Weekend Adventures

So, on Friday I went to go see the movie Wall-E.  I won’t say much about it, other than the fact that it may be my new favorite Pixar movie and everybody should go see it.

On Saturday, I went on a nice bike ride.  I decided to go to a part of the city I’d never been before:  First, the Central District, and then over to Beacon Hill and Rainier Valley.  It was a pretty straightforward ride to get to the Central District.  I got a nice view as I crossed the ship canal.

After that, I got to Garfield High School, the same school where Jimi Hendrix skipped class.

After going through the Central District, I wanted to take a look at the light rail construction.  Here’s the forthcoming Mount Baker station.

And I actually got to see a light rail vehicle that they were testing at the Othello station.

And of course, yesterday I made strawberry shortcake.  Yum.

All in all, I had a great weekend.  It’s too darn hot in this house, but the weekend was good. For reference, here was my bike route:

View Larger Map

I’m feeling hot, hot, hot!

I know I shouldn’t complain about the heat. We lived in Arizona for a long time for heaven’s sakes. But we had a pool there. And air conditioning. I was tempted to attend all three wards today just to stay in the air conditioning. But I had to go home and take care of my sick little Turner. He started acting sick at the Cub Scout thing last night, so Dix and I drew straws and I got the short one so I took the other five kids to church while he stayed home and took care of T. He slept in until 11 (and so did Turner!), then he napped on and off during the day (and so did Turner!). He was very fevered and lethargic. And it seems that it would be even more miserable to be fevered when your house is 86 degrees. Poor little dude. His fever went up to 105, but we’ve managed to keep it down with tylenol (which we had to borrow from the Blumes–we were out!). But he just wanted to wrap up in his special blanket (which happens to be my blanket from when I was a baby!).  So we let him fall asleep that way, then we would unwrap him.

The rest of us just sat in front of the fan and ate popsicles today.

The boys discovered that the garage was actually cooler than the rest of the house by a couple blessed degrees, so they went out and played a little ping pong on our newly acquired (given to us by the Blumes) ping pong table.

The windows are all open now and we’ll see how cool we can get the house by morning. I think today was supposed to be the hottest day. Hopefully we’ll have some good weather this week–you know, mid seventies, the way summer weather should be! I’m totally out of bread so I’m doing a batch tonight so that I don’t have to heat my house up in the morning. My kids are dying without bread because of all the strawberry jam we did this week!

Cub Scout Day Camp

Landon had a lot of fun at Cub Scout Day camp this week. I have to say, my big boys were gypped big time. Arizona did a lot of things well, but Cub Scout Day camp was not one of them. It was 4 hours of fun and frolic…at the Stake Center. La-ame. But here it is three full days (8 hours or so each) at Camp Akela, in the woods. They did crafts, singing, races, and got good and dirty. Just the way I like them. Last night they had the family night, so we took the three little kids and met Landon there. (Hayden had dance practice for the dance festival and Porter didn’t feel great) They started the evening with the egg catching contest. They dropped the eggs from a crane about 80 feet in the air.

Landon approached the egg catching area cautiously…complete with goggles and a garbage bag protecting his already dirty clothes. His egg catcher was made out of PVC pipe with some pantyhose as the net. Good theory.

And the egg might have made it, if it hadn’t hit the PVC frame. Oooh, what a mess.

Landon’s buddy Keagan had a more successful trial. His basket full of crunched up bags, and a pillow, and bubble wrap seemed to do the trick. So he got a golden egg neckerchief slide. Landon got a broken egg neckerchief slide.

Right after the egg drop and a picnic dinner, the boys headed out to the “Great Race.” They raced like sled dogs pulling a box full of Landon. Well, Landon’s tribe did anyway. The other tribes pulled their lightest member.

Landon’s tribe made good time and was in the lead, but crashed into another team which sent Landon’s poor mother into a nervous fit wondering if her dear son would ever be able to walk again. But he was fine. The team made it back but they didn’t win.  You can check out the video at 8olivers.blogspot.com.  Mark, why can’t I embed videos on this blog??

End your week on a high note.

We were very busy on Friday with a calender filled from 10 until 5.  I guess that makes up for the rest of our week of failed appointments and people not home.  We will be getting a few people back from the states in the next few days, but another one will leave for a month or so. 

