Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Change

No, not that change… I’m not old enough to be experiencing “personal summers”! I’m changing the blog.

Okay, I’m still pretty new to the blogosphere, and I may not have fully found my niche yet. But I know this.

I’m not here to:
  • Sound off on current events
  • Tell everyone how to behave
  • Warn you all about the dangers of ball pits, aspartame, wealthy Nigerians who need your help moving millions of dollars from their homeland, or Formosan Subterranean Termites in your bark mulch. Snopes has definitely got the corner on that market!
  • I’m especially not here to subject you to introspective, self-obsessed, navel-gazing, ramblings.

That said, here’s a little peek into my head, about why I’m moving the blog.

Homes Cooler.

(Homes Cool. Home’s cool. Homes-Cool. Homes Cooler. Home’s cooler. Homes-Cooler.)

Yes, it is. Exactly. But not unique enough. I tried at least four or five times to get a configuration that wasn’t already in use, just on blogspot alone. So, maybe that’s my ego peeping through (who knew?!) but I would like to have a name that is a bit more unique.

Also, yes – we are one year into homeschooling – but that does not sum up who we are. That is not our whole identity! Our identity is in Jesus.

The blog is really for our friends and family. If you’re not our friends and family, go ahead and have a look. :0) Leave a comment and say ‘hi’, if you’re so inclined. But if you are our family and friends, (of if you’re lost, and you’re interested), our further adventures can be found over at Herding Grasshoppers.

I’ll try to keep a link from one blog to the other in an obvious place, because if there’s a way to easily move the ‘old’ posts to the ‘new’ blog, I am not tech-savvy enough to know it.

And I’m okay with that.

Friday, May 30, 2008

For My Dad

"When someone asks you, 'What would Jesus do?', remember that a valid option is to freak out and turn over tables."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

General Gunnar

Gunnar loves to play with Army Guys, though - having the tenderest heart of all in the family - is the least likely to ever join the military! Still he's very proud of the creative effort in setting this all up.

BTW, the boys call these set-ups their "Arranges". That particular bit of 'family language' undoubtedly came as a result of Tate's hearing loss, and not hearing the full word "arrangement". So, any assortment of things they set up is an "Arrange", in this case, an "Army Arrange".

This is a picture about my arrange. As you can see, it has lots of men and my fortress is made out of cars, boats, and one airplane. As you can see, my camp has two flags, and one palm tree. Also, you can see a few policemen. And I think that’s all about my camp. Soon, you will probably see Wyatt and Tate’s.

Tate the Tank

Tate is the driving force behind the interest in the military, battles, Army guys, etc. He is REALLY interested in the Civil War, but - frankly - the attraction is mostly the artillery. It's a boy thing.

This is my Army, which is very strong, and indeed has a Delta Force. A Delta Force is a bunch of special troops that do special missions. My Delta Force does exactly that, and I am the gray soldier with the machine gun, squatting, in the picture to the right. My men have camped in an abandoned building, but luckily they managed to bring their flag and some sand-bags, too. I have one bazooka guy, three bombarders, three grenade throwers, a bunch of rifle guys, and five machine gun guys, not counting me.

Testosterzone #2

Wyatt hasn't really hit puberty yet, but there are definitely plenty of boy hormones floating around. It doesn't help that Tate (2.5 years younger) is almost as tall and much stockier.

Wyatt obviously feels the need to assert his dominance, in typical oh-so-very-subtle boy fashion. (Yeah, check out "Shark Boy", in a previous post.)

My army arrange is better than anyone else’s and my little message here is going to be better than anyone else’s. My army arrange has tons of bazooka guys and guys with machine guns and flame throwers. And it is ORGANIZED, not like Tate’s and Gunnar’s, which are all messed up. My army arrange could probably beat them up, any time, day or night.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Flying Wyatt

And now, we bring you, the Amazing, Gravity-Defying, Wyatt! He breaks the laws of Physics, he controls the slippery soccer ball, he defends the goal, almost nothing gets by (None Shall Pass), and he (almost) never falls!

Wyatt said, "This picture looks like I'm coming in for a landing, after a flight, like I was a bird."

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Gunnar asked me, "Mom, is there any empty space on your blog?" Which means, "Is there room for me?" So, here is another "Gunnar-ism".

We were out for a walk a while ago, and had this conversation:

"Mom, I saw a picture of a virus, and it was a deadly virus."

Hmm. I have no idea what he has seen or where, so I reminded him that not all viruses are deadly. Some are just annoying, like the common cold.

But Gunnar was not convinced.

"Mom, this was a germ. A very diseas-e-ly germ."

