Monday, December 31, 2007

The Last Day

Yesterday my daughter asked me what the biggest thing was that happened this year. I didn't hesitate, "moving" I answered. Her eyes were big as saucers. She looked at me incredulously. "MOM! Did you forget my first Holy Communion?!" Oops.

So there are the two toppers. Moving out of state to a new life and a most important sacrament. Of course there are plenty others that make the list:

*Starting off 2007 vacationing with dear friends in Zion, Utah (not the stitches part!)
*The big 10 year anniversary surprise trip to Vancouver Island
*Having fun in San Luis Obispo with Grandma and Grandpa
*Uncle Jim and Aunt Tala's wedding
*Uncle Ike and Aunt Abby's wedding
*Visiting with Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Moebeck in St. Louis
*Thanksgiving with lots of family
*PJ getting his tonsils out like a champ

Not a shabby list. We've had a great year. Naturally there have been some minor setbacks but that's what makes life interesting, right?

Here's to a healthy, happy and holy 2008.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It's been a few weeks now so I have had plenty of why doesn't it get easier?

PJ lost his first tooth today. For me it's like a slow motion movie- you know when the character slowly goes back through time and sees the past?? Images flooded my mind of my sweet, little baby and his first tooth that broke through.

You moms know what I'm talking about, right? It's actually painful to see it sitting on the bathroom counter. Somehow I just wish I could put it back in and start over; sleepless nights and all...

PJ only wishes that the tooth fairy and Santa could have met each other on Monday night. Now that would have been fun!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Blessings

For unto us a child is born.

Let us rejoice and be glad!

This Is What It Looks Like

When a little boy is caught half way through opening his Christmas gifts from his cousins.

"Joey, you have to be patient for two more days".

"But I want my fiwr twuck!!!"

What would you do? Not me...we hid it.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Total Retraction

Remember the other day when I said we loved the dog??? Is it too late to take it back?

We left for Mass and when we came home... the gingerbread house* that daddy and I struggled with last night for a very long time was, well, you can see for yourself.

Only one wall left. Roof is gone. Side walls are gone. Frosting is gone.

No wonder she was hiding.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Grrrr.

*The same gingerbread house that took driving to THREE stores to find. No small feat when you live way out in the country.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Meet My Guardian Angel

Some of you already know about Michael and know of the stories. That's okay because I'm going to share it again anyway.

Michael's parents were good friends to my folks back in the early 70's. We were very close in age. I remember nothing of Michael, sadly. Even more sad is that on Mother's day not long after, he drowned while boating with his dad. From what I understand his dad turned from him to do something and when he turned back again- Michael was gone from sight. Not even the splash was heard. It was devastating on his family and the marriage dissolved. Drinking became heavy for the father and the friendship with my folks suffered some distance as well.

Years later I received a phone call from Michael's father. He sounded drunk and he was crying. He wanted to tell me it was Michael's birthday and that he would be my age. I was a teenager and I didn't know what to say. It was an uncomforable call. He told me that Michael watches over me. Even more uncomfortable.

When I was 22 I had a cancer scare. I didn't think much of it- I was young and invincible. I'm sure it frightened my parents. Originally doctors thought I had malignant melanoma- skin cancer on my upper right back. I quickly had surgery to go deep down and remove any cancerous tissues. A few days after the surgery my father got a long distance phone call from Michae's dad. He was asking if I was okay. My father told him what was happening and that we were awaiting results. "She's going to be okay" he said. Michael had come to him in a dream the night before and appeared to be standing behind me. He raised his hand over my shoulder and a white light shone all around. He let his dad know that everything would be fine now.

