Friday, September 28, 2007

Bored...why not LUGE?

I must add that Nate's skateboard is something that Alex and Tyler rigged up for him. It is a piece of mdf board that they attached skateboard trucks to and then spray painted it fluorescent green and white. They originally worked up this treasure for a Sunday night concert where they preformed as the group "Slime Band."
In the luge – the French word for “sled” – the racers start by sitting on their open, moulded fibreglass sleds and rocking back and forth in order to burst out of the start. After pulling away, they use spiked gloves on the ice surface for extra acceleration before they lie down on their backs with their feet stretched out in front of them. Luge racers steer using slight shifts of their legs and shoulders, and brake by putting their feet down and pulling up on the sled’s two runner blades.

'Tis the Season

I ran out of excuses this year as to why I couldn't can anything. Here we live in the "fruitbowl" of America and I have avoided canning the past few years.

I think our house won an award this year though, when myself and two other friends canned 62 quarts of peaches while housing and entertaining 13 children.
I also canned 27 quarts of raspberry jam, five batches of strawberry freezer jam, and have filled our food storage room up with cream of chicken soup, cereal, and granola bars to last us at least a few months. Now I just have to make several batches of pesto out of the basil we've been growing in the garden and then figure out what I am going to do with the bushels of tomatoes we have growing. I keep giving them away hoping that I can avoid everyone's suggestion that I can them. Anyone want some tomatoes?

First day of 2007-2008 School Year

The three kids ready to the start the new school year.Alex is in Fourth Grade this year and Tyler is in First Grade. Alex has had a bit of an adjustment this year with having a teacher that is "all business," doesn't leave much time for smiling, and sends homework home almost daily. He has adapted well and seems to be excelling. Tyler has an AWESOME teacher who is full of spunk. Tyler remarked after the first day that he was surprised that his teacher was "so pretty and fun." Imagine that!!Can you believe it? Alysee started kindergarten this year! It has taken a little bit for her to adjust. Not being a morning girl, I've had to wake her up almost every day and hope that she woke up on the right side of the bed. Know what I mean? She is in an all-day program and learning so much. She has been a little overwhelmed with all she is expected to learn/know but overall she really is enjoy it. Tyler has been such a wonderful big brother and has been "protecting" her from all the big kids at recess. Alysee is such a petite girl and seems to have had several bigger boys that enjoy taunting her. She is learning how to ignore boys...a good thing to learn at this age : )

Nate and Coop love having daddy home with JUST THEM on his day off on Mondays. They have had several fun games of ping pong, mowing the lawn together, and doing house projects.

Is it bad to say that I am enjoying the new school year too? It has been so nice to just take the two younger kids to the library, out for lunch, storytime, visits to daddy's work, grocery shopping, etc... I feel like I am on a date each day with them.

All Brothers' Hike 2007

For the past seven years Birch and his brother's have dreamed, planned, and carried out a fun backpacking trek. This year they went to Mt. Jefferson and did a three day hike. I think only my other sister-in-laws can relate to the great anticipation and joy that our husband's feel through carrying out this tradition. They have made song books, t-shirts, yearly movies, and this year even vinyl letter (ABH) for their Nalgene bottles.
As you can imagine there is also a bit of a sacrifice that each of the wives make in order for this trip to happen. For many years I have been know, I want him to have fun but at the same time being home for four to five days by myself (one year without a car too) with all the kids can be hard. I have to admit that the past two years since they have gone on their hike in September it has really made a difference because several of the kids have been in school. But even more than that change two other things have made a dramatic difference in my support. The first being my attitude. I have made a real conscious decision to not be grumpy about the whole thing. I know how much this tradition means to Birch and I am so glad that he has such wonderful brothers to spend wholesome time with. The other reason is that Birch has also done some really sweet things to remind me how much he loves me while he is gone. Last year he had a bouquet of flowers delivered midway through his trek. The flowers were wonderful but what even stood out to be more was the fact that he had pre-thought out this gift and arranged it all before going on his trek.

So how could this year have been any better? The afternoon Birch left to meet his brothers in Oregon I went to get the mail. There was a letter addressed to me from Birch that explained that on each day of his trip he made, left, or arranged certain surprises to show his love for me. The first day he had hidden some new hot pads, a much needed gift after recently burning my fingers several times. The next day at 3:00 pm a woman arrived at the door saying she was hired to come clean anything in my house for a couple of hours. I know some women may feel that they are only half a woman if they are not the sole cleaner of their house---not me! I have been wanting a housecleaner to come like once a month for the past couple of years. It was so wonderful to smell cleaning solvents and not be the culprit of the smell. I sat on the couch and read a book. It was heavenly!! Then at five o'clock that evening a pizza arrived at the door so I wouldn't have to dirty my newly cleaned house by cooking dinner. It doesn't stop there! Saturday morning I was busy canning o'clock rolled around and a girl that we often have babysit came to the door and said that Birch had arranged for her to babysit for the afternoon. While she played with the kids I cleaned the kitchen up from canning and then enjoyed a couple of hours shopping by myself.