An Open Letter to Canadians

Attention Canadians who cross the border to shop in the U.S. :

Yes, we know you’ve been here, in greater numbers lately. And do you know how we know you’ve been here? Not because you’re doing a great job stimulating our economy (Wal-Mart will survive, with or without you). Nor is it the hordes of middle-aged women (and older) with Big Hair, pancake make-up, and sparkly silver and gold sandals. No.

Just a quick look at the parking lots of major stores is all it takes to know that Canadians have been here. And I don’t mean your license plates. It’s the litter.

Yes, I know, Americans litter too, but not like you.

Americans do not routinely walk into a store, buy a new pair of shoes, and abandon their old pair in the parking lot.

We do not park our RV’s at the mall, pack the cupboards with new items (even a new TV), throw all the empty packaging out the door, and drive away.

We do not drain the oil from our vehicles in your parking lots, pour in the new oil we just bought, and leave the empty plastic oil bottles wherever we dropped them.

Gotta pretend none of it is new, so you don’t have to pay duty on it, don’t you?

And you wonder why we mock you.

To my Canadian friends, thank you for NOT behaving like your ethically-challenged countrymen. Maybe you could have a talk with some of them.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Kerry is an architect. A GOOD architect. You should see the houses, banks, remodels, offices, and now even condo-developments (!) that he has designed. You should have no qualms about hiring him, if you need an architect. He really is a smart guy. Very creative.

He does have these little moments though...

I'm not saying we were arguing, but we were having a Discussion a couple nights ago, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he was distracted when he headed to his office. Pretty soon the house phone rang. I saw on the caller ID that it was Kerry, on his cell phone, so I picked it up and said, "Hello". Then I heard a familiar voice say, "Hello, this is Kerry."

Yep. He's a genius. :0)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Shark Boy

Wyatt’s visit to the orthodontist was uneventful. The doc decided to give him another six months of growth before making any decisions. Wyatt knows that he is destined for braces, (his teeth are in rows, for heaven's sake!) and commented to the doc that the good thing about braces is that he is home-schooled and so he won’t have to deal with other kids teasing him. (I did NOT prompt that – he came up with that one on his own!)

After that, Wyatt apparently was more interested in the squirrel outside the window than listening to the other possibilities the orthodontist was outlining. When I gave Kerry a reprise later, and Wyatt heard me mention pulling teeth, his defenses kicked into high gear…

What?! I might have to get teeth pulled?! Will it hurt?

Hmmm, moral dilemma. Honesty is always the best policy, but remember that this child is a fretter, AND that “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” are three separate categories. I’ll choose “the truth”.

“Well, honey, they make you numb.”

“With a SHOT?!?”

“Mmmm, yeah, but they numb it before the shot, so if you close your eyes you don’t really feel it.” Sort of. Maybe we can find a dentist with anesthesia.

Wyatt gave me a very suspicious look. Tate and Gunnar were eagerly waiting to see how this little drama would unfold.

Then, I had a bright idea!

“You know, the Tooth Fairy brings MONEY for teeth that were pulled!” (Previously, she has only left toys or trinkets – and pixie dust - for teeth that fall out the ordinary way.)


“Oh yeah.”

Tate, narrowing his eyes and calculating, said hopefully, “When will I get teeth pulled?”

“Hopefully never.”

Wyatt, alarmed that Tate might find a way to horn in on the only bright spot he can see in a bad situation, decided it was time to get tough:

“You won’t get any teeth pulled, because your teeth are all prim and proper like a prissy person. MY teeth are rough and rugged, like a MANLY MAN!”

So there.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Life in the TestosterZone #1

Yes, I live with four boys... one I'm married to, and three I deliberately brought into this world (which sometimes causes me to question my sanity).

As I've mentioned, I have NEVER been a "girly girl". Still, boys may live on the same planet, but it's a totally different world. So I thought I'd share a few little moments of "boy-ness" in my life, from time to time.

* The picture is not a recent one, but is a good illustration of how differently boys' minds work. Two of the three boys thought it was a GREAT idea to put a huge albino PYTHON around their necks. (Apparently only the youngest had any doubts about the wisdom of that plan!) This kind of snake, as you probably know, kills its prey by constricting... squeezing! I don't see any large lumps in the snake that would indicate it had recently swallowed, say, a chicken, or a neighbor's yippy dog, or anything else, so for all I know the snake is thinking, "Oooo! Three for the price of one!" This poses no problem for boys.

* After church Sunday I noticed a purple mark on Gunnar's neck. (Nothing alarming, it was from a marker.) I asked him how that happened, and got the classic - and truthful - response, "I dunno." When he took his shirt off later, I realized the purple line extended down the right side of his neck and made a little squiggle out on his shoulder. And he had no idea how it got there! Okay, honestly, I think I would remember if I or someone else (!) managed to get a felt pen under my shirt and do some doodling! Gunnar wandered into the bathroom to have a look in the mirror and seemed shocked. He said to me, in genuine innocence, "How did that get there? Can you get that off? That's embarrasin'!"

