Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back From Girls Camp

It has been a pretty quiet week around our home because Laura has been at girls camp. They really lucked out because the weather was not the usual June rain and it was absolutely beautiful. Girls camp is held at Hahobas which is a Boy Scout Camp on the Hood Canal. It is about a two hour drive from here. This year Laura's friend Acacia came with her to see what all of the talk was about.

At girls camp they have lots of fun classes some of the popular classes are; archery, rifle range, canoes, crafts and lots of other fun things to do. The camp is on Robin's lake which is a beautiful secluded lake. I was a lifeguard in charge of waterfront with my friend Ruth for several years. Even as leaders we had a blast.

I am grateful to the leaders who volunteer their time and some of them even vacation time from work to go and make girls camp such a wonderful experience for the girls. It is no easy task keeping around 200ish girls organized and safe for five days.

One of the highlights of camp is always campfire in the evening. The girls go there and have skits, awards, announcements and sing lots of crazy songs. The theme this year was "Destination, serve all nations". Each ward was assigned a country to represent. Our ward was the south sea islands. They decorate the camp and wear things to represent their country. I suppose the south pacific would be pretty easy to find stuff for. Camp is always a place where the girls can feel what it is like to feel the spirit and feel of our Heavenly Father's love.

The funny thing is that you drop off a nice clean, excited girl on Tuesday morning and then on Saturday afternoon..... you get a really tired, cranky (even though they insist that they aren't) dirty girl who sleeps for three days and sings crazy songs.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Up, Up and Away

Congratulations to Jennifer who completed her Alaska Airlines training today. She is now officially a Customer Service Agent for the airline. Today was her graduation and she was also awarded the Integrity award. Way to go Jen!! I guess we had all better be nice to her if we want to be assigned a good seat!

Jack and I are pretty excited about the prospect of having flight benefits again for a while. Yeah!

Children's Hospital

Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints affords us many opportunities to serve others. Lately our ward has had many challenges with the health of members. Last night I had the opportunity to spend the night with one of our young women who is a patient at Children's Hospital in Seattle. She had been having severe migraines for several years and so the doctors had a scan done on her brain. They found that she had a large tumor at the base of her brain. The tumor was so large that it was almost choking out her spinal cord. She had surgery about two weeks ago and is still having some recovery issues. Although the tumor was benign, the area where it was removed still has quite a bit of swelling, this is causing her to still have paralysis in her face, trouble swallowing and some other challenges. The doctors are confident that this will go away but for now it is important that she keep her feeding tube and other tubes in. During the night she tries to get out of her arm restraints and pull everything out. this is why the overnight visit. We are trying to give her mother a little bit of time to sleep, since she never leaves the hospital, so that she can keep up this crazy schedule she is on. So I sat by her bedside all night long holding her hand and sometimes talking to her. She is unable to give much response verbally but was able to make hand movements. It was pretty tough staying awake all night in a quiet dark room but fortunately they have an ice machine right down the hall so I was able to eat lots of hospital ice (arguably the best ice in the world). I was so impressed by her mother when we had scripture reading. She sat and read a chapter out of the Book of Mormon and explained to her daughter what was going on with the story. After we each read we sang the hymn "Be Still My Soul" and tucked her daughter in for bed. There was a wonderful spirit there.

The way she read reminded me in some way of the way my mother used to read to us. Even as grown adults we always loved it when my mom would read to us, especially Dr. Suess stories. My mom had a beautiful voice and I loved the way she told a story. I sure do miss her!!

Driving home this morning was so beautiful! It was about 5:30 and the sun was up. Seattle is surrounded by the Cascades and Mt. Rainier to the east, and the Olympics and Puget Sound to the west. The mountains were just a clear as can be. It reminds me of why I love this area so much!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father's Day

Sunday was Father’s day and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of their own celebration than the father of my children, Jack. I knew when I met him that he was above average in many ways but I had no idea of what I was in for. I have rarely met such a kind person, Jack works tirelessly to support our family and take care of us. He has a deep love for the Savior and it shows in the way he leads our family with love and in the way he treats others. My friends all have a great respect for Jack because of the way they know he honors me. But this isn’t about what a wonderful husband Jack is but about the fantastic example of fatherhood he is. Jack is extremely proud of every one of our kids and loves them beyond compare. I think that it is rare for children to love each other and get along as well as our kids and I credit that to Jack and the lack of contention in our home. The kids are truly the best of friends.

The few times I have heard him raise his voice to the kids is when they have been disrespectful to me. We have so much fun in our home and absolutely love it when all of the kids are gathered around. Most of the time we have lots of extra kids be it friends or cousins they all seem to feel comfortable in our home. Not only is Jack the best father around, but he is an amazing grandfather! Our grandson, Adam, is the joy of our lives (sorry kids). “Papa” is Adam’s hero and he loves to go on walks with him. Adam even had to get his own binoculars so that he can look for birds just like Papa! Jack seems to be the “Papa” of lots of kids in the ward; he is able to get a fussy baby settled down and to sleep when a mother is at the end of her rope. I think that he hypnotizes them with his singing voice. The kids in the nursery love it when he comes in to give them “horsey” rides until his legs are too tired for any more.

