Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

It's here at last! The day started with church this morning, then full turkey dinner for lunch at my parents' with my siblings and brother-in-law-to-be as well, then the opening of presents. In the past several hours, the boys have not ceased to play with either the new Thomas the Tank Engine set (Culdee and the apple orchard cars) and animal-shpaed flashlights (that turn off automatically after a couple minutes -- yea for not having to get out new batteries every day!). Wade and I also scored some fun new stuff, including a couple new games, gift certificates to our favorite stores and more.

Tomorrow we will go to church in the morning, then head up to the wave pool in Matsqui with the boys after an early lunch, then home for naps for EVERYONE (hopefully), and finally the extended DeWaard family dinner and gift-exchange in the evening. Should be loads of fun!

I'll try to load pictures soon, but am currenlty having internet issues.

Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday night fun

One of my (Kerri) new favorite games to play with our Saturday night crew is The Story Game. For those not familiar with it, it goes like this. Each participant gets a sheet of paper and writes one line of a story at the top, then passes it on. Each person reads the line that's been written, continues the story with another line, then folds the top down before passing it on again. Thus each person can only read the last line written before adding another line. This continues until the paper is full or people are tired of writing. The results are often comical, horrific and absurd (more or less so depending on who is playing). Following is a story from a recent round --

"Once upon a time a girl tripped over a big-foot in the woods... She fell on her face and got a pine cone stuck up her nose... When the dog barked, she got it stuck in her throat... because the dog startled her... she now has nightmares about dogs robbing her... so she goes to sleep with 24 cats hoping they will have power in numbers... But the cats were too stinky to sleep with... so they purchased a bottle of Herbal Essences to help with the odor... This did not help so the only thing left to do was burn it... but there was a burn ban on at the time so they had to dispose of it differently... They decided to bury it under the swing set at the park... but the teacher caught them and sent them back to class... where they had the punishment of scrubbing all the toilets... and they also had to follow the pipes and clean them with toothbrushes... Their toothbrushes got so dirty they had to go to Wal-Mart to go get new ones... and they bought new toothpaste to go with them... The end."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Advent... fun in the waiting

Here are a few more pics of the snow, which is entirely gone save for a few piles in local parking lots.

Levi caught air going off a jump in the sled.

Luke and Wade took a walk on a frozen pond near the farm.

Even Lij liked it, except for wearing his mittens.

Advent is one of my favorite times of year, thus we have an Advent wreath in our home and light one or more candles on it every morning. This morning was Isaac's turn (he's got quite the case of bed head in this picture!). We're up to two candles now since it's the second week of Advent. While it is lit, we read Luke 2, adding another verse or phrase every day so that on Christmas morning we'll read the whole thing. I am amazed at how well Isaac is memorizing it, especially since it's full of words like "Caesar Augustus," "census," "governor" and "Nazareth" that he's not familiar with. Celebrating Advent daily seems to bring back a bit of that "I can't wait for Christmas!" feeling that kids have. It's the waiting and preparing and decorating and counting down the days that are half the fun of Christmas (and playing with fire -- I mean, lighting candles -- is always fun too!).
We wish you all a blessed and joyous Advent, too!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The More Family the Better

So my sister's wonderful, fabulous, handsome boyfriend is no longer her boyfriend -- but that's okay because he's now her fiance! Congratulations to Kris and Jonathan who got engaged the day after Thanksgiving and are planning a wedding for July 7, 2007 (7-7-07, as a matter of fact) at my parents' home. He proposed on an Atlantic Ocean beach a couple hours from his parents' Baltimore home -- how romantic. They will both be spending Christmas break in Washington -- YEA!!!!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Birthday, Thanksgiving and Snow -- Oh My!

