Joyful Moments

Usually life is busy, hard or monotonous.  But luckily we have joyful moments here and there.  I’ve had a couple lately.  Last weekend when we were camping, Landon and Regan were walking from our cabin to the ward campfire area.  I was walking about twenty feet behind them (not holding the camera!).  Regan had her arm around Landon’s waist, he had his arm around her shoulders.  It was so cute and sweet.  They are best friends and aren’t afraid to show it.  It “filled my heart with joy.” 

Another one was yesterday when I was at the school cheering the kids on at their fun runs.  I was standing with the other moms, waiting for Porter’s class to start running.  He saw me from about 50 feet away, did the best smile EVER, and gave me a little wave.  Something about his smile just warmed me through and gave me such a surge of joy.  And to think that I almost didn’t go for his because my day was so crazy and I really didn’t have the time to be there! 

The other day Turner was hiding behind a bed and kept popping up and throwing a toy.  I was holding Cooper near the bed.  Everytime Turner would pop up and throw the toy, Cooper broke out into the most contagious laugh.  Soon Turner, Cooper and I were all laughing and we attracted a couple other siblings to watch the show. 

Hayden had his school band concert on Thursday night.  They played really well and we enjoyed listening to them (not something that I would’ve said a couple of years ago).  On Friday at school (this was related to me by Hayden, who has been known in the past to be very truthful) the band teacher was going through the class complimenting each of his students.  He said things like, “You have great potential,” or “You are an excellent trombone player.”  He told Hayden, “You are the best french horn player I’ve ever had in my 22 years of teaching.”  So either he hasn’t had very many french horn players, or Hayden has really brown nosed him this year (a very real possibility), or else Hayden is really good.  He wants to take up trumpet next year so he can be in the jazz band, but I think I’m vetoing that one.  An hour and a half of violin every day, a half hour of french horn, plus a half hour of trumpet, plus rehearsals for the french horn (not to mention violin lessons and orchestra rehearsals) is a bit much.  So we’ll stick with two instruments. 

So although it’s been a really hard week and we’ve had lots of moments that were frustrating, we’ve had lots of moments of joy in between.


Mexican Casserole

It took me a while to find my ideal Mexican casserole, and then I had to alter a couple recipes and come up with my own!

Brown 1 pound ground beef with a medium onion and 1 bell pepper, color of your choosing

Add 2 cups salsa, allow to simmer 15-20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.

Add to meat 1 can drained and rinsed kidney beans and 1 can corn, drained
In a 9×13 inch baking pan, line with 10-12 torn up corn tortillas, or you can use 3 cups broken corn chips
Top tortillas with meat mixture

Spread 2 cups sour cream over meat mixture

If you like, add a small can nasty black olives, one diced tomato, and/or 3 chopped green onions on top of the sour cream

Top with 2 cups cheddar cheese

Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Serve with avocados on the side for extra yumminess.

Photos galore!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an entry here, so here’s a lot of photos. First up, the procession of the species, which was just as fun as usual.  Lots of great new costume ideas, plus the return of a few favorites from previous parades (and the new humpback whale added to the jumping dolphins was pretty cool).

Procession of the Species 2008

Next, I took a long bike ride on Saturday, May 17.  It was a goregeous day so I made a north Lake Washington Loop (meaning I cut it off at I-90 instead of going all the way to the south end of the lake).  The first batch of photos up through downtown Seattle also cover my bike commute to work.

May 17 Bike Adventure

And finally, I went with Dale and John to Vancouver B.C. last weekend.  It was a fun weekend, and I got a lot of great photos.

Vancouver 2008

Boy for sale

I was supposed to make visiting teaching appointments today and I was supposed to go help Sandy clean, but I didn’t do either.  What exactly did I do, you may ask?  Well, for starters, I cleaned pee off my kitchen floor (he pulled down his pants and peed in my kitchen), then folded laundry for a little while.  I was watching Aurora for Donna this morning before preschool.  Regan hosed her down while they were outside playing so I had to dry her clothes before I could take them to preschool.  Then Cooper woke up after a very short nap, so I laid down next to him and nursed him to try to get him back to sleep.  While I was thus engaged, Turner unfolded all of the laundry.  Then he mixed all the soymilk with juice, dumped it on the floor and skated around in it.  Then he poured the dog food into the dog water and when it was soft enough, he shoved each piece, individually down into the heating vent. 
I deserve chocolate today.


