Saturday, July 31, 2010

Minnesota, Day Three

Our first full day of conference was incredibly busy. We were up before 6:00, and eating breakfast by 7:00. I was helping out with an “expo” (LOTS of booths of various topics of interest to GEMS Counselors) and so I worked on setting that up until our mass meeting started at 8:30. I had to use a helium balloon tank for the first time and almost lost my bouquet of balloons THREE TIMES! I squealed and caught the end of the string as it was going up each time. After the third time I decided I was done blowing up balloons and my 7-balloon bouquet was going to be enough for my booth.

Our morning mass meeting consisted of more praise & worship, (which is always meaningful at these large-scale events), and a theme-oriented talk by our executive director, Jan Boone. I spent the later morning and early afternoon at a couple of sectionals, which were great, and then spent the entire afternoon at the expo, working my booth and trying to catch a glimpse of other booths. The booth I worked at was for the Faithgirlz events which GEMS is putting on in conjunction with ZonderKidz. It’s an afternoon event for tween girls and their moms with speaker Nancy Rue and praise & worship team Colleen & Grace. We hope to have a Faithgirlz event here in our area in November! I am super-excited about having this event here in our town! God just has to open a couple more doors to make it happen and we’ll be good to go.

Friday evening we were introduced to the theme for our next GEMS  year, which is “Feed the Fire” and is about being on fire for God and not being “lukewarm”. I helped out with this a little bit and we had a lot of fun learning and getting excited together about teaching our girls about this theme! I think we were finally finished on Friday night about 10:30 and my roomie and I headed back to our campus apartment which we shared with four other wonderful WA state GEMS Counselors. The six of us sat up until about 1:30 a.m. talking, I believe. It was so wonderful! We got to know each other a lot better, shared a lot, and bounced a lot of ideas off each other. I am so thankful to have four more sisters in Christ in those women. We were up again at 6:00 on Saturday morning, so as you can tell, this was the beginning of being very, very, tired.

Pictures from Minnesota, Day Three

Friday, July 30, 2010

Can you see the difference?

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you breaking news! (I feel like I should sing that song from Sesame Street, “One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong”, but I guess that doesn’t really fit the situation here).

I guess I’m in a singing mood. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog post for a whole ‘nother day.

What’s important here is this:





Can you see the difference?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Minnesota, Day Two

The second day that I was in Minnesota, Tami & I got up pretty early, left all her kids with relatives, and headed south to The Mall Of America! Oh my goodness, but did we have fun there!

We had yummy cinnamon rolls, caramel rolls, and coffee at a “famous” place called Tobie’s on the way, and then started shopping! We decided to “go right” so that we wouldn’t miss anything. I’m still not sure that we did see everything, but just about! We had a salad bar lunch at Ruby Tuesdays and a cookie from the Nestle Tollhouse Cookie Company for a snack. (You notice it’s all about the food…well, and the shopping!) We purchased clearance stuff from many stores…except…for…the store where I apparently went temporarily insane.




The American Girl Store.

Unbelievable fun.

You would think I was 9 years old again. I was absolutely gushing and laughing and having a tremendous time. I’m sure Tami was about out of her mind wondering how on earth she got to be friends with me, but as we know, she’s a tolerant gal. Trying to chose gifts to take home for the girls was a task, but we finally got it all sorted out. I came home with (but not limited to) doll glasses, doll binoculars, notebooks, library cards, dollar bills, braces, headgear, and a toothbrush! Yep. All doll-sized. They also had on display a DOLL DSLR CAMERA, but it has been discontinued, so I couldn’t buy it. I would have bought it for myself had it been there!

My other favorite parts of the Mall of America included hanging with Tami all day for a second day and visiting the Archivers Scrapbook Store. I didn’t buy a lot there, but it is such a delight to window shop in a scrapbook store. Talk about EYE CANDY! Yum. Everything I bought there was also on clearance, so I really didn’t spend too much.

Of course we didn’t actually visit the aquarium, the theater, the amusement park, or the food court. I think you could spend a week at that Mall and not really do and see everything. Well, I could.

