase through the ages.




PS...yes I like to buy Chase red striped shirts (bought at the same place too)!

Comet Falls

We have been trying to go on an adventure every Saturday to take advantage of all the nice weather we have been having. It won't be long before we are home bound way more often than we would like. Yesterday we headed up to Mt. Rainier to go on a hike. We picked Comet Falls which is short but steep. 3.6 miles round trip but with a 1400 foot elevation gain. It was a little bit much for this out of shape Mom. Even little Kate's legs were doing a better job than mine. Sad to say, but all of our breaks were for my sake (except for a potty break for our girls). So today I am soooooo sore. I woke up and asked Dave to bring me some Advil and went back to sleep. I tried really hard not to grimace while at church, and now all I can do is think about how glorious it will be to hit the sack tonight.

The hike was fantabulous though. We followed Comet Falls creek the whole time and got to see it from several different vantage points (my favorite was the first). It was one of those misty Rainier days, were all the foliage is covered in dew and the air is almost wet because the fog keeps sneaking in and then rolling out. We didn't see any wildlife, except one very scary looking spider, but we were not disappointed. Beautiful Fall color lined the trail all the way up and we even hit a patch of snow.

And of course I had lots of subjects to snap pictures of...
Enjoy the slide show of our trip... hope it inspires you to get out this weekend:-)

Terry's Berries

We tried something new last week (so far behind in posts). We went apple picking. I thought it would be like climbing up in trees to pick apples. But I guess apple tree aren't very tall and are kind of droopy. So, although it was not what we expected we all had fun filling our buckets with yummy apples and trying to find the shiniest red ones. We now have a huge box full of apples. It is still in our car...and now whenever we are traveling the kids reach back into the trunk for a yummy apple snack. Pretty convenient.

I had lots of fun trying to improve my photography skills and snapped away most of the time. If you would like to check our some of my shots check them out here...

PS...Sara LOVES apples!

Maris Farms

One reason I really, really love Washington is that we have the coolest Autumns! I love the crispness in the air. I love that we have enough trees with leaves that change color (I know we can't compete with the East Coast...but it is still beautiful in moderation). I love when Honey crisp apples are at the peek of their season. They are so delicious! But the best thing is that our local Farms open their doors to all of us city dwellers. We have a favorite. We started coming to Maris Farms four years ago and have gone every year since. Sure we pass a bunch of farms on the way but Maris is the Disneyland of Farm Fun.

You get this all in one farm:
-haunted forest (not for us)
-corn maze
-the corn room (several feet deep with dry corn, the kids love trying to find all of the hidden rubber duckies buried beneath)
-ducky races
-steer roping
-the cow train
-apple cannon
-pumpkin sling shot
-hay rides
-hay slides
-live music
-pig races
-pony rides
-petting zoo
-pumpkins a

and lots of other little stuff for younger children to do in the "courtyard"

Anyway we love it and spend hours there. This year we went for three hours, did half the stuff and didn't even have time to pick out our pumpkins. That is why it is less than a week from Halloween and we don't have any pumpkins to carve. I guess we will have to go back... (DARN;-)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Friends + Food = Fantastic Fun

For the second year in a row we have hosted a "kids only" Halloween party. The kids and I look forward to it all month. This year we had it a little earlier in the month than normal to make sure two of Katie's good friends would be able to come. Speaking of kids have too many. Is that possible? I told them they could each invite 5 friends. It quickly turned into way more than the 15 guests I had bargained for. Between the kids they would have chosen two or three kids out of a family of four and so we would invite the rest. so 15 turned into 27 and we still didn't invite everyone the kids wanted.

Like last year we gave each family a food assignment to bring to the party. This is totally the way to throw a party. All I had to do was plan some activities. My home was already decorated for the holiday, the guests were bringing the food and all I did was punch and games. We have so much fun searching the Internet for fun "spooky" food recipes. This year we had the best grub yet. I especially enjoyed the Jack-o-lantern grilled cheese sandwiches. Yummy. Enjoy the food slide show...hope you aren't watching it hungry:-)

We played Halloween bingo, a treasure hunt for lollipop ghosts the kids had made and hidden, and of course the so so popular game of eating donuts from a string hanging from the ceiling. Things went way quicker than I thought and so we also ended up telling add-a-line spooky stories, a witch dance game, freeze dance to Halloween music and a costume contest.

