Dec 17, 2010

Our Christmas Letter

Good news: nothing major has occured this year.  We count that as a blessing.

Adam, 10, is ever active and has an increasing appetite to go with it.  He has participated in basketball and track, and loves to be outside riding his bike or scooter.  He continues to play the piano and  loves Cub Scouts, where until last month Marielle was Den Leader.  Adam is an excellent student and loves learning.  When recently given the choice to leave school early for his brother's Christmas program or stay for science, he chose the latter.  His artistic skills continue to develop with his love of drawing, painting, and taking pictures with his camera.

Benjamin, 7, began piano lessons earlier this year and is improving rapidly.  He loves going fishing with dad; he was the first one to catch a fish in 2010.  Soccer and swimming have been his sport of choice this year; as his parents we've seen some great progress.  He's almost equaled Adam in number of teeth lost, but may win the grand prize this year because he has another loose tooth and is planning to pull it out on December 24, so that the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus can come on the same night.  He keeps us all laughing.  He'll turn 8 in February and is looking forward to his baptism.

Andrew, 5, started preschool this year.  Like Benjamin, and unlike Adam, he is quite shy and the first couple of weeks were an adjustment but he has made some friends and now loves going to school to learn and play.  He'll spend hours at the kitchen table coloring, drawing, and tracing.  He is my best helper and has such a willing attitude.  If something needs to be done, he's on it with a smile on his face.  Andrew gave us a little scare in August with some stomach problems and he ended up being admitted to the hospital overnight.  The hospital staff and doctors all commented on what a brave kid he was considering his intense pain.  We are often amazed at his memory, but at the same time, we love starting a song with just a few words and waiting for Andrew to sing the rest.  Songs from Guys and Dolls are among his best.

Jared, 1, wants to be 5, 7, or 10.  He's a quick study of his older brothers.  Oh boy!  His brothers are so patient with him and so concerned when he is upset.  We think the car seat has a new mold just for Jared's bottom as he is in it often while we chase brothers to their many activities.  He is such a joy for all of us.

We've been able to take some fun trips to the Oregon coast this year as a family, and Steven, as President of the Young Men, took a group of young men to Central Oregon for a week.  Marielle took the 4 boys and went to Idaho for 2 weeks to visit family.  While visiting her sister, they enjoyed drives through the breathtaking Tetons, ice cream in St. Anthony, and a day at Yellowstone National Park.  After almost 13 years, Marielle decided time after school was better spent with her own children and stopped teaching piano.  We must be destined to be scouters as Steven stays busy with the Venturing program and Marielle is now the 11 yr old scout leader. We continue to love gardening, and while we aren't the best at it, we are usually able to enjoy an abundance of fruits and vegetables.  We'd like to find more time to camp, fish, and hike.  Maybe our letter next year will have more of those adventures in it. 

Merry Christmas!

Dec 2, 2010

These are a few of my favorite...

words as a parent at Christmas time:
"...he knows if you've been bad or good..."

Excellent Motivation.

Nov 24, 2010

Benjamin's Flower

Sometime late last Spring, Benjamin burst through the door and proudly told me he had planted some flowers.  After inspection, and finding seed packets all over the yard, I told him that was great!, and then I explained how to care for the seed and future plant.  He listened to every word and every day during the summer, he would fill up a paper cup and go water his plant.  It grew all summer and got to be about 24" tall.  Unfortunately, when I looked at it all I saw was a giant weed, but Benjamin kept insisting that his flower had a bud, or that it was about to blossom.  At the end of the summer, Benjamin once again burst through the door to tell me he had a beautiful pink flower!  We hustled outside and sure enough-he did it!

See-tucked in right next to the weed, was his beautiful Zinnia.  Success!  He had been so diligent and it had payed off.  He was so happy!

Nov 20, 2010

13 Years

My sweetie brought me these beautiful roses for our anniversary.
I have a good man!

Nov 10, 2010

Definition of a Snack

My definition of a snack:  something from one of the food groups, provides lasting fuel to the body.
the Brothers definition of a snack:  something in a wrapper.

Nov 3, 2010

Butter vs. Vegetable Oil

So this is what happens when butter is substituted for 1/2 the vegetable oil called for in a recipe.  I had to try it-we all know butter tastes SO much better.  But, the zucchini bread wasn't as beautiful as it might have been if I had followed the recipe exactly.

