Sunday, November 6, 2011

YOU have 2 assignments for ME

I Can't Choose!

Jeff has undergone a major overhaul of his office. The mall owner wanted his space to accomodate a new business that wanted to move into the mall. So Jeff moved his business across the hall to a corner spot and added a some extra room into the deal making it possible to build a conference room. We moved into the space last Monday and it turned out really well. The builder did a great job and I'm pretty pleased with our results. We still have some decorative stuff to work out but living in a small town makes that a little challenging sometimes. Hopefully the next trip to Seattle will help us pick up some of those minor details that we seem to be missing.
In the meantime, I thought I'd take advantage of the timing and change up all of Jeff's family pictures and personals. I took a whole bunch of D the other day and I love how they turned out. I just can't choose which one to put in the office. So ASSIGNMENT #1 is that you get to help me decide. Please leave a comment letting me know which one is your favorite.
I'm still working on the other kids. I'll show some of theirs later.
I have been contemplating putting something vinyl on the wall in his personal office as well. I know that the choices are limitless so, ASSIGNMENT #2 is to leave a comment letting me know about any sayings or quotes that you think would work well in a business/professional setting particularly for his line of work.
There! Now hop to it! Get to work! Let me know what you come up with! :)
Picture #1
Picture #2
Picture #3
Picture #4
and finally Picture #5

I think that #2 is my personal favorite. That's the one that I'm leaning towards. Isn't he such a handsome little man? He's growing up fast, that's for sure. I guess they all do.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Unfulfilled Expectations vs Lofty Goals

I am the ultimate example of unfulfilled expectations. While I was growing up, gaining wisdom and experiencing the things that would ultimately shape my own vision of my life, I had such high expectations for myself. I was going to conquer the world, not so much the peoples of the world but literally the world itself. I wanted to climb the Jungfrau,
kayak the Perth River
and trek to the South Pole. I wanted to dive the Great Barrier Reef,
Hike up to Machu Pichu and Heli-Ski Cordova, AK.

I wanted to squeeze every last drop out of this earthly experience--all before I got married.
I guess I did sort of want to conquer the peoples of the world too--in a way. I wanted to serve a mission and teach them about Jesus Christ. I wanted to convert them ALL. I wanted to do this because I really do believe in it and I hope that other people can come to this same knowledge. I also wanted to save the world from their own stupidity--their own political nightmares that they have chosen for themselves through ignorant choices and lack of sound understanding. I wanted to show them a better way; A way that would allow them so much more freedom to be who they want to be and do what they want to do. Lofty goals? Hubris of the young? Naivete? Or all of the above?

Maybe somewhere along the road I woke up and realized that this wasn't the plan that my Heavenly Father had for me. I had other, albeit more mundane things to accomplish.

The only problem is...

I still want to do these things!!!

I realize however that this will never happen, probably none of them.

Maybe this is why I push my kids. You see, I KNOW what kind of potential they hold. I know that there really is no mountain too high or job too big for them to accomplish. They simply need to be inspired---and prepared for ANY road that they might find themselves on. I never want them to be afraid to reach out and grasp their dream. I never want them to give up on something that is truly important to them. I also push them to be spiritually prepared, so that they will know and recognize what the TRULY important things to reach for are. I realize of course that this requires a fine balance to be struck. Too much pushing results in the all-to-familiar digging in of the heels while too little pushing results in the enabling, lazy, lounge-about who accomplishes zero goals because they don't even bother to set any. Hmmmm, it is quite the dilemma.

I guess when all is said and done I would rather error on the side of too much! How does the old saying go? "Reach for the Moon and even if you miss, you may land among the stars. I may not have done all of the things that I wanted to but I have climbed the Great Wall of China and I have stared over the edge of the Cliffs of Moher and I do hope that someday Jeff and I will be able to serve that mission together. Robert Browning once said, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp--or what's a heaven for?"

So, my endearing (or is that enduring?) kids---It's back to the books for you! You have moons to reach for and mountains to climb--and all of my unfulfilled expectations to accomplish so that I can live vicariously through you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stony paths--Strong Shoes

The old Irish proverb says:

If God sends you down a stony path,
may he give you strong shoes.