Well surprisingly this story didn't make me uncomfortable at all. In fact it gave me peace and hope. I was okay then and I will be because I know that I am watched over and cared for. Merry Christmas, Michael.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Dog's Day

She's been notoriously naughty but today she's 10. It still feels like yesterday that I cried for a puppy.
After much "pitchin it" to my husband we found Belle. We brought her home and took a gazillion pictures of her. We loved her as if she were our child. I cried again the day she lost her first puppy tooth. "Our baby is growing up" I yelled as I ran into the room and woke up a sleepy husband.
Three kids later with many chewed shoes and stolen loaves of bread...and here we are. She's getting very white in the face and we hope - I MEAN wonder if she'll go to doggy heaven soon. Don't get me wrong- we really do love Belle. We'll leave it at that and say 'Happy Birthday Belly Boots'!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Some Christmas Cheer

His name is Frank. He is 91 years old and he lives two doors down from us- alone. In 1951 he used to milk the cows at 2am where our house now stands. He moved from Holland the the US when he was 31 years old. We know that he had a wife whom has died and no children. So there he is all by himself in this quiet little farm area.

We thought he could use some Christmas cheer. His face said that indeed, he could.
Yesterday we took over a wee little tree adorned with some miniature ornaments and lights the kids found. Complimented with some 100% child decorated cookies and you have...Christmas cheer. Boy that felt good.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Here Fishy, Fishy

Wide eyed, all three kids watched today as I dismantled a fish. Is that the right way to say it?
We got our first 'real' fish today at Costco. You know, not swimming but not already packaged. "Just slice of the tail and fins and you'll be good to go" the man told me. Sounds easy enough.
But what he didn't tell me was that when we got home and took Mr. Fishy out of his bag... that he would be so bloody. I mean like all over the counter hemorrhaging! Okay, maybe not that bad but when I cut him up and removed ALL the bones and listened to all three fish mongers yell "EWWWWWW" - let's just say it looked a little crime sceney.
Let's just hope he tastes good. Maybe the way it was recommended- with a little butter, garlic salt and brown sugar... Or maybe we'll just keep buying packaged salmon after all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Our Lady of Guadalupe

I have thought before about how scared and elated Juan Diego must have felt. In asking my 8 year old if she would like to receive an apparition she without hesitation said, "YES"! I doubt. It would come with great responsibility and social question. I think I'm just too weak.

"Am I not your Mother?" the Virgin is quoted as asking.
"Are you not sheltered underneath my mantle, under the embrace of my arms?"

So Juan Diego did what he was asked to do and today millions of patrons will walk in remembrance and reverence.

A parish priest we once knew told a story at the children's Mass one day. He told of being a little boy in Arizona walking to Mass. Along his walk he looked down in the field and saw something shining in the sun. Kneeling down he saw that the object was a medal. He picked it up and learned that the medal was Our Lady of Guadalupe. Years down the road as he was completing his religious orders, a package arrived for him. He opened the box and found vestments that looked just like the one Juan Diego wore with Mary's image imprinted on it. He never forgot the medal he found or the protection of our Blessed Mother.

I'm sure somewhere in the world he wearing his vestments today with fond memories and joyful hope.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I Spy

I spy with my little eye one little boy who can't fall asleep without reading- just like his big brother and sister. In our house no one ever says their prayers, turns off the light and drifts into dreamland. Nope. In our house we say our prayers, leave every light on like an airport landing strip and read "till our eyeballs fall out". (Mom's catchy little phrase that makes them feel so in control).

So they'll continue to develop their vocabulary and imagination and daddy and I will continue to make our rounds turning out the lights well after bedtime.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

St. Nicholas Has Come

I heard a bump in the night and looked at the clock. 3:45 am. I think that must have been him. For when we woke up there were gold chocolate coins in our shoes and a few around the advent wreath. What sounds of joy as they rolled out of bed wondering if he came.

Indeed he came - let the Christmas tidings begin! And please keep the chocolate away from mommy. The brownies after our special candle lit dinner didn't help.


"Mom, can we save our hot chocolate until we get back from the store?"

No problem, right?


Not only were the mugs empty but there were golden hairs all over the table. Grrrrr....

If only it were true that chocolate could be harmful to dogs!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

What Do You Call This Stuff?

Oh right- snow! I've heard of that before.

A rough estimate, other than up to 'here' on the broom, would be 7 inches. Uncommon for this area and we are told to expect power outages any time now. Perhaps a shower would come in handy but I'd rather blog these pics from our early morning sledding adventure.

