Saturday, June 14, 2008

Kate's Flower Party

Kate is a big four years old now. She didn't have to have a birthday to have become all grown up in my book though. Having a new baby did that. She has been trying to act like a big girl now. Even her temper tantrums have gotten bigger:-( She has taken two baths without a total break down and she has decided that now that she is big she wants to do everything exactly the way Emily does things.


Kate wanted a flower cake this year so we planned her party around the cake. We decorated garden visors with pretty flower and bug stickers. Then we headed outside for a watering can relay race. We had a flower pot bean bag toss, planted some plants in pretty pots and then the girls got to play with hundreds of ladybugs.


It was so simple. The girls loved that I poured pink lemonade out of a watering can! But the hit of the party was as Katie was blowing out her birthday candles her friends all starting yelling that there was a ladybug crawling on her. Sure enough there it was crawling up to her neck. They giggled forever as they ate their cake.

I am so happy that Kate has such a wonderful group of girl friends. It is really a Mother's secret wish to always have wonderful friends for their children. What a lucky birthday girl!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Mountain of Spirit

I personaly think that one of the reason God spent so much time on the creation of our Earth and all of the beauty of Nature is to give us something to remind us of Him. We were able to see Mt. Rainier today. It is so sad that we don't get to see it for such long stretches. Anytime it is overcast the mountain is invisible or nearly there. But today, on the first sunny day in two weeks it was majestic. I had to stop on the way home from buying birthday party supplies to take a picture of it. (I wasn't the only one either)

As I headed for home I couldn't help but think about how Mt. Rainier to me, is like the Holy Ghost. It is always there, though sometimes because of an overcast forecast it is imperceptible. Similarly the Holy Ghost is always there for us, however, when are spirits are clouded over in sin or spiritual neglect we may not even remember it's there. Mt. Rainer can be if we allow it to be, a constant reminder of God's love for us. So is the the job of the Holy Ghost, a comforter to help us feel God's love. Mt. Rainer is the single most dominant landmark of the state of Washington. Most of us who live in Western Washington are constantly aware of it's presence. So should me be of the Holy Ghost. The presence of the Spirit should be a massive landmark in our souls. I can always look at Mt Rainier to get my directional bearrings. So to should we all look to the Holy Ghost to help lead our way.

Anyway...3 hours later when I finally sit down to write down my thoughts it doesn't read the way it felt. But the next time you look up at our beautiful mountain or one of your own, let it's strength remind you of that strength within you that is always yours, the Holy Ghost.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Preschool Puppet Show


video

Well, Preschool is done. I am a little sad. The teacher in me really enjoyed it and I know Katie loved it. She awakens every morning and asks me, "Do I have preschool today?" I taught the third to the last week of school. The girls made invitation for their Mom's. We practiced our letters again and learned how to write the word Mom. We made puppets and practiced our little show. I read them a few stories and we talked about how things have a beginning a middle and an end. Then we made yummy cupcakes for our guests and practiced counting. The show was awesome. I'm glad I had my sister there to record it for us.

Now all I have to do is finishes the girls alphabet books so I can give them to them for end of the year presents. Wish me luck. It has been a WAY too busy week.

"Dad You Have Bubble Feet" - Kate (responding to seeing the blisters on Dave's feet

Monday, June 9, 2008

Green River Marathon

Dave and his friend Eric Flake ran a marathon this weekend. It makes me laugh because he has always mocked our friends and family for attempting something so crazy and hard on your body. Maybe it's the beginning of a midlife crisis. I will have to prepare myself for some kind of hot rod to appear in our garage.

Anyway he ran the Green river marathon which starts in Kent and ends on Seattle's beaches. It wasn't a really big production. No numbers, no people lining the course, no tape at the finish... but then again it was free. I laugh thinking back to the night before as we looked at the directions online and tried to even get the course figured out. They actually had to post people at certain points to keep the runners from getting lost (they didn't cover every spot though as Eric ran a good extra way).

We saw Dave and Eric off at the start and piled in the car to go to the 2 1/2 mile mark to see him crossing the river (the first of many crossings). We barely made it. They were running so fast. Then we were in the car again and off to find a place to buy poster boards and markers in an unknown land to make signs. We parked our cold little selves at one of those ambiguous direction places and pointed a good 75 people in the right direction. Then we saw Dave and Eric coming around the corner. We had lots of fun waving our signs and hooting and hollering. Next it was off to the rescue to find Advil and meet back up with our aching runners. That was at about mile 13. That's when Dave and Eric split up. He was on his own after that. We met again with him at mile 21 and from there Chase ran the last five miles with him to keep him company and keep his mind off of his aching body. We had a lot of fun being the Gatorade and Gu suppliers.