Life rolls along pretty calmly for the most part. Most of the time we try to avoid the challenges that are in the middle of the road. But there are times when you can't, and must therefore put on your "strong shoes" and just plow through.
We wear our own shoes out. We haven't placed enough rubber into the "souls". That is when the extra layers are added onto our "souls" by Someone who has tread this road before and who knows what those rocks feel like.
The rocks never go away...

They simply become a part of you. They help to shape who you will eventually become. They become a part of your soul.

Eventually when you have reached the end of that stony road, you can look back and see how far you have come.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Random Summer Sampler

There are just so many things wrong with this I can't decide what to list first. I guess with two older sisters and an older brother who is just so happy that he's not the littlest anymore, things like this are bound to happen. Let's just say that I'm pretty sure that THIS little boy will not be having the typical wedding-photo montage. There is just TOO much ammo like this to go around. I'm afraid he'll be warped forever.
P.S. Shhh! Don't tell Jeff--This will be too much for his poor manly sentimentalities. They might just have to take away his "Man-card" just for having a son be subjected to this by his over-zealous sisters.
Lest we be too hard on those said sisters, I walked into their room the other night to find this. Raise your hand if you've ever been guilty of the same thing. Osmosis?
When my amazing sister was here while Jeff and I were in Ireland, she painted the kids rooms. She gave them their choice of whatever they wanted to paint. Each of them helped with their own rooms. Andrew was super excited about his Space-Cosmos room. It takes up two of his walls and part of the ceiling where Jupiter overlaps. It turned out pretty fun. The glow-in-the-dark painted stars are an extra-fun bonus. I still need to add a couple coats of that to make them really pop. They are pretty faint still. But, Andrew loves it. That's the important thing. I'm hoping to finish it off with some vinyl decals on the dresser that we found and repainted. Then redo his comforter and wahlah--happy six-year old.
Here's Addy's girly-girl pegasus. Since we still had the wallpaper up in the girls room that they are sharing now. Heidi did these downstairs in what is now the family room. We have plans to eventually add two rooms down here so that all of the kids can have their own rooms. Hopefully that will happen before she turns 14 or else the theme Addy chose might not be quite so exciting to her.
Kaylee opted for the English country cottage and the fairies. She loves it---I'm just not sure for how long. Hopefully for my sisters sake, a very long time. Isn't my sister awesome! Oh, if only I had half the talent that she has!
We spent a fun day on the water at Heyburn. Since we missed most of the summer last year it took a bit to get the kids broken in again on the tube. They were a little wimpy, I must say. On the flipside, Kaylee was super close to getting up on skis. She tried a few times and is so close but couldn't quite make it. A new prop on the boat for next year and we'll have her up and running in no time.
Ky-Ky may not have wanted to ride the tube but he sure had fun eating those cherries--pits and all. Sure-fire way to add a little ruffage to your child's diet.
One of the funnest days this summer was our trip to Silverwood. The kids earned tickets from a reading club this past year and Jeff and I found some deals on Craigslist. We had a blast--so much fun that I hardly took any pictures at all. This adorable one of my babes will have to suffice. The kids and Jeff had a rolicking good time in the wave pool while Ky napped and then waded and jumped a few little waves. We all decided that our favorite ride was Tremors. Of course the kids stepped off that ride white-knuckled and almost spitting-mad at their parents for taking them on it and vowed that they would not be going on any of the other big coasters. They hated it as soon as we were off of it until the end of the night. Then finally after a good nights sleep, Kaylee was overheard telling her brother, "I think Tremors was the best ride-don't you? We're gonna have to go on that again next year. It was fun!" Talk about revisionist history!
The girls joined 4H this year and really loved learning some new things. These were two of the skirts that they made this year. The projects were great but I swear the paperwork for the fair and stuff just about killed me. Don't you think they did a great job though.
The glare on Addy's picture does not do the skirt justice. It turned out super-cute. It is a wrap-around skirt with a ribbon waistline. I didn't have enough fabric on hand for the skirt so we pieced it into stripes. It was a lot more work for my girl but it sure turned out cute in the end.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Visual Latin--fate???

