Monday, April 24, 2017

Coop beats his goal!!

The day after Alex left on his mission (August 29th), Cooper set an awesome goal to read the entire Book of Mormon by the end of the school year.  Around Christmas we printed off a reading calculator and Coop went crazy!

Coop met his goal a month and half early!!!!  He's looking forward to going out to dinner and to a movie with mom and dad as a "reward" to completing his goal.

Proud of this kid!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Week - Christ Centered

Another wonderful Easter week has come to an end!  We kicked of with celebrating Palm Sunday on Palm Monday.  Birch, Nate, and Coop were driving home from Oregon on Sunday so we waited for Monday to start our festivities.
Pork roast, mashed potatoes, corn, and strawberries for Palm Monday dinner

Favorite Easter week activity - Egging a few friend's homes for FHE

Coop putting together our Last Supper lego set

Another favorite tradition - our L.O.A. (love one another) Windows -- lots of love written all over.  I gotta say this week was filled with quite a bit of arguing and unkindness between kids -- nice to have a wall filled with love when I certainly wasn't feeling it throughout the week.

Something new we did this year - thanks to the handiwork of The Small Seed - I was able to print this big poster and each day we read what Christ did on that day and then hung a picture representing the day.  It turned out quite lovely.
EASTER....morning we woke the kids up to our traditional "Hallelujah" chorus form the Messiah.  We dined on french toast, sausage, and strawberries.  YUMMO.
After church we were lucky enough to have the Andersen's over for our Jesus Meal.  Poor Truman had accidentally been given a piece of chocolate at nursery and was needing a breathing treatment due to his milk allergy.  He sure looks like a pro, though.

What a treat to have Ami and Poppi here for our Jesus Meal.  They came in town for the week.  This is my dad's first big trip since his knee surgery back in January.  It was a treat to have them here.

Hazel-nut and Coop enjoying their Jerusalem food.

This year's menu: grilled tilapia, marinated lamb, smoked salmon, garlic/herb goat cheese, grapes, olives, pistachios, dates, figs, pomegranate juice,  chocolate covered pomegranates, honey, naan bread, beef jerky, apricots, orzo, and green salad.  Every year the meal seems to get a little tastier.

Tyler - we all dress up in our Jerusalem attire


A family Easter Egg hunt always ends the night!  And yes, we are ghetto with our plastic bags.

Truman and his favorite Daddy

This kid has got a great smile!

This is kind of a bittersweet picture -- first Easter Sunday picture without Alex. I sure am thankful that families are forever, especially as I feel the temporary hole that Alex leaves our family. I'm grateful for Christ's gift to me.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

72 Hour Kit Nastiness and Awesomeness

Nathan has been working on his Family Life and Emergency Preparedness merit badges.  For his required family project we decided it was time to actually update our 72 hour kits.  We've talked about the need to do this for the past ten years or so but you know, they are way up high in the garage and we all have had about 0% motivation to actually follow through with this need.

So...three weeks ago we looked at the calendar and finally found a day that we were all home for three hours at the same time.  Imagine everyone's glee (NOT!!!) as we each dumped out our backpacks to find them filled with little worms, bugs, leaking peanut butter, diapers, outfits that fit us in our skinnier and smaller (toddler days), and cans of food bulging.  Instead of salvaging much of anything we ended up hauling several garbage bags full of nastiness out to the garage can.  I have to say that Birch and I had a moment of silence as we threw away two 72 hour milk carton kits of food that we made TWENTY years ago in our Institute FHE group.
Nate hauling one of the bags of old bug infested 72 hour kits.
So then Nate and I started doing some research online with pricing out individual items and what we all wanted in our kits.  We decided to take a trip together to Costco to see what their options were.

One our later we were home with eight new 5 day Emergency Preparedness kits for $40!!!

Not bad for $40!!!  They are actually twice as expensive on their website.

We decided that since the food in these backpacks are all freeze dried and in foil packs we should be good with the little nasty bugs this time (we sure hope).  We all picked out our backpack and added ziplock bags (yes, we learned) of an outfit of clothes, toilet paper, toothbrush, medicine, small amount of cash, water filter, and a sweatshirt.