* Kerry took the boys out for a walk around the neighborhood while I was making dinner the other night. They came home without him. When I asked them, "Where's Daddy?" they told me, completely dead-pan, "He got mugged. But he told us to run on ahead." Right.

* Then, as dinner wasn't quite ready, I asked them to amuse themselves calmly. That's what I said. What they heard, I have no idea. They headed into the living room saying, "Hey - I know! Let's wrestle!" Great idea.

* This is my current personal favorite. Gunnar needed a bath one evening, so I sent him upstairs to get clean jammies and underwear. This seemed to take a long time, and he came down with just jammies. I asked him, "Gunnar, where's your underwear?" And, as if this were a perfectly ordinary thing to happen, he said, "I dropped my underwear out the window." What, on purpose?

It's All About Me

My friend, Mel-Beth, sent this to me yesterday. I'll post my answers here, and maybe see if the boys will put up theirs later. Might have to change a couple categories for them, to make it more interesting.

So, just for fun...

Two names you are called:
1. Mama
2. Zena, Queen of the Testosterzone

Two things you are wearing right now:
1. Jeans
2. My "holeys" - the boys' name for 'crocs' (the rubber clogs with holes in them)

Two things you would want (or have) in a relationship:
1. Backbone-of-steel commitment to God and each other

Two of your favorite things to do:
1. Vacation with my family
2. Read

Two things you want badly at the moment:
1. Tate's hearing to be miraculously restored
2. The body I had when I was about 20 (sigh!)

Two books you're reading:
1. The Bible (duh)
2. "Family Driven Faith" (Voddie Baucham)

Two things I did last night:
1. Slept
2. Laundry (ah, it's an exciting life)

Two things you ate today:
1. Mongolian Grill (veggies, beef, and noodles)
2. PBJ

Two people you last talked with:
1. Kerry
2. Boys (well THAT was predictable!)

Two things you're doing tomorrow:
1. Taking Wyatt to the orthodontist (I can see our 'economic stimulus check' waving bye bye)
2. Homeschool

Two longest road-trips:
1. Pacific Northwest to L.A.
2. Fourteen days through the Australian outback

Two favorite holidays:
1. Christmas
2. Thanksgiving

Two favorite beverages:
1. Vanilla coke (yes, I know how unhealthy it is)
2. Iced Tea (sweetened)

Two things about me you may not have known:
1. Lived a year in Australia
2. Sailed from Portland to Hawaii

Two jobs I have had in my life:
1. Wilderness guide
2. Adventure Camp leader

Two places I have lived in the U.S. (besides current home)
1. Three Lakes, Wisconsin
2. Lahaina, Maui

Two of my favorite foods:
1. Fresh PNW strawberries (not those tasteless California imitations!)
2. Fresh raspberry pie

Monday, May 19, 2008

Chaiten, Chile

This if for the boys, who are intrigued by forces of nature. It may look a bit like a tornado, but it's a volcano called Chaiten erupting in Chile. If you look closely you can see white, purple, yellow and green lightning. Pretty cool!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Laundry Advice?

Do you have one of these?

The one on the left is a Whirlpool Duette, and the one on the right is a Samsung.

After our delicious, take-your-mind-off-your-shots dinner last night, we cruised by the appliance store to do a little research.

You see, my generous husband wants to buy us a new washer and dryer. Frankly, he's more excited about this than I am. My frugal conscience is shouting, "The old ones work just fine!" But why look a gift-horse in the mouth, right?

I think it's kind of a guy-thing... oooo, a new gadget! Plus, Mr. Architect likes the streamlined look of the front-loaders. But, more importantly, he is (probably rightfully) concerned about the Earthquake Simulation we experience every time we run the old washer.

But, hey, every cloud has a silver lining... When the boys were kind of sick, recently, I let them watch a movie - "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" (Chronicles of Narnia). If you've seen the movie, it starts out with London being bombed and shortly after that shows the children traveling by train. Those two scenes just happened to coincide with the two spin cycles for the load of wash I was running. So not only was the sound turned up pretty loud, (due to Tate's hearing loss), we also got a surreal sort of you-are-there effect due to the house shaking along with the washer.

The boys thought this was Really Cool. Kerry was not so amused. So, maybe it IS time for new appliances.

I'm wondering if any of you have either of these, and what you think of them. Especially regarding how much they vibrate. We moved the laundry room upstairs when we remodeled, and I LOVE having it up here, but it is more prone to shaking. The Whirlpool claims it has "Six Point Suspension" (and rack and pinion steering?) and the Samsung advertises its "Vibration Reduction Technology". Which is better?

