Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Auto" Biography #7 - 1998 Grand Cherokee - by Brad

1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Jeep previously belonged to my sister Gail, but once she committed to being a missionary in Papua New Guinea (and couldn't easily take it with her), we purchased her vehicle from her so we could have a four wheel drive vehicle to manage the winters in Wenatchee.

Our ownership of the Jeep was relatively short lived and therefore, few memories were developed. Here are a few facts...

This was the only vehicle we have owned that we could reasonably take off road. I definitely enjoyed that feature more than Lindsey (since she was either pregnant or had a baby in the car).

The brakes squealed really loud... we were told the only option was to replace the brake pads (which still had 50% left) and that might not even fix it. I opted to be cheap and live with the noise. I am not sure Lindsey appreciated my decision.

The Jeep was the first vehicle Wesley rode in (well, at least outside of Lindsey's belly).

Years Owned: Fall 2004 - October 2005

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Auto" Biography #6 - 1996 Jetta - by Linz

1996 Volkswagen Jetta Trek

After my first Jetta went on it's way, I got yet another Jetta to take it's place. My dad searched all over town and the internet and ended up driving all the way to Portland to pick this car up for me. This was the car I had all through college. When I lived in Langely, B.C. I made quite a few trips to Salem to visit Brad. I logged a lot of hours on the I-5 corridor.

I loved this car! It also had a few VW flaws. This time it was exterior trim that fell off. I remember one incident when I was out with my sister and I drove through a large puddle in a parking lot, and the whole front bumper fell off. We got out to see what had happened and the only solution was to wade into the deep puddle, dump the water out of the bumper and stick in the back seat to take it home. It looked pretty funny to have the bumper sticking out of the back window on the way home. But my dad fixed it up for me.

My dad ended up with the car. He took the car as payment for work on our house plans. My parents are pretty gracious to give me a car and then "buy" it back! What can I say, I am blessed...and maybe a little bit spoiled!

Years Owned: October 1999 - Fall 2004

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Few Days of School - by Linz

I have been remiss in posting a "First Day of School Blog"!

Elliott started first grade this year! He is a seasoned veteran at this first day of school business. He posed for the stanard picture by the front door, but the sun was in his eyes and he was itching to get to school. He asked me at about 7am, "Mom, can't I just go to school now?" It makes it much easier to send them off to school when they are so excited to go. Elliott is now walking to and from his class by himself, which means I don't have to get Wes and Spencer out of the car and trek them across the school grounds to Elliott's class. He enjoys feeling like a big kid and I am thankful to wait in the car!

Wesley started preschool this year. About three weeks before school started he seemed really unsure about the whole idea. So we made an appointment to go and see his class and meet his teacher, then he had an orientation day and by the time the first day of school rolled around he was more than happy to go! He told me on the way home, "I will never cry when you leave me there. I can't stop loving it!" I think seeing Elliott head off to school with such enthusiasm helped him to see that school was a good thing! Wesley's first day of school photo shoot was a bit more thorough than Elliott's. A few shots in, Wes was started changing his poses, making little head nods and turns here and there....very GQ!

So that leaves Spencer at home for some one on one time with mom. I am loving this new dynamic. I have noticed on the mornings when Wes stays home, Spencer sticks pretty close to his brother. He has fun with mom, but I can tell that he really misses Elliott and Wesley.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Brothers in Arms - by Brad

While we are waiting for Lindsey to finish the next installment of vehicle posts, I thought I would fill in with a series of pictures she took on our hike last weekend.

Wesley has always hidden or been really stubborn when it comes to picture taking, but that seems to be changing. I think it is starting to be a comedic outlet for him. He is quite the joker (pesky little brother) and I believe he finally figured out how to use the moments in front of the camera to his advantage.

After hiking for a while, Elliott wanted to rehydrate. Maybe Wesley simply wanted a shoulder to lean his tired head on, but it ended up getting playfully aggressive...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Auto" Biography #5 - 1999 Grand Prix - by Brad

1999 Pontiac Grand Prix GT

Of all the cars we have owned, I believe the Grand Prix has been my favorite. Besides the Audi (future post) this was probably the nicest car we have owned. Leather interior, heated seats, Bose sound system... but my favorite option was the heads-up display.

The heads-up display digitally reflected the speed on the windshield at such an angle that only the driver could see it. It made it almost impossible to drive without losing track of how fast you were going. It may sound silly, but every time I took my car to get serviced or washed, the employee who got in to drive it away would comment on how cool that feature was. It was such a cool and practical feature I am not sure why we don't see that on every car today.

(This looks exactly like the Pontiac I owned, but this is not my car... and neither are those skid marks...)

The car had a pretty decent V6 engine that made it move quite nicely. It logged many miles driving between Wenatchee, Salem, and Langley B.C. (where Lindsey was going to college her first year). While our first kiss may have been in the Ford Escort... there were considerably more in the Grand Prix (sorry if that is too much info).

