Saturday, October 24, 2009

Birthday time!

Hi all,

October is a big month in our house as well as our extended family. We have two children, two nephews, one niece and one aunt that have October birthdays. Not to mention many friends! And both mom's brothers have anniversary's that month as well! It is BUSY! but loads of fun.


This year the kids didn't have any big time celebrations with friends. We had to make due with what we could as a family, which is kinda nice. Baking cakes in our tiny oven, decorating with birthday banners and finding a place to keep secret gifts was a bit difficult, but we managed. Not to mention having a place for the uneaten cake! Counter space is lacking.



Toley's birthday came first. For her birthday we had a big breakfast, opened gifts and we went to see "UP". Good thing about being near a military post, they are always showing movies way past their prime! HA! so, we got a chance to see a fun movie that we missed when it came out (save for Z man who went with his friends). And the fact that we got to ride our bikes there made dad happy :) After that it was dinner of her choice. That is always a challenge for Toley because she likes so many things. She chose spaghetti and meatballs. YUM!







The next birthday was Z-mans who I am now going to call the BFG (big footed galoot!). The BFG is also a book by Roald Dahl. He is one of Toley's favorite authors and the BFG is one my favorite books. BFG in this case stands for Big Friendly Giant. He is way funny and one of my favorite lines is when he says, "Am I right or am I left?" HA!........anyway just go and read the book!


OK, back to BFG. He had a less eventful birthday. What can you do to entertain a teenager in a 31 foot RV? Pretty tough. But he got his big prized gift - the extended versions of Lord of the Rings - from mom's parents. So we spent most of the afternoon watching how they made costumes, created sets and thought up ideas. It was actually really amazing how it was all done; what was fake and what was real. For dinner we had BFG's favorite meal - pizza! His day was continued into Sunday as he donned his new Packer jersey from dad's mom and watched the Packers win! It was a good weekend for him.


You know what you get when you mix three big goofballs with one rainy day and an "I'm bored" attitude? WRESTLERS! That is how we spend a lot of our time, wrestling in this tiny space. It is a bit frightening, as you can see by Pooh's face! And I am sure BFG is going to love seeing this picture of him in his sisters hat posted for the world! Sorry BFG!



Anyway, the day was fun. BFG is getting closer and closer to the ceiling and closer and closer to flying the coop! That is both a happy and sad thought for me. But that is life!


Our last fun item is a "flip" that Pooh made of BFG talking like Gollum. For those of you that might not know, Gollum is the little creature that follows Frodo all over the place in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Lord of the Rings Trilogy. It is a bit scary, but a pretty good impression if I do say so myself.



Enjoy the day

mom


video

Friday, October 23, 2009

Comments

Another dull post from Dad w/o Sue's exciting editing.

I just wanted to thank you all for your comments. We don't always respond to them, but we do read and appreciate them all.

Now, we realize that it is not easy to post comments. For whatever reason, this site seems to make it quite difficult. I believe they try to protect each site from "spam" and those who leave random comments. We have had a couple instances of comments unrelated to the site.

The easiest way to post comments is to click on the "comments" link at the end of the post and write your comment in the space provided. Then, using the drop down box, click on Anonymous. If you have a website that you want to reference, you could use that as well, but Anonymous is the easiest (Mom). Once you do that, click on the Preview button. That will bring up the comment as well as a window of blurry letters that you have to type to validate the comment. Once you type in those letters, you can click "Post Comment."

Another way you can comment is to become a "Follower" of the site (See Handyman, Lanny, Ray, etc). Their posts seem to get uploaded.

Sorry to those who've unsuccessfully attempted to comment. Hope this clears it up.

Peace,

Dad

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mount St. Helens

Hi I’m Kik, I am 8 years old and I’m writing about Mt. St. Hiwens. First we packed all our stuff and got into the rental car (the car we’re borrowing, Kik loves rental cars!). We took a long drive and I played with my CD player. When we got there we went to a fun place called the visitors center. We saw a sign: No Pets, No Water, and No Food. We went to play with fun stuff, you could go under a pretend Mt. St. Helens and they had pretend lava. Then we got to go to a movie. We got to sit in the way front.