B.C. Pics

Some pictures from our trip this weekend up to Canada. We visisted Vancouver, including a trip up to Whistler (where most of the snow events in the 2010 Winter Olympics will be held).

Memories of Expo 86

I think this might be the only structure from Expo 86 still standing.

Skiing slopes at Whistler

Some of the skiing slopes in Whistler. I think this might be the beginner area.

Mountain bike lift

Ah, so mountain bikers are too lazy to actually bike up the mountain. I see.

Mountains of British Columbia

There were many gorgeous views of the mountains.

Blue mountains

This may be one of the favorite pictures I have ever taken.

And now for some silly pictures…

Come on, give us a kiss

“Come on, give grandma a kiss.”

Undesirable nicknames

You do not want to pull his finger.

Odd pose

After I took this pictures of Mark and John, I thought… “Hey, this looks like an album cover pose!”

So, after a little photoshopping (and a random band name and album name courtesy of the Random Band Name generator), we have this…

Album cover


We got a call today about our new car.  It is in Frankfurt and we just have to drive to Wertheim to pick it up.  We found out it is an Opel Corsa, 5 door (4 doors and a hatchback).  Blue in color, which is grate because I am tired of going to the wrong white car.  It has a radio and cd player, which is really exciting for me (mom) and, would you believe it, an air conditioner which is really great for the big sweaty man, I mean sweety man.  His eyes lit up and he did a little happy dance when he heard that.  It won’t get as good gas mileage, but we’ll suck that up to have air conditioning. 

We also called the mission and told them about the apartment we found to rent.  They will do all the negotiating for us.  We met the people who own the apartment and they are really nice.  They don’t speak any English so we will have fun using our German with them.  The apartment is on the second floor, the ground floor is a shop, the first floor is the owners apartment and the second floor is the little attic apartment which we want.  It is quite large and very nice with a fully equiped kitchen which will meet our needs much better.  There is a huge shrank in the bedroom so my blouses will have room to hang without getting wrinkles from being pressed by all the other clothes.  The bathroom is very nice and convenient.  There are two other rooms besides the kitchen, bedroom, utility room, bathroom and living room, so room enough to meet our needs.  We will have to round up some furniture and other equipment, including a washer and dryer, but I’m sure we can figure it out. 

We had a great day on Sunday.  We went to a members house to fix dinner for them, fajitas on the grill.  They had invited two other sisters whose husbands are deployed and a neighbor whose husband is also deployed.  We had fun and gave a good message and went home. 

Yesterday was district meeting.  We took crackers and cheese and lemonade for a treat and Elder Ublehor made this yummy thing he learned to make in Austria, but I can’t remember what he called it.  Something shinken, but it has no ham.  It is a thick fluffy pancake, deep fried and then filled with strawberries or raspberries and whipped cream.  It was yummy.  We had fun.  On the way home we stopped in Auerbach and met with the Cannon family.  Her mom and dad are visiting and it was great talking to them about their mission, they went to the United Kingdom.  Sister Luke fixed a yummy meal of crepes which were absolutely delicious.  We gave our message and left there and found our way to the little town of Oberbibrach to visit the Bishop and his family.  We talked had ice cream and gave a message to them as well.  It was a busy day and we were very tired when we got home.  We were looking forward to our beds and sleep, but that was not to be.  A few minutes after we got there we got a call from sister Kuban who was in the hospital in Amberg with one of her twin one year olds.  He had some kind of a bacterial infection that gave him a croup-like cough and made it hard for him to breath.  They had tried breathing treatments, but that didn’t help.  She wanted him to have a blessing.  We wouldn’t be able to go out there until late today because of commitments so we told her we would be right out.  We found another priesthood holder and left to go to the Binghams house in Edelsfeld.  They gave the blessing and we left to go home.  She hasn’t called us today, we are hoping he is getting better, and will call her tonight. 