Even though I specifically bought a four-door with the intention of it serving as a family car, we ended up getting rid of it to help pay for a station wagon. Whenever I think about that Pontiac, I make a small wishful sigh of remembrance.

Years Owned: October 1999 - October 2005

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Auto" Biography #4 - 1990 Jetta - by Linz

1990 Volkswagen Jetta (Wolfsburg edition)

This was a pretty sweet first car! Thanks to my brother it had lots of extras...fancy rims, nice stereo system, bike rack and a few more little extras. My brother owned this car first. I was supposed to drive a 1971 international Scout. The Scout was a really fun car too, but significantly more difficult to drive. So I was happy to get the Jetta. In the end the power steering went out and it was really hard to steer, but I looked cool!

The biggest memory of this car is actually before it was mine when I just had my driver's permit. My brother was taking me birthday shopping one day after school. Since he was old enough to count as the responsible driver he let me drive his nice, relatively new Jetta. So I drove to a few stores...no problems. But as we were leaving the mall, there was an intersection where you have to yield before turning left. So I waited for a few cars and then just as I hit the accelerator...CRASH! I didn't see the car at all before hitting it. As it turns out the driver of the other car was a girl that I had met the previous week in a driver's training class...ironic right. Not as ironic as this next part. Right when I heard the CRASH I remembered that at that very moment, I was supposed to be meeting my mom at the DOL to take my drive test.....DOH! I have to say that my brother was not one bit upset about me denting the front of his car....but maybe that made it easier for him to trade for the Scout!

I drove this car for my junior and senior years of high school. When I went off to college I had to leave it at home for my dad to do some work on it. (It was a VW after all!) So the day after I got to college my sister called and said, "Promise not to be mad at me, okay?" So I said, "If you have to say that, I can't promise anything." She proceeded to say that she borrowed and in the course of her travels she was hit by another car and the Jetta was toast. So that was the end of my super cute first car.

Even though it had it's share of VW like quirks: trim pieces falling off, door handles freezing and breaking off, and a few mechanical issues here and there, I was sure that my next car would be another Jetta. I guess I just have a thing for German cars.

Years owned: September 2007 - September 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Wish it Was 90 Degrees All Year - by Brad

For a break from the Auto Biographies... This weekend's weather may be the last hurrah for the summer, so today we decided to get outside and savor the warmth. We took the boys to the Wenatchee River up past Leavenworth (where I took them a few months back).

We headed down the trail and stopped at some elderberries. The boys are always excited to eat strange things outdoors, so they loved it. After feeding many to the boys, I tried some and found they were very sour and probably not ripe yet.

Spencer goofing around for the camera... actually, I think he was playfully hitting at the camera...

Trails? Where we're going, we don't need trails...

After hiking off the beaten path, we found a nice secluded sandy shore. However, it didn't take very long before someone else noticed us enjoying our seclusion and found a way down also.




The highlight of the hike was finding out that the section of the river we chose was a prime location for salmon spawning. The fish just "treaded" water right in front of the beach in the calm water. You may have to enlarge the picture to see that the dark shadows are the fish...

We were startled several times by large splashing before we realized the river was full of huge salmon. We spent quite a while trying to get a picture of one jumping. This one turned out the best...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Auto" Biography #3 - 1965 Mustang - by Brad

1965 Ford Mustang Convertible

With my Ford Escort succumbing to an early head gasket illness, I was in the market for a new vehicle the summer before my senior year of high school. Old Mustangs were now on my radar and we found someone selling what they advertised as a 1964 1/2 Mustang Convertible. There are only small differences between the '64 1/2 and the '65 Mustangs, and I was not aware of these at the time. We took the seller's word as to what he was selling. It was a good price and with my parent's help, we bought it.

(Nephew Ryan enjoying my new car)

With more and more research, things weren't adding up to the description from the seller. Long story short, it turned out to be a 1965 which is slightly less rare than the 1964 1/2, (the first year of the Mustang).

Regardless of the technicalities, now that I got rid of the Escort and had a Mustang convertible, I knew I was cool! Even if nobody else at high school agreed.

Like my other vehicles, this car had it's own share of mechanical problems. The most memorable failure was cruising during Apple Blossom weekend. For those who have never partaken in Wenatchee's cruising, this weekend thousands of people descend on the small city of Wenatchee and bring the the traffic to a standstill from about 9:00pm until 3:00am. It really isn't cruising... it is more like idling in traffic. I was enjoying showing off my car in the bumper-to-bumper traffic when it lost power and wouldn't start. One of my friends had to get out and hold up the very slow moving traffic so we could push it into a parking lot. I had to call my dad at 2:00am to come pick us up. He was very gracious... probably because I got what I deserved - being humbled.

Still, the best memory of my Mustang occurred on May 19, 2001. It is the vehicle Lindsey and I drove away in at our wedding.

We still own the Mustang today. There are many times I think I should sell it because we could use the money for a lot better things than letting the car sit in the garage for an occasional drive. However, the one thing holding me back is the memory from this day...