After the Mall of America, Tami drove me to Bethel University in St. Paul, where I met up with my roomie (Tami’s mom, by the way) and 568 other GEMS Counselors from across the US and Canada. We began with dinner and then an evening of Praise & Worship. Well-loved Colleen & Grace led worship with their band and it was a beautiful, God-glorifying evening which set the tone perfectly for our conference.

Minnesota Day Two Photos

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Minnesota Day One

I believe many of my readers know that I was recently on a trip to Minnesota; part-pleasure, part-ministry. Last weekend was the annual GEMS Leadership Conference in Minneapolis, MN at Bethel University. My dear friend Tami lives about two hours north of Minneapolis in the “North Woods” of Minnesota. I took the opportunity to finally visit her in her world, which is so very different from my world.

First off, I have to thank my folks for taking care of the girls while I was gone. Ed had to work, so during the week, the girls stayed with my parents. Ed would go there after work, see the girls, eat the dinner and dessert my mother prepared, play a little, and go home and go to bed. Nice life, don’t ya think? He did take them to the church picnic on Thursday evening and then took them home on Friday night and kept them for the weekend. On Saturday they all went to the Logos picnic (and were fed lots of yummy carnival-type food for free all day long) and on Sunday after church, my mother once again fed all of them. He didn’t prepare a single meal while I was gone.

He’s cooking tonight.

Anyhoo, I have a few web albums to hyperlink here:

Pictures from my parents for last Tuesday

Pictures from my parents for last Wednesday

My Minnesota pictures, Day One (Wednesday)

Enjoy the pictures!

Tami’s world is different from mine in so many ways. She lives 2/10 of a mile from her in-laws. She lives in an extremely remote area. She beautifully puts up with some pretty interesting characters. She has to homeschool because there are no other options nearby. She shops almost exclusively at Walmart and the grocery store because that’s all there is. (It’s a nice Walmart, though. I went inside to get some sunglasses since I had forgotten mine. It’s waaaaaay better than the one close to me). I am sure I could not live in the situations she lives in. She has far more grace and contentment than I and I admire and respect her and love her all the more for that. She’s still Tami, and stuff still drives her nuts, but I would have drug my husband and family out of there long ago.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fun Stuff

Last week Becca & Elise finished up swimming lessons and they both passed with flying colors!

_MG_4986 Becca got really good at swimming on her back.

_MG_4996 And Elise can now float with the best of them!

This past Friday evening we had the opportunity to visit with very old and dear friends from Mount Vernon. One family had moved away about 12 years ago and we still stay in touch as much as two very busy families can stay in touch. They live in Northern California now. We try to see them every time they come up here (once or twice a year) and sometimes if we’re driving to CA we stay at their home one night one way or the other. Love them. The other family moved away from Mount Vernon about 9 years ago, only to move back 4 years ago, only one year after we left! We stay in touch with them pretty well, though we don’t get the entire family together very often – once or maybe twice a year. Sarah and their oldest daughter have been buds since Sarah was born! She is 17 months older than Sarah, but they get along great.

I had great plans to take lovely family pictures, but you know how that goes. As everyone was walking out the door, I said, “WAIT! I must take pictures!”

_MG_5001 _MG_5003 _MG_5006

Saturday was the Raspberry Festival in town. Such fun and incredible weather. Sunny, but not hot. A perfect day in the Pacific Northwest. We hung out downtown for a while…

_MG_5008  …saw giant tractors…

_MG_5009 …and really cool old cars at the “Razz & Shine” car show. Oh my. This one was a beauty. Someday, when I have a midlife crisis and an empty nest, I think I’ll buy one of these. Who wants to go on a road trip?!?!

_MG_5013 I was pretty infatuated with this here Thunderbird. I took a gagillion pictures, but I won’t make you look at them all.

_MG_5019 I don’t know what kind of car this is, but we thought it was cool with the green grill in front.

And then…we saw it…a 1966 Ford Mustang.

_MG_5021 Does this look familiar, dear big brother?