The movie had a earfquake, real. It had a volcano too, there was tons of smoke. We got in the car again and went to another visitor’s center, it wasn't open, but we got to go play at a park. We played cruise ship and got to go down a slide on pretend rock. It was really foggy and you couldn’t see anything. If you look out toward Mt. St. Helens it looked like the end of the earth! While my big brother and sisters took funny pictures, like the one of Toley on the mountain, Mommy, Daddy and I got to go on a little hike through the woods.
We had a fun day.
~KIK

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Favorite day reprint

I posted this blog once before, but there were some issues with the pictures I had on there. They have been edited and I printed this again. Unfortunately, it only posts as you write, so I can't go back and post it where it was originally. So, if you have read it before, skip it!

********************************************************************************

I had a favorite day a few weeks ago that I have been wanting to write about, but the grumbling got in the way :) We aren't quite past the grumbling, but getting better. Lots of warm sunshine does wonders.



Anyway, it was Sunday and we had just gotten home from riding our bikes to the post chapel for Sunday service. The weather was overcast and about an hour after we got home it started to rain. It was a definite day for indoors. Problem being is that our indoors is pretty tight and we relish the chance to be out.



We did make the best of it though. It happened to be my day to bake bread. This is a relaxing time for me. As many of you know, we grind our own grain and I make my own bread. Well, in all fairness Dad and Z-man grind grain since we have a hand grinder. We brought it with us, along with a 50lb tub of wheat berries to grind. We clamp the grinder to the picnic table (thanks Jen! those clamps work great!!!) and grind away. The boys usually do enough for bread - 8 cups - and another 5-8 for the freezer to use to make cookies, cakes or whatever.



While I was doing that, the family was watching a movie. The week before we were in the same sort of predicament. School was done, rain was everywhere and we thought we would watch something. We couldn't find a thing. You know how it is, you go through the 100+ movies that you have and there isn't anything! It is kind of like when you go through your closets or the pantry and nothing jumps out at you. So.....later that week, my dear husband and I biked to the store to look for movies that were cheap that the whole family could watch. Just something new to see.



That is harder than it sounds. We had a lot of trouble. I did find Sense and Sensibility for $5, so that was cool, but not everyone agreed :) and then I discovered the "musicals" section. I grew up in NJ and my mom took us to musicals all my life. I love them. They are so fun and I always came out all happy inside, singing and dancing albeit poorly!! So I went through some of the musicals, but they were picked through and I couldn't find anything that interested me. Then I spotted Fiddler on the Roof. I don't think I have ever seen this before. Although I did sing it in 8th grade chorus!



So, to make a long story even longer.... we proceeded to watch Fiddler on the Roof - 3 hours I might add - while I baked bread. It was a great day. It was super to have the whole family under one roof enjoying something together, even if it was on the TV!



EVERYONE liked the movie! Rare treat! Even Kik likes to watch the man sing. The man who wrote it is from Ukraine, so we reminded Kik that one of "his people" wrote it. That is a direct quote from him "his people". Too funny! Anyway, it was warm and dry inside and the bread rose just like it was suppose to. The recipe I have makes three medium size loaves, so as soon as they were done we all got a taste of warm buttery bread! What a treat. Not to mention the fact that Fiddler on the Roof is now one of our family favorites. Everyone is happy because, before that, I was totally hooked on Pride and Prejudice. Pooh is my pal on that one as we both really like it and vote on putting that one in all the time. We are usually overruled.



Just another day in the life.................a most enjoyable day!!



XO Mom

Leavenworth

Wie Gehts! Finally, I’m in the mood for writing, sorry it took me so long. I have just finished making myself some homemade Spaetzle with leftover German gravy. Along with a glass of apple cider, I am ready to go.
I remembered looking at a Family Fun magazine while Kik was at a doctor’s appointment. I read about a place in Washington called Leavenworth, it was a replica of a little Deutsch town. I had forgotten what it was called and so I googled a little German town in Washington. I quickly found it and showed the family and we decided to take the trip one day.
We loaded into a van we were borrowing from friends, and headed through the rolling hills to Leavenworth. We drove past the Wilkommen sign to the town, the houses looked very German. After parking across from a Starbucks (I guess they couldn’t go that far) we took a stroll through Leavenworth.
They had lots of different shops, hotels and restaurants, they even had a maypole. Some of the shops just looked and were in fact very American (like starbucks!) but some were wonderfully done. They had a hat shop, wood shops, chocolate shops, a fudge factory, Nusscracker shop, a Russian shop, an Australian shop and even a huge store called Kris Kringl “where it’s Christmas all year long.” We didn’t even cover all of the shops, in the hours we stayed.
They also have Oktoberfest, although we weren’t there on the right day. I was disappointed that no one spoke German and I couldn’t use my leftover Euros while Z-man was disappointed about how expensive Schnitzel was. He ended up buying a pretzel while J-Pooh, Kik and I had some “Eis” (Ice Cream.) It was tasty, although not as good as I’ve had it. Altogether we had a great time and it brought back great memories. I myself prefer to think of myself as German, since I really don’t have a home town.
Auf Wiedersehn!
Alles Liebe Von
Toley

Saturday, October 17, 2009

He provides...

