Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kickin' It In The Spring Time

Nate's spring season of soccer just came to a close.  They had a terrific season and obviously had a lot of fun!
 We had some super chilly and windy games but that didn't slow down Nate one bit.
While Nate was running around keeping warm the rest of us were huddled under blankets, eating loads of snacks, cheering on our team, and playing with friends.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bula Ami and Poppi!

Another chapter in the Sherry family closed this month...Ami and Poppi returned home from their eighteen month mission to Fiji.  They served half their time in Ba on the island of Viti Levu and the other part on the small island Taveuni.  Birch and I are so grateful that we had the opportunity to meet many of the people my parents fell in love with and so first hand be able to envision the living conditions, beauty of the island and people, and hardships they triumphed in Fiji.  The physical separation had a different impact with all the interaction our family was still able to enjoy via google chat and skype throughout their mission.   With both of our blogs and many internet chats we still felt well connected we were just missing the piece of actual physical contact.
 The lucky folks that live in Salt Lake City got to be there for the actual flight arrival onto US soil.  Thanks to my sister Leah who documented everything so we could feel apart of the celebration.
 They had a huge shock as they flew in wearing sandals and skirts (yes, both of them) to a spring snow storm.  They spend the next several weeks in Utah with each grandkid's family and had several opportunities to be all together at a baby blessing and 40th birthday party.  Next stop was Spokane to see Emily and Ryan then down to our house.
 We had a great few days together!  They drove in Saturday morning just in time to catch Nate's last soccer game of the season.  Alex loved having Poppi's expertise as he worked on a project for a class.  My dad was a huge help in assisting Birch in installing new blinds in the basement windows, driving Alex to seminary, re-grouting the kitchen backplash/counter edge, and taking the Alysee and Tyler to school as they seemed to miss the bus each day.
My mom was amazing as usual and cleaned the fridge and the major project was de-icing my outside freezer.  I wish I had a before picture so you could fully appreciate all her chiseling.  There was a good six or seven inches of ice on the top shelf.  After she got it all cleaned out I had the pleasure of sorting through my freezer hording and got rid of some ancient food and then even labeled my bins so we actually all know where to find all the goods.  You can also see in the freezer all the strawberry jam my mom and I made out of all the strawberry puree that I had frozen but never used previously.  

 Our ward's primary was lucky enough to have my parent's do sharing time the Sunday they were visiting.  It was their first of many presentations and it was AWESOME.  Since our primary theme this year is "I am a child of God" I asked them to focus on how the children in Fiji live and how Heavenly Father loves all his children no matter where they live.  They did a terrific job and all the kids (and teachers) loved every minute!
It wasn't all work, though.  My mom and I went to her first ZUMBA class (I just started going a month ago), went out for frozen yogurt, played outside, watched this past year's ABH movie, and enjoyed long talks.  

We were all sad to see them pack up Wednesday morning but honestly if it were me I would have been chomping at the bit to get home after having been gone for almost two years.  We're excited to see Ami and Poppi several times this summer!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring Break in the Palm Springs

This year marked our seventh year supporting the high school sports camps that they put on during Spring Break.   However, this is the first year the weather has been A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  -- no hail, snow, or rain to speak of.
 Alysee tried tennis for the first time.  She took from a friend that is a senior in high school and just received his mission call. 
 She had a great time and I think would love some additional lessons this summer.
 Tyler competed in his sixth year at the high school sponsored Track Camp.  Here he is in the 40m Hurdles.
 Tyler finished up 8th Place overall.
 Next was the 1000m Dash.  It had been a long time since Tyler had done any competitive running and he said it was tough to gauge his pace.  He finished 7th place overall.

The last event Tyler competed in was the relay.
Nate and Coop both participated in the high school Baseball Camp.  They had both been looking forward to having Alex be one of the high school helpers but Alex spent the first few days of Spring Break in bed with a nasty respiratory bug.  Nate and Coop still had a great time!!

The second half of Spring Break was pretty uneventful.  I caught Alex's bug and felt awful until about yesterday so my fun energy was pretty dampened.  With the weather being so wonderful the kids were quite self entertained by playing outside, drinking out of every clean glass in the house, and eating all good snacks while I curled up in bed watching old Netflix movies.  The kids all loved having some laid back days and are looking forward to summer break!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Week 2013

2013 Christ-Centered Easter Week did not let us down!  With some pre-thinking the week turned out wonderfully and I think we all were reminded the true meaning of Easter. 

We kicked off Palm Sunday with our passover meal.  Last year we did this on Easter but we thought we would switch things up and do it on Palm Sunday this year especially since the sister missionaries were coming for dinner.  Much to the kids shagrin I decided it would be extra memorable if we all dressed up for the time period.  They grumbled and griped but I won in the end.

The menu is nobody's favorite but some traditions must live on.  We had:  lamb stew, lentil dahl, flat bread, tilapia, pomegranate juice, pomegranate infused cranberries, honey, dates, nuts, figs, beef jerky, and dried apricots.