I know this might fall in the classification of bragging...but I think Birch deserves a blog entry on this one. I thank the Lord each day for being married to such a wonderful man!Taken at the Columbia River Temple - September 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

A dollop of our summer

As the weather has begun to cool down this week, I am thinking that it is time that I get caught up on our blog so I can move on to our fall fun. As I wrote earlier this summer our good friends moved in with us at the end of June. We were a full house of nine children (under the age nine) and four adults. This past week their new house was completed and they packed up all their belongings and moved out. The summer of 2007 will go down as one of noise, messes, fun trips, and lots of wonderful memories building our friendship with our friends. Some may be surprised to hear that we are all still great friends and our kids actually have begged that our friends would move in with us again. They loved having a constant playmate!

Here is a sprinkling of some of our summer activities:We had a fun and really quick trip to the Seattle Woodland Zoo with our Seattle Ditto cousins. It had been a long time since our kids had been to the zoo and everyone was a perfect age to enjoy our time there. Everyone's favorite animal was the monkeys!
Coop enjoyed several trips to the park. Yes, he still has a bottle but honestly he normally only has one around 6 am so he can fall back asleep for another hour or so. I keep planning to break that habit but neither one of us wants to give it up.
Tyler loved spending lots of time outdoors--biking, swimming (though he despised swimming lessons), skateboarding, collecting bugs, etc...
Following the Sherry Family tradition, many Sunday evenings at our house are often spent playing croquet.
The kids love Saturday morning bike rides to Safeway to buy a dozen donuts. They just wish Birch would take them every Saturday. Birch puts the youngest couple in the bike trailer and the rest ride their own bikes.
As you can tell, Nate not only loves riding his bike but he also loves baseball.
Alysee enjoying the summer sun on her bike.
Alex has become quite the good skateboarder. But...where is his helmet??
We had a great visual Family Home Evening lesson on "Putting on the Full Armor" of God. I think the kids all really got a great idea of what kind of armor they can put in each day to protect them from the evils of the world.
Alex turned nine years old at the end of July. He loved his new sunglasses and bat.
To celebrate Alex's birthday we went to a family family fun center and did the bumper boats and miniature golfing. We all had a great time together!
Coop loved putting the balls in and out of the holes.
Family shot miniature golfing.
Cooper LOVED Abby, the daughter of our friends who lived with us this summer. As you can see it was hard to seperate the two.
We had a great time going to two different Yakima Bears Baseball games with our friends. Coop enjoyed eating lots of food off of the bleachers--yum!
The kids spent endless hours outside riding bikes, playing in the jeep, and catching bugs.
Nate is quite the bike rider.
You'd think from this picture that Tyler enjoyed swim lessons.
One Friday night Birch and I thought it would be a fun and learning experience to take Tyler and Alex to a nice restaurant and work on our manners. Not only did we enjoy spending the evening with them but the boys impressed us with their nice manners.
Tyler had a great ball season on the Red Hawks team this year.
Alex relished each game day. Both Tyler and Alex loved having Birch as their coach.
The kids had the best time making and floating cucumber boats down the irrigation canal that runs along our property.
One summer morning I took the kids to a fun outdoor water spray park. They loved cooling off!
Nate and Chase (summer roomie) were either best friends or worst enemies. They were both jealous that their older brothers got to play on a "real" baseball team. They loved having access to all the baseball equipment, though.
Tyler and Alex not only love riding their bikes but they are also quite creative. Notice the helmet extensions they added.
About half an hour from our house a real mammoth is in the process of being excavated. We took the kids there to witness this cool event. The excavation site looked just like we were on the set for "Jurassic Park."
Students from CWU gave the tour.
It was really hot so the kids were a bit grumpy by the end of the outside tour. I thought it was such a cool--once in a lifetime experience.
Saturday, September 1st our family plus two other families all made our way to Boulder Cave. We had a great time and the kids were great hikers!
Nate was a great hiker.Since we had thirteen kids under the age nine with us we decided with would be wise to have all the kids hold on to a rope while we went through the cave.
Family shot looking into the bat cave. Alysee had a great time and collected several rocks to add to her "pet" collection.