Isaac celebrated his fifth birthday on Nov. 17. At his request, we enjoyed cupcakes -- his topped with candles and candle-holders (Lifesavers). The big thing for him these days is Thomas the Tank Engine, and he got a moving Thomas with track and a Thomas game, as well as some cool new trucks, which are always a big hit at our house.
We got together for Thanksgiving lunch and a full afternoon and evening of games with the extended DeWaard clan. Much to Wade and my delight Lijah napped through most of the afternoon and the boys entertained themselves with legos for several hours, so we were actually able to enoy playing games without getting up every five minutes. On Friday and Saturday we put up the Christmas decorations and cut ourselves a Christmas tree. We let the boys pick out the tree (so we couldn't blame each other for picking out a lopsided one!), and they did a stellar job. We finished hanging the outside lights just as snow started to fall on Saturday.
Now to all you North Dakotans and Minnesotans reading this, a foot of snow might not be a big deal, but this is HUGE for us! We don't get snow, much less a full foot falling in less than 20 hours. We all bundled up, threw some snowballs and did a little sledding. Since we're all stuck inside (everything closes for snow here) we enjoyed an afternoon movie and snow ice cream -- num num.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Fall Fun

Once again a month has passed without an update, and I don't have a good excuse this time!
Our family headed down to Portland last weekend to visit Derric and Amanda. We spent an afternoon at a pumpkin farm where we got to ride on a boat and a train, roam a pumpkin patch and run through a hay maze. Luke also rode a pony (he was the only one brave enough). The rest of the time we spent hanging out and Derric and Amanda's house, where the boys spent hours engrossed in a Costco-sized bucket of Tinkertoys (okay, so the adults also spent a lot of time playing with the Tinkertoys).
My mom and I took the boys to Stoney Ridge Farm mid-October where they got to feed turkeys, go on a hay ride, enjoy a corn maze and see the world's only pumpkin tree. Levi had a hard time keeping his hands off the tree -- he really wanted to pick one!

Last year we planted a Northern Red Oak in our backyard and started a tradition -- family oak tree picture day. We snapped the second annual photo a couple weeks ago. The tree was quite eye-catching with its brilliant red leaves, but several windy days this week left it completely bare. Fall is here with a bit of a fury this week.

This is what happens when everyone at the same time says "Hold me Daddy!"

Friday, October 06, 2006

Time for an Update

I realize it's been over a month since the last update and stuff has been happening in our lives... but our hard drive crashed a few weeks ago and we lost a month's worth of recent pics and I'm not very motivated to update this when I don't have photos to add! But here are a few new ones so...
We took our last camping trip of the summer on Labor Day weekend (lost all those pics). We went with several friends of ours to a river-side camp that distant relatives of ours created at the back of their farm, so it was very nice and private - just our group. The river was very low and very slow so the boys got lots of splash time and even donned life jackets and went tubing.
Dad and Mom Howard visited about two weeks ago -- yes, they drove out just for the weekend!
So of course the boys had a wonderful weekend of attention and candy and Lucky Charms (Papa comes prepared). We all headed out to a corn maze in Lynden and spent a bit of time getting lost there. That's where the pic of Dad, Mom and the boys was taken.
Luke found a nice cozy "house" under this leaning sunflower and hid out there for awhile one day this week.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fun Stuff happening in our house!!!

Some fun stuff has been happening in our house lately. Elijah has been soooo close to walking for so long, and he's finally beginning to get it! We've been trying bait to get him to walk for a couple weeks to a month, and it's been only half working, but yesterday he took 10 steps on his own accord! Tonight he was walking all over the place in 5-10 step intervals, with some crawling mixed in of course, but yeah, he's finally about there!

A few nights ago, I(Wade) was putting Isaac down to bed for the night, and as is our custom, was reading him a short book. That particular night Isaac chose a book that contains a few short Bible stories. When we got to the one about Jesus' birth, Isaac immediately piped in "Why was there not enough room in the house for them to make a baby?" Flabberghasted, I said "ah, um...because there were too many people there." I guess that was true no matter how you took the question.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fair Time and Winchester Lookout