I was filled with frustration again, 20 years later, at the fact that my big brother totaled his 1967 Ford Mustang when he was in high school. Which meant that I never got to drive it. And I loved that car. My gut aches still to this day when I think about what that poor car looked like after he wrapped it around a telephone pole. Oh, and yeah, we’re grateful he wasn’t hurt and that he’s still alive and all that, but I could have been driving a 1967 Mustang in high school! Instead, I drove:




Except in gold. It’s a 1981 Pontiac Grand Le Mans. Just what every 16-year-old girl dreams of. Thanks, bro.

So, when I have a mid-life crisis and an empty nest, I might buy a turquoise Thunderbird convertible, or maybe a ‘67 Mustang…



… Or maybe this cute thing…

_MG_5025It has cotton candy pink seats and pink fuzzy dice!

But, until then, I’ll be happy with my mini-van that looks something like this:

We have this “Party Like A Preschooler” CD that the girls love to listen to in the van. It has a song on it that goes something like this:

'Cause it’s hard to be cool when you’re behind the wheel,
Of an eight-passenger automobile.
In a big bubble, cruisin’ down the street,
With-a Barney blarin’ and a baby seat.
Hey, it can be done, but I’m tellin’ you man,
It’s hard to be cool in a minivan.

I’m a lucky man I know.
Just wish my wife and kids could fit,
In a ’67 GTO 8 . Ho-ho-ho.
'Cause it’s hard to be cool when you’re behind the wheel,
Of an eight-passenger automobile.
In a big bubble, cruisin’ down the street,
With Barney blarin’ and a baby seat.
Hey, it can be done, but I’m tellin’ you man,
It’s hard to be cool in a minivan.


I didn’t really know I was in love with cute cars until I walked down Front St. during the Razz Fest. Hm. Good thing I am way more in love with this precious cargo I carry in that mini-van every day:


Monday, July 19, 2010

A baby fix

My friend Tamara D. recently had a baby girl! We’ve been praying for this baby for weeks now, as there have been some complications. Thankfully, she was born later rather than sooner, and seems to be a healthy itty, bitty, tiny, little thing. I guess she’s not that tiny, as she’s the biggest of Tam’s 3 babies. But, she was over a pound lighter than my tiniest baby (Elise), so to us, she’s an itty, bitty, tiny, little thing.

Meet Baby Alexandra:


And so I had some fun taking (and editing photos) of that sweet itty, bitty, tiny, little thing when we went to visit them in the hospital on the day she was born.

_MG_4957chocB&W  _MG_4955 PWBW _MG_4923 _MG_4923PWBW chocB&Wwith LOVE Okay, that one was pretty fun. I copied that idea off Becky Higgins’ blog a while back. I didn’t pose Alex’s feet into the shape of the “V” they way it was done on the blog, but I like mine just the way it is. I wish I had pictures of my baby girls’ tiny feet.

Of course, none of mine were quite that tiny…

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Last Sunday we went for a walk

Last Sunday we went for a walk.


We went for a walk near the


Last Sunday we went for a walk near the river. Along the way we saw


Last Sunday we went for a walk near the river. Along the way we saw daisies and


Last Sunday we went for a walk near the river. Along the way we saw daisies and bee hives and


Last Sunday we went for a walk near the river. Along the way we saw daisies and bee hives and a SNAKE!

(Sorry for the blurry picture. I was trying to be fast and quiet. It slithered away as I took the shot).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Blog Design…again

I’m the type of person who rearranges furniture in my home frequently, just because it’s fun. Usually, there’s a minor problem with traffic flow or storage or something that precipitates the rearrangements, but the rest is just for fun.

My most recent blog design was bugging me because I couldn’t have very big photos without cutting them off. So, I messed around with Blogger’s new templates and backgrounds and came up with this. Don’t expect it to stay around too long.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Evolution of the Jump

Last week was incredibly HOT. Like, 94 degrees. It just doesn’t get that hot around here very often. And add to that the fact that it was about 57 degrees the day before…well…us Washingtonians were m-e-l-t-i-n-g (make sure to say that like the Wicked Witch of the West).

Thankfully, we know people who know people who have access to swimming pools. We had a great time!

_MG_4839_MG_4840Let’s try that again, Becca. You were supposed to JUMP!


