Sunday, December 19, 2010

A better week!

This week ended much better then last week. I am feeling a bit better today (sat through 3 hours of church even!). Lee's back is also still hurting but we think we will mend! We also found a new (to us) car on Friday night! We even didn't have to go to Seattle to find it! We got them to lower their price to trade-in value (car sales are pretty low right now here in Yakima) so we got a good deal! We also got out a little on Saturday so that heals us even a little more. We went to Leavenworth (Christmas city USA not the penitentiary :). The best part of Leavenworth was running into people we KNEW! I think that is the most exciting thing....when you start to know enough people to run into familiar faces!
Leavenworth is a Bavarian style town about an hour and a half from us. It has tons of German shops and does a huge Christmas lighting through Dec. They have huge stars that move through the crowds and when they pass each shop the shop lights up. It was quite beautiful (although not Temple square...still lovely).

This is miss twinkle toes on the way there (out of order I know).
This is the kids waiting for the lighting. They have 4 or 5 Santa's from around the world wandering around. If there wasn't a thousand million people in line to get pictures with them I would have shown you them (very cool!).

This is Lee enjoying his chestnuts from the open fire. He had not had chestnuts and rather liked them. We were also going to try the Sausages....until I noticed the Costco wrapper in their
trash :(
Here is a light picture of the shops. You really feel like you are in a German village (especially when you stop at the bakery and get a fresh pretzel with homemade mustard...yum). We will for sure have to go back in the summer when you can actually get INTO the shops!

This is the main area where the events are (I know it looks like something out of the movie Groundhog Day). Kids sled down the hill (Keaton didn't worry he didn't have a sled...he slid down on his belly). In the gazebo they had a men's choir singing Christmas carols. Nothing better then a men's choir. I think what I liked the most about it was they weren't afraid to keep Christ in Christmas. This was a community event and they said a prayer before they started. They also set off cannons, one for the Christ Child, one for his Mother Mary, one for Christmas, and one for a good new year. Then they had the whole crowd (all 8000 of us) sing silent night. They didn't worry about offending anyone. Just celebrating the real reason of the season. Now next time if we can park closer then a mile away we would be good to go!

This is Keaton. He told me he is the next Iron Chef. I thought that was funny :) He has a bunch of spoons, spatulas, etc in his pockets and down his pants (don't worry they were washed after).

O.K. so I don't take good pictures. Deal with it :) This is the kids in their Christmas outfits. This is after church when Keatons kind teacher gave a coloring book to Keaton AND Savannah NOW she is happy.
This is classic Savannah before church. Something always makes her MAD!
If you are still reading this is where I get deep. This Christmas has been like no other one. We moved here and when we finally were getting settled got in the accident. We didn't put up a tree, I didn't put up most of my decorations (although I did find a few including the nativity), we didn't have any parties to go to (we had Lee's aunt's funeral on the day of the ward party), we didn't give or get a single neighbor gift (I really tried...I dumped 4 batches of my classic caramels that always turn out in SLC), and the little Christmas shopping I did was online or in 2 hours at Target (none if has been wrapped yet). I was thinking this morning about the Grinch. Remember the line where he says, " It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!". This year ALL the glitz was gone. We even didn't have any family around (although we plan to remedy that this week). We spent time with our little family. We spent time talking about a celebrating the greatest gift ever given: the Christ Child. We went to a parade, and a train Christmas but everything else was Christ centered. The Leavenworth lighting had a good message, we drove through a live nativity put on by a near church (not LDS, although they DID have LIVE sheep and goats (pretty cool if you ask my kids)), we went to our stake's live nativity, and watched Mr. Kruger's (oh how I cried and cried as I related to that one!). I really have not missed the glitz. I have appreciated the simplicity. I have appreciated the calmness in my home. Next year I am sure we will add back in a little glitz. We will reignite some of those traditions. But for THIS year....I really appreciated the change :) Merry Christmas to you all...we LOVE YOU!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Waiting for 2010 to END!