On August 14 Wade and I took the boys (minus Elijah) to the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden. They enjoyed seeing lots of animals, climbing on tractors, going on rides, eating Hawaiian Shave Ice (yes, it is different than a typical sno-cone and vastly superior!), going on rides, only eating half of their $3 hotdogs, and going on rides. Did I mention they really enjoyed going on rides? Isaac and Levi loved them all, but at least two rides made Lukey cry, so he repeated an Indiana Jones type obstacle course several times while Isaac and Vi went on the scary rides.
This past weekend Wade and I did another hike, this one only 9 miles round trip. We hiked to the Winchester Fire Lookout on Friday, spent the night in the lookout, and headed back Saturday. The building is an abandoned fire lookout that a local outdoors club maintains for public use. It has a bed and a cot, a campstove and propane, a few dishes, books, some non-perishable food in a mouse-proof box, and duct tape, just in case.There is also a flag that visitors can hoist to let people below know someone is at the top. The toilet is a box with a hole in the top about 30 feet from the cabin -- no walls, no roof, really great view for a potty! The views are incredible -- ridge upon ridge of mountains as far as you can see in all directions. That's Mount Baker you can see in the photos of the flag and Wade and I, and our home sweet home for a night.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

a couple more...

Here are a couple more pics just for fun -- Isaac, Levi (left) and Luke (right) showing off their cool shades and matching shirts and Lijah enjoying a popsicle. Note there is another new post below with more newsy stuff.

July Recap

The past few weeks have been busy -- imagine that, it's summer! A few highlights...
Cadet Camp
Wade is the head counselor for our church's Cadet club (kinda like boy scouts) so he and 10 boys and a few other helpers/counselors headed to Cadet camp Thursday evening through Sunday evening. There were about 70 boys total from several local churches, and they learned wilderness survival skills like navigation, rope making and mapping. Wade lead the navigation/direction finding part. Wade (and the Cadet boys) had a good time, but Wade was sure ready to sleep in his own bed again!
We got a swing set! Wade's boss was getting rid of his and offered it to us, much to our boys' delight. They've already worn through the grass beneath the swings (and I've worn through the spot behind the swings where I stand while pushing!). Levi, our little monkey, likes to flip up-side-down on the rings and hang by his knees from the bar -- he's only fallen and landed on his head once!
Last week was HOT so Wade and I filled over 200 water balloons for our Saturday night crew and we had a blast playing water balloon volleyball in the backyard. It's amazing how fast 20 people can go through that many water balloons!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Camping at Ross Lake

Camping is always an adventure with little ones in tow, and our trip to Ross Lake July 7-9 was no exception. Isaac, Levi and Luke had a blast playing with rocks and sticks (endless fun for little boys), running on the dock, going for a boat ride, watching Grandpa clean fish and learning that water isn't quite so scary with a life jacket on AND an inflatable animal to cling to. Elijah, on the other hand, wasn't quite so impressed. He wasn't real big on crawling through dirt and rocks, so he mostly sat on peoples' laps, which meant he didn't wear himself out enough to really sleep well.... you get the picture.
Maybe he'll figure out the walking thing before our next camping trip in August and be able to get around and play a little more (and sleep a little better!). Despite one slightly grumpy baby, Wade and I also had a great time swimming, playing games, spending time with friends and family who were camping with us, eating camp food and sleeping (we alternated sleeping in and taking naps so we both got plenty of sleep even though the kids woke up early).

Ross Lake was the very first place my parent's took me camping when I was 2 and it's been a family favorite ever since. It takes 40 miles of dusty gravel road to get there, but it's worth it for the beautiful views of the lake and mountains, fresh piney air and crystal clear water. It's one of those places where God is just so obvious you can't help but feel him close to you. It reminds of the song "This is my Father's world. I rest me in the thought of rocks and trees of skies and seas, his hands the wonders wrought. This is my father's world, and to my listening ear, all nature sings and 'round me rings the music of the spheres" (and frogs... the very loud music of the frogs all night long!).

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Nana's visit

We had a great long weekend with Nana -- the kids always have a blast when she's here, and Wade and I enjoy sleeping in a little later than the kids usually let us! We spent a day at a park where the boys spent more time splashing in the creek that playing on the playground. Even Elijah got wet, with a little help from Nana.