I am so grateful to be married to a man like Jack and I can only pray that my kids can find somebody who loves them and their children like he does. (Linda has done pretty well so far!!)

Remember: Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a Daddy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's Adrian's Birthday!

Today is another milestone in our family. Adrian is celebrating his 23rd birthday! Once again, where has the time gone. Adrian is, and always has been, such a joy to have in our family. He decided to enter this world one Sunday afternoon. Back then we used to go to my parent's home every Sunday for dinner. I started having contractions after dinner, Jack and Dad were in a heated game of chess. Jack wanted to finish the game first but my mom and grandma were pretty anxious for us to get to the hospital. Jack was in no hurry because I had 46 hours of labor with Linda. Turned out Jack wasn't too far off and we had several hours to kill. After a very difficult delivery (You may have noticed Adrian's big head), we had our first son. He was born at Tacoma General Hospital at around 3:45 a.m.. He was named, as his father was, after his grandfathers; Charles, Jack's dad and Adrian, my dad.

As I said before, Adrian has always been a joy to our family. He is very good. With Adrian there is no gray area, everything is black and white. He has always stayed away from bad influences without trying to make anyone else feel bad for their choices. Adrian is also brilliant, he has always enjoyed reading mostly non-fiction and learning about as many random facts as possible. He loves to share those facts with people. Mostly, Adrian is hilarious! Dinner time in our house has always been my favorite. We laugh a whole lot, quote our favorite movies and enjoy being together. Adrian is also really good at silly voices, like mama from "Throw Mama From The Train", he is a great artist and can even sing. We have many silly videos that he and his friends made. They even made a couple of full length movies! I love Adrian and I am always happy to see him come home for breaks! Happy Birthday Adrian!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Four Down, One To Go!

Since it is June and we have such a big family, we always have someone in the family graduating high school. This year it is Daniel's turn. Daniel has been attending Highline Community College, so he wasn't all to interested in walking at his high school graduation. He really hasn't gone to classes at Decatur High School, except for choir, for two years. However, I insisted that he walk at graduation to receive his diploma. He wasn't too happy, but I think he got over it, and he was glad he did it. I feel like this is a mile marker in a person's life, and I didn't want him to look back and wish that he would have done it.

When I reflect back, time has just flown by. It seems like just a very few years since Daniel went to his first day of Kindergarten in Ms. Domine's class. I was thinking about what a blessing it has been to be a mother and raise such wonderful kids. They are my best friends.

There is a Hymn called "Improve the Shining Moments", a part of it goes "time flies on wings of lightening, we can not call it back. It comes, then passes onward; along it's onward track. And if we are not mindful, the chance will fade away. For life is quick in passing, tis as a single day" This is so true. I need to make sure that I am enjoying and appreciating every day that I have. I am so grateful that I was home with the kids for so many years so that we could build such strong relationships. I will sure miss Daniel when he leaves for college in a few months.

We planned to have a graduation / Ernesta Day party after Daniel's graduation at our house, but since Opa was released from the hospital we moved it over to his house. We all brought our favorite Mexican foods so we had an overabundance of cheese, meat, rice, and tortillas. Really if you think about it all Mexican food is the same stuff just in different shapes!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Five Things.......

Five things I was doing 10 years ago.

1. Taking kids to Arizona to go to an NSYNC concert
2. Watching Little League games.
3. Cheering on the Mariners
4. Serving in the stake YW presidency
5. Raising 5 children

Five things on my to do list.

1. Clean my house
2. Go to lunch with my friends.
3. Call the insurance company. (Booo)
4. Plan the next Enrichment meeting.
5. Clean Opa's house.

Five of my favorite snacks / food.

1. McDonald's french fries
2. Steak (Outback)
3. Reeses Peanutbutter cup Blizzard
4. Diet Coke
5. Macaroni and Cheese.

Five things I would do if I were a billionaire

1. Donate to the church perpetual education fund.
2. Start a scholarship fund to BYU-I
3. Get a new house (big enough to have parties at)
4. Put a pool behind my big house.
5. Pay a very generous fast offering.

Five of my bad habits.

1. McDonalds French Fries
2. Diet Coke
3. Procrastination
4. Shopping too much
5. Not being patient enough with Jack

Five places I have lived.

1. Federal Way, Washington
2. Rexburg, Idaho
3. Provo, Utah
4. Gombach, Germany
5. Hollywood, California (birthplace)
p.s. there are lots more

Five people I want to fill this out.

1. Jennifer Walsh
2. Laura Watts
3. Karen Lutz
4. Pam Sirrine
5. Valerie VanderHoeven

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Best Day Of The Week?