Today we worked at the library and dad was getting a little bored, one of the full-time workers, Helmut gave him a job that filled the rest of his time nicely.  I spent a lot of my time putting stuff away after a couple of families came in and the parents didn’t pay much attention as the children wrecked the library.  I blame the parents!

Tonight we are in Vilseck.  We visited one of our favorites, the Stinchfield family.  They are so great, we just love them.  Their oldest daughter, Jane is so neat and personable.  They are the ones with a daughter who has autism.  They have a daughter who will be 6 tomorrow, Sadie, and the cutest little baby, Sawyer.  They just got a dog, that’s all she needs.  We are going to Katrina Winns for dinner and we are looking forward to seeing her again, she is grate!

This has gotten way to long.  I’ll sign off.  We keep busy. 

Our Weekend

It’s beginning to feel a lot like summer…everywhere we go.  We have several warm days, then some cool days, then warm days again.  It’s great. 

We went on the Stake campout on Friday afternoon.  We had a great time playing in the lake, doing archery, etc.  Landon and Hayden both played their violins at the evening talent show for our ward.  That was really fun.  Brother Hohaia (Dale, do your thing) led us in some singing, and we had s’mores.  Good time.  Mom, I emailed you a link to Laurie’s pix, I’ll get mine downloaded tomorrow maybe. 

Sunday was good.  We had the Falters over for dinner.  They’re in the middle of a move.  Then Dix and Hayden went to a fireside at the Clarks.  We are starting to feel more included in the ward, except for Hayden.  The youth seem to be really cliquey (is that a word?) and seem to go out of their way to exclude him.  At the campout he kept trying to be included, but no one seemed interested in talking to him so it was really sad.  But at least Porter made a friend and had a great time with him. 

Monday:  Dix and Hayden put up the flags for Memorial day.  We didn’t go to the thing at the church.  Then Dix fixed his truck that had been making some funky sounds.  Then Dix and Hayden went to the Falters to help them move, while I did housework and fixed a bunch of food for the potluck BBQ after move party.  Hayden had a great time playing with the kids from Lacey 3rd ward.  He was immediately sucked in to their group and they had a great time playing ultimate frisbee, and then went to the park, and they all played all afternoon (after working hard of course).  Wish the kids in 1st ward were that welcoming.  Dix got most of the beds put together at the Falters, then he headed home to do some work here.  He got the deck babyproofed and we did some yardwork before he and Hayden headed back out to pick up the flags.  It took them a couple of hours to get it all done and put away.  So we’re all pretty tired tonight. 

Cooper is officially crawling now.  I had to put up the baby gate today.  What a cutie.  He’s slow, but slow and steady wins the race.  Right?  He also started clapping his hands all the time.  Yesterday it looked like he was playing rock, paper, scissors and then last night it evolved into clapping.  He got passed around a lot today at the Falters and didn’t seem to mind too much except for when I would walk past him and then he would want me. 

Turner enjoyed the 5 acres of the Falters new lot.  I think he peed on pretty much every bush and tree there.  He also peed on the backhoe.  He loves peeing outside.  At least he’s house trained.  This morning he went out the front door and peed on the front porch.  What a guy.

This morning Landon went over to Kurt’s to go “hang out.”  He found candy and Kurt gave him a soda so he thought he was big stuff.  I sent Porter to go pick him up when it was time to leave, but Regan and Turner followed him and then they didn’t come back for half an hour.  They sure had fun.  Landon went over there last night, too, and was sad that I called for him to come back right before Kurt was going to make him a burger.  He told me that Kurt and him just “talked and then watched some TV.” 

When we were doing our yard work this afternoon, Bishop Brown was out doing some of his own.  Regan skipped on over and talked his ear off, following him around as he worked.  Next thing we knew, she was carrying his watering can and (still talking) helping him water his plants.  She sure enjoys our neighbors. 

I have lots of pictures, so I’ll probably try to get on that tomorrow.  I am going to be helping Sandy clean her house this week though, so I’m going to be busy.  I guess I’ll just need to be more efficient!

Am I that old?

Today instead of the same breakfast that we have had almost every day since we got here dad made pancakes and bacon for me.  Everything was great except for the weird flavored hot chocolate.  I guess h-milk doesn’t make the best hot chocolate. 