I don't care about all the tricky features. I don't need to steam the clothes in my dryer to de-wrinkle them when I can throw in a damp towel and get the same effect. I don't need 15 different wash cycles for expensive fabrics we don't wear. I have very simple expectations of my washing machine:

Get the clothes clean
Don't shake my house apart

So, if you have any experience with either of these, or a different recommendation, let me know!

We're definitely looking at front-loaders so we can build the folding counter over the top, and - NO - we're not going to get the Vibration Enhancing pedestal drawer.


Personal Time Off. The boys think PTO days are for them. Okay, sure, they are. Sort of. I love my boys and all their energy, and I’m glad we’re homeschooling. But let’s get one thing straight - Grandma does PTO days for me. Some days I just bask in the silence, but more often it’s an opportunity to do something that requires more than five minutes of uninterrupted concentration.

The boys spent the day up at Grandpa and Grandma’s house in the woods… “helping” Grandpa with his burn pile, riding their scooters, catching lizards, and cooling off (that’s right, I said cooling off!) with “Mt. Tiki-Soki” (a sprinkler/volcano.)

Wyatt, unfortunately, did not enjoy the day as much as he usually would. Right before we left home this morning he was running around the yard and managed to step on a nail. Went right through his shoe and into his foot. Yep, rusty.

Of course, since he’s nearly 12 and due for his next round of shots, I was a little leery of the effectiveness of his last Tetanus booster (what, 6 or 7 years ago?) So was the doctor’s office. Wyatt was almost pathetically hopeful. “But, mom, it didn’t even bleed!” Uh, yeah, I noticed. Bleeding would’ve been good. It washes the germs out.

So all day long he was dreading the 4:45 doctor visit. Like he’s been dreading his next round of shots since his last birthday.

The good news is I was able to convince them even though this wasn’t his official check-up to go ahead and give him whatever immunizations he has coming (DTaP and Varicella) so we could just be done with it. He was a bundle of anxiety, and it took two nurses and me, but it’s all over now. Hallelujah. Amen.

Having worked in the yard all day long, I was pretty tired, so I rewarded him by letting him pick somewhere (anywhere but McDonald’s) to go out to dinner. Double-plus-good.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Homes Cool Advantage #1

'Nuff said.

We were outside nearly all day. :0)

What did you do?

Finally, Spring...

Yep, it's finally spring. Oh, sure, you could be nitpicky and say that spring began almost two months ago, but not so much here - in the Pacific NorthWest. We know spring has arrived at our house for different reasons.

* We noticed just yesterday that the cold rain we've been enduring has turned to warm rain.

* The grass is growing like it's on steroids.

* It got warm enough today for all the boys to play outside in shorts, T-shirts, and sandals - thus beginning the Season of Dirty Feet.

* But, most significantly, Kerry removed the Christmas tree stand from the front porch and stored it in the garage for next year.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Smarty Pants

So I asked my littlest Little if he could tell me what are three of the four types of sentences. (Statement, question, exclamation, and command/request, in case you don't know.)

He thought for a minute and said, "Uhhh, standard, question, and astonishment."

Yep. I'll take that!

Oregon... 2002

Since the weather is still rather yucky here, (in the 50's and raining, last time I checked), we are really looking forward to summer! We have several fun activities planned, but the boys are especially looking forward to going to the Oregon coast with Grandpa and Grandma, Aunt Tami, Uncle Dave, and maybe Ann Marie? (If she's not worried the boys will clobber her, after the Mother's Day Incident!)

Tami dug up these pics of the last big family trip to Oregon in 2002. I thought I'd post a few OLD pics, because look how cute these boys are! (And how much they've grown!) Tate was sharing a treasure with Grandpa.

Wyatt enjoyed the beach, as much as the rest of us, but he REALLY loved swinging around in the stunted pine trees next to the rental house. He had just turned six, that summer, and had an endless supply of energy. Still does. You could light Seattle if you could harness that kid. The trees were perfect... sturdy and not very tall. I think that's where we came up with the rule that you could climb on any branch that was bigger around than your arm. So far so good.

Tate was three and a half, and had just gotten his brand new "Hearry Maids". He wasn't exactly used to them yet, and only wore them part of the day, but the effect was quite dramatic! He could hear the ocean! He could hear a whisper! Wow! Tate spent a great deal of time driving his truck around in the sand, making roads and - his specialty - sound effects.

Gunnar was just a little pickle, at (barely) one year old. He walked like a drunken sailor on dry land, so getting around in the sand was challenging. But he didn't care. He was just happy to have the people he loves all in one place, and would sit contentedly on the beach, occupying himself by sucking the salt off the rocks.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Was it just Mother's Day?