To say that the week has been pretty stressful would be an understatement! As much as I love Ernesta Week it has been a tough one. After an eventful Thursday, yesterday morning Pam called me and asked me to check on Dad because he was having trouble staying awake. Jack and I ran over to check on him (we are conveniently living only a few blocks from Dad). We got to Dad's house to find him lying in bed, slurring his words and having trouble staying awake. Dad is usually up early and very sharp, so this was very unusual. I called the group health attending nurse line and talked to someone for a while about his symptoms. They said hang up and call 911 immediately. Dad wasn't very happy that I did that, but it turned out to be the right thing to do. He was in and out of defibrillation, and his oxygen level was dangerously low. So off to our favorite place--the hospital. After several tests, the E.R. doctor, Dr. Rice, said that Dad is suffering from congestive heart failure. He has fluid in his lungs from the irregular and weak heart beats. We were hoping to have him admitted to St. Francis but there were "no beds" available. So then they sent Dad by ambulance to Virginia Mason hospital in Seattle. We are not very fond of this hospital because we have had some pretty awful times in Virginia Mason while my mother was dying of brain cancer. Lots of really bad memories. However, the doctors and nurses here are very friendly, and so far Dad has had excellent care. He is still in the hospital because they need to stabilize him, and of course there are many tests to come.

The good part of the day is that when there is an emergency my family gathers the troops in. We spent the whole day together both laughing and crying. When we had been at Virginia Mason for a little while, Karen and Jacki came with, of course, pizza. Our family is so big that we have a way of taking over the waiting room. I had fun introducing pizza to Jacki's four month old baby. By the time we left the hospital late last night Dad was in great spirits; you might even say he was a little loopy. I think he is so used to feeling crummy that feeling a little better makes him happy and even a little silly.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

DANG IT!!!!!!

So today was one of those days that you wish you could just go back to bed and start over. First Valerie and I picked up my dad to take him to Drs. appointments. Not a horrible thing to do because I never mind waiting. They had us going all over Group Health to have blood drawn, x-rays and other tests. Then to the Pharmacy and back to the Doctor. Finally we were able to take Dad home and wait for a medical supply company to deliver some equipment. The wheels of these things don't move very quickly so it took a wait of about six hours for the delivery guy to come. Fortunately Karen and Pam came over also so we were able to visit and look up stuff on the computer.

Valerie and I then needed to take Laura and Sarah down to Pacific to ballroom dance class. As we were heading down the street suddenly I noticed someone stopped at the crosswalk. Well I noticed too late and slid right into her. I have never caused a wreck before and so I was just a little upset. I tried to get the lady to move her car so that we could get out of the middle of the road but she refused. Laura Gabel came by and took the kids to dance. When the police came they had us move out of the road (of course) so that they could see what happened. The other lady was just milking the whole thing. She made them call and aid car and ambulance to take her to the hospital. Before the police got there the lady was just fine walking around.
When the police officer gave me back my license and stuff he said to us, "I don't know what is going on here (referring to the lady) and I'm no doctor but there is very little damage." he took some pictures of both cars so that there is proof that the damage was minimal.

Like I said before,"AAAH I just need to go back to bed"!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ernesta Week Celebration!

Our family has a way of making up holidays so that we have more reasons to party! One of our favorite weeks of the year is what we call "Ernesta" week. The week kicks up with "International Pirate Day" we like to have one day where we say arrrr a lot. Sometimes family members can get a little scary when they dawn the eye patch!

The week progresses with a week of dinners planned around and Aquabats song "Pizza Day"

Monday: Hot Dogs
Tuesday: Tacos

Wednesday: Hamburgers and Chocolate Milk

Thursday: Sloppy Joes , Burritos in a Bag

Friday: was PIZZA DAY the best day of the week!

The Aquabats!

Our week is topped off by the biggest event. The Ernesta Fiesta is where we invite our family and friends and have a big "Mexican" celebration. More about that later.

Seminary Graduation

This Sunday Daniel passed another milestone in the life of an active LDS youth. After four long years of getting up every school day at 5:00 a.m. he graduated from seminary. It is really quite an accomplishment because they really need to be dedicated in order to pass all of the requirements to graduate. Way to go Daniel!!!

Pacific Ballroom

For several years now my kids have been heavily involved with the Pacific Ballroom Dance Company. Daniel, Jennifer and Laura have all taken part in dance with the company. This last Saturday was their annual concert. It is so impressive to see what the instructors have been able to accomplish with these youth. There are so many people who donate so much time and effort to this cause. Laura is on the beginning team this year, it was her first year on the team. She was in two dances, a polka to music from the Disney movie Ratatouille and “Ladies Choice” from the Broadway musical Hairspray. Since Hairspray is one of Laura’s favorite movies I think she really enjoyed that one the most. Laura was able to sell tickets to all of her teachers and even her principal and vice-principal attended. I love watching her dance, she is so cute and the beginning team did very well! They are always a hit.

Daniel is on the advanced competition team. His team went to Provo in March to compete in Nationals. At this competition they took third place in Latin Formation and fifth place in Standard. Daniel was in, I think, eight different dances at the concert ranging from Hip Hop to the Latin Medley. I am pretty sure he had to do a lot of racing around backstage with all of his costume changes. I got so many comments from people about Daniel being such a great showman and that he is a “natural” with audiences. He has made so many wonderful friends in this program. I think it is a little sad for him to move on from the team. He will be attending BYU-I next year so I am sure he will pick up where he left off with Pacific Ballroom. We still have another five years of dance classes with Laura.

If you want to find out about Pacific Ballroom go to