The kids are the best groupies ever. They never ever complained even though it was cold and we got rained on several times. Dave always looked like he was doing well the whole way. Not like me. I would have looked like the living dead after a short few miles I'm sure.

We celebrated with a yummy lunch at Red Robin and some ice cream later that night from Cold Stone. Now Dave can call himself a marathoner and I can say with no reservations that I will never follow in his footsteps :-)

That's what she said... now here's what Dave has to say. It's true, I mocked the marathoners as nuts that seemed to like pain. Then I met a guy in Egypt who does it because he loves to run. He runs beyond 26.2, even up to 100 miles. We had lots of conversations about the sport and I found myself wanting to run a marathon myself. To be honest, I had an idealized vision in my head of running long enough to find inner peace like Greg and become one with nature around me. Turns out I instead held a debate in my head for about 15 miles on the merits of finishing vs. the shame of calling Jen for a ride. I battled a cramping calf muscle for about half the run and my knees felt like they had gravel in them by the end but I finished. No need to tell the time because it wasn't fast, but if you want to look up the results I'll save you time. I'm pretty far down the list. http://www.greenrivermarathon.com/results/2008_results.html

I did learn a few things in running a marathon: it's great to run with a buddy (thanks Eric), 26.2 miles is an incredibly long way to run, and the fear of shame is a very powerful motivator.

Ode To Sister Dever

Can I just tell the world how much I love Katie's Sunbeam teacher! She is the best of the best. The kind of teacher you always hope your kids will be lucky enough to get. The kind of teacher that I would try to be like if I ever get to teach in Primary. She always has her lessons prepared and lots of fun activities to go along with them. The kids made their own floor mats out of pillow cases at the beginning of the year. She has sent letters and always greets them specially whenever she meets them out of her class setting. I am just so grateful for her. I remember several weeks following a lesson she gave about the Holy Ghost it was all Katie would talk about. She tells me all the time how much she wants to live with Heavenly Father again. How lucky are we to have such a great teacher!


The topper was today. Sister Dever dropped off a very special handmade card that she had laminated into a place mat and the yummiest looking birthday cake! Katie was soooo excited!!! It was all I could do not to help her eat her cake it looked so yummy!


Here is what Katie loves about her Sunbeam teacher:

*She's never EVER mean
*She brings us snacks
*We make fun things in her class
*She makes me feel so good
*She teaches me about Jesus
*She made me a birthday party

Making Dreams Come True

First let me say a very special than you to all the wonderful horse owners that have shared their horses with my daughters. You are all wonderful people and I hope you know how much your kindness has blessed the lives of my girls.

This is Epona and her five day old Filly. Debbie, one of the hygienists that Dave works with is their proud owner. We were her very lucky guests. How often do you get to surprise your horse loving daughter with a trip to a ranch to see a five day old filly?

The whole experience was amplified with extra excitement after finishing reading "Misty of Chincoteague" together for our first Mother / Daughter book club book. Emily has always loved horses. But after the book she is truly in love all over again. When we go canoeing to Ketron Island she even pretends we are going to Chincoteague!

The little filly was shy but curious enough to check out the kids. Especially Katie who was just her size. It was magical to be around such a tiny and innocent creature who in just a short while will grow to be so graceful and powerful. All I could do though was think about poor Epona having to deliver a baby with such proportions!

Thank you Debbie and Epona for sharing your little miracle with my starstruck daughters!

Math Relay Compitition

Chase and his team mates have been training for Math Relay, an end of the year district competition, for 4 months now. He has stayed after school every Tuesday and Thursday for an hour. In March they timed the kids answering multiplication and division facts and completing certain athletic skills. For the last several months it has been all about shaving seconds off of that original time. The school can send three teams A,B and C. Out of all the kids on the team comprised of 4,5 and 6th graders Chase made it on to team B. We were very proud of him.

This last Friday he got on a bus, headed towards a local high school to compete against it seems like 50 other teams. Dave, Kate, Sara and I went to support and cheer for him. He did very well. His team didn't place in the top ten but the A team did. I really love that our district promotes such worthy activities.

Here is Chase in his event:

preparing to be tagged...

10 jumping jacks...

answering 10 division/multiplication math facts...(if they miss on they have to do a push up)

10 times jumping rope...

running hurdles...

tagging his next team mate...

Chase's Team!

A Years Supply


My new years resolution this year was to collect a year supply. After years of gentle prodding by the Prophet and our other leaders I finally decided I needed to obey (or else)! Since our last Stake Conference, which was excellent and focused almost entirely on food storage and personal preparedness, I have been very anxious about getting it all taken care of.

We had nothing other than our camping gear to start. But now we are the proud and prepared owners of 72 hour kits! That is a good start right. Well after even more urgent discussion about it from our Church leaders and the thought of my kids suffering from my procrastination and the good examples of friends I have begun the "harvesting" of a year supply.

