Monday, December 13, 2010

Just What We Needed - by Brad

Like most everyone else we have been completely swamped this fall. There are probably several things I could post since our last entry, but maybe I will find time to revisit those later. Saturday afternoon we got dumped on with snow. This was just what we needed to slow us down a little. We ended up with about 10 inches by the end of the day. Typically when we get this much snow it is really dry and powdery, but this time it was perfect snow to play in.

We tried making too large of snowball for the base of the snowman and when we rolled it down the slope of our backyard, it broke apart. Instead of starting over, we just started turning the broken snowball into pieces of an igloo. Ever since I was a kid I thought about making an igloo, but I could never get the dome top to stay in place. This snow was perfect for building and it worked just right. It may not look pretty, but it did the job.

Wesley kneeling in the doorway...

It was roomy enough for Lindsey and the boys to crawl inside it...

That evening Lindsey and I dropped the kids off at her parents' house so we could go Christmas shopping. We thought it would be crazy shopping on a Saturday night, but the snow kept most of the crowd away. The streets were awful, but the stores were mostly empty!

Sunday after church Lindsey had a meeting so Aaron and I took the kids up into the hills where four-wheel-drive and chains were required. There was a perfect hillside for sledding and we all had a blast. 

Aaron came well prepared. He added extra excitement for the kids by bringing wood and gasoline to build a fire at the top of our sledding hill.

Monday, November 29, 2010

November Snow - by Brad

In the last 10 days we have received several inches of snow. Probably more snow than I remember seeing in November. We are supposed to get another 4-8 inches in the next 24 hours. Even when there was just enough snow to cover the grass, the boys were wanting to get out the sleds. In the past years, Wesley and Spencer were a little apprehensive about sledding, but this year they were all in.

I helped the boys make a small snowman (not pictured). They came running into the kitchen wanting a carrot for its nose. Not more than 15 minutes later, the snowman was toppled and Wesley was eating the nose...  

All three boys making tunnels in the deceased snowman...

After the second snow, we made a sledding course along side our house. The route is probably about 175 feet long... if you count the 15 feet they slide into the street. The boys found a couple pairs of old ski masks for some added goofiness...

A nice series of snow-in-the-mask. At least Spencer is still smiling!

And a couple pictures I thought were cute...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Halloween + - by Brad

Yeah, this is a little late, but here are a few pictures of the boys carving their pumpkins...

And the finished products...

Here's the trick-or-treating crew. We drug these kids around the neighborhood to about 25 different houses. We have a motorcycle man, firefighter, pirate, little house on the prairie girls, and a robot (kind of).

This doesn't have anything to do with Halloween, but the other day, Spencer moved a chair up to the sink, tore his pajama shirt off, threw it on the floor, and started doing dishes.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Boys Weekend - by Brad

Lindsey headed to her annual "women's weekend" in Leavenworth with the ladies in her family, so I had the boys to myself from Thursday through Sunday (I think that's more than a weekend). I had a fun time with my boys. Thursday afternoon one of their friends came over and played for the afternoon and then I took them to Awana while I had music practice at church. Friday I took the older boys to school and Spencer and I had a nice morning running errands and visiting with my parents for an hour or so. After we picked up the boys from school, they decorated their wooden boats for the Awana "Yacht Races" event. One of the highlights was that Elliott and Wesley got to race each other. Elliott ended up taking second place for the second year in a row. He got a nice new trophy for that.

Saturday morning I woke up to a hideous sound that I thought was the smoke detector. After I smacked it around a few times I realized it wasn't the smoke detector, but it was Lindsey's arm-band running light equipped with an attack siren. Spencer somehow got to it and set it off. Of course he went running and I was left trying to figure out what was screaming at me. Once I was up and awake, I made our traditional Saturday morning pancakes... but I forgot to add the butter when I made the batter. Luckily when I slapped enough butter on the cooked pancakes, they didn't taste bad. After breakfast we headed to Riverfront Park and I let the boys play around and burn off some energy before we picked up the promised McDonald's for lunch.

The leaves were falling and the boys decided to make a game of catching the leaves before they hit the ground...

Throwing acorns at dad...

Some goofy poses...

After the Happy Meals I gave Wesley and Spencer haircuts, bathed them, fed them dinner, played games, watched movies, went to church Sunday morning and waited with anticipation (and scrambling to clean things up) for Mom to come home.

A couple funny dialogues from the weekend...