It was a fantastic night and I only had to sweep three times afterwards to clean up the mess.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Feeling Really Blessed

I always hit the computer one last time before I hit the bed. And as I sat here it hit me just how really blessed I feel. Who knows why it hit while starring at the computer screen, but never the less. As I look at life "now" I can think of so many things that I am sooooo grateful for. Here are some things that come to mind:

- our "long-distance" family, I know how happy Dave is to visit his family every month. I am so glad that his big brother's family just happened to be there for an impromptu trip. I am so grateful full them and for my own family for the being so great to us. For letters and packages that mean so much to my children (and me in turn). For brownies in the mail. For everything.
- the greatest friends a person could wish for, we live in a neighborhood and ward where we have to meet in rented rooms to invite everyone. We can do something with different people every week and still miss out on the companionship of others. For friends who have been there since the beginning when things were harder and still though miles and miles away care about us and what we are up to. For vacation plans with friends. For friends that share their talents and inspire me to try new things and excel at old hobbies. For friends who constantly have kind things to say and are teaching me to accept compliments better. I love you all so much!
- for beautiful weather today and a state that always inspires me, I was out today taking pictures of butterflies and walking the dog and as always I can't keep but think about what a kind Heavenly Father I have for making such a wonderful Earth for me. I am so thankful he sent Dave and I here. I fall in love with Washington more and more every day. Aside from my love for my Heavenly Father and Family I think Washington comes next (maybe chocolate). I love visiting the farms in the fall and the crisp Autumn air on my cheeks when I'm out. What a blessing, for me at least, that we are still here.
- for my children, not so much these last two days (naughty, naughty, naughty) but they are so wonderful. I look at them sometimes and think a few things: how did they get to be so darn good looking (all from Dad), they have such beautiful smiles and really can pierce me deep down with their tenderness when they are sweet, and they are just so full of life. Rowdy but imaginative. For a baby in our home, what a blessing she is. For good helpers and eager learners. I hope they know how much I love them. Like that Garth Brooks song, "If tomorrow never comes" ...will they know... (thank goodness for tomorrow)
- for good health, I am so grateful for this blessing. Thankful that as yet the Lord hasn't seen the need to challenge me there. A family of six and everyone is healthy and well...that's a miracle.
- for my calling at church, does it get any better than being an achievement day leader. I have such a sweet group of girls. I really look forward to every meeting we have. I want to be the best I can be so that when they are women and fulfilling their various callings in life they will remember me and love me. Is that vain? Even so I want to have been a positive influence on their lives so that they will remember, like I will the leaders who truly tried to reach out to me.
- for my home, yes I wish it had one more bedroom, a "me" space and a family room...but I love it. I love that I have finally found a way to decorate it in a way that it brings me peace. Where ever I am (except Chase's room which totally needs paint) I can look around and sigh with happiness at how much it feels like home.
- and most importantly for my husband, who I just love so dang much. He is just so wonderful to me. I think we make a pretty great team. I miss you... (he's in California for the week).

Monday, October 13, 2008

80's Eat Your Heart Out!

This weekend Dave and I went to a birthday party for our friend April Clark. It was hands down the best party I have ever been to. April and Tyler asked us to come dressed in our best bodacious get-up. What better place to start our search than the thrift store districts. We went on a double date with our friends the Phillips with the express purpose of getting the perfect costume. We had more fun laughing at each other than anything else. But we came home with great costume makings.

The night of the party Rachel and I went to our local hair saloon to have our hair done. It was then that I realized I was born just a few years too late for fame and fortune to shine down upon me. I would have had the BEST hair for the 80's. Think of the year book's entry for "BEST HAIR". Oh well. I also discovered that I absolutely love 80's makeup trends. I had so much fun with the eyeshadow. And wow did all those crazy colors make my own eye color pop! YEAH!

I was so impressed with all of the creative things our friends put together. I think we had every fashion trend represented that night. Voting for best costumes was painful because it could have been anybody!

It was just such a great night of food, games and the coolest company around! The best part was popping in a rad soundtrack the Clarks had made for us on the way home and talking about how we are so grateful for so many dope friends!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Halloween Preview

That's your hearts out women of the world...I've got Mr. T on my elbow this Halloween!

We Believe In Faires

I have always had a love for Faerie Lore. Since I was a child I have loved just pretending that they are real. There is something alluring about allowing one's imagination to run wild with thought of beautiful creatures caring for God's green things. I don't know, it's just a childish thing I've held onto.

For some reason it has been important to me to teach my daughters to love fairies too. They are not big into princesses. There are a handful of "princess" Disney movies they have never seen. And occasionally they are rude about receiving a "princess" gift. But they sure do make a mother proud when it comes to their love of Faeries.