I thought about writing a Christmas letter I really did. I was worried it would turn out to be the most depressing Christmas letter in history though. Between 4 hospital stays, 2 surgeries (one emergency), Lee's job turning crummy, $2700 in repairs on our rental house in Dec (they just submitted another leak today), moving out of state and leaving our lovely home, family and friends, and capping it all by being hit by a semi and totalling the van we are thinking we can't wait for 2011! We can truly say though that we have been blessed through it all. Keaton's arm healed beautifully, Savannah is on a great maintenance medicine now that is keeping her out of the hospital, we had cash for the home repairs (although I could have thought of a better way to spend it), Lee got a great new job he loves, and we all walked away from a horrific accident (truly a gift from God).
SO....let's tell about our adventures for the week!

Lee's Aunt died on the 3rd. She had been battling cancer courageously for years and she was finally called home. She was an intelligent kind woman that we were thrilled to call family. We went to Boise this last Friday for the funeral. It was a great service (great speakers that gave great tributes to a deserving lady). That night Lee's Uncle graciously had a dinner for family and close friends at his private club. Most of the families with kids had to leave but Lee and I went with our kids (only one other kid was there out of 40 people). This was a lovely fine dining club that would have been a fabulous experience....had I been alone :) I knew we were in trouble when Keaton took all his silverware, Lee's and mine and started building log cabins. He loved the split pea soup and I stopped him right before he started licking his bowl. He kept dropping silverware and climbed under to get it...each time bumping the elegant table. Once dinner came I couldn't get Savannah enough of my rice pilaf so she started taking it off LEE'S UNCLES PLATE?!?!? He was gracious enough to feed her some of his rice....then she went for his salmon :( Keaton decided to lay down on the floor...he was tired. This is just the highlights. I think by the time dinner was over I was a shaking pile of nerves!

We did get to see lots of cousins though! This is Aspen. She is highly dedicated to getting Savannah to be her friend. Savannah complied after much effort. Yea Aspen!

Last week we went to the Toppenish Train Museum Christmas. It was pretty cool. They had about 30 miniature trains set up. Many of the trains the kids could operate.

Then you climbed on this old train to ride to the "North Pole" to see Santa on another train. I thought it was pretty funny that the "North Pole" was located in a junk yard....but whatever the kids had fun. We were the last family to see Santa. He had to use the restroom (doesn't Santa have magic for that?) so he was pretty short with the kids (which was all right by Savannah since she mostly just cared about the candy cane :).

The big highlight of our week though was Sat. night on our way home. The weather was bad and the roads were slick. Lee was in the "faster" lane and going about 30. All of the sudden the semi next to him started sliding over. Lee had nowhere to go. We hit the semi on my side and a tow truck on his side. I have never been so sure I had seen the end as when I saw that semi collide into me. According to the patrolman on the scene we should be dead or seriously injured. The tow truck driver said if we had hit just a bit more to the left his boom would have gone into the windshield killing Lee. If we were a bit ahead I would have been under the semi's tires. We all walked away. The kids were totally fine. We were blessed by God's grace. Our ward church family has also been so good to us. They sent someone to pick us up, when we got home there were guys taking care of our driveway and the 6 inches of snow, they brought us a treat and dinner for tonight. So, once again I have to say 2010 was the best of times...and the worst of times. Here is hoping for a better 2011!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Christmassy sort of week!

This has been a Christmassy sort of week. We found plenty of things to do to put us in the spirit. The kids I think have enjoyed actually getting out of the house after our hiatus. These are in not in chronological order but they are all from this week.

Last night we went to the Sunnyside Lighted Farm Implement parade. We got there last minute and got great parking and seats (although it is one of the largest Farm Implement Parades in the nation:). Lee REALLY loved it. I was cold. I don't know what my deal is but with Lee's HUGE gloves, my wool coat, a fleece jacket, and the wool hat Lee's Mom knitted me I still froze. The kids stayed pretty cozy....I guess that is what matters right?
This one is out of order but that morning Lee's work had a kid Christmas party. You can see that Anna thought Santa was really "coooool". The GE Santa even gave them BIG toys....still didn't soften her. Oh, Vanna sometimes you can be a hard nut to crack.

