Friday, July 30, 2010

Wish Granted

We make the trip down to California at least once a year. It is always a hard trip. First you have the daunting drive down and back. 40 hours in the car. Packed full of kids and all their stuff, massive amounts of snacks designed to keeps mouths busy and a big oaf of a dog. Then when we get there we are totally wasted and the kids are bursting with pent up energy. During our short stay (usually 4 or 5 days) we have 5 families to try and spend a day with. Best case scenario that is a family a day some of which require even more driving. Then we try and squeeze in a way too short visit with dear friends. Way too much. We end up spending the vacation with way too much time wasted in the car and it is all segmented into little bits here and there. We rarely get any quality time and hardly ever get the chance to do something that will give our kids an opportunity to really bond with their cousins and Grandparents and make some solid memories. I try not to complain to Dave about the quality of our California trips because I know what I want I forfeited when I strong armed Dave into staying put in Washington. But sometimes a girl wants her cake and to eat it too. RIGHT!

So last time when we got back from our trip I told Dave that things needed to change. We needed more "meaningful" time with his family. We needed opportunities to really be together and enjoy our stay. He was grumpy and I really don't think he understood.

A few months later we heard that the Cali part of the family (not Washington, Idaho or Hawaii) would be getting together to camp at lake Webb and go water skiing. They would be at the lake for 1 1/2 days. Everyone together having fun and making memories. I knew we had to be there. That was exactly what I had told Dave I wished we could be part of. It was a crazy idea. So much driving for such a small stay. But beggars can't be choosers and we needed this! We still had Grandma Wilcox with us (from coming to see Chase be ordained) and she agreed to drive down with me. And then we would fly Dave in the night before the ski trip. He was limited by h
ow much time he could be away from work. We left to camp and hang out at the lake the next morning.

Our day at the lake with family was wonderful. What a blessing it is to be with so many wonderful people. We played in the water, roasted smores, surprised Grandma with Liz's homemade peach pie in the middle of a camping trip, played laser tag and told stories late into the night. At one point I went looking for Kate and Sara and found them with the younger batch of cousins hiding in a tent playing pet shops by light of the lantern. How darling is that?
It was such a wonderful evening and I went to bed knowing already that it was all worth it.

The next morning the water activities really began. Grandpa had so many fun new toys that everyone was eager to play with. The kids really loved riding on these. Grandpa spent most of his day pulling it behind his boat. It was tons of fun and I even had to get in on the actio
n. the kids got wasted several times. No one ever flew sky high but there was some close calls and a bit of head bashing.
Kate and Sara were in Heaven playing in the shallows with their cousins Carina and Claire. Those two little angles were so good to my girls. Carina and Claire are super close. I was a little worried that they would have a hard time including my girls who sadly, they don't know very well. It melted my heart to see the opposite. They openly invited Kate to play every game. They were mermaids, sea horses, sweet girls playing ring around the roses and so many other fun things.
Sara enjoyed every single moment. She was showered with attention from Grandma, her Aunts and cousins. I am sure she felt like a queen bee!
After lunch though the heat started to get to the poor Washington Wilcoxs. I think we were suffering from heat stroke, seriously. We had come from high 60's and were baking in temperatures over 110. After about 3:00 my kids had all migrated to the canopy that had been set up for shade. Chase and Emily never went back.

All of their cousins were out on the boat watching the very popular BATTLE OF THE DADS! Grandpa was toeing two donuts and the Dads were fighting to be king by knocking each other off. It was good fun. I was cracking up listing to the kids cheer for their Dads. Uncle Brent was the DOMINATOR. Willie's form was always really great but he almost always ended up like this...
After watching the Dad's battle each other for an hour I came back onto the beach and saw my kids - half melted puddles on the grass. Chase was miserable and grumpy and Emily was starting to fall apart emotionally about who knows what. So I told Dave that we had to get out of Cali. We really needed that air conditioned car!!!! He begged for one last chance out on the water to do his thing.

Then we were off like a bat out of _ _ _ _. Seriously, the heat was life threatening by that point. We took a group shot with everyone and then started our long drive back home. Dave had to be back to work the next day.

