Thursday, December 27, 2007

Walking in a frosty wonderland

It's not snow, it's actually frozen fog that fell on the land like a great white blanket, also known as hoar frost. Not a pretty name; really pretty landscape!

The truck antenna had frost over an inch wide hanging on it

Even the cobwebs got frost-covered!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Pacific Northwest according to Jeff Foxworthy

Maybe he was trying to be funny, but he really hit the nail right on the head! This is what I'm missing about Washington!

The Pacific Northwest According To Jeff Foxworthy:

1. You know the state flower (mildew).
2. You feel guilty throwing aluminum cans or paper in the trash.
3. Use the statement 'sun break' and know what it means.
4. You know more than 10 ways to order coffee.
5 You know more people who own boats than air conditioners.
6. You feel overdressed wearing a suit to a nice restaurant or to church.
7. You stand on a deserted corner in the rain waiting for the 'WALK' Signal.
8. You consider that if it has no snow or has not recently erupted, it's NOT a real mountain.
9. You can taste the difference between Starbucks, Seattle's Best, and Veneto's.
10 . You know the difference between Chinook, Coho and Sockeye salmon.
11. You know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Haceta, Yaquina, Yachats, Issaquah, Oregon, Yakima and Willamette.
12. You consider swimming an indoor sport.
13. You can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Thai food.
14. In winter, you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark while only working eight-hour days.
15. You never go camping without waterproof matches and a poncho.
16. You are not fazed by "Today's forecast: showers followed by rain," and "Tomorrow's forecast: rain followed by showers."
17. You have no concept of humidity without precipitation.
18. You know that Boring is a town in Oregon and not just a state of mind.
19. You can point to at least two volcanoes, even if you cannot see through the cloud cover.
20. You notice, "The mountain is out" when it is a pretty day and you can actually see it.
21. You put on your shorts when the temperature gets above 50, but still wear your hiking boots and parka.
22. You switch to your sandals when it gets about 60, but keep the socks on.
23. You have actually used your mountain bike on a mountain.
24. You think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or tourists.
25. You buy new sunglasses every year, because you cannot find the old ones after such a long time.
26. You measure distance in hours.
27. You often switch from heat to a/c in the same day.
28. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit under or over a raincoat.
29. You know all the important seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Raining (Spring), Road Construction (Summer), Deer & Elk season (Fall).
30. If you understood these jokes you will probably forward them on but if you don't understand ANY of these, then you don't live in Oregon or Washington!!!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Kerri's da bomb!


Mirror Lake, adjacent to a park about five blocks from our house, has frozen over. We had actually headed out to play at the park (in 24 degree weather - Wade's crazy idea) so we weren't prepared for sliding around on ice, but the boys got a big kick out of it (okay, so Wade and I really did too!). We have plans to head back there again soon, this time with more snow gear and gloves, an essential we were sorely lacking the first time. We're not exactly sure how thick the ice is. It looks close to a foot thick, but you know how water/ice skews depth perception. There was a vehicle parked on the ice and an ice fishing tent set up though, so we know it's thick enough to hold our family!

I think the lake must have frozen in two parts and this is where the two frozen sections merged.

Pretty pretty icicles.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Birthday

Isaac turned six years old on Saturday -- two hands old now! He insisted on waiting until after dinner to open his presents and eat cake (and Wade even offered him cake for breakfast, but noooooo, we all had to wait until after dinner! Crazy kid!).

This is the cake I made for him -- a bit of work, but he was so excited about it so it was totally worth it!

His first glimpse of his super cool cake.

My mom came out for four days to celebrate with us, which we all enjoyed immensely. Here she's reading a bedtime story to Levi and Luke.

Mom and I took the boys to the park one day where they posed with Humpty Dumpty for this fun shot.

'Lijah decided to skip his nap this day and watch TV with his brothers instead... looks like his plan didn't work out entirely like he'd planned!

Monday, October 29, 2007

At Mom's Request...

Wow, I'm really on a roll here with blogging! At your request, Mom, here are a few pictures of the boys (and Wade and I -- Isaac actually took the picture of us. Wow, huh?).

Isaac doing his favorite thing: making a map. On this map (and most of his others) you will find a schoolasaurus, heffalumps, woozles, and the homes of pretty much everyone Isaac knows and loves.

Lukey atop a nearby jungle gym. The boys like to play "spider" on it, which includes catching insects (leaves) and after eating them (crumbling them up in their hands), dropping their bones below (letting the leaf bits fall to the ground).

Levi on the world's best merry-go-round. Give it a good push and it will spin forever! Lots of fun, even for me (but not for Wade -- just watching makes him nauseous!).

'Lijah having a really good hair day!