This was our favorite float of the implement parade. It pretty much was an hour of this. This is a lighted Combine. If you don't know what a combine is you are in good company :)
This is some documentation as to why we are not good renters. I was so pleased the other night when Anna was not under my feet while I was making dinner (someday I will have to post a pic of my TINY kitchen). About 5 minutes later I heard her screaming. I followed the ruined walls and found she had closed herself in Keatons room. You have to appreciate the time she spent on the artwork. You can see below that she had CLEARLY been locked in Keatons room for awhile before she realized she couldn't get out.....

P.S. Crayola marker doesn't come off wall.....

Our Stake had a live Nativity Thurs night. It was SO well done. We really enjoyed hearing the songs and the true store of Christmas. The kids even sat there pretty good and listened. I have to say I think it was my favorite thing we did this week.
We also went out with some friends on Weds. My cousin-in-law Taunzia's brother's family lives up here. They invited us to Kids Castle . Keaton, Vanna and I really had a great time. They really needed a day out with kids.
All in all we are getting more and more adjusted to living here. I still can't say I like it....I can say it is an adventure though!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend in Portland

Thanksgiving had all the ear marks of a big bummer. We had been REALLY looking forward to my brother and my Aunt coming for Turkey day and they both ended up not being able to come. Lee thought we should just bag the whole thing but I insisted we go through the motions. I am really glad we did. It was kinda nice to have Thanksgiving with just the 4 of us. I have never in my life done such a small holiday. We ate when we wanted, what we wanted, and how much we wanted (knowing we had all the leftovers to ourselves :). I did the whole thing, even homemade pie crusts for my first time. I think it all turned out great (of course because I only had Lee and Keaton to make the yummy noises). I asked Keaton about halfway through the dinner what his favorite part was. He said, "my family of course". You know he was right.

My mom suggested we do something that weekend so we didn't sit around and mope. I am glad she suggested that. We hopped in the car and went to Portland for the weekend (about 3 hours away). Lee and I decided you could take a week just traveling that road. There were so many cool things to look at!
Friday night we went to "The Kennedy School". My cousin and his wife lived in Portland and gave us all kinds of cool suggestions. It is an old school they have turned into a hotel (classrooms are the rooms), indoor pool, cigar shop (in the old detention room), theatre (in the gym full of overstuffed mismatched velvet loveseats not theatre seats), and a charming restaurant. We had a great dinner then went to the tree lighting in Pioneer Square. We didn't know until we got back to the hotel that the square was almost a victim of a terror attack (although it was a pretty good idea since it was wall to wall people). I don't know why you can't see the tree in the pic above....lame.

The next morning Keaton and Lee went on the sub tour (I don't do claustrophobia things and Annah was too little). Keaton and Lee LOVED it. Keaton favorite was when the tour guide told him he could "name a missile and take it home...if you can lift it". Keaton thought that was pretty funny.....Keaton is pretty funny.

Savannah and I didn't have a camera but we went to the Saturday open air market. We wandered the booths for an hour with a smile on our faces. Annah LOVES dogs and Portland has more dogs then any place I know. I love all the little vendor booths. After an hour and a half we were about done and ready for Lee and Keaton to get us so we got some popcorn and listened to a little band playing in their food garden.

Like I said there was so much to see on the road home. This is Multnomah Falls. It is the 2nd tallest falls in the nation. I think it was breathtaking. It was especially cool with the ice on the sides. We loved how everything was covered with moss. We hiked up to that bridge and got a closer look.

On the way up Keaton found a tree to hide in :)

The first bridge....look how mossy the trees were!

There was another water fall about a 1/4 mile away. Not quite as cool but still pretty. Annah wanted to play in the water.
P.S. Don't you LOVE the kids hats? Lee's Mom made them last year. I am so thrilled they still fit this year!