We are going to try something new for Latin this year. I'm hoping to use the Visual Latin program that a friend told us about. I was just about to pull the trigger on the purchasing it when I stumbled upon a random blog that happened to be giving away the same program. I guess I'm hoping for Fate to step up to the plate and deliver me a nice, little bonus package. I'm not a gambler by nature which is a really good thing since I so rarely win anything. Wouldn't it be nice though! Maybe then I could justify buying that pair of sweet boots I saw the other day. I guess even if I don't win the giveaway I can still enjoy the newly found Blog. In a world where most people think a family of 6 seems quite large--their family of 12 must send shocks and chills down peoples spines. It's fun to see how families and individuals manage, adapt and overcome--no matter how large or small they are. I think at first glance we all may say, "how in the world do they do it?" or even, "I could never handle all of those kids" but in reality we probably don't give ourselves enough credit for adaptation and figuring things out. So go ahead--start procreating! You can do it (too)!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Irish Diplomacy

Irish Diplomacy...
is the ability to tell a man to go to hell so that he looks forward to making the trip.

This must have something to do with the lure of the Blarney Stone.

As to the question of WHY the stone became synonymous with the ability to flatter with great diplomacy we learn that the Earl of Leicester was commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to take possession of the castle. Whenever he endeavoured to negotiate the matter McCarthy always suggested a banquet or some other form of delay, so that when the queen asked for progress reports a long missive was sent, at the end of which the castle remained untaken. The queen was said to be so irritated that she remarked that the earl's reports were all 'Blarney'.

Now, just in case you didn't know...

There is definitely a world of difference between "Blarney" and "baloney".

"Blarney is the varnished truth. Baloney is the unvarnished lie. Blarney is flattery laid on just thin enough to like it. Baloney is flattery laid on so thick we hate it. I firmly believe that if the world had a little more Blarney and a little less baloney it would not be in the mess it is today."

"Balooney is flattery laid on with a trowel. Blarney is flattery laid on with the lips; that is why you have to kiss a stone to get it."
Monsignor Fulton Sheen According to The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue,the Blarney Stone is a triangular stone on the very top of an ancient castle of that name in the county of Cork. It is extremely difficult to access; so that to have ascended to it, was considered as a proof of perseverance, courage, and agility.

First you have to climb the MANY steps up the narrow, winding towers. (In my case, I got to climb it twice)Then you work your way around the top of the battlements keeping one eye on the spectacular vistas all around you and the other on the uneven rock underneath your feet.

Can you see that small hole at the very tippy-top, just underneath the battlements? That's what you will be hanging over in order to kiss the stone.

Relatively recently they have installed some iron safety rails but believe me, this is not something that someone who is afraid of heights will want to be doing. It is a long way down and you are definitely feeling vulnerable.

There were two previous buildings in this spot. The first was a wood building built in the 10th century. In 1446 the third castle was built by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster. The Keep of this building is still standing today.

(ignore the blur-focus on the inside of the keep. This would've been the great room.)

We do not know for sure the actual source of the stone or how the legend of kissing it came about but there are several legends that might shed some light on the subject. My favorite one says that Cormac McCarthy supplied Robert the Bruce 4000 troops to help defeat the English in the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 and as a thank-you gift the Bruce gave part of the Stone of Scone to McCarthy which was then later incorporated into the battlements of Blarney castle and is now known as the Blarney Stone.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

...Into the deep end!

My little man went off the diving board for the first time today!!! This is a big event for a 6 year old. This simple event was so important to him. He was so proud of himself. He and I went and watched the "big" kids jumping and diving off the low and the high dives. He had decided that maybe he would take a few days to practice in the shallower area first.

The power of EXAMPLE is a very powerful thing, however. Belle decided that she wanted to go. She convinced Bear to go with her. He didn't want to be left out. I think it would have killed him if they had gone and he had to watch--feeling like a coward. I thought that maybe he might chicken out once he got on top of that board and looked down. Not my little man! He was ready. No hesitation. Just one, two, three GO! (Weeelll, maybe a little bit) My heart was in my throat. We've been working very hard this past year on his swimming. He tries super hard. Sometimes he's doing all of the things he's supposed to but he's just not moving. It's like he's swimming in one place. I knew he COULD do it. I just hoped that HE knew that he could do it. You never can tell what a person is going to do under pressure. Is he going to PANIC? Or is he going to rise to the TOP and glide over to the side like a champion? I guess that's why we sometimes have to just take a deep breath, (half)close our eyes and let them jump into the deep end. I'm just SO glad that I didn't have to dive in after him.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Full Circle

Life has a way of moving along so peacefully. A quiet stroll along the railroad tracks of life can bring a family closer together--just watch the progression.
It starts off so beautifully...

but wait...this interesting developement has disaster written all over it. OK--maybe it's not sooo bad--at least if we have the proper amount of support.