Our little neighbor and her older brother have been out sledding since 5 am and just couldn't wait any longer to get us out there so at 6:45 there was a knock at the door. I woke up the oldest to ship her out into the cold dark morning. (No complaints there!)

Being that we're completely snowed in- I'm going to miss Mass for the first time in a LONG time. If the power is still on we'll have to catch it on EWTN and light our advent wreath. Let me just say that this is a huge change for us- it's totally beautiful and I could just sit looking out the window at the head sized snowflakes coming down all day. Sitting with my coffee and UH OH! I'm OUT OF COFFEE!! Not only that but out of diapers, too. Call 911!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Town is So Small...

How small is it???

(Sound of drumroll)

My town is so small that yesterday I went to the post office to pick up a package in the waiting. Driving there I was nervous thinking that in Las Vegas we had to show proof of address - I have nothing here in Washington yet.

I nervously hand over the slip to the postal employee all the while thinking "please don't ask for my id, please don't need any address proof..."

The postal employee took my slip, read it and said, "Oh, just got back from vacation. Let me get your box".

Done. No further questioning. That's when you know you're in Smallsville.

Boy Wonder

I knew we were in good hands yesterday for my little guy's surgery. And I knew having tonsils and adenoids removed was a fairly easy procedure. I was confident that surgery would be quick and recovery would mainly take place at home. But being prepared doesn't necessarily fend off a mother's emotions. I have to admit that I held it together well until I saw my baby in his yellow hospital slippers post op. That's when the tears came. Tears of relief, joy and pent up anxiety. Whew, I'm so glad that this chapter is done.

But back to boy little guy was the bravest little guy imaginable. He smiled and followed all his instructions. There is something so special about a child that is calm in the storm. When it was time to go into surgery the nurse asked:

"PJ, would you like to bring anything special with you?"

"Ummm, no" he said and gave me a quick hug before leaving without his coveted animal blankie that he can't sleep without.

Did I say that I was glad this was over? Sniff sniff.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The King

My family and I spent our Thanksgiving in St. Louis this past week. Between museums, visits to the arch, my brother in law's wedding, spending time with all the generations of family in to visit...we had a wonderful time. Despite our long travel and layovers in Minnesota (with Joey traveling is like hot pokers in the eyes), one of the highlights was our "church Sunday". We started our day going to services at my father in law's church, Bethel Lutheran for which he is the pastor. It was a very nice Christ the King service and it is such a quaint, older church. It's always fun to see where my husband grew up so to speak. He spend most of his childhood at Bethel between going to elementary school there and spending time with dad at church. It's also fun to see the same faces when we go back to visit.

After service my husband and I took a run through Forest Park. I mean we took a FROZEN run through the park. Drizzling 30's and there we were in shorts like madmen- we weren't alone though. There were many running off the stuffing and pie with us. We ran up to the St. Louis Art Museum and decided to warm up for a few minutes. How awesome to see some religious artifacts like a pyx all adorned in gold from the
1400's. Beautiful artwork and we even got to see a real deal Monet.

What truly made my day was going to the evening Mass at the Basilica Cathedral. This place was breathtaking- I've never seen anything like it. Oh and the presence- I knelt down when we got to our pew and cried. It was just too much. But here's the kicker- Josh and I were asked to bring up the gifts. What a humbling experience. He we were in the huge place feeling so small. What a honor. What a day. May Christ be the King today and everyday.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rat and Dog

Yep, that's me...the drowned rat with the dog. For the first time Belle went running with me this afternoon. She did...okay...I mean, she made it. That being said, does it count if she had to be drug home on the last mile? It rained hard here most of the day but seemed to slow down around 4. We set out and about 2 miles down the road it began to pour. I have to say that there is no feeling like running up a hill in 50 degrees and having to squint to keep the water out of your eyes. Totally glorious!