So our quick as lightening trip to California was painful but SO SO SO VERY WORTH IT!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Becoming A Young Man

This was Chase's big weekend. Today he went from being a boy to beginning his journey to Manhood. I looked at him all dressed up nice and excited to get the Priesthood and I couldn't believe how fast time has flown. He was just a boy swinging swords, playing legos, racing hot wheel cars and building forts. Now he is in Junior High taking classes that are so beyond me I can't even help him with his homework. He turned twelve and all of the sudden he is busy as can be. We have soccer practice twice a week, a game every week, mutual now and then Junior high has brought hours of homework everyday.

Seeing him all grown up makes me wonder if I have done enough to teach him. What kind of choices will he make now that they are going to really start to mater. Does he know we love him? Will he start to grow out of that occasional sweetness he surprises us with. What will his new interests and hobbies be. I look at him and there is just a clean blank slate. A whole life ahead of him waiting to be filled. I love him. My only son, I am so proud of you.

Chase had lots of family come to support him and celebrate his ordination. You can hardly see him in the background there. But that is one very happy Deacon. He beamed from ear to ear. I wasn't really thinking clearly that Sunday. It has been so long since we have had a big "milestone" blessing. Usually I try to record them or write notes in shorthand so that I can write it down for my children to remember. But I was so overwhelmed being in a room with all these wonderful people. You could feel the love in that room. Even now as I write about it tears come. Chase is so lucky to have so many wonderful people in his life. So I don't remember anything about his blessing. I just remember the feelings. I was so proud.

Chase had quite the support team. Here he is with his Dad, my Father (Bob), Dave's father (Wayne) and Chase's Great Grandpa (Bob or Papo). These are all great men. They are wonderful examples to Chase. This October they are going to try to get together to meet in Salt Lake for the Priesthood Session of conference. This is Chase's chain. He has a lot to look up.

post script:
Chase has been preforming his priesthood duties now for a few months. He takes it very seriously. Every Sunday he puts on Papo's watch and ring and dresses sharply to look his best. He makes sure that we are leaving with enough time to get him to church with enough time to be ready to pass the Sacrament. Watching him makes me so proud. I love when he is passing to our row. He is very serious about it. He loves getting to call on people to say the prayer when Dad is not home. Last Sunday he was called to be the secretary in the Deacon's quorum. And best of all a few weeks ago he bore his testimony. He said, "I am really glad that I have the Priesthood. Before I used to not like coming to church. Now I like coming. I like how I feel when I pass the Sacrament. " There was more but I couldn't remember and again I wasn't writing. Partly because I was caught by surprised and didn't have stuff handed to record his testimony, but mostly because I was so darn proud and happy I was busy wiping away tears.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Good Times

Just a few pictures from the weekend. We are really enjoying our company! Good Times!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Death Of A Deer

We were on our way home from High Rock. And when I say we were totally wasted I mean it. No exaggeration. It was a long hike but it was up the whole way and back. That is an exaggeration, but it certainly felt like it. To make maters worse we hadn't had any breaks because stopping meant being eaten alive by mosquitoes. I will never forget mosquito repellent again! So were were really tired. It was also dark. So we were tired, it was dark and one was drunk...

All of a sudden we see a deer in the road. A young female. Dave slows down, it starts to move off the road and them for who knows what reason it decides to stand it's ground. Maybe there is some truth to that "deer in the headlights" saying. It totally froze. Dave didn't even have time to think to swerve to the other side of the street. The deer decided at the very last moment to spring for safety. Too late. We caught her flank on the corner of our right bumper.

Emily started wailing. She totally lost control. We were deer killers. She was inconsolable. I didn't know what to do. It was too dark to see what had happened to the deer. I thought about stopping but we didn't have a gun to shoot the deer if it was on deaths door. I can only imagine how Emily's emotional status would have escalated if we did stop and she had been able to see the deer dying on the road. It was awful. We listened to her wailing for at least another 30 minutes.

Moral of the story...Don't kill a deer or your daughter will hate you for it!