I think it must’ve been, given that my sister hosted the fam for lunch, and not only cooked a ham, but also served my favorite (my recipe!) berry pie for dessert! So that was just grand. Thanks, Tami. :0)

I’m not the girly-girl type, and don’t have any little girls of my own, so Mother’s Day doesn’t conjure up any frilly images of High Tea, wearing silly hats, or having spa treatments. And given that Mother’s Day is supposed to be a day for mothers to relax, guess who is in charge of planning the event?


The ‘highlights’ of this Mother’s Day mark it unmistakably with the fingerprints of the males in this household.

10. Indulging myself with a long shower in the morning before church (in the belief that Daddy would get the kids their breakfast, just this once) was a tactical error. My fragrant bubble burst when I arrived downstairs and found the boys in the playroom having a Lego battle, not dressed or fed, and Daddy asleep on the living room couch. Guess who got everyone ready for church while Daddy shaved?

9. No flowers. No candles. No chocolates. I received two books of cartoons! I do enjoy Calvin and Hobbes, but Zits is a bit depressing.

8. We spent the first part of the afternoon watching a movie…. Disney’s animated “Aladdin”!

7. Daddy spent the rest of the afternoon absorbed in the magazines he brought from home, while the boys…

6. Chased each other around the house with Nerf dart guns,

5. Wrestled with each other, resulting in general stinkiness and one ripped sweater,

4. Played baseball in the backyard, while we sat on the deck and visited (and some read magazines...) until one boy who-shall-remain-nameless hit a ‘foul ball’… right into Ann Marie’s eye, (I’m so so sorry!),

3. Decided baseball was dangerous, and it would be ‘better’ to amuse themselves by either throwing the balls AT each other on purpose, or to throw a ball up in the air and then quickly throw the bat in the air to try to hit the ball in the air… directly over their heads,

2. Then, on being prevented from continuing THIS little stunt, moved on to paper airplanes, a much less exciting form of entertainment,

1. So they revved up the ‘fun factor’ by throwing the airplanes (deliberately) onto Aunt Tami’s roof, so that they HAD to get out the ladder because they HAD to go up there to retrieve the airplanes. And that still wasn’t quite fun enough, so they decided that instead of coming down the ladder, they preferred to jump from the roof. Barefoot.

It’s amazing that we didn’t spend Mother’s Day in the ER!

Actually there were some sweet spots to Mother’s Day… each boy presented me with a handmade card, illustrated, with a list of things he appreciates about me. VERY sweet!

And Gunnar (finally) pulled out his second front tooth. It was about time, as the “big” teeth had actually grown in behind his baby teeth (since he was so reluctant to pull them out!) and we were teasing him that he looked like a shark!

Kerry, absorbed in “The Economist”, missed the whole thing.

But Father's Day isn't far off...

"Just" a Mom...

This has been floating around the internet for a few years, but in (belated) honor of Mother's Day, I'm posting it here.

A woman, renewing her driver's license, was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

"What I mean is, " explained the recorder, "do you have a job or are you just a ...?"

"Of course I have a job," snapped the woman. "I'm a Mom."

"We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation, 'housewife' covers it," said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall. The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like, 'Official Interrogator' or 'Town Registrar.'

"What is your occupation?" she probed.

What made me say it? I don't know. The words simply popped out.

"I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations."

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written, in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in your field?"

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, "I have a continuing program of research, (what mother doesn't) in the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and out). I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family) and already have four credits (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it). But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction, rather than just money."

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby) in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.

I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than "just a Mom."

Motherhood! What a glorious career!
Especially when there's a title on the door.

This would make grandmothers 'Senior Research associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations', great grandmothers 'Executive Senior Research Associates', and aunts 'Associate Research Assistants.'

Feel better?!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

One down, two to go

We had Tate's end-of-season soccer party tonight. After practice, Coach Dan gave the kids each a pep talk and an award with a ribbon, (and we parents gave the coaches gift certificates), and then spent a half hour or so playing the traditional kids vs. parents game.

I have no pride... they creamed us, 5 to 1. And not like when they were littler, and we diddled around, being careful not to kick the ball too hard and hurt them, and letting them "steal" it from us.... No, the third graders ran circles around us. And then had the nerve to roll their eyes and say, "It gets easier every year"!

Tate's Lego letter

Yes, I confess that my boys are a bit obsessed with their Legos. Tate even took it upon himself to write a letter to the head of the Lego company himself, with a suggestion he had. He may be HoH, but his expressive language is pretty darn good!

Can you believe they turned him down?! Not even a coupon or a certificate for a mini-kit! I was really proud of him, so have printed his letter, (all in his own words) below:

Dear Mr. Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen,

I’ve always loved Star Wars Legos the best. Some of my other favorites are Mars Mission, and the Castle Legos. They are cool too! All the Legos you’ve made are perfect!