We left slightly later than we had planned because Jackie called and told us that they were taking Marilyn to the Dr. because she had a tick.  It is right behind her ear.  They pulled most of it out and just the front burrowing part is left.  Marilyn was fine and was happy to see us.

We decided to take them to the botanical garden which was very close by.  I told Jackie that Kurt loved going to the botanical garden in Berlin to see (and hear) the bamboo growing and to play with the turtles in the pond.  We parked the car and took the long way around the bahnhof to get to the garden.  Dad forgot the camera and while he ran (walked) back to the car we were waylaid by a women who noticed my namenshild (name tag) and started this long story in very poor English, that made no sense.  Jackie edged away from me so I was on my own.  Dad finally showed up and we left her there.  I still have no idea what she wanted.

There was a farmers market in the square and we enjoyed walking through looking at the fresh garden produce, but didn’t buy anything.  We entered the garden and had a great time letting Marilyn take whatever paths she wanted.  We followed along behind.  They have a nice greenhouse with a room for cacti and the other rooms full of tropical plants.  Jackie took lots of pictures.  Many of the plants were in full flower so it was a treat for the nose as well as for the eyes.  We made it through without getting wet or falling down. 

We thought it would be fun to take Jackie to this restaurant close to the church so we set the gps for the church and then found the road that we took before, we had to ask for directions but found it easily enough.  This is the one that serves huge schnitzels, the Drei Linden.  Jackie ordered fried brie and we ordered one spargel schnitzel (really two very large schnitzels the size of platters) for the rest of us.  Jackie didn’t think Marilyn would eat much but she really chowed down.

We drove back to Jackie’s aunt and uncles house, but went into the store across the street first to buy some snacks for the way home.  Jackie gave us some domino stein, which are a Nurnberg specialty I guess, they are yummy and we will have to find some the next time we are there.

We hugged the girls goodbye and headed home, we bought cheaper gas in Erlangen at a station where everyone else wanted to get gas too.  It was a wait, and we got honked at for being in the street waiting in a line, but we will do anything to save 6 euro cents per liter.  That is 36 US cents a gallon cheaper.  That means that gas was clear down to $9.13 a gallon or so.

We are now at a neighbors house using their internet while they are in the states.  We’ve had a grate day, but don’t know what we will be doing tomorrw, besides the usual cleaning the apartment and washing our clothes.  Hope we can get some appointments.      

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Well, it was a short but tough work week (I’ve got some high-profile projects that I’m managing that are really taking it out of me), but it’s over now.  I’ve got Friday and Tuesday off, so it’s a five-day weekend.

I’ll be heading up to Seattle tomorrow afternoon, and then Mark, John and myself will be heading to Canada, where we’ll be spending some time up Vancouver way.  We’ll be sure and post some pics.

Happy Birthday, Mom!


I’m guilty.  Haven’t posted in a while.  We had a busy weekend with the Lacey Un-Fun Fair (too hot, kids were disinterested this year) and cleaning out our garage.  Regan and Turner enjoyed the pony ride, but other than that it wasn’t fun for us.  Hayden had the Zone Preview for the Dance Festival in Shelton all day and I went to see their performance in the evening.  It was AWESOME.  I can’t wait for the dance festival. 

Cooper has finally kind of started crawling.  He can do it, but I don’t think that he knows he can do it.  He moves has hands, then his knees, then he sits, then he lays then he rolls over.  So he’s mobile, but uncoordinated.  His top teeth are almost in, but not quite.

 Our biggest news is….I cut Regan’s hair.  For some reason I can’t get my pictures downloaded to photo bucket, so I’m putting my pictures in here the old fashioned way.  She looks GRATE.  I love it.  She takes care of it herself.  It so fits her personality now.  Fun and spunky.  I wish I hadn’t waited so long!

I’ll do better at posting.  I’ve just been so overwhelmed again this week and I don’t take the time to sit down and relax and write for a few minutes.  Bad me.


Whoa, that was a lot of curls!


I miss my curls!  No actually, she was crying because the scissors got stuck in her hair and pulled!


Her lovely locks.  We’ll save them forever along with my lovely locks that I still have from my first haircut!


Finishing the cut.



I’ll send more pictures soon so you can see how cute she looks!