High Rock

I love taking my parents to the beautiful places of Washington when they come to visit. Someday maybe I will convince them to by a summer home up here. Then they could be snow birds and winter in Arizona. It would be perfect my sister and I could split them 50/50.

High Rock is an old fire look out that has been on the top of my list of hikes to do ever since our friends the Bakers went a few years ago. He brought back knock your socks of pictures. I will buy one from him some day for our home! We tried taking my parents last time they came to visit but there was still snow on the ground. This visit I knew the weather would be perfect.

The hike itself was beautiful. It was lined by wild blueberry and huckleberry bushes. And the wild flowers were amazing. Sara starting a bouquet at the beginning of her assent to the top and this is what she had collected by the time she reached the top. So many beautiful colors. We had fun helping her add to her collection.
We had some really beautiful panorama vistas on our way up. Once we got half way we finally had an opening on the the side Rainer was on. I don't know how it works but it felt like we were up just as high and looking across to it from equal ground. Unfortunately we were not able to stop and enjoy the views for very long or very often. I had forgotten bug spray and they little blood suckers were relentless. We literally had to push forward the whole way up (and it was up the whole way) in order to keep ahead of the mosquitoes.Here the girls are at the top on the look out tower. We were the only ones up there. It was so nice to have it all to our selves. I don't exaggerate one bit when I say it is the best view I have ever seen. What an amazing payoff for such a short hike! Dave and I have already talked about bringing the kids back up backpacking and over knighting in the cabin. It was stunning. We could see across the sound and to the Olympics on the one side. Rainier huge and imposing and rocks throw away (or so it seemed). And then we could see Adams, Helens and Hood on the other side. Grandma and Grandpa we treated to something truly, beautifully Washington. They didn't really have a chance to relax and soak it all in though. Boy were they having fits watching the girls play on the rock outcroppings. Look at that hold my Mom has on Kate! My poor Dad couldn't take it anymore. In order to prevent a heart attack he started heading back down. Too be fair i was a little freaked out too. Sara just didn't know how to be safe and Emily is a horrible combination of carefree and klutzy! So they had to spend most of their time in the cabin while Dave, Grandma and I waited around for the sun to set.
It was a great trip. I love going special places with Grandma and Grandpa. And maybe someday I will convince them to spend more time here!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

You Saw It First Here!

Papo deserves saint status for these precious moments. First for letting my girls do his hair (don't touch Grandpa's hair). And second for letting me take a picture of it. Third if he lives trough seeing these on line, for not being angry with me! Love you Grandpa for being so good to my kids!!!

Diary of a Disgruntled Computer

Dear Log:

I think every piece of my wiring is fried. It is all I can do to work for 5 minutes before everything backfires and I fall into a horrible black abyss. I have been trying to send my operators signals for months now that things are not as they should be. My manufacturer should have equipped me with a flashing warning signal with bright red and white fonts and strobbing lights so that I could more effectively warn my operators. As it is my attempts at slowing down, having mini crashes and needed to be restarted are not getting the message across.

Not that they are great operators anyway. Maybe they deserve the problems I am unable to shelter them from. They are constantly forcing an inordinate amount of large files on me. I barely have a mega bite to spare. The photographer lady...she is the worst. Really, how many pictures can one person need. People are definitely not very efficient. The funny thing is, is that she thinks she is pretty good at keeping me organized and paring down her files. If she only knew. If computers could refrigerate I would.

And then there are the male operators. Hours upon hours of gaming. A computer has to have some rest. Really I am surprised my RAM and video cards still function at all.

Yesterday I reached a point of insustainability. I crashed. I crashed hard. My poor operators were trying frantically to make sure things were all backed up appropriately. They had finally read the writing on my wall. Too late. I could here through my comatose state that they were very upset; especially the female. I could her some yelling and then crying..but there wasn't any thing I could do. I know some of the females pictures have been lost. Listening to her they were very important ones.

Being a computer is hard work. Hopefully the technician that they sent me to will be competent and set things right. Hopefully...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Killing Two Birds With One Stone

What do you do to celebrate a boy's birthday when he is turning 12? You want it to be super memorable. He is too old for toys and not really into big kid things like clothes, watches etc.. He never asks for anything really so you don't have much to go on.