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's Official

I'm officially nuts! But it gets better- my husband is now officially nuts, too! We're doing the Whidbey Island Marathon in April. I've wanted to train for one for so long but the most exciting part is that I got Josh to commit. (Reluctantly, mind you.) SO we begin this week with our training program this weekend. I met Debby, a terrific trainer last night from Sceptor Fitness who will help guide me along with the runs and nutrition. Such awesome motivation. I feel like Forrest Gump already.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Anniversary

So yesterday marked the one month anniversary of arriving here in Washington. One month ago today I saw trees; colorful, massive, fragrant trees. One month ago I scratched my head and wondered what one does when they run out of brown sugar half way through cookie baking. One month ago I marveled at deer nibbling on oats out the window. One month ago I couldn't believe my little one sat in the car for 3 days straight. One month ago I had no computer, Internet or television. (Now that was nice!) One month ago I desperately missed my friends back in the desert. Although I just love it here and am blessed so much- some things haven't changed!

The Wonder of Whidbey

To spend the weekend with two of my dearest, oldest friends and their children was perfect. To spend it on Whidbey Island was magical. Despite the fact that we had a total of six little ones with us and a very naughty dog, we were able to pack in quite a trip! The ferry ride over was way too short! "We didn't even see one whale!" protested my daughter. Twenty minutes later we arrived on the island and we're happy to report that it was really easy to drive our car onto the ferry! We toured Coupeville on foot and got to see Rosie- a 33 ft. grey whale that washed up on shore in '98. How cool is that?! The boys set out on their own GPS treasure hunt through Ebey's landing and found some pretty cool loot. The girls sat in the car, partially frozen. I did however meet someone on the beach as I was lamenting over my recent romantic trip with my husband. (I was watching the ships and ferries set off through the passage on their way up to Victoria and Alaska). This man freelances for National Geographic and asked permission to shoot some of the kids on the beach. He let me try out his VERY expensive lens and take some shots. Mind you I didn't have my camara all set up well- I was just experimenting- but this close up is from across the sound soooo far away. This lens was AMAZING! Photography I come!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

And the Award Goes to...

Mother of Intolerence. Do you ever feel like you could win that one? I do. Today. I start the day with so much hope, so much promise, so much...solitude. Then instantly it ends. "I'M AWAAAAAKE!" And if he had a bigger vocabulary he would say, "I'm awake and just to forewarn you, I am very grumpy and I will get up only to throw a tantrum because I didn't have everything I wanted ready for me".
We just turned two- it's going to be a very long year. I was once told by a priest that Mary at one point had a two year old. I just can't picture Jesus EVER throwing his cup because it wasn't the drink of choice. Patience, patience, patience.

The Show Down

There was a big show down this morning. No nothing political this time. It took place between Belle and two deer in the yard.
The deer stood absolutely frozen staring at Belle. Belle stood proud like a bird dog-tail in the air, snout up. They stared at each other for what seemed to be forever. We wondered if dog actually was off the chain what she would do. I mean this dog lays down on her back in fear of poodles! Was she puffing up knowing that the rope would hold her back??
Anyway, the deer technically won the big show down- they are far bigger than the dog, there's two of them and when it doubt, they won because they were there first. Doesn't that always take precedence?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

One Mountain Down, Many to Go

Yesterday was a beautiful day to go explore Mt. Si not far from here. It looms in the background of our house. It was chilly and drizzly and just perfect to go for a hike and smell the fall. Up here fall has a smell of trees and firewood burning. Daddy took the kids for a hike while I tackled my first mountain/trail run. I was like a race horse bursting out of the gates. I took off fast and soon realized (I'm talking 2 minutes max) that I goofed. I went too fast up the hill and my lungs were on fire well into the night. Despite the feeling that I needed to go see a lung specialist, the run was glorious. Flat and leafy in spots, rocky and tough in others. My thoughts were split, Please don't let me trip on a rock and sprain an ankle. And THANK YOU God for this blessing to be able to run through this beautiful mountain you made.
I wish I could share it personally.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Child's Dream

Have you ever seen a 5 year old techie's dream come true? It's when his daddy brings home a new i phone. This gadget holds more splendor than a bag of Halloween loot, playing in mud puddles and Leaptster games combined.