Spencer came downstairs with his eyes a little watery and looking a little bloated.
Me: Did you just drink my coke, Spence?
Spencer: No... BELCH.

Monday morning before school started I walked by Elliott's room as he was getting dressed when he stopped me and said, "Dad, I only have one pair of pants because you forgot to do laundry this weekend!"
I am pretty sure Mom was laughing in the background.
To which I replied, "I know, I know, I'm am definitely not as great as Mom."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Elliott Turns 8! - by Brad

Catch up post #3. Elliott turned 8 a few weeks ago. His cousins from Spokane came over and celebrated with the rest of our family. There was a slight dragon theme to the party, hence the viking hats... I guess dragons wear viking hats. (it was actually because of the movie How to Train Your Dragon and they are vikings or something).

Grandpa came over on his motorcycle before the party and gave Elliott his first ride. Elliott loved it. They rode for almost a half hour and I think the only reason he wanted to come home was that his cousins were waiting to play with him.

He certainly is growing up. For some reason the following picture caught my attention. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon at the grandparents house and our bellies were full from lunch. The warm fall sun was shining through the window and Elliott was relaxing on the floor reading the Sunday comics.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

End of Summer - by Brad

Catch-up post #2. As summer came to a close, we tried to get outside a few times to do a little hiking. We had one excursion that took us through sage brushy hills, through a barbed wire fence marked no trespassing, down a long dirt road toward the river. We didn't quite make it down to the river because when we took one step off the road, Elliott heard a rattlesnake hiding under a rock. We couldn't see it, but I poked a stick at it a few times to see if it would keep rattling... it did. So an executive decision was make NOT to drag everyone through waist deep rattlesnake infested sage brush. For some reason I enjoy hiking in this type of terrain. Lindsey makes fun of me and calls me Moses - leading his family through the dessert.

Spencer in the desert...

We made another trip out to our favorite spot on the Wenatchee River. This is one of the few places we can find a sandy beach around here. The salmon were spawning and jumping and the kids were running and having fun with their friends. Side note: This is the same place where the dead fish dissecting took place. No nasty pictures this time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First Day of School... a little late - by Brad

Life has been very busy the past month. I am going to try to catch up in the next couple days...

The first day of school (a month ago) was the start of Kindergarten for Wesley and second grade for Elliott. Wes was very excited for school to start and would come home running around the house shouting about how much he loved it.

Since the older boys experience the excitement of buying new school supplies and the first day of school, Lindsey planned to take Spencer out to breakfast with her dad. They took Spencer to breakfast in Leavenworth where he got to eat a giant pancake (his favorite breakfast food). He ate the whole thing even though he already had breakfast at home before.

Then they took him to a Harley store because Spencer loves him some motorcycles. Apparently they told Lindsey to let Spencer sit on any bike he wanted. He tested several out. Thankfully no purchases were made.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blessed - by Linz

I started my morning with this Facebook status:

Some mornings just feel like one giant struggle to get out the door.

It was a rough morning. By the time Brad kissed me goodbye and headed off to work, Elliott was moping about not getting to play DS, Spencer was on his bed, naked and screaming about not wanting to get dressed and Wesley was crying because he got a stray hand to the cheek. I thought for sure, the day could only get better. And it did...but not before it got worse.

Not thirty seconds after Elliott and Wesley got in the car after school there was yelling, tears and arms and legs flying with the intent of injury. My bad morning had in fact turned into a bad afternoon.

Once Brad got home things started to improve. He has some sort of calming effect on the boys...something I secretly envy. Unfortunately, Brad had a meeting this evening and the positive influence of his presence quickly faded. Relaxing TV time quickly turned into fighting and an early bedtime for the boys.

But here's where the day got better. Oddly enough it happened after they were all asleep! When I went into their rooms to tuck them in and put away their books and turn off lights, it hit me. It happens even on the worst days. After the long hours of broken rules and unkind words and enforcing discipline, they win me over. After a day of feeling like an inadequate, overwhelmed and frustrated mom, I look at them sleeping and all I feel is blessed. And then I pray that I can remember this feeling even in the chaos that morning is sure to bring!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Linz & Trophy - by Brad

It is Elliott's 8th birthday today and so far the most excitement has been driving to get donuts and Elliott realizing that he doesn't  have to use his booster seat. I would post more about Elliott and that mushy stuff of how good of kid he is, but I had this post all ready to go...