She and Papa bought Isaac a very early birthday present -- a new bike. He outgrew the itty-bitty one we bought him last summer much more quickly than we had expected! Attaching the training wheels was a bit of a trick, but Wade made a few improvisations to some pieces and now it works great. Isaac thinks it's great, but is a little wary about actually riding it -- I think because he sits up so much higher! As you can see, Luke thinks the helmet is very fashionable.
My new hiking backpack arrived this week, much to Levi's delight. I think I could fit him inside it (and it wouldn't weight much more than a normal full pack!).
We're off to Ross Lake for the weekend, so expect to see an update and more pictures soon.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Elijah's Birthday!!!

It was Elijah's first birthday this last friday, the 30th. We didn't really do much(at that age, they don't miss it anyway). We had some friends from church over for a picnic dinner in our yard. Harvey and Diane surprised us by bringing a birthday cake! Elijah loved it(so did his brothers). I think maybe he has taste buds on his cheeks.
My mom will be coming for the weekend, leaving on the 4th, so we're looking forward to a fun time with her.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Day at the Beach

Wade and I took the boys to Birch Bay yesterday after Wade got home from work. Unfortunately the tide was coming in and ate up all the sand pretty quickly (we have very minimal amounts of sandy beach in Northwest Washington), but the boys were really more interested in throwing rocks in the water anyway, so they didn't mind. We picked up a pizza and enjoyed the last few hours of sunshine.
We'll have to go again later in the summer if we want to see an ocean sunset though, since there was no way all four boys were going to last until 9:30 p.m.
Mom Howard is coming out on Saturday to spend the weekend. Isaac's daily mantra is "How many days until Nana comes?"

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Our foxy boy

For those who don't know, Isaac has been calling himself a fox (a big, huge purple fox, actually) for almost a year and a half now. Well last night he told me "foxes have pointy little ears, but I don't." I wondered if his days as a fox were over, until he continued, "I'm the fox that looks like a people." Ah, the imagination of a four-year-old!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

New Pastor

In case you didn't know. Last fall our pastor left us to be a missionary in China. We've been looking for a pastor ever since...obviously. We didn't like the traditional way of finding one by creating a search committee to go through potential minister's profiles and try to get an idea of who the guy actually is by what he says of himself...not ideal at all. So when a guy called BC called us from Oregon saying he felt called to come to us, we jumped on it. He was invited to be our interim pastor for 6 weeks so we could get to know him, he could get to know us...all that good stuff. After those 6 weeks our church council thought we should pursue him further so it went to a congregational vote today. Of the 106 voting members present, 99 voted for him! Thats like 93%! We are more than excited to have him. He plays guitar(which I love), is involved in youth, writes books and music. He's really great. The really amazing thing is that he has broad support from all age groups in our church, from the High Schoolers to the 80 somethings. We're really excited to have BC come preach for us, probably starting in mid July.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

We're back

Okay, we're still getting used to this whole having to report in thing so we're a bit tardy here. The backpacking trip was great, physically exhausting but mentally relaxing. I had no idea how good it would feel to have no meetings, no to-do list, no chores waiting, no work deadline looming, no children to feed, bathe and referee. It made all the blisters and aching muscles worth it!
We hiked just over 17 miles the first day (thanks to a little detour and some impromptu trailblazing). The original plan was to stay two nights at the same spot, but we knew we wouldn't be able to make it back in one day in our sorry condition, so we hiked almost halfway back on day two and stayed at another campground along the way. It was a good thing we did, because it was all we could do to make it the remaining 8 miles on day three. It was an ideal vacation though, cuz you know how at the end of most vacations you're really wishing for one more day? We weren't! We had a blast but were completely ready to come home.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Gettin' out of dodge

Yes, this is my first blog...but I digress.

Its been over 2 years since Kerri and I had a date or got away from the kids in any other fashion, so it's about time. This weekend we're going hiking in the North Cascades...without our children! We're hiking about half way up Ross Lake, about 15 miles each way and spending a couple days there. My parents will be coming out from North Dakota to watch the boys while we're gone.

It's such a blessing to have parents who are willing to travel and help their children out. We have been so blessed by them and by Kerri's parents for their help in raising our boys and keeping the two of us sane.

We are so excited to get out and just enjoy God's creation and each other for a couple days. I'll let you know how it went.