But yet, the Lego Star Wars clone collection is not complete. Because I have seen red, yellow, green, and white clones, and even clones that look like they’ve been kissed (on the helmet and chest). There is only one clone needed for the collection to be complete: the Blue Clone! The perfect scene, in Episode 3, the chapter named “Time to Leave” is the scene where the hot-rod-speeder-guy goes down to the Jedi Temple and meets up with four or five blue clones, and is about to be shot or arrested when a kid-Jedi comes and stops the blue clones from killing or arresting the hot-rod-speeder-guy! (But the kid-Jedi dies in the battle.)

The reason I’m sending you this note is because the scene that I am telling you about is only one to two minutes long, and I don’t blame you for missing it, since you have about sixteen other kinds of Legos you’re working on. I’m suspecting if you make this kit, it would be $15 to $20. $15 would probably be great, since I’m suspecting it would come with the hot-rod-guy’s speeder, which was red, and the hot-rod-guy, and the little kid-Jedi and four or five blue clones, with Commander Appo. I learned long ago that Commander Appo is the leader of the blue clones. I think the kit would be complete if you gave them the specialized kind of blaster. And don’t forget to give the little kid-Jedi little legs (like little Annakin has) and a blue light-saber, and to give the hot-rod-speeder-guy a cool pistol. I think that the hot-rod-speeder guy should be wearing gray clothes, like he does in the scene. The kid-Jedi is wearing a gray shirt and tan pants. The blue clones have a little blue on their helmets, and a bunch of blue on their bodies, and usually have white legs. Be sure to watch the scene yourself, just in case I’m getting some of this wrong. I do not mind if this is one of the next kits you build, but I still do really hope you make it sometime in the next few months.

My brothers and I like playing Legos. We usually play two to three hours of Legos a day. Since we like Legos so much, we are building our own creations.


Tate, age 9

Really, I LOVE soccer...

I do, really. But we are two days from the end of this season and I am SO READY! All three boys went to soccer camp last August, then right into the fall season. Wyatt and Tate both played the indoor league until Christmas, and Tate played again (indoor) from January to March, which brought us to the so-called spring season (which, I must say, has been some sort of endurance event, given the strange weather this year!), and we are almost DONE!

I love watching the boys play. I'm thrilled with the coaching they have been getting - many thanks to Brian, Dan, and Sheila. I like the friends they've made from their teams. And I enjoy getting to know the other Soccer Moms and Dads. But still, we've had non-stop soccer for about nine months now, and it's time for a rest!

Sign-ups for fall season start in 57 days...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Cirque du Soleil !

Christmas came in May, for us. Grandpa and Grandma treated the family to tickets to "Corteo". I've never seen anything like it! The boys were mesmerized. The first pic is two incredibly flexible (and strong!) "little people" (dwarves). The second was an aerial act. Men were on three platforms (quite high above the stage) and were tossing several women back and forth. The third is only part of a set of gymnasts on single bars that formed a square, with two others just offscreen.

The boys especially loved the "Jumping on the Beds" (trampolines) scene, and watching the "little person" (a dwarf woman) being gently bounced around the stage and audience, almost completely supported by 4 or 5 huge helium balloons. Can't begin to describe it all... too amazing!

Thanks, Grandpa and Grandma!

Friday, May 2, 2008

1000 Words?

I have to confess that I am hopelessly behind at putting our family photo albums together... years behind. The upside of this is that when I run across photos like this one, it's like seeing it for the first time! Or it might be the first time...

My parents are removing lots of photo files from their computer and put everything of my kids on disks (since I have no idea what I already have, or don't have!) This photo, I believe, is from three years ago, when Tate was a kinder.

Tate LOVES soccer. It may have something to do with the fact that his hearing issues just don't matter. Yeah, we have to tell the 'ref' that he may not hear the whistle, and he can't often hear the coach calling from the sidelines... but how many of those kids listen anyway?!

I have no idea what just happened in this picture! There's a lot of motion from left to right, but what is the connection between the mischievous look on Tate's face and the expression of the boy in the blue?! (I think if you click on it, it will get bigger.)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I'd like to hear this story!


Through the years Gunnar has had many unique ways of saying things... like "upsidewards" for upside-down, or "pot hippo" for hippopotamus. As a Big Boy now, his vocabulary is pretty good, but he still has a way with words...

We were beginning to believe that Spring would never come - especially when it snowed, two days in a row, late in April. The following day we were all in the school room when the skies darkened. The boys looked up from their math and watched hail come down so heavily that the street and yard began to be white. Gunnar put his hands on his hips as he stared out the window, and said, "Mom, we gotta pray about this!"