I was so excited when both Emily and Kate wanted to be Faeries for Halloween this year. Poor little Sara can't voice an opinion so she gets to join ranks with them. I love their costumes. I found Kate's and Sara's at Gymboree and Emily's at this amazing costumes designers shop here in Lacey. They are so happy with their costumes. Emily was the first Washington customer at Fairy Nana's costume shop. This wonderful woman, who calls herself the grandmother of Faeries, is so amazing. She greeted us at the door to her home in her own Fairy costume! Then we were guided to her bedroom / workshop to behold a site that can not be described. It was like walking into the Hollywood studio of fashion design for the Fairy realm. Truly amazing. She fitted Emily in her costume, provided some yummy cookies that were of course left by the "Fairies" and sent us on our way with a wand and trick-o-treating bag that didn't cost us a cent. I haven't seen better costumes anywhere in all my many hours of searching on the Internet. The dresses look like they actually came right out of the forest or flower garden. Stunning! They were pricey. So if you do check out her site don't have a heart attack or anything. I looked at them months ago and then decided to make Emily's costume when the prices were just too high. That was then... Last week I went to Jo Ann's and spent $200 on fabric, pattern, notions, accessories etc... for Emily's costume. I got home thinking I could have just bought the one she really wanted from Fairynana and not have to deal with all the work now ahead of me. So that is exactly what I did. I returned everything to Joann's and bought the costume she really wanted for less money and no work!!!!!

So here are some pictures I took of the girls out exploring our backyard. Sara didn't make the shoot because she is only on day two of her medicine for her double ear infections and she is still a miserable little thing.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Poor Sick Baby

Sara has been running a fever for the last two days. Man I hate it when my children are sick. Their happy, independent selves turn into grumpy sad little sack of potato, "I don't know what to do with myselves."

Sara has been a toaster box. I haven't actually taken her temperature. Baby thermometers aren't very reliable (at least the one I have) in my opinion. And there is little chance of me rushing a feverish baby to the ER. (I learned my lessons well that the ER doesn't care about fevers unless there are other symptoms. Chase once had a fever of 106 and after waiting two hours to be seen they sent us home because he was still smiling) So we are just trying to get her comfortably through it.

We are keeping her drugged up on Tylenol and Motrin. But poor thing is even too miserable to sleep. She just lays in her bed moaning. And eventually I go in and get her and she falls right a sleep on my shoulder, leaving me to sweat out the next hour or so trying to be still and doing absolutely nothing at all.

Anyway...I'm sure all of you, my "Mommy" friends are saying, "been there and done that." We all know how it goes. But I though this picture of Sara summed everything up realistically, for her sake I can't say nicely.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Great News

The best news was heard this morning in the first session of General Conference! Italy is getting a Temple. I rejoice with those Italian saints that have been so patient. It makes me want to get a ticket to go for the open house when it is finished. And in Rome no less. I am so happy for my Italian Brothers and Sisters.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Losing A Child

Tonight's first meeting of photo club didn't go quite like I had planned it. Everything went well until we were wrapping things up to go home and then the night unfolded like a nightmare or what could easily have been the worst nightmare of my life. I am only blogging about it because, this is "my" journal after all and I need the outlet right now.

As my friends and I were looking at some photography books that we had all brought to share, there was a knock on the door. It was a police officer wanting to know if anyone had Dr. 2th plates (I love those plates so much right now). I asked if I had parked badly or if my lights were on and he asked if I new a little girl named Kate. And then the breath was sucked right out of me. I thought back to earlier in the night when my girlfriend's husband had peeked his head in and asked if any of us had brought a girl named Katie with us. It didn't even phase me to think that he might be referring to my beloved four year old. We had gone on with our meeting...but now here I was with the ugly realization that it was "MY" Katie. She was lost and I could have rescued her an hour ago.

Even as I walked with the officer to his car I thought, "it can't be, how could she have gotten all the way down here (miles away, where she had never been before)?" But there she was sitting still as a statue in his front seat. Looking back I think it was only my embarrassment in front of law enforcement and especially my friends and maybe a little anger that kept me from breaking down then.

So the story is that right before I left for the evening Katie snuck in the car to go with me. Chase had gone out to get his book bag and seen her. So that explains why Dave wasn't frantically trying to get a hold of me wondering where Katie was. Chase had been an eyewitness that she had come with me and he thought I knew I was taking her. However, I didn't. I went to pick up my friend and while I was in her home Kate fell asleep. We drove to photo club, got out and went about our merry way. Kate woke up and didn't know where she was. She hadn't seen us go into any house. She wandered around crying until some neighbors heard her and brought her into the house. They saw Mike and asked if he knew if any of his wife's company had lost a girl. At this point Mike comes in to ask...that's when I should have checked. Thinking back I think I had a feeling I should check. I mean after all the age and name matched. Almost... if he had asked about a four year old maybe I would have thought better about my decision that there was no way she could be mine. But Kate is so proud to tell everyone she is four. I never thought the missing three year old Kate was mine. Anyway we went on with our first meeting. In the mean time the neighbors are looking after Kate and calling the police. Then comes that knock at the door.

She was safe tonight, thank the Lord. But as I nursed Sara to sleep all I could think about were the "what might have beens". Like my sweet girl wandering around the streets in her dark clothes and being hit by a car. Or the neighbors that took her in not being nice and taking advantage of her. I can't even see straight as I type. What a horrible, horrible feeling. Tonight when I pray I will most certainly thank God for looking after her. And pray for peace for my poor little heart that is heavy with "what might have beens" and 100 years older than it was this morning.