Lucky for us it was also Grandpa Ken's birthday so we had to finish the night off with something everybody loves -- turtle brownies.  
It It was kind of neat to have our thoughts already around the ressurction and then to be able to celebrate Grandpa Ken's birthday at the same time.
Then we all wrote on the lanterns in memory and celebration of a great man!

This year I sent lanterns to all of Birch's immediate family so we were each able to do our own family celebration.  So fun that on the same night we were all celebrating the light that Grandpa Ken brought into our lives.


We did an experiment illustrating Christ taking our sins on him.  Great idea here
 Red food coloring was added to the water representing our sins.


We read the story of "The Empty Egg" and ate some jelly beans.

The Empty Egg
By: Author Unknown

Jeremy was born with a twisted body and a slow mind. At the age of 12 he was still in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool, and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy just irritated his teacher. One day she called his parents and asked them to come in for a consultation. As the Forresters entered the empty classroom, Doris said to them, "Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn't fair to him to be with younger children who don't have learning problems. Why, there is a five year gap between his age and that of the other students."

Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue, while her husband spoke. "Miss Miller," he said, "there is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here." Doris sat for a long time after they had left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness. But it wasn't fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach, and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read and write. Why waste any more time trying? 

As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. Here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared to that poor family, she thought. Lord, please help me to be more patient with Jeremy. From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy's noises and his blank stares. Then one day, he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. 

"I love you, Miss Miller," he exclaimed, loud enough for the whole class to hear. The other students snickered, and Doris' face burned red. She stammered, "Wh-why that's very nice, Jeremy. N-now please take your seat."

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. "Now," she said to them, "I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Miss Miller," the children responded enthusiastically-all except for Jeremy. He listened intently; his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said about Jesus' death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them.

That evening, Doris' kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse, and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy's parents.

The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller's desk. After they completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. "Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life," she said. "When plants peek through the ground, we know that spring is here." A small girl in the first row waved her arm. "That's my egg, Miss Miller," she called out. The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. "We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, that's new life, too." Little Judy smiled proudly and said, "Miss Miller, that one is mine." Next, Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom, "My daddy helped me," he beamed.

Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty. Surely it must be Jeremy's she thought, and of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another. Suddenly, Jeremy spoke up. "Miss Miller, aren't you going to talk about my egg?" Flustered, Doris replied, "But Jeremy, your egg is empty." He looked into her eyes and said softly, "Yes, but Jesus' tomb was empty, too." 

Time stopped. When she could speak again, Doris asked him, "Do you know why the tomb was empty?" "Oh, yes," Jeremy said, "Jesus was killed and put in there. Then His Father raised Him up."
The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the schoolyard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away. 

Three months later, Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket....... all of them empty.

We watched a sweet video about Christ's resurrection remembering the sacred name, life, and sacrifice of our Savior.


This is always our family favorite -- we went Egging!  Idea found here.


Birch and I went to the temple and so Alysee was put in charge of the devotional.  She shared about Christ being crowned with thorns and then the kids made Crown of Thorn Cookies.  Recipe here


The morning started our early with a reunion of cousins as Sage and Mila drove in Friday night after the kids were already in bed. 
 Saturday morning we headed to a community Easter Egg Hunt -- one of those crazy ones with millions of kids.  Most of our kids were so worked up to find the prized golden egg that they had a hard time enjoying all the other colors.
 After all the kids had a great time playing at the park until Nate's soccer game started.
 Chloe was in Sage heaven.

I love this picture because it shows who wears the pants in this relationship. 
 These girls sure LOVE each other!
 Next it was off to Nate's soccer game.  It was a beautiful sunny day to cheer on our number one soccer player!
 Mila was happy to have Nate as her companion. 
For our nightly devotional we made resurrection cookies with the Andersens.  Recipe and story found here.
Saturday night after the kids were all in bed us adults snuck out and enjoyed some delicious frozen yogurt.  The yogurt was excellent but the company was even better.  We sure miss having Emi and Ryan so close!

We woke the kids up to the "Halliajuah" chorus of Handel's "Messiah" and the kids all ran in to check on the Resurrection cookies.

 The Von Trap Andersen Ladies
 Kind of a lousy picture of the family but we always take one on Easter.  Alex actually had been feeling really crappy so he came home early from church and had already changed his clothes.
 Sunday afternoon Ryan set up our family Easter Egg hunt.  Coop was pretty intense with his hunting skills.
 Chloe was in candy heaven.
 It's so great being an Aunti!  I tried my best to spoil Mila -- I gave her a bottle to use as her sippy cup while visiting, let her snuggle in bed with me, and listened to all her woes.
 Sunday afternoon we had a wonderfully full house with the Cox and Andersen families joining us.  I made my traditional bunny bread which was enjoyed with ham, funeral potatoes, asparagus, and pineapple.
 It was hard to see the day end for these three little ladies as it meant the Andersen's would soon be returning to Spokane and Chloe would be left pining over their departure.
 Our L.O.A. (Love One Another) Walls were full this year with lots of complements about each family member.  Each night after our devotional we all had the opportunity to write something kind about another family member on our windows.

I'd say it was another memorable week!!  We loved having company for the weekend!