Daddy: Come here son, I want to show you what I got.

Son: (chuckling in a throaty, odd way- eyes like melons)

Mommy: Do you know what that is?

Son: An i phone!!!!!!

Daddy let him play with the new bundle of joy, under close supervision. He found China, the local weather, emails (please don't email anyone!), music and much more. It was well past bedtime and my little techie tells me that when he grows up he will have one too, oh a boy's dream.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Things to Ponder

So I've just been thinking. I'm thinking that I'm just not so sure about technology anymore. My husband and I just had a very large sum of money stolen from us. Maybe I don't understand how these things work entirely but it seems to me too easy to get a hold of other's information and use it against them with computers and transferring money around. Secondly, I'm still surprised (I guess that's a good thing) that someone can go and do something so illegal and so immoral. Did technology make it so that committing fraud behind a screen is easier? It's a shame really. How did something designed to make life more simple make it even more complicated?

On a positive note...the money was recovered in an account thousands of miles away today. Didn't I say I love this day??

A Saintly Day

I love this day. All Saints Day is such an inspirational day to me because I think about how many people came and went before me and what they did in the name of God. One of my favorite saints, to whom I feel strongly tied to, is St. Rita. I was born on her feast day. I didn't come to know St. Rita until the past few years but her intercessions have helped me greatly. The story of her life is truly amazing. May we all live up to examples of these awesome saints!

Oh When the Saints...

Go marching to trick or treat. One little saint will eat waaaay too many Milk Duds before departure. He will sway and swagger with sugar overload. He will grasp tightly to his bag and let know one hold it for him. One little saint won't like the shoes she's wearing but for the sake of color-coding wear them anyway. And one little saint will grow very, very tired and cold, and hungry and just be plain done with Halloween.
Can't you tell it was another big success?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Belle's Life

When I walk through our new house looking for the dog, this is where I often find her. She sits there, super attentive, and watches. What does she see? I really don't know.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Great Pumpkin Shall Rise From the Pumpkin Patch

The Great Pumpkin always picks the most sincere pumpkin patch to rise out of. He's just gotta pick this pumpkin patch. He's just gotta! Look around. You can see that there' not a sign of hypocrisy anywhere. Nothing but sincerity reaching out as far as the eye can see.
I don't know about you but many times in life I find that Charlie Brown must have been related somewhere in the lineage. Either that or I have just seen too many Great Pumpkins and Charlie Brown Christmas'. Here's to NOT finding a rock on those tricks and treats!

Friday, October 26, 2007

What is it with the moon?

So last night the moon was full. But it wasn't just full. It was closer to the earth and 14% bigger than it's been in the past year. You know what people say about full moons? They say it makes people goofy, off kilter, do wacky things. Both my boys were up in the night with issues (night issues are the worst!). As I got up and looked out my window, this ordinarily very dark area was transformed into a different scene. The moon was so incredibly bright but I couldn't see it. All I could see was the fog illuminating the trees like some strange movie set. At first it was so beautiful, so serene. Enter the dumb imagination of all the scary movies I saw back when I could watch scary movies and I had to run and jump back into bed!
It's morning now and still VERY foggy. But this time it's not so eerie- it's perfect.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nothing Gold Can Stay

by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold,
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

And yes, a helmet is required for raking leaves. This is very serious stuff!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Sound of Fury

We've been told that the Snoqualmie Falls about 5 miles away can be heard from our front doorstep. I heard them this morning for the first time - it sounded like a truck barreling down our lonely road. What an awesome sound compared to the sirens back home. Every day I am amazed by the beauty of it all.

The Fog is Lifting

It's been almost 2 weeks since we arrived in this lush paradise just outside of Seattle. Moving our family here was one of the hardest things we've ever done. We left Las Vegas in a "life fog". Between health scares, being hit by a drunk driver and a peppering of a family wedding all within the last week - we felt as if the ship were sinking. By the grace of God, we're here and we're all together. And so the fog is lifting - and it's beautiful.

Goodbye desert. Goodbye friends, for now. Until we meet again.