Saturday, April 14, 2018

First Climb of the Year

Birch and the boys were guests at the scout campout this weekend at The Feathers in Vantage.  Sounds like it was crazy busy with the weather warming up but they all had a good time.  Nate just advanced from the Deacons and Coop is just shy from being a Deacon - Tyler and Birch came along in order to have the skills and equipment. 
Coop isn't much of a camper but after we finally kicked him out of the door and he got into the great outdoors -- he ended up having a great time.

There were about fourteen scouts and leaders that camped together.  They had a fun time playing catch.

Nate is just finishing up his Camping merit badge and so he was in charge of breakfast and lunch.  Birch says he did an excellent job leading and working along side all the boys.

Breakfast burritos and Costco muffins for breakfast

Birch is so good with all the boys!  He gave years of his life to the scouts and when he was released as scoutmaster our kids were all sad.  I'm thankful that he has still made it a priority to often accompany them on their campouts so they have those good memories with their dad.

Coop scaling The Feathers

Nice job!

Birch cleaning up a route.

And kudos to Tyler who took all these pictures.  He really is quite the camera man!  Tyler was a great help in setting up climbs and belaying for hours.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Run Forrest, Run

Nate just had his first track meet of the season.  He was super stressed about it but did awesome!!!  He competed in three events - 1600 m, 800 m, and javelin.
Starting line at the 1600 m.  This picture doesn't do the weather justice -- it was super cold and RAINY!!!

Nate knew he needed to pace himself better than he had at track camp so he could finish strong.  He really seemed to know just when to kick-it.

Just when Nate needed a voice of encouragement - Tyler ran to the other side of the track and cheered loud for him.  I think it is just what Nate needed.

Almost done!!!

He did it!!!
Mom wimped out and I went to the car for the reminder of the wet, windy, cold meet so I missed pictures of him doing the 800m and javelin.  Really proud of Nathan!  It doesn't matter what he is doing -- Nate gives it his all!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Nate the Great...gets even GREATER

Today was a special day for Nathan.  He was ordained a Teacher today!  Birch performed the ordination and Tyler was even able to join in the circle with Bishop Murdock.  Pretty neat! 
And when did Tyler get to be a foot taller than Birch?  Tyler must have been standing on his toes 😉

Nathan was also able to teach the Elders Quorum/High Priest lesson today with his friend, Hailey Murdock about using the Family History website to do family history work.  Both of them are the ward's youth family history specialists but they have not have too many opportunities to do anything with the calling.  They got together earlier in the week and practiced what they were going to say/do.   Nathan taught the men how to log onto family history, navigate the website, and how to find a name to take to the temple and then how to print the name to take to the temple.  Birch was able to attend and said that they both did a fantastic job!  Nathan was able to bear testimony of the wonderful feelings he has as he has found many family names and then has taken those names to the temple to baptize.   Pretty neat opportunity!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Spring Break -- Packing it all in!

Spring Break was LONG awaited with all the kids!!  Everyone was ready to sleep in, stay up late, read, watch movies, and hang out with friends.  We pretty much did all the stuff PLUS threw in a few other things!

Nate did Track Camp!!!
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings Nathan participated in the high school run Track Camp.  He enjoyed it for the most part.  They ran tons of hills!  The camp finished off with a mini-track meet.  This is Nate competing in the 1000 m.

Nate also did the javelin. 

And the 800 m.
Meanwhile....Cooper was supposed to do Track Camp too but ended up with a respiratory infection and did a lot of this instead.
Cooper was sad to miss out on Track Camp but there was no way he had the energy or oxygen to run.  

He did enjoy a lot of time reading!
Kid's Camp!!

Alysee ran two sessions of Kid's Camp.  We've never done two in one day.  It was a super long day for Alysee but nice to have all the mess consolidated into one day.  Alysee has learned that she enjoys having smaller groups.  Her favorite activity with the kids for this session was an outdoor obstacle course.
Part II of Spring Break...Gardiner, WA
After Grandma Howe's passing away recently there has needed to be a lot of work done up at her home and property.  My parents have been AMAZING in working so hard to clean out, organize, haul off, donate, etc...  I offered to come up with the kids to help at the house for a few days over Spring Break.  This was my first time EVER driving to Grandma's house.  Let me tell was scary!!  Snoqualmie Pass was ultra rainy and even a bit of snow.  The spray from the huge semi's is what I hate most.  But with my five cheerleaders in the back (and Tyler by my side) we did it!!  Birch had to stay and work but the kids really were great in the car.
I never actually walked down to the beach as it was so cold and rainy most of the time or we were too busy working.  The kids enjoyed a bit of beach time each day with Poppi!

One of my favorite jobs was helping to sort pictures.  I am putting together a slide show for Grandma's memorial and so I was taking a lot of pictures of pictures.  I learned so much about Grandma and Grandpa while sorting -- I sure wish I had taken the time to ask more questions and learn more about their life when I could have.  This was my favorite picture I found of Grandma.  I think she looks beautiful!!!  I think this was taken while they lived in Venezuela.

The girls spent lots of time catching salamanders and frogs.