With the older two boys at school, Spencer has only one person to entertain during the day. Lindsey. She is the audience for his entertaining as well as the brunt of his disobeying. While I am at work, I miss out on many of these moments. I would probably forget most of these if it weren't for Lindsey's documentation process... texting.

For historical documentation purposes, here are a few of Lindsey's text messages to me...

- Someone peed into our bathtub!

- I think I need a vacation from Spencer.

- Spencer's being super funny.

- Spencer came up with a bra and squeezed it and said, "honk honk... can I wear this today?"

- Spencer just asked me if God is dead or alive. Then he said well who is died? So I said great grandpa. Then he said how did he died? Now is he in heaven? Where is heaven? Is it at grandpa's church? It is at the bowling alley? Hey, can we go bowling?

- I tried to tell Spencer in a very serious voice, "stop touching things". He just stared at me and said, "Woah. You talked like a robot." I can't stop laughing.

- Spencer's latest creation. Cellophane flip flop!

- (unrelated to Spencer) I smashed a HUGE fly in the kitchen... and maggots came out. I almost threw up!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Trophy - by Brad

About a month ago, Spencer and I were relaxing on the floor of my bedroom talking. I asked him if I could call him "Spee" for a nickname. He said no, so I asked if I could call "Bradley" since that is his middle name. Again, he said no. Then he looked at me with a half smile and said, "You can call me Wes."

I explained that since his brother's name is Wes, it would be very difficult to know which one we were talking about. So he proceeded to say, "Then you can call me Elliott."

Again I jokingly explained the same story with Elliott's name. So Spencer looked around the room for a few minutes and finally said, "You can call me... Bookcase!" He so cleverly came up with that nickname because we have a bookcase in our bedroom. So I declared to his brothers that from now on we would refer to Spencer as "Bookcase". They all got a good laugh out of that, and after using the name Bookcase for a few minutes, he decided on a new name.

The object of his new nickname came from what is sitting on top of the bookcase. Once again, Spencer (or, Bookcase), looked at me and said, "No, now you can call me... Trophy!"

This nickname sounded a little more promising than Bookcase, so I again declared that his name officially be changed to "Trophy".

Since then, Trophy has enjoyed his new name. Several times when I would call him "Spencer", he would stop and say, "No, my name is Trophy." At first, he told Lindsey that only I was allowed to call him by his new name. Then he decided that he wanted her to call him Trophy as well.

When Lindsey asked him to clean up some toys, he didn't do it (typical). When she asked him again, he said, "I didn't hear you 'cause you didn't call me Trophy."

Lately he has been telling everyone to call him Trophy. It's not a bad nickname, I guess. He seems pretty adamant about the name, so I guess we'll see how long it sticks.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Hungry - by Linz

As I was driving back from a morning run with a friend we saw a man on the street corner holding a sign that read: JUST TRYING TO SURVIVE. HUNGRY. GOD BLESS YOU. The hungry part of the sign was in big, bold letters.

We were stopped at the red light and my friend dug through her purse to scrounge up seventy-five cents. As we drove away she commented that she felt bad that she only had seventy-five cents. And then we talked a bit about how hard it must be to have to humble yourself to asking for change just to get a meal.

Later that morning, I was running errands and I saw that the man was still there. I decided to run in to Safeway and pick up a few groceries and take them over to him. I took the boys into the store and we got bagels, bananas bottled water and a candy bar. So I pulled around the parking lot to where he was standing and carried the groceries over to him. Before I could make it all the way, he put up his hands and said, "NO". Ummm. I was kind of surprised so I just stood there for a second. He then said, "I am not accepting any food today." So I commented that his sign said he was hungry. "A lot of people have tried to offer me food, but I am not taking food today." ...Umm, Ok... Then as I am walking away he asks me, "But can you spare any change." I said NO, and walked away...probably not the most gracious move, but I wasn't in the mood to try to help him anymore.

When I got home and told Brad my story, he was not the least bit surprised. I just don't want to have to be so cynical about who really needs help...but the guy that I tried to help, didn't really need help. I saw him the next day jogging to his corner while listening to an Mp3 player.

Now I don't know what to think!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer Winding Down - by Brad

Summer has been winding down for us since the week at Pearrygin Lake. We have stayed busy since then, and now we are trying to cram in some last minute summer fun before school starts next week.

We worked on a project on one side of our house that has been bugging us for several years now. We needed to dig up some dirt and weeds, lay down weed barrier, and then haul a couple truck loads of basalt rock to dump on top of it. Thankfully it only took a couple evening because I had the help of my dad in hauling about 40 wheel barrow loads of rock up our front steps. Now we have the other side of the house to do... but we are waiting on a little more concrete before we finish that part.