The best way to end your week is with a baptism.  We know this because we have had several.  They are always richly rewarding meetings where you feel the spirit.  We had two members of the bishopric with us as well as two members of the Primary presidency.  I made peanut butter cookies, and I tried brownies again.  This time they were too done, I will never get them right.  It was Emilie Staton who got baptized this time.  She just turned 9 this week.  She is a sweet girl, and we loved teaching her.  We took a picture to remember the day.  Dale got to do the baptizing, he was very pleased.  The last person he baptized was Kurt. 

Tonight we are going over to the Rangel’s again.  They told us they would be a little late so we stopped off at the Campbell’s house to get on the internet and to pick more yummy strawberries for dad’s muesli.  I don’t know what we will do when we have to start paying for strawberries again.  When we get back to Washington I want to put in a proper strawberry patch and then guard it against the slugs and other critters.  It would be fun to have raspberries and marionberries as well.  I already have two blueberry bushes.  We will have our own triple berry pie garden, yum.

Tomorrow dad will be presenting his financial planning lesson for the third hour.  We hope that it will be useful to someone in the ward.  It is always nice when people take his advice. 

We will be going to Katterbach on Monday for me to have an eye test.  It should be a pleasant drive.  It is by Ansbach, not too far, but far enough that we won’t want to get lost and waste gas.  By the way, gas here is now 1.59 euro per litre or $9.74/gallon.  That is the highest it has ever been.  We usually can find cheaper gas than at the downtown Esso, but we have to go to a different city to find it.  Luckily for us we leave here once a week.  Gas in Bayreuth is always cheaper than here – way down to a cheap $9.25/gal. 


Good Times

I thought summertime meant sitting around by the side of the pool, with no thought of what time it is and when you have to go anywhere. But as hard as I tried to get us a schedule free summer, I guess I failed. Part of the problem is that I am afraid I’m going to miss something fun, so I do EVERYTHING that is free or really cheap. They have free school lunch at several of the local elementary schools all summer long and we’ve been going to that. Every Tuesday evening we will go to the children’s entertainment series.  We went to that last night. This morning was the free movie. So we’re hitting all of the free stuff, which in the end will cost us because I’ll have to fill up my tank with gas. So maybe I should just chill out at home for a couple of days, huh?

Also yesterday u-pick opened up at Spooner Farms so we went and picked some strawberries. We had so much fun. I made about 12 quarts of jam last night. Too bad I was out of bread. Porter and Hayden stayed up late helping me. They weren’t much help, but they were good company.

Here the kids are when we were just getting started. Pretty clean still.

Porter found a heart shaped one. Awwwww.

As long as Cooper had a continual stream of strawberries, he was happy. He just chilled out in the stroller for most of the time that we were picking.

After a while he got tired of the stroller and believe it or not, tired of eating strawberries. So I took him out and held him, but he wanted down, so I let him sit and crawl in the dirt (sixth child, remember?) He had a great time, but got a little dirty.

Turner had a lot of fun. At one point he picked up a strawberry, inspected it closely, and proclaimed that it looked like a rear end. Then he popped it in his mouth, chewed it up and said, “Hey, it tooted in my mouth!” What a funny boy.

When we got our two flats semi full, we headed for home. I stopped at the grocery store and picked up some canning lids and turned on the jam factory.  It still smells so good in here!

So this morning, I couldn’t resist the urge to partake in FREE STUFF!!!! We started off at about 9 am heading off to the movie theater for the free movie. We had Marilyn with us, too, so we were quite a crew. We got there plenty early (like 45 minutes early so that we would beat the crowds!). Well, turns out that there were no crowds, but at least we were really early! We watched Shrek the Third, which none of my kids had seen yet, so we all really enjoyed it. On our way out of the theater, there were some representatives from Top Foods handing out a free apple and water bottle for each of the kids. Score! I LOVE free stuff. We stopped at the video arcade to let Turner think that he was playing video games (don’t tell him that they get even more fun when you put quarters in!) for a few minutes. Then I was rounding kids up to leave and I couldn’t find Marilyn and Regan ANYWHERE! Okay, it’s one thing to lose your own kid, but even scarier when you lose someone else’s, too! I checked the parking lot first, then up and down the corridors of the theater. Just as I was getting ready to ask the theater management for some help, Sandy found them in the little photo booth, which was in the arcade. Which was exactly where they were supposed to be. Whew, what a relief.