Oct 23, 2010


 While I was still nursing Jared, there were many times that I had to feed him at the same time that Andrew thought he needed his lunch.  Sometimes I was prepared and had his lunch ready for him.  Sometimes I would have to ask Andrew to wait.  Finally, Andrew took the bull by the horns.

This is an important step...


Oct 20, 2010

First Day of School

I realize it is October 20, but if my sister can post about it in October, well then, so can I. 

This is Andrew, off to preschool and so excited!

This is Benjamin, my 2nd grader.  They get to play on a bigger playground now.

And Adam, my 5th grader.  They "rule the school", ya know.

And, not to leave the cutest munchkin out, we took a group shot.  I'm so glad that Adam is still willing to let me choose his clothes a little bit and that matching his brothers isnt' too geeky for him yet.

Oct 17, 2010

What Benjamin said...

After a day of running at the jog-a-thon and at a soccer game.
Mom:  Benjamin, you need to bus your dishes and then straighten the family room."
Benjamin:  "I have been running and running all day, and I am NOT HAPPY!"

One afternoon after I had been teaching piano for 2 hours and the kids had been unsupervised.
Mom, while standing in the pantry and ALREADY knowing the answer:  "Who got into the chocolate chips?"
Benjamin:  "Um, is Adam home?"

Mom:  "Benjamin, go brush your teeth."
Benjamin:  "Why, aren't we just going to eat again?"

Oct 14, 2010

Looky at what I can do...

Jared is mobile.  There is nothing stopping him now.  He is up and down stairs, he is walking from room to room, he can pull  himself up on to chairs and stools.  He is a big boy now.  "See, Mom?  I can climb up on the stool in the bathroom like my big brothers do when they brush their teeth."

"This is the stuff they use, right?  So, how do I get it out?"

"Oh, never mind, I figured it out.  And if this method doesn't work, I'll go with the next one."

"That's right, stick my finger in, get some gooey hot addictive stuff on there, suck it off."

"In fact, I'm such a big boy, that when I'm done, I will close the lid.  Bet my big brothers don't do that."

Oct 13, 2010

Where have I been?

Yes, it has been over a month since my last post.  Where have I been?  Well, let me see:
I baked bread and took it to the new neighbors down the street = 2 hours
I had the flu (ick) = 2 days
Oh, I know!  SOCCER! = 2 months!  Anyone else caught up in this craziness? 
But I am updating today.  Check back soon.

Sep 10, 2010

Family- like a Garden

This year our garden has been a new adventure.  Our boys requested a garden box of their own-which we built- and then they told us what they wanted to plant in their box: radishes, potatoes, lettuce, basil, peppers, and edamame.  Hmmm, okay.  Why not?  How can I teach them anything about growing and nurturing a garden if I say no?  So we did it.  We had to hunt all over to find edamame seeds, and everywhere we went we were told, "edamame won't grow here".  We had to find out for ourselves.  We warned the boys, prepared the soil, and planted. 

As in years past, we have always prayed for our garden, that it might grow, that we might be able to enjoy the bounty.  And, we weed it, we water, we watch, carefully.  This year was no different in that regard; however, we have had a VERY mild summer.  But guess what:

And guess what else: Edamame from your garden are SO much tastier than edamame from the store. :)

Given the cool weather, we did have had an overall successful year.   

We had a stake president once who would always talk about the parable of the tomato.  I'm beginning to understand. 

As a child of God, I have been given a "garden box" of 4 beautiful boys, and while I am at their side we till the soil, prepare it, and then plant, and I have many opportunities to talk about Faith, about Work, about Prayer. 
As a parent, I am trying to nurture my children and I, myself, am learning much about Faith, about Work, about Prayer.  Like a garden, I try to keep the "weeds" out, and bring the good "water" in to our home.  Not all days are bright and shiny days, but most are.   I warn about more than a few seeds not sprouting, I prepare them as best as I can, and I teach.  I don't have to wait until they are older to experience the bounty; the joy of motherhood.  I get little glimpses every day. 

Aug 31, 2010

Birthday Boy

No words necessary...