Me with the studliest man in the state of North Dakota (and beyond).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Culture Shock in North Dakota

Okay, so we've been here three weeks and the culture shock keeps... well, shocking me. A few strange things to point out about North (and South) Dakota:

• Tumbleweed blows across the highway in moderate winds. Seriously, you'd think we were in Texas.
• Cattle guards, even on freeway off-ramps. And of the course the related experience of driving through areas where the cattle have free reign, even on the roads.
• National Grasslands. I can understand National Forests and National Parks, but National Grasslands? It's grass -- who cares? Well, out here it's a lot harder to grow things, so I guess grass is a lot bigger deal than it is in Washington.
• Petrified wood everywhere (and I thought it was only found in certain parks and museums).
• Lefse, a Norwegian snack, is available at the grocery store year round (and I thought it was just a strange thing Wade's family ate during the holidays).
• The hardware store sells krumkaka makers (another Norwegian snack Wade's family has at Christmas). I didn't even know there were krumkaka makers!
• The town sirens go off every day at noon and 10 p.m.
• Grain elevators in almost every town.
• The sun rising in the west and setting in the east (okay, so I'm a little disoriented here and can't seem to get my inner compass to adjust).
• Everybody waves at you, especially when driving. We're learning to drive with one hand on top of the steering wheel so it's just a flick of the wrist to return (or initiate) a wave.
• No rain. I just don't get it. I just don't.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

We're here!

Me and the boys in front of our new home

Yes, we are alive and well in North Dakota, and now that we're not on dial-up internet anymore, you might just hear a lot more from us!

The boys did amazingly well on the 20-hour trip, and now that we are all unpacked, moved in and mostly back to a normal routine, they are starting to settle down and act like themselves again. During the time that Wade was in ND and we were still in Washington, and during the move and the couple weeks following, the kids were a little off kilter. They may not have been able to tell you what was wrong, but they were definitely stressed out. It's nice having them normal again (as far as normal goes for little boys!).

Wade is enjoying his job and learning lots. I'm keeping busy teaching Isaac kindergarten, trying to transform the landscapeless yard into something beautiful and doing all the regular mother-of-young-children things that life demands.

Speaking of which, my to-do list is demanding my attention.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Moving and other news

I'm pretty sure most of you have probably heard our big news, but I thought I'd make an official statement here to confirm any rumors that may still be circulating -- yes, we are moving to North Dakota.

Wade got a terrific job with Midcontinent Communications, a cable company dealing in phone, tv and internet cable services. He'll be doing maintenance, upgrades and repairs on the main network of cable in the towns of Hetttinger, Mott and Reeder, and he'll do some home installation. He's very excited.

We also bought a house there in Hettinger, population somewhere between 1300 and 2000. There are a few pictures below.
We're both really excited about the move, but heartbroken about leaving our family, church and friends here, especially the Saturday night crew. It's such a confusing emotion to be excited and horrified by something both at the same time.

Wade starts work there on Sept. 19 and will come back to move the kids and I out the first weekend in October. Please pray for us while we pack and live apart for a few weeks and move and drive and drive and drive.

This is our house from the outside. It was a church up until about three years ago, and it still looks like it on the outside. The yard will be quite the project for this gardener.

There is a small balcony area above the master bedroom and this picture of the kitchen and dining area was taken from up there.

This one of the living room was also taken from the master balcony. The stairs lead to two bedrooms for the boys and a bathroom.

There's also a full unfinished basement where we'll hide out during tornadoes and stay cool during the 110-degree summer days.

In other news, since our last blog update we've also gone camping a few more times, Wade and I flew to Whitehorse in Canada's Yukon Territory for a friend's wedding and Wade and I did a three-day hike over Hannegan Pass and down part of the Copper Ridge Trail during the long Labor Day weekend. All were great, but sorry, I don't have time to upload pics of them all. Maybe later.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My Sister's Wedding

Kristin and Jonathan were united in marriage on July 7, 2007 in a picture-perfect outdoor wedding at my parent's home. God heard all our prayers for beautiful weather and answered them with an evening that was sunny but not overly hot with a dazzling view of majestic Mount Baker in the background. Of course all that paled in comparison with the radiance of the bride and the glow of the groom.

Lest I mislead, there were several minor (maybe not so minor) crises that arose beforehand (one of the groomsmen wasn't able to make it because of a funeral; their reserved honeymoon suite was suddenly unavailable just days before the wedding; the cake decorator called the day before the wedding saying the cake would cost twice what Kris was originally quoted; and the manicurist butchered Kris' nails -- thankfully they still looked beautiful thanks to an ingenious bit of work that didn't require any fake parts). But despite all that, the wedding itself pulled off without a hitch (oh wait, the candles wouldn't light because of a slight breeze) and was probably the most beautiful wedding I've ever seen (of course I'm not biased, I mean, I was the matron of honor, how could I possibly be biased?!?).

The happy couple eating cake.

The arch bedecked in gladiolus perfectly framed Mount Baker.

Me and my sister.

Lincoln City, 2007

The always fabulous, ever fun and decidedly wonderful Howard family trip to Lincoln City, Oregon was, well, all that. Every two or three years Wade's family gets together at a beach house on the Oregon coast for a week of reunion and relaxing. This year we were 14 -- Dad and Mom, Derric and Amanda, Joel and Betsy (uncle and aunt from Idaho), their two daughters Mitzi and Abbey, and the six of us. It was a wonderful vacation and so good to catch up and get reacquainted with those we don't get to see often enough.