So then we headed off to go to the free school lunch and got our most delicious pizza. Cooper got his own lunch today and did a pretty good job on it. At that point I was totally exhausted, so I came home for a quiet (ha!) afternoon of….cleaning and laundry. We had a little episode with a neighbor boy who the kids think stole Hayden’s scooter. Another episode when Regan and Marilyn changed the water in the fish bowl. While all this was going on, I baked a batch of delicious bread to go with our delicious jam. I managed to get the upstairs looking respectable by the time Dix breezed through. The YM were going on a 25 mile bike ride tonight, so he and Hayden left just after he got home. They came home a few hours later barely able to walk. Well, Dix anyway.

While they were on their bike ride, I loaded up the remaining five kids and we went to the church for Porter’s Board of Review for Tenderfoot. He was really nervous, but he passed it. So now Porter will start working on Second Class. Go Porter. I was supposed to go play basketball tonight but was too tired, especially considering I have to have Landon at the church for Cub Scout Day Camp at 7:30 am.  So I guess I’d better sign out.  Congrats to all of you who made it to the bottom of this epistle.  And if you want to see any of the pictures bigger (I’d recommend it for the picture of Cooper in the stroller with his feet up!), go to 8olivers.blogspot.com and check it out there. 

You’ll Understand

Those of you who have gone on missions will understand how we feel today.  We don’t have any appointments until 7.  We had some appointments, one person called up and needed to reschedule.  One canceled earlier in the week.  We had made an appointment with a new family earlier in the week, but since they would be the only visit in Vilseck we called and rescheduled them.  Now our Friday has become our Wednesday, we shifted everyone over.  I wish I had someone to make appointments for us.  All they would have to do is make sure they were all in the same area so we don’t have to use so much gas to get around.  It would be nice if they would call the night before and remind people that we are coming.  Well, we have to do all that and it is sometimes a pain.  We all live very complicated lives.  Let’s all simplify.

In another vein we had a nice visit yesterday with one of our German members a very nice older woman who doesn’t understand the gospel that well, but is very sincere.  She can’t believe people still smoke and drink.  We had a nice time visiting her and took her some bottled water to drink which she appreciates in this hot weather.

We were not able to take a bike ride today because I had to go get my bangs cut at the beauty salon.  They kept brushing my glasses and making them dirty.  The only time she could do that was just before 10 this morning.  That doesn’t give us enough time to go out and get sweaty, get cleaned up and be on the road.

I know you guys get tired of hearing from me.  I was happy that when we logged on today there was a new entry, thanks to all who have contributed.  The rest of you, I still love, maybe not as much (just kidding).

Hope things pick up next week.  Things are slow around here and it is hard to find people to visit right now.  Hopefully we will start getting the new members from Schweinfurt soon.

I’m crazy biking man

So as of tonight, I have gone a full week since I have driven.  Every trip I have made has been by bus, by foot, or (mostly) by bicycle.  The weather has been dry lately, so I have biked to work every day for over a week and a half now.

It’s way too late to get fit for the Seattle-to-Portland this year, but next year is a very distinct possibility.  But I was just looking at the map and figuring out local marathon journeys that could be a lot of fun.

I was looking at the various points along the Puget Sounds… to just go to Johnson Point and back would be about 20 miles.  Johnson Point and Dickenson Point would be 40 miles.  Johnson Point, Dickenson Point, and Cooper Point would be 60 miles.  And if I really went nuts: Johnson Point, Dickenson Point, Cooper Point, and Steamboat Island: 95 miles.

Hmm… the latter is almost STP-esque on its own.  Maybe I should stick to the 60-miler.

New Bishopric

I knew something was going on when I saw our chapel more full than usual.  Then I saw Pres. Turner in the congregation, and noticed our own steak presidency on the stand.  Upon examining the buellitain, I observed the speakers as “TBA.”  Hmmmm.  On the stand, I could see several families with many extended family members visiting.  Three in particular stood out to me.  After the sacrament was blessed and passed, I sat down with my family and made my guess who the new bishopric would be.  “Marlatt, Calcara and Dobson!”  I whispered to Dave.  He smiled and said that’s who he was guessing who was being called, too.  After releasing everyone with a vote of thanks, they called the new bishop.  Brother Marlatt is our new bishop.  With Brother Calcara as first councellor and Brother Dobson as second.  Not only did I guess right, I guessed in the right order, too!  I’m very excited for our new bishop.  He’s a great guy and we know him pretty well already.  Dad, I know you know Bob so I knew you’d be interested in this news, too!  We had a nice sacrament meeting, hearing from our departing and incoming bishops and their wives, and our friend Pip sang.  Lacy absolutely adores Pip, and Rose sang right along with her during the musical number.  They had a nice time in church, and at least one of my children was well behaved at all times during the meeting.