Aug 16, 2010

Celebrate Family

About a year ago I was looking for something specific for a Family Home Evening lesson and happened upon  I found some great flannel board figures already colored and some great lessons.  I added her to my favorites.  Now it looks like "Cocoa"  and one her blogging friends,, are hosting a month long celebration on "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" in September.

I love the Proclamation and have found it to be so useful as a mother.  I am looking forward to seeing how I can further incorporate it into our family, our everyday activities, our life.  Check out their websites by clicking above or on the button at right and let's all celebrate the family...

Aug 7, 2010


Last Friday Benjamin and Andrew asked for some cookies...well, I have been thinkin' about these for a little while now and they agreed.

They were delicious!  I used to make snickerdoodles from a cake mix.  I probably won't ever do that again.

The next picture is for Liz...she wanted to see the boys' aprons.  I made them each one for Christmas last year.  The front of each apron is identical.  The coordinating fabric is individualized...Adam = orange, Benjamin = blue, Andrew = green, Jared (yes, he got one too, and it will fit him eventually) = red.  Super easy and they love having their own just right sized apron to wear.

Jul 29, 2010

Just Wondering...

I had a friend tell me that I needed to get more protein in my morning meal.  So, I'm wondering...How much protein is there in a piece of chocolate cake?  Not that I had that for breakfast because what kind of mother would I be? 
I'm just wondering.

Jul 16, 2010

The Millington's

We recently returned from our annual Weaver Reunion in St. George, UT.  I'll post more on that later.  As it turns out, the reunion ended on a Friday and so we decided to head even further south, (and even hotter I might add) and visit my brother, Jade, and his family.  Well, his family anyway.  Jade stopped in for breakfast on Thursday morning-he was Hi-ing to Kolob for Girl's Camp.  (hee hee)  So we got to see Liz, Bennett, and Hannah. 
Hannah just turned 5 and starts kindergarten this fall.  She loves all things girl so this present from Nana is PERFECT for her. 

She put the apron to use helping Liz make a delicious Lemon Yogurt Cake with blueberry sauce. 

Yummy!  She was so cute-and patient with all the boys around.  On Saturday morning, she and Andrew peeked their heads in my bedroom and Hannah said-"we can't go to sleep any longer".  Well-that was it-how can you turn this face away?

We've gone to Vegas to see Jade & Liz a few times before, but this year was especially important to us-my boys have been very worried about their cousin.  Bennett is on the left, the three on the right are mine.

Bennett was diagnosed with Perthes Disease at the beginning of the year.  This has been quite a trial for he and his family.  The pain, as I understand it, has been so unbearable at times that he hasn't wanted to climb the stairs, or run and play at recess, or generally be an active 6 (almost 7) year old boy.  We've prayed for Bennett in every prayer and we talk about how Bennett is doing with every update we get.  Through physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, rest, and treatment with the use of a traction boot, it appears that the pain is under control.  He's not cured.  I observed his movement-he's very careful with the left hip/leg, he's learned to compensate.  To be able to get in the pool and play with Bennett was a relief to my kids-and to me.  Look at this boy, who even with this trial, has a spirit larger than life:

Hang in there Bennett!  We are so glad we got to see you guys!  We love you!

Jun 30, 2010

The First and The Last

My baby.
He'll always be my baby, my caboose.  The one who tugs the most at my heart.  And with every First accomplishment I celebrate, I'm a little sad because I know it is the Last time I'll celebrate that accomplishment.
This week was his first haircut, the last time for "the first haircut".  Dad said it was time.  Sadly, I had to agree.

Before:  it's as if he's saying-"don't ya love my curls?"

During:  chillin' in the sink

After: ahh, so handsome

The truth is, some of these milestones have turned out to be easier than I have expected.

Jun 26, 2010

Happy Birthday!

My oldest, Adam, just had a birthday.  He turned 10.  "Double digits, mom."  Festivities included eating his breakfast of choice: Hazelnut Chip Scones, and dinner of choice, "dad's steaks, they're better than Outback".  We also had presents, singing, phone calls from cousins, and this:

"Baked Alaska"
Here's a look at the inside:

mmm, mmm, good!  Too good, actually!

Happy Birthday Adam!  We're so glad you are part of our family!