In light of a seemingly disproportionate number of negative blogs that I’ve written, I have decided that I need to write on the positive aspect of enjoying God’s provision. To quote Paul, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4: 11-13)
When we arrived in Seattle, we had to decide how to visit the many friends that we have in the area. The first was our former Pastor and family in Bellevue – Pastor Jim and Pam Rehder. The Rehders introduced themselves to us when we arrived in Puyallup in 1998 within about 5 minutes of our pulling into the driveway after having driven across country from West Point. We ended up attending the Lutheran Church where Pastor Jim led the congregation. Anyway, when we got to Seattle they welcomed us with open arms and offered for us to take their van to use the entire duration that we’re here in the area. We eagerly took them up on their offer and used the van to go to Leavenworth, WA – a neat little “Bavarian village” in eastern WA that Bird claims she will describe in another blog.

Our second trip in the van was to Pike’s Market in Seattle. Pikes Market is a neat market that covers about three street levels across two or three blocks. Z-man, Kik and I did the Space Needle (above) while Mom and the girls did the market. After an enjoyable afternoon in sunny Seattle, we returned to our vehicle, fresh halibut in hand, to find a mounted officer standing by the van. My first thought was that our parking time limit had expired, but upon reaching the van, discovered that the passenger side window had been smashed and our GPS and Z’s I-pod had been taken along with the 3-way power splitter and the tuner to run the IPod thru the car stereo.

So how does this demonstrate the appreciation that Paul spoke in Philippians? Let me explain. First, the Rehder’s reaction to the fact that their van had a broken window and the cost to get it fixed was exactly what the deductible for their insurance. “Don’t worry about it – it’s about the third time it’s happened to this van.” They truly had compassion for our situation and were not the least bit bothered by the fact that they had to get their van fixed.

Second, how God has provided in our time of “loss.” This is another long story, so bear with me. While driving the Alcan, our bikes took a beating. I love the fact that we can ride our bikes all over the country and most of you know that I kind of like to bike, but the bikes have really been beaten up. One day I needed to true the rear wheel on my road bike. While doing that, the nipple broke thru which means that the whole wheel is shot. A new wheel is pricey – sending it to AK is especially so. When I described my dilemma to Mom’s brother Russ and asked him to check out a new strong wheel for me, he immediately offered to send me a new one that he had and did so immediately. Receiving that new wheel and being able to ride the road bike again was wonderful!

Another bike story…my mountain bike’s shocks have been “shot” since a very wet ride in Hyder, AK. I finally decided to bite the bullet and get the shocks fixed. The bike shop described the process of doing so and estimated two weeks and $250. While I went to pay, the technician started messing with the bike and hung it up by the front wheel whereupon water started coming out of the shocks. By continuing to push on them, they continued to “excrete” water. After putting out about a cup of water, the shocks seemed to work again. Turns out that the water was causing the shocks not to function correctly – money saved $250.Last, but not least, we decided that we needed to replace Z’s Ipod. With the connector that he has, we use it quite extensively to listen to his myriad of tunes thru the RV’s stereo. Z, in particular, was upset about losing his collection that he had painstakingly developed over the last couple of years. Once again, when we told the story to Mom’s other brother, he immediately offered to help pay for another Ipod. Without any prompting, we were again provided for.

So, in light of the frustrating break in of the van, we had enough funds to pay the cost of replacing the stolen items and an example of loving your neighbor. We are continuing to learn to live knowing that He will provide.