We ended up having Pip and her husband Colt over for dinner.  They were delicious!  After dinner, Lacy decided that Pip was her mother and Colt was her father, and Dave and I were her brother and sister.  She really kept the roll play up for the entire evening, not deviating at all from the script in her mind.  She’s my drama queen.  I need to get her involved in youth theater when she’s a little older.  She’ll be all over that!  We walked to the park, flew a kite, and threw rocks in the lake.  It was a nice Sunday today (other than the runny nose and sneezing all morning until the Claritin and Sudafed kicked in).

Quite a 28 hour period

 – Thursday 20 June 3:00 pm to 21 June 8:00 pm

We were feeling a bit discouraged because we couldn’t seem to fill our calendar up for Thursday or Friday.  We only had one appointment on Thursday and we couldn’t fill up the rest of the time. The appointment was with the Statons and we thought they weren’t at home since we had called them several times to verify, but there was no answer.  We decided to go anyway in case they were in the yard, and that they were.  We met the dad for the first time, he had just gotten home from Iraq for R&R earlier that day.  We gave Emily the 3rd discussion and she is excited for her baptism.  We established the date of 28 June, and Emily will be 9, so she will be a convert baptism.  We were excited. 

That evening I went to Nurnberg for the 6th time in the last 11 days, and attended a High Council meeting.  It was great to get to know the stake president better.  He is a district judge and had applied to be a federal judge, but after being called as stake president, he withdrew his application, knowing he was called of God for this calling and if he got the promotion, he would have to move. 

We were frustrated on Friday morning too; we couldn’t seem to fill up the calendar.  We had 2 appointments, but then around noon we got another.  On the way to Vilseck we stopped by Melissa Raught’s home (an inactive member) because we haven’t been able to reach her by phone for several days.  She was there and happy to see us.  We had a short visit, and she told us she tried to go to church last Sunday, as we have encouraged her to do, but the building was closed – Stake Conference.  She promised to come next Sunday.

We next went to visit Jill Henri, a recently arrived member and thought she wasn’t home when she didn’t answer her door.  She lives in temporary quarters and Janet saw her outside, so we went outside to talk to her.  She introduced us to another lady who just arrived and is an active member – her husband an Elder.  We had a nice chat and then Jill asked for a blessing.  I got the new elder, Justin Fees, to assist in the blessing.  Jill told me that she had hoped we would come by because she needed the blessing.  We then visited Lia Nielson who is from Romania.  Her husband has lost his testimony and is trying to drag his wife down too.  He is in Iraq, but we gave a good message about following the prophet.  It was a great meeting. 

We then went to visit Krysti Olsen and boys and had a great visit.  Their daughter will go to EFY and then they go to the states for a month.  They have told us about the Cella family, but didn’t have a phone number, so her 7 year old son Ty drew a map for us.   We had planned on going to dinner at a restaurant and the Cellas live right along the road we were to take.  We found the house and were welcomed in.  The father is a High Priest but they haven’t been to church in 2 years.  We talked with them for about 15 minute and they told us that they want to get their children baptized.  How old are they?  Two of them are 9 and one is 10.  I told them we would be glad to teach the children and prepare them for baptism.  Wow, that was a surprise.  They said they would start coming to church. 

We had a lovely dinner at our favorite restaurant and on the way out I heard some English from a family so we began to talk to them.  They were very friendly and know something about the church.  We told them where the church is and that they are welcome to come.   We had to hurry along to our next appointment, Kati Gage.  Her husband is in Iraq and she is 8 ½ months pregnant.  She has some concerns with her home, so we went with her to visit the landlord and translate for her.  It was really a pleasant visit.  The landlord is very friendly and helpful.  We helped Kati resolve several concerns and we bid them all a good night.  Well, quite a productive 28 hours.  One baptismal date set, 3 new 9+ age children to teach, a new family who moved in and four less active families visited.

We’ve had a a great Sunday, but mom said my talk in Sacrament Meeting was boring.  We had two investigators in Church.  One lady is a neighbor to a member and loves coming to church, as do her kids.  I guess we had better start teaching her this week. 

Love you guys.  Dad