It was election day around last Tuesday, and I was signed up at work to close the ballot drop box in Leavenworth at 8:00, so Lindsey and I made a date night out of it. We dropped the boys off at her parents house and she made a picnic dinner for us to eat at the waterfront park.

Last weekend Lindsey went shopping in Seattle with her sisters, so my brother-in-law brought his two daughters over and stayed the weekend with me and the boys. We headed up past Leavenworth on the Wenatchee River and saw the spawning salmon. It gets a little stinky up there because when the salmon spawn, they die. The kids were excited to play with the dead fish washing up on shore. I had told the boys they could bring their knives with them - assuming they would carve sticks or something. Nonetheless, the knives were used to desecrate the dead salmon.

I got to go golfing a couple times in the last couple weeks. I played rather poorly, but it was still fun.

Feeling that our summer was slipping away, Lindsey and I took Elliott up to the water slides in Lake Chelan. The younger boys aren't adventurous enough yet to go on the water slides, so they had a fun time at the river with Grandma and Aunt Gail. Elliott got his nerve up and decided to try the most advanced slide in the park. A skinny tube that is pitch black inside so you don't know when you get water in your face. Since it is skinny, you have to lay down, which makes you go faster. He loved it and wanted to keep going down it.

After the water slides, we picked up the other two boys and then we prepared to head to the drive-in movie theatre to watch Toy Story 3. Apparently the drive-in theatre in Wenatchee is one of the only remaining drive-ins operating in Washington, and it sounds like it is going to close this year, so we though we should probably take the boys. A short conversation took place that evening in the car...

Lindsey: Are you boys excited to go to the drive-in?!?!
Wesley: Yes.
Elliott: No you're not
Wesley: Yes I am
Elliott: No you're not
Wesley: Yes I am
Elliott: No you're not, your eyes aren't big enough.

This coming from the boy who is a expressionless as his father.

At the drive-in we indulged in snacks while we waited for it to get dark enough. We had borrowed Lindsey's dad's truck, and were all snuggled up in the back. The only problem was that they broadcast the sound over the airwaves and we couldn't hear the radio very well from the back of the truck. The kids still enjoyed it and it brought back some good memories for Lindsey and me.

School starts next week! Elliott is starting 2nd grade and Wesley is a kindergartner! We had a school orientation last night and they are both excited to start. Lindsey now gets to spend time with just Spencer. They are growing up.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pearrygin '10 - by Brad

This was the fourth year in a row that we have vacationed at Pearrygin Lake. In the past years we have gone with my parents and pitched a tent on their campsite. This year, we borrowed Lindsey's parent's trailer and got our own site. Our friends, the Andersons, brought their boat up and stayed with us.

With a boat on the lake, we got to do a few things we hadn't done in the past. We went tubing and tried wake boarding. Lindsey did great wake boarding... I couldn't even get up. After trying several times and drinking half the lake up my nostrils, I decided that tubing was all that I was talented enough to accomplish.

On our last morning at the lake, we got in some of the most active fishing we had ever seen. Aaron and I had the six kids in his boat and had two fishing poles going. After three hours of fishing, we had let the kids reel in about 40 fish. Every time we would cast our the bait we would have a bite within 30 seconds. This was the perfect conditions for the kids to be able to reel in as many fish as they wanted. We let many fish go so we only had to walk away with nine rainbow trout.

Since we caught a few crawdads last year we made a couple traps to set out. However, with two crawdad pots over 4 nights, we only caught two crawdads. This prompted Aaron and I to take a late night raft trip on the lake armed with nets and flashlights. We had really good luck catching them this way. The only problem was that we forgot to bring a bucket with us. We ran out of space in the pouch of the raft and the crawdads kept getting out and pinching on Aaron.

They turn from a brown color to bright reddish-orange when boiled. We shelled them and dipped them in butter and seasoning.

The kids did a lot of bike riding, so it was common that they kept their helmets on...

In Winthrop, my dad treated all of us to ice cream and mini golf...

We took the Andersons out to the smoke jumpers base for the tour. Of course the best part of the tour was getting to play around on the airplanes...

Aaron was a great entertainer for all the kids. He came up with a "most interesting rock" contest when we had some down time...

Even though we couldn't have a campfire at our site, Aaron found a way to cook the smores. He setup the portable grill and we made smores over the propane fire...