Ooooh! What have we here? An added element of danger is creeping in to menace the unsuspecting innocents.

hmmm, they don't seem to mind
...or do they? This doesn't seem quite as fun as I thought it was going to be. What happened to all of that peace, love and happiness and why the freak does she keep dunking freezing, cold water all over me? What the...????
Ahhhh! Balance RESTORED! All is once again good in the world.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Amsterdam-City of Contrasts

Oh Amsterdam,what an amazing city you are--in so many different ways.So quaint and perty with the canals crisscrossing the city and the row houses lined up on either side showing off all of that gorgeous art deco stylings. Your beautiful flowers and yummy open air markets. Your friendly people and incredible art. Your Anne Franks and Ahhh yes, and then of course you have all that good pot and infamous red-light district. There is just something so amusing to have so much history and culture mixed in with so much...what do I call it?

A trip to the market was a must. Just look at all of those different shrooms. Elsewhere I'm pretty sure there would be nothing but food on the mind but I learned that in Amsterdam--nothing is as innocent as it seems.

Mmmm, the bread was heavenly!

So are the Cannabis lolly's---or so I'm told.

We tried to get some bulbs to bring home but they have to be very particular to make it through customs on the way home. Aren't they gorgeous?

Oooh! The Cheese is to die for! I'd love to take a hunk just about this size home with me. Instead all we could manage was a piddly pounder of pesto cheese--but oh man was it ever yummy!

It is true about the bikes in Amsterdam--crazy and all over the place. This was one of my particular favorites.

We stopped for a bit to people watch in the large, central square. We got to see birds crap on people's hands that were crazy-ie. dumb-enough to feed them from their hands.

We even got to see Spiderman get busted by the cops! Usually in the main town squares all over Europe you'll have one or two funny "statue" people waiting for a handout. Here, in this square, there were probably 20 of them all over the place with all kinds of costumes on. Waiting for all of those sucker tourists to get a picture or something.

Sad! Italians get to be known for gelato (ice cream) and the Americans get to be known for what? Hot dogs--from a can no less!

If I happened to be a drinker, I might have brought this idea home to Moscow. I'm pretty sure that we could make a fortune here in this bike happy, college town. If you look close up on the bridge (click on the pict. to make it bigger) you'll notice a big long bar with stools along both sides. Every seat just happens to have pedals to go along with it. They call it a "Beerbike". Whenever you want a drink you just hop on and everyone starts pedaling. It's a mobile bar on wheels. Talk about drinking and driving!

Took a boat ride along the canals. Loved all of the bridges and funky architecture there. A lot of modern mixed in with very 17th century.

Dinner was "typical Dutch". and we loved it. Very delish!

Then came all of the "after-dinner" entertainment. I'm pretty sure that we should have probably gotten back to the hotel before the sun went down.----Cause truth be known, it's not just the red-light district that you have to worry about. Just about any street in town can have a little surprise waiting for your unsuspecting eyes behind street-level glass doors. Let's just say that they DO NOT leave much to your imagination.

Anyone need to do a little "family planning"? I have to admit, We laughed for quite a while about these babies. SERIOUSLY??? We thought about getting the Eiffel tower one--just for a souvineer. Rats, too bad they were already closed.

This is definitely as close to the red-light district as my camera was going to get. But let me tell you----They call it a red light--for a reason. When I picked my jaw up off the floor I couldn't help but be so incredibly sad by this whole scene. They say that it is all in the name of "freedom". Freedom/liberty, has never been for those who take it as a license to do anything that they want to. Sadly, someday, these snares that people deliberately walk into--just because they can--will spring shut, and they will have a heck of a time getting out again--to enjoy real freedom.