Besides the adventures shown below, there were also long walks on the beach, an awesome fireworks show, hours of kite flying, eating out and feasting in, games every night, lots of tickles for Mitzi and Abbey (and I have to live with him, girls!), building a dam and diverting a river (okay, a small stream) and trying desperately to finish a 1000-piece photomosaic puzzle (it didn't quite happen, those things are hard!).

We celebrated Elijah's 2nd birthday the day we arrived. Hats and cake for all!

Isaac flew a kite for the first time (and only let it go once -- thankfully I was able to catch it again!).

Isaac, Levi and Luke got the biggest kick out of running from the surf.

Wade, Mitzi, Abbey and I went boogie-boarding a couple days - lots of fun if you don't count the nearly washed out to sea experience!

Lots of sand, lots of beach toys, lots of sunscreen... lots of fun.

The boys enjoying some of Lij's birthday presents, new books, on Papa's lap.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ross Lake 2007

We took our annual DeWaard family camping trip to beautiful Ross Lake this past weekend. Although it was a bit cool and it rained one night, the overall trip was still a blast. Highlights included singing around the campfire with Wade leading on guitar, lots of game playing and falling asleep to a chorus of a thousand froggies singing their hearts out, or should I say croaking their hearts out. The scenery there never fails to take my breath away.

My family -- on the left my sister Kristin and her fiance Jonathan (who are getting married in only 11 days!!! Ahhhh!), my Dad and Mom, my brother Kenner, and Wade and I and all our little ones.

Luke and Elijah lounging -- those kiddie chairs have gotten so much use!

Wade and the boys did swim one day even though it never got terribly warm.

My Mom and Isaac playing Scrabble - yeah right. Okay, Mom teaching Isaac how to spell.

There are a few of these outbuildings in the Ross Lake National Forest Area and they are hands-down the finest, most attractive, least smelly, most sanitary non-flush no-plumbing commodes. And for nearly $30,000 a piece, according to the forest ranger, they should be. Roomy, wheelchair accesible, well ventilated and equiped with hand sanitizer dispensers, these are the luxery edition of outhouses. These fine outbuildings get a full 10 points out of 10 on our campground rating scale. I could go on, but I'll spare you.

And the final tally for the weekend -- a whopping 9.6 points, with three categories (bathrooms, cost and overall enjoyability) getting the highest possible marks and the other two (campsites and interest) rating 9 out of 10. Can you tell we love this place?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Camping at Colonial Creek

Wow, a month without an update -- I'm falling behind! My apologies to any loyal web fans.
What I meant to post two and a half weeks ago was... We took our second camping trip of the year Memorial Day weekend. Van loaded to the gills, we headed east into the North Cascades to Colonial Creek Campground on scenic highway 20. The weekend was chock full of hiking, building bridges over small creeks, roasting mallows, hot dogs and lil smokies, climbing trees, exploring, singing around the campfire and even a bit of swimming (brrr!). It was one of the better places we've camped, and a return trip is highly likely.

We did a threeish-mile hike with the boys one day and saw this tree along the way. The boys thought it was very cool to stand inside a tree!

This downed tree was on one edge of our campsite, and the boys spent lots of time climbing on the enormous roots and walking the length of the tree.

This very unique "northwest palm tree" was in our campsite. Even after much examination we couldn't figure out what would have made it grow like this.

The whole family on a wooden bridge on our mini hike. This was the turn-around spot (and about the time Lij and Luke wanted to be carried the rest of the way!).

Wade and I have come up with a rating system for campgrounds, which is outlined below.

CAMPGROUND RATING SYSTEM (divide total points by 5 for final score)
• Bathrooms - maximum of 10 points possible
• Camp Sites (condition of table, fire pits, tent area, privacy) - max of 10 points possible
• Interest (trails, swimming, park, stuff to do) - max of 10 points possible
• Cost - max of 10 points possible
• Overall enjoyability - max of 10 points possible

We gave Silver Lake, which we camped at in early May, 7.2 points (overall a quite enjoyable stay, but a little spendy for a campground, and not a lot in the way of stuff to do). Colonial Creek got a high 8.4 because just about everything there was fabulous. Still not real cheap for a campground, but reasonable, and most of the campsites had pretty small tent pads which is a bother for those of us with an 8-man tent, but everything else rated very high. We'll keep you posted on the rest of our camping trips and their scores.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Birthdays and Camping

Levi and Luke turned 4 on May 8 -- wow, how did they get to be 4???? Weren't they just infants sharing a crib together a couple months ago? We celebrated with bowling and a birthday picnic at a nearby park where an amazing new playground was just completed. Happy birthday to you, Levi and Luke!

Levi eagerly demonstrated his amazing monkey-like abilities on the new park toys.

And camping... We took our first camping trip of the year this past weekend at Silver Lake Park. The weather was a bit chilly, but thankfully dry. The boys had a blast throwing sticks and rocks into a creek not far from our campsite, roasting mallows and li'l smokies and hotdogs and biscuits (we did a lot of roasting!), climbing trees and stumps and, of course, sleeping in the tent (way cooler than sleeping in bed at home - literally!).