Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Snow on the Crabapple

The crabapple tree at the "little house" on the day after Christmas with a streak of warm sunshine and deep powder before the big thaw.

We had Christmas with family. We left early enough to "not outrun" but to blow in with the Northwest blizzard. We were the last to drive the Columbia River Gorge preceding Christmas, passing through the interstate gates 18 minutes before closure. We were able to enjoy literally being snowed in with parents, sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces, and cousins for five days. We woke up before dawn on Christmas morning, creeping around by candlelight, grinding coffee beans in an antique mill because of a power outage. Lights came on mid-morning in time to heat cinnamon rolls and blend orange juliuses. It was a memorable Christmas for all, steeped in traditions.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Family Portrait Outtakes

Gabe got away with his unsuspected shenanigans during the summer's greater family portrait and thought he'd try it again. Marshal wasn't so humored with the fading light and all. Good thing Marshal had cut out half his own head with most of the shots anyway.... :-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Snow and Graham Cracker Houses

Snow, snow, snow today! Happy rosy cheeks and snowflakes on lashes.

Lydia's Graham Cracker, candy house.

We scoured the cupboards and found tube frosting from birthday cake endeavors, jelly beans from Easter, Candy Corn from October, licorice from who knows, marshmallows and graham crackers from Summer S'mores, chocolate chips, and Trader Joe's organic, no artificial food dye suckers - Voila!

Snow rash and baby blues.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Waking up to December Snow

Gabe and Lydia woke up to snow this morning. They woke an hour early. Snow on the forecast and teasing Saturday afternoon flurry had them longing and pleading for snow. They woke this morning with the joyful squeals of hopes fulfilled. It was like Christmas morning. They received the snow as a wonderful gift. I had them in snow clothes and out the door in no time. They stayed out for an hour before coming in to warm up, dress, fill their bellies with warm scottish oats and cream, and heading to church.
Here they are in front of Marshal's hand built staircase.

Getting a tow by big brother to the back side of the house.

A new super duper fast slope as a result of the re-excavation last spring. They are in front of a neighboring house on the back property line. This slope made Marshal a wee nervous.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Season of Christmas

Santa and Mrs. Claus came over on the foot ferry Saturday evening and took little ones on their laps in the waiting sleigh on the waterfront. Parents all were given a free photo op. Our community had their 10th annual Chimes and Lights festival with free chili, cider, cocoa, hay rides, caroling, city hall chimes, lots of holiday lights and fireworks. It was a cold but clear evening. Marshal brought cocoa to warm the kids as we waited in line to see Santa. The kids sucked candy canes, and we stood in the smoke of the warming kettle fires while we watched the fireworks over the water.
I trimmed the tree in record time with the help of two busy extra set of hands. The daily advent box is first priority each morning. Gabe and Lydia make haste down the stairs as they rub sleep from their eyes. There have been chocolate coins and little snowman, as Mom didn't have time and energy to be real creative.

Cutting the Tree

December 1st, Marshal was on leave and studying hard for Boards.

The expert tree-cutter, taking a study break.

Evergreen excitement!

Monday, November 24, 2008

November Days

November days have flown with daily school and not quite keeping up with the rest. I smile at the dusty candlesticks and autumn centerpiece that evolved out of Gabe's crafted turkey, dried, shriveled pomegranates, and a few leaves. I left the pomegranates out last holiday season, and kept them in the fridge all year as they looked too dried out to consume. Lo and behold I still have them, and they add a nice spot of color for the table for this year too! So, even dry, shriveled pomegranates add to the myriad of things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.

I've managed to keep the granola jar supplied for Marshal's daily breakfast. I read that nuts, seeds, and grains should all be soaked, sprouted, and dried for optimal digestibility and health, but so far I've only had just enough ambition for a bag of almonds or pecans from Costco. A handful of almonds are a great snack and are good thrown into the morning bowl of granola. I soak them, covered in filtered water and 1 Tblsp of sea salt, overnight and then dry them in a 140-150ºF oven for 24 hours or until crisp. It is worth it in taste and crunch alone!

My granola is composed of 12 cups of organic rolled oats bought in bulk, 2 cups of raw, unsulphured coconut, 1/2-1 cup each of sesame, sunflower, flax, and pumpkin seeds. I then stir 1 cup expeller-pressed coconut oil, 1 cup honey, and 1 tsp sea salt in a 2 cup measure cup, and then stir into the dry ingredients in a large roasting pan. I then bake it at 325ºF for an hour or longer until nicely golden, stirring every 15 minutes. At the end, last 10-15 minutes, I add raisins or other dried fruit. It makes a very satisfying breakfast that keeps us going strong most the day.

Sportin' New Shoes

We took these photos a week ago after the UPS truck arrived with new shoes. Gabe and Lydia were excited to show them off. I've resorted to buying online. Gabe's are a half size too big and had to go in the forbidden closet to keep him from wearing them out before he has grown into them. But they were on sale, and I had to jump on the opportunity to buy breathable soles, a proven great invention, for that boy's feet. Lydia is happy to be bouncing around on new Stride Rite "superball" technology.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Gabe didn't think he could come up with a costume comparable to the "Ladybug Princess" without a trip to the store. But we dreamed up the "Frog Prince," and he was quite content in the end.

Lady Bug Birthday

Lydia celebrated her fifth birthday as a ladybug princess. We had birthday costumes, presents, balloons, and sweets through the 31st, when Grammy, Grandpa, and Uncle Luke arrived. Our little girl is five! I witness that we never cease to marvel at how fast our babies grow up!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Foothills Bike Trail

We finished our bike ride that we started last spring! It was out past the popular seasonal pumpkin farms, along salmon spawning rivers, over old railroad trestle bridges, through the trees and valley farms at the foothills of Mt Ranier. We had lunch at our favorite lunch spot in the picturesque town of Orting before taking the quiet paved bike path north to South Prairie.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fall has Befallen

Gabe's Sunflower Blooms.

A strong wind bent the trees, buffeted the house, picked up leaves and stems in a swirling, teasing dance around the house, and deposited this tableau of Autumn on the front step.

Can't Neglect the Girls

Birthday Hat Fashion Setters.

Super Shots of Taking Aim

Father Son Series

Delighting together in a shared hobby/sport.

Happy Birthday Number 7!

Happy Birthday Dear Gabe, Happy Birthday to YOU!

I baked the cake; Marshal decorated. He envisioned it, planned, it, executed it.

Cousins were part of the surprise. Jed and Havah came with Grammy and Grandpa and surprised Gabe this weekend for his special day. It was a soccer/camo hodge podge birthday theme.
This gift went with the camouflage theme.

Lincoln Logs

I like to see kids today playing with the traditional toys. Some of these Lincoln Logs are as old as me, and others are from my brothers' set. I asked for them from my folks a year or two back. I was delighted to see the town that grew out of my nephew Jed's and Gabe's creativity and skill this weekend.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Play Time Continued on Opposite Shore

Hav climbing footholds of bark.

Shane showing off his seaweed find, such a lovely green.
Marshal skipping rocks on a Saturday afternoon without leave, imagine that!

Lydia walking driftwood balance beams.