Thanks for a great day at the pool, friends!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Yard Walk

Every so often, I try to walk through the yard with my camera, documenting blooms, progress, beauty, and whatever catches my eye. Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of aphids, slugs, and disease throughout my yard this year. I’m hoping it is mostly due to the excessive rain and cold temperatures during the months of May and June. While we often have cool weather and rain during that time, it is normally interspersed with nice sunny days. Perfect growing weather. This year has been a struggle for growing things. We had two months of cold and wet and then a week ago went straight to solid heat. It’s stressful for plants, and that makes them susceptible to insects and disease.

Despite the weather, insects, and disease, growth still happened! Perhaps next year at this time my yard will be even stronger and more beautiful than before, because each and every plant had to work for every bloom. But even now, I was able to find the beauty.

_MG_4799_MG_4788  _MG_4759 _MG_4807_MG_4814 _MG_4814_edited-1 _MG_4826 _MG_4830 _MG_4824

I got to thinking while I was writing and considering the difficulties of the garden, that perhaps this can be applied to life. Our life, even. This has been a particularly difficult spring and summer so far for a variety of reasons. Time after time we were faced with challenges, prayer requests, and difficult news from loved ones. It’s stressful. We’ve had "cool and rainy” weather, and yet despite that, God is good. Things grow. There is beauty. And maybe, by next year at this time, we will be stronger because of these challenges and trials.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fourth of July Camping Trip

Last weekend, over the Fourth of July, we ventured out camping with some friends from church. Now, camping isn’t really my thing, but I wanted to let the kids have opportunities for stuff like that, plus our neighbors generously offered their trailer for us so I wouldn’t have to sleep on the ground (in which case we wouldn’t have gone), and going camping is a good way to get away from the constant to-do list, and that is something I *really* needed to do. I thought I’d make a list of the things I like and don’t like about camping.

Like: being with family & friends, campfires, adult conversation, no to-do list, walking, s’mores, no phones, Internet, or television.

Dislike: smoke, laundry, the smoke smell still in my hair after being washed 8 times, spiders, laundry, and smoke.

Check out our pictures, which tell more of the story of our camping trip.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Suessical, Jr.

From June 16-30, our lives were pretty much centered around Horton, the Who’s, the Sour Kangaroo, the Wickersham Brothers, and Gertrude McFuzz. No idea who those people are? Think Dr. Suess. “Horton Hears a Who” and “Horton Hatches an Egg”, “Oh the Thinks you can Think”, etc.

Bethany had the privilege of being involved in our music teacher’s Summer Stock Theater production of “Suessical, Jr.” It’s a Broadway musical scaled down for kids. So fun. So crazy. Every day Bethany and about 40 other kids had rehearsals from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Then Bethany practiced at home every night! We listened to the CD in the car and we peeked as she did her choreography, even though she didn’t want us to. We very much looked forward to the performances on June 29 & 30!

The performances were awesome. It was hard to believe that those kids put on that show after just 9 rehearsals! They sang their hearts out, danced until their feet were sore, and had a TON of fun, all while experiencing a positive stage experience. The directors were awesome. As the Who’s would sing:

“We’re Who’s here, We are Who’s here

Grateful for your directing

It’s true, sir, we’re Who’s, Who, sir,

Thanking Mrs. Dean & Dee

We’re thankful little people saying thank you to you

For helping us with our show

You are great, from all of us Who’s, to YOU!”

Suessical, Jr. web album

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Swimming for the Little Girls

We decided this year that we weren’t gonna pay for the big girls to have swimming lessons anymore. They know how to swim, they know water safety rules, and they have fun in the water. Good enough. The little girls still need them. I managed to get them into two different classes at the same time and they both LOVE it! Anyone who knows Elise knows that she was pretty much born in the water. (No, not literally. She has loved the water since her first real bath, though.) After just 3 lessons, she has started to actually swim. For real. Not very far, but for real. Becca’s a good little swimmer, too. She just needs more practice with technique and she needs to get stronger and more coordinated.That will all come with age. Four lessons left and I bet by the end Elise will be able to swim around the neighbor’s pools with no problem.