What do you do for your Grandpa who is coming to visit for your son's special weekend? He wants to spend some one on one quality time with Chase. He isn't very mobile. He has high class tastes too.

What do you do???

It took me a few weeks to think up something satisfactory. Finally I felt I had an idea good enough to run by Dave. How about a private chartered flight??? Chase loves flying. Papo loves flying and tells us all the time about his private jet and flying years. It wouldn't require any walking. Best of all it is special and hopefully memorable.

It was a winner. We asked Chase what he thought about a sunset flight to Mt. Rainer with Papo. He was all over it.

We had fun surprising Great Grandpa with the idea too. I drove them to the airfield with strict instructions to take some pictures. Both men young and old enjoyed the flight. Chase even got to help land the plane. So I think it was a success. Chase and Papo were both really excited to tell me all about it when I picked them up! I think it was the perfect way to celebrate my son becoming a young man.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chuck Norris

The kids started looking up Chuck Norris jokes on the computer yesterday. While we were at Famous Dave's for Emily's birthday dinner last night we had so much fun laughing as they recounted back to us all of their favorites. Here are the top five funniest jokes from last night:

#5 Chuck Norris actually died 10 years ago but the grim reaper has been to afraid to tell him.

#4 If you have $5 and Chuck Norris has $5 than Chuck Norris has more money than you.

#3 If you decide to try and search for Chuck Norris with Google, be sure to spell the name correctly. Otherwise, instead of Google offering the correct spelling it gives you the warning --- "Run, before he finds you"

#2 When the boogie man goes to bed he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

#1 Chuck Norris is the reason Waldo is hiding.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Emily

We celebrated Emily's birthday on the road this year. It almost didn't happen though. What a crazy night. We had just enjoyed a hike and an evening at the beach. As we pull into our campsite, where we had already set up camp...we see a huge trailer pulled all the way into our spot. TROUBLE. When we chose our spot it was the only one that had another spot next door that would work with having Judy and Kaitlyn camping with us. We set up camp (it was totally barren) and then went to pay at one of those board things were you put in your slip and money. Imagine our surprise when there was already a slip and money in our spot. There wasn't any reserved notice at the site and it was TOTALLY BARREN. So I assumed that the campers before had the site for multiple days and have moved on a day early. Well...coming back to a trailer in our spot let us know we had assumed wrong. The crazy rude thing is that they could have just gone to another spot. Maybe one that was meant for a large trailer not a tent spot. But no. No amount of the ranger trying to talk them into moving worked. They were not budging. Even thought he rules are that if you have paid for a site you have to leave something in the area. So we had to move all of our stuff and re set up camp at 8:00 at night when we would rather be sitting by the fire. Crazy people never even left their stupid trailer (they kind of made me mad).
So after we re-set up camp, we celebrated Emily's birthday with some yummy brownies a birthday song and some silly stories. Happy number 10 Emma!


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." ~Helen Keller~

La Push

Our first Washington camping trip of the summer. It was last minute and so we were really limited by available sites. Emily was really excited that Kaitlyn and Judy would be joining us. It had been a whole year since we had camped together. La Push was literally the only place available. So even though we have been up in this area several times we found ourselves headed back.

This was our day at the beach. Nothing holds back a child. Not even freezing could water on an overcast day. I knew they wouldn't be able to resist getting their feet wet. I totally didn't see Kate getting almost all the way in. How come children can't feel the cold. I was freezing in my clothes with a jacket.

I really enjoyed watching Sara and Kate spinning. We have a handicapped sister in our ward. She says the thing she looks forward to the most in Heaven is getting to spin. There is something magical about spinning.

There were lots of little treasure on the beach. Even a waterfall. We sat and watched the kids play and then walked along the surf until the sun set. It was a really wonderful evening. I think we were all reluctant to leave because what we thought would be a really short hike in seemed really long. I knew it was going to seem even longer on the way out. But we had to get back.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Baptism Day

Today was a really a once in a life time sort of day. Not every one is lucky enough to have an awesome friend like Judy and her daughter Kaitlyn. And even fewer people are lucky enough to have those friends find and accept the Gospel.