Then, a couple evenings ago I cooked dinner in my crockpot. I love cooking in the crockpot because all the work is done early in the day! I had beef, potatoes and carrots roasting. Tate loves to be my "kitchen servant" (his term!) and all by himself (with me supervising but not helping) he made cornbread to go with dinner. Gunnar is still getting over his 'tummy trouble' and not eating a lot, so I gave him a very small helping. Even at that he was not too enthusiastic. Kerry kept suggesting things like, "Mmmm! Have a bit of potato with your meat - it's good that way!" etc. Gunnar finally gave him stink-eye and said, "Dad, I'm not a mixer. And I'm not a dipper either, so quit giving me recipes I won't like!"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tate's sweat lodge

It really breaks my heart seeing my boys be sick. And they all are or have been sick the last two weeks. I tell them I wish I had a Magic Mommy Wand that will make everything better.

Seems like it's harder on Tate. When you start out HoH (Hard of Hearing), any congestion makes it dramatically worse. He's had, apparently, a really bad cold with a fever. He just coughs and coughs and coughs. And he sleeps so soundly (is this a deaf thing? or just a Tate thing?) that he will cough until he gags.

I thought moist air might help, but the boys' bedroom is so big, that the vaporizer doesn't have much effect. Sunday night I got him up twice and sat in the bathroom with him, running the shower hot for a few minutes. That would buy us about four hours of sleep. Then I was up with Gunnar (102F and throwing up).

Monday night - with a deep desire for sleep - I got more resourceful and we created Tate's 'sweat lodge'. Yep, the tent is IN the boys' bedroom. He's sleeping on a gym mat, with the vaporizer zipped up in the tent with him. Seemed to work pretty well, so we're trying it again tonight.

Pray for the boys to be well! They all really want to play soccer on Saturday AND we have tickets to Cirque D Soleil (sp?). It would be nice if we're all well enough to go.

Gunnar and Gizzy

This is Gunnar, at bedtime tonight... not nearly a well child. He's trying to smile, and cuddling a toy elephant he has named "Gizzy".

The bowl next to his head? Well, if you come to dinner at my house, you will never be served food out of that bowl. That bowl is reserved for things like mixing plaster-of-paris to make a volcano, or embalming "King Cluck", or for the purpose it's serving now.

Not that it always works as intended... Since all the boys have been sick, we've been doing a lot of reading aloud (now on book 5 of the Chronicles of Narnia - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader). Gunnar was resting on the couch this morning, with Gizzy and The Bowl, when he announced that he needed to pee. He decided to use the bathroom off the family room, (wouldn't you know it, one of the only carpeted rooms in the house.) And, of course, en route to the bathroom the agenda changed. He stood there, helpless as a deer in the headlights, and downloaded breakfast.... on the carpet.

Once I got him wiped off, loved up, and resettled on the couch, I had the mess to deal with. I'll spare you the details, except to say that - to make matters worse - I think Tate is allergic to my carpet cleaner. As if he wasn't sick enough already, when the fumes from the foamy 'Resolve' wafted from from the family room, through the kitchen and the dining room, and into the living room, his eyes filled with 'tears' and turned red, and he began sniffing and coughing and sneezing! Wyatt and I ran around opening doors and windows to air out the house. And it's not like it's a warm day either! We had fresh snow just above us in all the hills again, and more hail today!

Wyatt - the well child

That is the happy face of the child whom I think is finally feeling better. You know they're feeling better, not because their fever goes down, but because they start getting into mischief again.

King Ghidorah and Godzilla

Wyatt, not to be outdone by his younger brothers, prepared these wonderful play-doh sculptures.

He's in bed - I hope asleep - so unable to give commentary (which he may wish to add later). Since I have watched exactly NONE of the Godzilla movies (but have listened with great patience to many long explanations and descriptions) I can only tell you for certain that the green creature on the right is Godzilla. (I love the detail of the blue tongue!) I think the yellow creature on the left is Gedorah.

I'm sure the expert will want to comment in the morning.

Hi, my name is Wyatt. I'm here to comment this morning! My creation was of King Ghidorah, a three-headed dragon-like creature, and Godzilla. Godzilla is more of a lizard-like creature. Godzilla does not like King Ghidorah. Godzilla actually kills King Ghidorah, even though KG is bigger than him. In one of the movies, people in Tokyo also make a Mecha-King Ghidorah out of metal. Godzilla kills this too. KG can breathe three atomic rays, but Godzilla can only breathe one. And this about ends my descriptions.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tate, Godzilla, and Hedorah

The green guy is Godzilla! The black guy is Hedorah – the Smog Monster. Hedorah is shooting a ray, from the top corner of its eye, at Godzilla. But of course, since Godzilla has such armored skin, the ray has not much effect.