Maybe someday our boys will drive away from their wedding in this car... or maybe I will need the cash sooner.

Years owned: Summer 1997 - Present

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"Auto" Biography #2 - 1986 Escort - by Brad

I am hesitant to post another "Auto" Biography, because yesterday my truck broke down on the way to work less than 10 minutes after I posted about the old pickup. Very ironic. I was concerned that I wouldn't have much to say in AB#10, but that story will have to wait for later.

1986 Ford Escort L

Shortly before I turned sixteen, I decided that I needed something easier to drive than the old Plymouth, so I talked my parents into letting (and helping) me buy a more "reliable" car in our price range (less than $2,000). After looking around, I finally settled on the 1986 Ford Escort. I had visions of a grand stereo system with plenty of room for thumping speakers in the hatchback.

I couldn't find a picture of my car, but this one looks identical (except that mine had maroon interior)...

A friend helped me install a CD player and some speakers. I ended up buying a 13-inch bass guitar amp and figured out how to wire it to my car stereo. The bass certainly thumped, but I think the car rattling negated any "coolness" I would have otherwise achieved.

I knew my car was kind of a clunker, and I didn't treat it much better than that. We would drive it down steep roads trying to catch air over small hills. The same friend who helped me install my CD player also had a clunker. Once when his car broke down, I pushed him home bumper-to-bumper with my car. After that, we would play bumper cars with each other at stop lights. It probably wasn't smart, but hey, we were only 16 or 17. I found a stick-on "PUSH" sign that you would normally stick on a business door, and I stuck it on the back of the Escort like a bumper sticker.

Lindsey an I had our first kiss in this car.

My only speeding ticket was obtained in this car... although I was pulled over numerous times in it. The last time I was pulled over was because I had blown a head gasket and the car was sending out so much steam that the officer said he couldn't see my car in the cloud of smoke. Of all the harsh treatment that Escort went through, the head gasket was what finally did it in. By that point the expense of replacing the head gasket was more than the car was worth.

Years owned: December 1995 - Summer 1997

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

"Auto" Biography #1 - 1939 Plymouth - by Brad

Between Lindsey and I, we have had many vehicles that we have considered our own. There are memories and feelings that go with each one of our vehicles and we plan to document these in several posts over the next couple weeks. Starting in chronological order...

1939 Plymouth Pickup.

When I was about eight years old, my dad purchased this pickup for $500 with plans that we would fix it up together and it would be my truck. I was excited about this idea until I realized how much work it was going to involve. Although there were many hours spent sand-blasting and sanding the truck, my dad ended up exchanging another vehicle for labor to expedite the body work.

In this picture, the Plymouth still had a few finishing touches left...

This picture was taken shortly before Lindsey and I dated (the first time). Looking back at my style in that picture, I should feel lucky that she even dated me for one month! Anyway... I remember dropping her off at her house one afternoon in the Plymouth and not being able to start it up again. Her neighbor had to come over and help me get it started again.

I also remember attempting to drive it in Wenatchee's Classy Chassis Parade. It was great fun until it broke down right before I was supposed to turn down Grant Road (the main street of the parade). It just so happens that Lindsey was with me to share in this embarassing moment as well.

Unlike the other vehicles I owned as a teenager, I was only stopped once by a police officer in this truck. As we were passing each other (in different directions) my headlights went black. He turned around and pulled me over in a school parking lot. It was the main cruising night of Apple Blossom, so he was especially harsh with me - granted, that is where I was eventually headed. He threatened to ticket me and tow my truck if he saw me driving again that evening. Then he offered me a ride to my friend's house where I was headed. Out of spite I declined his offer and walked the couple miles to where I was headed.

Strange that many of my memories revolve around the truck breaking down. Well, maybe that isn't so strange.

In a round-about way I ended up giving the truck back to my dad. We were probably both a little disappointed that the arrangement didn't work out completely as planned. My dad still has this truck parked in his garage.

Years considered mine: 1988 - 1998 (approx.)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Kid Pics - by Linz

For my birthday Brad got me a new DVD about photographing kids. I finally had a chance to watch it this afternoon. I still have a lot to learn, but there were a lot of intersting points.

They talked a lot about taking photos that show your child's interests and are indicitave of the phases of life that they are in . The idea is to use details and environment to help tell the story.
So with all of my new knowledge I was inspired to practice. Here's what I aneded up with:

Note: I am not showing favortism...Spencer was the only kid at home!

This one will mean more to those of you who know that Spencer has been banished to the top bunk for naps. He kept getting out of bed at naptime, so I started putting him on the top bunk and taking the ladder down...I know, I know it's not a proud parenting moment.

I love little hands. That's a Bob the Builder toy, a favorite around here.

***Now, I am the type who would usually spank a fit thrower, rather than photograph them, but in the interest of creating an acurate portrayal of this phase of life....here ya go! They don't call it the "terrible twos" for nothing!

The wind up...

And the grand finale!
I like this one because everything is washed out which only accentuates his angry, red face.