Since most of the food I get from the cannery last for almost 30 years and I won't have to rotate it I feel much better about it. (who wants to rotate powdered milk?) We planned for 6 adults since after a child turns 12 he/she eats an adults helping. And who knows how old our children will be when we use it. Plus having extra to share with friends and neighbors can't be a bad thing right? So here is what the Provident Living food storage calculator says we need:

Grains: 2400 lbs
Beans: 360 lbs
Dairy: 180 lbs
Sugars: 360 lbs
Leavening Agents: 36 lbs
Salt: 36 lbs
Fats: 180 lbs
Water: 168 gallons

We are well on our way after taking home the family caner for a few days and canning almost 40 boxes worth of food. But we have so far to go still especially in the overwhelming amount of grains we are supposed to store.

The kids had a ton of fun helping. I haven't ever seen them so eager to help. Each child had their own job. Putting on labels, putting in the oxygen absorbers, bringing and putting away boxes, helping me press the button on the caner and eating all the extra apple slices. Our garage has been transformed into a food factory.

So now we enjoy a little break and pray that white wheat becomes available until July 16th when we get the caner again!
P.S. I REALLY LOVE MY MINI VAN!

Flicker Quiz

My Best Friend from high school just posted her own Flicker quiz on her blog and I thought it was such a fun idea. You type the answer to each question into the flicker search bar and choose a picture from the first page to represent your answer. Lots of fun!

1. What is your name?

Jennifer

2. What is your favorite food?

Chocolate in any form!


3. What school did you go to?

The University of Arizona

4. What is your favorite color?

Blue

5. Who is your celebrity crush?

Brad Pitt

6. what is your favorite drink?

Milk...thank you cows!

7. what is your dream vacation?

Being with Dave on a beautiful almost deserted island (food service people are the only others invited) with lagoons, waterfalls, sandy beaches, tropical fish, hikeable forests and ridges and no other tourists!

8. What do yo want to be when you grow up?

Happily married with good health enjoying the natural world somewhere reminiscing on a good life and counting our blessings about how well our kids are doing

9. What is your favorite dessert?


Brownies


10. What do you love most in life?


Being with my family and having a good time together

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sara's Blessing Day

Sara was blessed on June 1st, this last Sunday. Grandma DeWitt finished her beautiful dress after 25 hours of "sweat shop" labour in the confines of her very hot unlit bedroom. (why she sews in those conditions I'll never know) I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the dress. The pattern was not so wonderful. My Mom showed it to me when I went to visit over Spring break. I nearly had a heart attack I think. After a few hints at what she could leave out or make simpler it was all in her hands. It turned out beautifully. It will be a really special heirloom for Sara's own family someday I hope.
We had lots of special visitors to be there for her special day. Grandma and Grandpa Dewitt came form Arizona, Grandma Wilcox from California, Aunt Sallie and Aiden from Idaho, Aunt Meghan from Wisconsin and Great Grandpa from Utah. Dave also asked our good friends Nathan Phillips, Adam Huillet and Eric Flake to stand in on the circle.

I love baby blessings. It is so fun to celebrate new life (even though Sara is not so new). I love that her Dad and Grandpa's (sadly we were missing Grandpa Wilcox) gather to lay their hands on her perfect little head with the strength of their priesthood, blessing her with strength and a good life. I love the Father's blessing part. All at once I can be proud of Dave for being worthy to bless her and proud of our precious little creation.
She was such a sweet baby. She even smiled the prettiest smile ever for all of our ward family as Dave held her up. That little smile that is half laugh that lights up even the cloudiest day.

I am always a sucker for these Patriarch and Matriarch photos. Here are Sara's hands in the hand of her Great Grandpa DeWitt and her GrandmasDeWitt and Wilcox.

How To Be a Really Cool Great Grandpa!


**********Play Rock Band!*********

Amazing Grace

I have wanted to sail on this ship for three years. Dave and I stayed at the owners Bed and Breakfast in Gig Harbour before he left for Egypt. I have been thinking about it for that long. As I was trying to decide how I would entertain family and friends who were gathering for Sara's blessing, I thought how perfect sailing would be.

I was so nervous about the weather. I think I checked the forecast a million times a day. Fortunately the clouds only threatened us with a light sprinkle, so other than being cold all was well.

We boarded the Amazing Grace in Gig Harbour and sailed out to the greater Puget Sound right off the cliffs of Point Defiance.

The highlights of the trip were:

Hanging out with great company!








Getting to ride the waves on the Bow of the ship!












Steering the ship right or left as Captain Peter told us really cool things about sailing!











Climbing up the rigging!













Romantic panoramas from the crow's nest!












A rare sighting of a humpback whale!
For video from our local news station click HERE








Just getting to finally go sailing!