Let me say how good it feels to be prepared!!!  We figure when we send them off to college they can take their backpack with them and in twenty years (how long the food should last) they can each be in charge of rotating their stuff themselves!!  Yahoo...oh I guess, we'll still have to rotate clothes every now and then.

Thanks Nate for the motivation to make this happen!!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Nate the Great - first track meet of the season

Surprisingly, Nate is the first child of the family to participate in track.  This week was his first track meet and wouldn't you know it -- it was pouring rain the whole time.  I felt so bad for Nate in his little track outfit standing in the rain (and kind of bad for myself cheering in the rain and trying to take pictures).  Nathan was really nervous but did great in all four events he participated in.
1600 meter race

Check out that strong finish

4X200 Relay


**not pictured the 800 meter run.  I was running myself kids from activity-to-activity.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Down Time

I think the favorite part of Spring Break was the down time.  Sleeping-in, movie watching, jumping on the tramp, volunteering at Northwest Harvest sorting canned food, afternoon hike at Cowiche Canyon, Chloe's baking projects, reading, a trip to our friend's mini-farm, Nate and Coop's weekend trip to Ami and Poppi's house (while Birch was at a continuing education class in Portland), Chloe being a mom's helper to three little kids, Alysee being a nanny for a family, eating out, a trip to the doctor for an ear infection for Chloe, and games as a family.

Nate and Coop had the best time ever - eating good food, rock climbing at OSU, going to a Beavers baseball game, playing with cousins, going to church, fishing, riding horses, painting, playing games -- that is a lot of stuff packed into two days!!!

I took a group of kids (including all of my kids) to volunteer at Northwest Harvest.  We all sorted cans of corn for two hours.

It was twice as fun since we all had friends to chat with while we were working.

Alysee and Coop were hard workers.

A bunch of moms got together and took like twenty kids on an afternoon hike up Cowiche Canyon.  It was covered in wild flowers and was beautiful.  We hiked 3.5 miles which also passed off a requirement for Cooper's Webelos badge.

The good weather was hit and miss all week but whenever it was nice Nate and Coop were quick to run out and jump on the tramp.  They love making little videos of themselves!

We had the Andersen's over for dinner one night and I made bunny bread.  Sage though it was a human??!!!  I was laughing at it because it turned out to be more of a sponge bob bunny with his two front teeth being so spread apart.

Chloe wanted to bake something every day!  She made these tasty mini-cheese cakes and also homemade Twix bars.

Alysee spent a few days with the Tew family helping watch the kids.  They had a great time at the Pacific Science Center!

Alysee in the butterfly house.
Chloe riding Roohoe, the horse
All the kids got to bottle feed the baby goat.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Kid's Camp - Ditto Style

Years ago Alex put on a kid's camp during Spring Break.  I'll never forget it because he drilled a small hole in my brand new countertops when doing a craft project with the kids.  Ever since it has been a wonderful tradition for the oldest kids to put on a few kid's camps each year.

Alysee and Tyler did an excellent job this year!!!  They caped the session at 18 kids and boy did our house seem full!  It had originally been something that just Alysee was going to do by herself and then when she realized how popular the camp was she decided it was best to hire a few helpers.

Alysee and Tyler broke the kids up into two groups by age.  Both kids are so good at interacting with the kids!

Cooper was hired last minute by Aunti Emi to be Truman's personal entertainer.  Cooper AND Truman had a ball all morning.  Truman loved all the attention and Coop enjoyed having a responsibility and a money making opportunity.

Lots and lots of craft projects

Mentos and diet coke rockets

The best janitor around (check out the name tag) - Nate followed around each group cleaning up after each station and then again once the camp was done.  He really is a hard worker!

Biggest pot of mac 'n cheese I have ever made!  I was pretty busy in the kitchen too -- making lunch for 21 kids, bread dough for the kids to made personalized rolls, and then cleaning up after the crew.

The kids LOVED creating bread yummness!

Happy Campers

Now that's a lot of kids to feed!
I'm grateful for those in the community that trust my kids to look after and entertain their kids.  It has been a great way for my kids to make money and to learn about putting on an event.