Now, for more information that is not happening, Godzilla can breathe an atomic ray. Hedorah can spray gas that can originally kill people, but can only make Godzilla dizzy. Also, Hedorah has two other modes: tadpole mode, and standing mode. When Hedorah is in standing mode, he can also shoot these glop-like bomb-like missiles that start to smoke on Godzilla, that must be hot. In tadpole-mode, Hedorah can swim around sinking ships. And Hedorah is made originally of garbage which makes it so invincible. Another reason Hedorah is so invincible, if Godzilla were to punch it or bite it or get it with his tail or his spikes, they would stick into Hedorah with no harm! If Godzilla sticks his hand in (into Hedorah) all that happens is that glop comes out. Another way to say "Hedorah" is to say "Head-ra".

Back to Godzilla, he has spikes, a big tail, two legs, and two arms and hands with four fingers. Godzilla also has a roar that doesn’t sound like a roar. It sounds like a screechy roar that I cannot describe. Godzilla is originally charcoal gray, but in some of his movies he is kind of green – very very dark green.

Hedorah looks like a piece of glop too. It has gloppy legs, but you can hardly tell that they’re not one piece! And long strands and pieces of him just hang off of him everywhere, which is why he looks like a piece of garbage. Hedorah will only stop rampaging to breathe smoke. Hedorah likes breathing smoke because it must give him power.

Gunnar, Minilla and Mothra

This is a picture of Mothra’s larva, webbing up (since they're silk worms) Minilla, the son of Godzilla! Mothra is a huge moth, that’s why she’s called Mothra. We know she’s a girl because there’s a movie called “Godzilla vs. Queen Mothra”. In the movie “Tokyo S.O.S.” on an island where there is two fairies they were singing a song, which I think was the Mothra song. There is an egg, above, as they singed, the egg started to hatch. Out of the egg, came two Mothra larva.

Minilla is Godzilla’s son. (Japanese people call Minilla “Minya” because they don’t like to say “L”. And they call Godzilla “Gojira”.)

This is why the larva are mad at Godzilla and Minilla: In “Tokyo S.O.S.”, Godzilla killed Mothra, so now, for the rest of their lives probably, the larva has been longing for revenge. That’s why the Mothra larva is webbing up Minilla.

That’s the end of my story.

U11 Wyatt

Wyatt amazes me. If you could harness that boy, you could light Seattle. Many games, he'll play the whole hour without being subbed out, and he hardly ever stops running full bore. His agility and speed are incredible, and he rarely seems intimidated, though he's often going up against boys who are bigger... sometimes a lot bigger. Wyatt just runs them into the ground.

Of course, he has had wonderful coaching and plays with a great bunch of boys.

For some reason, I think my boys are all genetically programmed to play defense... or maybe they're following Wyatt's example. They all gravitate to it, and Wyatt has set the bar pretty high. I tell him I want to get him a soccer shirt that says "NONE SHALL PASS", but he gets kind of embarrassed. He's got the strategy and the speed to keep most of the other team's players away from the goal, and can often run them down if they try for a break-away.

Wyatt's branching out these days, and getting in on a bit of offensive action too. Where he got the coordination from, I have no idea, but it's a thing of beauty.

U9 Tate

Tate has been playing soccer, indoor and outdoor, non-stop since August and it really shows! He's always loved playing 'last man back', with two of his buddies, but now he's branching out, and asking to play mid- and even forward. He gained a lot of confidence and his ball handling has improved too.

Tate has also gotten better at changing direction. Used to be that once he took off running for the ball, he was kind of like a cannon ball that had been launched, and woe to anyone or anything in his path. (Anyone meeting Tate head-on is still likely to end up on the ground, as you can see in the first picture.) He's not a rough (mean) player at all, the boy just has a lot of momentum!

Tate's playing a smarter game, as well as showing more ability to maneuver around players. Mostly, the key word for Tate is determination. I've seen him surrounded by three players from the other team, and he'll come out with the ball, moving toward the goal. I don't have a picture of it, but in his last game he scored the only goal! Way to go Tater-bug!

Monday, April 21, 2008

U7 Gunnar

Gunnar is really enjoying soccer this spring, in spite of getting bumped up from the U6 to the U7 league. He seems tiny next to some of the other players (!) and he's not particularly competitive. Still, he's gaining confidence and going after the ball more. He even managed to score in one or two of the games! More importantly - to Gunnar - he's been to three team-mates' birthday parties, and one boy is coming home from practice with us this week to play.

The team is developing more skills too, and that is fun to watch. The 1st grade and Kinder teams actually split in half and play on two fields, just 3 on 3, or 4 on 4. It makes sense really, because why would you want more than 8 kids mobbing the ball at a time? They don't exactly play positions yet! But they're getting the idea, more and more. Last season, what looked like passing was really just poor ball control. This season there is actually some strategy developing. It's fun to watch. :0)