We had been living in Dupont for about a year. Judy and Kait lived across the ally from us and a few houses down.
Kaitlyn and Emily had been working on their friendship for a while and were starting to become very good friends. I had the impression several times that I should introduce Judy to the Gospel and what I believe. My acting on that prompting was very limited to inviting her to a ward activity. I also invited Kait to start coming to achievement days with my class, because at that time I was Emily's leader. (short lived greatest calling ever!) We invited her to a few things that her schedule prevented her f
rom attending and so there wasn't much else going on.

Then Judy had surgery that took her out of commission for several months. I remember being frustrated because we were pretty good friends by then and she was recovering at her parents house and I felt it was difficult to serve her or be there for her. She was on bed rest for an eternity. And all that time she was learning about the church. Judy had discovered the BYU channel. I think it was just the perfect thing for her. She is so smart and really enjoyed all the intellectual religious stuff that BYU pumps out. She eventually returned home and a few weeks later I get a phone call.

I can tell she is beating around the bush...
There is a little bit of small talk...
We discuss getting together for one of the evenings that n
ight to play rock band...
and then she says, "So when are you going to tell me about your church?"

Long pause...
I couldn't believe it! So I said, "Do you want to come over now?"
I was afraid she would change her mind or I would chicken out about telling her if we set a later date.

From there, there was lots of reading (I mean LOTS - like as in everything I could find to give her and then tons of stuff she starting reading on her own
). She met with the couple missionaries and we had several discussions. Things were going really great. I felt so good to be heaving a good missionary experience. We were praying for her as a family and all focused on teaching. Then things cooled off. It was really sad. I think she felt pushed by the missionaries, unsure of her feelings, scared of the reaction of her friends and family and there was a habit that was giving her a hard time. Anyway for the next year and 1/2 I waited. I tried to gently ask her every once in while if she was still studying it out in her mind. I was always worried about pushing too hard for her to come to a conclusion and then torn by being worried that if I never said anything she would think I had just dropped it all and given up.

Looking back I think that teaching Judy about the gospel k
ept me alive in it. I was going through a really hard time with my Primary calling and working through some problems at home and with my church leaders and I was not at all living in a "strong testimony" moment. And even though I felt like giving up on myself Judy kept me going because I had to be an example to her. Looking back it was around the same time that I started to figure myself out that Judy decided to be baptized. I know her investigation of the Church was a blessing to me. It made me face my own weaknesses and by sharing my testimony with Judy I was reminded on several occasions during that year of great weakness that I actually had one. She wasn't even a member of the church and she was being a missionary to me.

After our trip to the Temple it had all come down to her worry about her parents response. She set a day to talk with them about her decision to join the c
hurch. The Sisters and our family fasted that day for her. I thought about her all day long. I knew she was sick with nerves. And yet I knew with confidence that her parents would accept her decision. That evening when we talked I was surprised to learn that her parents not only had accepted her choice but offered support. They would come to the baptism and be there for her like they always are. I cried with happiness for her.

So the baptism was wonderful. I experienced so much joy watching her become a member of the church. She is more than just a friend, she is my sister!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Emily Is A Missionary

Emily has ALWAYS been blessed to have EXCELLENT friends. I have loved every single one of them. They have all been amazing young ladies. One of her very best friends is Kaitlyn Flugga. For the last five years Kait and Emily have been a team. They compliment each other perfectly.
Emily this week gets to see her friend be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. For the last 2 1/2 years she has been an little missionary. Kaitlyn has gone with her to church activities, achievement days, primary and as of late every other week Kaitlyn and her mother Judy (one of my very best friends) have come to church in it's entirety with her.
I am really happy Kaitlyn is getting baptized. It has been really cool that we have been telling her about the Church. I am happy that she can come to my class. Heavenly Father told us to tell all our friends about his church. Now she will know all the right stuff and all the true stuff. I know she will be really happy that she knows the truth. Life is a lot easier when you know the truth.