Dan, Kate, cousin Peter (who I haven't seen in YEARS and currently lives in Berlin, Germany), Uncle Pat, Uncle Steve and Aunt Jackie were all at the home as well.  Outside of Steve and Jackie we haven't seen the others for ages.  It was fun to reminisce together. Not knowing what could be done to help some of the time I found it easy to be in charge of a few of the meals.  I was glad that I had cleaned the freezer out with some pre-made meals.  This made it easy to come up with ideas in a kitchen that was pretty barren.
Packing up Grandma's dishes that we always ate on - cousin Eleanor and Laura are splitting this set.

One of Tyler and Alysee's jobs was to photograph everything in the house and then put each item online for family members to look through.  Tyler and Alysee did an awesome job with this assignment -- it was so nostalgic to look through. 

The kids spent hours playing with the marble tree (and begging to bring it home).  It's just one of those things that totally says "Grandma Howe!"  I love that my kids share some of my memories!
 Tyler was awesome to take his camera with him to the beach and capture some cold but fun times.

Another job the kids had was to make and be in charge of a huge burn pile.  They were shocked that they could do it all without an adult watching over them.  I think their favorite part was riding the gator up and down the driveway to get and unload stuff to burn.
And of course, just as we are leaving the sun came up bright and beautiful!!    I'm really thankful we had this time to support my mom and to be of a little help.  
The drive home had it's stressful moments but overall it wasn't too bad.  We took the ferry into Edmonds on the way home.  It was blustery and cold outside.

Wish we could have felt like we were a little more helpful but so thankful we had the chance to work alongside my parents.  I'm looking forward to Grandma's memorial service over Memorial Weekend when all the family will be together to celebrate this wonderful woman!!

Monday, April 2, 2018

The real meaning of Easter....2018

 We had a wonderful Christ centered Easter week this year.  It seems like every year we get a little busier in the evenings than the past year and so it is harder to keep up with the nightly devotionals. 

As usual, we kicked off Easter week with our fancy Palm Sunday dinner. 
Note the palm leaves on the table.
I taught Alysee how to form the bunny bread this year.  She did a great job!  We made two this year and took the other one to a friend that is going through a tough time.

We dined on twice baked potatoes, bbq spareribs, homemade bunny bread, and a green salad.

Chloe made these cute carrot cake truffles for dessert.
This year for our nightly devotionals we did the resurrection eggs.  I've always wanted to make a set for our family but never have.  This year I did it!  It was really simple but provided a short devotional for each night.

I had to get pretty creative with the egg fillers. This is the crown of thorns and whip.

Last sacrament
One night the kids and Birch made resurrection rolls (I had a presidency meeting)

Chloe, Sage, and Mila made cute little bird nests out of rice krispies, chocolate, jelly beans, and marshmallow chicks.

It's hard to keep up with Chloe's crafting and baking desires.  Sadly, I feel like I am getting less fun and energized and she is getting more and more involved in her creations. 
 L.O.A. wall (Love One Another wall) - this is certainly one of our favorite traditions!!!  We write notes of love to our family members throughout the week.

Everyone's VERY favorite activity is going EGGING!!  This year our nights were so full that we ended up doing it Friday night before Birch and I went on a date.  We "egged" three people's homes will candy-filled Easter eggs.  We have several friends that are really hurting right now and so it was fun to think of something little that could brighten their days.
 General Conference!!!
This year General Conference fell on Easter Week.  I made the most delicious monkey bread this year with homemade caramel!
Conference as a family!

Nate and Tyler worked really hard on this OSU puzzle this year for their conference activity.

 Passover Meal - aka What did Jesus eat? aka Yucky Meal
After general conference we were lucky enough to have the Andersens and the missionaries join us for our annual passover meal.  The Andersens call it the "Yucky Meal" because it really did start out as not very tasty but over the years has warped into something much more palatable. 

As usual we dressed in our "Jesus attire."  This year we had marinated and grilled salmon, grilled chicken (cause I was worried the salman wasn't good), naan bread, pistachio,  orzo, olives, green salad, goat cheese and crackers, beef jerky, acai/pomegranate juice, grapes, chocolate covered pomegranates, figs, jicama, and dried apricots.
Truman wasn't digging anything Jesus ate so he had a dairy-free yogurt.

Coop's was interesting.  Kind of a mix of pioneer, Laminate, and Jesus-period.

And Easter also happened to land on April Fool's Day...
We stole this idea from my sister, Leah.  We told the kids the eggs were all hidden and to come on our for the Easter egg hunt.  Check out the Elders laughing in the background.

And there were no eggs...

Love this picture that Birch captured of Emily -- all of us adults thought it was hilarious.  The kids...not so much.  Alysee said, "Is this to remind us that Jesus's tomb was empty?"
 The the REAL hunt!!!
We threw in a new fun thing this year - I found confetti filled REAL eggs at Walmart.  When the kids found one of these eggs they were supposed to chase after someone and crack it on their head.  

The kids LOVED it!!!!

But honestly I think Ryan loved it the most.  It was little a devil uncle out their chasing after kids.

Truman was hilarious.  He thought he had to hit each egg he found on his head in order for it to open.  So he would find an egg and smash it super hard on his head until it would open (each time being filled with candy not confetti) 

Uncle Ryan was out to get everyone!  Everyone decided that next year they want way more confetti filled eggs.

Enjoying their loot!
 It was a really wonderful Easter week!  We were missing Elder Ditto but having the missionaries in our home for Easter made me smile to think we were providing a memorable Easter for a set of Elders.  I'm so thankful that even though our lives are running in high speed we take a moment to think about the real reason we celebrate Easter.