Peace...Dad

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Liard Hot Springs

After driving thru most of the Yukon, we left Teslin, YT to head down to Liard river a.k.a hot springs. Dad and Mom went to the exact one 18 years ago. Before Z-man was born! This was a very long time ago.
On the way (Z was driving) we ran into some Bison, not literally, on the side of the road. We were excited and took some pictures of them. We kept on going and saw a couple more. Then we hit the jackpot, a couple miles down the road. There were about 50 in all! Kik wanted to know if they could kill you and Z wanted to know if we could stick the dog out there. We saw a couple calves and some Bulls knockin` heads. Then one started crossing, and we tried to go, but then others followed so we were stuck. Boy they're slow! Some just stepped out into the middle of the road, yadadada and just stand there! “Move it buddy” When we finally got through, we kept on going to our destination.


Liard hot springs is has two sections. The ‘alpha and the beta’ pools. They are out in the middle of the woods, and they STINK of sulfur! Mom and dad didn’t think they smelled that bad, but we kids did. The Beta pool was closed because there were too many bears nearby. Yikes! That was pretty comforting! Z wanted to go see if they were hangin` out in there. NOT! When we got there Mom said “Oh ya, I remember this, it looks pretty much the same” and Dad said what he always says “Really?”


When Kik got in the first thing he said was “Aw man! It stings!” Ha!!! It was just like a hot tub which is one of Kik`s “Fravorite” things ever! After about an hour we started getting a little hot, except for Kik. But, we headed out to the RV anyway, smelling like rotten eggs. Which really….stunk! But the warm hot springs were great, especially on a chilly day.
TTYL!

Pooh

You Know You're In Alaska When

During our stay in Alaska we came across some funny signs, sights and um...animals. We took a few great pictures and put them in to a collage for all of you.



Enjoy!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

monsters in the night.................



We are enjoying our stay here in Washington. Everything is so green from all the rain, which we are enjoying as well :)

Our dog, Konig, is rather large and takes up A LOT of space in our RV. So, he usually spends most of his days and nights outside when we are camped for a long period of time; which for us is more than one day! We have a great kennel for him and he loves to be outside. He has a long leash and can come and go as he pleases in our camp site.

Things were just as I said the first night we were here at this particular campsite. We were all in bed and Konig was too - outside in his kennel. About 1:30AM he starts to bark. Now this isn’t shocking, especially when we are in a new place. Every new noise seems to stir him and in turn wake me up. I open the window, yell, close the window and go back to sleep – hopefully!

Well, this particular night was no different. I did what I said, but he wouldn’t quit. So I turned on the outside porch light and took a look out the window and there, up a tree was a raccoon! Cute little guy, and BIG, but at least 8 feet up and clinging on for dear life. I brought the dog in and watched through the window as the raccoon climbed down the tree and hightailed it into the woods to join the other one (which I saw from a distance). I tried to get a picture while he was in the tree, but couldn’t get the camera to work in the dark without playing around with it and that took too long.

The following night was quiet and uneventful and I had hoped that the thought of a dog lurking about was enough for the raccoons to stay away, but I was wrong. Last night Konig wanted to sleep inside. So we brought him in and all was well. Not for long……….about 2:30 I hear this shaking sound. It reminded me of someone shaking a box of cereal or a puzzle box. I couldn’t quite place it in my sleeping stupor, so I listened for a while as I woke up. I have always been a light sleeper and wake up to just about anything. I suppose that is why all our children didn’t sleep through the night until they were, well, OLD! I would hear them cry and in I would run. I totally failed baby sleeping 101 that is for sure!

Anyway, as I am listening to this shaking noise I start to think that someone is in our compartments underneath the RV. We have ample storage and it is located directly under our bed. I go into the main room and turn on the flood lights that light up the back of the RV, thinking that if it was a person they would run off. I go back into our room and look out the window and what do I see…. a raccoon with Konig's dog food container! YES! He was dragging it into the woods and that was the shaking sound. It is quite a large container, holding about a weeks worth of dog food (4 cups a day – you do the math, I don’t want to) . It was amazing and he was going pretty fast. Little monster!!! So, being the good wife that I am, I woke up my husband. I asked him if he was willing to go outside in the cold and get the dog food back. He is a good sport and hightailed it out there with a marshmallow poker stake and a running sneaker as his weapons of choice.

The rest was uneventful. As soon as the raccoon saw him he scurried away and my brave husband grabbed the dog food and put it in the RV. I still can’t get over how bold they are. I have read and heard about them, but to see what they can do – wow!

I hope that this is our last raccoon tale, but I have a sneaking suspicion it is not!

See ya
Mom