Jun 22, 2010


What is that?  I had never heard of this term before either-until one Saturday in May.  So-this is a long story.  The Boy Scouts of America is celebrating 100 years this year.  In celebration, youth, adults, and alumni can earn the Year of Scouting award.  Adam and I challenged each other to earn the award, which requires completing 3 activities in 5 areas: Character, Community Service, Leadership, Achievement, and Outdoors.  The requirements for the boys are different than for leaders....

In the area of Community Service, one of the activities is to be an active participant in a Habitat for Humanity project.  As luck would have it, our local Habitat is buildling a duplex this year.  :) 

My good friend, Heather, and I headed over there and after signing all sorts of release forms, we got right to work.  One job the foreman gave us was to install these:

This is an HDU2.  If you build houses, you already know that.  I had to stand back and take a look at things, make my own assumption as to why they needed to be installed, and then double checked with the foreman.  Thankfully, my assumption was correct.  This is where they are installed:

Just inside the front door, on the weight bearing wall, and in the garage.  They are reinforcement against earthquakes.  Now, looking at this picture I am reminded of a little problem we incurred while trying to install.  We were supposed to unscrew the bolt, put the HDU2 over the screw, then tighten the bolt.  Then, we had 8 screws that had to be tightened into the 2x4.  But, we had to hammer the screw into place first.  Do you see the problem?  How do you swing a hammer in a 4" clearance? 

This is Heather, installing a HDU2 near the front door.  One on each side.  It was so fun working with her-she always has the best attitude and it's contagious.

This is me installing a HDU2 on a weight bearing wall: (yes we had beautiful weather that day)

Wait!  What is different?  Oh yeah-some big tall man came by, took out his hammer, and knocked that obnoxious 2x4 out of there.  Ahh-made life easier.  But I ask the question: "Why can't we try to remember to install these things BEFORE putting the other 2x4 up?  Wouldn't that save time?"

So we put in our time that day.  We participated in a community service project.  It was fun.  It really was.  In fact, someday when I don't have 4 small children at home I'll go spend more time on a project like this.  I may be too old to kneel down, but I will go.  Maybe I'll take my family with me.  Had it not been for a great organization like the Boy Scouts of America, I would not have made the effort to go participate in this project.  Yet another reason I love the BSA. 

Jun 17, 2010

School's Out!

I think little brother in the background is just as excited.

Jun 11, 2010

Signs of Summer

Proof that the sun is shining...SOMEWHERE!

They were so delicious!

Jun 7, 2010


     So we decided after 5 1/2 years of living here that it was high time to check out some of this state.  Astoria was an easy and logical choice for reasons you'll see below.  After all, why go just for the fun of it?  Might as well make it educational too.  :)
     We had just 48 hours and a full agenda, but we did it.  Our first stop was at Fort Stevens, which was built and used during the Civil War as well as both WWI and WWII.  

     It was Memorial Day weekend and they had some great re-enactments all day on Saturday.  Of course, the boys loved watching and hearing the different cannons go off.  Fort Stevens State Park is also home to the Peter Iredale shipwreck, the skeleton of a British bark that ran aground in 1906.

     We also visited Pier 39 and the Hanthorn Cannery Museum which has a big Bumble Bee display and many artifacts and pictures showing how the fishing industry and canning of fish has developed from 1875 to present.  We visited the Maritime Museum, too.  Check out this anchor and chain...

     Among the other places we visited:  the Astoria Column, built in 1926, it is 125 feet tall and sits on top of a hill, so after climbing spiral stairs (all 165 of them) we had some fantastic panoramic views.  The outside of the column has fourteen scenes painted or carved into the column which are fascinating to look at as well.

     We drove across the Astoria Bridge, which is 4.1 miles across the Columbia River, we watched a large group of male sea lions, we rode on the River Front Trolley after walking along the river boardwalk.  But the main reason for the trip was our visit to Fort Clatsop.  Adam, as a 4th grader, has been studying the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  There is so much history in that area in regard to Lewis and Clark, their winter lodging, their trade with the Indians and more. 

     We toured the exhibit, the boys participated in the Junior Ranger program, we hiked the trail out to the replica of the fort they built and lived in during the winter of 1805. 

     Overall, it was a great trip, we had a good time and should there come another opportunity, we would go back because there was more we wanted to do, places to visit, but we were out of time!